Nikolaus Oliver is on hand with advice on how to spot those females with a fixation for the technological rather than trendy. Geek girls. Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? Or perhaps I'm being an old sexist moron. Well, female computer lovers do exist, apparently, and now they're coming out and demanding their share of the limelight. "We're not trying to be radical or disruptive," says Judith Lewis, the founder of one Geek Girl group, "but to show that women have a place in technology." Yes, all right, fair enough.
Another woman (girl, I'd better say) comments on the name - "It's alliterative and it's meant to be fun. Our logos are all pink and that is meant to be tongue-in-cheek." Ah yes, I see - alliterative, fun, cheek. Possibly tongue-in-cheek is the CNET Top 10 Geek Girl listing. They have Paris Hilton at No 10 - "She may look trendy on the outside, but inside she's all binary." At No 4 they have the actress Daryl Hannah, for her role in the made-for-TV remake of Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman - "You don't get a whole lot more geeky than that", which is a stunning non sequitur if you think about it. And top of the list is the 19th-century mathematician Ada Byron for penning the world's first algorithm, although their real interest is in her prediction that computers would one day write songs.
Another website catering to the female computer lover, GirlGeeks: The Source For Women in Computing, has features such as GirlGeek of the Week and Inner Geek ("Everyone has an inner geek" - er, no.) Sadly, GirlGeeks hasn't been updated since 2003. Perhaps they're waiting for the IT bloke to come and fix some glitch. The question that keeps going round in my mind is, why do we need girl geeks when we're already awash with boy geeks whom we have to spend so much of our lives trying to avoid?
The forerunner of the girl geek was, I suppose, the bespectacled female librarian or scientist. In films this lady usually encountered Cary Grant and was persuaded to remove her glasses and take her hair out of its bun, which had an amazing transformative effect, rendering her beautiful and a "proper woman", who could then be romanced and married. Girl geeks, one suspects, are not like that. Make an attempt on their eyewear and I cannot answer for the consequences.
As citizens of modernity we should probably try to applaud the arrival of the geek girl as a step along the road of progress. After all, the inner geek knows no gender.