Geek First, Girl Second.

I sure am tired of hearing about whether or not chicks get to be hot, geeky, and in costume. I mean, really tired of it. I’m tired of all sides of this argument. But fuck it, let’s dive in to the fray.

So Joe Peacock wrote an article on CNN.com entitled “Booth Babes Need Not Apply.” You can guess what it’s about from the title, but I’ll sum up a bit: he hates the fact that girls who aren’t actually interested in geek culture and who don’t have any geeky interests of their own are paid by companies to dress up in slutty costumes and stand around looking sexy to lure geek guys into various booths and halls at conventions, particularly San Diego Comic Con. (He also dislikes that there are growing numbers of equally non-geek chicks who put on slutty costumes and go to these conventions to get attention from the attendees. We’ll get to that bullshit in a minute.)

At first, I agreed with Peacock. I, too, dislike the idea of someone pretending to be a geek in order to sell geeks something. I don’t like it when anyone uses disingenuous behaviors to sell shit. Hiring “hot” chicks to flaunt their bodies and coo at guys in order to get them to buy things or sign up for things rubs me the wrong way. It’s sexist. It’s sexist against everyone involved. The women are objectified, the men are told it’s cool to objectify women, and the men are reduced to their sex drives and treated as though they only think with their dicks. It’s insulting. For everyone. Here’s a quote from Peacock that I agreed with: “As a guy, I find it repugnant that, due to my interests in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and role playing games, video games and toys, I am supposed to feel honored that a pretty girl is in my presence. It’s insulting.” Yes! And if he were only talking about the paid-to-be-there-looking-sexy booth babes, I’d be on board with this. But he’s not. You see, he’s talking about cosplaying female attendees.


So he starts in on this “6 of 9” bullshit. Talking about women who attend the conventions, he says: “I get sick of wannabes who couldn’t make it as car show eye candy slapping on a Batman shirt and strutting around comic book conventions instead. … I call these girls ‘6 of 9’. They’re a ‘6’ in the ‘real world’, but when they put on a Batman shirt and head to the local fandom convention du jour, they instantly become a ‘9’.”

First off: rating women on a scale of 1 to 10 on their looks? Fuck you, dude. Your main problem with these chicks is that they seem more attractive than they have any right to seem? That’s pretty fucking horrible to think, let alone to post on CNN.com as an acceptable opinion. Considering beauty is utterly subjective, you immediately lose all credibility when you start rating women on a scale like a consumer report. In the last line of that article, Peacock claims that he and others like him (True Geeks, dontcha know) are attracted to women’s brains, not their objectified body parts. Really? So you rate women on a 1 to 10 scale based on…their score on an IQ test? Oh, no, right, their physical appearance.

Secondly, you have no idea if those girls are “actual” geeks or not. I’m assuming that since you rate them based on appearance, you’re probably not actually talking to them or getting to know them. How do you know any of those women aren’t rabid Marvel fans, or have seen every episode of Deep Space Nine? You don’t. You assume. You assume and you dismiss them out of hand because of your assumptions.

Then Peacock starts pandering to the True Geek Women that attend these conventions, even allowing that some of these True Geek Women are genuinely hot! Wow! He says “Women elevate the culture, and thus, the content. And, I’ll admit, you ladies are much nicer to be around.” Gee, thanks. It’s so nice to know you think being around us is better than…waitaminute, that’s sexist as shit! Just because we have vaginas, we’re nicer to be around? I promise you, I am not that nice to be around. Especially not when someone tells me my having a vagina elevates the geek culture. (How, exactly, do women do that, by the way? He never says.)

Here’s the best part of the article, if you ask me: “But then, you have these models-cum-geeks like Olivia Munn … These chicks? Not geeks. I think that their rise is due to the fact that corporations are figuring out that geeks have money, and they want it. But they can’t abide putting a typically geeky face on camera, so they hire models to act quirky and sell this marketable geekdom.”

What, exactly, does a “typically geeky face” look like? From the sound of it, Peacock thinks the average True Geek Woman does not have a face that could be considered beautiful. Also, fuck you for picking on Olivia Munn. She’s a great goddamned actress (have you seen The Newsroom??) and she was a kick-ass host on Attack of the Show for years. She knows a lot about a lot of geek culture, and if that doesn’t make you a TGW, I don’t know what does. Olivia Munn is NOT a booth babe. Once again, Peacock fucks up the point he started out making, the one I sort of agreed with.

There have been lots of responses to this article, as you can imagine. Kate Kotler for Bleeding Cool has a good one, even though I don’t agree with all of it. (She doesn’t have a problem with the hiring and use of booth babes; I do.) But John Scalzi’s response is the fucking bee’s knees. He makes the points that I was thinking in my head. Mostly, WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU CARE if some chick you think is a 6 is dressed up as Storm and getting mad attention from dudes? How does that harm you in any goddamned way at all, ever? It doesn’t. It only bothers you because you are a self-righteous dude full of nerd rage who is jealous of the attention. That’s the only possible explanation, Peacock. I’ve never been at a convention and thought to myself, “That chick in the Emma Frost costume is like totally not that pretty, I don’t know why people are taking her picture.” You know why not? Because I don’t FUCKING CARE if she is getting her picture taken by people who think she looks awesome. It has ZERO effect on my life.

Like I said, I’m sick of talking about this. I am not a girl who enjoys endlessly discussing feminist theory, or feminism in general. It’s boring. I went to an all-women’s college; I’ve paid my dues discussing Beauvoir and Jong and Paglia and Friedan and Wolf. And I support all my ladies who are fighting this fight and having this discussion. I think that’s admirable. But I’m not interested.

I don’t want to have to defend myself, or talk about whether or not a woman is this or that. I hate that there’s this whole notion of women versus men, us versus you guys, and who wins what. I’m a geek first, a girl second. I don’t really give a shit if someone doesn’t see me that way, or if I’m being objectified. That’s on them, not on me. I know I’m a strong, confident, kick-ass human being who loves my geek subculture fiercely. I happen to have a vagina. Deal with it and move on.



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One Response to Geek First, Girl Second.

  1. I want to make a comment here, because it was brought to my attention and I feel it’s important to note. Being female does *not always mean one has a vagina. I am quite confident that the focus of Joe Peacock’s ire and attentions are cisgendered women who are in possession of vaginas, and that is one of the reasons I conflated being female with vagina possession. It’s also a strong word with good comedy value, and I am a comedy writer.

    I want to be very clear: trans women are real women, regardless of the current state of their genitalia. I don’t want anyone to walk away from this post thinking that I don’t fully love and support the wonderful and courageous ladies in the trans community. Much love.