Posts tagged popular culture

Remembering an Amazing Few Weeks.

On July 2, 2003 the International Olympic Committee announced that Vancouver, British Columbia would be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It was down to PyeongChang, South Korea and Vancouver; Salzburg Austria knocked out in the first round.  I was working at an internet cafe at the time, and had the TV tuned into a local channel filming inside GM Place (now Rogers Arena) waiting for the winning city to be named.  When the IOC pronounced Vancouver as the winner everyone in GM Place burst into cheers.  As did I, jumping up and down, fist pumping away much to the amusement of customers watching as well.  I had always liked watching the Olympics, admittedly the winter games more than the summer – probably the Canadian thing.

February 12th, 2011 marked the one-year anniversary (celebration) of the games and almost a year since my last day at work with the Olympic Broadcasting Services Vancouver (OBSV).  A job that became 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, but an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.  Well… maybe a trip in the T.A.R.D.I.S., but even that would be a tough decision.

That picture above sums up my job, Accreditation and Uniform coordinator.  Basically – made sure the 2500+ staff working for OBSV had the correct information to pass a security check, and the proper clearance for venues.  There were a lot of bad photos that wouldn’t pass strict Canadian security laws, and poorly filled out personal information sheets.  OH!  And the database wasn’t working properly so all the letters containing each individuals work period, hotel contacts, etc had to be done offline.

Still wouldn’t change a thing.

Luckily the hard work brought some pretty awesome perks.  The picture above was taken before they put a second fence around the cauldron to keep everyone away.  I guess folks were jealous that we (broadcast media working from the Vancouver Convention Centre VCC) got to get all cozy with it and they were stuck behind a huge throng of people.  See below…

Most of the OBSV staff were able to go to at least one of the opening ceremonies dress rehearsal, and offered a ticket for the actual ceremony.  But being the good sister that I am stuck to my promise to watch it with her on her BF’s big screen TV.  It was fun adding a colourful commentary, at least for me it was.  Sorry no pictures, we weren’t allowed to take any so if I posted some…

Walking up the steps to the ballroom of the convention centre every morning we were met with six screens each broadcasting a different feed.

There was always a “Beauty Cam” of Whistler, the IBC (International Broadcast Center at VCC) and the cauldron.  You know when the broadcasts cut to a quick shot in between breaks?  That’s what they are called, Beauty Cam.  We once had coworkers who were in Whistler Village find the camera and wave.  It may have made it on TV, you never know!

The live feeds were fun.  TV’s spread out all across the offices, conference rooms, and ballrooms.  A listing of what was scheduled on each channel was emailed out every morning, and since a TV was right by my desk at the end of a long row, I got to watch what I wanted.  Most of the time, and I still had to work of course.  Starting a 7am shift was definitely made easier with a morning show airing beside me.

Of course no broadcasting centre would be complete without something to broadcast.  CTV, NBC, European stations and others were set-up in the VCC, filming their interviews, coverage and what I believe is called lead-ins.  That I’ll explain soon.  I myself didn’t see too many athletes, of course being just a tad biased I would be looking  out for the Canadian ones.  Especially the Canadian men’s Curling team, I developed a major crush on one of them.  Apparently missed them by about 20 minutes… after already waiting an hour after my 12 hour shift before giving up and going home.

There was days off and fun times after work as well.  Using our accreditation (security passes) to get past the line-up into a LiveCity show, one in pouring rain and the other abruptly stopped four seconds into Alexisonfire when the stage was rushed.  Still… NO LINES.  The streets were filled with people singing, laughing, displaying flags and colours.  The impromptu renditions of “Oh Canada” were always a blast.  Going to curling, figure skating, women’s hockey and a medal ceremony with my mom and sister.

I could keep going with pictures and everything that happened, that would be an incredibly long post, so I shall leave you with some Best-Of moments and a Flickr page of pictures.

Some Best of Moments

Introducing a star struck fan to the Skeleton gold medal winner, John Montgomery.  I was walking out of our daily meeting and this kid was visibly shaking from excitement and nervousness at the sight of him.  I nonchalantly told him to wait and I would get him a picture.  Waiting until Mr. Montgomery was finished with his conversation and asked if he minded taking a picture with the fan.  He obliged, of course.  it was really cute.

Going to Curling, my sister seeing for the first time ever.  The fans were so loud and we got to see the Norwegian’s awesome pants.  And yep Canada “swept” it.

Getting a call at 5pm with the offer of four free tickets to the Russia vs Slovakia women’s hockey game at 7pm.  Fifth row behind the bench.  Thanks Boss man!

Watching Billy Bush from “Access Hollywood” trying to film his intros and the floatplanes kept taking off in the background, over and over and over again.  On more than once occasion, never ceased to crack me up.

Noticing that ‘tobaganning’ was displayed on screen and letting the guy in charge of the captions know – they’re room was right behind my desk.  “Tobogganing” wasn’t displayed again but they still needed the correction – and I caught it!

The wrap party after the men’s Gold Medal hockey game filled with food, booze and dancing after an intense two weeks… for a couple thousand people.  There were folks crashed out on the VCC’s furniture and having to work in a few hours, talking to members of the Russian media about their upcoming turn at things and dancing.  Did I mention that already?  Everyone was feeling a little rough the next day, and most came in closer to noon…

Knowing how badly my mom wanted to see a Canadian flag at the gold medal during the Victory Ceremony we went to, and not telling her when I figured out we would be seeing it.  I initially said they would award the medal in Whistler and we could see the live feed, but I was mistaken – and decided to let her believe it for the surprise.  It totally worked, she was so happy.

