Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Envy and the "Fake" Geek Girl

I rented a car and went to the local renfest with my friend Corwyn this past weekend. On the ride home, he was talking about being introverted, which made me smile because he'd spent much of the time at the festival walking up to stranger to talk to them about Figments & Filaments, the costume convention that he founded and that'll be in April 2015. This is typical of my renfest experiences with him: he knows a lot of people from his many years performing there, and he talks to them and also a lot of strangers to advertise the cons he's organizing. (He also runs Contra in the fall.) "You hide your introversion a lot better than I do," I told him.

"Well, I want to perform, too. It's hard to perform for an audience when you're hiding under a rock," Corwyn said. "And it's different for you. You can show up at a con in a slinky dress and guys will line up to talk to you. If I want to talk to people I've got to do something more to get their attention."

I smiled, and started to tell him about my post on playing dress-up in response to the fake geek girl kerfluffle, because yes, I do dress up at cons to get attention. And then it struck me that perhaps he had accidentally hit on the underlying reason for the animosity against "fake geek girls". Maybe it has nothing to do with being mad at women for not giving them sex, or misogyny, or protecting their fiefdom against sinister feminine wiles. Maybe they're envious -- not of the woman herself, but of the attention she gets.

Let me be clear: there was no rancor whatsoever in Corwyn's statement that 'all you need to do is show up in a cute outfit'. And it's completely accurate: I don't even need to work hard at assembling an outfit (although I have done so for some of them). I remember a half-dozen guys at one con wanting a picture of me in my $10 Walmart swimsuit. This is the privilege -- a sometimes-undesired privilege, but one nonetheless -- of being female in a male-dominated hobby. And to someone who's spent years volunteering at conventions or honing their art skills or even just getting all the l33t gear for the WoW character, it must be frustrating to see a woman walk in wearing a bathing suit patterned after a Wonder Woman costume, and have her be the person everyone's interested in. Isn't this supposed to be the space where their own skills are supposed to be important, supposed to be noticed and admired? And it's still not.

I certainly don't think this justifies the ill-will, or means that women ought not do cosplay (or even ought to put a minimum level of effort into their cosplay).

But it is sad and kind of messed-up, that it really is less effort for me to get attention than it is for Corwyn, through no virtue on my part or flaw on his.
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