Geeks to Watch Out For is a series featuring geeks and nerds who are doing great things throughout the world. The first group we would like to share with you is Geek Girl Brunch.
I learned about Geek Girl Brunch earlier this year through another awesome organization, International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club. The organizers of Geek Girl Brunch did a webinar on women of color in geek culture. The webinar was interesting and informative, and the concept of women who meet monthly for brunch to chat about geeky and nerdy things sounded amazing and is definitely the kind of thing Nerdy Girls Society supports.
Organizer Yissel Ayala chatted with me via Google+ Hangouts to talk about how the concept of Geek Girl Brunch emerged and about the group’s plans for the future.
If you read Geek Girl Brunch’s website, you’ll find that “Geek Girl Brunch is a meetup group of ladies who geek out together, typically when mimosas are involved.” But their mission statement will really tell you what they’re all about: “Geek Girl Brunch hopes to create a safe environment where identifying geek girls can be themselves to give voice, network, create friendships, inspire each other and hang out!” During our talk, Yissel stressed that the overall goal of the group is “to get to where we don’t have to exist anymore.” In other words, she hopes that the reasons women might seek out the group (for example, to have a safe space to be a geek girl) will eventually not be an issue anymore.
Geek Girl Brunch started with a few friends in NYC who wanted to find a way to connect beyond Twitter. Folks were recruited via Twitter, and the first brunch only had about seven people. That number has grown to dozens in recent months.
After a while the group needed to get a little more formal due to cancellations and growth. Participants were asked to register for brunches, and organizers started reaching out to Etsy sellers to help provide swag for attendees. The sellers have benefited from getting in front of a large group of women interested in their products.
Yissel acknowledges that Geek Girl Brunch is “about something bigger.” Women who attend have no fear of geek shaming or harassment. “No one will tell you you’re not geeky enough,” Yissel announced at one of the brunches.
What can we expect of Geek Girl Brunch in the future? The increasing popularity of the brunches in the NYC area has led the members to expand to several cities in the US, with plans to go worldwide. The next chapter will be in Washington, D.C., but don’t be surprised if you see a chapter in Miami!
If you’re interested in starting a Geek Girl Brunch in your hometown, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Carolyn Noe
Carolyn is the Founder & Executive Director of Super Heroines, Etc. She is a recent transplant to Cincinnati and lives with her husband and her dog. She regularly nerds out about Parks & Rec, Firefly, and Pride & Prejudice.