140 thoughts on “Geek Girls: Meet Your New Anthem

  1. OK John, I was thinking your blog readers were just kissing your ass but I can see you really are the second coming… Where do I send my tithes?

  2. Thanks for letting us in on this. I’ll be passing it on to my daughter, who isn’t particularly geeky, but is just entering middle school, and it’ll be good for her to see this empowerment. I’ll also be passing it on to my two sons (18 & 8) who might need a bit of reinforcement seeing things from the other side.

  3. I’ve not met many true Geek Girls in my life…then again, I’m older and never have attended a comicon or assembly of other geeks (other than a Linux meetup) so I really haven’t been ‘out there’ to find any.

    Most of the time, I find these type of Geek Girls: http://www.parodypark.com/2013/05/05/geek-girl/

    And yeah, I know not everyone is like that…maybe I’ll meet some true Geek Girls someday in the future. Granted, my cousin is a serious Doctor Who and Star Trek fan…but that’s about as deep as she goes into that rabbit hole.

  4. You know, in the day I was not a huge Wesley Crusher fan (sorry dude) but I am becoming a HUGE Wil Wheaton fan. What an amazing fellow. Does this guy study on how to be an Amazing Guy?, cause if so, I want to go to that school.

  5. Devnet:

    Well, see, the urge to shame a woman who you believe is not geeky enough for your standards is the entire point of the song; which is to say you just did what the song is about. And a thing which I have written about before, come to think of it. That comic, likewise, and it’s especially ironic because it’s not as if male geeks, individually or as a class, are entirely innocent of being attracted to geek media by visual stimulation.

    The urge to complain that someone is not geeky enough or is somehow “fake” because they’re coming into a geek culture through a different door is common but is a poor thing to do. Let people enjoy themselves as geeks in their own way.

  6. John,

    See, the above response to Devner is exactly why I take a deep breath and go away for a minute before angrily typing anything: you do it So Much Better.

    And the video? As perfect as it could be. Thanks for sharing.

  7. sorry I’m spamming here but I am cycling the video. I cant help but think how freakin’ awesome these girls are. An otherwise plain girl smiles and I fall over smitten in love. How freakin’ awesome people are, geeks and all. My word….

    Thanks man.

  8. Love, love, love. I will be showing this to my two daughters this morning (my youngest the president and originator of the anime club at her middle school). So awesome and so true.

  9. devnet: “maybe I’ll meet some true Geek Girls someday in the future. Granted, my cousin is a serious Doctor Who and Star Trek fan”

    There you go, then. Seek, and ye shall find!

  10. Whee! My submission made it in at 2:45, the Filipina with River Song’s sonic screwdriver! This is such an awesome video – anyone who wants to be a geek should get to be without having to prove any cred. We should be beyond that kind of exclusionary BS because we ought to be better than that!

    Devnet – The whole “true Geek Girls” thing needs to die an unlamented death. Just because someone doesn’t perform geekdom to YOUR personal standards, doesn’t mean they’re not “real geeks.” It’s gatekeeping (in this particular case, sexist gatekeeping) like that which is hurting geek culture and contributing to an atmosphere in which real people are getting harmed by making harassment and bullying “ok” so long as it’s targeting “the right people.” No. That’s NOT OK in any way, shape or form.

    By the by, The Doubleclicks have put up a tumblr for any of the submissions that didn’t make it into the video and are expanding the project by asking people to submit their stories. http://geekgirlvideo.tumblr.com/

  11. I’m a past-middle-aged mathematician mother in a Green Lantern T-shirt, so I don’t run into the same problems that the pretty girls do. I get some mildly strange looks on the bus when my 13-YO son and I geek about Mass Effect weapons, controller vs. keyboard, Origin vs Steam, or “ST:TOS vs ST:TNG? Voyager!”, but nothing drastic. Many times it’s led to a good conversation with a mangeek. They wouldn’t get far with crap anyway since I’ve had decades to perfect my stinkeye.

    My message to the kids: It gets better.

  12. I’m chuckling because I saw this video a few weeks back and thought, “I should send this to Scalzi,” but I didn’t know the best way to do so. I’m glad it made its way to him eventually.

  13. Yay! I am in this! :) And going by the credits, my sister and niece are too, but I haven’t spotted them yet; I’ll have to go over it carefully when I get home (so hard to look at faces, read signs, and listen at the same time.)

    Did anyone else notice there’s someone dancing in the background at the end of Princess Leia’s bit?

  14. So freaking awesome!! I am a Geek and proud of it! I’m even co-captain of Team Stargate in Nerd Wars on Ravelry (which is an online fiber community and is filled with young and old geeky/nerdy knitters, crocheters, weavers and spinners) I have made Gate earrings and a bear inspired by Wil Wheaton and JoCo, among my other geeky projects and there have been so many totally awesome projects made by others…we have 2827 members, mostly women, but some men…more than 30 teams devoted to among others, gaming, (board and online), Dr. Who, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, the usual and unusual(Firefly, Babylon 5, LOTR,Team Squints (science), My Little Pony, etc)….but the one thing we all have in common is we love the things that we love…..

  15. Hey, I can’t see the video! All I get is a blank gray box instead of a video player. Does anyone have any idea of why that is?

    @ the idiot who thinks he is the arbiter of geekdom: Trust me, I have met numerous girls who are considerably geekier than me. I had to be instructed once about the merits of the various incarnations of the Doctor by a girl, because I was only familiar with the Tenth Doctor (who is still the coolest, btw). On another occasion, I got the whole “oh-my-god-horrified-how-could-you-have-not-heard-of-it-and-still-live” response from a girl when i told her that I had never heard of “Darths&Droids”, a webcomic which I now follow religiously. Also, my best female friend is a D&D nut–and she’s the ridiculously dedicated roleplayer, at that. Another female friend (same D&D group) is an epic munchkin–she min-maxed her character to the moon and back, then nuked Orcus himself in about three rounds at level 20.

    In short, geekiness is determined by depth and breadth of geek knowledge and dedication–not by your misogynistic views of gender.

  16. Floored:

    “@ the idiot who thinks he is the arbiter of geekdom”

    Let’s not do this, please. One, it’s rude. Two, you’re undermining your own argument by leading with an ad hominem. Three, it unnecessarily drives the rhetoric of the thread away from actual discourse, which makes my job as moderator harder. Four, Devnet’s commented here before perfectly well; he’s not an idiot.

