Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Aug 12

How I accidentally marketed myself as a geek

I’ve seen a pretty steady increase in my Twitter followers lately, as evidenced by each and every annoying little email I get from Twitter. I really ought to turn off those alerts, because I can see new followers on the Twitter apps on my devices.  This recent influx is due to several geeky things I’ve said or done lately, I think. They were all quite accidental, but they all are related to my geekery.

The first bump occured when I replied to Felicia Day’s post about being a woman in geek culture. I only got a few new follows, but I had dozens of replies that day. I had no idea that she would reply, or that others would include me with their conversations with her.

The next group of followers hopped on board, because we were all discussing the Mars rover landing. I happened to tune in as NASA was waiting for the first data from Curiosity, and I had a fantastic time joining in the conversation and experiencing that connection with other people.

Finally, I accidentally expanded my network by vicariously living through friends who had attended this year’s BlogHer convention. Suddenly I was reading the posts of and conversing with other blogging ladies. Is that geeky enough for ya?

I write quite a few articles about social media strategy and SEO, and I know how important engagement is but, to be perfectly honest, I usually only chat on Twitter with people whom I already know. I add existing friends, and while many of them are geeky bloggers, I don’t spend a lot of time concerning myself with the trending topics. My new followers make me think that this might be a mistake, especially if the goal is to strengthen my blogger network. Plus, I’ve really enjoyed those conversations and new topics.

So, there you have it. If you accidentally want a bunch of new followers:

  • Tweet a celeb
  • Geek out about NASA
  • Talk a lot about a convention you’ve never visited

Jul 26

Divisiveness and Misogyny in Geek Culture

I experienced a brief touch with fame yesterday. I woke up and saw Felicia Day tweet the following:

Dear reporters, getting a bit tired of being held up as an “authentic” geek as you write posts against women who “exploit” geek culture

I replied to her, tongue-in-cheek, not expecting any response. I told her not to worry, because journalists call her out too. You may recall an incident with Ryan Perez, calling Felicia a glorified booth babe a while back. I hadn’t yet seen the article to which Day was replying with her early-afternoon tweet, but as a lady geek, I felt her.

You see, there’s this interesting paradox about geek girls. We can be funny and smart and slightly obsessed.. but we can’t really be attractive. If we happen to be attractive, then we’re probably just cosplaying and flaunting in front of the geek boys. Yea, we’re just faking it. After reading Felicia’s post, I recalled how Olivia Munn gets flack for her work on G4. Now, I can’t say for sure that Munn is or is not a geek but, then again, it’s not my place. All I know is, I never thought it was appropriate to call her out, seemingly only because she’s good looking. Since when does attractiveness disqualify someone from being a geek? After all, plenty of good looking geek guys exist. Natalie Portman has also been on the receiving end of this you’re-too-pretty-to-be-a-geek criticism, too.

I saw this from a feminist viewpoint, and I thought that was where Felicia Day was coming from, but plenty of the  dozens of people who replied to me/us saw it as a general issue with elitism, not just sexism, within geek culture.  Felicia replied to me, asking who is helped by that divisiveness and the ridiculous of levels of geekery, and I completely agreed. I don’t understand why there has to be such a litmus test. In order to call yourself a geek, you must do X, say Y and look Z. Really? Says who? Because this elitism is not only shitty, it’s the exact reason I didn’t realize and, then when I did, feared coming out of the geek closet. I constantly struggle with the douchey geekier-than-thou types, because I just don’t pass the test, I guess.

The problem, it seems, is that everything that was exclusively geek territory has become popular. Now, I don’t see that as a bad thing. I like meeting people and seeing how everyone has a little bit of geek in them, but others don’t. Others perhaps feel a sense of territoriality, as if the masses encroaching upon their hobbies is the worst possible thing that could ever happen. In this definition, the masses and the mainstream somehow include anyone without a penis. This became increasingly obvious as I accidentally stumbled across the CNN Geek Out blog article–and its comments–to which Day had originally been responding.

In it, Joe Peacock discusses booth babes at conventions. In general, most people agree that this practice is annoying and mysogynist. If Peacock had stopped there, I doubt there would have been any backlash. But he didn’t. He went on to call out any woman who has ever been a booth babe, specifically mentioning Olivia Munn. It is those words that, to me, seemed to rub Felicia Day so wrong. How dare he hold her up as the pillar of geekery, while he alienated others. After all, what does he know of any booth babe? If you look at the comments on Joe’s article, you can clearly see some some self-proclaimed geeks who have also been booth babes. Shocking!

But you can also see plenty of commentors who agree. They cry that the culture isn’t what it used to be. They bemoan the popularity of things that used to be counterculture. It’s not the booth babes they really have a problem with. It’s sharing. Funny, they seem to share that personality flaw with Mr. Peacock. Articles like those by Peacock are sensational, and when Felicia Day asks who they help, the masses are right when they return with “the journalists.” It makes for a headline and, perhaps, a heated debate, but it does nothing to further the geek culture. It alienates those who don’t feel geek enough, while it gives a false sense of superiority to those who feel geekier-than-thou for no good reason. It’s like they’re saying “Well back in my geeky day.” Times change, you gotta change with ’em.

