Okay, guys, I haven’t gone off the deep end yet: the vast majority of people who talk about how hot girls are pretending to be geeks in order to laugh at all the nerdboy boners are, in fact, douchebags. In particular, I still basically agree with Cracked’s The 7 Most Ridiculous Things About Calling Out Fake Fangirls and entirely agree with Scalzi‘s discussion of how anyone who wants to be a geek is officially allowed in the geek club.*
But there’s actually one line of “fake geek girl” (and, I suppose, “fake geek guy”– I’ve heard anecdotal reports of dudes being accused of being fake geek dudes, and I think the explanation described here will apply to dudes too) accusations that I actually kind of sympathize with. Some geeky women get really upset about the presence of hot girls in the geek community. (And, of course, some geeky men white-knight for the upset geeky women, which ugh that dynamic.)
Put yourself in the shoes of the archetypical sixteen-year-old awkward nerdy chick: you know, the acne-ridden girl who doesn’t know her blush from her bronzer but can recite the name of every dwarf in the Hobbit. She’s shy and smart and mostly romantically invisible to guys, who all like the hot girls. And, yeah, she’s kind of jealous of the hot girls. They, she is fairly certain, have never been called “fat ugly cow.”
So then at some point she discovers the geek community. Everyone there doesn’t know their blush from their bronzer, and being able to name every dwarf in the Hobbit is really cool rather than a sign that you have no life. She’s home! And there aren’t any hot girls here!
I can get why she’d be a little pissed when the flat-stomached and large-breasted Slave Leia cosplayer shows up. “Hey, wait a minute!” she’d say. “The whole fucking reason I became a geek was so I didn’t have to put up with you people! And now you’re suddenly invading my space. Go away! You have literally the rest of the world, just let me have this one place.”
Her reaction isn’t coming from a rational place: it’s coming from the same messed-up emotional mess of loneliness and alienation and self-hate where, in other circumstances, you get Nice Guys(tm). Which I think explains some of the sillier “girls criticizing fake geek girls” trends, like the insistence that non-geeky girls show up in cons in skimpy cosplays to laugh at geek male boners. It’s not real logic, it’s shitty emotional logic.
Of course, shitty emotional logic is not usually known for its accurate conclusions, and this particular case of shitty emotional logic has two fundamental flaws in it, namely:
1) You can, in fact, be conventionally attractive and still be a “real geek,” insofar as there is such a thing. It is not like when you purchase a mascara wand all your My Little Pony collectibles get set on fire. It would be absolutely absurd to decide who gets to be a geek based on loneliness and poor body image as opposed to, you know, actually liking geeky things. Geekdom is big! We can have a couple fully functional people in it!
2) Occasionally conventionally attractive people experience anger and loneliness and alienation and self-hate too. You can’t look at someone and be like “hey, you have big boobs, clearly life was incredibly easy for you!” Because the second you do that it’ll turn out that Big Boob Girl was sexually harassed for years and the first guy she asked out said ‘no’ by telling her that she was too ugly for her tits to make up for it.** And then you will feel like a prize douche.
2a) For that matter there are a lot of conventionally unattractive people who have never really experienced much angst or hate related to this.
But despite the inaccuracy of the shitty emotional logic, and the fact that policing people’s geekiness is fucked, I can’t help but sympathize with that kind of shitty emotional logic. I mean. Shitty emotion-based hate of people who aren’t doing anything wrong? I’ve been there. And I feel like that’s one place where anger needs to be replaced with compassion.
*Incidentally, if you have not read Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series, and if you like science fiction and actiony fun and sheer balls-out giddiness, you need to read Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. Rec complete.
**This may or may not be a true story.