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One comic creator's rant is just the latest example of misogyny in geek culture.
Male comic book authors draw scantily-clad, spandextastic, objectificatilicious women and receive accolades.
But should women *dress* in said costumes and go to a con, suddenly there's a problem. The sad slatterns! God forbid they profit from their own objectification. And by "profit" I don't mean share in the literal millions that the male comic book artists and authors reap from drawing women this way. I mean, a little bit of useless social capital whose currency is limited to a weekend in a convention center in Denver, and a morsel of internet fame.
But yeah, suddenly, somehow, that's a problem.
I get it, you want to fight the opinion that some jerks have. That's all well and good.
But why, why, WHY would you then seek to generalize all the nerds as having the same mindset!?!
Jesus Christ, didn't you end it by saying "the proper response is to be welcoming" and NOT generalize an entire community when they don't seem to get it?
One of the worst logical fallacies and typifications of the nerd I've ever seen. Fuck you, and fuck your site. And, yeah, fuck Tony Harris, too.
Breath a little. Nobody said anything about all the geeks. Just about the geek culture. That is a very different thing. Most geeks don't probably think like that, but enough do to make it very obvious and a problem for women. So it is part of the culture. You don't need a majority to make some characteristic a problem, you just need a vocal minority.
I'm sorry, but you do get that thats exactly the same as saying " Nobody said anything about all the Black People. Just about the Black culture."
Yes. But there's a difference between making an observation about a culture and making a generalization about somebody for being associated with it. (Side note: I think it would be problematic to refer to "all the Black People", which is *not* the same as referring to "Black Culture [in America]")
For example -- and to use a less inherently polarizing one than you appear to be fond of -- I think we can all agree that we can make statements about "American Culture" as a whole; i.e., that it's generally patriarchal, that there is a general bias against minority groups, that it approves of the individual and independence (if we can't all agree on this, whoops! My bad, you guys, go back to sleep).
Most people would say that these are accurate statements about "American Culture" overall (much as, to draw on your preferred cultural example, one could say that "Black Culture" is religious), because they are observations about general trends within a group.
The problem arises if you see an American and assume that they are an exemplar of "American Culture". For the sake of argument, let's say you're an American. I know that, overall, minorities face discrimination in "American Culture", but it would be irresponsible of me to conclude that you, as an American, discriminate against minorities.
To draw on something you said in another comment:
""""I didn't say all black people were sexist, i said black culture was sexist." See how catagorising an entire culture as sexist, isn't better then just categorising all black people as sexist... Its literally the same statement. Its no less racist, its exactly as racist."""
I think it might be more instructive to replace "sexist" with "homophobic", since that makes the statement a bit more google-able:
"I didn't say all black people were homophobic, i said black culture was homophobic."
Those *are* very different things to say. On average "Black Culture" tends to draw strongly on religion (in America at least), so you can indeed say that "Black Culture" tends to be homophobic, because the culture has inherited many of those traits from the religion it draws on. This is not at all the same as saying that "All Black people are homophobic", just like saying "American Culture discriminates against minorities" is very different from saying "All Americans discriminate against minorities".
Dude, did you just compare a group of people united by common interests to a racial group? lol!
Hmmm...this was supposed to be a reply to one of "Morningstar's" comments, not a top-level comment on its own. Strange.
Anyway, Morningstar is the one who made the switch to racial groups; I was just trying to engage him in his comfort zone :)
Well in English culture we celebrate christmas but not all of us a christian. Get your facts straight dude.
It comes down to attention seeking.
Girls dress like that because they want attention.
Tony Harris feels people should pay attention to him at comic events because he is a comic creator.
I can see his point that he finds those people annoying and he is entitled to his opinion, but he went about it the wrong way.
What I don't get is why geeks are being divided into groups based on gender? It seems entirely irrelevant to their interests and depths of said interests. Some con-goers just go to check out the merchandise. Some go to meet favourite artists etc. Some dress up at cons because it's fun. Some don't bother because they aren't interested/don't have a costume just then.
"Girls dress like that because they want attention."
As soon as people start assuming that certain groups of con-goers have different reasons for attending from the rest of the con-goers, BASED ON GENDER, that is when it becomes misogynistic, and he becomes a misogynistic prick. "Women just cosplay to get attention." But no guy ever does, right? And every woman at a con in a costume is interested in drawing as much male attention as possible? And never in showing off her costuming skills? Or in playing a character she likes? Honestly, what makes people like Harris even assume that all female cosplayers are straight? Not all of us are, you know, and not every guy whose advances are turned down is being rejected because he's not cool and buff enough. Sometimes he's simply the entirely wrong gender to begin with.
