Posts tagged geek girls

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Why I’m Angry at The Big Bang Theory

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Yeah, I’m a little late to the Big Bang party, I know. Once a show gets that much hype, especially within a particular social circle, I tend to write it off quickly. ~I couldn’t possibly like something that so many other people like!~ After seeing Jim Parsons appear on a few talk shows and finding him intriguing and charming, I finally decided to give the show a shot.

I gave it 4 episodes then declared it a waste of my time and informed my husband that we would no longer be watching the show. Specifically I said “I’m done, let’s stop watching now’. As we are prone to do, we immediately launched into a critique of the show, bouncing pros and cons off each other as if an audience of anxious viewers were waiting to hear our opinions. Recently, it’s been fun to acknowledge how we digest some of our favorite shows differently, often due to our gender biased viewpoints. Shows like Mad Men, Modern Family, Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are a few that we sometimes have differing interpretations of, all of which rely heavily on relationships and events that put a spotlight on the gender specific ideals of that time period, family or social environment.

Penny & the geek squad

When it came to digesting The Big Bang Theory, there was no difference in our opinions. The show is based heavily on some old and tired ‘geek culture’ stereotypes and lacks enough of funny scientist Sheldon to mask how offensive it is. Even leaning on the use of a chunk of the cast of the highly popular Roseanne isn’t enough to carry the comedic weight of a distasteful main artery clogged with bumbling, socially inept, sexually terrified geeks. Yes, the deep cut science, video game and pop culture references are fun and well represented, I admit. The relationships and depth of the characters, however, are not.

Annie (Community), Skully (X-Files), Olivia (Fringe), Rose (Doctor Who)

How sad is it that after so many years of well written, successful, charming and attractive geeky tv characters we find ourselves back to this? The group of friends who congregate in Sheldon and Leonard’s meticulously organized apartment while away their days playing an MMOG, debating scientific theory and the practical uses of it and proudly announcing their career achievements, yet this same group seem to lose half their brain power when faced with the air-headed, blonde waitress who lives across the hall.

Leslie

Penny doesn’t seem to understand much of what her neighbors say to her, in 4 episodes I never heard the girl mention any career motivation beyond working at Cheesecake Factory and she often asks for favors from the guys but never volunteers to help out in return. Leonard grovels at her feet, doing everything he can to impress her while she casually ignores his crush and unabashedly explains how spending the weekend with some equally attractive and dim witted guy wasn’t that much fun. Meanwhile, we are introduced to smart, frumpy little Leslie who tries in her nerdy way to flirt with Leonard, but just isn’t attractive enough to catch his eye.

It’s an old stereotype of ‘smart girl must dress badly, not be too attractive and struggle to catch the eye of the man she wants, regardless of how much of a dick he is to her’ and ‘super pretty girl must be ditzy, shallow and not notice the nerdy guy who does everything in his power to impress her’. To be completely honest, I’m not so much angry at this cheap shot, but disappointed. I really wanted to like Big Bang Theory but for a show stuffed full of smart characters, with an opening intro that cutely sings the big bang theory, I expected so much more of a smartly written core. I can’t stomach a show based on an insultingly outdated stereotype that I’ve so often found myself having to argue against. Exhibit A: my friend Elliott’s celebration of some accomplished, smart ladies (Top 11 Geek Girls of 2011), which was hotly debated over when a female reader declared that she ‘can’t take any of these woman seriously’. The reader went on to explain that her feelings were based on the ladies being too overtly sexy or attractive in their profiles.

‘nerdy girl stock photo’

I’m also a hairstylist and I’ve encountered numerous intelligent, accomplished women through the years with the feeling that if they try too hard to be sexy or pretty, folks won’t take them seriously. They will lose the credibility they’ve earned simply by wanting to be attractive. This belief is gross, ugly and completely a by product of stereotypes like the one represented in Big Bang. The sooner we stop supporting this idiotic idea that smarts and good looks somehow work against other, the sooner the geeks of the world can stop feeling guilty or ashamed of being sexy. Wouldn’t it be great to win the love interest you yearn for based on both of those blessings? If you read through the Geek Girls article, you’ll see that pretty geek girls really do exist, so why the hell shouldn’t they in tv and film?

