I don’t know what it is with (so-called) Cool People and geeks, or with my parents and me calling myself a nerd, or with Joe Peacock and ‘hot chicks’ wearing super-hero costumes.
I have tried (and tried, and tried) to figure out the first two issues. In doing so I have ended up with far more questions than I had in the first place.
To begin, I think it would be useful to have definition. Check out Possibly One Of The Most Accurate Venn Diagrams Ever below:
A Geek, as we can so clearly see, is a person that is both intelligent and obsessive. Alright. But then, what is a cool person? Are Cool People not intelligent? not obsessive? are they, say, jocks? or those super-model types? Who says Geeks and Nerds aren’t cool?
Here we run into our first problem.
I happen to think the Conventionally Cool People are actually rather boring. [Please note I’m making vast generalizations!] Instead, its people who are thought of as ‘Geeks’ and ‘Nerds’ that I seem to have an easier time relating to. My friends and I are all self-described Nerds. We fangirl over pretty much anything. In fact, this blog is ‘dedicated’ to our Nerd-ness. We’re smart, and obsessive (we do say so ourselves…) and Socially Awkward. We unironicaly fall in love with stuff, and nobody should be able to say whether we love stuff enough to be considered Nerds or Geeks.
Then there’s the ‘stigma’ attached to any one of these words. Thanks to the media, Nerds and Geeks are like characters straight out of shows like Freaks & Geeks ,The Big Bang Theory or Bones. We’re not all Sheldon Cooper or Zack Addy or Neal Schweiber¹. No matter how much we admire them, we shall never be them. And I say this as someone who thinks Sheldon Cooper is one of the Coolest Humans I should Ever Be So Lucky to Meet. Geek or Nerd should be a word among many used to describe someone. Just because I call myself a Nerd, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be Just A Nerd. I’m also Bookish, a Nerdfighter, Klutzy, Feminist, Lover of Food. It would be like objectifying people, rendering them into one-layered beings, without much substance.
This leads me to what originally prompted me to write this post.
A person is not a label. People, by definition, are many-layered beings that are constantly evolving. This is something Mr. Joe Peacock does not seem to understand. He seems to think that a ‘hot chick’ who goes around SDCC wearing a super-hero costume can be nothing more than a woman who is flaunting herself at true geeks (aka: Men) because she is getting paid to do so, but not because she has “any interest or history in gaming”. What is also sadder than him being genuinely convinced that pretty women can’t be true geeks, is that he seems to think Geeky Men are essentially Losers.
What I’m talking about is the girls who have no interest or history in gaming taking nearly naked photos of themselves with game controllers draped all over their body just to play at being a “model.” I get sick of wannabes who couldn’t make it as car show eye candy slapping on a Batman shirt and strutting around comic book conventions instead.
I’m talking about an attention addict trying to satisfy her ego and feel pretty by infiltrating a community to seek the attention of guys she wouldn’t give the time of day on the street.
I call these girls “6 of 9”. They have a superpower: In the real world, they’re beauty-obsessed, frustrated wannabe models who can’t get work.
They decide to put on a “hot” costume, parade around a group of boys notorious for being outcasts that don’t get attention from girls, and feel like a celebrity. They’re a “6” in the “real world”, but when they put on a Batman shirt and head to the local fandom convention du jour, they instantly become a “9”.
They’re poachers. They’re a pox on our culture. As a guy, I find it repugnant that, due to my interests in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and role-playing games, video games and toys, I am supposed to feel honored that a pretty girl is in my presence. It’s insulting.
What kind of society is this, where a person’s beauty dictates their worth? Where their interests dictate how ‘In’ they are? Why does Mr. Peacock feel that a model couldn’t possibly be genuinely interested in gaming? Is it possible that he watched that Wizards of Waverly Place episode where Alex’s model friends start playing Dragons & Dungeons or whatever with Justin and Zeke? Why does he imply that a Geek Guy would be honored to see a girl who would normally ignore him In The Real World dressed up as his favourite comic-book character? Why does he feel that in a Geek’s Mind a normal woman would instantly become 100× more attractive simply by donning a Wonder Woman costume?
Is Emily Deschanel any prettier, or any more attractive/badass dressed up as Wonder Woman (“We’re like Wonder Woman and Super Man after a bad date.” *fangirling*) than she is wearing her every-day clothes?
I didn’t think so.
As for the “Who Decides Who’s a Geek and Who’s Not” dilemma:
I believe that Felicia[Day]’s main drive is probably writing and acting, and that geek culture is where she chooses to exercise her talents. She’s found a niche, and she works within that niche – but so have Nathan Fillion, George Takei, Wil Wheaton… All actor/writers who make the most of their geek celebrity. However, no one gets it in their blood to call these guys out.
Clearly he must have some power when it comes to deciding who’s a Geek and who isn’t. Who says that Nathan Fillion and Wil Wheaton aren’t geeks? Hasn’t it occurred to him that actors go for papers for reasons other than a big paycheck after every episode? I’d like to think that maybe Fillion signed on to Joss Whedon’s Firefly because he liked being a part of the Jossverse, or that Mr. Wil Wheaton actually was a Star Trek fan before he became Wesley Crusher. (“WE ARE THE WESLEY CHRUSHERS!!!!” Oh, Shelly!!!!!). Maybe he really liked the Flight Suits. Maybe he was a fan of Eureka² or The Big Bang Theory before going on as Dr. Parrish and himself.
The last line of the quote above makes him sound like a hypocrite, when you think about what he said only a few lines previously. Afterall, shouldn’t he at least afford those so-called ‘hot chicks’ and ‘booth babes’ the same benefit of the doubt he affords to these men?♦
FOR FURTHER READING:
Geek Out: Booth Babes Need not Apply
Forbes: ‘Fake Geek Girls’: How Geek Gatekeeping is Bad for Business
HelloGiggles: Fake. Geek. Girls.
¹Guys, remember when Sam and Bill helped Neal find out why his dad was being so weird towards Sam? And it turns out he was cheating on Mrs. Schweiber? I think your Dentist is someone you should never mess with. I mean, what if they screw up your teeth?
²Why is it that I just found out Eureka ended rather recently? I was starting to ship Jack and Allison! and Holly and Fargo! and Andy and Sarah! and Lupo and Zane! waaaaahhhhh!!!