By Elexis Baltimore, Editor
In the world of Geekdom women have faced animosity and distrust for years, becoming the butt of jokes, experiencing harassment, and being asked various demeaning questions like ‘Do you actually know how to game?’ After finally getting tired of constantly being questioned and rejected from geeky spaces, women across the world have decided to take a stand and band together to create safe spaces in which they can explore their interests without worry.
So what is this amazing, geeky safe space? Geek Girl Brunch (GGB)!
According to an interview with writer/editor Kendall Ashley, in 2012 Geek Girl Brunch co-founder Jamila had lunch with a fellow geeky woman and blogger and deemed it Geek Girl Brunch. Over the next few brunches the women continued to invite their geek girl friends before Jamila realized she wanted to make it something bigger. She and two of her friends, Rachel and Yissel, decided this would be the perfect opportunity to bring together women in the nerdy community in a way that would give them the ability to meet women with similar interests while also giving them a time to geek out over their favorite things. In 2014, Jamila, Rachel and Yissel (pictured to the right) launched Geek Girl Brunch NYC as the first chapter of what would become an international organization.
Fast forward to 2018, and Geek Girl Brunch is currently international with multiple chapters in Europe and the United Kingdom, and continues to add more chapters every year. Each chapter consists of officers, who run their local chapter on a volunteer basis, and members who participate in events. Each month the officers plan a themed brunch, which includes anything from anime to Game of Thrones to The Office. Brunches are hosted at local restaurants, parks, and sometimes at a brunchette’s home. While not all chapters do so, many chapters encourage their members to attend “side events” together in the local community, such as Comic Con, movie screenings, and festivals. These events give members a chance to foster relationships with fellow brunchettes outside of the monthly brunches.
Now you might be thinking that this is just a bunch of women sitting around geeking out over delicious french toast, and you are not wrong, BUT it is also so much more. While some brunches are filled with breakfast and discussing the newest season of Doctor Who, others are dedicated to helping the local community. During these events, titled GGB Do Better, each chapter plans an event, drive, or volunteer opportunity for their brunchettes to give back. This not only helps connect the women to one another, but also gives them an opportunity to connect with their community. The St. Louis-Metro chapter, for example, has recently dedicated their GGB Do Better events to collecting reading glasses for the local Veterans Affairs Center, books to St. Louis’ The Little Bit Foundation, and kitchen supplies to a local domestic violence shelter.
At the St. Louis-Metro chapter there are three officers, all of which attend McKendree University. Sophie Jeffery, an English/Creative Writing major, was one of the founding members of the chapter. After moving to the area Sophie remembers seeing a Facebook post about creating a chapter in the area and immediately was hooked. “I love having a place to geek out over my favorite things and celebrate the things others geek out over,” said Jeffery. “It’s great being part of a group that celebrates the individual.” Tiffany Davis, a Health and Wellness major, learned about GGB after her husband was stationed at Scott Air Force Base. When approached about the subject, Tiffany remembers replying, “Yeah, I’m a nerd!” Two months later Tiffany attended her first brunch and has since become an officer and the social media guru. I, however, joined the group quite a bit later than the others. After meeting Sophie and Tiffany my first semester at McKendree, the two realized I also shared a love of many geeky fandoms and invited me to join. Now, after a year of being a member, I have created long lasting friendships and learned about many other geeky interests that the women share. Members of the St. Louis-Metro chapter range in age from 20-50 and all come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are students, mothers, nannies, librarians, clothing designers, and so much more.
So what exactly does it take to become a member? Well, Geek Girl Brunch is open to women 18 and older who share a love for all things geeky. Everyone must officially register online and accept the Code of Conduct, which ensures that all members are upholding the GGB mission of creating a “safe environment where identifying geek girls can be themselves to give voice, network, create friendships, inspire each other and hang out.”
If you are interested in joining or learning more about Geek Girl Brunch, feel free to check out their website at www.geekgirlbrunch.com or search the hashtag #geekgirlbrunch or #GGBSTL on Instagram and Twitter to see some amazing photos of events!