Since it looks like we cannot go without fail for even few days I present to you the newest one. Booth babes need not apply
is a piece by Joe Peacock who joined all the people who decided the will put borders around the geek community and start charge admittance. To girls. Pretty girls. Because how dare they do things we enjoy without making their whole lives about it.John Scalzi wrote a pretty good rebuttal
that sums nicely what is wrong with that whole attitude. Anyone who made an effort to dress-up and paid for entrance already made an effort to join the experience. They may not do it again. They may not be a greatest fan. But they came for the experience and screaming that your are doing this wrong and get of my lawn is not helping. If people are showing interest in what you like the proper response isn't "you are not good enough". (I'm not talking about the actual hired models - which is what the 'booth babes' term usually refers to - because that's not what this article talks about)
I do snicker at newbies (especially when they tell about that great new thing they discovered that I've known for years) and I get the frustration of when people who barley touched on some subject became centre of attention because they are flashy (or pretty). But this attitude of being somehow robbed of the enjoyment by people who are not as obsessed is doing harm to us all. It implies we should test everyone (by everyone I, of course, mean pretty women) in our secret knowledge before they can cross the bridge to enter our playground (I say ours even though I am a girl but I could probably pass just by not being pretty and thin enough). Not that that playground was ever ours - it was always authors and companies' product - only noone else used to be interested. The things we enjoy are made for everyone and now everyone are enjoying it. It became the mainstream of popular culture (not mine - nihilistic_kid repeats it for this occasion
). And maybe Joe Peacock is right and they are just there because it is popular and therefore they'll get a lot of attention
. Why is it so awful? Isn't that validation of what we always said? Thing we like are awesome and for everyone to enjoy. Let them enjoy as much of the experience as they are willing to participate in. Hope they get nice memories.
One of my favourite experiences was sharing my love of sf and fantasy. I made my brother start reading books by giving hi fantasy and he used my books to get his now wife to date him. I mad my own, real life, Malazan Reading Cult by sharing my books with friends and family. Even if they never got as into it as me or gave it up when they got families and jobs and less time but it is a shared experience we can all remember with fondness. It is much better then screaming you are fake so get out and never come again. And then suspecting every girl they just doing it for attention.
We already had this with gaming and the whole Felicia Day thing
. Now, the debate moved to the general geekdom showing that deep ingrained sexism that insinuates that not only pretty girls have to prove they are geeks they also have to prove they are not doing it only to impress boys. This is especially grating in this context - cosplaying in Comic-Con - as women get judged if their bodies are not good enough and then get this if they are. This kind of behaviour doesn't really affect the ones who are not into it. It makes it awful to all the women who really do care but I constantly expected to prove they are not fake. Because they might be spies infiltrating geekdom to make geek boys stare at them instead of non-fake pretty girls in costumes. Apparently, this is how women decide their worth.
The only good thing about this was showing the existing, deeply sexist, undercurrents in geek culture and hopefully all the discussions will start shifting the attitudes to something less disturbing. At least, a little. One can hope, right?