Now, I don’t say this to slam them. Not at all. Our culture tells us that women who aren’t ugly shouldn’t have deep interests of any sort. Yes, my friends, I am prepared for the shit storm that sentence is going to cause. But look at which geek girls are being targeted as panderers and betrayers of their sex. There are posts about how women who cosplay as Slave Leia or characters with any sort of sex appeal shouldn’t be taken seriously. (Read Bonnie Burton’s fantastic post on SFX about this.) There are posts about how hot, famous chicks couldn’t possibly be into geek stuff. They’re just talking about it to get guys to think they’re cool. (Oh my, how the worm has turned.)
Now, this reminds me of a few of my feminist friends … and yes, I proudly identify myself as a feminist … back in college who told me I couldn’t be a feminist and wear makeup/be a makeup artist/do my hair/care about my appearance, etc. As though being attractive disqualifies you from being smart or caring about anything. Of cooourse. Attractive women don’t have to have interests. People give them things as soon as they bat their painted lashes. Interests and hobbies are for people who don’t have social lives or mascara, and have to occupy their hours with comic books because no one will talk to them. Apparently you don’t count as a feminist/geek if you fall into that category.
It’s not a stereotype that will disappear any time soon. And it does exist for a reason. I’m not saying no one out there has ever pandered or used liking something to look cool/get guys/land jobs. But I’m sorry, I can decorate my face and still want equal pay for equal work. I can talk about having boobs (I’m sure you read the post where amazing blogger Jill Pantozzi was called out for naming her blog Has Boobs, Reads Comics) and dress in sexy costumes and still be able to talk about comics and video games with conviction.
So where does that leave us? Well, there is very little we can do about the guys and what they say or think, other than to continue to have the conversation. But there is something we can do about our own community from the inside. We can support each other. We don’t need to be tearing each other apart from within. Calling each other out for names of blogs and threatening to punch a fellow geek in “her stupid boobs” is not helping. Telling someone that the way I’m a geek is far more legitimate than the way you’re a geek isn’t either.
Something that I mentioned on the ComiCenter podcast is the difference between geeks. There are the exclusionary geeks who say, ”I know this really cool thing about Batman and you’re an idiot because you don’t,” and the more welcoming sort who say, ”I know this really cool thing about Batman. Do you want to know too? That way we can geek out together.” I’m hoping we’re moving towards the second sort. Maybe we stop judging those who might have just entered the world of comics because of Iron Man or Thor, or just readWatchmen for the first time. They can be just as excited as those who read it years ago. Or those who didn’t start playing video games with Pong. Are they less legit because they’re new? Do you remember the first time you read The Lord of the Rings? The wonder you felt? It is possible to feel the same thing, even if you only read it after the trilogy came out.
So this is what we do. We support all types of geeks. We welcome new ones to our ranks. We stay vocal about what we love and support films/TV shows/blogs that reflect our interests. And we geek out in any way we want, whether that means auditioning for geek shows, playing with plastic lightsabers, tattooing our arms with geek symbols, posting in the Facebook group the League of Extraordinary Ladies, dressing up as either Slave Leia or Senator Leia and not judging either way, using our extensive knowledge of Middle Earth to impress a guy (no, that does NOT make you less legitimate), carrying our dogeared copies of Dragonsong proudly on the subway, tweeting the Daffy Duck version of the Green Lantern oath … be proud and loud about your geekiness, ladies. We are everywhere.