    Floored, a good rule of thumb in situations like this would be to follow my lead. You’ll notice when I responded to him I didn’t call him an idiot, for example, and responded to him without hostility. When you don’t have me in the thread as an immediate example, fall back on this bit on how to be a good commenter. Thank you.

  17. Pretty awesome!

    Loved the green orc (I guess – omg I’m not a real geek as can’t identify the character, maybe from a game?) promising not to eat people who respect her. And the astronaut girl. And GeekMelange. And pretty much all the rest.

    Adam Savage was good, but who was the guy in the same place as him? I found it easier to recognize the guys rather than the women, although I picked out a few… Wheaton’s law makes him awesome

  18. In short, geekiness is determined by depth and breadth of geek knowledge and dedication–not by your misogynistic views of gender.

    I beg to differ. Geekiness is determined by your being a geek. Nothing more, nothing less. There are sufficient degrees of freedom in the geek universe that attempting to create some sort of metric by which to compare how geeky two people are is doomed to catastrophic failure.

  19. Thanks Scalzi, so lovely and embarrassing how much it made me cry copiously while smiling. I didn’t even know there was a hole in my heart that needed that song.

  20. Wonderful song, wonderful video, and wonderful geeks – women and men alike. I just love the little girl with the bugs sign and the bug on her face. She is and will be awesome.

  21. Awesome! I will definitely share this with my whole geek family.

    Also, I did get some weird looks from my coworkers when I LOL’ed at “Who died and made you Batman?”

  22. Wow. I both laughed and cried during this. The tears were because I’ve been through some of the crap written on those cards, and it is so damn SAD that anyone ever does that. I mean, I get that people who are bullied can turn into bullies themselves as a way of trying to feel powerful, but aren’t geeks supposed to be SMART?!? I also love that a few of my favorite geek men are in this. Scalzi and Wheaton AND Savage! Not because we needed rescuing, but just as emphasis. That it wasn’t just “girls” who felt this way. I’m going to watch it once more even though I am a little late to work.

  23. There seems to be a class of “Geeks of the Awesome” that has formed among creative people who are writing/acting/making/etc good content. These people don’t always know each other, although many do, and it’s very cool (e.g. Scalzi and Wheaton). But, regardless of how well they actually seem to be connected, these people seem to be the informal group of creators who stand up for causes (like this video “Nothing to Prove”), fight misguided people like Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), work to help end World Suck (DFTBA!), and generally promote awesomeness. These people are the leaders of this very large, diverse, and wonderful community of Geekdom.

    So, let’s thank the “Geeks of the Awesome” heartily. We need more like the Doubleclicks in this world.
    And, thanks, Scalzi, for being one of them.

  24. Amazing. I’ll show this to my daughters — who love Doctor Who, gaming, and the many other things they love as much as anyone — this very evening. Thanks for sharing this!

  25. @ Mr. Scalzi: Yes, sir. I led with my emotions yet again–something that I really need to stop doing, especially after the Online Petition Incident.

    @ parkrrrr: I have to say that some people are definitely less geeky than others. For example, I am nowhere near as geeky as some of my friends; while I certainly WANT to dress up as a Klingon and call myself Koloth for an entire day, I have not done so yet. Several of my friends, however, have done similar things (this girl I know dressed up as a Borg in the middle of August once for a third person’s birthday party–now THAT was an interesting day.

    @ devnet: My apologies for leading my criticism of your argument with an ad hominem In the future, I will avoid doing so.

  26. @Floored: You’re missing my point. It’s certainly possible to be more geeky on a single axis, like devotion to Doctor Who or willingness to cosplay, but that is not a sufficient metric to compare overall geekiness.
    If you have one friend who spends every weekend at an anime con dressed as Sailor Moon, another friend who spends every weekend holed up in her room writing critically-acclaimed Firefly fanfic, and a third friend who has spent every free hour of the last two years playing a game of The Campaign for North Africa, which one is the bigger geek?
    You can’t compare overall geekiness. Geekdom as a whole suffers every time someone tries.

  27. The gag cards are zingers!

    When I was growing up, I actually found the so-called “jocks” (put in scare quotes because the term was almost always used by others derogatorily) to be more accepting. All I had to do was show up, participate and give my best and they accepted me without qualification. Various geek cliques, however, were less interested in someone they didn’t think could possibly “share their pain” or whatever other persecution complex they had going on. The one exception were the band geeks, who were just happy to meet a good pianist.

    Long way of saying: screw gatekeeping and the high horse it rode in on.

    @Floored: I’m pretty sure what parkrrrr meant was that you can be geeky about different things. I’m a huge history and science geek, but I don’t know the first thing about 13-sided dice.

  28. Don’t worry, John, we know you’re a real geek girl.*

    *Though real geek is redundant, like rich tycoon.

  29. I loved this a lot. Wish something like this existed when I was the age of those kids. I hope a few Gray Geeks will show up on the tumbr version!

  30. In re comparisons of geekitude, even for geeks in the same area of interest, it doesn’t matter whether someone spends all weekend writing fanfic or writes the occasional piece, or likes to read other people’s fanfic but doesn’t write it, for example. The point is that there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) any Geek Size War.

  31. God damn Scalzi between my 9 month pregnant ass hormones and the message of the video I am sobbing at my desk like an idiot.

  32. This is just the most awesome thing I’ve seen in a long, long time. Wish I could’ve been in it – thanks to all who are. Viral, for sure.

    The only thing better would be an Eric-Whitacre-like “virtual choir” version – anyone want to take on that project? – please!

    And John – what is the tiny smiley at the very bottom of this page? Is that a standard part of WordPress? :-)

  33. @ parkrrrr, Gulliver:

    Oh, I understand the diversity angle just fine–it’s pretty much impossible to determine whether someone who has had surgery to look like William Shatner or someone who has built their entire house as a shrine to Mr. Scalzi is geekier than the other. However, it is certainly possible for one to be out-geeked by someone else within a particular strain of geekiness. All of the friends that I have mentioned like all of the same things that I do, and more, and they are all more devoted to their various fandoms than I am.

  34. After I watched this video, I instantly wanted to share it with all my geeky girl friends, even though…I am not a “real” geek girl myself.

