One of the hardest things about GeekGirlCon is that point on Sunday night when you realize that the con is coming to its inevitable conclusion. It’s such a bittersweet moment, but it’s also a good time to reflect on the cultural phenomenon that is GeekGirlCon.
My daughter in Kirk’s chair at the EMP Star Trek exhibit.
“It’s Hoshi! I love Hoshi, she’s my favorite.”
I was standing at the lone display box for Star Trek: Enterprise at the EMP Museum’s new Star Trek 50th Anniversary Exhibit with my nine-year-old daughter. She was naming the characters as their pictures came up on a screen, trying to say their names before the graphics spelled it out. It was my third time viewing the exhibit, but her first.
I fought back joyful tears several times during our walkthrough. Both of my kids (Nathan is 15) have grown to love Star Trek in all of its iterations, and seeing them enjoy it makes me really happy. There was something really remarkable specifically about going through the exhibit with my daughter, though.
I was her, once: an overly-enthusiastic nine-year-old who, once she found something she loved, didn’t hesitate to share it with everyone around her. When I was nine, I remember sitting down with my parents to watch the premier episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Neither parent had really been a fan of The Original Series, but I remember my dad telling me that they were going to watch it for its “Cultural significance.” There had also been a brouhaha because the Captain in this new series would change Kirk’s iconic, “To boldly go where no man has gone before,” to the gender neutral “…where no ONE has gone before.” As a budding feminist, this was enough of a hook for me. I remember watching the first episode transfixed. The rest of the family could take it or leave it, but I was off on my first journey to fandom.
Watching my daughter run to each display case with her eyes wide and full of wonder was a perfect reminder of why being a geeky parent is so special.
My kids have grown up as geeks. They have been exposed to fandoms since they were teeny-tiny, so they enjoy so many of the things that Rick and I enjoy. It’s truly amazing though, when your child finds their first geeky passion, and even more so if it’s one you share. Here is this small person, who you already love in the most profound way, learning to love something you love, and you can learn new ways to love it together.
My daughter is less likely to be ostracized for her geekiness than I was. Megamarts carry Captain America themed dresses, her friends all like Doctor Who, and there was a room of over a hundred people sharing her love for Star Trek. Parents who want to encourage their kids in geekdom have so many resources and opportunities. I encourage you to find a geeky community you can participate in with your kids (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention here that GeekGirlCon is family friendly!) so that you can watch that spark in their eyes when they find their first fandom.