Found another unicorn! We continue our mission of debunking the fake geek girl stereotype by introducing Linda Grant (36), a self-proclaimed SciFi geek! When she was a little girl, Linda's mom introduced her to Star Trek The Original Series. Both of them would watch the re-runs together and go see the original movies in the theater. Linda explained: "My introduction to science fiction was definitely through my mom. Watching Star Trek definitely led me to investigate other aspects of geek culture." In addition to introducing her to science fiction, Linda's mom also gave her valuable advice while she was little: "She taught me that it's OK to like things that not everyone likes. If it makes you different, that is completely fine." Nowadays, Linda's favorite shows continue to be science fiction shows. They include Star Trek (of course!), Firefly, True Blood, Lost, among others.
What attracts Linda the most to science fiction is its uniqueness, originality, and the fact that she can visit different places through it. She also enjoys the acceptance of different people and cultures in science fiction and how they work together to achieve a common goal: "I’ve never been good at being what society expects of a female. I remember I would cut the heels off my Barbie's shoes because to me that was more comfortable for her. Stuff like that made me feel different from other girls. That’s why I like Star Trek and most science fiction shows, because even though everybody is different, they still get along, accept each other, and work together".
Aside from science fiction, Linda also loves vampire stories. She is absolutely obsessed with "The Black Dagger Brotherhood" book series. She gushed: "I am a huge fan of J.R. Ward. She has created this intricate world with a whole vampire society. I just think it is amazing that it all comes out of her brain. I admire people that can create a world and completely make it their own. It’s like visiting a different place every single time. She also has a way of writing her characters that makes me feel like they are people I might know in real life." In fact, one of her favorite characters of all time is Wrath the Vampire King: "I’ve been reading the books for so long and that is my absolute favorite character. He is so interesting, I want to meet him." She is indeed a fan. In her apartment, she has all the books and even one signed by J.R. Ward.
Even though Linda learned from a young age that being different was absolutely fine, her experiences in school presented a challenge. In her own words: "I was bullied when I was younger because I was different. I was really tall, I wasn’t very girly, and I always had my own views and opinions. Which is not necessarily a bad thing." Due to these experiences, Linda felt hesitant to call herself a geek: "I didn’t want to call myself that word because of the negative connotation it carried. When you are in school, you try really hard to fit in, everyone wants to be cool, so calling myself a geek wasn’t a priority to me." She used to associate the word with science and technology only, but today she defines geek as someone that has a passion towards something really cool, anything really. She said: "My definition has definitely changed. After I turned 30, I decided to not care about what people thought." Today, Linda can confidently say she is a proud geek. She feels welcomed in geek culture, at least within her fandoms: "I’ve been lucky enough to not experience any negativity from other geeks regarding the things that I like."
After joining Ladies Geeking Out (LGO), Linda's perspective on geeks and the culture in general has improved even more. She said: "It has been great to find more people like me out there. Before, if someone talked to me about Comic Con I would have a different perspective and think that I wouldn’t have anything in common with them. But now, I know I do." In addition, the friendships that she has cultivated in LGO have allowed her to feel more comfortable with female friends: "I used to be leery of female friendships because I had the impression that girls were catty. This perspective was hugely influenced by how society portrays females and my previous experiences in high school. But the girls that I’ve met through LGO have all been nice, with similar interests to mine, and they have never been mean to me." Interestingly, Linda was one of the first women to join LGO and she has always been a great help to me and to anyone in the group who needs a hand. She is always willing to boost others up and offer her friendship to every single person in the group. She is kind, compassionate, and caring. She is not a unicorn, she exists, she is a geek and she is absolutely amazing.