Outrage erupted on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend when writer/journalist Dirk Manning posted a still from Ted with an “anti fake geek girl” message on it implying that fake geek girls were whores. Image marketing manager Jennifer De Guzman took exception, and writer Mariah Huehner and other first responders of Twitter also made their feelings known. Manning did not feel that using the word “whore” in itself was offensive since some of his best friends are whores he really isn’t “that guy” and was hurt that de Guzman had called him “unprofessional.”
If you really want to follow along at home, follow the conversation from this awesome back and forth.
— Joe Hughes (@JoeHughes28) November 12, 2012
Now, I’ve covered all this many times before. Only a bit more than a year ago, people were complaining about sexy actresses pretending to be nerdy so that nerd boners would form a forest canopy over Endor. Since then the objections to being played for a sucker by a pretty girl has somehow evolved into this mockery of bandwagon jumping girls who are trying to destroy liberty and freedom making men feel uncomfortable by hanging around in their hobbies.
In one of his statements, Manning called fake geek girls an “issue” which implies that it’s some kind of problem that wise people are gathering to discuss solutions for, like rising oceans and peak oil. There’s also some kind of implications (as in the Joe Hughes exchange, above) that nerds are some kind of ethnic group who need to protect their culture from infiltrators who are just trying to be cool by proving they know every class and tonnage of starship in Starfleet or everyone who was ever in the Legion of Superheroes. Is this some kind of weird reverse projection, to try to make YOURSELF feel cooler by pretending people are trying to be just like you? The comments in Huehner’s post contain much that is ugly but also much that is majorly lacking in self-awareness:<
But it’s undeniable that there are disingenuous people… and there are fake nerds… in the sense that there are people who care more about being associated with the nerd image and its perks than about the things that regular non-self-obsessed people care about.
“Nerd perks” — wtf is he talking about and where do I get mine? Is it like a decoder ring for speaking Sindarin or something? Or just an Avengers tumbler glass? Or is it that nerds are usually smarter than the general populace and so we enjoy the benefits of greater intelligence in general. Seriously, NERD PERKS? Someone tell Robert Carradine.
And here’s another comment:
“Fake nerd,” for me, are the girls who don “geek chic” clothes and massive glasses, and then take pictures of themselves applying a game controller or cable to their mouth in a “sexy” way. I don’t really see guys do it a lot, but I think that’s because the male ego doesn’t allow much wiggle room there. “Nerdy girls” are hot, while males nerds are just… nerds. I’m sure you get the fakes among men, too, but I’ve not seen enough of that to make a judgement there.
To every one who is horribly abused and bothered by this, let me ask you — what has caused more of the emotional scarring? Is is the fact that a girl who is sexually unavailable to you and therefore causing sexual frustration is pretending to be a nerd while doing so…or is it that a girl is sexually unavailable to you and therefore causing sexual frustration?
Isn’t THAT what this whole thing is really about? Lashing out at girls who you can’t have? The same thing that drives so much violence against and hatred of women around the world?
Because nothing else really makes any sense. Is there really ANYTHING that is unfashionable about liking comic books or SF or video games any more? I mean look at the top movies of all time. Color key:
Disney and/or cartoon
3 Marvel’s The Avengers
4 The Dark Knight
5 Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
6 Star Wars
7 The Dark Knight Rises
8 Shrek 2
9 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
11 The Lion King
12 Toy Story 3
13 The Hunger Games
15 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
16 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
17 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
18 Finding Nemo
19 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
20 Spider-Man 2
21 The Passion of the Christ
Out of these 21 films only TWO are emphatically not nerd. I would say Disney and cartoon films occupy a transitional placement — cartoons were once considered kind of nerdy, and Disney freaks are definitely nerds, but the appeal of Finding Nemo, say, is as a warm and funny tale of parental overprotectiveness and not because clown fish are cool.
Is there anything vaguely socially unacceptable about liking Spider-Man anymore? Conversely, do you have to be able to write a treatise on organic vs mechanical web-shooters to be able to wear a Spider-Man t-shirt?
Before I expand this into the book that it needs to be, how about some basic rules of responsible fandom:
1. It is okay to like the things you like in the privacy of your own home.
2. It is okay to express your interests in public via Facebook, tweets or fashion choices.
3. It is okay to seek out the company of others who share your interests and compare shared enthusiasms.
4. It is not okay to bore people who do not share your interests by going on and on about them.
5. It is not okay to make fun of people for their interests unless they are being boring by going on and on about them to people who would rather be drinking a beer or trying to find a mate.
6. Thank God I spent the weekend looking at really cool art at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival where none of this matters.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.