The Unicorn Files: Debunking the Myth of the Female Geek aims to show that geeky women exist, are a diverse group, and an important part of the geek community. For the past year, Terra Clarke Olsen, founder and director of this project, along with photographer Nate Watters, have been capturing images of geek women surrounded in their personal fandom. All the beautiful portraits are being collected for one magnificent book to showcase the brilliantly diverse geek girl life.
“The photos represent them and what they love. Every shot is unique (some women have a lot of geek memorabilia while others have none; some women are comic nerds while others are tech geeks), but the one common theme being that the photos are taken in their home (a safe space that is reflective of them).”
Their Kickstarter campaign has been launched to cover the initial cost of printing and already has over 100 backers. I had the pleasure of talking with Terra about this wonderful project and her inspiration for the photo book.
RG: Why do you think it’s so important to share these images of geeky ladies?
Terra: “Many people have written about women in the geek community, yet our place within geek culture is still trivialized and question. My hope is that these images will show the geek community and pop-culture as a whole that these women exist in a tangle way. But I also hope to show that we’re a diverse group–we like different things, we look different, and we represent our fandoms in different ways.”
RG: Why do you think ladies are still having to prove their existence in the geek community?
Terra: “I think that the times are changing and gatekeepers don’t like it! There are men in the community who really don’t want us to join “their” special club and world, and have fought really hard to keep us out. And there are others who supposedly welcome women, but only on their terms (e.g. welcoming women who fit a mold that they approve of). Funny thing is, women have been a part of the geeky community as a whole for a long time, but they have been marginalized and pushed to the margins by others.”
RG: What do you hope people will take away from this project, other than an awesome photo book?
Terra: “I also hope that these images will inspire other women to own their geekdom and stop gate-keeping. Some of the women’s homes we went to did not have any traditional geeky memorabilia, yet people think that you need to own these things to be a true fan. That is wrong in so many ways. You don’t have to have the world’s largest comic book collection to be considered a comic nerd, you just need to love comics.”
I think this is such an inspiring way to highlight geek girls and their unique fandoms. When I look at the photos, I see strong women, women I can relate to, and that makes these images so powerful.
Please check out The Unicorn Files: Debunking the Myth of the Female Geek and help make this super fun photo book a reality.