If you are a geek then you know how difficult it can be to find a group of like minded fellows to share a pint or a pizza, and it can be even more difficult if you’re a girl. While they have existed for as long as any group of geeks, female geeks have had to overcome a unique set of challenges over the years and have only recently been able to come out in force, and come out they have. Women such as Olivia Munn and Felicia Day have climbed the mountain of pop-culture and bellowed the battle cry of geekdom. While these ladies serve as an inspiration, it is often still difficult to find something to do in your own city, but a local group seeks to change that.
Geek Girls of the East Valley was started in August of 2008 by Stacy Holmstedt, who joined Meetup.com looking for a new social scene and finding it difficult to relate. “One day I was at a Meetup at a wine bar and this girl next to me was rolling her eyes at everything I said and treating me like I was Queen Dork of Nerd Island,” says Stacy, “So I decided that I didn’t want to meet people, I wanted to meet MY people.” Based on the current membership of 581 members as of this writing it seems apparent that Stacy was not alone,”I thought that my Meetup would get 10 members, maybe 20, tops. I never thought we’d have so much response!”
“It all started when one day, I realized that I was in my thirties and still hanging out with my college friends every week and we were just staring at each other over our beers – we were running out of things to talk about.”
Events hosted by the group run across a vast spectrum from dinner and drinks to sewing circles, movie nights, and attending conventions and events such as Ignite and Phoenix Comicon. In the months after the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan this past March the group even joined HeatSync Labs in crafting lamps, scarves, and origami cranes for the survivors.
“We try to do accessible events like coffees and ice cream and… but we’ve done almost everything under the sun… we’ve gone camping and skiing and we took a trip to Mexico one year. Doing karaoke at Japanese restaurants is a lot of fun for this group, as are [Quentin] Tarantino movie nights.”
Geek Girls of the East Valley is remarkably open about who can join and has been actively seeking to bring an eclectic mix of people together. The only real recruitment rules are that you must identify as female (whether you are born female or are transgender) and you need to be able to respectfully comport yourself in public and be respectful of others. Outside of these simple and egalitarian guidelines everything else is fair game. The group’s membership includes all age ranges and social strata including students, mothers, artists, attorneys, and accountants.
“Our members are erudite, fabulous, well-read and dangerously, fiercely hot.”
Upcoming events for the group include a viewing party for Gone with the Wind and a Bollywood night though Stacy is looking forward to expanding the groups repertoire,” I’m looking to book more science events, especially lectures at ASU and Science Fridays downtown”. With a growing and active membership, a busy social calendar, and a strong sense of community it seems that the geek ladies of the Phoenix area are in good hands: their own.
Read the full interview at the author’s blog by following this finely crafted link.