Monday, July 29, 2013

Musical Monday - Nothing to Prove by The Doubleclicks

Sometimes a songwriter writes a song that says exactly the right thing in exactly the right way, and the result is almost magical in its perfection. The Doubleclicks' anthem for geek girls Nothing to Prove is one of those songs. And unless the video existed, one would not have believed that the song could be made even better than it already was. But then the Doubleclicks collaborated with Josh Cagan, hundreds of proud geek girls, and a few geek guys, and made a video that transformed a defiantly beautiful song into something transcendent.

To make the video, Angela and Aubrey sent out a call for geeky women to send in videos of themselves with signs about the geeky things they love, or documenting the flak they have received for having the temerity to be a girl interested in geeky things, or any message they wanted to put out there with their geek flag raised high. The response appears to have been overwhelming. Hundreds of women sent in their declarations of geekiness, their stories of discrimination, and their hopes for future generations of geek girls. About a hundred and fifty submissions were used in the Nothing to Prove video, and to showcase the remainder a Tumblr was created named Geek Girls Have Nothing to Prove. The clips included in the video are all amazing, and the ones that speak of the discrimination faced by these women are heartbreaking. There are also appearances by several supportive famous geeky men John Scalzi, Adam Savage, Paul & Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Josh Cagan, but only a couple of appearances by famous geek women like Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amy Berg.

And this last point, to me, highlights everything that is wrong with the pernicious "fake geek girl" meme: It drives women away from the things that they love, pushing women out of geeky hobbies for no reason other than misogyny. Yes, I know that the purveyors of the meme, the self-appointed "gatekeepers" of geekdom, rationalize their obnoxious grilling of women to "prove" their bona fides with a collection of excuses, but the reality is that there is nothing more to their queries than a hatred for women. And these "gatekeepers", rather than "saving" the geek world from encroachment, do nothing more than damage the hobbies that they profess to love. They clearly damage women, by trying to exclude them and drive them away from having nerdy interests. But they also damage men, by creating an environment that drives women away from the things we love. Would comic books be better off without Kelly Sue DeConnick? I don't think so. But even if someone like DeConnick sticks through the horde of "gatekeepers" to run the gauntlet to writing comics, one has to wonder how many other women decided that the price they would have to pay to write comics was simply too high to bother with. How many great stories has everyone been deprived of because a collection of misogynistic jerks are offended by the idea that women may love the same things they love and as a result go out of their way to make the lives of women miserable?

I can hear the protests from the jerks already - they don't hate women, they just don't want "fake" geek girls to sully their hobbies. But one only has to consider what the "win" condition would be for the "gatekeeper jerks" even if everything they say about the fakeness of some geek girls is true. Suppose some woman with no interest in comics, or fantasy, or science fiction spent the time to make herself a Wonder Woman or Arwen or Uhura costume, paid the registration fee for a nerdy convention, spent the time and money to travel to that convention and gave up a weekend she could have used to do something she actually likes so she could walk around said convention in costume. I suppose that one could imagine that she would do this for the adulation from convention goers, but why would she want that? If she's a "fake" geek girl like the gatekeepers claim, we can establish that she doesn't like nerdy things, so why would she want adulation from nerdy convention goers? I suppose she could go back to her friends at home and crow about how she pulled the wool over the eyes of those nerds by pretending to like what they like. But then she's going to have to admit to her presumably non-nerdy friends that she invested large amounts of time, money, and effort into going to and dressing for a geeky convention, which makes it seem like she wouldn't have much to boast about.

When you break down the best case scenario for the "gatekeepers" it becomes clear what a hollow victory it would be for them if they did expose one of the mythical "fake" geek girls as actually being a fake. As I've said before, the only women who will care if you accuse them of being a fake geek girl are actual geek girls. And it becomes crystal clear that it isn't a desire to keep geekdom safe from "fake" geek girls that motivates the "gatekeepers". It is a desire to exclude women from geeky interests. It is pure and unadulterated misogyny. As Cagan says in the video, there are no fake geek girls, just real jerks. As Savage says, if someone has to prove they are geeky enough to be around you, you are the problem, not them. You "gatekeepers"? You, yes you, are the problem. Either drop the attacks on geek girls, or get the hell out of the geek world. I'm tired of your shit.

Previous Musical Monday: Titanium by David Guetta (featuring Sia Furler)
Subsequent Musical Monday: Fireflies by Owl City

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  1. It's too true. It's always one of those things too, where the dudes "quizzing" talk about the things they like as if it's the only thing going. And then I'm like, "I know about 100 things that you know nothing about" but then they are like "I don't care about that stuff" what made you think that the stuff YOU like is the end all be all? I always get baited into those arguments, too. ARGH

    1. @timewantsaskeleton: I think that the "fake geek girl" meme is the most pernicious meme in the geek community. It is so clearly unfounded on anything other than raw misogyny, and it results in a handful of jerks pushing women out of geeky interests. I wish the meme would die a swift death, and I will do anything in my power to hasten that death.

    2. It's nuts. I either get marriage proposals or else they assume that my "boyfriend got me into that" and try to show me up. I don't even understand what the benefit is for these people. It's so stupid. Good, I'm glad you're aware and against this nonsense because it is really elitist misogynist crap. Because whoever the geek,whatever the gender, whenever or however they got into what ever they are into, someone else knew more than them when they started. Someone told them stuff and didn't act like a dink.

      It is just the most pointless activity.

    3. @timewantsaskeleton: I'm going to guess that a fair number of the marriage proposals are just as unwelcome as the quizzes. It seems to me that there is a subset of guys in the geek community that don't see women as people, but rather as either threats to be driven off or prizes to be won. And for some reason, the rest of the community simply tolerates this kind of behavior out of this subset rather than letting them know that these attitudes simply aren't acceptable.