Who gets to be a geek? ANYONE WHO FUCKING WANTS TO BE.
I’ve said before, I’ve never seen guys try to claim they’re big geeks. It always seems to be women.
Not all women, no. Plenty of them are just doing their own thing because they like it, and it has nothing to do with wanting to present themselves as a geek or nerd. But there are some who are at least somewhat motivated by feeding off the attention. It’s obvious, and speaking personally I find it a little annoying. Someone pretending to be into [Geek Interest X] is just as annoying as someone who takes [Geek Interest X] far too seriously. In either case it smacks of effort. Like they’re more concerned with other people knowing they like this or that instead of just liking it and letting it be.
But I’m also a little annoyed at how geeks try to come in as a White Knight. “Someone implying that there are women who aren’t really geeks? Clearly this is an insult against ALL women, because they are women!”
It’s a simplification of something that’s not even that complex. Some women geeks are genuine, some are posers. That’s not that hard to understand, there’s no reason to deny it. But taking the cartoon above and revamping it to read “We must make fun of the woman because she is a woman” is disappointingly simple-minded.
Probably not a coincidence this was posted shortly before this comic, with it’s dozens of “OMG BUUUUUUURN!” comments.
No, it’s not a burn. This is what took place:
“You’re just pretending to be a nerd.”
“Nuh-uh, I really like this stuff. Now I’m walking away.”
That’s not a burn, and this conversation isn’t a real counter to to the claim that some women pretend to be nerds for attention. It’s one woman (a fictional one at that) saying she’s genuine without making an argument or giving any evidence to counter the other woman’s claim that she’s a poser.
Willis could have given Lucy (the nerd) an entire speech about her various nerd-relevant interests, complete with what they mean to her personally and maybe some bits of esoteric trivia to show that she actually does know what she’s talking about. It would actually support her claim that she is into Batman or whatever her interests are.
Though it would only really say that this one (fictional) woman is a genuine geek. Which doesn’t disprove College Humor’s cartoon, or the general assertion that that some women geeks are really posers.
So the question I have is why people like Willis are intent on fighting back against the Straw Man of “Women can’t be geeks” or “Geeks hate women.” As I said above, the truth isn’t that complex, so why do they have to simplify it so ridiculously?
OK, the word “poser” has always annoyed me because the whole concept is ridiculous.
Nobody pretends to be a fan of something.
If someone likes a song, it means they’re a fan of it. They don’t need to know anything about the band who wrote it or own any of the merchandise to be a “real” fan. Nobody pretends to like a song. Nobody sits through garbage they hate and pretends to enjoy it unless they’re being polite.
If someone decides to dress goth/punk/etc. without being into the music, they’re not impostors. They’re not pretending to like the music, they’re genuinely fans of the fashion. You can’t have a unique fashion movement connected to your fandom and not expect some people to be into the fandom solely for the fashion. If you’re calling people posers for that, you’re the one who’s out of line.
If someone sat through a movie once and says they really liked it, they’re probably not lying. Just trust me on this.
Being a casual fan of something doesn’t make someone not a fan. If someone only likes one aspect of a franchise, they’re fans of that franchise. The bar is set low for being a nerd. You don’t have to be hard-core about it to count as one.
I actually have seen guys get accused of not being real nerds too.
For only liking the WB animated version of Batman, or for liking Mario instead of Sonic or for liking Sci-Fi movies, but not reading Asimov or Heinlien, or for having the wrong kind of computer.
The fact that you say you’ve only seen women claim to be big geeks is practically proof that you’re using a double standard.
I am a guy who runs a wiki about Transformers with nearly 17 thousand articles. I go to their conventions and buy all their toys. I scour stores for new ones. Overall, I have 800 of them. I own every English-language Transformers comic book ever printed, short the first Dreamwave GIJOE crossover.
And I am no more legitimate fan of Transformers than someone who saw one of the movies or only owns a t-shirt or a bumper sticker. I’m no more of a legitimate fan of Transformers than someone who hasn’t bought any toys, but watches the cartoon and draws pictures of Knock Out making out with Breakdown for Tumblr. Those folks aren’t posers. They like Transformers. If they identify as a Transformers fan, they are one. That is the only criteria that matters.
Who the fuck is anyone else to tell them they’re not.
I’ve spent the better part of my life being told that I caaaaaaaan’t have the interests I have because I’m a girl.
And you know what? It’s ridiculous. Why should I have to present you with a ten thousand word essay personally every time you ask me if I’m a really a geek because I don’t look enough like one in your personal opinion? Why should I be obligated to defend myself to you, you personally, because you have deemed yourself Gatekeeper of Geekdom and declared none may pass into your kingdom unless they can recite the entire script for every original series Star Trek episode backwards, or explain the entire family tree of the Lannisters in great detail, or tell you precise locations for every Skulltula in Ocarina of Time?
Why do I need to validate myself to you for my interest in things to be considered worthwhile? Why aren’t you asking these questions to men who slap the geek label on themselves (and I do know quite a few who do, I have no idea why the OP seems to think these people don’t exist) and why do they get a free pass without having to have their knowledge vetted by the community?
I’ve been teased and bullied by people who don’t share my interests for having them. I’ve been teased and bullied by people in fandom for not being a REAAAAAAL fan because of my gender, and told that I CAN’T be interested in a broad variety of subject, because some of those aren’t FOR me.
And then I look at things like how most media will never be catered to my demographic, and how no one will ever shake this false notion that one type of fan is better than the other, and how female protagonists who aren’t written as gross stereotypes are rare in sci-fi and fantasy and video games and I just want to scream and stomp my feet and tear my hair out because I’m never, ever going to have a community to talk about these things where I feel fully welcome by everyone and don’t have my presence questioned all the time.
And you can fucking well believe that’s a problem.
So, no. No, I don’t feel like validating my existence today. No, I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to you, or anyone, in order to participate in the things that I love with my friends and alone. I will continue to pursue my interests in a way that makes me happy even if a couple of my fandoms that are not my main ones continue to be satellite interests because who fucking cares, the fact I don’t like one thing AS MUCH AS ANOTHER THING doesn’t mean I can’t like both.
God. I’d think people would just be happy that people are liking the things that they like, but no. Of course not. Of course we need to place them on a rung on the geek ladder and point down and tell them they are a structural weakness that must be done away with in order to fix things for the “real” fans.
Whatever the fuck those worthless words mean.
Wait…she knows the precise locations for every Skulltula in Ocarina of Time!?
But really, all kidding aside, I do agree with ya guys.
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