But, sheesh. Should we start telling the fur-loincloth barbarian dudes to eff off? Because they're wearing a revealing costume, so dammit, they'd better (a) be built like Schwarzenegger, because otherwise they're just forcing us to look at ugly dudes who think they're way hotter than they actually are, the pathetic losers, and (b) had better actually be real fans and not just some poser who thinks they can slap on a fur loincloth and then get all the attention instead of Important People like Mr. Harris.
As soon as he (or anyone else) starts telling groups how they should be dressed and how hot they should have to be in order to dress a certain way and how in-depth their interests need to be before they're allowed to even be there, then, yeah, there's gonna be a problem. Substitute "women" with any other group (if he's singling out Blacks or Asians or people over 25, is it any less problematic?) and he's still going to (justifiably) catch shit, because, guess what, none of any of that is in any way relevant to whether or not people are fans of something quote-unquote geeky.
It's misogynistic because he's singling out a certain group of cosplayer based entirely on their gender. And I'm pretty damned sure comic shops, movie theatres, and libraries don't have isolated "Gentlemen" and "Ladies" entrances.
By the way, emulation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery. These women are paying homeage to characters they love, some of which this jerk surely created. That's a fine thank you.
As somebody who costumes up annually (for something else) I say you are guessing and almost completely wrong (though I also say nothing wrong with wanting attention).
My guess, which I feel is more informed than yours, is that it actually is mostly about fantasy. Costumes allow one NOT to be themselves more than they satisfy attention needs.
That said, it is nice to have attention and accolades from the community you feel kin to, so yes, by all means Jason, demonize these women for feeling comfortable enough with YOU to costume up and hope you like their efforts.
But why does attention need to be considered such a negative thing? I feel that many people, men and women, dress in costume and for some part enjoy the attention.
Whether it's attention to the fact that they're in a cool costume, attention towards their amazing skills they've utilized to create that costume or just wanting to feel a bit special for the day, this doesn't need to be such a bad thing.
I think we need to separate attention from sexual gratification because there are plenty of men and women who dress in costume for attention but I am yet to actually meet a costumer/cosplayer who genuinely does what they do for sexual gratification.
And this would be why I stayed away from cons and nerd culture in general for most of my life, even though I was a serious fan, comic-book nerd, and gamer. It should have been the place I fit in best, but I wasn't welcome.
I finally started attending and participating once I was in my 40s and past the "hot or not" years, when (most) people could accept that I was interested. Shame I had to waste 20-odd years first.
Oh, word. Once, a guy literally gave me a book to read as a "test" to see if I was worthy. (Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere," which I did not end up enjoying, big surprise.) It sucks being treated as insincere all the time.
Me too, completely! And from statistics I looked up yesterday on gaming (Nielson) 18% of us have been lurking in the shadows for some time now (women 40 and over).
Really nice work. Keep it coming.
I don't understand how he doesn't see that he was being misogynistic, but then again he does have a wife and know women so obviously he cant be- oh, wait, that's exactly the same as the 'but I can't be racist, I have black friends' defence.
Here's the other thing, though; has he even remotely considered why there are so many, as he put it. 'con-hot' costumes about? Sure, he might not feel that he contributes to the poor treatment of women in comics, but that doesn't mean it stops existing.
I stopped attending cons when I realised my only choices were to go as a female character and wear something that both makes me uncomfortable and other people behave uncomfortable, go as a male character and be called ugly or try-hard, or go as something else and be called out for trying to be special/not knowing enough about comics.
No-one has to take a test when they buy their tickets, and no attendee's ticket to the con is worth less than yours because they might know less than you. Also, hey, he *does* work there! Isn't it a good job that all those people turn up to the con so he has a job there?
See one thing I'd like to say is that whilst the situation is bad for everyone, the minority status of girls in gaming (at least in the early 2000s) meant as a teenage boy, it felt like they had a certain privilege. So what I'll do is try and illustrate my feelings as they used to be in the hope of providing a better understanding of it all.
This is how I felt as a kid.