    Then I started thinking about my lack of geek credentials and my thoughts went something like this: I have never been to a convention, the only cosplay I ever did was in high school for a history party, the only video games I have played are Myst, Super Mario Kart and the original Donkey Kong, I’ve never played D & D and I have only seen the first season of the rebooted Doctor Who. I only have 50+ Star Trek novels, I have only been reading sci fi and fantasy since I was a teenager, I have seen every series and movie Joss Whedon has made (except for Much Ado….still waiting for it to come back to TO), some of my closest Internet friends are people I met on a message board dedicated to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I only have the first two collectors’ editions of The Sandman.

    See, I am totally not a real geek girl.

  35. In a word: d’aawwwwwww!

    IN a few more words: What a great, positive, video.

    Then there’s the “hey wait a sec” appearances by Scalzi, Wheaton, and Gould, among others, that made me chuckle even more.

    bigotry is such a waste of good people.

  36. Musically, not really my personal taste, but an awesome message never-the-less.

    I think my favorite was the little girl, who’s sign just said “bugs.” The next generation of geeks seems off to a good start. :D

  37. I watched it three times with tears running down my face, until I realized I had been so busy staring at the amazing pictures that I hadn’t really listened to the song. So I closed my eyes and played it again. That’s when I actually started to cry.

  38. I didn’t get around to posting a pic of me clutching my original Star Ways sleeping bag in the bedroom that I painted a shade of blue to coordinate with my SW OneSheets.

    The little girl with the YAY BUGS sign made me cry.

  39. This video makes me profoundly thankful for the guy geeks in my life who have welcomed me into geekery with them.

  40. Did you forward this on to Joe Peacock and Tony Harris? Can we mass bomb them with this? Thanks for participating in it. Those women are awesome.

  41. Absolutely amazing — thanks John, the Doubleclicks and Geek Girls everywhere. Just passed the link to various friends and relations in the office,

  42. This is SO AWESOME. I’ve been a geek since I was a teenager, and I’m nearly a senior citizen now — I got into Tolkien at 14 and then TOS and it just progressed. I started going to conventions to take my kids so they could learn geek culture, and I’m not sure who had more fun. Amazingly, I’ve never actually run into gatekeeping personally, but oh boy have I heard about it. I’m so proud of the effort that’s been taking place in the last couple of years to break down the invisible wall that says girls and women can’t be geeks! I’ll definitely be sharing this with everybody I know — everyone in the video was fantastic!

  43. I don’t understand how this can even be a thing, viz the forceful exclusion / minimizing of geeky women. I love geeky women for all possible values of “love.” I married one. I’m trying to raise one. I’m friends with them. But I have no sense of the convention scene. Save a couple of cameos to meet a con-going friend for lunch when he’s through town I haven’t been to a con since TimeCon ’86 in San Jose.

    So, I mean, really? “A girl who likes what I like! I know, let’s be mean to them”? This is a thing? WTF?

  44. Surprised to find myself sobbing in my room whole watching this video and what was awesome enough to bring such tears -I saw at least three Women of Color in that video.I’m a forty year old WoC and for at least 30 of them it was very very lonely. I was told many of the same things in that video by Black men and women but I’m not hating. I wish more Black people would come out of the closet and represent.

    To Vrimj and Liz Argall : I feel ya ‘and much love

    Yes it does get better. Just discovered my 23 year old sister is a closet geek girl. I work with two beautiful geek WoC at work and my niece has shown a very strong interest in Anime. I’m doing my absolute most to encourage that by introducing her to every animated film in my collection. Just introduced her to Akira about a month ago. So the next generation of geek girls is off to a wonderful start.

    Thanx for this. I’ve wiped away my tears and now Ill be smiling for the rest of the day.

  45. tl;dr – I’m a geeky woman who was a geeky little girl. The video was great. Online has been far worse for me when I am known to be female that anything I’ve ever gotten at a con. It’s time to address this and this is a great visual start.

    ——–

    Cried at the little girl with the wanting to be an astronaut sign. I was the lone girl in the second grade Young Astronomers club. Turns out I’m not nearly good enough at calculus and physics to do that for a living, but that does not stop me from being a space nerd still!

    Until I reached college, I had mainly boys for friends, because that’s who the open geeks were. Jim would talk space with me & taught me to build computers, James invited me to his RPG group, Chris taught me to play MtG. There was eventually one other girl our roleplaying gang, and she, like me, had pretty much all guy friends. It was astounding to me, my senior year of college, to realize the RPG I was playing at the time was a male GM, one male player and three female players. There were other games also with female majorities or even ratios. Where they had been at my high school? Avoiding bullying by non-geeks. What was I doing? Putting up with it.

    But I never really heard anything negative from the geek guys IRL. It was only when I started gaming online that I really started getting flak. Sure, I thought I was in the minority, but in game forums, in chat rooms, and even during a game there was abuse thrown at girl gamers and all girl geeks in general. During a first-person shooter online team match, our team captain had to use the team chat to chastise a member of our group who was hurling this kind of abuse. I have a low voice and he did not realize that I was a woman. He immediately stopped, but not long after that I withdrew from the team, citing time as the reason but really it was him, because I knew that when I was not around, no one was standing up for me. I saw it on the forums not a week after the game.

    The ability to be anonymous has been a double-edged sword. It is easier for jerks to spout slander, but women under nongendered or male-sounding usernames have been able to slip under the radar, especially if you avoid voice chat games. But like everyone in the video, I think enough is enough. Amount of passion, preferred topic, chosen medium, ways to express geekiness, these things are not gendered. Everyone of any background should be able to be openly geeky without internal backlash or stereotyping. You and all the others in this video are starting to make that known, and I really appreciate it.

  46. Thank you! I got a little teary, and sent it to my college daughter who is in Grad School working toward her PhD in microbiology and animal genetics. Over the years we have shared comic books, Doctor Who, legos and science experiments.

  47. Oh, and this may go without saying, but: don’t read the comment section on the Youtube video.

  48. Just watched it at work, without the sound and yeah, tears. Can’t wait to get home and hear the song. My daughter is 12 and so totally geeky. As far as I know, she has not run into any ugliness yet but figure it’s only a matter of time. We’ve talked about how people and society can try and put women down and that it’s something she’s going to have to deal with but to not take it to heart. Luckily, she’s very stubborn, smart, and a quick wit. This will be so cool to show her!

