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July 26, 2012 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Joe Peacock of CNN's Geek Out! decides to tell which "pretty girls" deserve or don't deserve to have the coveted label of geek. A follow-up on Forbes takes offense at some of Peacock's stereotypes.
posted by Isadorady (214 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
MeFi's own jscalzi does us proud.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on July 26, 2012 [89 favorites]


This was also covered by Nick Mamatas (of previous "Let's Put an End to Geek Pride" fame) and of course our own John Scalzi.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Artw, perfect takedown. Amazing.
posted by facetious at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2012


From the original article:

I call these girls "6 of 9". They have a superpower: In the real world, they're beauty-obsessed, frustrated wannabe models who can't get work.

They decide to put on a "hot" costume, parade around a group of boys notorious for being outcasts that don't get attention from girls, and feel like a celebrity. They're a "6" in the "real world", but when they put on a Batman shirt and head to the local fandom convention du jour, they instantly become a "9".


Way to keep it classy, Joe Peacock, you misogynist piece of human garbage.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:20 PM on July 26, 2012 [62 favorites]


> Are guys acting this way toward women just as disgusting and base as women poaching attention from our culture, satisfying their egos by strutting around a group of guys dressed in clothing and costumes from a culture filled with men they see as beneath them? Absolutely.

"Just" as disgusting? These girls walk around conventions threatening to beat up or rape guys?
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 3:21 PM on July 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


I, a certifiably unattractive geek girl, hereby declare that attractive geek girls are my sisters in geek culture.

It's OK, I don't think you're deliberately trying to get Joe Peacock to look at your breasts. He is, as they say, overcompensating.
posted by muddgirl at 3:22 PM on July 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Peacock has followed up and backed down from his characterization of the Frag Dolls and explained his idiosyncratic usage of "booth babe" although I don't think he says anything that makes his original piece not read as sexist.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2012


Wasn't it last month that Forbes was passing off opinionated, ignorant, bilious crap that was exactly the same as this, saying something like "pretty girls (note:not women) who use Iphones cannot be geeks or nerds, because they obviously are just trying to be attention vampires"... or some self-encapsulating attention misogynistic vampiring like that.

Yeah, here is the post on it. Forbes.com is nothing if not an inconsistent misogynist. The (hobby) horse seems a might tall there.

Well, at least we know that they are both good at policing the minutia and idiosyncrasy of peoples lives.
posted by infinite intimation at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I pretty much embody the platonic archetype of the socially awkward, romantically challenged male geek and this article made me cringe.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:24 PM on July 26, 2012


as soon as i saw the conversation on twitter about who were really geeks i knew some asshat must have written another linkbait article about women. i'm reaching my saturation point with dumb opinions about what kind of person i am because i have tits. we're not funny, we can't take a joke, we're not real geeks unless some random man grants us entry, we can't control our own bodies, but it's our fault if someone takes advantage of us - so we better shave, smile, and strike the right tone, lest they think we're bitches.
posted by nadawi at 3:25 PM on July 26, 2012 [71 favorites]


so we better shave, smile, and strike the right tone, lest they think we're bitches.

Also, don't shave, spend too much time on your make-up/clothes, or be nice to anyone with a dick, lest they think you're shallow, vapid, and asking for 'it'.
posted by muddgirl at 3:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


how do we know if this guy really is a journalist or just pretending to be one for attention
posted by Algebra at 3:28 PM on July 26, 2012 [89 favorites]


I feel sorry for the guy. He's obviously got a lot of unresolved anger tied into an aspect of his life that should be making him happy.

Just looking at the assorted responses, I'm guessing he's going to be adding to the bitterness reservoir for a little while. Poor little dude.
posted by Mooski at 3:28 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are guys acting this way toward women just as disgusting and base as women poaching attention from our culture, satisfying their egos by strutting around a group of guys dressed in clothing and costumes from a culture filled with men they see as beneath them? Absolutely.

Wow. LOT of projection and self-confidence issues.

"Just" as disgusting? These girls walk around conventions threatening to beat up or rape guys?

Yeah, that's about the point when I moved from "pity" to "disdain."
posted by mrgrimm at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2012


Don't they have editors at CNN? Or even just some random person in IT who could send him an "are you really sure you want me to post this?" email?
posted by Forktine at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


MeFi's own jscalzi does us proud.

I believe this is the only proper response to that.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Peacock's main argument, by the way, is that "some women" at conventions are shallow, vapid, and asking for it.
posted by muddgirl at 3:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Peacock's main argument, by the way, is that "some women" at conventions are shallow, vapid, and asking for it.

Exclusively the pretty ones, mind you.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:30 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see how it's an 'idiosyncratic' use of the term booth babes?

Can anyone here give an 'acceptable' way to argue against the presence of booth babes, that doesn't imply there are women attending cons who are not there for a love of dr who?
posted by jacalata at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2012


I skipped the original article and just read jscalzi's smackdown instead. I think I am a happier person for this.
posted by Zed at 3:31 PM on July 26, 2012 [35 favorites]


From his "apology" post:

We all judge people, ESPECIALLY on attractiveness. To pretend you're above it is disingenuous at best. We are all predisposed to do two things: find food and fuck. It's biological. The only possible exception to this is Morrissey, who claims to be asexual. You find people attractive. You find some people more attractive than others. If you are 100% honest with yourself, you'll admit that you've thought one person was more or less attractive than another.

Ranking on a scale is simply putting this into words. It was done on purpose. It is not misogynistic, any more than it's feminist when women do it. It is not debasing. It's definitely unpopular. But it was a fantastic play on a Star Trek reference.


Way to pat yourself on the back there, and thanks for explaining that it was a "Star Trek" reference. No one ever would've ever figured that out.

But here's the thing: it is, in fact, debasing to attack people based solely on their looks. Moreover, it's the same thing so many "proud geeks" decry in others.

And there's a big difference between "finding some people more attractive than others" and basically telling women that the only reason they're claiming interest in "geek culture" is because they're too homely to get male attention in the "real world."
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Poor little dude.

"He also cosplays as a six-foot-two-inch, 310lb Powerpuff Girl to fill the hollow pit that is his need for the wrong kinds of attention."

Don't be lazy and stereotype/slag the same way Peacock does.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:33 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


And be it known that I am good friends with several stunningly beautiful women who cosplay as stunningly beautiful characters from comics, sci-fi, fantasy and other genres of fandom. They are, each of them, bone fide geeks. They belong with us. Being beautiful is not a crime.

Flaunt it if you got it – and if you're a geek, male or female, and you're strikingly handsome or stunningly beautiful, and you cosplay as a handsome or beautiful character, more power to us all. Hot geeks are hot.

What I'm talking about is the girls who have no interest or history in gaming taking nearly naked photos of themselves with game controllers draped all over their body just to play at being a "model."


If your opinion piece needs 6 paragraphs of disclaimers before you get to the point, and people still mostly ignore those 6 paragraphs because the rest of it is so heinous... I just think this poor article never should have seen the light of day.
posted by bleep at 3:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


We are all predisposed to do two things: find food and fuck.

Surprised that he forgets about breathing, drinking water, and excreting.

The only possible exception to this is Morrissey, who claims to be asexual.

it was a fantastic play on a Star Trek reference

Yeah, I have a feeling we're getting trolled. Or how does this guy get published?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2012


I don't see how it's an 'idiosyncratic' use of the term booth babes?

The definition of a booth babe: A woman hired by a company to sell their product. Booth babes as real human beings are not the problem - the issue is companies who (rightly) figure that they can use sex to sell products, and the fans who fall for it.

Peacock's definition:
I get sick of wannabes who couldn't make it as car show eye candy slapping on a Batman shirt and strutting around comic book conventions instead.

I'm talking about an attention addict trying to satisfy her ego and feel pretty by infiltrating a community to seek the attention of guys she wouldn't give the time of day on the street.
If Peacock is actually referring to Booth Babes, he doesn't understand that booth babes are getting paid to be there. They aren't at ComicCon out of some desire for attention. AKA, he is either using the term idiosyncratically, or he's a fucking idiot.
posted by muddgirl at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, secondary to the general offensiveness of the original argument, I'm also offended by the assumption that, as a geek, I must have lower standards than the "norms". I may have different standards, but they are by no means low.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's Peacock's "apology"

SPOILER: Not an apology.
posted by Panjandrum at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see how it's an 'idiosyncratic' use of the term booth babes?

He was not making a distinction between what is the standard industry usage (women who are hired by companies to wear costumes and help market product) and congoers who buy tickets and wear costumes because they want to.
The second apology I will make is to everyone who didn't get that "Booth Babe" is a pejorative used at conventions to describe any guy or girl who doesn't actually care about the industry, the fiction, the fandom or the culture -- they're just there to get attention or a paycheck. I should have been clearer there.
I've never heard it booth babes defined as being there for "attention or a paycheck," it's always been "paycheck" all the way. (I have worked booths at a number of cons and had and/or witnessed about all possible conversations about booth babes.)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've heard similar rants from male sports fans. Some guys really seem to hate it when girls go and girl up their little boys' club.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


well, booth babes are doing a job. some of them are geeks. some aren't. he seems to be lumping people who paid to be there, or who take geeky camshots, into his screed. those aren't booth babes. beyond that, he's lumping pretty women who haven't self-financed a series about WoW into a group of suspected "poachers".

the problem is that men at cons are never held to any of these standards. there are guys who work in booths who hate geeks but love their money. why aren't there articles about their attractiveness or clothes or hair or predatory natures?
posted by nadawi at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Let's turn to the ultimate arbiter in slang, urbandictionary.com.
a 'booth babe' is an attractive female member of staff sent to hand out pamphlets and attract attention for the company by dint of owning a pair of breasts.
Peacock is a linkbaiting liar, which is ironic considering he's complaining about attention whores...
posted by muddgirl at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "Booth Babe" in the normal sense is a (professional) model paid for advertising purposes. That they may not be actually interested in SciFi/Anime/whatever is about as surprising as learning that Christian Bale isn't really Batman.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, someone wrote a dumb article and now they're a laughing stock/getting told. Way to go Internet!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:39 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What if a pretty girl who isn't a geek wants to come to a convention to see what it's all about?"

GOOD. That's what conventions are for. Gender and subjective measures of attractiveness are irrelevant.


... so that other article was just seo chum?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:39 PM on July 26, 2012


And yeah, breaking news: the people who sold me snacks at Anime Expo weren't really into anime either!
posted by wildcrdj at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2012


Actually, I need to issue a partial comment retraction; the forbes.com author linked in this post seems entirely reasonable, and, had I better reading:posting skills, I would have noted that the forbes.com author didn't at all try to hide or shy away from the other forbes.com writer from the "fake geeks" post in March... and I would have said, "nice response, forbes.com author", instead of snarking, also march wasn't a month ago, also, this article by the author of the Forbes.com piece is pretty good (the problem with 'the problem with political correctness').

