In Japan, the word "otaku" can be dicey. Some think the moniker carries a lot of baggage and evokes negative, even frightening, imagery. Others don't care and proudly call themselves "otaku".
As Otome Sugoren, a website for Japanese females, pointed out, it's hard for Japanese women to label themselves "otaku" or "geeks". There is a term that's roughly the female equivalent (fujoshi or "rotten girl"), and there are even famous female geeks, like Shoko Nakagawa (pictured). Still, there are many females who must keep their nerdy passions private.