Authors: Jessica Nova and Oracle
There has been a lot of talk lately in the cosplay community and the overall nerd/geek community in general regarding appropriate behavior when it comes to other members of the community, especially women. Whether you want to talk about bullying or consent the problem is more complicated than simply identifying and categorizing. It’s deeper than a few creeps that don’t know better and can’t be solved with a clever tag line or an Internet campaign, no matter how well meaning. The ugly truth is that the problem is not limited to nerd culture and conventions. What is seen as a problem is really a symptom of the real problem, the ingrained and often subconscious views regarding gender and sex that plague our society.
The virgin: If you want respect, if you want to be seen as someone with intelligence and something genuine to offer the world, you are not supposed to show you want sex, talk about sex, or dress in a provocative manner. At least not publicly.
The whore: If you want to have sex, if you talk about sex, if you look sexy or show off your body then immediately you must be a woman of loose morals with no real value to give other than that body. These stereotypes are perpetuated by society even as advertising campaigns make it clear that all a woman has to offer the world is her body and her sex. But only if that body is unrealistically perfect. How confusing a girl must feel growing up these days. Commercials tell her to dress in an outfit that is barely there while the rest of society tells her that to be respected she must be viewed based on her mind and not her body. Men are told to want the scantily clad beauty while being subconsciously shown that she is an object, that she wants the attention and that she doesn’t deserve respect. This sets him up for failure and maybe even a kick to the groin later in life, maybe many kicks. It has also led to many of the problems regarding the appropriate way to react to a cosplayer that are plaguing conventions today. Thankfully humans are, at least in theory, capable of independent thought and should be able to rise above the choices society has made for them. Woman can never be truly equal, truly liberated, until we are accepted as complex beings with many facets.
Geek Goddess aims to show that a woman can be sexually liberated, be sexy and be empowered. She can be naked and still kick your ass at halo. She can be wearing skin tight latex and still roll a natural 20 to save the day. She can have amazing cleavage and still hold a lively and intelligent debate. But change is hard and often painful. While we are confident societies views can mature and change and women can be seen as whole beings we know it won’t happen overnight. Becoming a Goddess will bring you attention... but some of that attention will be negative. It’s not acceptable or appropriate; it is realistic. Even as I write this there is someone somewhere calling one of our Goddesses fat or ugly, or saying she is a slut. Trolls are everywhere. And there will always be someone out there looking to bring themselves up by putting someone down. We can’t stop them; we don’t have to support them. We can speak out against their hatred and fear and jealousy. We can stand up for our Goddesses and all other nerdy woman. We can educate the men and women that don’t realize they are harming the community. But we’ll still need to knock the occasional Troll off the bridge. And that won’t end until all of nerdom comes together to reject the Nerd Bully in all his or her incarnations and return to our roots of acceptance over cruelty.