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.

Black Storm Troopers, White Washing & Spec Fiction

Description: In a still from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"
a young black man in scuffed white storm trooper armor looks
off screen in disbelief.
Wendell Bernard Britt Jr. writes for just what John Boyega's casting in the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens means not just to him personally as a fan of color, but the impact representation has on speculative fiction in particular:
I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories was watching a drive-in double feature showing of Disney’s The Lion King and Star Wars: A New Hope. My ideas of right and wrong, heroism, self-sacrifice and discipline all come from these movies... 
The first character in the trailer is a harried and exhausted looking John Boyega decked out in a Stormtrooper outfit, and I did all I could do to contain my glee. When I had heard that Boyega was cast to be in the movie, I had assumed it would be in a supporting role, much like Billy Dee Williams’ Lando Calrissian before him. Disney had just dropped 4.4 billion dollars on the franchise, and they only had 1:33 seconds to wow their entire fan-base. To waste those precious seconds on a bit character would be completely irresponsible. Then my brain caught up with what I was seeing. Was it possible that a black character is going to be the protagonist of Star Wars?
This leads him to wonder-- when black people make up 12 percent of the US population, and black people account for 13 percent of  all ticket sales nationwide, why are are there so few characters of color? What effect does that have on who's seen as a hero? What's the response? He goes on to explain that:
Occasionally an enterprising white writer will include black people in fantastical genres. When this happened white audiences tend to have explicitly negative reactions to them. Much like the general public’s reaction to a black person being cast as a Stormtrooper, Hunger Games fans took to Twitter outcrying the casting of Amandla Stenberg (black) as Rue (a character from the predominantly black 8th district from the books). 
For some Americans, understanding, empathizing with and even imagining a little black girl in a fantastical land was beyond possible. Not only did readers fail to register Rue’s blackness, they became upset when they were confronted with it on screen.
The entire article is an illuminating musing, both personal and professional, on what this split means to him, and is well worth a read.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Your Help: Need & Appreciated

I'm a prolific freelance writer on geek culture in general, and video games in particular, and have been since 2006. My writing has been published on, featured on the front page of, and in the magazine PC Gamer. I was also a weekly columnist for 411 Mania Games, a Featured Video Games Contributor for Associated Content (now Yahoo! Voices), and co-hosted the Geekly Weekly podcast for a year. I have also worked as social media consultant to small businesses, and my digital design work spans everything from role-playing game supplements to logo, t-shirt and poster design for professional wrestlers.

I just moved to a new apartment. I'm going to school part time and working two part-time jobs AND updating this blog.

I also like to help people! Some other things I do:
  • I co-host bi-annual charity fundraisers with The Baron Von Munchausen Society at Wicked Faire & The Steampunk World’s Fair
  • Advocate for strong anti-harassment policies and safe spaces at conventions that I attend
  • Organize public relations, media outreach, recorded an audio book & designed the website for a disabled dad’s disability non-profit initiative that is growing even more succeful
  • Assisted artists like macncheesecabra set up and sell artwork & t-shirts online
  • Consult with small businesses on SEO optimization
  • Wrote personal essays on being a male survivor of abuse
  • Created business cards for everyone from indie games designers to computer engineers
  • Ghost-written over 200 articles for Textbroker clients
And of course, there's The Code which I use to focus on marginalized voices and advocates more more inclusiveness in media fandoms and sub-cultures.
I want to keep doing this work, and working with & helping people and also be compensated for my time and effort. My ultimate dream is to be able to offer a bi-monthly podcast along with a blog updated every day of the week. I know times are rough for a lot of people, so I’ve set this campaign to pay monthly– no matter how much I do or produce, you’ll only be spending the amount you chose once and only once per month. Every dollar helps.

Click here to find out how you can become a Patron for as little as a dollar a month.

If you don't want a monthly commitment, you can send any amount you choose one time only by going through PayPal here, and you don't even need a paypal account.

Supporter Thanks For August 2015

Supporter Thanks For August 2015

Every month I say thanks to loyal patrons of The Code that are awesome enough to either  support The Code via Patreon (which you can do for as little as a dollar a month) or send any one-time amount via paypal.

Here are the awesome people I'm thanking this month:
  • Cargo, who had nothing to link to, but is a great dude! Thanks, Cargo.
  • Daphny Drucilla Delight David! Her Patreon is here and her blog pdoggyballs is on the blogroll!
  • Fluffy! Check out their stuff at!

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