This post might piss a few people off. I’m not sure I care, especially in light of what I consider the most dumbly veiled misogyny I’ve seen in years. Sorry, but this post is a rant. I apologize if it is less diplomatic than my previous posts.
To put things in context, I’m writing this post is response to some bullshit I’ve seen circulating in social media lately. There has been a lot of discussions about whether or not certain females within nerdom are actually nerds/geeks/what-have-you, or just rotten posers.
The argument stems from certain guys thinking that these girls are appropriating nerd culture, but really have no true claim to the culture. Oddly, these remarks tend to be made about more fairly attractive women. (Such as your ex-girlfriend! Or the cute girl who always plays the cleric/sorceress/insert whatever class you consider to be a chick thing in Pathfinder. The sexy cosplayer or costume seamstress, or that one chick who always GMs those indie, relationship-mod based games you dislike.)
So, here’s my opinion on the matter: fuck you.
I’m sorry, let me clarify…you are a misogynist asshole, and I will never fuck you.
Please allow me to clarify this point even further: women are people, and each and everyone woman is different. You don’t own nerdom. You are just renting it, like we all are.
A decade ago, I started dating my now husband. He was a clean cut guy, an engineer student, who was really into martial arts and making homemade ramen. Whatever, he was kind of a boring white guy. However, I’m a bit of a metal head, and because of a mutual interest in powermetal I found myself hanging out with quite a few men with long hair, ripped jeans, and leather jackets. Guess what some people said when I started dating my husband?
You guessed it! They said, “AH! But he isn’t metal! You must be a poser!”
Translation, “AH! Not fair, you won’t sleep with me!”
Clarification, no, I didn’t want to sleep with them. I liked my boyfriend. No, he wasn’t a metal head. But I liked him, because he was interesting, funny, kind, and had prospects and life goals. We had a well of wonderful things in common outside of what was in our CD players. Sure, I had Sonata Arctica and Rhapsody (before they were on Fire) on replay, while he had Alien Ant Farm and Jonathan Coulton, but we didn’t have to have that one aspect of our lives match up to get along. Because these basic interests don’t envelope our identities. It also gave us something unique to share with each other. Nevertheless, he was walking on the metal head’s perceived territory, and I was a poser. You see, they thought because I listened to the same music as them, they somehow owned me. (???)
Now, flip back to nerdom and women within it. When I see men claim girls are posers it usually has the same ring of the story above. It sort of comes down to the girl not having any interest in sleeping with you. I get it, many nerdy guys (many people in general) are sexually frustrated, some might even be socially awkward. But is this an excuse for misogyny?
You see, a woman can be completely into nerdom, nerd-culture, comics, RPGs, video games, and epic fantasy, and NOT be into you. Like, how I can go to a Blind Guardian concert and not want to sleep with anyone in the room, ever! My interest in this one facet of my life does not translate to my vagina! In the same way a girl being really into Brandon Sanderson novels can translate to her thinking it is a pretty nasty idea to sleep with most Brandon Sanderson fans. Having one facet of your life; a simple interest; does not translate into it having to be the whole of your identity. A woman can read epic fantasy, then turn around and marry a mystery writer. A woman can be really into running Call of Cthulhu games, then turn around and date a rugby player. A woman is allowed to be really into comic books, really into French manicures, really into gourmet baking, really into kickboxing, and cosplaying, marry a zookeeper who hates comics, and still NOT be a poser.
You know why?
Because you don’t own nerdom. (White males really hate when you tell them they don’t own something, I know!)
And, more importantly, you don’t own them!
Just because a woman is into a segment (or the whole) of nerdom, does not mean that you, as a nerd, have a right to that woman. She isn’t yours. She is hers. She decides what she likes and dislikes. Even if she decides she dislikes you.
Let me stress this point further: you are not entitled to her! Even though you are a nerd, and she is into nerd-culture, you are not entitled to her.
She is not the new Bestiary that just came out. She is not a collectable figurine. She is not the latest Jim Butcher book.
She is a consumer of fandom. Not a production of fandom. Much like yourself.
And here comes another argument: “Oh, but I was dating this one girl, who wasn’t into nerdom, and then I got her into it, and now she keeps going to cons and RPGing, even though we broke up. I got her into it, not fair. Can’t you see she’s a poser?!”
No, I can’t.
Flip the scenario around. I got my husband into tabletop role-playing games. He now is a writer of indie role-playing games. Is he a poser because I got him into it? Well, no one treats him like he’s one. I mean, half the time people assume he got me into it, and they feel the need to instruct me on RPGs (even when I’m GMing the game). He’s the one I introduced to RPGs, does anyone try to instruct him? Nope. An automatic member of nerdom, regardless of how he was introduced to it.
Flip it again: my husband introduced me to martial arts. If he dumped me, would I have my rank revoked? Of course not.
Just because you introduced a girl to a piece of nerdom, again, does not mean you are entitled to her! Or, how she chooses to lead her life once she has left yours. Thanks for showing her something she really loves now. Be aware she is allowed to continue loving comic books, or L5R, even is she no longer loves you. Because *gasps* she’s a person.
I think at the root of all this is just one thing: people are people.
People are allowed to be people. People are allowed to be annoying, piss you off, hard to understand, complicated, contradictory…or any number of things.
But, they are still people.
And, sometimes (about half the time) people are also allowed to be women.
So don’t come to me about how some whore appropriated your culture. As the old myth says, we are holding up half the sky…we also hold about half of the convention passes…so deal with it.