Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Fake Geek Girl" Fiction- There's No Such Thing As a Fake Geek

So many articles have been written about the “fake” geek girl. It’s a topic that means so much to me, and though this is my first article on the topic it probably won’t be the last. It's one of the few things a person can say to me that will rile me up to boiling in two seconds flat.Whether it is being called "fake," being harassed, or having unwanted attention, if you identify as female and have even one "geeky" interest, gender discrimination is sadly something you have probably experienced in one form or another. 

 I have been lucky. I was sheltered from this until I was fairly old. My father was a wonderful loving man, and a geek, he raised me to be one too. My gender had nothing to do with it. I was his child, he was simply passing on his passions and interests.

My high school science club was wonderful place for us. There was a LOT of us, which was wonderful. And there were a LOT of girls. Besides the academics, we played Magic the Gathering, D&D, had movie nights, and guess what? The teacher who ran the group? A woman. I am a geek girl born and raised, but as I got older, and tried to spread further into the community, the instances of being called out as “fake” or harassed began to grow. 

Just google image "fake geek girl" and prepare to be horrified.

Yep. Cause based on this one picture she posted, you sooo know her well enough to make that judgement...

Let me tell you something, guys. I still went through the same thing all of you boys did as children. Mocked and disliked for my intelligence, my clothes, my interests. Yeah, no one wanted to date me, trust me. I was a new girl from a poor family in a small Midwestern town who was into Hobbits and Elves. I’m great in Tolkien trivia contests, I can tell you all about end game raiding in WoW. (I was top 3 DPS in my raiding guild) Want to chat about Labyrinth or Mel Brooks? Fantasy authors?  Thor back in the JIM days? Dr. Who? Yeah, I have watched some of the “original” Doctors.  I have all the “street cred,” you could require of me, but to some it's never good enough. What's worse, geeky gals can be found perpetuating this nonsense, out of a sense of being "more geeky" or superior to other girls. 

That is the inherent problem, not just with geek guys, but the geek subculture in general.  Dominance is information. How much do you know? Can you prove it?  The years of bullying and exclusion endured by most geeks and nerds should make you WANT to be a more open, welcoming person. It should make you want to break the cycle, but sadly the opposite is too often true. All of that negativity is too often continued and turned inward towards the community.

Worse yet,  is the ways in which it gets turned on women.  Gals who cosplay are risk of harassment both verbal and physical. There is an implication that if you cosplay, you must also be sexually available to every Tom, Dick and Harry that ogles you or you are "teasing" them. We clearly came out just for you, right? Guys, we aren't “pretending” to get attention. We aren't dressing up in revealing outfits to tease you. Hell, you try to cosplay as a female character from a comic and NOT be in a revealing outfit! Hint, we like the characters, and we like costuming, that’s why we are dressing up. Check your ego. This is a girl you've probably just met, whom you've never seen before. This has nothing to do with you at all. 

Not to mention, why would your mythical “hot girl who is faking it” take all that time effort and money to make or buy a costume, buy convention tickets, travel to an event and spend an entire weekend worth of their personal time just to tease you or get sexual attention, when she could get that EXACT kind of attention by walking down the beach in a bikini? Not to mention if any female is near the "Standard beauty" end of the scale instead of "quirky cute" she is automatically set up for a hell of a lot more questioning. 

All we want, is to participate in our interest without belittlement and harassment. Can I please just go read my comic now? And GOD FORBID I want to talk with another human being about my interests, or bring said character to life with a costume. 

And thanks to the glory of the anonymous internet comment, what do women who speak out get? Death threats, rape threats, or ranked based on their bio picture and how “Do-able” they are. 

I JUST started getting into comic books. I wasn't allowed to read them as a child, my mom was crazy strict. (Except for Archie, of which I remember nothing, and didn't even really like.)  For any normal person, this would just be called a “new interest” but again, those darn ovaries!  I’m now a “Fake geek girl.”

Fast forward from high school to “Free Comic book day” last year in which I walked up to the cashier with my Thor comics in hand. The cashier, thinking he was making a joke, said to me “Now do you like Thor, or do you like Chris Hemsworth?” I was spitting fire I was so mad. Why? You may ask? 

Let’s dissect this shall we?

One, I like Thor, you know, the Norse God. My family is Scandinavian, I love Norse mythology, and I am in a historical re-enactment group in which I play Viking, and competitively throw axes on the weekend, (pretty damn well, too, I might add.) But again, this is me “proving” my cred. I shouldn't have to ramble a vitae off to you every time I purchase a comic.

Two, Chris Hemsworth is hot. So what?  I am allowed to be attracted to him. You have no say in that, and it has no bearing on whether or not I ALSO enjoy the comics. What’s with the “or”? Hemsworth OR Thor? How about AND?  Let’s also discuss the last many decades of comics shall we? What do female characters wear?  What’s that? Skin tight suits, loin cloths, bikinis? Outfits that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination?  Men have been ogling and objectifying women in comics and enjoying women for their aesthetics for about as long as comics have existed. It’s our turn now. The new movies hire young attractive actors.We like to look at them. Get over it. Oh you weren't just ogling Scarlett Johansson in the cat suit as she bent over with totally unnecessary camera angle? *cough* bullshit. You get to enjoy the comics for their story line and cheesecake, but we are only allowed to like the content? Hypocritical much? 

Three, shut up and take my money. All gender aside, I am a customer and I am trying to give you money. You know, that stuff you use to keep the lights on in your shop that pays your rent and buys your food? It shouldn't matter if a wookie walks into your shop, shut up, give them the comic and say “Thanks have a nice day!”

It deeply saddens me that this is even an issue. It should be simple, people enjoying something together. Why should it matter their age, gender, orientation? Why should it matter whether it’s an old passion, or a brand new interest? Here is a new person for you to meet and have fun discussions with about a shared interest. It doesn't have to be about sex (gasp!) It doesn't have to be a Jeopardy contest. It can just be two people enjoying a fandom together. (Notice I used the word people. We are in fact people, and more than just the sum of our dangly bits.)

Stop worrying so much about whether or not we have achieved the appropriate level of knowledge, or what we are wearing, or about our supposed nefarious machinations concerning your penis.  Just leave us to like what we like, and we will do the same.

~By GoblinGal

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