When I met Felicia Day at the Farpoint Convention in Maryland in 2011, I was excited to meet her because she was the writer of the Guild (the fact that she is a good actress is also cool, though I am slightly jealous of her multiple talents). When I told her I liked the way she writes the show, she stood up from her table and started talking to me more. We talked longer than I expected (over 5 minutes) and it was fun talking to her about writing. However, I did also realize that the line was getting bigger and I was possibly getting looks from the staff. It felt great meeting a celebrity who also seemed interested in talking to me.
I like Felicia Day because she is an excellent writer and the stuff she writes I enjoy. That’s it. I just recently read about the attack on Felicia during Twitter (Ryan Perez asked if Felicia Day was a glorified booth babe–he was later fired). I didn’t understand how that question and similar ones for females could even arise.
Just today, I read an article where someone accused Olivia Munn as ‘being hired as a model to get guys to watch TV when she is not a geek herself’ (that is paraphrased). I started watching G4’s Attack Of The Show the same week Olivia Munn & Kevin Perera (?) started and thought they were amazing hosts. Not once did I think she was a ‘model hired host’ because she had fun, she was excited about stuff on the show, and seemed to care about a lot of the stuff as equally as anyone else. It never entered my mind to think of stuff like this.
The only time I wondered this was when I got my Playstation 3, as the Playstation Network’s shows were Core & The Pulse; the hosts were 100% women. I wondered if they were, in fact, models hired so people would watch their shows, but didn’t give it much thought and just forgot about it. It took making me the absolute minority to wonder about it If they were just models, then they certainly were good actors in that they seemed happy to be talking about video games and actually enjoyed their jobs.
Once thing I think that people don’t seem to realize, is that you can like something after being forced/hired into it (though I am not implying that for the Playstation Network women). For instance, lets say you get hired by a company and don’t really care. However, as you learn what to do and what the company represents, you appreciate it more and even become a unofficial spokesperson for the positive message of the company when people ask you about it because you are proud to be a part of it. Now, in the real world, you would never be called a Fake Employee for this after the fact, so why should you be labeled this in the ‘Geek’ Community. If a booth babe likes her job, is she any less a geek for supporting a job she enjoys (it is the act of hiring booth babes that is negative, not the women themselves)?
This leads me to another word I think has loss all meaning: ‘geek’. Usually, people take the words that are detrimental and make it their own so it becomes something positive. Now, I am not black or homosexual (being of the male, straight, white, blue-eyed, blond-haired label) so I don’t know how successful attempts have been to turn bitterly hurtful words into something positive , but I know the negative words that are used on both have attempted to be turned around to mean something positive (yes, I know Geek is not a sexual orientation or a race of people, I am simply trying to expand on the history of taking words themselves and trying to turn them positive). Geek has become a sort-of positive word now, to the point that the word now means nothing, but never did to begin with.
Picture this; 2 girls–1 goes to Scott Pilgram Vs The World (the movie) by choice, while the other is dragged by her boyfriend. Later, they both really love the movie. Are they both geeks or not? Was it choice? Is it not ‘geek’ because it’s ‘only a movie and movies aren’t geek?’
Picture this; there are 2 girls, and both watch Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (the movie). Afterwards, 1 likes the movie but wants nothing to do with the graphic novel, whereas the other loves the movie just as much as the other girl, but seeks out the comics. Are we going to label the comic reader as ‘geek’ because comic books are traditionally thought of as geeky activities, whereas movies are not? Are both ‘geeks’ but for different reasons due to the nature of the property?
Imagine now that both people in both examples above are males. Does it make it any different? Also, try both examples above with males and females, substituting the move and comic for “A History of Violence,” a property that is both, but one that I doubt anyone considered ‘geeky’.
The word ‘geek’ has no meaning. It started out meaning “a fool, dupe, or simpleton” in the 1500’s, and later in the 1900s was called toward circus freaks in movies and film. Now, however, the current 2012 definition for Dictionary.com states:
1.a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
2.a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
3.a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
4. a boring and unattractive social misfit
5.a person, soldier, or civilian of an East Asian country, especially in wartime.
If you notice, we don’t consider ‘geek’ dislikable persons anymore, Geek is no longer a carnival performer, if geeks culture matched the ‘boring and unattractive’ it wouldn’t be so popular now, and we certainly don’t use it to refer to the enemy we’re combating in war.
Also, why did the world take hold of the word ‘Geek’ for Geek Culture? Why not Nerd or Dork–their definitions, though different in origin, are almost exactly the same? When was the first word “Geek Culture” actually used, because I’ve only been hearing about this word the last 5 years? It most likely was stated by someone in an article, and since we copy and paste other peoples ideas on the internet, it slowly became that word associated with the culture (No reference because this is only an opinion).
Geek, when used on the media, in blogs, on websites, TV, movies, books (and whatever media you own because you’re a geek) DOES NOT REFER TO ANY OF THESE DEFINITIONS ABOVE OR ANY OFFICIAL DICTIONARY TERM! The Word ‘Geek’ is a new word now and has yet to be defined. That is the problem with the Anime/Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Etc crowd is that everything is being considered ‘Geek’ culture without really thinking about the definition, so now people are trying to apply those definitions to the way they think it should be, only millions of people are trying to identify what they think it is. It’s easy to find a Buffy community or Star Trek community, but Geek?
This classification of whether or not someone is a geek or not is not something that will ever now be defined. In fact, it’s harmful if you want to get people interested in what you consider to be ‘geek’ culture, because enforcing rules on how to be a geek, or what makes you a geek, is way to make sure no one comes to the party. Geek won’t be defined by people that want it defined their way because the ‘Geek’ culture we hear in the media has gone mainstream with the success of films like the Dark Night & Avengers, and TV show like Battlestar Galactica and Lost, before it had a chance to actually be identified. Now, the media will make it what they want. Everyone knows what Geek culture means to them, but there is no Geek Society making up the rules to say weather or not Twilight or My Little Pony or 3rd Rock From The Sun or Ninja Warrior is an “Officially Licensed Geek Product.” That will never exist.
By trying to label, we are being really, really naive in thinking that these define us as well. I just heard Manic Pixie Dream Girl last week, and that is probably the stupidest label I have ever heard of. It’s as if we need a label so we can identify it later, but people are not labels.
Lets hopefully get around to not being defined by what we like. I could like Batman & Super Mario Brothers and be a total asshole toward everyone and steal money from people every chance I get. Or, I could really like Spider-Man & Thief: The Dark Project and save a kid from being run over in traffic while I was helping my friend carry packages to her car. Now, replace any of those Geek properties with the term ‘black’, ‘white’, ‘man’, or ‘woman’. Which of those do you think really defined me, the label or my actions?
I’m tired of hearing about Fake Geek Girls & Geek Community; lets stop trying to pigeonhole people into labels and categories.