  49. I just saw this on Felicia Day’s Tumblr and reblogged it there. Then I saw it on Metafilter with 100+ posts. And now I come to Whatever to see John has pounced on it as well. Damn, I just hate it when I’m 15 minutes late on something that’s gone viral.

    That said, this video rocks. And Wheaton still photographs better than Scalzi.

  50. I loved this, and immediately shared it with my daughter and my friends, also on Facebook. Oh! Just thought of two more people to share it with! They’re having a baby soon, and I knitted them Tardis bib and a Yoda baby bottle cozy. They’re huge Star Trek and Doctor Who fans, and received many non-girl super heroes items for their impending girl.

  51. I just found out the Doubleclicks will be at GenCon next month in Indy. I know I am going to see them. Thanks for posting this John. By the way, did you notice your doppleganger in the video?

  52. I burst into tears when the little girl with the “Why are you surprised I want to be an Astronaut when I grow up.” came on screen.

    Kid, I hope you get to see Mars.

  53. Got all verklempt. Shared on Facebook. Interrupted my 12 year-old daughter who was watching a YouTube vido of one of the Minecraft players she follows to have her watch the video. (Since she likes to interrupt whatever I am doing on the computer to watch a video (usually several) that she liked.)

  54. “Who died and made you Batman”, etc. made me LOL.

    Geek boys who try to keep me out best know that I’ve watched “Star Trek” when it first aired, and went to arcades before they were a twinkle in dad’s eye. I founded the computer club in my school when we were still using teletypes.

  55. I’m with The Pathetic Earthling: why, dear [insert deity or "higher power" of your choice], oh why is this even a thing?

    I do not recall ever having the attitude this video is fighting against. I hope that isn’t just faulty/rose-colored memory. But I’ve always been surrounded by “geek girls”. My mother was/is a i’m-not-a-fan-I-just-read-the-stuff, and introduced me to SF; my parent’s friends included fandom of both genders. I knew that slash was originally written by heterosexual women almost as long as I’ve known what slash was, The manager at the local SF/Game/Comic shop was a woman. My friends in school were geeky and both genders (my reaction to finding out that a new female friend in high school had the HHGG radio scripts, but didn’t know about the giant statue of Arthur Dent with the birds living in the ear was not “you’re not a geek” but “you’ve gotta listen to the series! It’s not in the books!”) So, am I unusual, or just of a previous generation?

    That I don’t recall ever seeing the attitude this video is fighting against when growing up is probably just male privilege.

    The more important question is “what are we gonna do about it”? Us, the readers of this blog, accepting that geek knows know gender boundaries, is only so far. What next? Does the spirit of Scalzi’s Harassment Policy Policy cover this (e.g., is proclaiming “fake geek girl” morally equivalent to harassment?)

  56. Tears and happiness. I saw this over on “The Mary Sue”, too, and I clicked on it just thinking I was going to get a song. I found an anthem instead.

    I’m out of words; I’m too full of happy.

  57. A couple weeks ago I was playing D&D with some friends, and one of the undead was on a spinning table for some reason. I said, “Look, they’re making a zombie Captain Kirk!”

    The only person who got the joke was an eighteen-year-old girl.* She had a better grasp of the Geek canon than anyone else in the room. Everyone else, even some of the middle-aged people in the room, didn’t get it and looked at me like I was stupid! When I got home I told my wife about the joke and she laughed too. None of the males nearby had a clue.

    * At my age eighteen-year-olds are either “girls” or “boys.” Deal.

  58. I was 12 in 1965, when the librarian told me that Andre Norton was for boys (Ha, what did she know!), and I checked it out anyway. I was already a fan of C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. My very first paycheck from my very first job, I bought The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, and Red Moon, Black Mountain by Joy Chant.

    Along the way I took drafting instead of home-ec. Was in the top 2% nationally in a math test. In college, I was the only woman in most of my engineering and programming classes. In the 80′s, I discovered SF cons, and have helped run them for nearly 30 years. I’ve never been a gamer, I’m too busy reading. But I’m still a geek.

  59. I don’t really think in terms of whether someone is a geek or not. The word “geek” isn’t a word I use to describe anyone. But I think I know what it means. Geekdom doesn’t have to be things like comic books, video games, science fiction, etc. I think being a geek just means you totally love something, and it can be anything. I love baseball, so I guess you could me a baseball geek.

    But like I said, “geek” isn’t a word I use for anyone. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just people with their own interests, whether they’re men or women.

  60. While I have encountered my share of guys I don’t know quizzing me to verify my clearly questionable geek credentials (which is really hard to take seriously when I’m generally sitting at my artist table surrounded by, and often actively drawing, the visual geekery I invest a lot of my spare time in), I’m glad that most of the geeky types I encounter through my social circles are not the type to say “You don’t know about [blah]? You’re not a real geek/nerd/fan/etc.”

    More than likely, they will say “You don’t know about [blah]? OMG OMG OMG LET ME SHARE THIS COMPLETELY AWESOME [BLAH] WITH YOU!!!”

    Because geeking out is all about the [blah].

  61. Ok, full disclosure here. I admit that I may sneer at some people for what they like. Someone who is into TV shows or comic books, but has never read Brunner or Delany or Cherryh or McDevitt or Mieville or (yes) Scalzi is someone whose geek cred I tend to doubt. Which probably makes me a bad person. But!

    I have never in my life though there was anything sex/gender related about geekdom. How could I? My mom started dragging me to SF conventions back in the sixties. Back when Bjo Trimble (a woman, BTW) was organizing the efforts to keep Star Trek on the air. How is it that 40 years later, this is even a question?

    I blame the comic book “geeks”, because, y’know, they’re not real geeks. (*ducks and runs*) :)

  62. Xtifr : speaking from personal experience, sneering contempt doesn’t feel too hot either. I never got quizzed on my level of geekness but I did get a lot of open contempt for the things I loved (usually expressed as “why do you like that s**t?) And from,of all people, women. Not a rebuke. Just saying.

  63. It’s inspiring and heartbreaking to hear of the triumphs and struggles of geek girls. It’s worth remembering, though, that for every woman who is posting here about being a geek (or is in this video) there are many more who aren’t here because they wouldn’t describe themselves as geeks, because they started to edge into the community and got turned away by a self-appointed gate-keeper.

    Which is why we shouldn’t be sneering at anyone who wants to be a geek, regardless of their “cred”. Every person who identifies as a geek at one point or another didn’t participate in the activities they now view as an essential part of their geekhood.

