*Made you look.
Yes, Bleeding Cool, I went there. I reached back to one of my most contentious columns for this headline because I knew – KNEW – it would make you all click through and read what I have to say.
And, as I am having the strongest reaction as I have had in a year to Joe Peacock's CNN blog post about geek girls I felt it was really really important to get you read this column by whatever means necessary.
For those of you who have not read Joe's CNN opus ragging on booth babes, Olivia Munn and Frag Dolls, let me sum up the thesis for you: Our friend Joe is complaining about the fact that multi-billion dollar corporations like FOX, FX and Maxim hire scantily clad women to pimp their products and hang all over geek boys at cons and con related parties. He is complaining about young women – who have been inundated with images of "what's hot, what's cool" all their lives by the mainstream media – following in the example of said scantily clad women and putting on scantily clad costumes of their own creation and parading around cons with the objective of getting male attention.
In essence, he is complaining about a problem which has been created by… wait for it… men.
And, in the process, he "slut shames" women who choose to express their own sexuality via cosplay (regardless of the underlying intent, it's their choice and fuck you for telling them what is or is not right in that arena, it's their body) and the experiential learning which comes with that process… which is in the end, controlled by the reactions of men.
What do I mean by this? Well, simple: If hot girls who got dressed up and went to comic cons weren't drooled over by tons of men and made to feel important, they wouldn't do it.
If multi-billion dollar entertainment companies didn't see men drooling all over scantily clad women pimping their products, they wouldn't hire them to pimp those products in the first place.
The true problem is that corporate culture – based on the knowledge that some men sexually desire women that look a particular way and that some male geeks have money – take advantage of and exploit those known factors by hiring sexually attractive women to pimp their products in attempts to devoid said geeky men of said money. Instead of addressing this and the underlying societal causes of this trope, Joe blames the women who the perpetrator companies employ.
Does anyone else see anything really wrong with that besides me?
Here's the thing: Whether they are a 13 yo making their first foray onto the floor in a Slave Leia costume, or a 25 year old model from LA hired to dress up and hand out fliers outside Hall H – women, in general, have been inundated since birth, practically, with the greater societal message that to be pretty, sexy, hot, attractive is what we value from women.
Having, myself, had the experience of being a 13 yo girl trying to figure out how I fit into society AND an actress in LA who was hired to "sexy cosplay" at corporate events – I cannot tell you how hard it is to figure out who you are as person in the face of that constant messaging. And, then, upon deciding that who you are and what you value doesn't fit with what you're being told to be – to throw off "societal norms" in order to walk your own path through life.
So many women try to do this and are unable to do so. So many women don't even try. I can say from experience it's a life-long journey.
And, though I am a decade and a half away from the unhealthy, misguided, neurotic, insecure girl who -after a year and a half trying to fit a round peg into a square hole of being an actress in LA- packed up her Toyota Camry and said "Fuck you, Hollywood and your obscene ideas about what it is to be a woman – this is not who I am, this is not who I want to be" I still struggle on this journey every-single-day.
As do most of the strong, feisty, awesome geek girls I know.
It is hard to be a woman with geeky interests. To be so is to have to be stronger, better, faster than all the guys around you. To be so is to have to fight the off girl-on-girl violence of your peers. To be so is to have to constantly justify your "geek cred" to everyone. To be so is to have to justify that you are a geek, even in the face of being attractive.
Then to have yet another loudmouthed boy-geek douchebag jump on a mainstream media outlet and tell us what is and isn't geek? And then to tell us that it's our fault that women with pr0n star proportions are hired by certain companies to represent their geeky products?
Joe, you're gonna be lucky if any of the "legit" geek girls you know ever speak to you again. For realzie. What a load of misogynist crap.
Yes, I used the M word. Yes, I mean it. I'm fucking tired of geeky guys whining when girls call them out on misogynist behavior. I'm sick of the counter cry of "misandry!" I'm sick of dudes telling me what feminism is and isn't. I'm sick of geeky guys telling women who can and cannot be a geek girl.
Here's the bottom line: You dudes have penises. White dudes with penises have held all the political power and monetary privilege, since, well – the beginning of time. It is a fact. You can argue until you're blue in the face about that. And, you'll still be wrong. And, while it is true that misandry exists, it is no where as prevalent in pop-culture as misogynist bullshit towards women is. Period, end of story – I won't even debate this with you guys.
I am tired of people like Joe Peacock "shaming" women like Olivia Munn (who, admittedly isn't the uber-geekiest lady on the planet, but she's sharp as a tack and geeky in her own way) for having the temerity to build a career out of the demand society has expressed for her.
Wanna know when companies like FOX, FX and Maxim will stop employing big boobed, scantily clad hotties to pimp their products, Joe?
Simple answer: When men (and some ladies) stop buying into that trope. It's supply and demand, my friend, and you cannot blame the women -geek or not- who go after that kind of attention or job, because as a society we've spent their whole lives telling them that is what is valuable, that is what is important.
As a geek woman, I reject what Joe says about how to judge a "bona fide geek girl." I believe there is enough room in the geek girl pantheon for all women -even booth babes and Ms. USA. And, Joe, honestly I think you are just as bad Ryan Perez (who you call out in your post) in the fact that you just, simply, don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
Kate Kotler is the author of the Geek Girl on the Street Reports column for Bleeding Cool and the host of the Comix Chix podcast soon to launch. A Chicago based freelance writer, you can read Kate's personal musings on her website and follow her on Twitter.