Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Geek Cred" - Stop Qualifying, and Start Celebrating

It seems the new way to drum up a lot of nerdy outrage online these days (and therefore a lot of page views) is calling out "fake geek girls." The latest is this article by Joe Peacock over on CNN, which rails against booth babes (who are paid, although Peacock doesn't seem to know that) and other girls who don skimpy costumes solely for male attention, in essence "pretending to be geeks."


I've been asked to comment on this trend several times, but I've avoided it because I like Epbot to promote geek girl culture through positive means, not negative ones. Meaning I'd rather point out and applaud the good stuff, and not dignify the bad with more press. I like to think if we all subscribed to this philosophy, then most haters would pack up and go home once they realize they're not getting the attention they're trolling for.

Still, I'm going to weigh in on this quickly, just so I can refer back to this post later as my "official stance" on that elusive thing called "Geek Cred."

Here it is: 


Ok, that's more of a question than a stance, but I'd love it if everyone would ask themselves that before writing any more articles or comments calling out "fake" geeks. Who is that article helping? How is it improving anyone's experience or life or attitude toward their fellow fans? 

At best, you'll have people agree with the author and shake their fists angrily about all those awful "posers" who are "ruining" the con experience for the rest of us. Woohoo. Let's all get angry and congratulate each other on how wittily we're tearing other people down, thereby making ourselves feel somehow superior.

At worst, however, these articles and the attitude they represent will lead to further judgement and hatred of female geeks, who in turn will feel an increasing need to somehow "prove" themselves. 

So let me get this straight: We've gone from being ostracized as geeks to accusing the "cool people" of pretending to be geeks? Is this some kind of generational revenge? Are we trying to get our day in the sun as the popular clique now, dictating who can and can't eat at our metaphorical lunch table?


With that said, I'm not sure I'd call writers like Peacock "misogynists," simply because I hate hateful labels, and - at the risk of inspiring some ire myself - sometimes I find myself agreeing that the whole booth babe mentality is pretty repugnant. And, yeah, when I see a hot girl in nothing but Batman underwear getting more attention on the con floor than the non-hot girl who spent months crafting an amazing costume, I get a little irked. But you know what? THAT'S NOT THE HOT GIRL'S FAULT. Hot girls make awesome costumes, too. And being hot certainly doesn't disqualify someone from being a "real" geek, for Stay Puft's sake. So who am I to judge? Who are any of us to judge?

Look, instead of decrying the fact that guys will always like boobs, and instead of judging any woman who dares flaunt a little sexuality as being somehow less of a fangirl, let's focus on the good stuff:

Times are changing, and with them comics, video games, and nerd culture. As women flood the geek and gamer market, content producers are being forced to make their content fit a more diverse demographic. That means stronger female lead characters, and more of them. It means more women being involved in creating that content. It means, quite simply, that geek girls are on the rise.

So don't let the Geek Police get you down, ladies, because things are looking up. Look at Katie with her Star Wars bottle. Look at 6-year-old Bryden with her Spock cosplay. These girls and others like them are going to grow up into a geek culture more open and accepting and female-friendly than the one we're in now, because they will make it that way just by being themselves. And frankly, I couldn't be more excited about that.

In fact, I think I just found a better stance on this geek cred thing:

"Stop qualifying, and start celebrating."

And that's my final word.

So let's go celebrate, my friends.

UPDATE: If you're interested in further reading on all this, John Scalzi and Forbes both posted their own rebuttals/reviews today, and Joe Peacock has posted a response to all the criticism.


  1. Amen! More power to all of us! :)

  2. I can't even tell you how much I agree with you on this. I'm a child & adolescent therapist, and I teach THINK a lot:
    Is it . . .

    If not, don't say it or post it.

    And from now on, I'm adding "stop qualifying/start celebrating" and crediting Epbot. Though now the acronym is THINKSQSC which is a bit awkward . . . ;-)


  3. One thing that gets on my nerves is female attendees (who come in skimpy costumes, "covered" costumes, "male" costumes, nerdy shirt and jeans) are NOT booth babes. Booth babes are models hired and handed the outfit they are going to wear when they show up at work. These are the same girls at car shows, other conventions and trade shows, anywhere someone thinks a girl showing skin will get your attention to buy something. Some are nerds, and its really fun as well as a way to make money, but some are just earning a paycheck by being freezing cold in a giant convention center in uncomfortable heels trying to be nice to people staring at her boobs and to remember what she's supposed to say about the movie/game/comic she was hired to promote.

