Around the 57 minute mark of this week’s Hypercritical episode, John Siracusa introduces “A Very Special Episode of Hypercritical” discussing “the Fake Geek Girl meme, misogyny, and problems with Geek Culture in general.”
If you ever wanted someone to articulate why it is that Geeks should be the most accepting culture (even when they aren’t but should be), and make an eloquent argument against hating on someone who may not be as big of a nerd as you are, then this is a good show to listen to.
(BTW I grabbed the meme image above from this post which talks about the same issue/problem.)
Here are some other quotes and articles that John discussed:
Here at the Mary Sue, when an actress goes on a talk show and describes her personal affection and involvement and enjoyment and FANDOM for geek properties, we take it at face value. Why? Because we don’t actually have a reason not to. Because the alternative breeds a closed community of paranoid, elitist jerks who lash out at anyone new.
The proper response to someone who says they like comics and has only read Scott Pilgrim is to recommend some more comics for them. The proper response to someone who appears to be faking enthusiasm is to ignore them and not project their actions on an entire gender or community. The proper response to someone who appears to want to be a part of your community is to welcome them in. End of story.
Source: On the “Fake” Geek Girl | The Mary Sue
Any jerk can love a thing. It’s the sharing that makes geekdom awesome.
Source: Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be – Whatever
Back to Hypercritical:
John: “This is what I think should — and, in my experience, most often does — define geek culture at its best: it’s a bunch of people who maybe had a difficult childhood and who were ostracized and excluded taking those experiences that they had in childhood and learning from them not to seek revenge by treating other people the way they were treated, but to learn the opposite lesson. By learning how hard it is to be treated like that and then vowing to never make other people feel the way they felt.”
Dan: “That would be the high road, taking the high road…”
John: “It’s not the high road, it’s like the two paths: dark side, light side. Because you can see how the experience could lead you to the dark side. But the light side is the opposte side of that. Having this just terrible miserable experience and just vowing, sort of like ‘As God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again’ but ‘As God as my witness I will never make anyone else feel the way that I am feeling right now.’ Geek culture at its best is welcoming. We don’t care if you’re awkward, ugly, fat, smelly, inarticulate, or yes even female plus any of the above combined. Do you want to talk about the nuances of Pokemon strategy? I’m interested in that too (not me, personally, but theoretically), come, welcome, let’s talk about that.
“And yes, also even if you’re female, cosplaying in some scantily clad thing and attractive, welcome, we’ll relate to you as a human being who wants to talk about Legend of Zelda, or League of Legends, or WOW, or whatever you want to talk about, we’ll treat you like a human being regardless of your appearance, social skills, interests, anything because we know what it’s like to be treated badly based on who we are — or not about who we are but how we look or what we’re interested in.
“That’s the whole point. We experienced that. These people [who made geeks’ lives miserable in high school] don’t know who I am, they’re down on me because I’m into Dungeons & Dragons, or because I don’t know how to dress, or because I’m awkward and inarticulate or whatever thing about you… we know what it’s like to be treated that way. In the same exact way, when some super-hot beautiful cosplaying person scantily clad comes up to you at a Con and wants to talk to you, relate to her as a human being who is interested in whatever she is interested in!”
~Later in that conversation~
I can’t quote the whole thing, but around the 1h 28m they added this part of the conversation:
John: “This extends far far outward from gaming a geek stuff to sexual orientation, transgender … It’s about relating to people as people not according to what their labels are or what their appearances are what their “weird” interests are — weird to you, maybe.
“I think this is why we have so many geeks, myself included, feel such a visceral connection to homophobia and gay rights. I don’t know if you feel this as well, but I realized this several years ago. Why is it that I get my adrenaline pumping, I get my fight or flight response anytime anything to do with hate crimes or homophobia and gay rights, and I [thought] “Why am I having this reaction?”
I realized I’m having this reaction because it is exactly the same thing as: being treated badly for being who you are, unfairly.
Dan: “It doesn’t matter what the part of ‘who you are’ is, it shouldn’t be that way. Injustice is injustice.”
John: “Exactly, and I think growing up a geek and being subject to that can do several things… it can make you into a terrible misogynist yes, but it can also turn you into someone who is keenly attuned to other people … You know that person is feeling the way you felt, maybe even a 100 times worse. You know that feeling, that’s terrible, that must be stopped.”