Defending “Fangirls” and Why Greg Rucka is Awesome

Comics writer/novelist/awesome guy Greg Rucka (who is really, really, really good at his job) went to a comic convention last week, and what he saw so frustrated him that he went home and wrote a really marvelous piece on inclusiveness in geek activities.
The basics, if you haven’t heard a whiff of the controversy, is there is a loud (male) subgroup of the “geek” category that feels invaded by the growing population of female fans. The internet labeled these fans “fake geek girls”–ie. girls who don’t REALLY like geeky things, but were somehow pretending to in order to lure themselves a tasty geek boyfriend.
The latest trigger for Rucka was a t-shirt that read “I like fangirls like I like my coffee. …I hate coffee.”
In response, Rucka posted this incredible piece speaking up for female fans of all kinds, but particularly his wife and daughter, whom he sees personally effected by this kind of sexist claptrap.
So, I saw that bullshit piece of shit “joke” t-shirt that managed to insult not only women, not only those of us who call coffee the Black Bean of Life, not only men (via the fact that it was created by an individual with a penis who thinks said piteous appendage allows him the right to tar the rest of us with the same brush), not only fandom, not only, dammit, people with an ounce of decency and who understand that a sense of humor is viable only when it enlightens, entertains, and instructs, rather than demeans and diminishes, and yes, I’ve been thinking about this pretty much all day, why do you ask?”

Read it all here.

[Aside: I met Rucka a few years ago and heard him talk about the writing process. I wanted to become a sponge on his brain and immediately began concocting scenarios in which he adopted me and I became the Robin to his Batman, only in writing. In other words, I really liked him even before this]

I don’t go to a lot of cons, but I have seen this “boo, go away” sort of reaction. On the internet (of course, how could I avoid it?). The worst, though, was when I went to a Star Wars shop with a friend. It was cool–where else can you browse nothing but fan stuff?!

We were the only potential-customers, and the shopkeeper came to chat us up. We were happy to talk, pointing out that we had noticed the shop because of the Rebel Alliance decal hanging outside. He asked if we were looking for gifts…for someone else. No, we were just there to browse. When he caught on that we were, in fact, fans of Star Wars –how could you not be?! It’s the modern myth of our day! Plus lightsabers!–he started to quiz us.

I finally turned red and walked out when he insisted we identify the sex of the tauntaun Han rides on Hoth. And then scoffed when we guessed wrong.

…seriously.

We left the store and the shopkeeper lost out on all potential sales from us, then and in the future. And it’s not always like that. But Rucka is right: let people like what they like. Liking something doesn’t have to be a negative– it’s actually a good thing that your special favorite thing is interesting to others now!

Anyway, go read Rucka’s piece. It has a lot of good things to say.

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Conventional, Feminism

3 responses to “Defending “Fangirls” and Why Greg Rucka is Awesome

  1. GAH! You don’t know the sex of the tauntaun?! *scoffs*

    Oh My Nuts, are those really things of consideration and concern? That seems pretty crazy. His [store owner] loss. I’ve never understood this mentality. Though, I will admit, I sometimes feel there is legitimacy behind the concerns of “booth babies”.

    As for this mentality, and resistance, and outright confrontation/conflict with women being interested in some quadrant of interest that men feel they somehow own is rampant. I see it with Magic: The Gathering and video gaming a lot now, and articles keep popping up about how women are being treated at these conventions and tournaments. It’s terrible.

    I’m a “more the merrier” kind of guy, so all of this just makes no sense to me.

    That piece Rucka wrote is really good. Except he called the guy a fucking mouthbreather. ACK! I breathe through my mouth! Fuck! Thanks for bringing it to my attention 🙂

    I’m sorry to say that I honestly can’t recall how I came across your blog. It was on my feed. There it was, so I thought I’d pop over. Added you to Twitter too!

    Keep on keeping on!

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink

  2. I’m sorry you had to deal with such stupid. That may have been his less than subtle way of hitting on you. I think you handled it well though, better than I would have. I think we both know I would have just shouted some insane stuff at him and then refused to break eye contact.

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