Lady Geek Spotlight: Regina McMenomy, ‘My Life as a Geek’
Regina is a writer, a podcaster and a gamer and runs a blog over at www.gameongirl.com. She encourages intelligent and fun conversations about video games on her website and podcast — so if you’re a gamer (girl or boy!), you should check her out. Read her guest blog for us below to get an idea of her journey into the academic world as a Lady Geek.
— — —
I am not sure when I was first called a geek. It was probably when I was pretty young. I had my glasses, my books, and my video games, each something that defines me as a geek.
One of the most important aspects of geek culture and of defining myself as a geek is that it allows me a certain amount of freedom that other titles donâ€™t allow. I can enthusiastically love the things I love, without shame or questioning. Even when I was younger and realized how different I was from many around me, constantly choosing the fantasy worlds books offered me over mindless TV watching, I knew who I was and was comfortable with that. I knew I was different and I didnâ€™t care. Thatâ€™s a pretty powerful thing.
So as I went from the doldrums of high school, where my only joy came from the extra reading assignments I asked my English teachers for, into college, I knew I wanted to major in something I was passionate about. That led naturally to English in general and American Literature to be specific. I loved college so much so that I made teaching there my lifeâ€™s goal. I loved the debates and the new topics and readings I was exposed to from some of the novels I loved and still love (Faulkner, Hemingway, and Hurston are the first to come to mind) to the ones I struggled through (Wuthering Heights and more assignments to read Catcher in the Rye than I ever thought possible). I set my sights high, deciding early on I would pursue a Ph.D. because I wanted to master as much knowledge as was humanly possible.
By the time I got into my Ph.D. program, I had spent many years reading, examining, discussing, and analyzing written texts. I wanted my Ph.D. research to be with living people, not books. Not that my love for reading had diminished but I wanted to interact directly with my research this time, to mold and form what I was writing about from my own interactions. So I went to my next greatest geeky love: video games.
It was a pretty easy jump to make. Game Studies was just becoming a serious thing and there were already a lot of people writing about games and game culture. I knew I wanted to be among them, I knew my experience as a geek and a gamer was part of what made me unique and hoped I would find people to talk to that felt the same. So as I set out to write I needed to focus in on a group I wanted to talk to and what I wanted my research to say about game culture and about my own experiences. So I decided to interview and write about women gamers. I was not disappointed when I found a passionate, geeky group of women to talk to about gaming.
My research and the writing of my dissertation only solidified my own experience as a geek, so much so that instead of taking a traditional academic route with publishing my research, I launched a podcast so that I could, hopefully, have my research reach more gamers and geeks and have them realize their experiences as a geek are just as powerful and important as anyone elseâ€™s experiences.
So when I think about what it means to me to be a geekâ€¦ well it means everything. Iâ€™ve shaped my entire life around my geeky passions and I couldnâ€™t be happier.