    This isn’t just about the geek community, either. For good or bad (I’m inclined to go with bad, but that’s a whole other discussion) the perception has arisen that science and engineering require a certain level of geek-ness. There’s evidence* that women are choosing not to go into science and engineering in part because they feel they do not satisfy the geek requirement to get into these fields. Since most of the gender disparity in science and engineering comes from career choices made in high school, before students get much actual exposure to the fields, these type of vague perceptions and media depictions matter a lot. And discrepancies in career choice account for much of the income gap between men and women.

    So to recap: telling women they aren’t real geeks contributes to fewer women going into science and engineering, which contributes to maintaining the wage gap, which is bad. We should do something about that.

    * Sapna Cheryan at UW has a number of papers on this subject:
    http://faculty.washington.edu/scheryan/cv.htm
    I haven’t actually checked which ones are open access.

  64. That was incredibly awesome. And then I put it on fullscreen so I could actually, y’know, read all the signs. Which… wouldn’t be bad if they went at a nice pace, but then they started flashing at ridiculous pace a second. :( Could you please put a photosensitive epilepsy trigger warning on that? At least not to put it on full screen. :( Anyhow, I love the song and the messages up to that point. The bad part starts at about 3:47? at least that’s where I’m guessing after slamming the laptop shut and pausing and all that.

  65. Yeah, that’s getting taken to my high school and shown to a whole heap of young ladies and gentlemen who are just as big a geeks as I am. I’m a science teacher, after all. Some of them are a little uncertain as to their own power as geeks.
    If there’s one message I try to get across is that geekdom is about passion.
    You’re passionate about something to the point where you don’t care if you embarrass yourself, then you’re a geek. Irrespective of your race/creed/colour/political persuasion/inbuilt ability to procreate/anything else, really.

  66. That is too cool.

    The album is also available on Spotify, since I didn’t see anybody else point it out. Probably Rhapsody, too, but I don’t have that service anymore.

  67. Everything I’ve read here and around the place recently has made me realise how lucky I’ve been in never having really encountered this stuff.

    The video brings back some fond memories of my time as president of the chess club at uni. I used to haunt the chess table at the local kebab shop on Saturday nights and wait for guys to challenge me. There was always surprise when I won but fortunately never hostility.

  68. Thank you, John.

    @Xtifr: not sure if it makes you a bad person, but it probably makes you kind of a half-assed geek. As Jessi Bencloski pointed out above (and Scalzi has a riff he does on this as well), sneering at people who have not heard of ThingYouLike is not what geeks do. That would be hipsters. Geeks react to “No, I haven’t read Mieville, who’s that?” with WHAT OMG YOU HAVE NEVER OMG HERE LET ME LEND YOU ALL OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY START WITH PERDIDIO STREET STATION OH HEY YOU’LL PROBABLY LIKE STROSS TOO with the joy of, yay, here is another person I can introduce to the wonder of ThinkILike and then we can adore it together.

    Re gatekeeping: devnet probablyhas, in fact, met rather a lot of “True Geek Girls”. Guys like that, in my experience, are always very careful to rearrange the mental furniture when they meet a female geek so that they can avoid classifying her in the Realm of the Truly Deserving. She doesn’t use vi to edit code, for crissakes! She can’t recite every episode of the original Star Trek in order! She thinks she’s a gamer but she never played the original Traveller! She reads jumped-up girly fic like Scalzi instead of REAL science fiction like C.J. Cherryh! Ad nauseum, and off they go to roll their eyes at people who think girls are not biologically worse at math on some xkcd comment thread. It’s like the Privilege Denying Dude version of this guy.

    I’m a huge history and science geek, but I don’t know the first thing about 13-sided dice.

    GULLIVER, YOU ARE DEAD TO ME.

  69. Does sneering at people who haven’t experienced what you love make you a bad person? Well, it certainly makes you irritating to talk to at best, and a gatekeeper at worst. Why turn people off by scoffing at the thing they love, instead of nudging them toward other things that you think are better? “You love Twilight? You should totally check out Anne Rice’s early vampire books. I bet you’ll love them too!” … is something I wish was more common than the vitriol people spew at what could be a gateway drug to genre fiction.

    Stop making people feel bad for what they love, or what they haven’t even had a chance to love, unless your goal is to make people feel like an outsider in the (thankfully) growing outsider’s club of geekdom. It’s a big clubhouse; there’s room for anyone who wants to join.

  70. “Stop making people feel bad for what they love, or what they haven’t even had a chance to love, unless your goal is to make people feel like an outsider in the (thankfully) growing outsider’s club of geekdom. It’s a big clubhouse; there’s room for anyone who wants to join.”

    @Robert Guthrie – I want to bake you TARDIS shaped bacon chocolate chip cookies for that. Brilliantly put.

  71. That’s nice of you to say, GeekMelange, my work here is done.
    *tips had, rides off into sunset*
    *rides back, carrying jug of milk*
    That bacon cookie thing made me hungry.

    mythago: you made the point I was actually trying to make while I composed my bit. If there is any sign of “real” or “true” geek, it has to be the enthusiastic, sometimes overwhelming inclusion and sharing. It’s not universal; too many of us still expect to be rejected for enthusing over the “wrong” things.

    PS: Loved Mythago Wood

  72. Great song! I keep telling my boys that they ‘have to let their geek flag fly’. I’m happy that they’re board game geeks, into D&D and heading to engineering college. The Doubleclicks have done a wonderful job, and done a great job of showing the hostile geek jerks who geek girls really are. I need to show it to my sons soon.

    I’m with mythago – if you’r talking with a geek (girl or guy) who hasn’t experienced another great part of the geek culture, then that’s your intro to help them find another thing they might enjoy. Why the blazes would you worry about them not knowing some part yet?

    I followed one of the links after the song to ‘fake geek guy’, and that one made me laugh as well.

  73. So there’s this moment when I saw this and started tearing up. And then read comments here and on Mary Sue and everyone else was crying, too. And I realized that I (and mostly likely many of the other crying women) have been feeling this pain — this exhausted pain of relentless rejection and negation for forty fucking years — and it’s been there so long that I didn’t even notice it until someone pointed it out in a song. And all I can hope is that my daughter isn’t feeling the same way when she’s my age.

    Thanks for participating, Mr. Scalzi.

