Women are geeks' partners (or sisters, mothers or daughters), but not geeks themselves, is a common assumption in geeky writing, and contributes to invisibility of women geeks. It's especially common in media about geeky entertainment such as gaming. Examples include the following:
- discussion of geeky hobbies as something that the assumed male reader must do apart from his assumed female partner ("… with your gaming buddies", "you might have to blow off date night for this release")
- discussion of geeky hobbies as something that the assumed male reader must seek permission for from his reluctant assumed female partner ("start buttering her up now, because you'll be glued to the console for a week…")
- discussion of geeky hobbies as something that the assumed male reader might want to introduce his assumed female partner to (such as by reviewing party-style video games as good introductory games for a assumed uninitiatied female partner)
- assuming women on development teams are artists, and thinking that's ok because all the women at their workplace are in art or HR
This positioning makes several groups of geeks invisible:
- women geeks regardless of any relationship they might be in
- male geeks with male partners, and any other partnership style apart from man geek with woman non-geek
- single geeks, including single-by-choice geeks
- any geek whose close relationships involve geeking together
Women as gatekeepers and killjoys
This rhetoric also assumes a very stereotypical heterosexual relationship in which the man involved pursues most of his hobbies and interests in the company of his male friends with the at best reluctant aquiesence of his controlling female partner, rather than any other possible model such as couples who pursue interests together or people who have mixed gender friendship groups which might also include their partner(s).
Sometimes it borrows disparaging references to controlling female partners from mainstream culture:
- "She Who Must Be Obeyed"
- "Ball and Chain"
- "Honey-Do List" ("honey, do the garbage before you go out")
- Here with my boyfriend in which women present in geek spaces are assumed to be a non-geek partner of a geek
- Boyfriend-transmitted geekdom where women who happen to be a co-geek with a male partner are stereotyped as ungeeky (or sometimes, unfeminist!)
- What about lesbians? a usually disingenuous defence of "your girlfriend" references in which the writer claims to have been trying to be inclusive of lesbian geeks.