REAL GEEK GIRLS: Mara Wood From TALKING COMICS
The goal of my “Real Geek Girls” series is to show the world that girls truly can be geeky. For some, that seems like an obvious observation, but there’s always that one person, almost always a guy, who will talk about how girls are fake geeks who don’t know what they’re talking. Girls are just doing it look cool and lure in geek guys. They don’t know what it’s all about when it comes to “geek culture” and they’re somehow just there to be admired by geek guys. I’m here to let the world know that girls DO know what we’re talking about. We can be and we ARE just as geeky as the guys. Every now and again, I’ll interview a new geek girl just to highlight how many of us are out there, how real we are all. We come in all shapes and sizes, and love a many number of geeky things. I’m going to show the world that there are real geek girls, and they know as much, if not more, than the somehow more revered geek guy.
Meet Mara Wood! She’s a awesome geeky girl who is a twitter addict and reads a lot of comic books! I recently interviewed her and we talked about Talking Comics, NerdSpan, some of her favorite comics and more! Do not forget to follow her on Twitter here.
There’s always someone out there who thinks girls like to fake being “geeks” to fit in with others, what’s your take on this?
To be honest, I’m not sure what pretending to be a geek will get you. One argument I keep seeing on the guys’ side is that these women are out to get them, to take their space, to humiliate them. As a woman who loves geeky things, this can’t be further from the truth. I’ve known guys who say their geek communities are enriched by the women who participate. I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons with all-women, all-men (except me), and a healthy mix. I’ve joined comic book clubs where the majority of the members are women and nobody bats an eye. My place in the geek community has never been tested or questioned. It’s possible I’ve been very lucky, but I certainly feel that the majority of men in geek communities are open to having women participate in these communities.
Those who claim women are pretending to be geeks just don’t get it. My first reaction to hearing them cut down a women they believe to be faking it is a pretty heavy eye roll followed by sigh. There is no benefit to a woman participating in the geek community if they don’t truly enjoy the community.
You contribute to TALKING COMICS, tell us a little about what you do there and what TALKING COMICS is for those who may not know.
Talking Comics is a podcast and website that tries to stand out among other comic-related websites. We try to keep negativity to a minimum, instead focusing on what we like about comics and creators. The site provides reviews on major comic books as well as interesting columns exploring hot topics relating to comic books and current entertainment events.
I’ve been writing with Talking Comics for a few years now. I started by writing reviews on new comics, and now I write two columns (“Gender Issues” and “Manga Monday”) and co-host a podcast (“The Missfits”) with two other women, Stephanie Cooke and Melissa Megan. I love the community the Talking Comics crew has built through this site and the main podcast. Readers and listeners are so kind and open! They know how to express their opinions without shutting others down. They are willing to challenge their own beliefs when it comes to the geek community and grow. If you haven’t already, check out the site and the forum!
Tell us a little about NERDSPAN.
NerdSpan is a new media site that provides content on comics, movies, books, tv shows, and more. I’ve been editor of the comics content for a year and a half now. As an editor with this site, I try to have a blend of news releases and academic pieces on current comic content. It’s still relatively new, and I’m always looking for new ideas for the site.
What are your favorite comic books?
Wow! Such a tough question. There are definitely some comics that stand head and shoulders above the rest. In no particular order:
Y the Last Man – I absolutely love recommending this comic to folks who’ve never read a comic before. It crushes their expectations of what a comic can be.
Wonder Woman – I should be more specific. Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman is what the character truly is. A diplomat, a hero, a friend…complete 180 from what New 52 has brought us in terms of this character. If you want to get to know Diana, start with Rucka’s run.
Rachel Rising – This is an ongoing title, so it may be a little difficult to get ahold of. However, you will be happy that you did! I’m not a big fan of horror stories, but this one is fantastic.
Fables – This series is one that I also push on people who have never read a comic before. They always come back asking for more!
Captain Marvel – Kelly Sue DeConnick’s new Captain Marvel series has sparked the Carol Corps movement. What kind of comic can inspire instant friends among readers!?
If you were stuck in a parallel universe and could only have 3 things from this world with you, what would those 3 things be?
I’m assuming this parallel universe is non-threatening. It’s more fun that way!
The Mars manga by Fuyumi Soryo. I’m currently rereading it, and it certainly is layered. I can’t be guaranteed that humans in this parallel universe are as nuanced as the characters in this manga. Alternatively, I would bring Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore for the same reason.
The Empire Strikes Back. Mostly because I watch it so often.
- My Nintendo 3DS and games. Portable gaming for the win!
Tell us a little about your blog.
I started a personal blog to gather all the articles and reviews I write for other sites in one place. I also talk about D&D on my blog. I’m new to DMing games, and I love the response I’ve gotten from longtime fans. They’ve offered some great advice on running games that people interested in the game should check out.
I haven’t put as much energy in my personal blog as I wish I could. I think that goes for most people, though. Too much to say, not enough time to write it all down :-[
If you could be a comic book character, which would you be and why?
I would be Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl in a heartbeat. Stephanie Brown is flawed, but she is trying so hard to be the best Batgirl she can. She’s just this normal girl who likes waffles and goes to college and fights crime and flirts with a hot detective, ya know?
Is there anything you’re working on right now? Tell us about your future endeavors and what we should look out for.
I’ll be at San Diego Comic Con this year presenting research during a poster session. We looked at transportation (the way you get “lost” in a media) and race in comic books. This research is the basis for later research in the field of biblotherapy and comics. As a school psychology doctoral student (starting my internship year this summer!), I’m always looking for ways to connect to students. Comic books may be the answer to getting certain students involved in stories that can teach them more about psychological functioning.
I’m also working on my dissertation, which looks more at the academic application of graphic novels in secondary classrooms. I’ll be collecting data this school year, and I’m pretty excited to see the impact of graphic novels on reading comprehension and reading motivation.
There are a lot of girls out there who feel embarrassed by being geeky, what’s your advice for all the geeky girls out there who feel this way?
I spent too much time my later high school and college years repressing and keeping the geeky side under wraps. It’s not worth it. There’s so much you’re missing out if you deny yourself something fun and engaging. The best thing you can do is find a community to join, either online or in real life. Embrace the weirdness! It’s ok to be a little different from others as long as you are happy.