A response to “Booth Babes Need Not Apply” and “The Response To The Response To My "Booth Babes" Piece On CNN.”
While going through my Facebook feed, someone posted a link to a surprising article titled “Booth Babes Need Not Apply” posted on CNN’s Geek Out blog. Frankly, the article made my head spin. I had discussed with Anthony about forming a response to this, and in my research, I found a follow-up article on the writer’s website titled “The Response to the Response to my ‘Booth Babes’ Piece on CNN.”
Now, to discuss this, I want you to have everything in the proper context, so please go ahead and read the articles before going on with my response and feelings on this.
Please. I’ll wait…
… ... ...
Well, I’m sure you read that he apologized in his view on at least the Frag Dolls. That was well warranted.
Personally, I think this guy is dead wrong on his views. He, and those that agree with him, think that girls who show up to conventions without an intimate knowledge of geek culture have no business being there. I can’t say how insulting I find that as someone who’s been a geek for 31 of my 35 years of existence.
Let’s start with his strange complaints about Olivia Munn. I seriously doubt she walked into an office at G4TV and yelled, “The job you’re advertising is MINE! ALL MINE! A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!” It’s very likely she did an interview, just like many other actresses and entertainers for the job. Why was she the one picked? I don’t know, but I can say that the decision to pick her was probably up to some suit who thought she’d be good for the show. She has since moved on to stints on the “Daily Show” and is currently on the HBO series “Newsroom.” Who cares if she isn’t what he defines as a geek. She isn’t clinging onto the culture like some useless barnacle. She did what was asked of her and moved on.
Secondly, I do think it’s true that there are more people in costume that don’t have an interest in the culture. They may be body free people whose prospects are low and have created or worked on websites where they are nude or nearly nude. But at the same time, why is that terrible? I’m not yelling that everyone should view the nudies or that it’s terrific, but they’re presenting themselves on the Internet. THE INTERNET! It’s more likely for them to generate an income dressing up as something associated with the geek culture rather than dressing up as politicians, judges, or lawyers. They’ve picked an image fitting the medium they’re advertising in.
Third, what’s terrible about attracting women who don’t understand the culture? The writer has no idea what attracts women to these events. Perhaps some enjoy costuming in general. More still may have been brought by friends to dress up as a character to fill out a group and were invited to stay for the rest of the convention (which I have done myself). There’s even more that could be trying out a new convention. It’s not unheard of for an anime fan to go to a comic convention to see the differences and vice versa. Still others could be going to support their boyfriend's or girlfriend's hobby. They don't get it, but they're in love and want to enjoy a day with their partner. No matter their reason, if they’re new to what this man thinks is “geek culture,” shouldn’t we be the charitable ones and showing new people how geek culture works, circulates, and interacts? According to him, no. They need to be ostracized. He and others would rather use the me-only attitude that was used in popular circles in high school.
In that vein, why are booth babes bad? Yes, they’re a tool for marketing, but they’re a tool used effectively for the events in which they’re presented. They were hired to do a job, not to have the Guidebook of the Marvel Universe on hand to answer all questions. I don’t expect models at a car show to give me the cubic footage of storage in a Ford Explorer, nor do I expect a fashion model to tell me what stitching was used in the dress she wears on the catwalk. Some of them may not have a great idea of what they’re promoting, but again, if given the right influences, they may be interested in learning more.
The writer goes on to say that he hates what he calls “poachers”:
“They’re poachers. They’re a pox on our culture. As a guy, I find it repugnant that, due to my interests in comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and role playing games, video games, and toys, I am supposed to feel honored that a pretty girl is in my presence. It’s insulting.”
So, why do you feel that you’re supposed to be honored? Last I checked, no one is obligated to have a conversation with anyone. The girl hasn’t bought your time, and you haven’t bought hers. Just because she’s there, doesn’t mean she’s there just to get in YOUR good graces. Is it really that hard to believe she wants to have some fun?
Does she want some attention? That’s certainly possible, but the flaw in your argument is that cosplayers on a whole want attention. Speaking as one, we tend to have a wanting of attention. We dress in elaborate costumes in the hopes of having a picture taken. We don’t want to put forth that much effort without some sort of acknowledgement of what we’ve attempted. Let these ladies have their moment.
The writer even goes on in his apology to say he’s seen women stand around in skimpy costumes of characters he hasn’t seen before waiting for attention. I’m not of the mind that this person has the entire encyclopedia of Marvel, DC, Funimation, Emotion, CLAMP, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, V, Camelot, etc. characters all the way back to the 1930's memorized and can recite them at will. There are also the people that dress in original variations of characters, or original characters based on their personal writings or video game creations. I have more characters than I can fit on all 20 fingers and toes just in my time playing City of Heroes, and all are original creations of mine.
In my own research, I found the definition of geek online. Check this out:
GEEK – noun /gēk/
1. An unfashionable or socially inept person
2. A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest - a computer geek
3. A carnival performer who does wild or disgusting acts
Let’s go ahead and admit that Definition #1 is the stereotypical version of a geek. Definition #3 is a version that really doesn’t exist much these days and isn’t applicable to the conversation.
Definition #2, however… Let’s see that again:
2. A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest
Well, that would mean that these ladies, even though they’re not gaming, anime, comic book, or science fiction geeks, they’re likely to be geeks over music, dramas, writing, contemporary art, poetry, animals, or one of many other subjects.
Here’s an idea. We could TALK to these women and possibly learn something new! I’m a political centrist, but I can still stand to talk to well-informed members of liberal and conservative parties to get more information to form an opinion. The same applies to the nerd-standard hobbies and interests. I’m learning more about Doctor Who every day.
To sum it all up, I think that someone that is going to take a me-and-those-like-me-only attitude to hobbies should look in the mirror and seriously think about the type of person they are. Based on his opinion and postings, the writer should rip the video game controller out of his wife’s hand, wave his finger in her face, and tell her how unworthy she is to even think of touching them. I doubt he’ll do that because his wife is likely to feed him his teeth if he attempts it.
Me? I look forward to meeting new people every convention, because new people have the chance to show me something I’ve never seen before, and I have the chance to show them something that puts a smile on their face, like this video has for the last 10 people I’ve showed it to at conventions.
CNN Geek Out Blog: Booth Babes Need Not Apply
Joe Peacock: The Response to the Response to my “Booth Babes” Piece on CNN
Google: Definition of Geek
YouTube: Keith Apicary – Kimberly Cole Music Video Audition
The Frag Dolls