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Submitted on
November 13, 2012
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I've added more to the bottom of this article, and I'm bumping it because I feel like it's important.
Also it's my birthday, so I do what I want. :B

This link. Right here.

Tony. Tony, Tony, Tony.

This attitude is not ok, for many reasons beside it being completely illogical.

1) You don't get to decide who is a geek or not a geek. Period. Geekdom is about acceptance, not rejection. If you're all about Not Liking Other People That Like The Stuff That You Like, you're not a geek, you're a hipster. Who found a pair of glasses.

2) You don't get to decide who is hot and who is not hot. That girl at the con with thick thighs and a little bit of muffin top? She is a perfect 10 in my book, bro. Except that women's bodies aren't up for the judging. Her attractiveness or lack therof does not define her geekiness. The same way that it does not define her social experience. Pretty girls can be socially awkward virgins who don't know how to talk to guys. Both genders can have difficulty with relationships. This percieved perpetual red-carpet treatment of human beans because they sport a rack of meatstuff on their chest is just myth. And if they do recieve different treatment, it's usually because of patriarchy, which is sexism, which is bad for us all. Like, if you see another dude insist on holding a door open for a pretty girl, or pulling out her chair, or telling her she's so pretty, you have to wonder, did she even ask for that stuff? How do you know she's not mentally begging for that creeper to get lost so she can meet up with her friends?

Which brings me into:

3) Tony, I bet you've never had your ass grabbed at a con. I bet you've never had someone stare unblinkingly at you from across the room in a way that made you really uncomfortable. I bet you've never had someone take your photograph without asking. I bet you've never had someone follow you back from the con to your hotel.

(Just to be clear, I'm not talking about specific things that have happened to me, but they are so, SO common for women at cons, and just in general)

When you see a bunch of dudes hanging around and paying attention to a pretty girl in a con, your first, very first question shouldn't be "How / why is she preying upon those poor nerdy souls" but "Does she even want that attention?" Who here is really preying upon whom? Girls are trained to smile and laugh especially when they are uncomfortable. What you may observe from your male perspective as a girl lounging in tons of hormonal nerdy attention may actually be a girl who wants to be entirely left alone, but can't get away from dudes who feel entitled to her conversation and her body.

You talk about "giving them the time of day" whether they're at the con or not. Sometimes there's a reason why. If you creep on a girl at a con, she may think you're ok to talk to about fandom, since you're a geek too, but she's not really into dating you. She's not leading you on, she's not a cold-hearted bitch who enjoys strumming the tightly-tuned heartstrings of men, she's just there for the comics. Not a date. If you creep on a girl outside of a con, and she's not wearing a costume as a conversation icebreaker? She is probably thinking Is this creepy dude with a long, greasy ponytail in a black trenchcoat going to rape me? I kid you not, Tony. I kid you not.

And here's the thing about women at cons and woman at... life. If one dude tries to creep on her in his long ponytail and black trenchcoat, she may (for safety's sake, not out of malice) assume that all dudes in ponytails and trenchcoats are creepy quasi-rapists who breathe heavily and buy her "gifts" with the expectation of sex in return. You know, and I know that not all dudes are like that. That pretty much goes without saying. But bad experiences have a way of shaping a person's behaviour in the future. They want to protect themselves from future harassment, potential stalking and general Bad Mojo. So they snub strange dudes that they don't know. They avoid them. Because rapists don't announce themselves when they walk onto a con floor with a giant "I'M A RAPIST PLEASE AVOID ME" sign over their chest. It would be really helpful if they did.

So for safety's sake, some women choose to only hang around their girlfriends, or group of friends they came with. Because those friends are safe. They still dress up in the costumes that make them feel attractive and geeky and awesome, but they choose not to spend their time with unfamiliar dudes who are trying to find their girlfriend at a con. And Tony, that's ok. It's ok for girls to dress in a sexy manner and not want to interact with you, or to interact with you but not want to date you. Because women are people. They want to feel good about themselves and not feel like the owe everyone in the world a favour.

4) Now, I get what you're saying about sexism in the geek industry. Sex sells. Games and comics have lots of sexy female characters that women cosplay. And there are sexy ladies dressed up at gaming and comic conventions whose sole purpose is to prey on the budding sexuality of male geeks and who are only interested in taking their hard-earned pocket money. You know what they are called? Booth babes.

These are ladies who are hired by YOU, the industry, to sell a product. Are they fake geeks? Only so much as they are a product that you have created and you are selling. In this real-world economy, these ladies need a job, and industry booths hire them to stand pretty, take pictures and take young geek money. They are not there for personal satisfaction or to up their "geek/hot girl" cred. They are there to work, at a booth, just like you. If you want to deal with sexism in the industry and scantily clad women running around convention centres, you should really take a look at your own industry practices before you condemn female fans who are trying to emulate the characters that they love.

