Last month, American comic book artist Tony Harris posted an extremely poorly-written statement on Facebook revealing his extraordinary disdain for women who go to conventions such as Comic-Con. Because while he “appreciates a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male,” he is “so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks.” For those of you who don’t know, cosplaying is when people dress up as characters for events.
He goes on to call them “really pathetic” and states that they “are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies?” He states that women (whom he calls “girls,” naturally) in these geek scenes are somehow “preying” on “virgin” men–seriously–and “the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of… your glossy open lips… just makes your head vibrate.”
Look, besides the fact that if you’re over 12 and still use the word “boobies,” you’re probably not a very stimulating person to be around (Harris is around 42), it’s clear that he has had some pretty negative experiences with women–particularly considering he says, “You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face.” How very, uh, not embittered.
I apologize for not posting it in its entirety, but it was about 400 words; just believe me, it was incredibly obnoxious. Many of Harris’ fans seemed to support his claims–including many females–but one rightfully angry woman decided to speak out.
Canadian YouTuber albinwonderland, Angelina LB on Twitter, hilariously read Harris’ Facebook post, then gave an excellent response:
And she’s right: nobody has the right to decide who’s a “real fan” versus a “fake” one, and that Harris’ rant is just “slut-shaming sexist rhetoric.” She also points out that the industry–including Harris–“designs and glorifies skimpy costumes, and then tell us we’re attention-seeking for making exact replicas of them.” But, what it boils down to, is that “women’s self-worth to geekery, in your eyes, is our looks… not our contributions to fandom, but our looks.” Amen, sister.
There’s this stupid sexist idea that most women–except some sort of True Believer class–are incapable of enjoying geeky shit. Forbes contributor Tara Tiger Brown said earlier this year:
Pretentious females who have labeled themselves as a “geek girl” figured out that guys will pay a lot of attention to them if they proclaim they are reading comics or playing video games… Girls who genuinely like their hobby or interest and document what they are doing to help others, not garner attention, are true geeks.
Who gets to decide who’s trying to “garner attention” and who’s not? I grew up with two D&D-playing older brothers and have been an excellent gamer since age 5. Granted, I don’t consider myself a “geek,” but if I did, how would anybody be able to tell whether or not I was genuine? And why would my geekiness would be up for debate ahead to my male siblings’?
This exclusionary “little boys’ club” of geekdom is ridiculous. Are men incapable of faking their interest in activities? Of course not. So why is it that women are told we need to prove ourselves?
This is another way of perpetuating the absurd idea that women are constantly doing all of our daily activities in order to get male attention. Everyone I know who cosplays puts dozens of hours into their costumes, in not more. Not one of them has ever said, “I can’t wait to see how guys react to this!” Contrary to seemingly popular belief, most human beings don’t want constant attention. In fact, given how stressful it is to have men creepily obsess over your outfit, it’s more of a deterrent than anything that these guys refuse to acknowledge they control their own actions (shockingly, your eyes have muscles controlled by your brain, and you can look away from women’s costumes).
It would serve people like Harris and his supporters to take a step back and see what this type of attitude is doing to the geek culture as a whole. Also, to quote Ms. Angelina: “P.P.S. ‘Boobies’? How old are you?”