Let me start by nailing up my qualifications.
I was a sort of geeky nerd dork in high school and college.
I was a geek in the John Scalzi sense; I was a deeply immersed fan of militaria and tabletop wargaming (at a time when war in general - this was the Seventies, remember - and gaming were both in deep cover). I was a comic fan and cartoonist, and a science-fiction freak at a time when both genres are still pretty much outside the mainstream.
I got decent grades (without throating, though - I was stunned to find out that you actually had to WORK hard to get decent grades in college, and my GPA reflected that).
I loved women (hmmm...still do. Must be something to think about there) but between my social ineptitude and intellectual immaturity was unable to do much more than fantasize about having female friends, much less an actual "girlfriend".
And in that I'm sure I was in a hell of a lot of company.
So one the Scalzi Scale I was, oh, probably about 64% geek, 5% nerd, and 31% dork.
But I grew up, and out of my awkwardness. Found that my passions had worked their way into the mainstream. Figured out how to talk to women not as life support systems for vaginae (vaginas? What the hell is plural of "vagina" and does anyone every have the occasion to use it?) but as people, and found out that they're often - not always; it's kind of shocking that for as nice an example of structural design a woman can be as compared to us hairy Y-chromosome type how they can be just as big a jerk as we can be - fascinating as people. People in the have-interesting-ideas-about-things sense and in the enjoyable-as-companions sense.
And that was nice.
But in some ways, I'm still that geeknerddork.
But...I'm NOT a big enough geek to go to comic or sci-fi conventions without feeling horribly self-conscious about it, though.
"Joe Peacock" ran into in San Diego I would a) probably react with a mild sort of "gee...I sure hope she doesn't feel silly having to dress up like that to make a living..." and b) simply enjoy the pretty lady's pretty prettiness.
But, then, I wouldn't be "Joe Peacock".
(Is it me, or does that sound like the name of some guy playing one of the non-non-fucking roles in one of those softcore (i.e. non-fucking) porn films? [Have you ever seen one of those things? They tend to turn up on some of the weaker cable channels, places like Showtime. There's never any actual, y'know, sex - or, for that matter, any actual male or female junk visible - but the lead actors get naked and rub their junk-areas together and moan a lot.]
Perhaps the most classic of the genre is something called "Tarzeena; Jiggle In The Jungle" and should you care you can say I said so. Hell, the scene in which the mad doctor bursts into the prison-break scene and instructs the actor in the mind-controlled-Tabonga-the-gorilla costume to "Kill them all before they escape! And make sure you do a good job; nobody appreciates sloppy work!" alone is worth the price of admission.)Anyway, this Peacock - sorry, I promise to try and not giggle the next time I say that - guy is all pissy about these pretty costumed ladies because, apparently, they're not there to be all geeky at all!
But I understand that some of us sometimes have to let that Inner Geek go wild. And that some of us are sometimes women(like the gal at the link - she's fun, and funny, and her site is well worth the visit, trust me). And that some of those women like to go wild with the costumes at the conventions.
(The image below is one of Amy Mebberson's "Pocket Princess" cartoons, BTW, and as a Disney-movie-raised-kid and a lover of all things adorable they just tickle the ass offa me. I've GOT to show them to Missy, the princess-lover...)
But apparently this isn't OK with this Peacock...okay, OKAY, I said it'd try, I didn't say I wouldn't giggle...guy unless they're TRUE geek-girls. The dress-up-booth-babes apparently offend geek-boys because they're there to...tease them, or something. They're not "real", meaning, I can only suppose, that the fact they're there somehow...cheapens? Degrades? Mocks? the true spirit of uber-geekiness that this Peacock (snort! SORRY!) dude and his fellow genuine-geeks represent.
Anyway, all of this got me thinking about the genuine but bizarrely human...need, is all I can come up with, to find some reason for slagging off on other people for things that those people do that do no material harm - neither break the leg nor pick the pocket - of the slagger-offer. Sometimes it's harmless, like Joe Peacock (mmmrphmsnert! I give up...) ripping on women he doesn't approve of.
Sometimes, it's not.
Sometimes it's about preventing lovers from ever being together in public. Sometimes it's about "slut-shaming" other lovers, or witch-hunts for imaginary religious enemies, or finding reasons for afflicting the "undeserving" afflicted, or hating on and bullying people who don't have the ability to successfully fight back.
But trivial or malign, it's beyond just a crime. It's a mistake.
Because I'm convinced that the sort of person who can spout this sort of self-justifying inanity is the sort of person who can be persuaded to acquiesce and eventually participate in, first, injustice and then, perhaps, even cruelty. OR atrocity.
Because first they came for the cosplayers...
So what if her geekiness is not your own? So what if she isn’t into the geek life as deeply as you believe you are, or that you think she should be? So what if she doesn’t have a geek love of the things you have a geek love for? Is the appropriate response to those facts to call her gross, and a poacher, and maintain that she’s only in it to be slavered over by dudes who (in your unwarranted condescension) you judge to be not nearly as enlightened to the ways of geek women as you? Or would a more appropriate response be to say “great costume,” and maybe welcome her into the parts of geekdom that you love, so that she might possibly grow to love them too? What do you gain from complaining about her fakey fake fakeness, except a momentary and entirely erroneous feeling of geek superiority, coupled with a permanent record of your sexism against women who you don’t see being the right kind of geek?Are we good? Great, because you gotta excuse me; my son has got my 3rd Guards Tank Army caught in a hell of a pincer and I've gotta get some Sturmoviks airborne, and quick.
These are your choices. Although actually there’s a third choice: Just let her be to do her thing. Because here’s a funny fact: Her geekdom is not about you. At all. It’s about her.
Geekdom is personal. Geekdom varies from person to person. There are as many ways to be a geek as there are people who love a thing and love sharing that thing with others. You don’t get to define their geekdom. They don’t get to define yours. What you can do is share your expression of geekdom with others. Maybe they will get you, and maybe they won’t. If they do, great. If they don’t, that’s their problem and not yours.
Be your own geek. Love what you love. Share it with anyone who will listen.
One other thing: There is no Speaker for the Geeks. Not Joe Peacock, not me, not anyone. If anyone tells you that there’s a right way to be a geek, or that someone else is not a geek, or shouldn’t be seen as a geek — or that you are not a geek — you can tell them to fuck right off. They don’t get a vote on your geekdom. Go cosplay, or play filk, or read that Doctor Who novel or whatever it is you want to do. Geekdom is flat. There is no hierarchy. There is no leveling up required, or secret handshake, or entrance examination. There’s just you.
Anyone can be a geek. Any way they want to. That means you too. Whoever you are.