aaaah! women want to read comics with us!

Sometimes I try and think up blog posts and plan them out, thinking I’m going to write something wonderful and meaningful that’s going to be widely admired, and then I come crashing down to reality and the much-planned for post just plain sucks, and so goes flying off into the oblivion of deletion. Some plan their posts out days in advance, others just say what they feel like and the force is with them when they do. I think I’m one of the latter, at least when it comes to here.

I’d been intending to post about this topic for a while, but never got around to it: the ability of some to feel that “geek culture”  is something exclusive to be kept to one set of people, and the massive douchiness it can cause from those people who feel this. Case in point: this guy, an illustrator called Tony Harris who posted a Facebook rant about female cosplayers at San Diego Comic-Con that was well… massive douchiness.

“I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake) but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC.”

Oy vey… I mean honestly, this just makes me cringe. It’s coming from a mindset that believes that the true nature of “being a geek” is to be a solitary male sitting in a bedroom full of superhero action figures and comics, sitting there contemplating how hot the Scarlet Witch looks as drawn by Frank Cho and holding a festering resentment at all the “beautiful people” who mock him for his obsession with comic books, and that any interest in comics and superheroes on the part of those who are not a solitary male who likes to sit in a bedroom full of action figures is something to be resented and discouraged.

Well, I’ve been there and done that and well, all I have to say to anyone who feels this way is: dude, grow the fuck up. This is not hell, but the geeks have finally come to the promised land of social acceptance and you’re making us look small-minded, misogynistic and well, turning into the stereotype of the bespectacled, shy, perennial wedgie-victim that the world had of “geeks” for so long. When I was growing up, “geek” was still a pejorative term… now everyone wants to be a geek. Are you crazy? We’ve arrived!

This most recent incident is just one of the manifestations of misogynistic idiocy that’s come from certain corners of the “geek” community, though. Mark Millar and several others teamed up to nail a troll on Twitter who’d been targeting female comic creators, and every time a woman talks about video games or comics or anything else a certain crowd will come out and start suggesting that she’s only doing it to “tease geeks” like in the Facebook rant. I would humbly submit that this is totally and utterly bollocks. All that’s happened is the barriers to entry to the “geek culture” have come down,  and more people, especially more women (who have been stereotyped as thinking comic books/video games not worthy of attention) have come inside, had a look around and have liked what they’ve seen and stayed.

Most people now play video games, and everyone went to see The Avengers and enjoyed it immensely. I think that’s great, as I like video games and Avengers comics and I’m glad everyone else likes them. This is a development that will finally allow video games to grow up, for starters. Mega Drive games were fun, but they were very simplistic and now that I’m older, I’d like them to grow up with me. Don’t get me wrong, Streets of Rage is fun and the first Sonic trilogy are timeless classics but I’m now wanting things that are more sophisticated than repeatedly punching guys in the face or curling into a ball to kill colorful robots. Now the audience has expanded beyond adolescent males, I think there’s room to shoot for more interesting stuff than punching guys in the face repeatedly. Games still are like that a bit, and by trying to appeal to women as well as men there’s room for them to become more sophisticated.

And now everyone likes comics too, or at least comic-book related films. You can sit down and have a conversation about Batman and The Avengers and people won’t change the topic and well, it’s awesome. Finally the rest of the world is seeing what geeks have seen for so long, and we’re all one big happy family rather than the “cool kids” and the “geeks” looking on jealously at all the fun the former are having. The cosplayers that Harris ranted against are a sign of this, that times have changed most definitely for the better rather than the worse. We’ve reached the stage where dressing up as a comic book character is considered fun, cool and socially acceptable now rather than something to be mocked. I wouldn’t do it myself as well… I don’t know, I’m not a fan of wearing daft, flamboyant colors but still – why lash out at the fact that more people, and specifically women want to hang out at comic book conventions?

The reason why I’m writing this is well, I do remember The Dark Times and if I’m being serious I can actually remember that I did find it difficult being a) quiet and studious and b) interested in math, science, comic books and video games when growing up. I wasn’t sporty as a kid, and so being interested in math, computers and comic books I found it quite a lonely experience. I wasn’t confident with girls, and I wasn’t confident in myself, either. Now that I’ve grown up, I’ve found the world is coming around to my way of thinking rather than changing me around to its way of thinking, and I like it. Well, it has changed me a bit on the “sporty” front – I’ve had periods of joining the gym and sports clubs only to drop out and become a schlub again – but the fact that everyone thinks the things I like are cool is awesome.

It means that basically, I can be my geeky self as well. I don’t have to hide the fact that I enjoy computer programming, or have a massive collection of comics for fear that I’ll be seen as a loser. It’s just as good as any other interest or hobby, and that’s great and I think the kid I was would have loved what was coming down the road if he’d known about it. I know it definitely would have made life easier for me in maths class when morons made fun of me for wanting to study knowing that in the future the BBC would be commissioning programs to cash in on the current desire to know more about science.

So, to the Tony Harrises of the world I say this: don’t fuck it up for those of us who are enjoying the new world of “geek chic”. There are far more of us then there are of you.

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