Geek Girl Grief
I’m a girl, I’m a geek and I’m proud of it. My cred may not be as extensive as some, but I genuinely enjoy and understand an awful lot of things held near and dear to the geek community.
Long before it was cool to be a “fangirl”—long before I even knew the word “geek”—I was wearing Star Wars and Superman garb, watching He-Man, Super Friends, The Real Ghostbusters and TNG, playing with action figures and blabbing about those things with anyone who got stuck listening. I played video games with my dad on the Atari and Intellivision before graduating to Dark Forces, Doom, Rise of the Triad and Day of the Tentacle on my PC. It’s been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember.
Recently, the interwebs have been thick with debate raging over the legitimacy of fangirls at conventions and in the geek community at large, particularly those who cosplay. Some are seen as mere attention-seekers, others as bona fide fans. I don’t frequent conventions so I can’t speak to it firsthand, but I’m willing to bet there are plenty of women representing each camp.
I love the concept of cosplay, dressing up to represent a favorite character; the closest I’ve come was donning a Katniss look for Halloween last year. I’ve often thought it would be great fun to assemble a Speeder Bike Leia costume or Supergirl or Black Widow. Frankly, I’m not confident enough for either of the latter.
And that’s why Paige Hall’s story hit me square in my unsculpted gut.
Take a minute with this graphic, let it sink in. (Paige created it and posted to her tumblr account.)
There’s more to the story over on Epbot…“Is This What Respect Feels Like?” A Real Wonder Woman Speaks Out
I definitely see Paige’s point about comic creators (and male fans) setting unrealistically high standards for women. Frankly, though, the problem extends beyond men—I find the way women judge one another to be far more damaging. Maybe other chicks don’t harbor as many feelings of insecurity as I do…but I’m guessing an awful lot do. How is it, then, that we can ignore our own self-esteem battles and think such ugly things about other women?
If someone is comfortable enough in his/her own skin to dress up as a favorite character, he/she should be able to do so without facing a barrage of criticism or heckling. Any character, regardless of size, shape, complexion, age or other factor(s).
When I shared the story on Facebook, a guy friend (and fellow geek) joked that he’d be dressing as a hobbit because it suits his build. While it made me chuckle, I reminded him that he should be able to cosplay as Thor or any other favorite character should he be so inclined.
There is a reason those of us in the geek community are, well, geeks. We appreciate things that the greater whole of society doesn’t necessarily find “cool” or worthwhile. We unapologetically embrace our passions and eccentricities. We maintain a childlike enjoyment of toys, for heaven’s sake! I’m pretty sure we, of all people, should be the most supportive of those who have courage enough to do the same.
No, I might not want to see a dude dressed as Bacta Tank Luke, but kudos to anyone who’s gutsy enough to do it.