(at least, if I type fast enough)
So yet again, the blog-o-sphere has exploded—twice in a week, no less!—with geeks (male) telling women that they are not nerdy enough or not hot or too hot or…I don’t know, it all blurs together after awhile, honestly. The word “hot” definitely features, and “cosplay.” As usual, it seems to come down to how-dare-there-be-women-cosplayers-who-do-not-meet-my-arbitrary-standards-of-fandom, in whatever flavor you happen to want.
So, y’know. The usual.
One of them was a comic creator who seemed somewhat upset that there were cosplayers who were taking attention away from fine upstanding comic creators who might have made the characters they were cosplaying. That seemed to be the gist. There was a lot of yelling in caps, at any rate.
You can find his rant easily enough—I’d suggest “geek misogyny” put into google, but sadly, that may turn up a few million results. Still, I have faith.
I am nobody special and do not expect most angry geek males of this stripe to listen to me, but on this one little topic, I do have something to say.
As some of you might know, I am a comic book creator. Artist. Writer. That kinda thing.
Did an obscure little comic called Digger. Don’t expect anyone to have heard of it. Do a hybrid comic called Dragonbreath. Bit wider audience, but mostly under twelve. In geek circles, I am obscure.
(Before you leap to my defense here, oh audience, it’s okay. I know YOU know who I am. But I don’t do superhero comics, so I don’t actually expect mainstream comics to know I exist, and really, I’m okay with that.)
But just in case…
I hereby grant, in perpetuity, the right to all cosplayers of any age, body type, or gender—or lack thereof—to cosplay as anything I have ever created, including the Biting Pear if you can figure out how.* Doesn’t matter if you’re hot, or not hot, or maybe hot if you like that sort or maybe it’s none of my goddamn business if you’re hot because who the hell died and made me the arbiter of hotness? Hell, I’m still trying to find a bra with the nice t-shirt back where the little front snap doesn’t break after a dozen washings. (Okay, that has nothing to do with male geek rage, but seriously, if you know one, comment.)
In fact, I grant you right-of-cosplay even if you’ve never read the comics or seen more than one of my paintings and know nothing about any of them and just think one of the characters would make an awesome costume. Apparently this is a mortal sin in some eyes, but for me, I think it’s fantastic. Go forth and cosplay! Knock yourself out! I’d love to see photos.
Now sure, this is maybe easy for me to say, because if you want to cosplay as Digger, you’re gonna need a LOT of fake fur and some serious know-how, and if you manage to cosplay as the Statue of Ganesh, I will load you down with so much swag you’ll need a hand-truck leaving the table, because that is an engineering feat for the ages.
But there’s a few others characters of mine that do commit the sin of having human skin. Murai. Jhalm. Sings-to-Trees. Those odd little fellows in the robes with the checkerboard hems. And if I ever see a Celadon Toadstool cosplayer, I will take an unbelievable number of photos and hug you even if I get green bodypaint all over my clothes.
If you ever get the urge to cosplay as any of them, do it with my blessing. I don’t care if you’ve been in fandom for forty years or if you once caught a Dr. Who marathon while you were stuck on the couch sick and think a midichlorian has something to do with swimming pools. (Pretty sure we all envy you your innocence on that one, actually.) I don’t even care if you’re doing it because you are the BIGGEST FAN EVER** or because you really do think that you look dead sexy in wombat fur and you want in on all that hypothetical…hot…wombat…lovin’….
Well, moving on. More power to you either way, sez I.
I am not going to sit down and administer a standardized test to people to make sure that they are the Right Sort to cosplay as something I created. Love is love. Appreciation is appreciation. I do not require you to read my entire back catalog and know my blood type in order to think one of my characters looks damn cool/sexy/fun to be.
Frankly, if you’re cosplaying, it’s not about me. You’re a cosplayer. That’s your expression of fandom. You can do things. With the sewing and the glue and the whatnot. Sometimes wigs. (Wigs! It boggles the mind.)
Me, I can’t sew a stitch, so as far as I’m concerned, that is black magic.
And if you choose to use your astonishing black magic sewing powers to express admiration for something I created, I would have to be both an ingrate and an astonishing jackass to tell you that you weren’t a true enough geek to do it.
And if anybody ever tries to yell at you for dressing as one of my characters, you tell ’em I personally said it was fine. And then flip your hyena ears or wombat tail or orc battleaxe in their direction and go off and be awesome.