Also, every-time I read something new by that jscalzi folk, I find myself more convinced that they are a righteous dude.
posted by infinite intimation at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a sad, small, pathetic little man.
posted by elizardbits at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've heard similar rants from male sports fans. Some guys really seem to hate it when girls go and girl up their little boys' club.

That is what this really sounds like. Somebody who didn't get to join a fraternity (or who did and liked it) when they were younger now wants to decide "who's in" and "who's out" of their favorite pastime.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


for anyone who missed it - jscalzi also had a great response to the goodreads kerfuffle.
posted by nadawi at 3:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, parts of Joe Peacock's article were really gross.
posted by grouse at 3:46 PM on July 26, 2012


Fuck that. Neither Peacock nor anyone at comic-con are geeks. Sorry, but going outside , especially to a location with lots of other people excludes you from being a geek. Want to know what geeks are doing? They are at home, in their parents basement, playing Mount and Blade, programming, or painting miniatures. They are most certainly not out in public. They are sighing longingly into their love pillow while watching anime, posting some crazy crackpot science they just cobbled together off WikiPedia in order to score nerd points on the internet, or modding a console. They are most certainly not at comic-con, in public, where they can be seen and made fun of. They are also most certainly concerned with which of the cosplayers are real geeks nor are they writing articles about it. They are neglecting to shave their neckbeards, neglecting to cut their hair and sometimes neglecting to shower and eat.

If we are going to be exclusive, lets be exclusive. Watching Star Wars 5 times is not cred, you gotta program or solder or pine away over an imaginary anime character.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:47 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can somebody explain the slave-girl Leia cosplayers to me, beyond being eye candy for dudes.

I've been thinking about it since Simon Pegg got into a fight on twitter for saying that he found a picture of slave Leias sexy.

Now Leia is a character who is introduced to us as tough and resouceful, standing up to Darth Vader and grabbing a blaster the minute they spring her from prison. But do we see scads of women dressed as rebel officer Leia from the end of A New Hope, or winter officer Leia from Empire, or Leia dressed as a bad-assed bounty hunter? No. Instead cons get 3 to 3 dozen women dressed as Leia at her weakest, striped down and chained to a slug monster as a sex slave. Gross.

So other than as a way to show off and get the attention of dudes at cons, what's the appeal of dressing as slave Leia?
posted by thecjm at 3:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Seem Joe Peacock has commented in jscalzi's article. It's a rather civilized discussion, thankfully, and Peacock has stated that the main intent of his writing was to highlight those people who willfully attend events like ComicCon with no desire to "join in," and has admitted that given the reaction it's apparent he did not do a good job of it.
posted by CancerMan at 3:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see how it's an 'idiosyncratic' use of the term booth babes?

Can anyone here give an 'acceptable' way to argue against the presence of booth babes, that doesn't imply there are women attending cons who are not there for a love of dr who?


From Forbes.com:
One immediately curious thing here is that, for such a seasoned convention-goer, Peacock appears not to know what “booth babe” means – or possibly what booth babes are.

Of course, many of the the scantily-clad women at SDCC are there because they are “booth babes” in the generally understood, if still disparaging, sense of the term. They are models or event staff, full- or part-time, who have been hired and costumed by promoters in the belief that women in skimpy outfits will sell whatever product they are promoting.

[...]

It is pretty clear that “booth babes” – in the conventionally understood sense – are not doing it to “satisfy their hollow egos”. They are doing it because it is a paying gig, and it is a paying gig because someone not on the convention floor thinks they will encourage people on the convention floor to buy product, take and share photographs and generally further the interests of the brand.
So, basically Peacock initially used "booth babe" to mean "woman who does not know enough about geek subjects" - and either did not know that it is generally used to mean "promotional model being paid to attend", or did not realize that a lot of the women in identical outfits hanging around particular booths were not there just to get male attention for their own gratification.

Subsequently, in Peacock's notapology, he argues that everyone knows that "booth babe" means women (or men) who attended geek events not out of pure love of geek culture - whether as a paid member of a promotional team or because they crave attention from the geeks - and apologizes for not explaining that obvious fact more clearly to people who did not know it.

So, yes - he's doubling down, basically, on an idiosyncratic usage.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


thecjm - i know a fair number of queer (from bi to lesbian) bdsm'ers who like the slave leia cosplay. the world contains multitudes. besides, even if they're doing it sexual attention, they're capable of that and being geeks at the same time.
posted by nadawi at 3:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


This was also covered by Nick Mamatas (of previous "Let's Put an End to Geek Pride" fame)

I liked this response better than his "End to Geek Pride" rant - perhaps because he wasn't ranting and rather took the time to explain his terms before he used them.

Can somebody explain the slave-girl Leia cosplayers to me, beyond being eye candy for dudes.

This assumes that the only reason women dress 'sexy' is to be eye-candy for men in general. My experience is that women find personal and communal value in performing femininity even when there are no men around. I also reject the notion that Slave!Leia was Leia at her weakest.
After only one day of imprisonment, however, Organa used the same chain that imprisoned her to strangle Jabba the Hutt to death.
posted by muddgirl at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


The only possible exception to this is Morrissey, who claims to be asexual.

The only reason Morrissey is asexual is that there aren't two Morrisseys.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [74 favorites]


(Also, why in the world do men dress in costumes for geek conventions, except to get attention from other fans? Why is it so strange and novel and offensive for women to dress in costumes to get attention from other fans?)
posted by muddgirl at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


How about this: If you want to be called a geek you don't get to call yourself a geek.

There. Now everyone's miserable.
posted by ckape at 3:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


The only reason Morrissey is asexual is that there aren't two Morrisseys.

I swear, jonmc, if you favorite that comment I'm gonna fight you.

Can somebody explain the slave-girl Leia cosplayers to me, beyond being eye candy for dudes.

Being eye candy for women? Or else exploring their own sexuality without regard to audience?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


In a lot of things that are not stereotypical female habits, women have to overperform their knowledge and interest in order to be taken seriously. I've started getting into MMA and, unless I aggressively participate in conversations about the sport in impressively insightful ways, male fans talk around me and/or condescend ("Just think of it like chess with more violence and hotter men" is not a particular helpful metaphor). It's annoying, and the same thing happens with my geeky interests. Yes, I loved Lord of the Rings far before Orlando Bloom put on elf ears, or Viggo Mortensen got a crown.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Don't they have editors at CNN?

Editors? CNN got rid of editors about the time that Headline News became indistinguishable from TMZ.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:00 PM on July 26, 2012


So other than as a way to show off and get the attention of dudes at cons, what's the appeal of dressing as slave Leia?

That would assume that female slave Leia cosplayers are a homogeneous group.
posted by Talez at 4:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


What I like is how Peacock can apparently tell whether or not someone at a con is a True Geek just by looking. It's likely he's had a conversation or two with cosplayers where it became clear that maybe they didn't really know much about the character they were dressed as....but so what? I guess only hardcore True Geeks are allowed at cons now? Maybe there should be test you have to take before you are allowed to buy tickets.
posted by rtha at 4:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to be called a geek you don't get to call yourself a geek.

I just lost the game. It had been YEARS.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The test is not being female.
posted by elizardbits at 4:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're a "6" in the "real world", but when they put on a Batman shirt and head to the local fandom convention du jour, they instantly become a "9".

Because he's interested in their BRAINS.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I may have been a bit too hetro-normative in my phrasing. If the number one reason people are into dressing as slave Leia because of the sexual aspects of the costume and its situation, is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?
posted by thecjm at 4:04 PM on July 26, 2012


It's likely he's had a conversation or two with hit on cosplayers where it became clear that maybe they didn't really know much about the character they were dressed as

f the number one reason people are into dressing as slave Leia because of the sexual aspects of the costume and its situation, is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?

I don't agree that the #1 reason people dress like slave!Leia is because of the sexual aspects of the costume and its situation. Unless one thinks that the female body is inherently sexual.
posted by muddgirl at 4:06 PM on July 26, 2012


(Also, I don't agree that the majority of women find "Jabba's slave" to be a sexy situation).
posted by muddgirl at 4:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the number one reason people are into dressing as slave Leia because of the sexual aspects of the costume and its situation, is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?

What kind of silly question is this? No.
posted by Talez at 4:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?

Sure. As long as they keep their hands, underskirt cameras, and rude words to themselves. Want to say "Great costume!" or "You look great!"? Probably fine. Otherwise, remember that they are strangers to you, and you need to be polite and not presumptuous. If you are perving on someone in a way that they can tell you are perving on them, you're doing it wrong (unless they have actually asked you to do that).
posted by rtha at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


After only one day of imprisonment, however, Organa used the same chain that imprisoned her to strangle Jabba the Hutt to death.

Hunh. I had always thought it was at least months, that the rescue mission came not only after extensive planning but represented Luke having become a much better Jedi in the meantime. (But I saw Empire and Return of the Jedi when they came out and not since, so I was probably distracted by it having been three years for me.)

I googled it and there's some high-larious argument out there about whether it could have been just one night because the same society that has FTL travel couldn't possibly have turned out a fitted bronze bra that fast.
posted by Zed at 4:09 PM on July 26, 2012


Also, it's not like there's an abundance of Lady Characters Wearing Shirts in the ComicCon realms. I mean, if you're really dressing up because you love a Lady Character, chances are good you'll be wearing something more like Strong Female Characters, who look a hell of a lot like Slave Leia.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think there's a certain type of man who vigorously objects to women who are casually interested in whatever his pet activity is, because he finds women's involvement in his pet activity threatening to his manhood ... because they might vagina up the place and somehow detract from its ability to prove manliness by, like, getting their matching chromosomes all over it.

You hear exactly the same "but they're not REAL fans" and "they're not the RIGHT KIND of fans" and "they're just PRETENDING to be fans to get male attention" from sports fans who insist on policing women who are "just on the bandwagon."

Or maybe it's not fear of loss of manliness; maybe it's that they were always told women would like them for their personalities, and they just had to find a girl who shared their interests ... now here are girls who share their interests, and they have to face that their personalities are actually really shitty.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


OMG you said vagina.

/sits down to await the apocalypse
posted by rtha at 4:14 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Slave Lei does get to murder a giant slug by choking it with a chain, so there's that.
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Perhaps I should elaborate.

Say your wife gets dressed to the nines for a fancy event. She's wearing a LBD, lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, the whole nine yards. She's done this because she wants to look good for herself and (if I'm to understand my wife's train of logic when I point out she always looks beautiful), she probably likes to look good for you as well.

Would you appreciate if some asshole came up on the street and started treating her like a sexual object?

Probably not. In fact if some person came up to you both and said "hey beautiful how about a throw down behind the dumpster in that alley?" I'm pretty sure you'd want to knock the guy's teeth in for being such a disrespectful asshole.