Thanks for listening and feel free to offer your own opinions.

*The opinions expressed here are not representative of Nerds in Babeland, but only of the writer herself*

LOGO

Los Angeles Nerds – NerdMelt Lineup Nov 2nd – 8th!

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Image Courtesy of meltcomics.com

November 2nd at 8:30pm- The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
This weekly standup showcase, hosted by Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani, welcomes Chelsea PerettiJen KirkmanMargaret Cho and more!
$8

Image Courtesy of NerdMeltLA.comNovember 3rd at 8pm- Geek Girls Unite Book Release Show!

To celebrate Leslie Simon’s book Geek Girls Unite, about the emerging culture of strong, proud-to-be geek girls, we’ve put together an amazing show of our favorite comics that foot the bill. Join Maria BamfordMegan GanzAlie & GeorgiaAli Wong, and more, followed by a signing with Leslie Simon!
$8 in , $10 at the door

November 4th at  – Say “I Do” to the Horn: A Unicorn Release Party
An evening for your bucket list… come down and meet a unicorn – more specifically Mr. Lemonade ‘Unicorn’ Steiny and the guy who draws him, C.W. Moss. On Friday, November 4th, from 7 to 9 PM, Meltdown Comics will host the nationwide launch of two glorious things: ‘Unicorn Being A Jerk’, Moss’ new book from HarperCollins, and the premiere of ‘The F*** Was That: A Unicorn Documentary’, directed by Andrew Rivera. During this night of bliss, Unicorn, also an ordained minister, will be marrying people who purchase his book and happen to believe in undying love.
Documentary screening is FREE!

November 5th- Comikaze!
Instead of our regular programming at NerdMelt, we’re lending all our whole crew to Comikaze Expo! Come join us on Saturday 11/5 at the LA Convention Center! Tickets to Comikaze Expo here-http://comikazeexpo.com/


November 6th at 11am- Dungeons and Dragons Pancake Breakfast 
It’s the dawn of a new Dungeons and Dragons at Meltdown Comics, and to celebrate, our new D&D hostSatine Phoenix is hosting a D&D Pancake Breakfast. Come on down to eat pancakes, meet your fellow D&D fans, and play!
$10, free for Meltdown D&D members

 

Image Courtesy of NerdMeltLA.com

November 6th at 5pm- Nerdist Writers Panel
Spend your Sunday afternoons learning from the best at the Nerdist Writers Panel! Join moderator Ben Blacker as he hosts esteemed panelists discussing topics like different types of writing, how they got started, what inspires them, the business side of writing, and more. Panelists will also answer your questions and give some helpful tips and tricks! This series is a must for any hopeful writer in LA, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit 826LA.
Scheduled to appear:
Sarah Goldfinger (CSI; Grimm)
Jose Molina (Terra Nova; Angel; Firefly)
Hart Hanson (creator, The Finder and Bones)
$15

 

Image Courtesy of Meltcomics.com

November 6th at 7pm- Matt Mira’s Day Off
Matt Mira of the Nerdist Podcast needs a Day Off, so we decided to give him Sundays at Nerdist Theater. Come watch Mira and Paul Cibis host this comedy free-for-all. You’ll see brand new comics, comics you know and love trying out new material (Chris Hardwick and Kumail Nanjiani have both dropped in), and the magic that is live comedy.
FREE

Image Courtesy of NerdMeltLA.com

November 7th at 8pm- Sex Nerd Sandra
This wildly popular Nerdist podcast returns to NerdMelt so that you can experience the fun of sexpert Sandra Daugherty LIVE! We never know what she’s going to bring, but we know it usually involves lots of gesturing and props, so it’s a guaranteed educational good time. This month’s topic: Role Playing!
$8 in , $10 at the door

 

Image Courtesy of NerdMeltLA.com

November 8th at 8pm- The Harold of Galactus 
It’s Improv the only way NerdMelt knows how- nerdy! Come watch a team of veteran improv performers as they take on comic books, zombie movies, and Dungeons and Dragons! Featuring Mark Meer, the voice of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect video game series!
$8 in , $10 at the door