    And I honestly think the "fake girl nerds", if they even exist, aren't blowing hundreds of dollars or dozens of hours on an outfit you can't wear anywhere else.

    But I do think you're "who is it helping" is a good method of evaluating all criticism. Letting go of the mob mentality seems like something no one likes to do lately :/

    1. I know plenty of "booth babes" who are pretty damn sexy, and pretty well versed in the (specifically magic the gathering, which has garnered a lot of sexist attention towards female players of the game might i add) subject matter of the booth they represent. In fact I doubt all booth babes are stereotypically dumb models who just need the quick cash.

  4. I can't more hardily agree.

    The whole argument kind of feels like two girls fighting over the same cheating guy. Everyone is distracted by the wrong issue.

    I am going to judge less and just enjoy the geekery.

  5. Great response! For a negative topic, I think you gave a fair and still pretty positive response.

    As much as we geeks try to fight the stereotypes of being out of shape (has anyone see what people look like coming out DCI, especially when they age out after being in the full time? They're the epitome of band geeks and are usually more in shape than the "cool" kids), prudish (um... female game character costumes?), etc. By shaming those that "dare" to wear the aforementioned skimpy costumes we're are only serving to preserve those assumptions. What stuck out to me is that he is assuming any woman that chooses to wear a shirt that could be theoretically purchased at a mainstream store is only doing so for the attention. Unless he interviewed these women, he is judging them in the same way I'm sure he was judged at some point. Is the only way to prove their "geekyness" to wear covering cosplays as opposed to any outfit that they feel shows their interests?

    Also- is he really saying Nathan Fillion and Will Wheaton aren't geeks or at least, have a genuine interest in traditionally geeky pursuits? It may be that I'm misreading but that is how it read (and re-read) to me.

  6. Amanda Marcotte has a great piece up at Pandagon today about exactly this topic.

    As a lady gamer, I am all too familiar with the guys who expect me to provide my gamer bona fides before they will consider me a "real" gamer, and it's frustrating to see this misogynistic crap getting attention at CNN. Marcotte says it all much more coherently than I can; I just see red when the whole "hot chicks only go to cons for the attention" thing comes up.

  7. @ Anony - I just added a clarification that the booth babes are paid workers. Thanks; I shouldn't have assumed all the readers would know that!

  8. Have I mentioned that you are my hero! I love that as an adult and kowing who I am and what i love i can celebrate my geekery. But growing up in a "boys club" geek culture was rough on me! I am thankful that my (currently fictional)daughter(s) will be more free to be themselves. Growing up with me and my husband the word Geeky comes to mind, and I am gleeful about it.

  9. And this, Jen, is one of the reasons I love you. In a purely squee-ing fangirl sort of way, of course. :D

  10. I'm so lucky that when I started to really look in to "geek" things, I found a great group of people who are now my best friends. I even met my husband LARPing. Nuts to the haters and let's go play a game.

  11. As a geek and a vegan, I see this type of thing often enough from both camps. "You're not vegan enough because you eat Oreos, which might have bone-char sugar in them."
    "Oh, you don't play video games? How can you possibly be a geek?"
    It doesn't help anyone and it alienates people from joining both groups! We should be happy when people want to join, not cutting people down about it.

  12. I want your stance on a shirt with an awsome grafic to go with it ..can I ...

    Oh why! Oh why don´t I have the time for making it ;_;

  13. YES. Yes, there are some girls who seek out attention because they know they can get it. That happens EVERYWHERE. But whose right is it to judge even the hot chick in batman underwear? Maybe she's being slutty so she can talk to some batman fans because that's her real passion. It's not for anyone else to judge her because she's the only one who knows her own motives!

    I spend all year every year making my DragonCon costumes... and yeah, they're a little slutty. I do that because I enjoy wearing the costumes more and it takes me out of my "normal" life more and into my "geek" life. If people are inferring that that makes me less of a geek, screw them. Screw anyone who wants to tell ANYONE who they are or whether they're better or worse than anyone else!

    Isn't the whole point of being a geek liking what you like without giving a flying turd what anyone else thinks, and celebrating that? The only person who has any right to say who or what you are is YOU!!!

