Geek Girls are Real: Tessa Hutchison
Found another unicorn! We continue our mission of debunking the fake geek girl stereotype by shining a spotlight on one of Ladies Geeking Out's most active members, Tessa Hutchison (29). She is a crochet artist and an amazing mom who considers herself an eclectic geek since she can love many things at once, including video games, fantasy/horror novels and arts/crafts. When she was little, Tessa wasn't allowed to play video games so she would sneak out with her sister to go play at her friends' houses. She jokes: "I wasn’t allowed to have a Nintendo so I compensated by buying my kid a PS4. He’s already playing Little Big Planet and Lego Batman and we are working on getting all the other Lego games." But, above all, she is a huge fan of J. R. R. Tolkien. She started reading his work while she was pregnant with her little boy. As she explains it: "My cousin kept trying to get me to read Lord of the Rings for the entire time I’ve known him. I had seen the first movie and didn't like it and couldn’t get into the books because of that. I finally caved in with The Hobbit. I read it and thought it was amazing, which led me to read the rest of the books."
When Tessa talks about J. R. R. Tolkien, her whole face lights up. She loves the fantasy of the books, as well as the story of how the books were inspired. The fact that Tolkien was a WWII soldier who wrote fantasy stories in order to distract himself from the war horrors he was experiencing, makes Tessa have a lot of respect for him. She admires his ability to turn an idea into something amazing that will carry on for years to come. She says: "He was wickedly intelligent and created 4 complete languages. That’s not something your average person does. I love that he literally wrote until he died because he was so in love with what he did. The way that he loved his craft makes me love it too."
Aside from her admiration of J. R. R. Tolkien, Tessa also loves the Laura K. Hamilton, "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" novels. In her own words: "When I started reading the books I was 23 years old which is the same age Anita Blake was. She was very short with her words, voluptuous, and in the first book she destroys a 1,000 year old vampire that no one had been able to defeat before. It was pretty inspiring to see a female character just kicking ass."
Tessa is an amazing crochet artist, who after joining Ladies Geeking Out, has started creating her own designs and selling them through her personal business called "The Geeky Knot". Her mother-in-law taught her how to crochet 12 years ago and she has been practicing the craft ever since. She says: "It’s always been something very entertaining that I can do while watching TV, or while sitting and talking to people". She started doing her own designs when LGO asked for members to donate things to sell in order to raise money for the group. She made amazing crochet coffee cup sleeves with different themes like Star Trek and Resident Evil. She explains: "I did the coffee cup sleeves and posted them on Facebook waiting for someone to tell me they were not good... since I am highly critical of my own work. But they had a great positive response and that encouraged me to do more of them and start my own business". She started using Twitter and Instagram to promote her work and she finds it surreal that people from around the world like her art. Consequently, once Tessa started promoting her art, an LGO member who owns the local bookstore "Robots and Rogues" contacted her to give her the opportunity to sell her geeky crochet creations in the store. Tessa says: "It’s turned into a whole thing where I’ve made multiple bookmarks for Robots and Rogues, with themes like V for Vendetta, The Fault in Our Stars, and Harry Potter scarves".
While growing up, Tessa was home-schooled and kids used to pick on her because of it. She also enjoyed things that other little girls didn't usually like, therefore she found herself hanging out with boys more than girls. As an adult, she admits that it is still rare to find people that understand her geeky interests. She says: "I’ve had friends ask me why I don’t do more girly things since they usually associate being a geek with a guy thing. But, I think I’m girly, I mean I made a kid! I’m as girly as it gets!" She shared that there have been moments when she has started conversations with some male geeks that freeze up and don't know how to talk to her. In addition, her support towards several female game developers that were involved in the Gamergate debacle, made her a target of offensive comments by various Twitter users. But despite these situations, Tessa says she feels comfortable and welcomed in geek culture. She's had completely positive experiences with other fellow geeks and enjoys her time spent in the geek community.
When she joined Ladies Geeking Out, Tessa was searching for people that understood her and had things in common with her. She says the group has given her a lot of optimism, especially after hearing all the stories associated with the recent Gamergate scandal. She says: "When you hear stories like that it makes you think that is how geek culture is, getting groped at Comic Con and men wanting to keep gaming culture pure to them. It is good to meet people that are like me, enjoy the things I enjoy and don't judge me in any way." Tessa says that LGO has also improved her perspective on female friendships. She says: "After an LGO member, Tracy, said that she felt she had finally found her tribe in the group, I totally agreed with her. I feel like I’ve found my tribe with the members of LGO, because they understand me, they get it."
Tessa is an amazing contribution to Ladies Geeking Out, but above all she is a great friend to everyone she meets. Even though she is a busy mom and has her personal business, she always finds time to support and take care of her friends. She is extremely smart, honest, helpful, and she always has great fun facts about multiple topics. Her enthusiasm, confidence, and trust towards Ladies Geeking Out makes her an ideal member. She is not a unicorn, she's a great example of not only an awesome geek, but a great mother, wife, friend, artist, and businesswoman.