5) And lastly, that brings me back to the relevance of the long-running superheroine contest. If you SO abhor seeing fat girls in skimpy clothing, maybe you and your comic book pals could design a character or two that doesn't have gravity-defying ta-tas and an impossible self-supporting mobius-strip costume now and then.

Now, can we please stop hating on girl geeks and play nice?

EDIT: If this is not an issue about sexism, please, please point me to where folks in general are trying to stake out "fake geek" men. Men who play video games to garner attention, men who know nothing about comic book characters, but buy figurines because they "look cool". Men who cosplay their sexy, sexy body in a "sexified" version of a popular character, but are only in it for all that girl geek fawning. Do we quiz them on canon and origin stories? Do we look at those dudes who are just a little too attractive to be there and question their motives? Oh? A cute boy walked into a comic shop with his oxford shoes and buddy holly glasses? I bet he's not a "real" geek, I bet he's just a poser doing it because it's cool.

Because as a woman, you are constantly put on the defensive of your "geek cred". You are asked to prove yoruself to the gatekeepers of geekdom that you are, in fact, a legit geek. And god forbid you don't pass their internal test of what makes a geek. You read Elfquest but not Superman? Not a Real Geek(TM). You play RPGs but not FPS? Not a Real Geek(TM). Men are not questioned by the Geek Authority upon entering a sacred space like a comic book store or a gaming lounge. Men are assumed to be geeks first and foremost simply for being there. Women are assumed to be... evil? I dunno. I haven't quite figured out why we're in geek spaces in men's minds if we're not geeks.

Women should not have to prove themselves to be geeks, just to please the minds of people like Tony who is Totally Not Sexist and Kindly Differentiates Between Real Geek Girls and GurlGeeks. If they say they are geeks, they are geeks. If they only read a few comic books or dabble casually into gaming, but aren't really into tabletop stuff? Still geeks. Just like guys are still geeks even though they have differing tastes in geekdom. Movies, Cosplay, Games, Comics, Novels, Shows, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror, the world of geekdom is HUGE. We're all a part of it in some way. Because it's fun to be a geek. It's fun to share your knowledge with someone who doesn't know about what you love.

And girl geeks are SO GOOD at getting new people into fandom. You walk up to somebody's tumblr and are all "who is this hot duder in a scarf" and she's all "LET ME ASPERGERS YOU ABOUT SHERLOCK FOR AN HOUR AND SHOW YOU THESE GIFS" And that's how it should be. About sharing, promoting, loving what we love. Not forming some kind of hipster pit where the coolest person doesn't have any friends and damn well makes sure no one likes the obscure stuff they like because underground and stuff.

If you see a cosplayer at a con who is new to fandom, new to geekdom, or casually putting their toes into this space by wearing a costume, you have two options:

1) Leave them alone because maybe they want to be alone

2) Offer to teach them new stuff to make them a better geek. Teaching is fun. learning is fun. Making friends is fun.

Two other good responses to the subject:…

EDIT 2: Friends, your misogyny is showing. You might wanna zip that up.

This slut-shaming stuff has to stop.

"I'm ok with cosplayers but not the slutty ones, we all know who THEY are" is some real sexist, woman-shaming crap on a stick. You do not define what is "slutty" and what is "not slutty". Especially when you do not hold men up to the same standards that you hold women.

Many people have seen a Fat Hulk in their con-going days.

Fat Hulks aren't questioned about their body. "Ew, you're not ripped like the hulk, cosplay to your body type! You've killed my attraction to the character!"
Fat Hulks aren't assumed to be "slutty" for wearing literally only ripped pants. "Wow, dude, put a shirt on. All the women are staring at you."
Fat Hulks aren't questioned on their knowledge of Hulk Backstory. "Yeah? What do you know about the Hulk? I bet you just picked the Hulk because he has a skimpy costume and you could show of your semi-hot body!"
Fat Hulk costumes aren't seen as "cheap" even though the costume is only ripped pants and green paint. "Oh, anyone could throw that together the night before. You put no EFFORT into it! You're clearly only here to attract Hulk fans and doing it for the attention!"
Fat Hulks aren't compared to better hulks. "Yo, dude, the Hulk over there is WAY more ripped, you may wanna stand back a bit"
Fat Hulks don't have pictures of their ass or up-shorts surreptitiously taken of them without permission "Well, if you're gonna walk around with no shirt on, people are gonna notice and take you picture. If you don't want people to take your photo in a public space, don't go out like that. Wear something less revealing." (…

In short, stop policing women.
Stop holding them to any sort of "nerd standard" I don't care if she doesn't know anything about comics and blindly wandered into a comic con thinking it was a shoe store. You are not allowed to judge her presence there.
Stop deciding what is "too little" for them to wear. It's none of your business what she does with her body.
Stop deciding what is "too much attention" being paid to her. Don't like her attitude or her thoughts? Don't hang out with her. Just leave. Don't be so passive-agressive and internetty about it. If you have a real problem with someone's behaviour, such as them physically touching you or hitting on you and making you uncomfortable, pull them aside and have a grown-up conversation with them.