That is all.
*Subject to all usual disclaimers about the making of money off copyrighted properties, etc, for legal purposes.. Also, please don’t knock over a bank dressed as Wendell the iguana. My agent will say all the words. She will say some of them twice.
**Post currently held, to the best of my knowledge, by a small boy in Virginia. I apologized to his mother several times for this.
Would that small boy in Virginia be my youngest son Connor? Who squeed something fierce when he met the author of Dragonbreath and Nurk? If so, it’s okay. His parents are pretty big fans too.
And bless you for opening up your work to the cosplayers like this. It’s the rare artist who really understands that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I am the arbiter of fandom! My words on this subject are far more important than mere females can possibly imagine! I’m a legend on my own blog! Pheer me!
(Thanks for not providing links to the misogynist jerks.)
As a long term Geek myself, I would like to apologize for my fellows. Geeks are misogynist (all to often, anyway) because they hit adolescence at an odd angle and (for the most part) never figured out how to talk to Girls. Many of them compound this problem by never figuring out how to talk to Women either. Furthermore, their life strategy of being experts on the minutia of various subsets of the popular culture makes them squabble like Academics (but without the Tenure).
I was lucky enough to meet a Geekess at the right time, become friends with her, and marry her at a time of my life when I was far too stupid to do anything that smart on purpose. I assume, therefore, that I amuse some kindly deity, and conduct myself accordingly.
I salute your generosity in the matter of cosplay.
Have you looked at the bras from Decent Exposures? ( http://www.decentexposures.com/ ) Not sure if they’ve got exactly what you’re looking for (because I”m not entirely sure if “t-shirt back” means something different from “racerback”, because I am not actually that girly.), but they’re super comfy and durable. Measure and trust their size chart — I know I’m not the cup size there that I am in “normal” lingerie.
As for bras, have you tried sports bras? I rarely wear anything else brawise now. They’re more comfortable with no hardware and with fatter straps that don’t stretch out after a few wearings. Plus manufacturers have started figuring out that women of many sizes can be active in sports.
Sewing is black magic? No one told me that. My day job is designing padded backpacks and cases for surveying instruments so people can go measure things with great precision. So that must mean I’m a Sorceress of Surveying Accessorizing. Awesome!
Is it wrong I now have the urge to rob a bank dressed as Wendell?
My dad makes artificial limbs, braces, custom foot supports. He does a lot of sewing leather on aluminum. Tricky thing that is. So he must be the Wizard of Prosthetic Fabrication. Me, I’m just a computer tech. (And RhianimatorLGP’s significant other)
Katherine Phellps ,
Thank you for your intelligent response. Thank you for your support of female fun! Thank you for your support of fun!
C. S. P. Schofield – don’t apologise for them. They don’t need forgiveness for being socially askew, they need to be taken to task and learn that this sort of behaviour isn’t okay.
Look, I’m one of the people who grew up socially askew possibly because of being the unpopular, picked on one. I admit, I was probably a little awkward to begin with, but that just gave them a reason. It’s hard to make friends and learn to socialise well when most of the people you know at school are egging on the worst of the lot when they’re literally dragging you through dog shit or holding you down while people jump on you and kick you.
But hey, somehow, by some insane turn of fate, our interests got cool. Now we’re going to turn around and subject other people who want in to mockery, name-calling, ostracism – the same crap we dealt with when we were young? I call bullshit on that. More than anyone else, as people who dealt with the pain, the humiliation, or whatever your personal flavour of adolescent trauma was, we should be doing our best to make sure that *isn’t* perpetuated – especially not by us.
I cannot speak for the poor souls who are geek woman-fearers. However, I can promise that, as a Geeky Mom, I am doing my best to encourage my young man to become a happy geek, the kind that is proud of his interests, but actually likes other people too.
Socially awkward is one thing, and in the right circumstances, can attract geeky girls like nothing else. Rude, hateful, and vicious are unacceptable things, and should be discouraged whenever we find them.
I love your attitude about cosplaying your characters. Me, I’m thinkin’ Azazel would make an amazing costume…
I’d totally cosplay Digger, except that it would get me invited to all the *wrong* sort of parties.
Thanks for this, it’s awesome 🙂
Toby Switch ,
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