Here me out, as I'm just trying to explain people's attitudes. As a nerdy, bad at socialising, rejected by anyone (due to being creepy/awkward/unconfident/ashamed) guy growing up, you find a sanctum, a cave, full of people like you, where instead of like at school where people are "ranked" on their social ability, they are instead ranked on their gaming ability, knowledge, ability to stick at a shitty internet argument, whatever. Either way, it feels like your world where you're free of the bullshit that comes with being a nerdy teenage boy. Free from the bullying, the failure, the powerlessness. The only issue is that you are one of a giant mass of people - it's extremely hard to discern who you are simply because everyone is pretty much like you - slightly sick sense of humour, loving LAN parties, wearing nerdy t-shirts. As a guy you're kind of part of a big mass and you feel like there is no way to discern yourself, or get attention (and attention is important if you lack a normal amount of it).
So then, a girl comes along. Everyone fawns over them, gives them huge amounts of attention, invites them to everything - say you spent months trying to befriend people enough to get invited to the coolest LANs or OPed on the most popular IRC channels. A pretty girl in nerd circles was seemingly such a rarity that they'd have this stuff given to them instantly, lavished with attention (and as we can see now, not necessarily the good kind). It was even worse if they were pretty and wore "slutty" cosplay outfits - now you're competing for the attention of the girl again and it's just like school and that horrible place we abandoned. So you get jealous, bitter, and resentful. You get even more jealous, bitter, and resentful when said girls make blog posts about how bad they've got it, when they are getting all the attention and advantages you've dreamed about since you can remember, but all they have to do is put up with a little creepiness? How dare they. You try to talk to them, a half assed flirt (because you don't really get the chance to talk to girls) and are shot down as being creepy and only into girls for sex - not true - you sometimes feel the deepest connection you've ever had for someone because they have bridged into your world and might just be the one. Your mind gets completely carried away like this because you're confused, jealous, naive and desperate. You have no idea what to do, only that this girl has gone and taken the only known quantity you had and made it just like the shitty world where you felt worthless and helpless. So yeah, bitterness and resentment.
Now, I've grown up a lot now, and through hard work and finding a father figure in day-to-day life, am a confident, rounded guy, and don't have these issues, and realise just how wrong I was.
I'm not saying the above is "right" in any way shape or form, but in order to fix the internet community we have to understand just why people are so resentful and misogynistic. My experiences weren't true for all people, and they were not in any way accurate, but I definitely did harbour feelings like this until I grew up and grew into a decent human. The funny thing is, they've left their scars and in some ways I remember it like it was yesterday.
I understand where you're coming from, but a major point you've seemed to gloss over is it isn't the girls that give the unwarranted attention (good or bad) to themselves - it's the GUYS who give it to them. It's the guys that behave like panting chimps. It's the guys who refuse to judge her based on her ability or intellect alone. Instead of rightly focusing on the failures of men to control their hormones and interact with women in a dignified, respectful way, you instead let your resentment fall onto the woman because it's far more convenient to blame the odd-duck female in a crew of guys than to accept men have deep-seated psychological problems with accepting women as anything more than a sexual object that they must compete over.
As a woman who has been gaming for 0ver 20 years I can tell you few things suck as much as trying to earn the respect of your male gaming peers through ability, only to know that deep down, regardless of how good, bad or average I am, I'll always be treated differently simply because of LOL BOOBIES. Few things suck as much as wondering whether or not Guy McDude is being nice to me because I'm a good player/good person/interesting individual or if it's because of LOL BOOBIES. Sadly this problem isn't limited to just gaming, either - everything a woman does in life is often judged against the backdrop of her gender. I can't count how many times I've had to question whether my accomplishments were deserving of praise or if they only got praise because of LOL BOOBIES. Similarly I can't count how many times I've done fantastic and been treated with contempt because of LOL BOOBIES.
Men need to start accepting responsibility for their behaviour toward women, whether that behaviour is giving them unwarranted attention through fawning or being bitter, resentful dicks who can't accept a female being on the same level of them. This is a problem with male behaviour, period.
That wasn't classy, this guy gives an honest bit of insight and you use it to spout off with sexist jibes and generalisations.
Guy gives example of men stereotyping women: insightful
Woman gives example of men stereotyping women: not classy
Really? Really? a couple of million years of biological evolution is supposed to be tossed out the window so you can flash you flesh with impunity? Are you an idiot? Or is it just the standard agenda based female position that states you can do whatever you want however you want to and forget either responsibility or consequence? Really? You know there's a reason sexual attraction exists--becasue most of you aren't worth talking to otherwise.
Watch out about calling people idiots and then demonstrating yourself to be one. It really makes you look bad.
You and other troglodytes don't actually have the weight of a million years to fight against when dealing with women, flashing flesh or not. It's obvious you haven't evolved at all.
