The sun is at its peak at a neighborhood park. Temperatures are dangerously high and the humidity isn’t helping either. It’s the kind of day that makes air conditioning necessary and sunscreen mandatory. Yet here they are. A group of ladies relishing, standing and dancing in the heat.
Dressed to the nines in varying levels of cosplay – which Google defines as “the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime” – they are here to enjoy like-minded friends at the family picnic for Ladies Who Geek.
At the head of this group, Danita Rambo sits, fanning herself and enjoying a shaved ice. She’s the president of Ladies Who Geek (LWG), an organization set on empowering women through a shared interest in a similar kind of pop culture. “We focus on cosplay, video games, movies, anything you’d want to geek about,” she beamed.
Danita’s lived in Plano and the surrounding area for more than a decade, and has always found her love of Doctor Who, Disney shows and Dungeons & Dragons exciting, but wished she had a group with whom she could share her enthusiasm.
“I had been looking for people to do these things that I enjoyed with,” Danita stated. A few years ago, she joined a Meetup.com group. “I met some really groovy ladies who became officers. We did that for a few years and that was a lot of fun but it was mainly brunches.” Last November Danita decided to branch out and create her own group.
Ladies Who Geek is more than just brunches. It’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership-based organization with a mission of “creating a safe and inviting space for women and nonbinary people to just get together and have fun and geek out about things they like,” Danita stated, as though she’s had to say it hundreds of times. The group has hosted board game nights, a Lisa Frank brunch, a Harry Potter-themed cocktail class, craft nights, happy hours, the family cosplay picnic, convention meet ups, and is planning an upcoming visit to Frisco’s Gearbox Software.
In November, Ladies Who Geek will participate in Extra Life, a 24-hour fundraising and gaming marathon where participants around the world simultaneously play video and table games to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The general public can help the LWG team reach its goal of $1,200 by donating online.
At a time when women’s issues often take forefront on the political stage, it’s important to have an organization that proves women as not only active consumers of “geeky” material – often considered a male dominated interest – but as active participants in these industries. Guest speakers are invited to educate LWG members about “the things that women do in these industries, so women can see that they can have a job in this field,” Danita explained.
Ladies Who Geek has three membership levels, from “Geek” which is free, all the way up to “Extreme Geek,” which costs $65 per year and comes with event buddy passes, a name badge, merchandise discounts and a special customized gift. Membership funds are put directly back into the organization to provide raffle prizes and swag bags and to reserve meeting spots at comic book shops, arcades, restaurants and of course, parks.
As of now, Ladies Who Geek is more than 125 members strong and growing. While Danita hopes to expand the organization, she’s taking it one step at a time. “It takes a lot of people to keep it going,” she said.
In the meanwhile, these ladies will continue to inspire their kindred spirits, and let their geek flags fly.Ladies Who Geek >