  14. I would call it misogynistic, but then again I'm more confrontational than many. That's what drives all of this: the booth babes, the shoddy treatment of women at cons/in games/in nerdy social circles, and the middle-school geek-girl cat-fighting about who counts. It's part of a culture that panders exclusively to a very certain type of dude. I think people like Peacock imagine they're helping dismantle misogyny by starting fights, but they're really propping it up because they're falling prey to the idea that we should compete and tear each other down in order to win positive attention from the people who matter-- in this case, like so many others, dudes. I really can't imagine caring so much about what other people do. What if a "fake geek" is really just new to it and the nastiness puts them off? What if someone is doing something silly to impress a boy (I think all of us have done something silly to impress someone, it's human)? What if someone really likes cosplaying a skimpier character? Really, so freaking what? Go to cons to have fun, and leave the other people alone. "Who is it helping?" indeed.

  15. As always, you make amazing points. You celebrate the true spirit of geekdom and nerdiness.

  16. Hear, hear!! Well said, Jen. I love it here, and this is why.

  17. Jen Yates FTW. As usual you come in with the most succinct answer.
    And since I know you follow Felicia Day on Twitter, I'd also like to say I enjoyed John Scalzi's point: that anyone can be a geek because geekdom is about SHARING things you love with other people who love them too.

    Much love to you all from a proud [marching band, Harry Potter, Star Wars, steampunk, fantasy literature, with a light dusting of goth, Pokémon, and anime] geek.

  18. 'Ear, 'ear! Well said, Jen! (from one geek gal to another) We sisters must ban together for the greater good! lol

  19. If judging must go on, wouldn’t it make more sense to be judging the men who are giving the women showing the skin so much attention? I mean, if they were REAL geeks, they’d be more into the women who spent lots of time and thought on costumes and who have interesting conversations and ideas about their particular brand of geekiness, right? Seems like “girls who are just in it for the attention” only exist if “men who are just in it for the girls” do.

  20. Amen and agreed! I may not qualify as geek, (I consider myself geekish instead) but who am I to judge anyone else. I know very few fangirls, at my age they are more interested in The Notebook, than The Batman, but I love that my kids will marry girls that would rather see Thor, and read the HhGttG, than a sappy chick flick, or Eat, Love Pray. (Which I'm not knocking, it's just not my thing! or theirs.)

  21. Good post, thank you. This really hits home for me because I feel that a lot of times people judge my geek cred based on my looks and how I dress. Although I wear my geeky t-shirts proudly, my style is mostly really girly and feminine, not what people expect out of a "typical" geek girl. I constantly feel like I have to prove myself (especially to other geek girls) to get people to understand that I really authentically enjoy the same geeky things that they do, and I hate that. I also hate this trend that seems to say that every geek has to be interested in every geeky thing in order to be authentic. I am not a hardcore gamer and I probably will never be, but does that mean I should be excluded from geek culture because I don't share every interest? Can't we all just celebrate the diversity that we as geeks have and stop judging people for their differences? Sorry for ranting this stuff just really bugs me. :/ I expect more of a subculture that is supposed to be accepting of those that are sometimes not accepted in general society.

  22. Hear, hear! Thank you for injecting a bit of sanity into the discussion.

  23. I agree with you completely! "Stop qualifying, and start celebrating" is a great way of putting it!

    We humans aren't Betazoid. So until we start developing telepathic abilities, who can truly judge anyone else's motives? (And why should we waste our time caring about motives?)

  24. Sadly, every group seems to have those who feel the need to rank people in the group (always placing themselves at or near the top). So it doesn't surprise me that the geek crowd has people who want to rank other geeks, placing themselves at the top and complaining about how those other "so-called-geeks" aren't geeky enough.

    I'm guessing I wouldn't fit the bill in Mr. Peacock's opinion. I consider myself a geek, but I've never been to a Con. I've never created a geek-inspired costume. (Judging from the "Man In The Yellow Hat" attempt I made years ago to go along with my son's Curious George, that's a good thing.) I don't know how to solder. I like anime in general, but couldn't name half of the titles out there. Heck, since becoming a parent I haven't even found the time to see a lot of movies that are "geek staples." (Yes, I'm the geek who has yet to see Star Wars 2 & 3... And not because of some prequel-boycott.)

    Am I less of a geek because of this? I don't think so. I have my interests and pursue them in my own ways. I don't need some self-proclaimed Lord Of The Geeks to tell me that I need to watch Movies X and Y or engage in Geek Activity Z in order to keep my Geek Card. I think of myself as a geek and that's good enough for me. (Why do I suddenly crave cookies?)

  25. Who are any of us to judge?

    Enough said.

  26. Wow! Good for you! It makes me so happy to see women lifting up other women. We have to support each other. The hot, warm and cold.

  27. Well said. I worked as a "booth babe" at E3 one year while I was in college. Hey, it was a paying job that included free admission to E3!

