Girlz 'N' Games Comic #106: Shifting Goal Posts

Originally posted on my web comic, Girlz 'N' Games.
Last week or so, comic creator Tony Harris took to Facebook to rant about “fake geek girls” – more specifically female cosplayers who pop up in revealing outfits at cons and bask in the slobber-flecked nerd attention... despite the fact that the majority of these “superheroines” have little comic knowledge.

For the most part, online outrage was the response to Harris’s outburst. “Boo hoo, poor socially inept white men, preyed on mercilessly by succubi masquerading as geek girls.”

My 2 cents?

I don’t disagree that there are cosplayers out there who are more interested in dressing up and feeling good about their bodies than grappling with the headache-inducing minutiae of comic book continuity. But fuck it, these women are having fun. They’re not doing it with any insidious intention. They’re not trying to bait anyone. They’re not there to snicker and demean. They’re not hurting anyone…

Put more simply: it’s not about you, boys. And if you feel that it is, you need a reality check. If, as per Harris, your reaction is frothing outrage, take a deep breath and just ignore the “attention whores.” Be strong, keep your eyes set straight ahead, walk past – and don’t give them what you think they want. It’s that simple.

It’s that simple for geek girls too, actually. Ignore the critics. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about navigating the geek gender minefield – online where everyone has an equally loud, anonymous opinion – it’s that if someone wants to hate you, they will find a way to discount anything you do that’s in opposition to what they want to believe. Similarly, they’ll magnify any flaw, any error you’ve made. It’s a game almost impossible to win.

Ladies, I know how frustrating it is to be continually interrogated about the authenticity of our fandom. Flashlight in face. “What are you doing here? Show me your pass.” It’s demeaning.

It’s not helped by the fact that “geek girl” is a term that’s pretty much impossible to define. The criteria to qualify for the title are easy to alter by whoever is administering the test. You enjoy Terry Pratchett but have never read Douglas Adams? Tut tut, that’s a fail. You own the Battlestar boxset but don’t like Star Wars? Whoops for you. You can’t name all the Green Lanterns, past and present, of Sector 2814? Pathetic.

The list goes on and on. You can be the world’s most dedicated pop culture consumer but you still will never watch/play/read/hear it all. At the end of the day, the only advice I can suggest comes via a paraphrased motivational quote:

“You can’t please everyone but you can do what makes you happy.”

The real trick these days seems to be defying those bullies who try to strip away all the enjoyment you receive from your interests. Just keep at it; ignore the haters and try to outlast their interest in undermining you.


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