So why is it any different when a girl expresses her sexuality through costuming? She may want to do it because the fact that she can pull it off makes her feel good about her body. Dressing sexy and wanting to express sexuality is not correlation to wanting to be treated as a sexual object. People need to learn to decouple this in their thinking.
posted by Talez at 4:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [31 favorites]


San Diego Comic-Con is the largest vehicle, but it's hardly the only convention populated with "hot chicks" wearing skimpy outfits simply to get a bunch of gawking geeks’ heads to turn, just to satisfy their hollow egos....

I'm talking about an attention addict trying to satisfy her ego and feel pretty by infiltrating a community to seek the attention of guys she wouldn't give the time of day on the street.



CNN is one of the largest news organizations, but it's hardly the only website populated with "assholes" writing weak bullshit simply to get a bunch of clicks, just to satisfy their hollow egos and boost ad revenue....

I'm talking about an attention addict like Joe Peacock trying to satisfy his ego and feel smart by impersonating a journalist to seek the attention of people who don't care what kind of women he resents for not giving him the time of day on the street, and sincerely hope he develops more productive ways to relate to people.
posted by argonauta at 4:25 PM on July 26, 2012


If the number one reason people are into dressing as slave Leia because of the sexual aspects of the costume and its situation, is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?

Sexualize, probably - they may well be experimenting with sexual display in what feels to them like a safe space. It's certainly not actionable. Creep at, probably not?

There's a blog post by Emily Whitten (cosplayer, comic book writer) writes about cosplay and sexy/scanty outfits here:
That so many people seem to think women have only one motivation for wearing convention costumes that happen to be “skimpy” or “sexy” or whatever bothers me and implies some pretty negative things about the way women are viewed in comics and geek fandom. Women are more complex than that, y’all. Really we are. We have many motivations for what we do, and they don’t all boil down to “trying to get some dude’s attention.” Assuming that the purpose of a woman wearing an attractive costume is solely to garner attention as a sex object also removes those women, in the minds of those making the assumption, from the general group of fans who are at the convention to geek out with other fans and have fun, and places them in another, dehumanizing category – things there just to be looked at. And sometimes, as geek gals just wanting to have awesome geek conversations with other fans, that really spoils our fun.

While I certainly don’t take issue with women who do wear skimpy outfits for male attention, or deny that as one motivation for such convention wear, I have great concern about the attitude, particularly in the already heavily male-centric comics fandom, that the purpose and/or function of women in costume is just to look hot for all the random dudes in the crowd.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:28 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hunh. I had always thought it was at least months, that the rescue mission came not only after extensive planning but represented Luke having become a much better Jedi in the meantime.

There was plenty of time elapsed between the end of Empire Strikes Back and the start of Return of the Jedi, but the only person who was captured at the end of Empire Strikes Back was Han, everyone else was captured at the start of Return of the Jedi in inept-looking attempts to get Han out of Jabba's palace, getting everyone in place before the real plan went down.
posted by ckape at 4:30 PM on July 26, 2012


There's also the point that female genre characters are almost by definition wearing skimpy/sexy outfits all the time. It's damned hard to find a female character to cosplay if you don't want to show off your cleavage and belly.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:31 PM on July 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


I love how Peacock can't see just how misogynistic he's being. And, you know, he's written about how he doesn't like misogyny before, so he is clearly incapable of ever doing anything misogynistic himself. That's how it works, right?
posted by asnider at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, a huge part of the women reason "pretty girls" are wearing such skimpy outfits is because that's how they are typically portrayed in comics, anime, and media in general.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 4:33 PM on July 26, 2012


OMG you said vagina.

/sits down to await the apocalypse


That would be the vagpocalypse, I do believe.
posted by Forktine at 4:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish someone better at it than Peacock had tried to take this on. I think there are some interesting points that could be dug out and discussed, but he writes it so ham-handedly that people are forced to hold their nose instead. How does the male/female dynamic in this subculture differ from the broader norms? We'll never discuss it because Peacock has to throw shit everywhere.

Plus, it dam well doesn't help that he just ignores the fact that cosplay itself is a perfectly traditional geek interest, that has nothing at all in common with "draping yourself in controllers and taking pictures."
posted by tyllwin at 4:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Women attend comic conventions dressed like characters and it's the women's fault the characters are drawn that way? Seriously, the problem is the women and not comic art portrayal of women? WTFF, dude.

Also, Jesus Christ those stupid men who nothing about the fine points of geekdom and are just using Comic-Con to show off their cocks in revealing lycra tights. Whores!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Jesus Christ those stupid men who nothing about the fine points of geekdom and are just using Comic-Con to show off their socks in revealing lycra tights. Whores!

FTFY.
posted by Talez at 4:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I feel bad for Olivia Munn that she somehow got turned into the posterwoman for Fake Geekness. It's not that long ago that people were ragging on her for being too attractive to have legitimately gotten her brief Daily Show stint, and now she's getting the same treatment from self-proclaimed geeks, too?
posted by Copronymus at 4:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man, I feel bad for Olivia Munn that she somehow got turned into the posterwoman for Fake Geekness.

This certainly doesn't help her case.
posted by Talez at 4:47 PM on July 26, 2012


Leia is one of the few characters you can cosplay as and NOT be dressed in a glorified bathing suit, but so many of people who dress as her do so anyways. So maybe there's something to the expectations of comic con cosplay in play here.

I am intrigued by thesis that slave Leia is some people's gateway to BDSM. Some people, not all, obviously. Seems heathier than Gor.

In the Morgan Spurlock Comic Con doc, they show a gaggle of slave Leias being led around by a guy in an Imperial officer uniform who pretty much refers to himself as a space pimp and ordered the Leias around for photo ops. He was creepy. If you're down the with the whole BDSM thing, good for you. But if that's not your attraction to this specific iteration of Leia, what is?
posted by thecjm at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


is it okay for observers to sexualize the person in said costume?

What does it mean to you to "sexualize" someone? (I'm serious.)

OK, after re-reading, I'll assume you mean "objectify"? Or treat the person solely as a sexual object? I'm not sure that's ever OK...

I really don't understand your question or what you are getting at ...
posted by mrgrimm at 4:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fair warning: next con I go to I'm going as Sexy Grant Morrison.
posted by Artw at 4:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I always feel bad when we have these bash-male-geek-fests. They seem well deserved, after all, can't these guys just get their shit together and stop creeping on the slave Leias? How hard is it, you see women dressed more provocatively at the beach. But then I start to wonder how many of these guys are just random guys who like comics, and how many have legit cognitive differences and just can't comprehend how they make others around them feel. I know a couple guys that make everyone around them nervous and uptight, they are rambling on and on about Dogs in the Vineyard and they are inching closer and closer until they are breathing on you, they do this to men and women and just have no clue they are creeping people out. There has got to be a percentage, however small, of guys like that at these cons. I don't think any amount of berating is going to get through to them. After a while it seems like bullying, no matter how much you smack them around that part of their brain just isn't going to work.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Leia is one of the few characters you can cosplay as and NOT be dressed in a glorified bathing suit, but so many of people who dress as her do so anyways.

Gosh, my choices are between a bathing suit and glorified mechanic's coveralls. I can't imagine why anyone would choose the bathing suit.

Wait, I can. (1) It's more technically challenging. (2) It has instant fan recognition (there's nothing worse than having to explain a costume). (3) It's more flattering to some body types. (4) It's more feminine (remember this isn't a list of positives - it's a list of differences). (5) It's sexier.

Note that sexier is one out of 5 reasons I thought of within the space of 5 seconds.
posted by muddgirl at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2012


Maybe you've done lots of situps and want a costume that combines your love of Star Wars with your awesome, now-flat abdominal muscles. Maybe Return of the Jedi is your favorite movie and Slave Leia is an easier to put together costume than the one on Endor. Maybe you want in on the cultural zeitgeist of Slave Leia at Comicon. Why not?
posted by ChuraChura at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand your question or what you are getting at ...

I was referring to situations like this, where Simon Pegg was chastised on twitter for saying he had a thing about cosplay girls and putting up a picture of a about a dozen slave Leias posing together at a con.
posted by thecjm at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2012


and how many have legit cognitive differences and just can't comprehend how they make others around them feel.

Well, if this is the case maybe they should run their articles past some friends before publishing them on the internet, where non-friends will consume them.
posted by muddgirl at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The last con I went to I dressed as Snake Plissken, but now I really want to do a sexy Snake Plissken.
posted by Rocky Mtn Erica at 4:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


they are rambling on and on about Dogs in the Vineyard

Well, it is pretty awesome. Let me explain the conflict escalation mechanic...
posted by Zed at 5:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


this isn't bash-male-geeks - this is hey, some of you male geeks (especially one guy specifically who published a blog post on heavily trafficked site) are saying some shitty things. i mean, someone in this thread immediately posted the opinion of an awesome male geek and quite a few people were like, man, that geek guy is rad! calling out sexism masquerading as news isn't bullying. frankly, i'm pretty sick of people using bullying to describe legitimate reactions to shitty behavior.
posted by nadawi at 5:04 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Copronymus: "Man, I feel bad for Olivia Munn that she somehow got turned into the posterwoman for Fake Geekness. It's not that long ago that people were ragging on her for being too attractive to have legitimately gotten her brief Daily Show stint, and now she's getting the same treatment from self-proclaimed geeks, too?"

She was getting that shit well before the Daily Show. Gamers just love to hate her.
posted by brundlefly at 5:05 PM on July 26, 2012


One of my very first conventions, I didn't know very much about science fiction (beyond the fact that I read it and watched Dr. Who), but I was 18 and dressed like a slave boy and some cute geek boy bought me at an auction and it was kind of awesome.

I'm a big science fiction fan still, but I guess Mr. Peacock would say I fell into fandom for the wrong reasons. But I did make a lot of gay geek boys happy in my heyday.
posted by xingcat at 5:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but Olivia Munn really has nothing to do with his larger point. She's a pro, in it for the money. Many, many professionals will feign admirations and interests for popularity. Everyone who believes Mitt Romney really loves grits, raise your hand? Those who think William Shatner personally writes SF novels? And now all of you who believe that real estate agent really thinks you're cute? These things don't speak at all to the existence or non-existence of hordes of "6" women (ugh) pretending to be geeky at cons.
posted by tyllwin at 5:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


holy shit people still use livejournal

holy shit people who don't write cyrillic still use livejournal
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Well, if this is the case maybe they should run their articles past some friends before publishing them on the internet, where non-friends will consume them.

I agree Peacock should know better.

this isn't bash-male-geeks - this is hey, some of you male geeks (especially one guy specifically who published a blog post on heavily trafficked site) are saying some shitty things

I agree Peacock sucks and anything we say about him is well deserved.

There seems to be a an underlying current, even in this thread, that people other than Peacock are harrassing women dressed as slave Leia

Well, it is pretty awesome. Let me explain the conflict escalation mechanic...

It is just like that, then they want you to roll a character while they hover over you and breath on you.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:09 PM on July 26, 2012


Man, I feel bad for Olivia Munn that she somehow got turned into the posterwoman for Fake Geekness.

