Recently Tony Harris, a comic book artist who has notably worked on the Batman and Superman comics among others, got himself into a bit of bother. Perhaps the phrase ‘a bit of bother’ is playing it down - he got a specific part of the internet up in arms over ‘Fake Geek Girls’. Again.
It has somehow become a recent trend, what with the normalisation of geek culture, to do down female fans of normally male dominated franchises. This all came to a head with a truly astounding piece by Joe Peacock, where he accused ‘Booth Babes’, women who are hired to work at booths at conventions, as being attention seekers. He even brought in his lovely ‘six of nin’ theory, which states that a woman who is usually a six on some imaginary attractiveness scale is a nine when dressed up, or cosplaying, at a convention. Charming.
So, what has Tony Harris done? Well, after a heated debate on Twitter about a certain delightful Ted meme, he posted a bizarre Facebook rant about female cosplayers. The most memorable quote reads thusly:
“Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC.”
Ugh. Let’s put aside his terrible grammar for the moment (although it pains me to do so) and let’s dissect this thing. What Harris is upset about is that apparently these girls come to comic book conventions in skimpy outfits in order to ‘prey’ on ‘average comic book fans’ who ‘RARELY... or NEVER speak to girls.’
I know; your eyes have just rolled all the way around in your head from reading such lazy, hackneyed stereotyping, but stay with me here. He’s offended that these girls show up at the cons he attends every year, and feels that these women are so stuck up that if the male attendees tried to speak to them, they’d just receive the brush off.
Wow. Just, wow. I’m not sure what conventions Harris is attending these days, but I’m fairly sure that isn’t what’s happening. What is happening is that more and more female fans are emerging and getting involved in the fandoms of their beloved franchises. Being that these franchises, especially the video game and comic related ones, are traditionally male dominated; this can be taken in one of two ways.
The first way is to see that it’s awesome that more people are seeing the genius of your favourite game/comic book/sci fi show/etc, and welcome them with open arms. The second, as you’ve seen, is to become insanely territorial and try and scare them away.
As ‘nerd culture’ continues to infiltrate the mainstream, I’m sure we’ll see more outbursts of this nature online. However, with any major paradigm shift, I’m hoping detractors of this nature will eventually become used to the new reality of their culture and learn to accept it. Until then, I don’t think we need to call these people out again. After all, we don’t need to when they manage to look like uninformed fools all by themselves.
Image via Mild Mannered Photographer's Flickr