Warning: Strong language.
I won’t link to the offending article.
What I will do is point to some awesome Tweeple to follow (@allithrasher, @leighalexander, @rhoulette, @_gtz_, @auntiepixelante) for more well-reasoned discussion. I am seriously burnt out, and the following may actually make no earthly sense.
This past weekend, I was working at the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle showcasing Ubisoft’s Rocksmith’s title. As a gamer musician, I took to it like a fish to water. There was sunshine and licks, bass and treble. Person after person enjoyed the game, asked questions, and even asked questions about the Frag Dolls and Cadette academy, or which I’m a proud member, two years strong.
Who makes this?
Ubisoft! Fine makers of such other awesome things as Assassin’s Creed, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six…
…But, of course, you don’t play those.
<insert “Child, please” look here>
I should have been prepared for that. With the climate of misogyny in the industry as of late, hell, I should have expected it. Braced myself. Steeled myself against the next moment my authenticity as a member of the subculture would be called into question.
Then, something like today happens, and I’m not sure where to put it. I could have gone a number of ways with this one. Blogged my entire gamer/geek history as a womanifesto, picked the article apart for the myriad ways it was research-deprived drivel, defended my beloved Frag Dolls (mentioned in the article) against the poser accusations. Eh.
I have news. For all intents and purposes, we are all posers. We all perform the actions, speak the words, wear the costume dictated to us by whatever role we play any given moment. Gender and sexuality are equally performative, fluid, and boundless parts of our identities. They are also parts that are frequently policed, by the current power structure—hence the ability of this white dude to feel like he can tell me and other women what is not appropriate geekery.
It gets worse. It’s not just white dudes. The way power works, it’s a funny thing. It’s systematic. It’s not so much a thing, so much as an act. It’s not just the government-issued boxes labeled M or F that have to be checked at the start of someone’s life. It’s the pink fucking telescope. It’s the woman who told me she didn’t think I could wear a white wedding dress. It’s the mother who tells the daughter what’s ‘for girls,’ or better yet, what’s for ‘good girls’ to wear. It is women policing other women. Friends policing friends. Colleagues spreading rumors on who got which job in what way because of the length of her skirt. Looks of disapproval, tweets about camwhoring, attention whoring, or idiot blogs about the fake geek girl do one thing and one thing only: They essentialize, reify, and solidify definitions of geekdom, womanhood, femininity, and feminism that are absolutely exclusionary and dangerous. This is downright hypocritical as a subculture that prides itself in providing a space for those who don’t fit into the mainstream.
Keep your geek cred checklists off of my body, out of my closet, away from my makeup case, and far from my bedroom. I’m going to continue queering the paradigm and encouraging others to do the same.
I hope you’re scared that your geek club is changing.
I hope you’re scared that the boys club is crumbling.
I hope this lipstick, these tits, those burlesque dancers, these genderfuck beauties fuck with your system and give you sleepless nights.
That means we’re doing something right.