    So yes, I was wearing too much makeup & a stupid t-shirt and demoing a game that I as an actual geek could tell had no future (though I didn't tell the nice marketing folks who hired me that). But on my breaks from the booth I got to run around the convention center playing video games & collecting swag.

    So I agree with Jen: don't judge a booth babe by her cover.

  28. Ugh, I am so with you on this. It shouldn't be about tearing others down to make yourself feel better. It's one thing to get mad at a company that hires girls to wear Batman undies in a booth and another to ostracize a girl who bought admission to a convention and thought dressing up would be fun -- whatever that means to her. Doesn't every girl go through the college stage of wanting to wear a skimpy outfit on Halloween? To me, it's the same thing. If you don't like it, don't pay attention. Honestly, it all seems to me like barely veiled jealousy. There's no excuse in my book for trying to make someone feel like they're not good enough because they don't know every line of Star Trek backwards and forwards. There are so many different types of geeks out there, and we should celebrate them all.

  29. This is why I love reading your blog! Your positive attitude, honesty, boldness, sense of humor and your smarts come through in every post. THANK YOU! You are such a blessing!

  30. You Rock! Thanks for saying it so well.

  31. The parallel for a con costume is a Halloween costume. Some are clever and some are tarty; we like showing a bit of boob and leg because, all too soon, our boobs and legs are replaced by saggy sausage meat. Women who are employed to look pretty and sexy for the booth don't even enter in to this, they're just doing their job. It's been hard enough being a girl geek, without us being judged because we might want to look like girls.

    Thank you so much for writing something sensible and clear-headed about this.

    (lols! The word verification for this comment was TheVice!)

  32. I two words for this.

  33. Love you!!! I hate the "you can't be sexy and a geek" line. It reminds me so much of the "you can't believe in equal rights for women if you are feminine" bra burning, no pit shaving feminists. I can be as good as any businessman/geek and still wear heels, thankyouverymuch. Of course, I'm strictly an Etnies girl but you get my drift. *g*

  34. You. Are. Awesome! And your stance/questions could (sadly) be applied to many areas of life. I appreciate your view that you shouldn't talk about the negative, but I'm happy that you responded this once to get people thinking. You are a wonderful Geek Girl Ambassador!

  35. (delurks)

    (stands up)


    Well said.

  36. Preach it sister!

    One of the things that unifies geek culture- or at least should- is that we always excepted everyone, regardless of who they were or what they looked like, if they shared a common interest. The problem is, geek culture is used to adopting the outcasts. Now that it's become more mainstream, we geeks have reached a quandry: do we still accept people unconditionally, or do we stay with just the outcasts? And yes, there's a level of hurt, because we can't help but think, "If we'd looked like you, no one would have cared what our interests were."

    Still, I've always thought that our unconditional acceptance of anyone was our best quality, and we shouldn't lose it. We shouldn't oppress, as we were oppressed, just because someone is attractive and maybe just not as "into" it as us. And who knows, if we make a little more effort into being accepting, those booth babe types might put a little more effort into their costuming next year. There still is that stigma against people who go to cons and especially those who dress in elaborate costumes. And if even the con doesn't feel like a safe place, why bother?

  37. Super post! I also found a <a href="> to John Scalzi's response </a>to the Peacock blog, which strikes me as awesome, too.

  38. So I read the article, and the weirdest thing is how reasonable he seems until the whole "I hate girls who dress up just to get attention at cons!" I agreed with a lot of the things he said about how women have improved the genre, and it amazed me that he actually thinks this is a thing. I'm pretty incredulous that real women actually do this. If he knows some who do, I wish he'd say so, because it sounds like he's just making it up out of his fevered imagination. I'm probably not even a 6, but I've considered cosplaying some outfits only a supermodel could wear just because I like the character so much. It's amazing that the moment I show some skin I'm subject to his judgement about whether I'm truly a geek or not. How about he just assumes I AM a geek until he comes up to me and asks me what my costume is and I don't know because I just picked the sluttiest one?

  39. Amen!! I couldn't agree with you more!!! Why? Why the judging!? What if they are not "geeks"? isn't "being geek" a way to express ourselves, our likes for more "awkward" the look, no matter who is judging? It is sad and like you doesn't help anybody!

    Great way to put it!!!!

  40. My only complaint is that my geeklings (1 boy, 1 girl) would love to go to Dragon*Con. It is local for us so in theory we could take them to the parade. The problem is that as women fight for boob attention their clothes go from PG to Magic City. I don't want my girl seeking that kind of attention or my son giving it. I just wish more cons were family friendly.