And in these times, geekery is pretty mainstream. People are loving comic books and video games, SciFi and fantasy. Word of Warcraft isn’t some secret society. You’d be surprised who joins a tabletop gaming match every Sunday night, and these people don’t live in their parents’ basements. So does this dilute the definition of geek? Does the lines between geek and “normie” blur? Perhaps. But is this always a bad thing? It seems like it’s only a negative if you’re insecure. Isn’t the reason that geeks flock together partly because the rest of society turned up their noses at us? So why would we want to do this to someone who might experience similarly frustrations or be trying to find themselves in the world? There’s no reason to exclude part-time geeks or geek newbs. Didn’t we all start somewhere?

But, above all, as a geek woman, I can’t help but think that the additional limitations and expectations placed on me simply because of my reproductive organs is extra shitty. Women don’t need anyone dividing them. Society doesn’t do this to men. And we certainly don’t deserve to have our identities scrutinized over our god-damned level of attractiveness.

So, good call, Felicia Day. I agree completely, and I’m glad you tweeted me!

Others have also had some things to say, with which I mostly agree. Check out Daniel Griffiths’ piece on Forbes or the post on Geek Out by Genevieve Marie.


Jul 13

My 4 Favorite Wonder Woman Cosplays

Wonder Woman is a hard costume to pull off. Usually, one of three things happens:

  1. You look like a dumb cunt, a la Kim Kardashian, who has no idea what she’s doing.
  2. You look like a man in a speedo.
  3. You look like you purchased the cheapest costume from the Halloween store.

I love browsing for Wonder Woman cosplay, not because I simply want to make fun of these women, but because I love when I see someone get it right. You see, Wonder Woman is all women, but she’s also strong. She’s untouchable but human. She’s sexy but capable. She’s not an easy cosplay, which is why these four women stand out for their successes.

Donna Troy

Donna Troy as Wonder Woman

Donna Troy as Wonder Woman

Donna Troy depicts a Wonder Woman who feels a little more battle-ready. She’s got a feminine and somewhat-naive look, but she never fails at seeming ready for the good fiht in her armor. Her eyelashes are gorgeous, too.

 

Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott

Sarah Cosplays Wonder Woman

Adam Jay takes fantastic superhero photography, including en entire shoot with Sarah Scott. She tries on both Wonder Woman’s skirt and slacks, and the DIY  job is fantastic. The costume itself evokes the sexiness and power of Wonder Woman almost as much as Sarah’s face in this shot.

 

Valerie Perez

 

Valerie Perez Does Wonder Woman

Valerie Perez Does Wonder Woman

While her costume  is a bit more pedestian, the expression in this photo more than makes up for it. Valerie participated on Wonder Woman Day 2008. Why didn’t I know about this holiday?

 

Name Unknown

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

The cosplayer in this photo is unknown. Again, the costume  is a little lackluster, but her hair and expression are perfect. This is as close as you get to an Amazonian warrior in my book. Plus, the photo has great lighting, which adds a vintage touch to it. I can imagine this woman as the Wonder Woman in a Silver-era television show.

Who’s your favorite Wonder Woman?


Jul 12

My First Time Was a Slight Disappointment

This weekend I attended my first geek convention. Wausau held its first ever convention — WausabiCon — over the weekend. It was a small gathering that didn’t have much advertising so the turn out was low. This is probably a good thing because, for the most part, there weren’t many panels or activities. Now, I don’t say this to be mean. It’s just getting started and it did give me a chance to get a feel for just what conventions are. It’s kind of hard to understand the whole thing on paper and, to be honest, even on paper, most conventions look pretty lame.

I purchased an awesome pair of striped, furzy cat ears, though, and my disappointment was without a price. There was never anyone at registration so I wandered around for free on Saturday and when the roommate went on Sunday, she did the same. Even though my time in the dealers room was cut short, I didn’t really see a point in going back a second day. Like I said, there wasn’t much there.

On the plus side, this makes me even more excited for Chicago ComicCon next month and perhaps even Daisho Con later in the year. Although WausaubiCon definitely leaned toward the anime side of things (I did attend a super interesting panel on Yaoi), I’m hoping either of those will be more balanced Still, it’s awesome to be among like-minded individuals. There was a fairly cute Doctor, with whom I took a picture (I looked awful, gah!).

So, while it didn’t blow my mind, it did open my eyes.


Apr 19

Suck it, Shakespeare

one upon a time there was a boy
who liked to play with many toys
and all day long he’d hack and code
barely stepping out of his abode

he had a new project every day
no one or nothing could get in his way
one night while he was fast asleep
an idea into his head engrained itself quite deep

the hours passed and the dream did fade
and the geeky boy slept until a bright new day
upon the morn, he woke with a start
an idea formed, embedded in his heart
he jumped from the bed, unawares of the time
reaching for the nearest device as he exclaimed: victory shall be mine!

as if possessed, he worked, wide eyed
this way and that the sparks flied
his hands moved as if afire
as he typed and clicked, built and wired
soon a miraculous form began to take shape
by this time onlookers had gathered, amazed

the boy stepped back and out of the dust, a figure loomed
it beeped and whirred, obscuring the moon
for he’d worked not just one day
this geeky boy had worked his life away
and as a hushed silence fell over the crowd
he turned to them, raised his arms and said aloud
Behold, my friends! See what I have wrought!
A giant, Mountain Dew and Android-powered, Optimus Prime, alien robot!


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