Though you rely on it as an excuse to the contrary, most men, the vast majority of them, can act like perfect gentlemen even while speaking to beautiful, naked and intoxicating women (I've seen examples thousands of times over the years).
Please don't concern yourself anymore with talking to women - any women - because ugly or attractive, not one of them should have to suffer talking to you.
Wow, you're making a prime example of the pathetic geek culture being discussed right now. Good job moron.
Dude. Grow. The. Fuck. Up. If you can't control yourself in public, don't go out. if you can't act like an adult, stay in.
Oh I'm sorry_-i'll grow the f*ck up--i dunno ,maybe get a job--pay my f*cking child support (to two different so called geek girls by the way)--do my best to behave in a basically upright manner--take shite you wouldn't believe in order to live up to my responsibilities -- just so you can tell me to grow the f*ck up. A$$hole, I've "grown the f*ck up"--i've fed on being "grown the f*ck up" till my guts burst with it--which gives me very little time for twee motherf*ckers like yourself to toss out an opinion on the matter--I've grown up--and paid for it and continue paying for it in amounts that you could comfortably live on-so forgive me if my opinion isn't to your liking. You can call red green all you want--but it doesn't make it actually green. I avoid cons like the plague because of cosplayers --because of the new female renaissance--just like the boxing gym, just like the fishing trip; the few places where I might socialize without the screeching gynocentric cacophony that is "woman". I freely admit my misogyny. I've f*cking earned it--so forgive me if I have no sympathy for spandex clad geek girls crawling out of the woodwork and their fraught little dramas about being objectified for showing skin. What the f*ck did you expect?
Yo, male commenter here.
Hope you enjoyed all that lifelong ballache, because you totally deserve it.
Earned it? You've earned something all right, my poor widdle put-upon friend. You've earned my mocking laughter, and about 90% of the people reading your tirade will follow suit.
Oh wahh wahh. I can't maintain a relationship, but it's not my fault! Women just can't realize how objectively AWESOME I am! Their rejection of me entitles me to fling my own poo all over the place and claim it's maturity!
Oh, and let's not forget, if women get treated like crap by men for showing some skin, it's THEIR FAULT because men can't control themselves.
I'm guessing if a woman wears a short skirt and a man rapes her, that's also her fault, right? What a creepy loser!
What you know about my life would fit in a thimble...all you need to know is that if the astronomically unlikely circumstance occurs that we a)ever meet and b) our identities are ever made plain, I will make you shit your own teeth.
You're right! What I do know about you would fit in a thimble: you're a toxic, obnoxious douche! And now I can add to that you have a propensity for violence. I can infer from those things that there's probably a pretty good reason women flee from you in droves and you're just too thick to understand why.
NIICE. Well I don't know how old you are but I'm old--saw star wars in the theatre, got the promisary action figure becasue the store ran out-read spider-man from the time I was four--bought the pink D&D box--old.
I have two daughters, an ex-wife, a psycho-ex-gf-baby momma a sister, a mother, multiple acquaintances, including women in my present gaming group.
Here's the thing. Unless you are cataclysmically lucky-It doesn't get any better than the situation you describe--the awkwardness goes underground--the lines are drawn--you sing kumbaya and all is good--except it really isn't. The reason( in my opinion) that nerd girls get a hard time is that like all women they simply can't leave a male space a male space.
Even bringing it up is viewed as a form of anti-feminism in its own right. I'm not looking to break in on anyones geek cred--nerd girls--be nerd girls--but get that when you do--for a lot of guys--you are entering what used to be a safe space for them. You arrive and it no longer is. Entering
that territory is, to quite a few men, a perceived threat.
So I get that you want to cosplay--and I get that you shouldn't be treated as eye candy or a piece of meat in a skimpy costume--i get that--but you had best realize that when you play the word association game with my generation of geeks the first association you get with the word woman is some variation of the word pain.
So I will happily accept your presence in these places--I am not knocking your knowledge or dedication to whatever show, mag, game or comic you love--but understand this--as I understand you aren't in anyway shape or form required to go any further with me than you want to; I have no requirement to be your friend or to have a deep conversation with you or include you in my activities. You can show up with the free ticket your costume got you but your automatic admission is not guaranteed.
"like all women they simply can't leave a male space a male space."
Well, that is perfectly true. Women have a long history of invading "male spaces," considering everywhere but the kitchen was once considered a "male space." Some men got all butthurt like you are when we entered the "male space" of higher education, the "male space" of political participation, and the "male space" of the professional workforce too and some still haven't gotten over it. But those men are rightly considered by most women, and quite a few other men as obnoxious douchebags and their treatment of us as a second class is not something women or anyone should simply accept and take in stride. Grow up. You share the world with women. Deal with it.