This certainly doesn't help her case.


But--honest question--why does it matter? Olivia Munn was a minor model/actress who took a paying gig on the G4 network and has been able to turn that into a pretty major not-just-geek-based TV and movie career. In that clip, she was reading lines from a teleprompter that were scripted for her by the Video Game Awards people. What exactly do "real" geeks think she, or her manager(s), or the people that hire her, should be doing differently that they haven't already considered?

(on preview, as others have noted)
posted by argonauta at 5:10 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Instead cons get 3 to 3 dozen women dressed as Leia at her weakest, striped down and chained to a slug monster as a sex slave. Gross.

Dude, she strangled him to death with that chain and then helped completely destroy his home and organization. She was never weak, merely captured. Her will was never broken and she didn't blink at the offing him.

Never turn your back on slave Leia, you could get hurt. Or worse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


thecjm - i didn't think it was a big deal or whatever, but before any of the fallout happened, i saw the simon pegg tweet - and it wasn't the first one that rubbed me the wrong way. that seems cheeky and fun. but i did pause at the one where he posted the picture - the "*makes noise like homer simpson thinking about donuts*" part sort of icked me out. that seems like another way to say "i'd hit that" which can be a totally ok thing to say in a limited group of friends where everyone knows each other - but it gets a little murkier when your audience is as big as simon pegg's. i can see how some reacted like they did - it might have seemed like another reminder that women should expect to be seen as objects first.
posted by nadawi at 5:13 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Way to keep it classy, Joe Peacock, you misogynist piece of human garbage.

Apparently making a statement of fact is sufficient to garner such labels these days.
posted by Tanizaki at 5:14 PM on July 26, 2012


But--honest question--why does it matter?

If it's wrong to ridicule people who aren't genuine I really don't want to be right.
posted by Talez at 5:18 PM on July 26, 2012


Facts can be backed up by data.
I get sick of wannabes who couldn't make it as car show eye candy slapping on a Batman shirt and strutting around comic book conventions instead.
is an opinion, not a fact.
posted by muddgirl at 5:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, I feel bad for Olivia Munn that she somehow got turned into the posterwoman for Fake Geekness.

Well, Peacock takes a lot of time making it clear that he isn't talking about Felicia Day, and that men who cast aspersions on Felicia Day's geek credentials are disgusting and sloppy journalists, specifically because Ryan Perez, the last man to have done so, was punched through a wall by the Internet and lost his position at Destructoid.

Olivia Munn's a safe option. See also Aisha Tyler.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:19 PM on July 26, 2012


This certainly seems to be the year of bringing up gender issues in geekdom. While painful, I think it's a good thing- like lancing an infected wound. There's a lot of pustulent attitudes in geekdom that need to be addressed, and hopefully the end result will be healing for geek culture.
posted by happyroach at 5:22 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can tell he has no idea what he's talking about when he refers to "females" in the fourth paragraph.

If a writer uses that word, rather than "women," anywhere on the internet outside of academia, 9 times out of 10 he's a clueless chauvinist neckbeard, or at least he sounds like one.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


Wow, people really give Tyler shit about being a fake geek? Have they ever actually listened to what she had to say outside a scripted context?

I'm slowly starting to come around to an anti-geek-pride perspective. People seem to get way too defensive of whichever marketing stream they align with.
posted by muddgirl at 5:24 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aizkolari: "You can tell he has no idea what he's talking about when he refers to "females" in the fourth paragraph.

If a writer uses that word, rather than "women," anywhere on the internet outside of academia, 9 times out of 10 he's a clueless chauvinist neckbeard, or at least he sounds like one.
"

That's always hilarious. It makes the speaker sound like an alien infiltrator that is failing to pass as human.
posted by brundlefly at 5:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


frankly, i'm pretty sick of people using bullying to describe legitimate reactions to shitty behavior.

I think this is a question worth thinking about. There seems to be some link between autism and violence. I am no expert by any means but I wonder if it is that certain actions simply do not carry the same meaning for all people. How do you deal with this, a legitimate reaction to someone hitting you might be to punch them right back, but is that really a legitimate reaction to someone who has no understanding that they are hurting you?

I'm not trying to excuse all geeks for all shitty behaviour but the links between "geeks" and autism spectrum disorders seem to be established at this point. There have been a few posts about it here. There has got to be a certain subset of people who really just do not and cannot get it that they are hurting other people.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:29 PM on July 26, 2012


If it's wrong to ridicule people who aren't genuine I really don't want to be right.

Well, okay.... I guess I wasn't suggesting that it was wrong to ridicule people you don't respect intellectually (or is it ethically?), or that you shouldn't be free to do so, I still just don't quite understand what the message is supposed to be to everyone else: "Fellow geeks, resist the urge to Google pictures of Olivia Munn in a gold bikini and/or don't watch any of her shows or movies because ____?" Or, "People, don't take lucrative jobs that companies think you deserve to be highly paid for and that will meaningfully advance your desired career because ____?" Or, "Executives at huge companies in geek-related industries, stop hiring the people that are proving to help you make the most money because ____?"

It doesn't seem to me like there's some dark secret to credentials that Olivia Munn claims to have that are somehow harming the world because she is getting away with the scam. I also can't really think of a parallel where criticisms like the ones she gets would be given to a man, so it feels like the motivations efforts to take her down a notch aren't necessarily unclouded by gender issues. But I am genuinely interested.
posted by argonauta at 5:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Fellow geeks, resist the urge to Google pictures of Olivia Munn in a gold bikini and/or don't watch any of her shows or movies because ____?" Or, "People, don't take lucrative jobs that companies think you deserve to be highly paid for and that will meaningfully advance your desired career because ____?" Or, "Executives at huge companies in geek-related industries, stop hiring the people that are proving to help you make the most money because ____?"

Well I suppose for every Olivia Munn there's somebody genuine and passionate that could be in that role. Instead we get vapid T&A. But since I don't really pay attention to much gaming press and give even less credence to any sort of gaming in the media I suppose it doesn't really affect me personally. It still kind of ticks me off though.
posted by Talez at 5:49 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do you deal with this, a legitimate reaction to someone hitting you might be to punch them right back, but is that really a legitimate reaction to someone who has no understanding that they are hurting you?

Depends on the person, I guess, but 'legitimate' and 'skillful' are often worlds apart. I think that most of us go through life swinging (to borrow your metaphor) at pretty much everything, not because we intend to cause harm but because swinging is more efficient than hugging when it seems most everyone is better equipped to deal with being punched than being hugged.

The only answer I have for what to do with a person who has no understanding of the pain they cause is the same answer for those that do know: take the punch as well as you can, and watch for the next one. It may take more than one punch for their aggression to fizzle, but a return punch from you is justification for the next ten punches.

I understand that it sounds silly (or worse), but I've tried both methods, and the not hitting back works better for me, literally and figuratively.
posted by Mooski at 5:55 PM on July 26, 2012


Telzey Amberdon's takedown of Peacock's piece:
When you wrote, “I find it fantastic that women are finally able to enjoy a culture that has predominately been male-oriented and male-driven.”, I laughed so hard at this exhibition of absolutely adorable male privilege that I found myself unable to take the rest of the article seriously.

Women invented media culture when they invented fanfiction for Man from Uncle and Star Trek, and then mounted the very first media convention for Star Trek, and all the subsequent ones for the next 10 years or so. I attended the second Star Trek convention held in NYC in 1973 and it was given by mostly all women and attended by mostly all women. You found predominantly male fans at literary (literary as in books and magazines like Analog and Astounding) SciFi and Fantasy conventions, and those guys sneered at us, making sure we understood that female media fans were beneath the far more intellectual book-oriented male fans. Not that we didn’t let whatever guys who wanted to come to our conventions attend: we felt the more, the merrier. But it was a 90% female vs 10% male attendance at those early cons, if I remember correctly. Possibly higher than 90%. When Shatner did his “Get a life!” turn on SNL, he addressed that tiny percentage of usually-dorky males you’d see at a media con back then – I remember wondering aloud where the heck the fannish women were at in that sketch. I’d never seen an all-male crowd at any of the media cons I’d been to. But such is male privilege, it sees what it wants to see, I suppose. OTOH, maybe Mr. Shatner just didn’t want to be seen screaming at women.

Such was our happy inclusiveness that eventually men started to enjoy media fandom in greater numbers as they abandoned literary fandom in droves and all the pulp SciFi magazines crumbled, and just look: they apparently think they invented it now. You guys are so cute, if somewhat annoying! I suggest you pick up Bjo Trimble’s “On the Good Ship Enterprise–My 15 Years With Star Trek” if you want to read about all the women who invented media fandom and the culture.

Pics or it didn’t happen: I’ve got a ton of pictures from that era of fannishness and it’s chicks all the way. A few males, but mostly women. Leave my sisters alone and consider yourself lucky we allowed you guys into *our* culture.
posted by likeso at 5:55 PM on July 26, 2012 [137 favorites]


I'm slowly starting to come around to an anti-geek-pride perspective. People seem to get way too defensive of whichever marketing stream they align with.

This comment helped me put my finger on my discomfort with a lot of the recent geek/not-geek discussions. You'd think I'd identify that way -- I can remember being introduced to D&D as a child in the very early 1980s, I've been reading genre fiction at least as long, and I had the privilege of being called "geek" and punched by actual jocks in high school, in what felt even then like a bad movie script. But the version of "geek" I see used here seems to have a lot more to do with marketing identification and mass consumption. It was probably always that way, but I've only recently been noticing this usage.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Exactly. I was a geek before it became all Pitchforky and cool.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm slowly starting to come around to an anti-geek-pride perspective. People seem to get way too defensive of whichever marketing stream they align with.

Hang around and live long enough, get involved in enough hobbies and interests in the course of your life, and it's painful to see them come and go, especially when it's complicated by a sense of various parties becoming proprietary about something.

I got involved in geekdom waaay too soon, to the point of having been into things in the Carboniferous Era (attempting to code in 1978...soldering a proto-board in 1980...attending a Star Trek Con in 1976...Avalon Hill board games!), and having been chased from things once they become popular enough that the guys crowd in and then feel threatened by unattached women is an awful experience. Being a woman who is interested in things like Civil War re-enactments and brewing beer is incredibly difficult when you're not there with a husband/boyfriend/SO, and must resort to being either marginalized, or else very persistent + an incredibly thick skin that can withstand some horrific insults to your appearance and sexuality. (In fact, some of those men would be much more comfortable with me were I gay, but I'm not.)

I think the ultimate irony is that the most thin-skinned easily-offended people I've known are young straight males who have an incredibly difficult time relating to a woman who's not a sexual being. Having lived in the Middle East, I don't understand how Western culture has raised men who have such an extremely similar mentality to some of the Saudi Arabian men who freak out in terror.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 6:03 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


I feel the same way and I just suck at stating it. Being a geek was not about brand affiliation but a feeling of being an outsider. Maybe that caused you to like certain things, but liking those things was not what caused you to be an outsider, it was the other way around. That is why it is sort of sad to see geeks ostracise other people.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exactly. I was a geek before it became all Pitchforky and cool.

