I know, I’ve been neglecting you folks here at OTR, but today I read something that inspired me to talk a bit about geek culture. As many of you know I’m primarily a movie geek, but I’m also a gamer and recently got back into comics (once upon a time I loved anime/mango too, but that’s a story for another time). Today I stumbled onto a CNN blog about booth babes and “posers” in general. The original blog can be found here.
|Taffeta Darling, with Aggressive Comics|
To summarize, the author calls out “pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention” in his article. He calls out Fragdolls and G4, as well as the oft contested booth babes that are usually around con as “poachers [and] a pox on our culture”. This “geeker than thou” attitude is something that has been spreading through the internet like wildfire and I’d like to take a moment to address it.
Let’s start with booth babes. For those of you who don’t know booth babes are models who dress up as geek characters at conventions. The author is insulted because gaming companies believe he is “supposed to feel honored that a pretty girl is in [his] presence”. Not so, well, not because he's a geek anyway. Every major industry uses models to push their product, hell, one of the most respected US clothing lines American Apparel uses pornstars in their advertising (NSFW, if that wasn’t, you know…duh).
What’s upsetting here is the objectification of women that runs rampant in our society in order to sell us EVERYTHING. What the author misses is the entire point of these conventions. Do some of the models feel above the congoers? Of course, so does William Shatner. We’re geeks, we get past it. The point of these cons is to be a safe place for everyone, even the models who are just trying to get through a day of work with limited harassment. While the author grasps that these models are harassed, what he doesn’t seem to get is that many of these women don’t look down on geek culture just because they aren’t part of it and you cannot condemn the lot of them because a few think they’re better than you. I’m not saying booth babes are necessary. If you don’t want to be at the con to enjoy it then you’re really just using up space in an already crowded environment. What I am saying is that we, as gamers, geeks, congoers, etc, shouldn’t be shunning them for doing their jobs. As long as they are there and not being assholes everyone there should be made to feel welcome; whether they are a fellow geek or not.
|This picture has limited relevance, but one of the best cap cosplays I've seen. Also from AC|
Shifting from booth babes, the author also gives G4 a bit of a beating. G4 is a bit of a hard topic when it comes to geeks, but when I was but a wee gamer, still amazed by the things the konami code could unlock I stumbled upon G4 and Tech TV and it sucked me in. Robot Wars, Cheat, G4TV.com, Arena, and Cinematech all were regular shows for me. These two (eventually one) networks played a big part in what made me the geek I am today. It led me to games I wouldn’t have tried before, taught me that E3 was a thing, and showed me that there were enough people like me in the world to warrant a channel dedicated to what I was interested in. These days, G4 has expanded to accommodate the growing amount of gamers and geeks in the world. Popularity of FPS’ and the fact that comic book movies are quickly becoming among the most respected necessitated a change for the ever growing fanbase for G4.
G4 is no longer the network for gamers, by gamers, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t welcome in geek society. How do you think those huge budget movies get made, or creativity crippling legislation gets blocked? It’s not due to some idea that there is a level of geek that gains admittance, it’s because there are a shit ton of us and something like G4 can demonstrate that.
Are you a geek if you love the movies but have never picked up an Iron Man comic? Are you a gamer if you only play Madden? If you think you are, then yes. I’m not saying don’t expand (seriously, the Iron Man comics are pretty badass), but you will always be welcome because that’s what geek conventions are fucking for. Anyone born in the 90’s or sooner can tell you it hasn’t always been this nice for the geeks in the world. Just because we geeks have art exhibits, rule the box office, and have some of the biggest conventions in the world doesn’t mean we should forget the times when a game shop, a comic store, or an indie theatre was a sanctuary and everyone labeled geek was welcome.
The author has some good points, corporations and their notion of “sex sells” certainly has an effect on the quality of work. However anywhere geeks gather, anyone who isn’t personally being an asshole, whether they are seen as a geek or not, should be welcome. If there is some girl who looks down on you or some asshole walking the floor then by all means be insulted, offended, and lash out at that person. Not every model, or fps player, or whatever is it that makes them not enough of a geek deserves to be looked down on. Once upon a time people started coming to these conventions because people deemed them not normal enough, let’s not turn people away because they’re not geek enough.
|Unless you don't like Felicia Day, there's an exception for those people.|
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Couple quick edits! First of all CNN posted a little follow up piece which you can find here
Also I've been (obviously) getting into Aggressive Comix, check them out here!