  74. Heh. I know a young lady who is growing up to be a kick-ass geek. Literally; she is 8, loves RPGs and sci-fi and and already is working on her next belt in judo. Diss her and you may end up on your back on the floor :)

    Does flying a UFP flag on our house radio mast count? :D

  75. @DameB : Thanx for stating this so clearly. It was a surprise to me to start bawling about a minute into the video and I couldn’t explain why. That pain had been penned up for decades, only occasionally showing itself in flashes of temper. I also had the added factor of race thrown into it by the gatekeepers of black culture who didn’t believe I was being a black person in the proper manner, whatever that was.

  76. LOVE. Scalzi, your blog continues to be my happy place on the internets. Must resist the urge to share this video with everyone I know.

  77. There’s so much of life that is summarised or explained by reading XKCD!

    Emma – why resist? Clearly your urges are guiding you rightly…

  78. Are there lyrics posted somewhere? I couldn’t make out many of the words. I did like the bits of it I could figure out. I’ll be passing it on the the local 12-year-old (dunno if she’ll watch it. She discovered D&D recently, and doesn’t want to do ANYTHING else. *grin*)

  79. Xtifr: I may sneer at some people for what they like.

    Assuming you don’t sneer because the person who likes the thing they like,

    then I think as long as you don’t sneer too loudly, then it’s probably OK.

    Unless it’s anything by Orson Scot Card, then sneering is probably acceptable.

  80. I first met my husband when we both played D&D
    The only girl there, and my classmates all stared at me
    But I kicked the asses and I took the names
    And created boss monsters and ran a campaign

    And now I sit here with a shelf full of all 3 Es
    (Don’t mention 4th ’cause it does not exist to me)
    We take turns DMing for our kids on rainy days
    And here’s what my 3-year-old’s singing now as he plays:

    “I got nuffin ta pwoove.
    I got nuffin ta pwoove.”

  81. @ Jenny Islander:

    (Don’t mention 4th ’cause it does not exist to me)

    I concur completely.

  82. [Deleted because it's a response to a deleted tweet. KateH, you are fine to comment otherwise - JS]

  83. Thanks, Josh! Wow, that brings tears to my eyes. “I ain’t got nothing to prove to a bully.”

  84. If submissions were still being accepted, I’d throw in a still of the Chesley Bonestell rocket my mother drafted for construction (by my great-uncle, the blacksmith and machinist) circa 1952. (She got to go on and build, and launch, the real thing some years later.)

    And also a still of my best friend’s god-daughter, Major, USAF, who’s still plugging away for the astronaut program.

    Good on ya, ladies.

  85. I’ve got no problem with “new to geekdom” or “differently geeky than me,” for the very “OMG you’ve gotta see X” sharing urge that so many others have mentioned. You’ve gotta start sometime and somewhere; why not here and now? I love being able to find that common chord that resonates with someone else and then discover things they know about that I don’t, and vice versa.

    However, I do take issue with the kind of person that claims (as a non-geeky example), “Oh, yeah, I’m a musician. That’s my guitar, and I’m totally gonna learn how to play it someday. You know, after I learn what those lines and dots on sheet music are. But I’m totally a musician.”

    If we agree that that guy is not, in fact, a musician…then, apparently, we’re Eebil Gatekeepers. I disagree with that assessment. I think we’re just recognizing that if you want to claim a label, there’s gotta be *some* merit to it.

    Being a geek means claiming a certain level of enthusiasm for whatever kind of geek you’re claiming to be. It doesn’t have to be a high level; like I said, we all start somewhere, and we’re all greenhorns when we do. By the same token, though, if you’re enough of a fan of something to call yourself a (whatever) geek, that’s going to carry *some* knowledge of the subject. It’s inescapable. “Fan” *does*, after all, derive from “fanatic.”

    So, yes – if you’re a “Doctor Who geek” who doesn’t recognize a TARDIS, I doubt your claim. If you’re a “Star Trek fan” who’s never heard of a Vulcan, I’m unconvinced. If you’re “really into Star Wars” but don’t know what a lightsaber is, I don’t buy it. (On the other hand, come up to me and say that you’ve heard about any of those, think they sound neat, but don’t know a thing about ‘em – well, I hope you brought a note pad, ’cause I’ve got plenty of recommendations and I’m more than willing to share.) If that makes me an Eebil Gatekeeper, then I guess I’ll have to get a white cat or something and own it.

    Notice that at no point above did I say a word about gender. It’s not “fake geek GIRLS” that irritate me, but “fake geeks” – regardless of gender.

    There are a lot of fields of geekdom out there, and as long as you’ve gotten your feet wet in any of ‘em, that’s cool; you’re in the Geek Club as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m just saying, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. I don’t crash sports bars claiming to be a sports fan, because I’m NOT one. I don’t take an opinion on the best way to roast coffee beans, because I can’t stand the stuff. I’m not saying either group is bad, just that I’m not part of ‘em. All I ask is that others show the fandoms *I’m* a part of that same minimal level of respect.

    Again, new blood is more than welcome; new people joining any hobby is great! Hobbies don’t survive without new people getting into ‘em! Just admit it if you *are* a beginner; that’s not a bad thing. In fact, hanging around with a few novices in a geeky crowd is a great way to hear about new stuff…because all the Real Geeks want to share their likes.

  86. The Other Bob:

    “However, I do take issue with the kind of person that claims (as a non-geeky example), ‘Oh, yeah, I’m a musician. That’s my guitar, and I’m totally gonna learn how to play it someday. You know, after I learn what those lines and dots on sheet music are. But I’m totally a musician.’

    If we agree that that guy is not, in fact, a musician…then, apparently, we’re Eebil Gatekeepers.”

    You’re aware the Beatles never learned how to read music, right? There’s a lovely picture of Paul, during the Sgt. Pepper session, singing out the notes of a song to an orchestrator, who jotted down the notes for him. I suspect that if you were to suggest the Beatles were not musicians, you might get some funny looks.

    But, you may say, Paul still learned to play the an instrument. Well, yes. In which case: what instrument does one need to learn to watch Doctor Who? Or Star Trek? Which instrument does one need to learn in order to read an X-Men or Batman comic book? Which one does one need to learn to read GRRMs books? Or one of mine?

    All of which is to say that comparing a skill — for example, playing a guitar or reading music — with an enthusiasm — for example, enjoying science fiction — is not the excellent comparison you may think it is.

