I continue to be astounded by the things some male comics fans say about women geeks. I mean, I seriously do not understand it. It's like.... that time my friend slipped and cloncked his head on the ice surface while curling and started speaking in tongues. Except instead of being a moderate concussion, it's a sign someone is a complete tool. Or maybe it's more like those surprisingly pro-rape statements some republican candidates made during the last election cycle: violently misogynistic sentiments utterly alien to my experience. Regardless, I just don't get it or where it's coming from.
For context here are some awful and ridiculous statements from the artist Tony Harris on cosplaying:
"I cant remember if Ive said this before, but Im gonna say it anyway. I dont give a crap.I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake) but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: "Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you. Some of us are aware that you are ever so average on an everyday basis. But you have a couple of things going your way. You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as "CON-HOT". Well not by my estimation, but according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU. You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate. After many years of watching this shit go down every 3 seconds around or in front of my booth or table at ANY given Con in the country, I put this together. Well not just me. We are LEGION. And here it is, THE REASON WHY ALL THAT, sickens us: BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER. And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face. Yer not Comics. Your just the thing that all the Comic Book, AND mainstream press flock to at Cons. And the real reason for the Con, and the damned costumes yer parading around in? That would be Comic Book Artists, and Comic Book Writers who make all that shit up."
.... Woof, right? Seriously what the fucking hell is wrong with this man that he holds these horrible opinions and that he thinks it's okay to articulate them?
Now I've already written about how the notion that women can't be nerds is stupid and how the idea of legitatmate-vs-faux nerds is conceptually flawed and assholey. So I don't think I need to rehash that.
Also, some great articles on the Harris statement and some related nerd-lady hate speak can be found on Comics Beat (here an here). I think especially relevant is the idea:
"To every one who is horribly abused and bothered by this, let me ask you — what has caused more of the emotional scarring? Is is the fact that a girl who is sexually unavailable to you and therefore causing sexual frustration is pretending to be a nerd while doing so…or is it that a girl is sexually unavailable to you and therefore causing sexual frustration?"
But there are two things I'd like to say here:
1) I'm a straight-white-male who is a nerd and I do not support these kinds of statements. Women have every right to be geeks and to express that however the damn-well-fuck they please. Cosplay displays an impressive craftsmanship (which I am jealous of), a laudable enthusiasm, and a pretty great inclusive sub-fandom community spirit. Geekdom is richer for women, Cosplay, and diversity in general. Anyone who disagrees with this is an asshat and should shut the fuck up.
2) You can dislike aspects of nerd culture without being a giant asshat.
I'm going to confess something here: Cosplay makes me slightly uncomfortable. Not because women enjoy it, or because, in many cases, it involves women celebrating or displaying their sexuality. No, I'm uncomfortable with it because I am shy and self conscious and the idea of soliciting extra attention from wearing a costume TERRIFIES me. So I do not Cosplay, and I find the entire process vaguely unsettling. (Sorry!)
(And yes, I also find Halloween kind of skeevy.)
But here's the thing, this is a ME problem based on MY hangups, and since I'm not insane I recognize that my nerosies really shouldn't dictate how other people enjoy things. People who want to Cosplay should Cosplay and I, I will not. Instead I will continue to focus on the things I like. Live and let live.
But if you're like me and Cosplay bothers you, I have a four step process to dealing with it that works quite well (and won't make you look like a mysogynist turd).
- Do not Cosplay.,
- Do not, while not actively avoiding people, go out of your way to engage with cosplayers particularly while Cosplay activities are happening
- Do not access Cosplay related online material and articles.
- Accept that Cosplayers have very right to Cosplay and that while it's not for you, it's pretty cool and not hurting anyone.
(I really don't mean to keep writing about sexism in comics... It's just this crap drives me crazy)