  41. Such a good way to talk about this topic. Wunderbar!

    And to add to the geeky-ness of it all, those of us who are Trekkies can proudly say:

    IDIC--Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combination

    Live long and prosper, everyone

  42. Thank you. You've said it perfectly.

  43. Any geek guy worth his lightsaber won't want a "fake geek girl" for the long term anyway - not if he wants to hang out with someone who shares his interests. Really, they're just doing themselves a disservice by faking it and flaunting the goods. And those well made costumes make a person - guy or girl - much sexier than something skimpy anyway.

  44. Unless, of course, some chick shows up at a con wearing both a slave-Leia leather bikini AND Spock ears, in which case she can be stoned.

    (I kid, I kid.)



  45. This is what I've been thinking for awhile. Why can't we all get along. It seems to me that the whole geek culture is just coming out of the shadows. It's not like girls have all of a sudden begun liking all things geeky it's just that now people are getting together more often to bond over it, laugh, have fun, connect, etc. I blame the internet! It has the power to bring us closer together or tear us apart. lol* I'd just would've liked to have seen someone bust into my living room at age 8 to call me a poseur for watching Star Wars with my dad when the movie was made 4 years before I was born. FAKE GEEK! Or during Star Trek or the Labyrinth. Or while reading comic books. I could keep going.

  46. Truer words have never been spoken :)

  47. I love your guts for this. I mean, I loved you already, but now I love you even more.

    Aaand now I'll just back away slowly while you give me the side glance/eyebrow raise because this is coming off a tad creepier than intended...

  48. From a geeky old lady (I used to read sci-fi in 7th grade, you know, "boy" books! Wayyyy back in 1967), how sad. The only way to know who is actually a geek, is to speak to them and get to know them. not judge them by looks. And if you are judging by looks, we haven't gained anything at all. How sad. I keep hoping for better so my grand geeks will have a happier life!

  49. I see where you're coming from, and partially agree. But of course, I feel like I need to rep my point of view.

    I'm a geek girl in a family full of jocks. I grew up the smart one, the outcast one, the one who Mother just couldn't force into her ideal mold and I paid the price. Only now as a 31-year-old woman am I finally allowed to enjoy who I have always been. I'm offended by the booth babes and the other girls who assume that being below a certain BMI means they have to pour themselves into a set of underoos that would be too small for a kindergartner and bask in the geeky sun they didn't earn. Yes, I feel that they're posers, and I don't think it undermines the sisterhood of actually geeky women to say so.

    I don't mind the hot chick who learned to read on back issues of Teen Titans baring it (though I do feel as though it's not a good way to promote healthy female tropes in gamer culture) because at least they had to struggle with the rest of us.

    I'm lucky enough to have found a gamer guy who, while he's not as into sci-fi as I am, still understands, participates in, celebrates, and encourages my geekiness. We have a daughter who is more interested in robots and Pokemon than Barbie, and we are both proud of her and glad that she'll be growing up in a world that won't be as difficult to be herself in as mine was at her age. But I don't want her to have to battle booth babes and strippers to be able to have a conversation with like-minded guys when she's old enough to care.

  50. Well, I didn't realize this was even a thing! But I totally agree with you Jen! I would much rather look at the positive! Behaviorists will tell you that you ignore the bad behavior and reinforce the good behavior, which is exactly what Epbot does! And that's why I love it! So keep up the good work!

  51. Can we please apply this logic to everything? I see it all the time with music. Somehow if you don't follow a band from day one, no matter if you were 7 when they first became a band or they're from a tiny town halfway across the world and you had no way of knowing they exist you're not a real fan. I'll never understand it. The labels just get in the way sometimes. I'm well aware I don't fit into just one group enough to give myself a label, and I'm fine with it. The only people who really bother me are those who ridicule any of my interests. Anything else would be hipocritical.

    Thanks for posting this, Jen. It's nice to hear such a chill outlook on issues like this. :)

  52. I'm relatively new to your blogs, and I have to say you rock. Truly you do. Love this commentary, but what really got me are your stories about Katie and Bryden. I just followed the links and read them for the first time. Teary-eyed, I am. Just too cool.

  53. Lynn, the sad truth of the matter is geek culture, for so long, has been "guys with their faces in geek stuff so long they never learned to talk to a pretty girl" that their "fantasies" or our cultures' belief of what their fantasies are, is half naked, pretty girls, that *want* to talk to them. And booth babes, and PG 13 or R rated costumes, became the norm. ): I'm betting that will probably change a bit as more and more geek girls claim their spaces at these events.