    Nor do I see why someone should be made to declare themselves a newbie; it’s not actually relevant to their enthusiasm. Someone who has read only one book of mine can have the same level of enthusiasm for my work as someone who’s read all of it. If people want to volunteer they’re new to something, that’s fine and there’s no shame in it. But speaking as a creator of works, my response to someone who says to me “I’m a fan” is to say “Great, thanks,” rather than “Yeah? For how long?”

    If I don’t hold someone to that standard, I’m hard-pressed to see why anyone else should, at least as relates to my own work. Because that actually is gatekeeping. I don’t want or need other people to gatekeep for me. My books are explicitly written to be a gateway, and that gateway is intentionally left wide open.

  87. I’m just saying, don’t pretend to be something you’re not. I don’t crash sports bars claiming to be a sports fan, because I’m NOT one.

    So using your analogy, Other Bob, if someone walks into a sports bar and declares themselves to be the newest fan of the Toledo Mud Hens, that is not enough for anyone to assume that, yes, this person is actually a sports fan. Particularly if this is a female person. Instead, we must grill this person to determine whether they are able to recite the RBI, position and history of injuries for every player on the field. We might also wish to suggest that maybe they aren’t a True Sports Fan because they’re wearing ordinary clothing rather than covered in memorabilia, or perhaps they just don’t look prognathous and beefy enough to be what we think of as fan-like. Or perhaps we could sneer that what they really like is minor-league baseball for fuck’s sake, who even thinks of that as a “sport”, maybe they should get their sorry nerd ass out of the sports bar and go learn about hockey, lacrosse and soccer before they dare show their face again.

    Funnily, that is not how it actually happens.

    Also, you know, we can drop the pretense that this is unisex. Nobody is looking at Handsome McCosplayer with suspicion that he’s just there to bang the presumably-lonely female nerds, and then demanding that he prove his bona fides. It’s women who are and have been on the receiving end of this meme about “fake” geeks.

  88. @mythago, you are so correct. I’ve never seen anyone try to gatekeep a man about geekness, no matter how hunky he is.

    Women also bear the brunt of being called “fake sports fans” much more often. Cute girls are always only in the sports bar to pick up macho men and get free drinks. My husband’s never sat through a baseball game keeping score with the arcane diagrams, nor has he run exercises with Pac-12 defensive line coaches and players, but I did both those when I was about 10. Yet when sports are being discussed, guess who gets asked for an opinion?

    @scalzi: Paul plays a LOT of instruments! He’s not just The Cute One! ;)

  89. There is a fair amount of discussion about who is and who isn’t a true sports fan. Sports fans are just geeks who like sports. (Think about it. Cosplay, lots of statistics, spending lots of money on rare tsotkes, watching a lot of TV, specialized language, contests of arcane lore, etc.) And as Lurkertype points out, women sports fans are immediately questioned on their sports geek cred.

  90. The Other Bob– If I acknowledge that a guy is superior to me in geek cred, that guy usually will accept me as geek Padawan and welcome me to the fold. The problem is if I want to be accepted as equal, because some guys have a hard time with that.
    I remember my leaving my anime first con, one of my fellow club members, Nick* leaned back and something like, “Now that you’ve been to a convention, you can call yourself a real otaku.” I was floored. He didn’t say this to our fellow passenger Marcus*, the other con-initiate, who just started into anime by virtue of my lending library. Nick himself only got into anime the year before and attended one other con. All the money and time I had sunk into this hobby over six years of time didn’t matter to Nick. I had thought we were all equals, but Nick thought he had the authority to determine when I (but apparently not Marcus) was a real fan.
    If you can feel like you can determine when a person is a geek or not, than you are playing gate keeper. I’m really interested to know when you’ve given someone a pass or pulled their geek card. How many people really have said they liked Star Wars and not known a light saber?
    *Pseudonyms

  91. @ Rebecca Sparks: Sounds like “Nick” is a classic arrogant idiot who thinks that he’s smarter than he is. Unfortunately, people like that are everywhere.

    How many people really have said they liked Star Wars and not known a light saber?

    As far as I know, nobody. Except possibly Teal’c on Stargate: SG-1–although I’m not sure about that.

  92. As an old geek, I’m finding this trend of trying to exclude females very disturbing. I don’t understand it, and I certainly don’t like the idea. Heck, the whole idea of exclusivity in geekdom almost seems nasty. Am I an ubergeek with vast knowledge of everything? *snort* Of course not – but man, I’m finding many of the female geeks I have met easier to talk with, and they certainly seem more, well, forgiving for my lack of knowledge in regards to their geek focus. I tend to learn things when I chat with friendly folsk, and that’s never a bad thing. Long live geeks!

  93. Lurkertype: I’ve never seen anyone try to gatekeep a man about geekness, no matter how hunky he is.

    for quite a few guys I hang out with, the normal conversational default we have is to put down the other person’s media choices. I was starting to wonder how weird this might be, and then I googled “noobs” and got 17 million hits, so, meh.

    Also, we just interviewed a guy for a quite geeky profession, and he’s not getting a job offer. Granted it wasn’t gatekeeping because he was a he, but it was gatekeeping about his geekness.

    Scalzi: comparing a skill — for example, playing a guitar or reading music — with an enthusiasm — for example, enjoying science fiction — is not the excellent comparison

    I don’t know if its human nature or what, but it seems to be a common thing to take a “liking” for something and turn it into… I’m not sure what the word is, but “snobbery” might fit. An image of wine-tasting snobs popped into my head. I like a glass of wine now and then, but I know almost nothing about wine. And then there are folks who know all sorts of things about wine, and look down on people like me.

    The reason wine-tasting snobs popped into my head was because I recently saw or read something about wine-tasting where some psychologists did an experiment where they put red food coloring in white wine, and discovered that a lot of wine-tasting “experts” describe the wine they’re drinking simply based off the color it is and the assumptions they have with that color. i.e. red food coloring made quite a few tasters describe the white wine to have flavor attributes normally associated with red wine. And yet, the stereotypical bad image of wine is people looking down their noses at other people’s beverage choice.

    On the flip side of this, I always held Roger Ebert’s opinion of movies in high regard. Generally speaking, if he gave a movie thumbs down, I usually agreed with him. There were movies he gave thumbs down to that I enjoyed, but I don’t think he would have begrudged me for that. He would say the movie was a bad movie. But I don’t think he would have tried to keep me out of any fans-of-movies club. Which, I think, is the difference.

