This Saturday, June 18, there is a pretty fabulous thing going on worldwide. The League of Extraordinary Ladies is hosting their first ever worldwide geek meet-up! The LxL is all about helping geeks find other geeks, and you’ll be partying at the same time as hundreds of nerds around the world. And, most importantly, it’s open to gals AND guys.
In preparation for this meet-up, we interviewed a handful of the ladies that started the LxL. If you aren’t familiar with the group yet, this is a perfect time to read up a bit and then join them in their awesome worldwide meet-up. And don’t worry…If there isn’t a meet-up officially planned in your city you can still get together with a handful of your geek friends and join the LxL in spirit 🙂 You can even plan an impromptu meet-up of your own! Check out The LxL website because chances are there are other geeks in your area already looking to plan a meet-up.
1) What is the LxL?
Jessica Mills: The LxL was founded by a group of geeky ladyfriends with the hopes of being able to help geeks all over the world meet like-minded individuals in their area. We hope to bring the spirit of Con into people’s everyday life.
Dina Kampmeyer: The League of Extraordinary Ladies is a group of women (and men) from all over the world forming extraordinary connections, both online and in real life.
2) How did it get started?
Jessica Mills: Amy Ratcliffe had a Not New York Comic Con gathering a while back where quite a few of us met and had a great time. A few months later, we all started talking on Twitter and decided to get together for drinks. Amy hosted a gathering at her house and the ladies there became fast friends. We’ve meant so much to each other, and felt so lucky to have stumbled into each other’s lives, that we decided maybe we could find a way to help other people build such supportive, awesome relationships.
Dina Kampmeyer: I like to say that when we all met, it was love at first sight. That party at Amy’s house changed a lot of our lives forever and we’ve built friendships unlike any I’ve ever had. It’s been such a gift to have these women in my life.
3) It seems as though the bond between geek/nerdy ladies is stronger and more visible than ever. Did a lot of you originally meet online? Why do you think the lady geek world is so strongly united, especially online?
justJENN: A bunch of us knew of each other online and when we finally all got in the same room it was amazing how quickly we got along – as if we’d been friends for years. I think the strongest thing about the core LxL is that we are all talented in our own ways and when we get together we feel confident, supportive and are able to do fantastic things!
Christy Black: I’ve valued my friendships with other girls throughout my life. There tends to be a unique understanding amongst my female friends. It’s no different in the geek world. While I enjoy all of my geeky friendships, it’s nice to have some close geek girlfriends. We, as geek girls, are so strongly united because of that female understanding as well as the universal bond that comes from being somewhat socially outcast as a geek.
Jessica Mills: I can’t speak for the other ladies, but I met the LA LxL ladies at Not New York Comic Con, but became comfortable with them through Twitter. I’ve made many other geek ladyfriends through Twitter, and met them IRL later on. After all the Twitter hanging out, meeting them in IRL feels like old friends coming together. It’s a really great thing. As far of the unification of the lady geek world, I think it’s more that women bond when they have something in common. A lot of geek women (myself included) haven’t met many other lady geeks in real life. But Blogging, Facebook and Twitter has literally brought people from around the world into our living rooms, so women are discovering that they aren’t alone in being geeks. I think that feeling of unification is a product of the sheer joy we feel in being able to talk to other women about the things we’ve always loved so much. It’s an incredible and exciting thing to suddenly, out of nowhere, realize you aren’t alone. It’s euphoric.
4) There seems to be a regular discussion in the geek world about the mainstreaming of geek and/or nerd culture. Do you think this mainstreaming includes women geeks/nerds as much as it does male geeks/nerds?
Jessica Mills: Absolutely. As it becomes less and less of a stigma to love comic books, sci-fi, RPG, gaming, etc, more and more people will A) Confess their long time love for it and not feel like people will make fun of them and B) Decide to try it out for the first time. The geek population is growing exponentially, because our interests are becoming less and less stigmatized. So someone who might once have been embarrassed to go into a comic book store, or wear a Harry Potter scarf to a screening of Deathly Hallows, may not feel that way so much now. Part of what I think people are missing about the issue of “mainstreaming” is the fact that we are becoming mainstream because new people are entering our world and seeing how much damn FUN it is. Being a geek is really about embracing the pure joy and fun that your passions can bring you. That feeling is addictive, and we shouldn’t begrudge anyone the chance to take part in that. Even if they used to pick on us in school. 🙂
Dina Kampmeyer: You might call me one of the more “mainstream” geeks. I’ve always loved scifi/fantasy and geeky TV and movies, but I never read comic books growing up and I would hope no one would judge me for that. I think as long as “new” geeks are open to hearing about new things and are excited about geeky things, it shouldn’t matter how long they’ve been interested or how deeply their passion lies. The geek culture is one that celebrates diversity and uniqueness, so I hope we can all appreciate our fellow geeks, no matter what.
5) How do you respond to people who claim that geek girls should not separate themselves from geek culture in general? (In other words, not draw attention to the fact that we’re girls and geeks)
Jessica Mills: We are girls and geeks. Why not say so? I’ve got boobies. It’s no secret. I love Star Trek. Often the boobies and Star Trek combine when I wear my favorite nerdy t-shirt. I’m just being who I am, AND I’m taking pride in who I am. There’s nothing wrong with that. I love being a girl! I love being a geek! LOOK I CAN BE BOTH AT ONCE! WHEEE! Honestly, I don’t really understand why people have such a problem with women being proud enough of who they are to shout it from the rooftops. As long as they aren’t using it as a weapon to make someone else feel left out or marginalized, then it’s a great thing.
Dina Kampmeyer: Jessica’s response is so eloquent and I think we all feel the same way. I would just add one thing, there are plenty of sites and news coverage out there that freely use the term “fanboy”, so I think it’s understandable when we want to proudly state that we are female geeks and we exist. We love and support all geeks, no matter their sex, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate our femininity at the same time. I am a woman, I am a geek and I am proud.
6) Who are some of your geeky lady role models?
Stephanie Thorpe: The Scarlet Witch & Catwoman if we are talking superhero role models. If we are talking superwomen role models–I’d have to cite my co-founders in the LxL. these ladies are talented and passionate about all their projects, and al LxL’s have really impressed with all they strive to accomplish!
Dina Kampmeyer: My older geeky sister introduced me to Anne McCaffrey when I was really young and the Harper Hall Trilogy was the first fantasy series I ever read. She has had an incredible impact on my life and she’s my geeky hero. When I met her a few years ago, I was literally speechless standing in her presence. I think we all have a special woman that meant something deeply special to us as a child. Currently my pop-culture geek icon is Amy Farrah Fowler (played by the amazing Mayim Bialik) on the Big Bang Theory.
7) Do you have a SDCC meet-up planned for the LxL?
Stephanie Thorpe: I’m planning an LxL meetup at SDCC–keep your ears peeled for the deets coming soon! SDCC is such a great opportunity to meet fellow geek fans and friends from around the world so we absolutely knew we wanted to do an event there.
For more information on the League:
LxL Site: http://thelxl.com/
LxL Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_208696055816733
Twitter Handle: @leagueofladies
Twitter Meet-Up Hashtag: #lxlmeetup