Thursday, July 26, 2012
Force Is Strong in This One: Sizing Up Geeks of Both Genders
It's not a problem, everyone wanting to be a geek. It should be viewed as a good thing. More people wanting to read comics means more people buying comics, which inevitably leads to more comics being made. The same goes for video games. And movies. And t-shirts. Just about anything that geek culture can sink its teeth into.
Yet, for some within the geek community, there's a need to battle. It's almost as if a civil war is brewing, where geeks will be forced to demonstrate their geek cred before they're able to continue calling themselves "geeks." Where we'll have to choose sides and decide we're pro-Twilight or against Twilight.
Quick, what's the name of the episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer with next to no dialogue?
In what comic did Spider-man first appear?
What's the name of the main female character in True Blood?
Can't answer all three? Guess you're not a hardcore geek yo.
There are articles like this one by Joe Peacock of CNN's Geek Out blog, questioning the correlation between being a hot female and a geek. Clearly, it's impossible for a geek to be both a woman and a geek simultaneously. It's like walking and chewing gum at the same time. It's nigh impossible.
And if that female geek is hot? Well, that's a combination causing the fabric of space and time to swallow itself as we speak.
Isn't it obvious? Being an attractive person is something that is incongruous with being a geek. Face it...we're all just unattractive slobs who resemble the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, hiding our hideous visages behind our Twitter account icons.
Here's a newsflash. Everyone that's a geek isn't living in their parent's basement. Some geeks are actually quite pleasant, even (dare I say it) attractive. And not just women, but men too.
I hear the ladies are keen on Sam Worthington, but no one brings him up in these conversations about being a hot geek. He published a comic called Damaged with Radical Entertainment. Sure, he's probably doing it as an angle since he's reportedly playing the role in the as-yet produced movie, but he's still doing it. But he's a handsome guy. He's a handsome geek.
How many times are we going to parade Felicia Day around as an example of a hot geek? Yes, she's a geek. Yes, she's hot. And yes, she's doing all sorts of geeky things that make fans go crazy and deserves praise.
Is she happy to see women getting more attention in all things geek? I don't know her personally, but I'm sure she is. She doesn't deserve to be the martyr for a cause though. There's a good chance that "proving hot people (women) can be geeks too" isn't on at the top of her to-do list. Just because she's a hot, woman geek doesn't mean she covers mutliple check-boxes in making a case.
And Ms. Day, I'm sorry for invoking your name in yet another article. I know you get mentioned a lot these days and it's unfortunate you're becoming an unofficial spokesperson for certain aspects of being a geek. Seriously, keep up all the awesome stuff you do for geeks. Not just women, geeks.
See what I did there? I said geeks.
It doesn't really matter who you are. If there's something geeky in you, that's all that matters. Being a geek isn't being part of some exclusive club. It's not something we pay dues for. Fans of Glee are also known as--wait for it--gleeks.
Natalie Portman starred in three Star Wars movies, killed it in V for Vendetta and was a main character in Thor. Does she lose all credibility as a geek because she won an Oscar as a schizophrenic dancer in Black Swan? Don't think so.
Shia LeBeouf has been in all three Transformer movies and decided to show up at C2E2 to promote his comic. He didn't request a panel or send out a press release touting his latest work. He signed up for a table in Artist Alley, sat down at it and met with interested readers, pushing his work. Does he have enough greek cred?
Hell, love or hate Megan Fox, but she's been in more geek related things than most other people (two Transformer movies and Jonah Hex).
See, being a geek is a lucrative business. A business that everyone wants to get a piece of. Whether it be actors or musicians doing their own comics (or superhero movies), incredibly hot women acting as booth babes or creators venturing into other avenues of creating. There's a lot of money to be made in geek culture and not everyone can make it going the same route.
And I'm not trying to rank, compare or contrast any of the people mentioned above. This isn't about falling into that trap of evaluating what someone does and how much of a geek it makes them. It makes no sense to say one is more geek than the other. That's not the point.
The point is this. You can be a geek no matter who you are. Comics today have a mixed-race Spider-man, a married gay superhero and a beautifully illustrated assassin who's half-woman, half-spider named The Stalk. The Stalk--by the way--happens to be illustrated by a woman, Fiona Staples.
We're in the midst of an almost unprecedented world where every year, a major motion picture release is about a superhero. Marvel is actually on "Phase 2" of their movies, indicating there was enough for a Phase 1. People are raving about shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch are doing fantastic things with America's Got Powers.
There's a reason the phrase is "geeking out" and not something like "Doctor Who-ing" out (aside from the aforementioned Gleek thing, but that's just clever marketing). That is, it doesn't require a love for any particular facet of being a geek to do it. If you're really into something, you're a geek. There's no entry exam, there's no evaluation. Being a geek isn't looking at a rickety treehouse with a hastily scribbled "No Girls Allowed" sign hanging in front.
I'm not naive enough to think everything is perfect in geek world. For example, there's still a large disparity in women in the industry and there's still the problem that female characters are oversexualized by the big two. Things are improving though. The fact that there's enough women who are geeks bringing these issues up show that we've come a long way as geeks.
Comic-Con was reportedly 40% women. Think about that. Nearly half of all attendees at one of the biggest pop events in the world were women. Her Universe has a whole line of clothes dedicated to women who like to wear geek-related clothing. The geek industry is starting to get it.
These are heady times to be a geek. We should be embracing all the attention we're getting. To throw a reference to True Blood, we as geeks should be mainstreaming. Living among the non-geek, showing them the beauty of being a geek. Teaching them what it really means to roll the hard six, what a "sing-along blog" is (especially when it's horrible) and debating bone vs. adamantium Wolverine.
Enough with the infighting and calling people out. Let's all be geeks and just geek out about it.