I just don’t understand where this concept of ‘fake geek girls’ came from. Like, AT ALL.
Cus when I look for fandom related stuff like 90% of the fan art and the fanfiction and the meta, zines, comics, etc. Like 90% of the shit that I’ve seen is created by women & girls.
And all that stuff take’s a lot of work and research and critical analysis and staring at reference photos for hours.
We are literally the most well versed and invested group in the fandom. So, like, What the fuck boys? You mad you can’t keep up?
I saw an argument, and
I can’t find it now, (edit! KILLERZEBRAS FOUND IT. Go read the original thoughts here: LINK)) but it totally made sense, that there’s a gender split in fandom. Male fandom tends to be a curator fandom; male fandom collects, organizes, and memorizes facts and figures. Male fandom tends to be KEEPERS of the canon; the fandom places great weight on those who have the biggest collection, the deepest knowledge of obscure subjects, the first appearances, creators, character interactions.
Female fandom is creative. Females create fanart, cosplay, fanwritings. Female fandom ALTERS canon, for the simple reason that canon does not serve female fandom. In order for it to fit the ‘outsider’ (female, queer, POC), the canon must be attacked and rebuilt, and that takes creation.
"Male" fandom devalues this contribution to fandom, because it is not the ‘right’ kind of fandom. "Girls only cosplay for attention, they’re not REAL fans!" "Fanfiction is full of stupid Mary Sues, girls only do it so they can make out with the main character!" "I, a male artist, have done this pin-up work and can put it in my portfolio! You, a female artist, have drawn stupid fanart, and it’s not appropriate to use as a professional reference!"
In the mind of people who decry the ‘fake geek girl,’ this fandom is not as worthy. It damages, or in their mind, destroys the canon. What is the point of memorizing every possible romantic entanglement of heterosexual white Danny Rand if someone turns around and creates a fanwork depicting him as a bisexual female of Asian descent (thus subverting Rand’s creepy ‘white savior’ origins)? When Danny Rand becomes Dani Rand, their power is lessened. What is important to them ceases to be the focus of the discussion. Creation and curatorship can work in tandom, but typically, in fandom, they are on opposite poles.
This is not to say that there aren’t brilliant male cosplayers or smashing female trivia experts, this is to say that the need of the individual fan is met with opposing concepts: In order for me to find myself in comics, I need to make that space for myself, and that is a creative force. Het white cis males are more likely to do anything possible to defend and preserve the canon because the canon is built to cater to them.
This is really cool and interesting commentary!
Just wanted to chime in with a few probably incoherent thoughts and observations about how I think this is spot on.
I think back to my adolescence and what it meant to be a teenaged boy who was into nerdy things, and how exactly we displayed dominance over each other, and in retrospect it was absolutely about prioritizing acquisition over creation. The guy who knew the most facts, owned the most games or toys or Pogs or whatever, the guy who could stand up and display his mastery over the subject matter was, in no uncertain terms, the King Geek. Nobody wrote fic Some guys drew fanart, but they were pretty self-deprecating about anything that wasn’t original - it was always “sketches” or “practice,” unless it was either a giant robot (because the Rule of Cool allows for giant robots to always be awesome) or something sexy.
It’s somewhat perturbing to realize just how much this has colored my own approach to fandom. I still feel that compulsive urge to collect; for years, I prided myself on the sheer size of my iTunes library, even though I never listened to at least 50% of the tracks in there. I would compulsively pirate scans of old RPG sourcebooks, even crappy games I had no intention of playing, because I wanted to have an amazing collection. I never really had the money to acquire tangible, physical collectibles, outside of the occasional DVD set or action figure, but I went to great lengths to create a digital archive that would boggle the mind. And then in my freshman year of college, my external hard drive caught fire (long story), I lost it all, and I felt emasculated.
Here’s the thing about this compulsive need to collect: from a certain point of view, I understand it, because I think it’s a legacy of pre-Internet fandom. Before the Internet - or at least before the modern Internet - acquiring nerdy items was a labor of love. Going to conventions or subscribing to magazines and ordering things out of the ads in there was a larger investment of resources, and it meant that being able to Know All the Facts or Own All the Things was definitely an indicator of dedication. Was it important? No. But it did show passion. The investment of time and money to acquire this bit of trivia or that ashcan edition of War Machine was in itself a gatekeeper, and for a multitude of sociological (and economical and racial) reasons, the only people who had the ability to use those resources on those pursuits (as opposed to, say, basic necessities) were straight white men.
But that’s all outdated now. Yes, there’s still an investment of time and money required to create a collection of things, but the knowledge is no longer gated. Wikis and Amazon and Netflix and eBay (and Usenet and BBSes and LiveJournal and zines and ALL THE THINGS) have all conspired to tear down the walls to fandom knowledge. And this is terrifying and unsettling to those for whom, even ten or fifteen years ago, prided themselves on having memorized every single episode of Babylon 5 just so they could correct someone on misattributing a quote from an episode, because now that those episodes are transcribed somewhere and easily Googled by anyone curious, the value of that knowledge has changed, and I think for the better.
While acquiring things to display as a show of status is still an effort that many men in fandom willingly subject themselves to (for a somewhat disgusting example, look at the open market for action figures and see 1) how much an out-of-production Transformers figure gets marked up by and then 2) how much people are still willing to pay for those), it’s becoming less and less of a part of modern fandoms. Now, thanks to this dissemination of information, all the trivia is at our fingertips, and the soil has never been richer for this “female” approach to fandom - the creative, the constructive (and, in regards to stale/heteronormative/racist canons, deconstructive), the self-inclusive.
