CALLING OUT HATERS: Women Part 3: “Fake Geek Girls”
Yes, someone wants to dress like this, but that doesn't mean we should treat them like they're objects in public.
"Anime Expo 2010 - LA - Cammy from Street Fighter" by PopCultureGeek on Flickr
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I did touch upon how male video gamers have an attitude where females must play by their rules or not play at all on my last COH on Women, but it’s hardly exclusive to the world of video games, the world of geekdom has still a lot of shit to go through when it comes to progress with the female gender.
Former Destructoid blogger Ryan Perez once on his Twitter called The Guild creator Felicia Day a glorified booth babe, that somehow the idea of an attractive woman, a celebrity no less, cannot be invested in the same things as a male, that she must be faking it. Then there is CNN’s Joe Peacock who wrote “Booth Babes need not apply” thinks that some women who put on a sexy costume in conventions are “a pox on the [geek] culture” and has virtually no understanding what booth babes means in trying to define it. Apparently the message is that attractiveness does not yield to any sort of geek-cred, that females who dress sexily are only asking to be leered at and not really respected for their dedication or passion.
With the sort of male mindset of geekdom there also leads to some harassment. Infamously Mandy Caruso on her Tumblr recounts how when she was dressed up as Black Cat at Comic-Con she was harassed during an interview, so much so she pretty much lashed out to which she was met with dead silence. She is not the only one, as illustrated by this more physical account by Genevieve LeBlanc of Nerd Reactor and these three cases listed on io9 where cases of harassment at conventions have yielded different results. Of course the defense for the male assholes that instigated these incidents is that they were dressed provocatively that they were “asking” to be harassed, groped and objectified.
To those who think that all attractive women who take an interest in geekdom are posers and deserve to be treated like pieces of meat: Fuck you.
It seems that those who do this sort of thing want to keep a stereotype on their wrist that all geeks are just male, somewhat unattractive and socially awkward people who think people of the opposite sex are not meant to be in their realm instead something to either push away or lust after. And if a woman is accepted they would have to be in the stereotypical mold as well, basically be gender-swapped version of themselves, would lust after attractive males as opposed to females, and they think probably writes loads of male on male slash fiction.
Anything that challenges those ideas would be just brushed as unacceptable, not being a true geek, the idea that it would be impossible in such an environment for women who look hot in a jumpsuit to be interested in the same things as guys. This goes back to how I was talking on how female video game characters are usually designed around a male mindset, and that extends somewhat to female characters in comics, movies, television shows, just all around fictional media in general. The idea that, how can any woman just dress or act like a character that was designed with males in mind?
Well there are a multitude of reasons, not just to stroke (more ways than one) the geek mindset. Some might find something relatable with the somewhat provocative woman they dress up as, a theme they relate to, and maybe they just do it for fun out of love of their medium and simply they don’t give a shit about how skimpy or tight the outfits are. Either way there is just not one very shallow definition on why attractive geek girls do this sort of thing, they should be respected for their love, not treated like it doesn’t matter because they have their boobs hanging out.
Now some might not mind all the attention and the behavior and some might have motivations that are back to the stroking, but it’s to keep in mind not all do, it is best to know them better than just what is at the surface. For those who don’t know how to handle these somewhat foreign species of geek, talk to them more about their interests and how they’ve come to dress up the way they do, not about whether or not you can photograph their ass in those tights. Appreciating beauty isn’t wrong either, but there is a fine line between appreciating someone for their looks and treating that person like an issue of Playboy, that is not acting like a leering creeper is a much better way.
Then there is something conventions can do to help curb harassment that is make more policies in place where it should be discouraged. Back to those cases on the io9 article, is where cases have yielded towards some progress in how conventions do things, but I think more should be done. As well it’s hard to track a lot of harassment when it happens and I’m not asking for some authoritarian power, but there should be a lot less tolerance for guys who make women feel uncomfortable to even set foot on a convention floor.
As such geek cred shouldn’t be something that is inclusive, it can involve people from all shapes of life, gender, race, occupation, and anyone can be. One thing I liked about a recent Castle involving conventions other than giving the writer’s more excuses to write in Firefly jokes at Nathan Fillion’s expense, is that they made Detective Beckett (Stana Katic who also played Talia Al Ghul in Batman: Arkham City) someone who had a geeky side to her, and not being derogatory towards why she did it. The episode also brought up how kind of weird things can be with woman at conventions with regards to Richard Castle’s daughter dressing skimply at the said convention, without being entirely on the insult on that either.
The media is slowly but surely embracing change on the changing face of geekdom (Still some kinks mind you, and I still don’t care about The Big Bang Theory), so why can’t we ourselves?
Comments from women are welcome and appreciated of course, even those who think I might have offended them by posting a photograph of a real woman's ass as a header. All in the idea of illustrating a point but I'll understand and take down if the protest is large enough.
End of Rant