In my case, more like back when all it took were poor social skills and a lack of interest in a lot of what my peers were consuming.

But joking aside, I think it is great that today there are huge sci fi and gaming conventions, and that people who enjoy those things don't need to feel so marginalized. It's shitty that in the process it sounds like people might be simply adopting the "I'd hit it!" attitudes of our society, but is that really a big surprise?
posted by Forktine at 6:14 PM on July 26, 2012


I do think there are interesting conversations to be had here, like about the pressure to perform femininity as a female geek. I know a crossplayer who put together an absolutely amazing Lich King cosplay together for Blizzcon a few years back--it even had working lights!--but was passed up for any costume awards in favor of a lady with a slightly less nice, but much skimpier, outfit. I think that can be particularly defeating to female geeks, who have fled from normal society in part because they might not feel they perform standard femininity particularly well. Hell, I know that I feel that way at times--and I've worried, as a SF writer, if my insistence on leaning on my talents, for example, rather than my appearance, will cause me problems in getting ahead. You'd like to believe that geeks are better than that--that they really do care about pure geekery--but often they'll judge you based on your tits or how well you flirt just as much as guys in mainstream society, if not more so. It can make you feel extra invisible, and I say this as someone who is more mainstream attractive than not, even if I wouldn't look so great in a slave Leia bikini.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:05 PM on July 26, 2012 [17 favorites]


I know what you mean, Pho, but on the other hand, I also know how alienating it is to find out that, if you're not 100% conversant with a particular fandom, you are somehow a fraud just out to meet boys (gosh, how do I know). It's two sides of the same sexist coin.
posted by muddgirl at 7:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it just me or have there been a lot of hand-wringing about what constitutes acceptable expression for women and how so much of what women do is ruled unacceptable by this man or that man or that woman or whatever. It's so incredibly tiresome.
posted by bleep at 7:35 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think that can be particularly defeating to female geeks, who have fled from normal society in part because they might not feel they perform standard femininity particularly well.

The big, giant, hairy elephant in the room is that being a nerd is now cool - being an intellectual into counterculture is a signifier that you are someone worth knowing. Nerdery is normal society.

But, let me tell you, there have =always= been attractive female nerds, even when it wasn't cool. More, they may not have been all that into comics, they were deep into learning elvish or tech theater, but they played along with the superheroine costume, because they were part of the entire scene. Solidarity. That is why Peacock is utterly full of horsecrap and is a fake nerd and needs to be banished to Hell Island with longboxes full of only hologram-covered #1 issues - even if someone is only tangentially interested and involved, we are one with them, we accept them, and we will stand up for them. One day, being a nerd won't be cool anymore, and we need to keep the Old Ways intact.

But, the wooly-mammoth overshadowing the elephant in the room is the fear and frustration of women who are attractive to him that might, somehow, not be attracted to him. He fears and hates them because he can't fuck them. He wants only insecure women who would do whatever he wanted to gain his approval.

To hell with that.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:53 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


And just so we're clear, I'm pretty sure Joe Peacock is not someone with an autism-spectrum disorder. He's just being an ass.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:54 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Con's and cosplay are becoming more and more mainstream. In any endeavor that becomes successful you are going to attract new people who might not fit the traditional insiders view of true believer they get labeled as "pretenders". Geek snobbery is funny if not predictable. Hard core bikers have to put up with weekend warriors on brand new Harleys wearing faux colors without a clue. Rock climbing is being invaded by pretenders. Cool hipsters are always looking for a new trend. This just seems like so much sour grapes to me. My hobby/lifestyle is being invaded...
posted by pdxpogo at 7:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


... thanks for explaining that it was a "Star Trek" reference. No one ever would've ever figured that out.

Actually, I didn't get the reference, and had to Google it. Apparently it's a reference to a character on Voyager?

In fact, I haven't watched any Star Trek series straight through. Good thing I'm a dude and my ignorance can be explained away innocently. I suspect a woman who identified as a geek but hadn't watched any Star Trek would clearly be an attention whore in Joe Peacock's mind.
posted by jcreigh at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Around curves so comely and sinister
They blame it on you pretty girls

posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:34 PM on July 26, 2012


From his "apology":
Eh. It was a Star Trek reference, specifically about Jeri Ryan who knew nothing at all about Star Trek before taking the role as 7 of 9 in Voyager. She's pretty, she took a very geeky role, and now is a geek celeb -- and she's not particularly interested in the culture.
I don't see why this is particular to Jeri Ryan. I'd be willing to bet that most of the ST principals don't know that much about it. Why, it's as if he's holding women to a different standard than men . . .
posted by Think_Long at 8:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


Just yesterday we had a post in which a questioner points out to Patrick Stewart that, prior to being on Star Trek, he had complained to Lalla Ward when she appeared on Dr. Who, asking her why television, and, for God's sake, why science fiction.

Stewart dodged the question in a way that made it sound like he couldn't deny ever having said that.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:40 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh. I always find it odd when people talk to actors as if they are supposed to know shit about anything.
posted by Artw at 8:44 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


More, they may not have been all that into comics, they were deep into learning elvish or tech theater, but they played along with the superheroine costume, because they were part of the entire scene. Solidarity.

Wait, what?

Of course there were always pretty girls. But girls shouldn't feel obligated to dress in skimpy superheroine outfits to show "solidarity." (It's a choice some can make, sure, but the pressure that female geeks can feel to conform with sexual behavior they might not feel comfortable with is huge. See also, the open source boob project.)

I don't see why this is particular to Jeri Ryan. I'd be willing to bet that most of the ST principals don't know that much about it. Why, it's as if he's holding women to a different standard than men . . .

I'm not saying that he's not a sexist pig, but weirdly, he seems oblivious to the more problematic aspects of Ryan's casting which play into his argument, namely that she was brought in by Brannan Braga & co specifically to increase the sex appeal of Voyager for male viewers aged 18 - 35. She wore a ridiculous skintight catsuit and heels and marked the beginning of an attempt to sex up Trek, which continued through First Contact (where Data sexes up the borg queen) and Enterprise, which saw characters lathering one another up with biogel while dressed in their underwear. She also replaced Kes, a female character who dressed . . . like a Starfleet officer.

It's an apt metaphor, but not for the reasons Peacock thinks it is. Really, it's like he hasn't even thought about what's really problematic about geek community's attitudes toward women because he can't see past his own butthurt at having girls there or whatever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's an apt metaphor, but not for the reasons Peacock thinks it is. Really, it's like he hasn't even thought about what's really problematic about geek community's attitudes toward women because he can't see past his own butthurt at having girls there or whatever.

Right. To be charitable, I can accept that this guy did not intend to write an article about the geek community's attitude toward women, so it makes sense that he didn't address it in depth. However it is very telling that, from a meta-data perspective, these gripes about geek cred are disproportionately aimed at women.
posted by Think_Long at 8:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apparently making a statement of fact is sufficient to garner such labels these days.

Are you saying that it's a "fact" that women who dress up in sexy costumes are "frustrated, wannabe models who can't get work," and who are too plain to attract male attention outside of the geek culture convention circuit?

Because if that's what you're saying, then...you know...cite please.

If I'm misinterpreting your response to my original comment, than my apologies. Calling him misogynistic human garbage was arguably a little strong on my part, but the original statements I quoted were really, really crappy, below-the-belt style attacks on women. Not facts.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:30 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


also, jeri ryan might not be super into geek or trek culture or whatever - but just the other day she was asked if she got to keep any props, like a comm badge, and she responded that she actually got a borg pod - those aren't small. there's lots of things she could have kept that would have been worth just as much and taken up way less space. that's a pretty geeky thing to hang on to.
posted by nadawi at 9:31 PM on July 26, 2012


People objected to Jeri Ryan not knowing anything about Star Trek? Do they understand that she is an actor, and not actually a cyborg?

This is why I so rarely attended actor's panels when I was going to cons - actors are fine people, but most of them are geeky about theatre/film, not SF. If you wanted to hear a good talk about SF, you were so much better off attending panels of the creatives (writers, artists, etc).

except for Anthony Daniels - that was the BEST. PANEL. EVAR. Not because he talked much about SF, but because he's a one man Vegas show. He would be hilarious reading the phone book.
posted by jb at 9:53 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "Fuck that. Neither Peacock nor anyone at comic-con are geeks. Sorry, but going outside , especially to a location with lots of other people excludes you from being a geek. Want to know what geeks are doing? They are at home, in their parents basement, playing Mount and Blade, programming, or painting miniatures. They are most certainly not out in public. They are sighing longingly into their love pillow while watching anime, posting some crazy crackpot science they just cobbled together off WikiPedia in order to score nerd points on the internet, or modding a console. They are most certainly not at comic-con, in public, where they can be seen and made fun of. They are also most certainly concerned with which of the cosplayers are real geeks nor are they writing articles about it. They are neglecting to shave their neckbeards, neglecting to cut their hair and sometimes neglecting to shower and eat.

If we are going to be exclusive, lets be exclusive. Watching Star Wars 5 times is not cred, you gotta program or solder or pine away over an imaginary anime character.
"

Saw Star Wars 45+ times, I can't code worth a damn, and I look like Dillenger after he tried to acid-burn off his fingertips if I try to solder. I also tend to pine away after 3D women. I do shower and eat somewhat regularly, although I skip shaving more than I should (!=neckbeard) and do often forget to get my hair cut until after it reaches what I call "statesman's hair" level.

However, the first computer of my own was a Basis 108 - and yes, I did CP/M and UCSD Pascal - and I am posting this from a heavily modified Linux install.

Does this mean I lose my geek cred?

Because, if I do, you are a crufty shitcock.
posted by Samizdata at 10:28 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, Dillinger.

Apparently most of my life being dedicated to computing does NOT mean I can type worth a crap.
posted by Samizdata at 10:30 PM on July 26, 2012


(Oh, and on the Basis, made of cast aluminum, the detached keyboard was sturdy enough to beat someone to death and still finish your MagiCalc sheet.)

Oh, and I like women. They can look pretty and can smell nice. Or make me feel happily gloopy with a well placed smile.
posted by Samizdata at 10:34 PM on July 26, 2012


Oh, and I like women. They can look pretty and can smell nice. Or make me feel happily gloopy with a well placed smile.

I'm sure you mean well, but you know that there's nothing here about women as people with brains or lives or value beyond their attractiveness, right?
posted by argonauta at 10:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I've said it before, but: I'm a little troubled by the rise of geek celebrities. Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Big Bang Theory, etc. -- there's a hint there that we geeks are only acceptable when we're cool, attractive, famous people. It's strongly parallel with the attempt to gain acceptance for GLBT people through mainstreaming. Both efforts seem wrong-headed, to me, because a) they gain us acceptance only when we're popular and famous, rather than acceptance for who we are, and b) it puts pressure on us to appear as 'normal' as possible.

