McGinnis: The Doubleclicks take aim at ‘fake geek girl’ criticismWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela and Aubrey Webber have heard it all before. Every whisper and guffaw. Every ludicrous accusation. They were told that simply because they were women, they couldn’t really love “Dungeons & Dragons,” sci-fi and other things they claimed to love. They were posers. Frauds. “Fake geek girls.”
The sister songstresses, famous in nerd communities as humorous band The Doubleclicks, have experienced firsthand a sexist subculture within geekdom — one that presumes most of the women who claim to be geeks are apparently “just trying to get attention.”
“We’ve encountered the ‘fake geek girl’ thing occasionally online, and us personally at shows will get challenged about our geek cred,” Angela said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “But it bothers me less when people do it to us than when people do it to younger girls who are just finding things that they’re really passionate about, and just want to explore them more.
“I don’t think that there’s an excuse for bullying of any kind, even if you think you are doing it for the ‘good of the geek community.’ So we had a lot of strong feelings about it, and when we have strong feelings and something to say, we put them to music.”
The resulting song is titled “Nothing to Prove.” In the course of one four-minute track, the Webbers not only triumphantly torpedo every argument lobbed at “fake geek girls,” but take a stand for what they believe the community should embody — empathy and inclusiveness. (“I’ve got cred, but honestly, I shouldn’t need it/This world needs all types of folks to complete it.”) It’s a funny and emotional piece.
But it was during the process of brainstorming a concept for a music video that something truly magical began. “We had been throwing around ideas for making a video for this song, and our friend Josh A. Cagen, who is a screenwriter, pitched the idea of using sort of signs to collect stories from a lot of people, so it wouldn’t just be our perspective. And it was a genius idea,” Angela said.
The pair started shooting clips featuring women they met while on tour — each one holding a sign telling of their experiences as a geek and the ways their credibility had been challenged. “And we got so much more of a response than we were expecting — we never had to beg anybody to do it, everybody just had something they wanted to say, and a fantastic story that they would just talk and talk to us about after a show, and we would distill it down to a sign,” Angela said.
“And then, when we opened it up for submissions online when we got home from tour, the response was just completely overwhelming. And I would just open those emails and watch the videos, and I would want to hug or high five or cry or — just the amazing women that were sending images.
“We had something like three times as many videos as we could fit into the music video.”
“I don’t know that I was surprised,” said Aubrey of the response. “I was excited to hear stories and be able to listen. There were just some really amazing women. Not everybody had a dramatic story, but they all had a great ‘This is what I love, and why I’m a geek.’ And they’re all incredible.”
The “Nothing to Prove” video was posted online on Tuesday, July 23. The clip garnered nearly 500,000 views in its first five days on YouTube — bolstered not only by a passionate response from fans, but also because it features appearances by a ton of powerhouse names in the geek community.
“We have been lucky enough in our travels to meet most of those guys at conventions,” Angela said. “John Scalzi and John Kavolic have both written and cartooned about the fake geek girl thing, so we knew we wanted to get them involved. Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage all do W00tstock, which we have participated in before, so we knew them through those connections. And Kelly Sue DeConnick, who did the Batman video in [‘Nothing to Prove’] is a comic writer, and we just sort of knew about her on Twitter because of these issues. And we’re so excited to have her involved, as well.”
The Webbers have also launched a Tumblr page, geekgirlvideo.tumblr.com, so that more clips and stories of female geeks can be shared. “We just did not have the time within the four minutes of the video to fit everybody who submitted videos in. And because it’s a cooperative project, I suspected people would like to get in who missed the deadline, also. And so I wanted there to be a chance for those people to share their stories and their signs, and for other people to look at them.”
For a two-person group that has only been around for a few years, the viral success of “Nothing to Prove” is just the latest in a long line of remarkable events.
“It’s been amazing. It wasn’t at all what we expected,” Aubrey said with a laugh. “And we’re just really thankful that it keeps happening.”