Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

A Terrific Look at the Self-Congratulatory Aspect of Geek Culture

At the risk of sounding standoffish, we here at The Culture Cast usually don’t post links or refer others to different blogs or articles elsewhere.  Not that we are anti-anyone-who-isn’t-us.  We just prefer to use our blog entries for original content and save the outwardly links for our Facebook and Twitter pages.

That said, I came across a entry written by blogger Leah Jane on her WordPress site The Quixotic Autistic that was so brilliantly written, I couldn’t help but spotlight it here.  It centers around role models for women in geek-culture spinning from this internet meme:

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The article, titled “Geek Culture Wants a Cookie and a Pat on the Head for Not Creating Kim Kardashian”, goes into how horribly misguided this image actually is, and, well…here is an extended quote:

Images like this irritate me. I don’t like the self-congratulatory aspect of geek culture which appears to have become an epidemic spread via images on websites like Facebook. But what good is complaining when I can, instead, unpack the image and try to start a dialogue on why geek culture needs to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror before patting itself on the back for the creation of such great female role models?

I’ll start with some minor quibbles before building up to the big stuff. The women in the top row, except for Bella Swan, are all real people. The women in the bottom half of the image are all fictional characters from television shows. Wouldn’t a more compelling, interesting, and challenging comparison for celebrating an alternative to mainstream role models for girls have been real-life women who are involved in geek culture? How about Lauren Faust, creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Or Lindsay Ellis, the Nostalgia Chick? Rebecca Watson, from Skepchick? Jane Goodall, the world-famous Primatologist? Dr. Alice Roberts, from Digging for Britain? Lisa Randall, the Harvard Physicist? Kate Beaton, the brilliant comic artist? Or Mayim Bialik, the actress turned neuroscientist turned actress? All of these women are talented, famous, and well-known for being badass in their decidedly geeky fields. I would love to see them celebrated as role models for budding geek girls.

I’m also interested in the particular pictures that the original creator of the image elected to use to display the differences between the top and bottom rows. The women in the top row are all more scantily-clad (except for Aeryn, who is wearing a tank top) and posed more suggestively and passively than the bottom women. This was obviously a deliberate decision on the part of the creator, and it caught my eye for two reasons: It reeks of slut-shaming, and secondly, it appears to be an odd denial of the amount of hyper-sexualization female characters in geek culture receive from creators and fans alike.

And it goes on.  The entry is a little of a year old, so it has probably made the rounds before I stumbled upon it.  However, that doesn’t make it any less true.  It really is a great read and incredibly correct, and I encourage folks to follow the link to check it out.  Her blog in general is actually pretty interesting too and one of the more level-headed things you can find on the internet.  Something rare, indeed.

~N

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2 responses to “A Terrific Look at the Self-Congratulatory Aspect of Geek Culture

  1. CultureCast-Z August 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for linking that. It’s a really interesting take. I probably saw that image splattered across my Facebook screen about 10 different times by various people on my friend’s list, and always found it irritating. Loved the author’s take-down.

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