For the purpose of the rhetoric in this article–its method of expression–I am going to be using the general second-person pronoun of “you.”
I’ve gone to Conventions before. They are some of the few places that have the opportunity to actually relate to people who have similar interests as mine. I’ve been to the crowded, but varied Toronto Fan Expo. I went to Anime North with all of its variance of cosplayers. I have gone to, and volunteered at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. I even went all the way to Atlanta to go to what is arguably a grandparent of them all: Dragon Con.
I don’t go to nearly as many as I should: given what this Writer’s Blog is about, and the fact that I’d like to meet with more people who have similar interests to my own.
So I’m not really going to say anything new. There will be no insight into anything here that you already haven’t read a thousand times before. The sad thing is that I feel like I even have to repeat this at all because you would think, by now, that this would be common sense. But I have two points that I’m going to make.
First of all, when a girl or a woman–or anyone–is at a Convention, they want to be there. Period. If they have taken the time, such as at Anime North, or Fan Expo, or Dragon Con, or any other Convention or Festival to dress up as a fictional character or otherwise, chances are they want to be at this Event and they know who they are dressed as. Some good friends of mine, and people I love create their own costumes from raw sewing materials. Also, I’ve been told that–as such–it is more than okay to compliment someone on their costume–self-made or otherwise–and to ask to take pictures of them. Hell, you might even talk with them and make a friend.
Hey, it could happen, or so I hear.
So please do not talk about who knows what about what character, or series, or franchise and then some.
And even if they don’t, they are there–after paying money and a substantial amount of money at that–to have fun. That is what a Comics, Video Game, Film, and Geek Convention or Festival is ultimately about. To have fun.
They are not there for you and they do not have to fulfill your standards as to what a “true geek” should be. And here is some more common sense, I don’t care what their costume looks like, you do not have the right to touch someone without their permission. This is basic kindergarten knowledge. Do not touch someone without their permission. Period.
Also, here is an exercise. Imagine that women can create, buy, review, play, and add to Geek Culture. Or, you know, simply enjoy it.
Well, you don’t have actually imagine this, because this has already happened. And it is happening right now. Because guess what: women are people. People make choices and sometimes different choices from those you might make. Therefore it is pretty foolish to make generalizations or assumptions based on intrinsically different individuals who happen to have flesh bodies like all human beings do.
So here is something constructive that I can suggest. Talk to a woman like a human being and treat her like one (because well, duh, she is one), and you might learn something about another human being who may or may not share the same interests as you. Encourage them to create and review works. In fact, encourage anyone to do that. Moreover, if you do not agree with what they have to say, insults, threats, and sexist remarks really will not help your case or make you look any more intelligent by comparison. If you have something constructive to say, take the time to say it and remember that you are talking to another human being who has their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
And as your parents will tell you, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t bloody say it. This man here astonishes me not so much because of his views with regards to “a majority” of female cosplayers–of which I don’t agree with in the slightest–but because he is an artist and he decided that it was wise to publicly post this for anyone to see. I can’t really fathom it, to be honest. As an aspiring creator, cultivating an audience is important to getting your work off the ground, and to continue supporting it, and this just looks like a whole lot of personal sabotage of everything he has ever collaborated in. It’s just sad. It’s just really sad and unacceptable.
So I am going to get into the second part of my rant now, which will also begin with the word “unacceptable.”
Just because you like a certain work, or have followed something for a while, or bought a wide range of products, or have Joe Shuster’s autograph, or written ridiculous fanfics, or created other works, or any wide variety of Geeky things does not make you better than other people. I’m now really talking about the overarching issue here in addition to sexism: elitism.
Now, you can find jerks in any human endeavour or culture of some kind. They’re jerks: enough said and you don’t need to waste your time with them if they bother you that much. But–but–that does not give you or anyone else the right to make the judgment that they are not “true geeks” and it doesn’t reflect well on what you love by disparaging others who may not meet “your standards.”
What is a geek? Honestly, I believe that a geek is someone who really loves something to the point of obsession–or bordering on it–and it can be a wide range of different subjects and objects. Just because a geek might not know as much as another, or doesn’t own as many toys doesn’t mean they are any lesser. The term “geek” and indeed any label is problematic at best, so the rest of this is going to be more of my opinion: as if you haven’t already heard enough of it.
Do you know what I think a “true geek” is? I think a true geek is someone that loves something so much that they are willing–and happily so–to share that love with someone else. This could be in the form of education, or telling stories, or hanging around each other, or making things together, or playing games together, or trading knowledge, skills, and experiences, or something even so basic as simply acknowledging that–even if you don’t share the same interest–that you can at least respect it.
Because here’s the thing. When you get to the point of trying to prove you are better than someone, you are entering a pissing match.
And the thing about pissing matches is even if you win, you’re still going to be covered in urine.
So keep that in mind. I actually like Conventions and I’d like to it to stay that way. And if they can be even better, then I am all for that too.
Credit: Matt & Kristy on Flickr, whose picture and costumes these actually are.