There’s been a lot of chat over the last few years over the problems with fake Geek Girls and how they’re a blight upon comics fandom, and the whole ”Geek” scene. For example the artist Tony Harris made a well thought out and deeply meaningful post on his Facebook last year, and any forum online is full of considered, thoughtful posts on the subject because ultimately girls just don’t get it, and they just aren’t geeky enough are they?
After all, no male fan has ever not known the history of the comics medium. Never. That’s never happened No male fan has ever look vaguely ridiculous while dressing up as a character from a comic, film or telly series. That’s never happened. Ever.No male fan have ever jumped on a bandwagon of something popular. That’s never happened. Ever. No male fan has just blindly followed something because it’s trendy. That’s never happened. It’s only girls who do these things, really, honest, and that’s why they’re fake!!!
Meanwhile back in the real world…..
The whole ‘Geek Girl’ thing is a simple case of just the sort of old fashioned misogyny that sadly has been in comics since, oooo, I was even born but updated for the 21st century with extra added ignorance and stupidity because even though the internet is the greatest educational resource humanity has ever invented, people are basically fucking idiots.
As said, this has always been something bubbling under the surface in comics in the US at least, while in the UK things were different in the sense that although we had weekly girls comics, there was a less vicious form of discrimination among readers but the industry itself was hardly free and open but the UK has a long history since 2000AD especially of strong female characters (Judge Anderson, Halo Jones, Purity Brown from Nemesis, numerous strips in the likes of Crisis, Toxic!, etc) written by the likes of Alan Moore, Pat Mills and John Wagner who were brought up with the sort of egalitarian socialism of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s which is exactly the sort of background most American writers, and indeed, fans didn’t have a background in. So women in American comics were generally there to make up the numbers, and so that sort of treatment of women spilled over into how fans though about women before the ‘eww, girls have cooties’ phase that most boys go though at some point in their early years, but most of us grow out of it.
This is something I’ve touched on before, but in this case let’s focus on the expression ‘Fake Geek Girl’ for what it is. It’s become a meme where you can stumble across people calling it out, or defending it, or apathetically saying nothing about it. It is designed purely to offend women.
Before we go on, let me explain about the distant past called the 1980’s when the idea of half naked women dressed as Black Canary wandering around a convention was, frankly, laughable.
I’ve covered my history of British conventions in the past, but the one thing I didn’t mention in detail was the lack of women and girls. I remember sitting around hotel bars at various UKCAC’s in the 80’s and 90’s bemoaning the lack of women, if only to thin out the smell of sweaty fanboys in Batman shirts that haven’t washed in days. Frankly in the old days, women were restricted to being the mothers of kids they brought, the odd girlfriend who dared to come along (and I can tell you having taken girlfriends to cons in the past this can be a weird experience) and very rarely, the odd female fan who loved comics. This number grew during the 90’s but they were coming into comics through comic version of the Anne Rice books, or Sandman, or Love & Rockets, or indeed, any of the more inclusive comics that started coming from the US during the late 80’s and 90’s. You also had the rise of Cosplay as more people immersed themselves into the Manga culture it spawned from, plus programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, increased a female audience for material which til then had been almost exclusively the preserve of males. This pissed people off because how dare these women get involved with things they like, and as this new popularity with genre fiction in comics, TV, etc came across the Atlantic we saw a move from the egalitarian socialism which was the norm in British comics culture to a more Americanised version where people now defend the recent nude Halo Jones fiasco, or indeed, join in the nonsense that is the ‘fake Geek Girl’ meme.
This isn’t to say that there’s not people out there jumping on a bandwagon, or indeed the whole ‘geek’ thing has become a cultural trend and this is a point made by others, but the reality is the term is used to abuse and intimidate women so it’s been made a pejorative word by male fans who frankly, just hate women taking an active role in something they think is there’s and that’s just sad and wanky.
The American comics industry is frankly full of exploitation, and at this point I’d heartily recommend the excellent Pussey by Dan Clowes.
It’s an amazingly funny, not to mention vicious dissection of the American comics industry, but it gives a lot of context to where American comics, not to mention the ‘geek culture’ went during the 90’s.
The point of all this is that some fans are wankers. Some are glory hunters. Some are just jumping on a trend and will jump off again in a few years. Some don’t know anything about comics history. Some only want to cheer ‘their’ side on and to hell with creators, other fans and anything as long as they get their fix. Some want to degrade women. Which brings me round to the way things were in the 80’s and early 90’s where fans and creators fought to get more women into comics. They fought to make things better, but are now seeing a vicious reprisal to this from people who have found an internet connection and want to spout their hatred because that’s what they’ve decided to do with their lives. This doesn’t mean people should sit back, but it just means we’ve got to have a go back and make things fun for everyone. Don’t put up with people’s sense of entitlement or their stupidity.
That would be the decent and human thing to do.