Body Image in the Geek Community

Photo from livescience.com

Photo from livescience.com

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

So to keep this momentum going from my last post about Fake Geek Girls and the Heroes of Cosplay controversy, I want to address another issue that the show has brought up: body image.

So in the show, Becky discusses her insecurity about gaining weight. Her issue in the last episode was about looking and feeling confident in her Merida (from Disney’s Brave) cosplay. This issue is so relevant in the geek and cosplay community because as fellow geeks, most of our hobbies, such as playing video games, reading comic books, watching anime, etc. doesn’t really require us to be super active. Therefore, we tend to be less in shape. (And just as a disclaimer: This isn’t a scientific fact so don’t quote me on this. This is just from my experience as a fellow geek.) Now that cosplay is such a huge part of the geek fandom, it presents this oxymoron of the sorts. You spend all your time playing a video game (not being active or exercising) and then you want to cosplay a character with a tiny waist, perky boobs, and a nice ass. Well, that’s lovely and all but you just finished an entire box of Hot Pockets. Having six-pack abs definitely wasn’t on your mind as you were finishing the game.

Let me just put it out there that I DEFINITELY know these feels. I have always and currently struggle with body image issues because I dance. And dancer bodies are HOT! It can be such a struggle to keep up with the masses. Not to mention the amount of pressure and stress it can be on a person to have to look a certain way in order for society to deem as acceptable and successful. The internet can be a very scary place. People are ruthless behind their keyboards and they won’t hesitate to point out your stretch marks or love handles in your latest cosplay pic.

But I’m here to tell you to face your insecurities head on. Don’t run away from the problem or just be depressed about it. First of all, be PROUD of your body type. I’m slowly learning to love my curves and I find myself becoming more confident when taking pictures. I know it can be such a “foreign” concept, but we all have different body types! Say what?! You mean, we’re not all supposed to be those stick skinny girls on the magazine covers?!

NO! And don’t give into that crap. Love your body and love where you came from. That’s step 1. Step 2, if you do find yourself wanting to change something, then go do it! Do it at your own pace. If you haven’t worked out in 10 years, don’t jump into P90x today. Be realistic and set some realistic goals for yourself. Even if it’s once or twice a week, just take a walk in the park. As long as you’re moving, you’re being active and you’re working those muscles.

And on the other side of that spectrum, if you have a thin body type, don’t worry! There’s always room to bulk up and get that nice, toned booty! People tend to shun naturally thin girls and tell them they have it easy because society deems thin as acceptable. But on the contrary, thin girls can feel just as insecure. It doesn’t matter what body type you are, advertising companies are gonna drill this idea in your head that YOU will never be good enough. And don’t let them. You’re better than that.

And I didn’t forget my handsome fellas reading this! Don’t get caught up in the whole “bulking up, protein shakes all day everyday” culture. If you genuinely enjoy that lifestyle, then by all means, go do it! But just because your friends are all doing it doesn’t mean you have to as well. Same idea here: love and accept your body. Then if you want to make some changes, then go make some changes. Even if it’s just pledging to cut down on junk food or just doing some simple at home conditioning – every step counts. Do it at your own pace. You owe yourself that.

Cosplay can be this amazing motivational tool to help you get into shape. But don’t just strive to have Psylocke’s body or Wolverine’s biceps. Strive to have YOUR best body. Work out because you want to be a better you. Not just to look like a certain character. Trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot happier in the long run.

Body image will sadly always be an ongoing issue in our culture, but we can’t succumb to those negative thoughts. Positive energy is contagious and I encourage you to own it and spread that shit all over!

… That sounded weird and awkward. But you get my point. I hope.

‘Til next time, my loves.

-Alice

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The Fake Geek Girl & Heroes of Cosplay Controversy

Photo from albinwonderland

Photo from albinwonderland

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday!

So I’ve been wanting to chime in on this topic for a very long time now, but I’ve just been waiting until the right moment. The reason I think this moment is the right one is because of what’s currently happening in our community right now. As some of you may or may not know, the SyFy reality show Heroes of Cosplay is turning our community into utter chaos. How this show is relevant to this topic… well, just stick with me.

First off, a Fake Geek Girl is defined as a female of any age faking it in the geek culture, i.e. cosplaying characters she doesn’t know, saying she’s a gamer but has never touched a Playstation, etc. You might have seen some of these girls or know some yourself. But here’s a newsflash: Who the fuck cares?

