Just a day after noted comics critic Gail Simone blogged her frustration with the misconception that girls don’t read comics, CNN posted a double serving of backlash against girls in geek culture on its GeekOut! blog, drawing perplexed responses from fans across the Internet.
You know, if he’d just said “Man, you know what sucks? People who look down on geek culture but capitalize on it anyway while still mocking its members!”, I kind of think that would have been totally legit.
But then he went and was like “And I hate when random attractive women I have never met have the audacity to look geeky at Comic Con while not really being that into geeky stuff! They’re just lying whores who want trick us into thinking they’re pretty when they’re not even really pretty in real life! And if they’re not actually nerds but wear a Firefly shirt or something, that definitely means that they are automatically the kinds of people who laugh at us nerds behind our backs, even if they’re not actually remotely rude or condescending!” Dude, why did you have to make it a whole thing where wanting to look pretty even if, gasp, you’re not particularly invested in the series you’re sporting the look from is like this horrible predatory sin?
Let’s put aside for a moment the entire creepy, sexist, unnecessary assumption that women who enjoy physical attention are doing so at men somehow, like self-esteem is an attack that you launch at unsuspecting people who are attracted to you, and focus on the one thing in that entire article that wasn’t unmitigated bullshit: yeah, it’s kind of galling for anyone to demean and mock members of a social group while using things associated with that social group to look cool or feel superior themselves. However, what’s reprehensible in this particular instance is not the using of aforementioned stuff associated with the aforementioned social group, even in pursuit of the aforementioned coolness/superiority factor. What’s reprehensible is the demeaning and mocking part.
The author of the original article, however, seems to think that they are one and the same; that it is inherently belittling and two-faced to wear the trappings of a character or story, or of geek culture in general, if you are not somehow geekish yourself. Somehow, having nothing more than a superficial interest in geekdom, or a genre of it, or whatever, and getting attention for your association with it anyway, makes you—and I quote—a “poacher”. Even if you’re not bad-mouthing, mocking, or condescending to anyone. The fact that you have received attention for looking good in a costume from a show you do not watch means that you are somehow hurting people who watch that show. It’s the same bullshit logic as the argument that women who look attractive are weaponizing their attractiveness and have developed the ability to be pretty, aggressively,at men, and this hurts men in some way. People who wear clothing from shows they don’t watch are making the lives of “real fans” worse by getting attention at the fans, like it’ll detract from their HP or something.
If his message had just been “Two-faced assholes are really annoying”, then yeah, he would have been right. “Women who have the nerve to look attractive in clothing related to a show they’re not invested in are automatically two-faced assholes” is where he needed to shut up.