Copyright © 2011 JennKL Photography (www.JennKL.com)

Oh You Sexy Geeks, the Takeaway: We need to Reject the Premise

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Copyright © 2011 JennKL Photography (www.JennKL.com)

Going into the Oh, You Sexy Geek panel on Thursday morning, I was excited by the prospect of seeing some of the latest attacks on the concept of women as geeks dissected. The panelists were knowledgeable and varied: Bonnie Burton, Adrianne Curry, Jill Pantozzi, Clare Grant, Kiala Kazebee, Clare Kramer and Jennifer K. Stuller are steeped in geek cred.

Unfortunately, there are two things that soured some of the discussion for me: Ms. Stuller (ironically or not,) referring to herself as a, “Humorless feminist,” and late arrival to the panel, Chris Gore, talking about being willing to stick his penis in any member of the panel.

I can take a joke, but that summed up the problem for me pretty succintly. The misogyny and pre/proscriptivism that we get from external media sources is driving the continued marginalization of women as geeks. I also felt that Ms. Stuller’s inference wasn’t simply that she was there as the academic, legitimate voice of, “Humorless,” i.e., “Serious,” feminism, but that the rest of the women on the panel somehow weren’t. I don’t know Mr. Gore or Ms. Stuller, and I’d like to think these were simply bad jokes gone awry, but if they aren’t. . . these extremes are exactly why this panel exists.

So I’m rejecting the premise. Can women be geeks and be sexy? Let’s ask Nathan Fillion how being a sexy geek is working out for him. Are hot starlets pandering to a geek audience? Oh, hey, John Barrowman says he’s a lifelong sci-fi geek, let’s ask him if he’s pandering. My rule is this: unless it is a direct biological function, asking someone of any gender whether they’re capable of being x, y, or z is unacceptable.

The panel was too short, and Chris Gore’s flippant comments felt like they derailed a conversation that was turning over at least a few of the issues faced by women in the geek community. I’ve never met Mr. Gore and I’m not ascribing a motive, but tacky doesn’t begin to describe that remark.

If a man looks at a woman while thinking he’d like to screw her and simultaneously thinks that she can’t possibly be an authentic geek, there’s the breakdown in a nutshell. If women look at other women and think that because men will want to screw them, or because women look like they don’t mind men thinking they want to screw them, they can’t possibly be an authentic geek, are two sides of the same coin. There’s no one way to geek, or be a woman, but I’ll be damned if people don’t keep trying to say there is.

I found most of the discussion productive, but the fact is: there are so many intersections when it comes to simply being women, that when we’re talking about being geeky women, let alone sexy, geeky women, it’s the big red button of overload. There’s not enough time to cover everything in a meaningful way. I also felt that with so many panelists, it was hard to ensure that everyone got equal time. Bonnie and Adrianne were obviously the most extroverted members of the panel, and addressed the questions asked by both moderator Katrina Hill and the audience, with blunt aplomb.

Some women just identify as geeks, without the qualifier. This is no more or less valid than my choice to identify specifically as a geek girl, because I want recognition that I’m both. That we see repetitious questioning of women’s geek credibility, and then see the marginalizing of attractive women who claim to be geeks, is and will always be absurd.

Copyright © 2011 JennKL Photography (www.JennKL.com)

A high point for me, among all the discussion of cosplay, comic book characters’ costumes, and the what is sexy/is sexy okay for female geeks, was some discussion of why there aren’t more sexualized male characters in geek media. I loved that the panel, most prominently Bonnie Burton and Adrianne Curry acknowledged how underserved the female gaze is. Yes, we do need more scantily-clad men in comics and cosplay. The female presence at SDCC is growing, and if we’re not at least half the attendance numbers already, then that day is coming soon. Again, it’s time to reject the premise that we’re in the minority. We’re not. We’re half the audience. Some of us consider ourselves sexy, some of us don’t. Some of us want to be, some of us don’t. Some of us are more introverted, some are extroverted. None of those things determine our value as people, as women, or as geeks.

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