Friday, July 6, 2012

Girly or Geeky, Not Both

After watching the unexpected (and unwanted) explosion of Cthulhu Barbie I was steeling myself for much of the same "I can do better but I don't wanna" with Shep.

But instead something far more curious happened.

People were honestly pissed that Commander Shepard was in some tiny way associated with that staple of little girl's play time. How dare I turn a doll of glitter and hair and fashion into a woman that shoots anything that moves to save the galaxy.

Of course there were the mouth breathers who have to make damn sure you're aware at all times that they have a penis and it's oh so amazing.
Those I have gotten so used to in my 30 or so years in the nerd culture I almost don't see anymore. Only in nerd land do guys say horrible things about women and then turn around with "Nu-uh I totally love women, cause I'd do Buffy."

What surprised me more were the ones who were oh so concerned of little girls.
You want to introduce little girls, to an M game, where you shoot people in the head?

I'd bet my dog that this poster was male because come on? What girl wouldn't love a Barbie that came in actual useful non plastic armor with a gun? 

"Tell me what I want to know Ken or I'll cut off your balls and sell them to the Krogan!"

There were also a lot of "Ews" with no explanation just a vitriolic reaction.

It was a nice reminder that if you dare to have two X chromosomes and try to fit into nerd land you basically have two options.

Either you can become sexless, one of the boys, never ever mention anything about how the world operates for the other half. Don't dare bring up that makeup stuff, or hair, or periods, or anything that dares to counter their worldview that women might actually have thoughts outside of the best knife for sandwich spread.

Or, you can be the sexpot. The hot woman who is only there for them to whack off too and impress with their mighty knowledge of Star Wars quotes (yeah, we've seen the movies too. Nothing less than an obscure Princess Bride reference is getting a panty drop).

And seeing Commander Shepard, a (begrudgingly) acknowledged nerd icon as that pink frilly doll everyone without two brain cells to rub together automatically cries out as evil broke every servo in that women either service me or don't exist brain.

Fuck that shit!

I've been watching Star Trek since I was 4, and played more with my multitude of "action figures" over Barbie. (There was also a lot of cars, some dinosaurs and a shingle and some insulation foam once. I was a strange child)

I'd say a look around my blog is all the proof one needs of just how much nerd crap I get into.

But I also love to paint my nails, lots of shiny sparkly colors. My poor PS3 controlled is dotted with green because I love to do them while playing (forces me to not smudge them up).

I even occasionally wear makeup (that isn't just to make me look like an undead zombie mummy lawyer). And if I actually like pink I could even wear it if I wanted.

I'm tired of having to pretend for the sake of humoring the mens. Neither my geekiness nor my girliness has a god damn thing to do with you. It's all for me. 

Contrary to what you may think the world does not, and will not, revolve around your penis. 

Pink isn't less than Blue.

Sparkle isn't less than Matte. 

Girly isn't less than Manly.

So shut the hell up before Shep shoots you in the leg.


Monica Marier said...

Sadly my only remedy to this was to hang out with other nerd girls and carefully screened male nerds who aren't assholes (which is how Tangent Artists was formed really).

It's a scary path the XX's walk when we try to play in "the boy's yards" and I've had trouble being accepted by both "the girly girls" and "the nerd boys."

The rise of the "geeks are sexy" movement hasn't done much to help. Now we're expected to look like Meganekkos in school girl uniforms. :P

IntrovertedWife said...

Exactly, either you're a booth babe or sexless. There is no "another human being" option.

Rebecca Todd said...

Excellent post! This dichotomy has bothered me for years.

Linda said...

Well said.

jennifer said...

Love the topic. Most of the nerd stuff is lost on me, but as a girl who loves sports, it's a similar dichotomy.

Peter Collings said...

I have an 11 year old daughter who is getting into gaming, and this dichotomy has had me a little worried. She likes being a girl, but likes gaming, too. As a lifelong nerd myself, I know how girls are viewed and treated by the nerdy/geeky crowd, and I have seen the way girly girls treat gamer girls, too. I hope I can teach my daughter just what was said above - she can be a girly gamer girl, or anything she chooses to be. And if others don't like it, that's their problem, not hers - I'll always have her back!

Peter Collings said...

Oh, and thanks to Nila for tweeting the link to this article!

Amy said...

I'm just me. Isn't that part of being a nerd? Liking what you want to like and not having to worry about who cares?

Lukrezia said...

You are so right.

I see that my 5y daughter will have the same "problems" like me (and, as I see here a lot of other nerd girls). She likes my Star Trek action figures, is fascinated of Spock, thinks about why Darth Vader became so bad (I told her the Star Wars Saga as bedtime story)...

I hope me as a nerdy mum will be able to help her being herself.

Anastasia said...

I'm not a gamer, but I'm definitely into sci fi and I'm just lucky that I had a group of Freaks and Geeks as girlfriends growing up. We spoke Elvish and Klingon and we didn't care how odd we were. I also loved to be all girly in my nailpolish and hair ribbons.

I had no idea Commander Shep Barbie was anything but badass. I just know I would buy one!

shapr said...

I can only hope that things will improve! My girly+nerdy wife doesn't like to visit the nearby hackerspace because she's pretty enough to get fixed stares.
Those few who stare don't notice her awesome soldering skills, sadly.

So we mostly stay away.

Shea said...

Can I just say that I adore you for this post? Thank you very much, and have a very nice day!

Unknown said...

"Neither my geekiness nor my girliness has a god damn thing to do with you. It's all for me."

YES! Thank you!

Dahara Dreaming said...

"What the fuck do you mean when you say I can't watch a chick flick that makes me cry right after watching The Bourne Identity series?"

Actual reply of mine to someone who stated: "You can't watch action movies. The chick flick I can understand, you have boobs. And people with boobs cry. You shouldn't have watched those movies, especially if you were going to watch a tear jerker afterwards." And he was utterly serious. Men watch actions. Women watch criers.

As someone who just started playing Mass Effect 1 - and loved making clothes (think comic book heroine clothing) for barbies, I want a Shep Barbie, one with a hair bun and my favorite body armor (so far), please. Oh, and a sniper rifle; she's so bad ass.

Tony Noland said...

Assailing the bastion of male nerd self-assurance is a tough fight. Have fun storming that castle.