For those reasons, I'm opposed to worship of pros in fandom, and why Mr. Scalzi's argument (through geekish authority) is a bit troubling. I think it's totally cool when geeks geek out, though; at the con I went to a few weeks ago, there were all kinds of geeky wonderment on display (gaming, costuming, art, conversation, wonderful fan-run panels, pesto, etc.) and it was great to see all the amazing things geeks get up to.

With one panel I was on (about women in gaming, actually), one of the panelists seemed to deny there's any misogyny in tabletop gaming. Never really figured out what she meant, because she ended up not coming to the panel. It ended up being a really productive discussion, but it was a bit disturbing to have a fellow woman gamer denying the existence of sexism in gaming. Well, takes all kinds, I guess.
posted by jiawen at 11:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'll have you know gentlemen can look pretty and smell nice, too!

(Seriously. I was in a cosplay contest where the MC couldn't keep his nose out of my wig.)
posted by mikurski at 11:59 PM on July 26, 2012


I am so tired of men who think women exist solely for their pleasure and then are outraged when said women fail to meet their personal criteria of what a woman should be. As if they've ordered a thin crust cheese pizza and got a chicago style with pineapple on it instead. And now we have to hear about why Chicago style isn't really even a pizza and that putting pineapple on a pizza is an insult to their taste buds for the next half an hour.
posted by whoaali at 12:05 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah. There's a type of male geek I find to be worse. I call him "The Leaner".

Usually you can catch it fairly early on. You start off by being acquaintances. Perhaps you even make it to being early friends. In an early conversation, he susses you out by figuring out what you're into geek-wise and at some point you say the fatal words that you're "not as interested in tabletop RPG" or that you "tried first person shooters and aren't a fan", etc. And it begins.
He starts trying to fix this anomaly.
"Hey, you know I think you'd like this tabletop game based on your other hobbies."
You politely decline.
He tries again, often within minutes.
"Well, it's really quite different from other RPG's because...."
It's not that he's talking about something he enjoys necessarily, which can possibly make one interested in a previously dismissed hobby. It's that he's trying to sell it to you with the determination of a car salesman; not that subtle and slightly desperate.

It's like he thinks that if only he could get you interested in his particular geeky flavor, you'd be the perfect woman. Guys who don't seem interested in me don't do this much longer than maybe a minute or two, and aren't overly miffed by my not changing my mind. Guys who DO seem interested often come back to this topic every other time I happen to meet them, like I'm a foam sword away from having a ring put on my finger.
"She'd be perfect if only she'd don a costume and run around the woods with me to pretend-kill our enemies."
"She's great to hang out with...if only she'd play God of War, my one true game love."

I have nothing against any forms of geek. I love reading about them, especially the various inside stories, and celebrate when different types of geek are positively covered in movies and shows. It's just that not every type is for me.

So just offering another form of non-acceptance. You can be dismissed for not being geeky enough and you can be clung to in the hopes that someday you'll be perfect.

I'm not crazy. This has happened with at least 5 men (2 online and 3 offline), that I know of. I think I only started noticing this as I got older though.
posted by DisreputableDog at 12:41 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Honestly, women are damned if we do, and damned if we don't. Show interests in thing we enjoy, and we're posers; don't, and we're shallow losers who only care about shoes and the color pink. Spend time and energy on cosplay and we're looking for guys' attention; don't and we're just there to land a guy instead of participate in the community. Be thin and a geek, and you're in it to give guys blue balls; be fat and a geek and you're in it to gross guys out. And all the way through it, a solid, stubborn denial of the large areas of geekdom that are women-dominated, and thus considered not really geeky, like fanfiction. All the way through it, if you're a woman than everything you do is aimed at men.

I get so tired of it.

And gods know, if I could pull of Yuna in FFX, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I have actually considered making her cosplay outfit from X-2.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:18 AM on July 27, 2012 [21 favorites]


Joe Peacock of CNN's Geek Out! decides to tell which "pretty girls" deserve or don't deserve to have the coveted label of geek.

There is no way in which this can end well.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:05 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


There would be a good article to be had here. In the geek cultures I'm familiar with, there's often some degree of contempt towards girls being girly, dressing up (if you're saying I can't wear my old Linux t-shirt on a first date then you're just being shallow), and to an extent, non maths and science subjects are seen as girly ie. intellectually inferior. I don't fit the accepted definition of what's currently conventionally attractive - I have glasses, pale skin, am interested in what's seen as fairly esoteric things rather than diet and celebrities, and am not thin - but to some geeks I am an attractive woman who has large breasts, wears makeup and dresses and sews, and that's a bit weird to have to deal with when the things I say make sense. There's a whole forum on the BoardGameGeek page called 'women and gaming', and in one thread the organiser of a games night posts photos of 'the 45 women who attended' as though it is a gender safari.

I don't know who Olivia Munn is, but who's to say whether she is or isn't a geek.

A lot of women feel a real dichotomy, in this narrative, between wanting to be pretty and wanting to be clever. You're not allowed to be both - pretty women are dumb and shallow, clever women can't be clever if they spend their time picking out shoes or eyeliner. And in any traditionally male geek pursuit - sports stats, comic books, rock music, sci-fi and cult film - joining in on the conversation is hard without your gender being the pink elephant in a tutu dancing in the corner of the room.
posted by mippy at 4:23 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


, but going outside , especially to a location with lots of other people excludes you from being a geek.

I couldn;'t help thinking this when I went to a Morrissey gig years ago. Who were all these people and why were they outside?

Maybe it's because for teenage me, music is a private thing to be enjoyed in bedrooms and on headphones, with the idea that nobody in the wider world could understand.
posted by mippy at 4:26 AM on July 27, 2012


There's also a bit of a geek orthodoxy, though. If you aren't a science/maths person, if you don't quote Star Wars/Python (fuck me I hate Monty Python), and you aren't into programming you're apparently not allowed to join the glasses gang. If you like some mainstream things, it's seen as betrayal, in a way.


Or maybe I'm just jealous because my hobbies are nerdy, not geeky.
posted by mippy at 4:30 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But girls shouldn't feel obligated to dress in skimpy superheroine outfits to show "solidarity."

Yikes, not what I meant at all, and I agree with you. (That entire comment is phrased awkwardly, sorry.)

I meant that even if she's not tremendously into superhero comics or manga, if she decides to put in some time and effort on a cosplay outfit (skimpy or not), she should be respected for it. She's doing it because she feels at home in the larger subculture, and that's all right by any true nerd, except the creepy ones.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:39 AM on July 27, 2012


For those reasons, I'm opposed to worship of pros in fandom, and why Mr. Scalzi's argument (through geekish authority) is a bit troubling.

Well, it's better than when good old Asimov would grope ever woman in the room and everybody laughed it off because Asimov.

But I think part of the reason you may be uncomfortable with this may be that, if you are sensitive to this sort of thing, it comes off as somewhat patronising towards female geeks: "don't worry about that mean old Pineapple, I John Scalzi says it's alright for you to be in our club". Which is nice, but it's not up to him either to determine that.

Not that I think that was his intention at all, but I can see people reading it that way, more so than Nick's response.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:31 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since the comments are (temporarily) closed at jscalzi's place, I'll say it here: His response was magnificent. Preach it, brother.
posted by Gelatin at 5:39 AM on July 27, 2012


I suppose people could misconstrue Scalzi's response, if they're not familiar with satire. Even then, he makes it very clear that he's not playing on HIS preferred field, but rather Peacocks. AND, he ends the article:
One other thing: There is no Speaker for the Geeks. Not Joe Peacock, not me, not anyone.
but I know people don't really finish articles on the internet.
posted by muddgirl at 5:40 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh. It was a Star Trek reference, specifically about Jeri Ryan who knew nothing at all about Star Trek before taking the role as 7 of 9 in Voyager. She's pretty, she took a very geeky role, and now is a geek celeb -- and she's not particularly interested in the culture.

Fuck this guy. Jeri Ryan has a borg regenerating cube in her house.
posted by nooneyouknow at 5:52 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Forbes piece is better than Scalzi's:

Sensibly, Peacock is very careful to make clear that he does not believe that Felicia Day is “a pox on our culture”, like those other girls. In fact, he spends a surprising amount of the article making it clear that he absolutely doesn’t mean Felicia Day, which given the precedent is probably a wise move. Instead, he went for the softer targets of Olivia Munn and the Frag Dolls, the Ubisoft-sponsored collection of female gamers.

Peacock has subsequently recanted his judgement on the Frag Dolls, but this rather proves the point that these arbitrary exclusions are made based on little but personal conviction, and often without very much actual information or knowledge. For a woman, not knowing your subject makes you a “fake”, whereas for a man it seems it is entirely forgiveable...

As it is, one might conclude that the process actually works in reverse – that women are marked out as “fake” by default, and have to prove themselves innocent, ducking-stool style.

Felicia Day herself, incidentally, was not angry, merely disappointed:
Dear reporters, getting a bit tired of being held up as an “authentic” geek as you write posts against women who “exploit” geek culture.
Day is an intelligent woman. She is aware that attempts to keep women as far off the geek reservation as possible, by creating a set of conditions which justify insulting and harassing the “fakes” (according to one’s own definition, and possibly one’s own telepathic powers) are not good for gaming as a whole, or for geek culture...


I hope the glee CNN's web folks are feeling at all these new people seeing their geek columnist is quickly matched by the uncomfortable feeling CNN's brand has just taken a hit confirming it's not a site about geek culture worth visiting in the future. I doubt it'll happen, but it sure would be nice.
posted by mediareport at 6:03 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's pretty, she took a very geeky role, and now is a geek celeb -- and she's not particularly interested in the culture.

I work in advertising and I don't have a neon Coca-Cola sign up in my house.
posted by mippy at 6:16 AM on July 27, 2012


. . . I work in financial aid and I have student loan debt. TRUE FAN!
posted by Think_Long at 6:44 AM on July 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Are you saying that it's a "fact" that women who dress up in sexy costumes are "frustrated, wannabe models who can't get work," and who are too plain to attract male attention outside of the geek culture convention circuit?

Because if that's what you're saying, then...you know...cite please.


Citations for the 6 of 9 phenomenon?

(it's funny because it's true)

but the original statements I quoted were really, really crappy, below-the-belt style attacks on women

Actually, it was a statement regarding certain women at conventions, not all women on planet Earth. I have no idea what comment was "below the belt" or why. What comments about certain women at conventions would have been "above the belt"?
posted by Tanizaki at 6:50 AM on July 27, 2012


I don't like Star Trek that much (because I don't like utopian science fiction) and I have a cardboard stand-up Captain Picard in my house. SO THERE.
posted by nonasuch at 6:54 AM on July 27, 2012


Actually, it was a statement that 'certain females' ruin it for the rest of us, without proving in any way that such women are any sort of significant problem.
posted by muddgirl at 6:58 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Citations for the 6 of 9 phenomenon?