  54. Ug, this is the kind of crap that kept me from going to the comic book store for a long time. I felt that as a girl, they didn't really want me there. (my new comic book store is so awesome it blows the jerky one out of the water, though! And they have a great section of kids comics so my 5 year old daughter can pick one out on new comic book day, too!) I also had a hard time in college because I was so used to my group of guys from back home, who considered me one of the guys, so I always played poker and geeked out with them, and in college no one would let me in a game because I was a girl.


  55. I wish I felt that more people felt as you do.

    Read it again and it may make sense.

    I'm a "closet geek" most of the time. I have a sonic screwdriver in my purse that I never show anyone. I play video games and read books that I don't discuss with anyone. Heck, I rarely comment on the sites I visit on a daily basis. Why? Because growing up I was constantly told that my tastes were wrong. Yes. Actually told. Out loud. By not only peers, but by my sister and parents. Good times. twitch

    There is good news, though. I've become a bit more comfortable letting people see the real me, and I think that it can be largely traced to sites like yours and the internet in general. Thank you for putting yourself out there - for letting us share in your enthusiasm and for giving voice to those of us who have yet to speak out.

  56. Video games and geek culture in general *did* used to turn me off, but as you point out, and the reason we all love your blog, content and culture are becoming more integrated with real women. The fantasy booberific women may never leave due to ahem, the market, but I am looking forward to the geek future you describe. I want to be part of it.

  57. wow, was blown away by the timing of this, just yesterday i was told i could not be a geek as i was too pretty... what? have loved reading all the comments because so many of them sum up how i feel, like i have to fight to defend my geek cred because i don't like everything that is considered authentic geekery when instead we should all just be celebration our geekiness.

  58. I have some mixed feelings on this. Geek Cons were my refuge back when I was in high school. They were the one and only place where I felt comfortable being exactly who I was - a lumpy, dumpy, awkward girl who loved Dr. Who (Tom Baker and John Pertwee thankyouverymuch), Douglas Adams, Joanna Russ, Dungeons and Dragons, etc. Looks didn't matter. We were (pretty much) all lumpy and dumpy in our own ways. Needless to say this was back before the commercial folks realized we had money to spend so there were no booth babes or other nonsense.

    I don't do cons anymore - in large part because they have become so commercialized and yet another place for the "beautiful people", yet another place where I feel marginalized simply due to my physical appearance.

    Yet I also try not to be judging myself. One's physical appearance is not a measure of anything more or less than one's physical appearance. But yet, due to how this society is structured, one's physical appearance does impact ones experiences.

  59. I wish that instead of labeling each other, we'd all just enjoy ourselves. Yes, cons are a great way to meet people with similar interests. But just like in "real" life, not everyone is going to agree on everything. How about we all just support each other instead of shredding each other, like we do Katie and Bryden and all the others like them - regardless of age or boob / body size.

  60. The last geek girl who I complimented on her costume... won a prize within minutes. I hope she posts the hilarious Deadpool performance she recorded.

  61. Are you familiar with Anita Sarkeesian from She's a gamer who also writes a feminism blog. She has been under attack lately (and when I say attack, I'm not exaggerating) for a kickstarter project about female tropes in gaming. The horrible backlash she has received is because she's a woman who 'dares' to set foot on male soil. I knew there were misogynists out there, but I had no idea how overt they can be under the anonymity of the internet. They claim she has no right to call herself a gamer.

  62. Few things
    Who is to say that, just because you get paid to be at an event, you are not a fan of the event.
    Have you seen most of the female characters in comics skimpy dress is more the rule than the exception.
    There are plenty of guys at cons shirtless and some in the skintight costume too.
    It is not a persons fault if they are good looking and get attention this happens every where not just at cons.

    If YOU do not think they should get attention then YOU can choose not to give it to them.

    Give up being judgmental it doesn't help anyone and just confirms stereotypes that geeks are elitest assholes no one has a monopoly on what kind of people are allowed to like certain things.

    Also Im def not hot but every one has a right to exist

    Comic cons aren't the only places that skimpily dressed females are the norm, there are car shows, hooters, beer commercials, etc. If there are males consumers in the audience companies will provide Eye candy. If it didn't work they wouldn't do it.

  63. Brilliant!!! Thank you'

  64. What was so gross to me about that article was the way that he gave women a numerical score: 6s in the world dress up in skimpy outfits so that they can pretend to be 9s around all of the geek boys. GROSS. While I don't throw around the word mysogynist lightly (mainly because I have a hard time spelling it), I certainly don't think that giving women number scores helps to promote gender equality in geek culture.

