We have a problem geek boys and girls, and its time we deal with it. There is an unacceptable amount of misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and disablism in our community.
I was going to write about DC’s poll numbers after “The New 52″ and the failure to bring in new readers. I was going to discuss the awfulness of Comic Book Men. (Seriously, that was the most Jersey crap I’ve seen in my life and I grew up in NJ. At some point in my life I’ve been in a Camaro listening to Bruce Springsteen with Aqua Net in my hair.) But then I read the comments in other people’s articles and realized that if you complain about not being represented in this community, someone will be there to tell you how stupid you are. That of course you’re not represented because you don’t belong. That even though you may feel like an outsider because you’ve been treated like one by society, and the nerd community is supposed to be a group of outcasts, you’re not really part of this community because you’re not a white able-bodied male.
Read any comments section or board about anything geeky and you’ll find people complaining about how “they” need to stop trying to be so “PC” by being treating women like more than Real Dolls, or having a non-white and/or non-straight character, or not magically curing a disabled person. At some point a girl cosplayer will be sexually harassed. A disabled person will be told to stop bringing up their disability because “that’s all you talk about” (ask the editor, he’ll tell you). [Ed. note: It’s true.] Someone will be told “no one cares” about a minority character. “Think of the children” will be cried about a homosexual character.
There is a segment of the geek community that seems seriously threatened by the idea of people that aren’t exactly like him and are also interested in the same things he is. That in some way diversity will “ruin” it. That letting everyone play will make him less special.
I guess it will make him less special. It will make that straight, able-bodied, white male the same as the rest of us. That’s not ruining it. That’s progress. That’s making it better and more interesting. Also, it’s making the geeky thing he loves more sustainable. The more people that can come to the party, the better.
Let me tell you a little bit about how it feels to be a geek girl. I get to be ignored by those putting out content because I’m not their “target market”. I get quizzed by men who think I’m faking my geekiness and therefore must PROVE that I am a real nerd. If I express my geek in a non-male centric way (such as Pintrest), I am ridiculed by the media and the fan-“good ole”-boys. I am brushed off as a “squee fan”. Too much of the merchandise aimed at me is pink.
I shouldn’t feel forced out of fandom because of my gender. No one should feel forced out of fandom because of their skin color, disability, or sexual orientation. And those of us who don’t fit the white able-bodied straight male 18-34 mold shouldn’t have to break down doors every time we love something passionately. We should be accepted and respected. And if you don’t like it, maybe you’re the one there isn’t room for.