A recent article -- on how Battlestar Galactica could save your marriage -- includes a commentary on why women love BSG by sometime-geek chick Martha Brockenbrough, a former contributor to Slate and the founder of the SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (which I totally respect). But I beg to differ with some of Martha's points on the issue of women and sci-fi. An excerpt:
There are other secondary characters in steady relationships, though, and this satisfies a woman's romantic sweet tooth. One of these might even be the most adorable love affair on TV, between Karl "Helo" Agathon and Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, even if only one of the partners is a human. Neither of them knew Sharon was a Cylon when they first fell for each other. Both were devastated when they found out, but Helo never wavered. And even though the humans abused her, Sharon also did what she could to help them survive. These two are heroes, dammit!
First, there's the stereotyping: a woman's "romantic sweet tooth"? Second, a strange sense of "adorable": I find Helo and Sharon attractive people, but their marriage is not "adorable." It's a strong relationship that's been forged through a lot of determination and trust. Third and most egregious, a lack of understanding of plot and character: "Neither of them knew Sharon was a Cylon when they first fell for each other." Wha-a? I suppose when Athena-to-be bedded Helo in the forest and then reported to Six and Doral afterward on the rooftop that "we had sex," it was a completely unconscious move on her part? And -- there's the small fact that Boomer isn't even the Sharon Helo married.
A female commentator who says women love BSG because it's romantic and who can't tell Cylon models apart or understand the basic elements of the story? I love ya, Martha, but you can't speak for geek girls until you've spent a few dozen hours with the DVDs and done your homework.
One of the fundamental (and best) qualities of a geek girl is that she knows her stuff. Being intellectual equals with geek guys is what makes geekdom so cool - it's not as comfortably nested in the old thinking that men should outsmart women and women should out-sexy men. (Well, at least not the first part.) Geek girls are allowed to make mistakes just like anyone -- but if you can't tell Sharons apart when there are only two to keep track of - you lose your geek card.
Update: Don't miss additional comments on this post in this GWC Forum thread.