Sometimes I sit down and try to write fic and I feel this painful stab in my heart that sounds something like “OH GOD DON’T WRITE SOMETHING THAT VIOLATES CANON EVERYONE WILL MOCK YOU.” It dovetails pretty nicely with the omnipresent writer’s block that I’ve been struggling with since my mid-grad school mental breakdown, but honestly it was there ever since the beginning. Maybe I took that toxic acquisitive bullshit a little too close to heart back in middle school/high school/college. But as I look at the way that fandoms are changing and evolving around me, and I look at how open and ubiquitous things like fic are becoming, I’m optimistic. That old bullshit grognard perspective is dying off, slowly but surely. Women like Gail Simone are becoming centerpieces of creating geek canon now (not to say that women haven’t honestly been an important piece from the beginning, but that’s a whole other rant; my point is that their visibility is changing now compared to the sixties, when the extremely talented Dorothy Fontana while writing for Star Trek had to hide her first name with initials in order to be taken seriously), and slowly but (hopefully) surely the creative modality is overtaking the acquisitive.
Hopefully this rant made some kind of sense.
Anonymous said: Don't confused 'oppression' with 'first world problems', it's a rookie error among feminists.
Wow, okay buddy, you’re BEGGING for a takedown here.
First world problems? Not a thing. People who say shit like “first world problems” are massive racist, imperialist, dismissive assholes.
If you’re ever tempted to say “first world problems,” do me a favor, and pull down a map. Tell me EXACTLY where the “third world” is. Make sure you correctly identify Switzerland as part of the third world, and Turkey as part of the First World. Don’t forget that Djibouti is a part of the first world.
Literally sit down and learn what “third world” means and why people from nonwestern nations think it’s a total bullshit term.
Second: you think people in the so-called third world don’t care about shit like makeup, and love, and technology? You think they don’t care about internet harassment? You think women over there don’t care about street harassment? You think they don’t care about fashion and clothes? You think they don’t care about music and video games?
Because THEY DO.
Right now, there is a woman in burundi teaching herself how to do a cut-crease eyeshadow look. Guaranteed.
"Third world" nations have fashion shows and fashion magazines. They care about street harassment. They care about the internet. They play video games. They know more about anime than your sorry ass every will. And the idea of "first world problems," which makes it sound like all women in "third world" nations are dealing with starvation, rape, war, acid attacks etc.
Women in Iran spend shitloads of money on makeup. Women in the DRC don’t just care about rape. Rape - the ONE THING westerners can be expected to know about women in Congo-Kinshasa - ranks NUMBER FOUR on the list of issues women in Congo want addressed. Political participation is number 1. Economic empowerment is number 2. Women in India are passionate about information technology, and you know what they hate? Coming to the United States, where Indian women in STEM are suddenly considered LESS GOOD than their male colleagues. My friends in Senegal taught ME how to download movies off the internet. Zimbabwe has a fashion week.
As Teju Coal points out:
"I don’t like this expression "First World problems." It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.
One event that illustrated the gap between the Africa of conjecture and the real Africa was the BlackBerry outage of a few weeks ago. Who would have thought Research In Motion’s technical issues would cause so much annoyance and inconvenience in a place like Lagos? But of course it did, because people don’t wake up with “poor African” pasted on their foreheads. They live as citizens of the modern world. None of this is to deny the existence of social stratification and elite structures here. There are lifestyles of the rich and famous, sure. But the interesting thing about modern technology is how socially mobile it is—quite literally. Everyone in Lagos has a phone.”
95% of the people who use bullshit expressions like “First world problems” have NO IDEA what life is like for people in the so-called third world. You just like sitting there derailing.
And for the record? As a white, western feminist, DAMN RIGHT I concentrate on issues in the United States. Because when white western feminists try to “save” women outside the west? We do a SHIT job of it. We’re the ones who bowl over actual congolese women, and what THEY want, and say that the #1 issue affecting them is rape. We become arms of the imperialist patriarchal complex.
Classic example: the guy who was ruling Egypt for the British got british feminists to help him in his anti-headscarf campaign in Egypt. Why did he hate headscarves? Because he wanted to *break the spirit* of Egyptians. Not because he gave a shit about women’s rights.
How do I know that?
Because he was the head of the anti-women’s-suffrage group in England.
When women who live outside the west do awesome things, I will signal-boost them, and I will do whatever they think I can do to help. But I follow their lead. Because these are THEIR issues, and THEY know what matters to them. Not me.
FINALLY: My problems are not trivial. My problems are not bullshit. My problems are not to be dismissed with your racist, imperialist logic. Dress codes and makeup and music and books and video games MATTER. They matter to me. They matter to my life.
So fuck you.
And fuck your assumptions.
And maybe consider that YOUR first world problem?
Is that you can’t “see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.”
::stands up and applauds this response::
Have I blogged this before? Still bears repeating.
+ issues like #rape, #domestic violence, drought, etc, are serious problems in the “First world” as well. Poverty is a problem in the U.S. There are children starving and being shot by the police without justice in the U.S. Like…„
cypheroftyr just reblogged my post, and suddenly, all the terrible anons are worth it.