I feel sorry for your daughters...
I only wanted to address the fact that you somehow decided that all geekdom is "male space." Where do you make that arbitrary distinction of "male space"? I guess we shouldn't have any female scientists, businesswomen, lawyers, law-makers, or voters, because by the same logic, since it was dominated by males, we should leave it that way, is that right? And how is a female entering that space making it no longer safe? Really, is the existence of women in the same field so threatening?
No. It's not my problem that you or anyone else made the mistake of thinking you were in a men's locker or at a Promisekeepers club or something. These places were never a safe space for mysoginy beyond being an as yet unmoderated domain. Your ilk was allowed to fester by an industry that wasn't paying enough attention to it's customers. They have definately noticed and you are feeling it, aren't you? Give it up, Attend your cons, play your games, but leave your mysoginy at the door. You have plenty of forums to practice it elsewhere where it won't interfere with others' enjoyment of their hobbies.
WOW. So, when I fell in love with Doctor Who in 198-, at age 11, I should have never expected to be accepted as part of the fan community because I was female? When I memorized the names and years in the role of every actor who played the Doctor (not to mention poring over my copy of The Key to Time, the book for the 21st anniversary), while all the other girls in my class were memorizing names and ages of the members of New Kids on the Block, I should have expected to be excluded from a group whose interested I actually shared because I didn't have a Y chromosome (and, even at that age, was a C cup)? Even though I dressed as Ace for my first Con at age 13 and was beyond excited to meet Sophie Aldred and Tom Baker, I should have realized that Cons are "a male space"? That's bullsh*t. You don't get to tell me that I don't belong in "fan" space for something I love because of my gender.
That's exactly what I'm saying. You want to make some space--make your own. Oh wait--where were those seminal groups of female fans collecting together? Where were they at the beginning? Why is it that it started with boys and was generatedby boys and maintained by boys? I'm saying you don't belong in my fan space--because let me be clear here--I have actually bled for my fan space--been bullied and assualted for my fan space--so you do what you want...you will never know face to face what's happening -- fight your fight--get feirce riot grrl! You go. But at the end of the day some of us are just fed up with your bullSh*t.
Right, and no woman was ever severely bullied or assaulted as a kid for being geeky and different. Get a clue, dude. Time was I lived in such dread of school that I felt physically ill every morning thinking of what might, and often did, happen to me there. Except when I left that stage of my life behind me, I didn't use it as an excuse to exclude others and make them feel unwelcome. Maybe if you actually talked with and LISTENED to women in a sincere way instead of glaring at them and viewing them as Threatening Others invading your "male space," you'd have some idea of what their experiences and outlooks are. But that would require viewing women as people.
And btw, did you know that Star Trek fandom was originally a phenomenon started, generated and maintained by women? You quite simply have no idea what you're talking about on so many levels.
So you were bullied by others, bullied for being different or weird, for not being like them, so you fought to make a place for your self to be accepted and fit in. And now that your there you say "My turn." "I'm on top now, I get to put the outsiders down because I earned that right." Congratulations you've become the thing you hated, now that there are people lower on the totem pole than you, you do to them what those above did to you. In the end of the day your not a warrior of geeks, of Nerds, or of outcasts, your just a bully with a smaller group of targets.
You didn't bleed for anything. Everyone has a right to participate in whatever fandom they love, no matter what. Women fighting against a current of male entitlement like yours have been the ones to proverbially bleed more than any. You're just a wife-beating $#@!.
You're not a war veteran, chap. You don't get to pull the "I FOUGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM" card.
In fact, you should be proud that your hard years provided the chance for geekdom to grow, not resent every new person you see.
(NB: I guess you also never would have been one of the guys I was playing D&D with in high school in the early '90s.)
As a 13-year-old, I *couldn't* make my own space--there were literally no other girls I knew, even remotely close to my age, that were interested in the things I was interested in. And this was in the mid-'80s, WAY before there were the online forums, etc., there are now--we didn't even have a lousy 8.8 connection at my house. You're saying I should have had no friends rather than try to be friends with people who share(d) my interest because I was/am female and didn't "bleed" for it? Wow. You have absolutely no empathy.
I think much of the 'gender arguments' come from people assuming the 'other half' is wafting through existence, carried on a warm scented breeze, when really we all have pretty much the same wants, fears, and problems.
You've caught the attention of HN.
Alex Hern is a staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.