(it's funny because it's true)


Your own fictional citation disagrees with you.
"A confidence boost for Paulette is a good thing, but I think she's headed for a crash," Martin said. "A girl who can spout detailed specs of leviathan spaceships appeals to a very limited niche.
Even the Onion knows that fake geek girls aren't real.
posted by gladly at 7:01 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


mudgirl: I, too, welcome our more-attractive-than-me sisters in geekdom!

And yay jscalzi and Nick Mamatas for delivering the smackdown from a male perspective so maybe Peacock will pay attention. Probably not, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:19 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Citations for the 6 of 9 phenomenon?

(it's funny because it's true)


It's a good job you're here to tell those uppity witches they ain't all that.
posted by Summer at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, qualifying misogynistic bile with "There are lots of geeks who are female. Some of these female geeks are pretty girls. I find it fantastic that women are finally able to enjoy a culture that has predominately been male-oriented and male-driven" really makes it better. We get a combination of "OK, some of you are legit," "Some of you girls are attractive," and "Good job - you like things men like" doesn't do a whole lot to make up for the rest of it.

It's a good thing we have the onion - funny and true - to support his assertions.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:29 AM on July 27, 2012


Gosh, a good night's sleep hasn't helped Peacocks' argument, in my mind.

You know what he's saying? He's saying that if you don't know much about geek interests, and you are a girl, then you shouldn't come to Comic-Con (because clearly you're just there to get attention). But what, was Peacock born with a fully-formed knowledge of All Things Geek? Let's say a San Diegan, who happens to be a woman, watched the new Batman move trilogy and really loved it. She's interested in maybe reading some Batman comics or watching the Animated Series, but she doesn't know where to start. What can she do, other than enter the world of geekdom to learn more? But if she does that, she's just a poser.
posted by muddgirl at 7:29 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


The problem with Peacock isn't that he makes the point that some "geek" girls are posers. Male or female, some goths are posers, some punks are posers, even some juggalos, I guess, are posers. Really, for any in-group, some people of either sex are inauthentic. The canonical example, for me, is actually men who fake an interest in sports to get along with the gang. Nor is it surprising to most of us that some people of whatever sex want to be a big fish in a small pond.

His problems are that (a) He expresses this trivial truth in nasty terms. He thinks "6 of 9" is a clever wordplay, and is utterly deaf to the screeching sound of utter objectification. I might personally forgive him that as an ill-considered joke that fell flat, but a good chunk of the article goes on that vein. And then (b) He ignores the entire history of women in fandom. Cosplay and fanfic are just as geeky as tabletop RPG's. Besides that, an influx of women into geeky conventions dates at least from Trek TOS (or rather, from the point at which, in places too small to sustain multiple large cons, the female-dominated Trek cons more or less merged into the male dominated written SF cons). After 40 some years, he just sounds silly when he acts like a 2012 hybrid of SF, fantasy, comics, anime and computers is some 1950's Worldcon. Then (c) he doesn't at all distinguish people who are simply new to the scene from posers. How much Golden Age comics or black and white creature features do you expect a 17-year-old to know, even if s/he is geeky as hell?
posted by tyllwin at 7:41 AM on July 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, and I'm an idiot for leaving out (d) -- How many guys there just threw on a Batman shirt and went down to check it out out of boredom, or because friends were going?
posted by tyllwin at 7:49 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I'm an idiot for leaving out (d) -- How many guys there just threw on a Batman shirt and went down to check it out out of boredom, or because friends were going?

Honestly, not very many. San Diego Comic-Con tickets sell out completely months and months in advance.

posted by rifflesby at 8:05 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


My sister and wife are both pretty big geeks in very different ways and are very awesome. I just wish we could celebrate people more often and not fucking beanplate every thing they do just cause we've got nothing better to opine about. If either of them ever had to justify their existence at a con or whatevs I'm pretty sure I'd lose respect for that particular group.
posted by snapped at 8:07 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


What comments about certain women at conventions would have been "above the belt"?

Well, which women, exactly? How is it he has determined which pretty, female, con attendees are fake geeks? Has he administered some sort of test? Or is he building a linkbait strawwoman based on a conversation he had with some cosplayer who displayed what he determined to be an insufficient knowledge of geeky things?

The canonical example, for me, is actually men who fake an interest in sports to get along with the gang.

I sort of agree, and sort of don't. They "how 'bout them [sports team]" thing is often more of a social lubricant in a group of people, not attention-whoring or gold-digging, as Peacock accuses these fake female geeks of being.
posted by rtha at 8:08 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


canonical example, for me, is actually men who fake an interest in sports to get along with the gang.

This is a good one given that sports are the geeky pastime the mainstream says it's OK to like. Geeky because it involves a lot of background knowledge and time amassing said knowledge, and because a lot of the time it isn't that easy to bluff your way through it (there's the joke that most women don't know the offside rule - I'd bet you at least 5 out of 10 men couldn't give you a concise explanation either).

But being hugely into sports is seen as manly and cool, where being hugely into Magic the Gathering doesn't often appear in lads' mags or buddy movies.

And the issue debated here is the same - you can be a woman and be into geek stuff, but you can't be too attractive otherwise your authenticity is called into question, because handsome men and women should not be really enjoying this stuff. And it exists everywhere. I remember being a teenager and, because of my gender, being expected to be into boy bands rather than rock music; when I was older, if you were into rock music, you could only express appreciation for pop songs ironically otherwise you weren't really part of the guitar botherer's gang.
posted by mippy at 8:11 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


It always cracks me up that being into sports is manly and cool. Number one, my 84 year old grandmother knows more about football than most men I've met, and two, fantasy sports leagues.
posted by palomar at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But being hugely into sports is seen as manly and cool, where being hugely into Magic the Gathering doesn't often appear in lads' mags or buddy movies.

Well, DUH.

Guys who play SIM City are way hotter.
posted by jb at 8:19 AM on July 27, 2012


That Farscape Onion article makes me sad.

Partly because I had considered myself a massive Farscape Fan (watched all 4 seasons in just over a month, then promptly rewatched over the next two) and I missed most of the references to the actors, writers, and leviathan stats (forgot entirely that Moya is a "Leviathan" spaceship, since I tend to think of her as a somewhat silent but still important character).

I guess I'm a poser. But I'm old and married, so that's okay. Me and my muppets will just be over in the corner imagining new worlds.
posted by jb at 8:24 AM on July 27, 2012


Actually, it was a statement regarding certain women at conventions, not all women on planet Earth. I have no idea what comment was "below the belt" or why. What comments about certain women at conventions would have been "above the belt"?

Assuming you're trying to argue in good faith, these statements were "below the belt" because it was an added insult about the women's failure to meet his standards of attractiveness, and it had little to do with the rest of his argument.

Take that out, and the article is still vitriolic and misguided, but throw in the insult, "And they think they're hot but REALLY THEY'RE UGLY, HA HA HA AND ALSO A BAD 'STAR TREK' JOKE" and his argument goes from being misguided to just being rude for the sake of being rude.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:40 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Honestly, not very many. San Diego Comic-Con tickets sell out completely months and months in advance.

True enough. I took his rant as being more about geek events in general than one in specific. But to be fair, he may not have intended that.
posted by tyllwin at 8:53 AM on July 27, 2012


I don't see why this is particular to Jeri Ryan. I'd be willing to bet that most of the ST principals don't know that much about it. Why, it's as if he's holding women to a different standard than men . . .

I seem to recall that Patrick Stewart used to think that Sci-Fi in general was silly and took himself waaaay too seriously on set for the first season or so of TNG, because he wanted to make sure that everyone knew he was a Serious Actor™, despite this role. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the quote(s) supporting this.

The point is, no one goes around shitting on Captain Picard for not being a True Geek™. This is definitely a gendered issue, despite claims to the contrary by Peacock and his defenders.
posted by asnider at 8:53 AM on July 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


William Fucking Shatner (TM) literally shunned media fandom several times before realizing they were his Long Tail.

If one offended by the Jeri Ryans and Olivia Munns of the world because one feels pandered to, the solution is easy: Don't fall for the pandering. Don't watch Voyager. Don't watch G4. Companies wouldn't exploit hot women to attract men if it didn't work. So stop letting it work.
posted by muddgirl at 9:00 AM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


argonauta: "Oh, and I like women. They can look pretty and can smell nice. Or make me feel happily gloopy with a well placed smile.

I'm sure you mean well, but you know that there's nothing here about women as people with brains or lives or value beyond their attractiveness, right?
"

That was a fumble, a serious fumble. I meant it as a jab towards the post title which had been staring me in the face while I was posting. All due apologies to anyone offended.
posted by Samizdata at 9:19 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


And smart IS sexy in my book. Male or female.
posted by Samizdata at 9:29 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall that Patrick Stewart used to think that Sci-Fi in general was silly and took himself waaaay too seriously on set for the first season or so of TNG, because he wanted to make sure that everyone knew he was a Serious Actor™, despite this role.

For the record, the man was in Dune just three years before (in fact, my reaction to his casting was, hey! It's that guy from Dune!).

Of course, he was (awesome) in Excaliber three years before that.
posted by Gelatin at 9:39 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think that was Shatner who took his role too seriously. Stewart, I recall reading, was always pretty respectful of the opportunity - the very second episode is The Naked Now, which has The Scene.
posted by muddgirl at 9:46 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's in Lifeforce, for fucks sake.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it actually an expectation now that actors cast in well, "geek-beloved," roles are supposed to be not just good actors, but geeky themselves?
posted by tyllwin at 9:47 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Only the attractive actresses, tyllwin.
posted by muddgirl at 9:48 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm opposed to worship of pros in fandom, and why Mr. Scalzi's argument (through geekish authority) is a bit troubling.

He pretty explicitly pulls the carpet out from under geekish authority at the end of the piece... that was a setup for the lulz.

There seems to be some link between autism and violence.

Um, citation needed. There's a lot of violence in this world. Is it really perpetrated by people with autism spectrum disorders disproportionate to their numbers? Especially when you account for the fact that violence calls attention to someone and creates a greater likelihood of psychological examination and diagnosis than someone with an ASD who isn't violent?

I'm not trying to excuse all geeks for all shitty behaviour but the links between "geeks" and autism spectrum disorders seem to be established at this point. There have been a few posts about it here. There has got to be a certain subset of people who really just do not and cannot get it that they are hurting other people.

Yeah, if you go to cons, you'll encounter the occasional likely Asperger's case who as you say might stand too close and might buttonhole you into conversations about their interests. But I've been to a lot of cons, and such people really aren't common. (There are a lot of people who are at least a half a step off the path of neurotypicality -- including myself, as an ADHD-boy -- but, again, if you look at the stats, there are a lot of people everywhere who are at least a half a step off the path of neurotypicality.)