So there’s a bit about my life during the games.  As I said before, an amazing experience.  Please check out my Flickr page if you want to see more of what those crazy few weeks were like. *forgive the camera quality, just a little point and shoot*

Geek and Gamer Girls Video

Many of you may or may not have heard about the “controversy” regarding the music video Geek and Gamer Girls. This parody video of Katy Perry’s California Girls has sparked a familiar debate regarding the objectification of geek girls and the failure to represent geek girls of differing shapes and sizes. You can read a little about this debate at Edgar of all Trades’ blog.

Stephanie’s Take:

As a geek/nerdy girl that has spent quite some time studying feminist theory in undergrad and grad school I think this problem is too complicated to simply have a black or white answer. To put it simply, women are objectified regardless of their interests. A lot of people argue that we do it to ourselves, while others argue that we have no choice but to behave/dress the way we do if we want to be recognized in both social and work environments because this is how society tells us to dress/act/etc. Both responses are too simplified and I personally struggle with my own opinion on this issue frequently in my day-to-day life.

I don’t want to generalize about all women so I will speak for myself. I am a woman that has something of an hourglass figure. I don’t necessarily look like the typical stereotype of geek girls that are supposedly frumpy and don’t care about their appearance. I like to dress up, I don’t wear a ton of make-up but I do wear it daily, and I love to get my hair done. On the other hand, I definitely do not look like the girls in that music video. I don’t work out nearly enough in order to have those bodies and I’m okay with that. Because of my middle ground, a lot of people do not immediately expect me to be a massive fangirl/geek, but I am. Until I started to let my freak flag fly more, most of my friends would have never pegged me as the kind of girl that would sit in my apartment all night playing an ARG or that would spend money on Doctor Who & Death (from the Sandman) posters or Serenity action figures. I don’t “look” like a nerd but I am a complete and unapologetic fangirl/geek/nerd, whatever you want to call it.

I think the problem with this discussion is that we expect nerd girls to be treated differently than most other women. There are tons of women out there that do not have ideal bodies or look like the girls in that music video. They also don’t get the proper attention from the media that they deserve either. I’m not saying that is okay. Far from it. However, the song California Girls that these geek girls are parodying? Not completely accurate about all CA girls. I can tell you one thing, I definitely do not wear Daisy Dukes or a bikini while I walk around the beach. Unfortunately, though, that is what sells in the media for the most part. Those images are used to objectify lots of women. I think we’ve made some progress lately, what with the Dove ads and shows like “Huge.” Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go and this counts for all women, not just nerds. I think for us to argue that we need to represent all nerd girls of all different shapes and sizes is a valid argument but unlikely to happen until all media recognizes women of different shapes, sizes, and race.

Unfortunately, women are objectified regardless of their “category.” I feel that making a particularly huge fuss over this particular music video means that we expect geek girls to get different attention than other normal women that don’t look like these models but also aren’t geeks. This does not mean that I am happy with the fact that the Booth Babes at Comic Con do not even remotely strike me as nerds nor that I’m happy with the fact that a model gets to help sell TV shows or comics that I love just because they look like what society deems as “sexy.” I’m not and I am super pissed that I can’t volunteer at booths because I’m not the “ideal.” However, as Jackie states below, we can’t say with certainty that none of these women are nerds and it is not fair to condemn them all based on this generalization because then we really aren’t any better than them (I know, cliched response but it’s true). It just means that I don’t think we need to jump down the throats of fellow geeks that want to make a parody video just because they all happen to look like what society deems as “ideal beauty.” I’m not saying I love this video. It’s a parody but other than their costumes there isn’t much for me to be geeked out over in the video. Nevertheless, let’s work on making women less objectified in all genres and media texts, not just in our own little nerd haven.

Jackie’s Take:

These seem like two different subjects to debate here: the objectification of women, in general; and the glorification of nerd culture, using the “beautiful” people to portray iconoclastic characters and ideas rather than those who actually love and appreciate those things.

When it comes to objectifying women, it’s simply always going to happen. It’s ingrained in humans to mate and reproduce, and continue our species.. so naturally, looking at potential mates that are appealing to the eye is a common practice. This goes for both sides, but is far more seen as demeaning to women. Of course, there are those who are offended by this, and those who find it empowering in a sense. As Stephanie mentioned, this is not a black and white situation.

Now.. the more pressing, and directly related topic here is how nerdom is being cashed in on as it’s brought into pop culture. The common booth babe is drop-dead gorgeous, but has no basis for the Kirk vs Picard debate. They’re there to sell you merch. This is okay to a lot of drooling nerds, but what it comes down to is what’s more appealing to you: silicon breasts, or an interesting, engaging conversation. This goes for women, too. For me, personally, the tipping point in the decision to date my last boyfriend was that he was more than okay with watching old Batman cartoons with me on a lazy Saturday morning. It’s a huge generalization to say that all booth babes are completely uninterested in actual nerd culture, but the general consensus is that they’re nothing more than a pretty face.

Bringing these two subjects back together, with regards to the video in question: my issue here is that they show more bare bodies covered with console controls than they do comics and gameplay. The music, not only was not very good at all, and not original. It seems to me that we, as geek girls, could do better. More power to them for embracing their nerd roots, but relying on ‘sex sells’ to push the video (even choosing that particular Katy Perry song to parody adds to this) is a little lower than our standards should be.

The main reason we did this post in this format is because we really want this to become an open, friendly discussion on this issue and other issues about nerd/geek girls. Please comment and be respectful of different opinions 🙂

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