South Park Self

"scrotal origami" is my new favourite phrase

Teh Internets have recently been all agog about yet another in the long line of tragically misogynistic assaults on female fans by men from within the fantasy/sf/comics world. There's this utterly weird thing that goes on at cons, with certain male geeky types getting their Superman boxers in a twist because attractive female geeks in costume cannot possibly be "real" geeks and are, as far as I can make out in their somewhat incoherent argument, simply doing it for the attention. Or being deliberately and callously unattainable. Or something. Not a lot of logic here, and rather a lot of evidence that a very specific subset of the male geeky type is hopelessly defensive and bristly about "their" fandom, and moreover has absolutely no idea how to deal with the mere fact of attractive women within their "safe" space. Or the idea of anyone seeing "their" fandom in different terms - you see further outbreaks of this kind of thing in the assaults on female fanfic writers who have the temerity to slash comic-book characters, which are now "ruined" for the "real" fans. Or something. I can't even. (See here for specific examples and commentary, as well as a surgically accurate attack on the objectification of women in comic-book art).

At any rate, while there's a beautiful deconstruction of the Tony Harris misogyny here, my favourite response is, as often seems to be the case, Scalzi's: the gut-boy analogy is exquisitely withering and certain turns of phrase made me choke, as is traditional, on my Earl Grey. It's just fortunate that for every certain kind of male geeky type there is an equal and opposite male geeky type, probably because physics. Thank FSM.

I also can't help wondering if the whole thing is exacerbated by the fact that con fandoms tend to be around fantastic texts, which trend heavily to the symbolic and thus the idealised and reductionist, so that in the faint scrabblings of the demented fan-brain the concept of "fan" has the same inviolably perfect status as "Batman". Or, in other words, as I spent a happy half-hour explaining to my nice therapist the other day, because superheroes are actually about the idealisation of both identity and agency, and to a greater or lesser degree of dysfunction, being a hopeless fan is about as close as any of us are ever going to get.
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Or because the costumed females are not *attractive* enough (according to them). Apparently fandom belongs to men (obv), and these guys reckon there should be a panel of judges to assess wouldbe girl geeks before allowing entry. I imagine points would be allocated for hotness+availability and geek cred; insufficient GC scores could be made up for by extreme hotness, but only as long as availability was also present. Insufficient hotness would probably be an immediate fail, because what's the point of having non-hot women present?

Naturally this applies only to women. No one would bother to question male fan geek cred, and certainly no one would care whether they were hot enough for their costume choices.
Yes to all of the above. Also, I am fascinated by the idea of "not attractive enough" existing in tandem with the traditional fan outrage about booth babes. Contradictory much, silly defensive fanboys? Pshaw.
I never did buy the concept of "fake geek". Stripped of gender idiocy it makes no sense. There are novices and there are masters (and all shades in between) at various subjects. it's hard to tell which is which. Mastery of one subject may not be mastery of another. of course I'm thinking mostly about programming languages, where expert C++ gives you nothing more helpful than a toolkit with which to begin to learn Erlang. This works for comics too, right? Knowing all about Batman gives you a toolkit for understanding X-men, nothing more, right?

Telling masters that they're novices is insulting. Presuming to know the difference between novice and master at a glance is arrogant. Telling anyone (novice or master) that they're "fake" and shouldn't try is insulting.

Edited at 2012-11-26 05:52 pm (UTC)
And stupid, and counter-productive. The correct response to "I tentatively like Thing You Love enough to dress up as it even though I don't know much about it" is "Please hold still while I babble enthusiastically about Thing I Love, with hand gestures, in order to validate your interest and addict you properly and totally." Any sense of identification which is exclusive rather than inclusive is a sad, crippled thing.

The gender stuff adds, I think, a whole layer of nasty.
Sounds like there's a change in the demographic, and some longer-term members are feeling threatened by the 'new generation'.

Not only do the newcomers not look like them, they don't dress like them, and they don't sound like them, and worst of all, they have no willies, to add insult to injury, they won't sleep with the old crowd.

Don't they know who I am? Don't they know how hard I've worked to gain my geek-fu over the years?

How dare they stomp (or wiggle) into this con without having paid their dues? How dare they buy skimpy costumes and take part in the fun. This is *my* fun, and I'm damned if I'll share it with just anyone!...

etc etc.

Kinda like just about any self-selecting sub-culture, only this one has misogyny for added specialness.
All of that. I'm seeing hipsterism (i.e. "I was into $thing before it was cool, you're only into it because it's now cool!") along with a whole lot of inchoate anguish about wimmin and mainstreams.