But sexism at cons is really common, just like in the rest of society, and I really don't think a preponderance of it can be blamed on ASD-ers in either case. When sexism is normative, so-called normal people will frequently be sexist. Breaking that normativity is what we really need. (And call-outs like this one are exactly the process we need to do that.)
posted by Zed at 10:02 AM on July 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Only the attractive actresses, tyllwin.

Well, more seriously, is there? I mean, I can understand a distaste for an actor, female or otherwise, who pretends to be when they're not. But for someone who says, in essence "I'm an actor, and I want to play (blank) because it's challenging and fun role, not because I love SF," is there actually a reaction against that person?
posted by tyllwin at 10:07 AM on July 27, 2012


I didn't think so, but Peacock apparantly does.

OK, digging a little bit deeper, I think when media fandom started really getting big - when there would reliably be expected to be star panels at conventions - there was sort of a narrative like "The stars of these shows are just like us! They were fans of the original Star Trek just like we are!" Whoopie Goldberg, for example, always talks about how she was hugely inspired by Nichele Nichols, and sometimes that fact is used to 'excuse' her presence on the show.

It seems almost like this has been turned around, where if you're not a fan then you don't deserve the opportunity to sell advertising space to geeks? But I think it really stems from this idea that, somehow, Batman isn't mainstream - that it's an niche interest. Or Star Trek:TNG wasn't mainstream. But neither of these is really true - it's a play at exclusivity that doens't actually exist.
posted by muddgirl at 10:14 AM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If it was Shatner, and not Stewart, I'm thinking of then: oops! I don't think I'd have mixed the two up, but I stand corrected if I did. My overall point about this issue being about gender remains, though.
posted by asnider at 10:46 AM on July 27, 2012


I can't quite articulate why, but this reminds me of the "Synth Babes" theme popular amongst a certain synth blogger*. Most of the time the women are just eye candy. Sometimes there's a conventionally attractive woman who can play the synth she's in front of. But both examples merit the same reaction "OMG T&A&Synths!" It gets old.




*Not naming names because I don't want to give him more publicity.
posted by luckynerd at 11:02 AM on July 27, 2012


Patrick Stewart, about acting in Star Trek, said, "The fact is all of those years in Royal Shakespeare Company – playing all those kings, emperors, princes and tragic heroes – were nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain's chair of the Enterprise."

I also saw an interview, years ago, where he said he thought it was an important role, and a responsibility to be taken seriously, because it's a show watched by so many children, who both get excited about science and ponder questions of morality because of the show, and that neither of those things should be shortchanged or treated lightly by an actor who's decided he's "too good" for the role.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:16 AM on July 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


He could probably pull off Sexy Grant better than me too.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on July 27, 2012


He could probably pull off Sexy Grant better than me too.

Totally unfair -- Stewart's already bald!
posted by Zed at 11:34 AM on July 27, 2012


Trust me, I am working on it.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was sold on watching X-Men on the promise that I would see two Shakespereian actors arguing grandly on the nature of being a mutant. DID NOT DISAPPOINT.

For Americans: Ian McKellen, a few years ago, was in Coronation Street, one of the biggest soaps - the biggest programmes - in the UK. As was Craig Charles aka Lister from Red Dwarf (he's a cheeky Scouse taxi driver).
posted by mippy at 11:43 AM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've forgotten how good he was actually
posted by mippy at 11:46 AM on July 27, 2012


One of the most depressing things about being an extremely geeky adolescent female, before becoming "conventionally attractive," is how my male friends would act around prettier girls. Like I'd have certain friends I'd normally sit next to, but if a pretty girl wanted to sit there, they would tell me there wasn't space for me that day, form a circle around her, and not care in the least about my absence.

Why isn't Joe Peacock mad about that, if he's so upset about pretty women getting attention in these spaces? It's not like they can take it by force. It's something that's voluntarily (and quite readily!) given.
posted by cairdeas at 12:11 PM on July 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


cairdeas - i had similar experiences. there is something utterly depressing about sitting in the living room on game night, listening to the nerd i crushed on (and who "friend-zoned" me) go on and on about how no girls want him and that i'm lucky because i can get any guy i want. i learned pretty quickly that they meant the cheerleaders didn't want them. luckily my geeky husband loves geeky women.
posted by nadawi at 12:36 PM on July 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


listening to the nerd i crushed on (and who "friend-zoned" me) go on and on about how no girls want him and that i'm lucky because i can get any guy i want. i learned pretty quickly that they meant the cheerleaders didn't want them.

Ohhh yes. There's also the variation on this where they complain about the women they lust for being mean, rude and snobby to them and shunning them, and then they turn around and act breathtakingly mean and rude to the women they think are "gross."
posted by cairdeas at 12:45 PM on July 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


There's also the variation on this where they complain about the women they lust for being mean, rude and snobby to them and shunning them, and then they turn around and act breathtakingly mean and rude to the women they think are "gross."

It's pretty much textbook misogyny. Women who don't give you the attention that you think you deserve are stuck-up bitches. Women who do give you attention, but don't meet your personal standards of beauty are gross and desperate. But, hey, you're a Nice Guy™ so you can't possibly be a misogynist.
posted by asnider at 3:30 PM on July 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


I just about saw red when Bones, a show I liked for a long while, had a geek episode. I was initially thrilled because they included a female geek (go gamerz~!) but then a joke was made about the 3/4 of the group being near a "real woman" (which was especially tone deaf because girl! right there!) and then in the plot she was reduced to "girl who had sex with two of the geeks and is dismissed by one of them as mostly unimportant".

I dislike other mainstream geek shows for similar reasons - they largely exclude female geeks, and when the geeks show up they're largely dismissed as ...well, 6 of 9 puns. Numb3rs was the only show I've seen that had a female geek who was central to the show and began to act in her own right (with one of the main characters, her boyfriend, in tow) as the show progressed. I watch it whenever I haz a geek girl sadz. The readiness of the writers to make her an expert and him the tag-along sometimes despite his being the main character mad me really happy!
posted by Deoridhe at 4:30 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always liked goth-science-geek Abby on NCIS.
posted by rtha at 4:51 PM on July 27, 2012


muddgirl: "Yeah, I think that was Shatner who took his role too seriously. Stewart, I recall reading, was always pretty respectful of the opportunity"

When he was on the Nerdist podcast he talked about being over serious on the set in the beginning and then being corrected by his cast mates.
posted by the_artificer at 5:28 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've always liked goth-science-geek Abby on NCIS.

She's a goth in real life, too; the reason her character has been portrayed listening to Android Lust is because the actress is a fan.
posted by infinitywaltz at 6:07 PM on July 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hair status update
posted by Artw at 6:13 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


sometimes they get it really wrong - but i do love the geeks on criminal minds - penelope is an awesome, girly, ultra femme character who is a bad ass computer gal (even if the computer talk is just as bad as it is on all those shoes). also, i support kirsten vangsness being on tv in any capacity. any woman who describes herself as "queer as a purple unicorn singing madonna" is ok in my book.
posted by nadawi at 6:25 PM on July 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


For some reason (given that there are plenty of terrible crime shows I like), I can't stand Criminal Minds. But I've watched Penelope clips on youtube and love that character.
posted by rtha at 6:32 PM on July 27, 2012


oh i totally get that. the gideon years were the best. the last couple of seasons have been sort of blah with all the cast change ups. it can be hit or miss. i really like it for all its flaws, but i understand when other people don't. there's some that i really dislike for no reason i can put my finger on - svu or castle or that one that had the tough talking gal with a jaunty hat that came out recently. on the other hand i really like the closer and criminal minds and earlier seasons of ncis or bones.
posted by nadawi at 7:10 PM on July 27, 2012


whoaali: "I am so tired of men who think women exist solely for their pleasure and then are outraged when said women fail to meet their personal criteria of what a woman should be. As if they've ordered a thin crust cheese pizza and got a chicago style with pineapple on it instead. And now we have to hear about why Chicago style isn't really even a pizza and that putting pineapple on a pizza is an insult to their taste buds for the next half an hour."

Putting pineapple on pizza is AWESOME, especially if you have swallowed hundreds of gallons of San Diego seawater learning to surf just to get spiked in the ribs when someone nearby loses THEIR board mere nanoseconds after standing up for the first time.

Ummm, yeah, I gave up on being a surfer right after that, although I still do a brilliant 80's Spicoli-esque surf rat to this day.

And I have learned NEVER to have preconceptions about women I meet as I was proven wrong ever time I have had them.

Like learning to like pineapple on a pizza...
posted by Samizdata at 8:36 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty much textbook misogyny. Women who don't give you the attention that you think you deserve are stuck-up bitches. Women who do give you attention, but don't meet your personal standards of beauty are gross and desperate. But, hey, you're a Nice Guy™ so you can't possibly be a misogynist.
posted by asnider at 3:30 PM on July 27 [6 favorites +] [!]


And this pretty much sums it up brilliantly. I couldn't get through all the FPP (because, urgh), but reading between the lines of what I could get through his main complaint seems to be that he thinks that women that go to cons aren't sexually interested in him, therefore they can't be 'real' (wtf that means) geeks, because [resentment]. Dude needs to get over high school.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 8:49 PM on July 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hawaiian + jalapenos - try it!
posted by Artw at 8:49 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw: "Hawaiian + jalapenos - try it!"

Way to break my attempted metaphor, Baldy McBalderson!

(I keed, I keed. I mean that Baldy comment with all due love and respect.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:24 PM on July 27, 2012


It's dieting for the pants that is going to be hardest.
posted by Artw at 9:26 PM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


asnider: "There's also the variation on this where they complain about the women they lust for being mean, rude and snobby to them and shunning them, and then they turn around and act breathtakingly mean and rude to the women they think are "gross."

It's pretty much textbook misogyny. Women who don't give you the attention that you think you deserve are stuck-up bitches. Women who do give you attention, but don't meet your personal standards of beauty are gross and desperate. But, hey, you're a Nice Guy™ so you can't possibly be a misogynist.
"

Naaaaah. ANY women who give me attention are cool.

Does that make me a Nice Guy™ or just desperate?

(and no, I don't take myself seriously. I've seen myself naked.)
posted by Samizdata at 9:27 PM on July 27, 2012


Such a cool thread. I'm here nodding and chuckling and rolling my eyes right along with you all. Thanks guys. Who wants a beer/whisk(e)y/slice of pizza?
posted by likeso at 9:47 PM on July 27, 2012


I LOVE pizza with pineapple, though you really have to cook it into the cheese. Sprinkling pineapple on top .... no.

Hawaiian + jalapenos - try it!

God, pineapple + jalapenos is the best. Hold the pig, though.

Why, it's as if he's holding women to a different standard than men ...

Point 1. Think_Long.

It's not like they can take it by force. It's something that's voluntarily (and quite readily!) given.

Point 2. Cairdeas.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:49 PM on July 27, 2012


It's dieting for the pants that is going to be hardest.

You know when people say they want to favorite a comment 1,000x. This ^^^.

posted by mrgrimm at 10:51 PM on July 27, 2012


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