Magic Words: "Hey, I pulled you aside to talk to you. See, I know we're all here to have fun, but you joke a lot about sexy stuff around me, and sometimes you grab me into these random hugs and it kinda makes me uncomfortable. Could you please tone it down around me? I just really don't like flirty, sexy stuff and I don't like to be touched without asking my permission first. I'm not trying to ruin your experience, I just want us both to have a good time at the con. Thanks for listening."

Most people will listen when you ask them to respect your personal boundaries. Running to facebook and whinning about those slutty sluts and their dirty slutness is just so counter-productive.
If that cosplayer is getting all friendly with someone else and that someone else is enjoying it? None of your business. None. Go read a webcomic and let them have fun in the way they want to have fun. You are not the slut-police.

Read more here:…
What is Slut Shaming? finallyfeminism101.wordpress.c…
Add a Comment:
sylviaD Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
Telling anyone to stop judging anyone is a waste of time. Take it from me.
earthx Featured By Owner May 9, 2014  Student General Artist
thank you for writing this

ps. you had me at 'Sherlock'. that's what i do all the time :D
Aimiliona Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
TheSkaldofNvrwinter Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
While I don't agree with his statements, I think we live in a overly sumberged feminist worldview. Some of this stuff may be going on at cons--I wouldn't know, since I've never been--but women, as a whole, have nothing to fear from me. Feminists have created a atmosphere, a pumped up atmosphere, where women actually believe 1 in 4 of them are raped. It isn't true.

That said, I would say to geek guys respect the geeker girls. They are great. And don't assume because you have something in common she wants to date you. Get to know her.
TheSkaldofNvrwinter Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
sorry, typo, that was supposed to be 'nothing to fear from men.'
onlycomeoutatnight Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
speaking as a woman who was bitten at a con by a strange guy, a man who was not my husband, completely without my permission...women DO have things to fear from men. in my case, i was friendly (not flirty, just polite and smiling) and wearing a corset. i had a blouse on, so i was not showing too much cleavage...i was in NO WAY responsible for his actions (although i could have been naked and he still would not have had permission or the right to touch me). he bit my shoulder while we were standing in a crowded hallway.

you were probably more accurate stating women had nothing to fear from you personally, than to assume all men are going to be respectful at cons. that was one story from my first con...i know many others from women who've been to more than me. that is unacceptable. (btw, i don't know of a single case where a woman has acted that way to a man at a con...not saying it doesn't happen, just that it is unreasonable to expect women to ignore the very real possibility that they could be sexually assaulted at these events simply because it makes men uncomfortable)

in the USA alone, over 125,000 rapes are reported every year. that's just the ones that are reported. many go unreported because of fear of further punishment, feeling shame, coercion...etc. instead of minimizing our fears and experiences, you could support women who are brave enough to stand up to this, encourage women to dress how they want, and protect women at cons who are facing unwanted or inappropriate attention.
Hopfield Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That's a great reply, I kept nodding and agreeing throughout. I'm sad that someone so involved with the comic business holds views like this, but not overly surprised. It seems to me that mainstream comics remain completely white-male-centric. Wikipedia lists Tony's key work on Iron Man (white man in a suit that gives him special powers), Starman (white man with special powers) and Ex Machina (white man with special powers). I've just deleted loads because I kind of went off on a crazed rant. Anyway, great post, thanks for putting it together :)
Naria-hime Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Student General Artist
I thank you for this post and completely agree with you. Post like Tony Harris' are just infuriating! It makes me want to drop cosplay sometimes! And it is sooooo true that people think they have the right to judge what is slutty and what is not, when, in fact, according to the LAW, as long as a woman's nipples and vagina are covered, be it with only pasties and a thong, IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL for her to roam even the STREETS in broad daylight. So I do not understand why a girl is somewhat revealing clothing would be demonized at a con which is supposed to be a safe environment in which you can let loose, have fun, and WEAR that costume without being afraid (I have been followed by people when I wore my San - Princess Mononoke - cosplay on a bus... it was creepy! and that's not even revealing!) I dunno... I hope that opinions like yours will someday come through and knock some sense into people. Until then, I will still refrain from cosplaying anything sexy that will make me feel attractive because I fluctuate between a size 8 and 10 (I used to be much thinner) and I am uncomfortable with the sort of comment I KNOW I would get if I dared to do anything that, for instance, showed my midriff... *sigh*
Alyssa-Ravenwood Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Well said. Thank you.
iRAndomPAnda Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
Excellent response to such a poorly thought rant.
Out of curiosity: I would like to hear his viewpoint then of opposite gender cosplay
These are all men in skimpy revealing costumes but more than likely they will be seen as funny and clever, not so much as "he's doing it for sexual attention".
Simply, men and women go there to have fun, not to be judged. (unless you enter into a costume contest :P )
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