    Not really related, but I do have a problem with the objectification of women in a lot of geek culture, but that's been changing for the last decade as more and more women become consumers and producers and participants in the culture.

  65. I haven't read the articles and I don't plan to. I have decided that, as long as they leave Felicia Day alone (cuz I want to be her when I grow up! even tho I'm older than her, but whatever), they can say whatever they want. I am the only one who needs to be concerned with whether or not I'm a true geek girl, and having been told by a geek guy friend, who I love very much, that he had me pegged before we were really even friends because "we can smell our own". Which, yes, was a huge compliment.

    For a culture that has been the recipient of so much bullying and smack talk for so long, you'd think geeks would know better than to try to be exclusive. One of the beautiful things about geeks and nerds is that they accept everyone. That's been my experience anyway, and I'm not going to let some writer who doesn't know my geek girl experience to try to change that.

  66. I just have to agree with what you said.

  67. So many <3s for this. I'm a proud geek girl with a captive audience, and I will occasionally (all the time) let little geek references into my teaching.

    More than once, I've had a quiet/made fun of/totally awesome girl come up to me after class and tell me she loves that I let who I am show because it makes who she is ok.

    I'm going to start recommending they read this post. I might print it out and keep a few copies in my desk!

    Thank you and you rock.

  68. Wow. When you wrote, "Let's all get angry and congratulate each other on how wittily we're tearing other people down, thereby making ourselves feel somehow superior" all I could think about is the current political client. I wish everyone could see that they do this.If there is no positive benefit what is the point? The next EPBOT Tshirt should read "WHO IS THIS HELPING!!" You are one of my favorite people Jen!

  69. I can't express how much I just love you, Jen. Your "live and let live" response is amazingly refreshing in this online world of trolls and flames.

    My response has nothing to do with cons and gaming. I'm dealing with a very contentious issue right now in my professional life where there are lots of rumors and unkind emails and outright lies . . . it's been a very stressful time. When I read your post this morning, especially where you said, "Who is this helping?" just reinforced my resolve to continue to take the high road. There are many occasions where people can find common ground and work toward positive solutions rather than tearing each other down.

    Just wanted to let you know that this posting (about something completely different than my situation) really made my day. It's just good to know that there are people like you out there.

  70. Jen, I love you even more now. Thanks for this call to sanity!

  71. You're the best, Jen!

  72. I read the article, and then I read his response to the responses to the article (thanks for the link). It was clearly stated as an OPINION piece. He was stating his opinion. If I understand correctly, that's at least part of what he gets paid to do. I don't have to agree with his viewpoints. But I did not judge him, call him names, or label him. I just read what he had to say and went on with my day. I thought his response was terrific.
    Thanks, Jen, for giving us YOUR opinion and views. What a blessing you and John are! Maureen

  73. Making anyone feel like they don't belong just because they don't meet your criteria is lame. There's plenty of love to go around: enjoy it!

  74. I agree it doesn't help, but I'm coming at this from the standpoint of being made fun of by cruel classmates for almost all my school years for being a nerd. I finally find a husband who appreciates and loves me and friends who accept me and I'm comfortable being me, and now "those" girls are pretending to be like me? That is just hurtful. And I don't want to carry a grudge and I realize those exact girls are not the ones who tormented me, but the hurt is still there. It's just a difficult situation. But you are's not helping. It's just sad.

  75. My stance always has and always will be:

    Who is the "expert" that gets to quantify everyone else's level of geekiness? There are so many interests in geek culture so who gets to decide what is most and least geeky?

    I'm not "only a little geeky" because I only know 20 fun facts about Doctor Who, nor am I a "master geek" if I know everything about every game that Konami ever released.

    On another note: How does someone "pretending" to be a geek really hurt anyone else anyhow? If someone else wants to monetarily support this thing that I support (in this case, Cons)and help to ensure that a local con will happen again, what do I care if they are really into it or not?

  76. Joe Peacock's attitude is the WHOLE REASON I am terrified to go to, not just conventions, but goth events, punk concerts, and any kind of scifi event. If I wear my normal clothes, I'm a square, and if I dress it up a little, I'm a "wannabe looking for attention". It's just another place in life where women lose both ways.

  77. hey Jen, have you seen 21 jump st? because I think the question you posed about whether the geek was the new cool was spoof-ily addressed and while funny, it seems so true as to this day and age's "cool quota." You just can't be "geek" enough these days - I don't even post/comment on a lot of geek things in fear of getting it wrong or ripped on. So weird, we spend so much time trying to hide/deny the geek, and then trying to validate it.

