Geek Feminism – Why We’re Complaining
- Christina X Li
- On April 23, 2013
“Twitterverse” is a ludicrous term. Yet, in the past two years this entity has exploded over the internet and social media. In January 2013, #1reasonwhy began to engulf the geek universe through twitter. The hashtag was used by girls and women alike to express solidarity over the sexism in the video game industry. It all started off with Kickstarter Employee Luke Crane’s tweet “Why are there so few lady game creators?” Buzzfeed reported on what happened next:
“Over the 24 hours that followed Crane’s tweet, thousands of women responded to his question with the hashtag #1reasonwhy. Using the hashtag, female game developers, writers, critics, and journalists shared personal stories of sexism and exclusion – their “one reason why” so few women are leaders in the massive gaming industry.”
Reasons and tweets included
“Because I get mistaken for the receptionist or day-hire marketing at trade shows. #1reasonwhy” @K2theSwift
“#1Reasonwhy because your studio never orders any women’s t-shirts in swag orders, and certainly not in sizes bigger than XS or S.” @cuppy
“Because conventions, where designers are celebrated, are unsafe places for me. Really. I’ve been groped. #1reasonwhy” @filamena
“Because I’m sexually harassed as a games journalist, and getting it as a games designer compounds the misery. #1reasonwhy” @lilyorit
#1reasonwhy brought the sexism in gaming and geek culture to public attention and then, like most news trends, faded within a month. But the hashtag and very public outcry were just figments of the very serious sexism rampant in geek culture. More recent incidences include the “Cosplay is not Consent” incident, which happened after a group of women cosplaying as Lara Croft from the recently released Tomb Raider game were harassed by a reporter at PAX East. One of the girls posted about the incident on Tumblr
“He [the reporter] proceeded to tell me that “I was one of those oversensitive feminists” and that “the girls are dressing sexy, so they were asking for it.” Yes, he pulled the “cosplay is consent” card”"
In an ideal world, it should be blatantly obvious why this is horrible. That people are people and girls shouldn’t be scared of being groped at conventions. That just because you want to dress up as your favorite character and participate in a subculture doesn’t mean you also want to be the object of thoughtless, sexist remarks. That just because your a girl and a geek doesn’t mean you should also be a victim.
And the root of it is, or I’d like to think, is that geek culture doesn’t like girls. We’re like a weird virus that’s somehow gotten into the system and, no matter what antibodies they throw at us, refuse to leave or die.
Girls are a foreign matter that should be “in the kitchen” or “making a sandwich.” Not next to you playing COD. And just looking at video games shows what the ideal girl for contemporary geek culture is: badass, sexy, huge knockers and either obedient to your every command or just there to please you. The idea that a girl can say “no” to anything is revolutionary, almost blasphemous.
And the saddest part of all is that geek culture should be one of acceptance. It’s the classic “underdog” story. We were mocked and ridiculed by popular culture up until the Spiderman and X-Men series came out. Slowly, slowly it became acceptable to be a geek. Even ‘cool.’ Hell, we even have our own TV show – “Comic Book Men.” If there was any subculture that should have ignored sexism, that should have been accepting of girls being equals, it should’ve been geek culture.
And that’s really the biggest disappointment about being both a girl and a geek. All around you are the little misfits of everyday life, people who would rather dive into a comic book or anime than into swimming pool. And although there are great little clubhouses for girls in geek culture, little tumblrs and websites that say “hey, it’s ok. Those guys are buttfaces.” You can’t help but think that if there was any place it would’ve okay to have just been you, it would’ve been here.
Image from Tomb Raider