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.
That is, until, others find out that they are total otaku. Otome Sugoren listed several ways that women's secret nerd identities are discovered, and they show their hand.
In the piece, a teenage girl recalled going to karaoke and singing only anime theme songs. "I didn't know any Jpop songs!" Keep in mind, females who follow handsome, young male idols are the lady equivalent of otaku who are crazy about female idols. Which is why another female teen recalled being caught looking at a male idol on her cell phone, revealing that she was an idol dork.
"I really like the Final Fantasy games, so I unintentionally compared an energy drink to a FF potion," confessed a young woman in her twenties.
One twenty-something year-old woman recalled a guy wondering how old One Piece's Luffy was. "He's seventeen," she replied, to which the surprised guy replied, "Why do you know that?!"
Another woman, also in her twenties, recalled using the term "kameko" to refer to a photographer. "Kameko" is cosplayer slang for photographers at cosplay events, revealing herself as a big ol' nerd.
One teenage girl was exceptionally good at using a sewing machine in home economics at school, causing all her classmates to figure out that the reason why she was so handy with thread and needle: cosplay.
Using words like "kameko" are a surefire way to set off otaku alerts, it seems. It can also be smaller things, Otome Sugoren says, such as using net slang like "www", or "Lol", in emails, instead of (笑) or "ha".
Listen, if you happen to be a female and you're an enormous geek, don't hide it. Because if you are truly passionate about something, whether that be cosplay and playing video games or whatever, that's part of who you are.