Monday, September 7, 2015

Fake Geek Girls, Real Fans And Your Brain

Description: the caption "this is a gamer" is displayed over a
cartoon drawing of a woman with tied-back long hair, wearing a Triforce
T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Next to her is a woman with loose long hair
wearing a tank top, mini-skirt and heels, captioned "This is also a gamer."
Below it reads "How you dress does not define how much of a real gamer you
are. A gamer plays video games. The concept is not that difficult, you bunch
of territorial turbo-nerds."
Writing at the Fandom MetaReader, blogger teaberryblue brings up an excellent point  that is often overlooked in think pieces about territorial men, nerd gatekeepers and so-called "fake geek girls". Some of the common defenses offered are:

  • cosplay is just as real as any other
  • women have been playing or reading or participating just aslong as men
  • women can be real, passionate fans of things men like
... etc, etc etc. And while these and many other reasons are all correct, and all true, teaberry blue points out that they leave out some very important truths, too. They write:

 "...there are women and poc and queer people who are fans and collectors and have an incredible wealth of knowledge and shouldn’t be treated like second-class citizens in fandom.
But it’s not because of that knowledge.
It’s because no one deserves to be treated badly or like they aren’t good enough just because they don’t meet your standards. 
It’s because there are no standards for being a fan. There are no real fans or fake fans. 
And even if you’re "not really" a fan?  If you really do just like the tee shirt design or thought a costume was cool and decided to wear it? There’s actually no rule against that.  You are not less of a human being for not knowing a lot about a character you dressed up as.  You are not less of a human being for not knowing the secret identity of the superhero on the keychain you bought because she kind of looked like you.

I think that's something that we need to remember. Fans shouldn't ultimately focus on rewrint a definition of "real fans" in order to accept that there are people out there we don’t think of as real fans who might actually be. We need to accept and embrace the idea that the "real fan" isn't a real thing.

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