  94. Add me as a +1 to the ‘tears in my eyes’ subsection, aww, I think it was seeing the guys as well as the gals that did it. Simple validation is a very powerful force, as i’m finding out. There are attitudes/expectations which are not always expressed in words but still act as powerful restrictions as they set up fortresses in our own minds as real as physical barriers when it comes to feeling ‘free’ or ‘at home’ in a group.

    Ikeke35 – your comments got me too, you’re obviously playing on a much higher difficulty setting than many of us, so sending lots of awkward geekyhugs your way as you sound like you’ve had so much rubbish thrown at you for being YOU. Don’t change just for the idiots blathering soapsuds outa their backsides, and I won’t either. I met an ace WoC recently in full River Song gunslinger gear, I shall watch out for GeekMelange now in future.*

    *Or possibly the past

  95. @ Floored – It sounds like it from my story, but except for this interlude Nick didn’t really seem particularly arrogant. Part of the reason it hit so deep was that I was completely blindsided. Nick was a normal geeky guy who chatted to me about anime and RP and had a burning crush on another girl who was part of the club.
    I think a lot of guys (and girls even) auto-assume that guys have more geek cred than girls*. When I worked tech support for VoIP I had two girls confess that when a girl answered the phone they thought I couldn’t solve their problem.** In comic book stores I’ve observed people gravitate to the male to ask their questions. I’ve seen when there’s a question of back-story that people are arguing, people tend to trust guys opinion’s more.
    I was hoping that my little story might help someone who really is friendly to geek girls get more insight on why accepting them as noobs isn’t as nice as it might seem. I think Nick was a great guy in many respects. If I had felt like we had a sempai/kohai relationship, than accepting me into the fold would have been great. I think that in some circumstances some guys subconsciously believe guys are inherently more geeky than girls, but they can hand out special geek passes to girls who pass muster. If a girl hasn’t apprenticed, been tested and finally graduated out of noob-ness with that guy personally with his own particular criteria, than their geek cred can’t be trusted-they must be fake. This song – and other works of art like it – is a response to that experience that I think a lot of girls have.

    *I think many people also assume this about white/PoC
    **They were pleasantly surprised I did. Incidentally, I had many male callers that seemed to warm up when I used technical jargon and fixed the problem, but they never said if it was because I was a girl or if they just distrust tech support in general.

  96. Other Bob, FYI, it’s not actually possible to crash a sports bar. Sports bars and public places, not private clubs. I’m not a sports fan, and I’ve been to a number of sports bars. I wasn’t crashing them. I was just, you know, walking into them and having drinks. If I had claimed to be a sports fan, the folks at the bar would have been fine with that. In my experience, pPeople at sports bars tend not to be clique-ish or snobby. They’re happy to have you come and watch the game and even make comments whether you’re a sports fan or not. Or even just have a drink and not watch the game. Sports bars are among the friendliest, most welcoming bars I’ve been to.

    And not all coffee and wine geeks are coffee and wine snobs. There’s a difference between snobbery and geekiness.

  97. @ Rebecca Sparks: Then he was probably hitting on you and let his testosterone speak for him. That happens, but he should know better. His mom needs to have a talk with him.

  98. The other thing about sports fans, at least in my experience, is that they tend to assume that *everyone* likes sports or at least *should* like sports. Mainstream culture encourages this idea that interest in sports is universal, so maybe that’s why they tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive. If you don’t know what a three-point conversion is but you show your ass when you try to pretend you do, sports fans don’t tend to take it personally, as if you’ve disrespected them or their sport. They also don’t accuse you of not being a true sports fan. They might think you’re stupid or make fun of you (because you did just show your ass), but it’s not about sports fan cred.

    I find it hard to imagine that there are many people at all who claim to be Dr. Who fans but don’t recognize the TARDIS or people claiming to be Star Trek: TOS fans who don’t know what a Vulcan is. I guess it’s possible, but I don’t see what Dr. Who or ST: TOS fandom has to fear from anyone like that. Let them claim whatever title they want. If you’re a Dr. Who geek and you run across such a person, is it not simple to smile indulgently and either pass on by or ask what they like about Dr. Who? How would they be harming you personally or Dr. Who geekdom generally by wanting to call themselves Dr. Who geeks? Why not take a leaf from the sports fan’s book and assume that everyone is or could be a Dr. Who geek but some people just don’t know it yet? Someone who feels the need to draw a circle around their area of geekery, and set standards about who can cross it, may be a geek, but they’re also–and not synonymously–a snob.

  99. Thank you for posting this and being a part of the video. I’ve been a geek since middle school, and I don’t ever remember being told I’m not a true geek because I’m a girl. The things I hear these days, I tend to think it’s just luck.

  100. I sometimes realize how incredibly lucky I am to be a second-generation geek (via both parents, but more through my mother.) When your mom is a paleontology nut who DMs (second edition, IIRC, right when some folks were freaking out about D&D’s “demonic” nature) and your dad is an engineer, and you don’t need to go to the library because your home is full of really awesome books, you tend to not encounter the twits and gatekeepers. On occasion, though, I’ve encountered such things, such as the time I was working at summer camp and a leader from a group not known for its emancipated women asked me what I was studying at college. I answered calmly, “Engineering,” and then watched him struggle not to say anything odd. (I think he ended the conversation with, “Oh.” Mind you, I switched majors later, but that was a glorious moment.)

  101. @ Floored … That’s possible. I am generally clueless when it comes to being hit on, but I could have sworn he was head over heels for another girl in the club. Also, I never could understand the whole I’m-going-to-teach-you-to-flirt-with-you, especially when it involves one party playing dumb.

    And this was in the distant past, and we were relatively young, so maybe he has gotten better by now :D. TY for being so invested if putting it in a positive light.

  102. Love it! The Batman card slayed me.

    I’m a guy who owes my early introductions to geekdom to geeky female relatives. My mom let me stay up an hour past my normal bedtime to watch Quantum Leap and syndicated ST:TNG episodes with her. My aunt was a die-hard Doctor Who fan (and this was the early 90s when no Who was being made); she taught herself to crochet with a pattern for a 4th Doctor scarf. She introduced me to QL and Trek tie-in novels, and took me to my very first con.

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