  78. i feel like now you need a cross stitch portrait of stay puft with "WWSPD" at the bottom.

    also i agree with your stance.

  79. Thank you so very much for writing this! I am an attractive female nerd thay works in a comic and tabletop game store. I often, along with a similar female co-workerer, am asked why I work there , if I'm actually a nerd and then the follow up is always being asked what I play. My male co-workers are not treated in this manner.

    Also, I'm one of those con attendees in the revraling costumes. The last one I made cost me almost $600 to make and months to craft. I obviously am geeking out over a single character out of the fadlndoms I adore to spend that much time snd money. In the last 3 years I've lost nearly 40lbs and it's something I'm extremely proud of. If I can, in an appropriate setting, show off my body I will.

    So again, thank you for acknowledging that attractive women and women who want to be and feel sexy can be nerds. Your understanding humbles me!

  80. Just from personal experience I suspect some sexual rejection occurred in the authors past. Tends to turn off the rational parts of the brain.

  81. Jen I wanted to share this story on twitter, but the twitter button wouldn't work.

    I think you did a great job explaining your stance. So much of this and who is viewing what was getting so confusing for me. I thought so much of this was about the women promoting their modeling careers on the backs of "geek culture" by being booth babes, like I saw in the maxim "gamer girl" contest. I loved reading about the girls that LOVED gaming and could talk about what they did, and cringed at the girls that only talked about what convention they worked at and had them promoting games.

  82. This is anony #2 (the booth babe comment) and I know I'm super tardy to get back to the party... but I just wanted to say I wasn't including you in my rant! I felt super bad. I know you know the diff and most of your readers do today, but all these mainstream articles seem to purposely leave that out (and as mentioned in the Peacock response, it means whatever the hell he feels like to him. and he also seems to conclude, geek means whatever the hell he feels like too).

    When I see that kind of assumption on big newspaper sites, I can't figure out which is the more depressing conclusion to reach when presented with booth babes=females at cons: that you couldn't get a girl there unless you paid her, or that obviously those girls are there for their desperate need to inflate their egos, not to pay their rent.

    so to recap: love you, love your site, hate mainstream media, particularly up in our geeky business.

  83. Excellent post. You'd think with how much this idea of "fake geek girls" is brought up that conventions would be overrun with them. I don't think they are. It costs a LOT of money to attend a convention between badges, transportation, and hotels. The number of women who don't care for any geek fandom and just dress scantily for attention are few and far between.

    My major issue with his article is he makes it seem like an attractive female in a costume that gets a lot of attention should be assumed as a "fake geek" unless proved otherwise. That just makes me roll my eyes so hard I can see my brain.

  84. "Stop qualifying & start celebrating" I love it!!

  85. The irony, to me, is that i think of geek culture as a place where we've been complaining for years about others writing us off because we don't appear to live up to others' expectations on first glance...So now we're dealing with it by writing others off because they don't appear to live up to our expectations at first glance. *sighs*
    I would hope that when we're tempted to do that
    --because a girl wears a costume designed for sex appeal
    --because a girl is wearing a costume not designed to be overtly sexy
    --because someone's there at the convention for a paycheck
    --because seomone can't, or won't, attend conventions
    --because someone doesn't geek out over the same things we do or get quite as obsessive about it as we

    ...i would hope that in that moment we can remember what it was like to be the one rejected or ostracized for being ourselves and see if we can make just a bit more room in our circles of geekery for something a little different.
    First and foremost, i always thought the shining beacon of our geekery was that we want to share it; so then let's share it. If it's a passing fad, then we'll enjoy the limelight as long as it lasts and still be here after the crowds go away. And if that not-really-feelin'-the-geekitude booth babe is genuinely interested in being part of our world, she's more likely to stay if we accept her as she is than if we make her jump through hoops to qualify for geek cred.

  86. um, I kind of get both sides of this. I don't feel totally comfortable in the geek world, because I now don't feel like I fully qualify, but I'm no longer 'hot enough' after health problems that put on weight, and I'm older so it's not something geek guys would be screening for me.

    I'm bisexual, and I gotta tell you...I get really sick of women pretending to be bi, or making out with women because guys 'think it's hot'. Sorry. It took me a long time to accept that part of myself, and geeks went through the pain of being ostracized and messed with so I understand their fighting back because now folks are pretending to be geeks because it's trendy...

    However,looking for qualifications is crud. Geekiness in in your heart, even if you don't meet certain 'levels'...


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