A girl cosplaying for attention? Oh my gosh, who would do such a thing?! It’s not like anyone, male or female, dresses up in these costumes to get attention or anything! It’s not like your standing out from the crowd by wearing something different, right? Who cosplays for attention nowadays anyway?!

If you’re cosplaying, then you’re obviously trying to get noticed. I mean, THINK ABOUT IT. If you don’t want to get noticed, wouldn’t you wear clothing that doesn’t make you stand out? Let me break that down even more. If you’re trying to get noticed, you’re trying to get people’s attention. So by the transitive property that we all learned in high school, ANYONE cosplaying is trying to seek attention.

And why is that a bad thing? People make that out to be a terrible, vain factor of cosplay. If you poured blood, sweat, and tears into your costume as well as months and months of paychecks, you totally deserve to show that shit off and get recognition for your hard work. Cosplaying for attention isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually the norm. So get that out of your head that we females are doing this to get attention.

If you’re thinking more in terms with the fact that females who wear revealing outfits are trying to get attention, then so be it! Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. Again, who the fuck cares? Is it ruining your life? Is it deterring your will to live? No, so stop making it a big deal. If they’re confident in themselves to model a sexy cosplay, then let them do it! If you’re more on the conservative side and don’t really like sexy cosplay, then don’t do sexy cosplay. There’s no rule book on how to cosplay. Photographers are going to flock to sexy cosplays whether you like it or not. This is how the world works, unfortunately, but don’t let that get you down. Don’t let other people’s opinions morph your view of yourself. Strut your stuff, and be proud of whoever you’re cosplaying as.

So let me state the obvious here: most of the content creators in our geek culture, i.e. comic book writers, artists, manga artists, etc, are STILL mostly men. Therefore, they will most of the time have a patriarchal perspective on most things. If you’re wondering why most female super heroes are dressed that way, that wasn’t a coincidence.

But hello, welcome to the year 2013. Females like this shit too. I know, crazy, right? Females like anime, video games, and comic books. Some females are aspiring directors and filmmakers. Some females want to make their own comic books. If you’re sitting here reading this like this is a new concept, then again, welcome to the year 2013. Sorry your distant planet didn’t have concepts like this.

This is no longer a Boys Only club, and it never should have been. There’s plenty of strong females who are content creators and it’s only a matter of time before their work can be seen by millions of people. Call me idealistic, but I have faith.

So let’s stop feeding this outdated idea to young girls that they have to grow up and be a secretary and like Barbie. If they want to be a secretary and like Barbie, that’s totally cool! But if they aspire to be the President and like Iron Man, then that’s pretty damn cool too.

And the next time you see a girl “faking” it, just remember, we all had to start somewhere. You didn’t come into this culture being a fcking expert at Call of Duty. Let these new fans explore their interests and don’t be an asshole about it.

And how does this tie into the current Cosplay crisis? Well, a lot of fans are upset at how the show is portraying cosplayers. Apparently, the show is showcasing a very catty, egotistical, dog-eat-dog world of cosplay. While I agree with these fans that this is an inaccurate portrayal of the cosplay world, I’d also like to remind everyone that this is TELEVISION. Hi, Welcome to the year 2013 again. TV is fake and sometimes scripted. Oh my gosh, no way!! You mean the Bachelorette doesn’t really find true love at the end?!?

The producers of the show are going to edit the B-Roll as they see fit. What makes it into the show is whatever makes it into the show. A TV show or movie or any sort of film is STORYTELLING at the very core. You need a plot, you need characters, and you need a conflict. Otherwise you might as well show a live stream of a convention. And as we all know, that’s definitely not gonna get any TV show good ratings.

To me, it’s also an issue of new fans vs. old fans. Also known as elitists vs. noobs. Now these people who don’t know what the hell anime or comic books are are gonna start cosplaying and acting like they know shit. Raise your hand if you heard this argument before.

Let me repeat myself. Let these new fans explore their new interests. If a new fan discovers cosplay through this show, that’s great. Share your craft. And see this as an opportunity to be someone’s senpai.

So fellow Internet friends, what have we learned today? I hope you’ve taken something away from this, and that I’ve challenged you to think a little differently. 

Leave a comment and let them feels out.

-Alice

10 Reasons Why You Should Date a Geek Girl

Hey guys! Happy Saturday!

Photo from inkbluesky.wordpress.com

Photo from inkbluesky.wordpress.com

So in honor of Youtube’s Geek Week, I decided to compile a list of reasons why dating a geek girl is the best decision you could possibly make in your lifetime. Because let’s be real… we’re the shit.

1. She can help you with your homework. Whether she’s really good at science, math, or literature, she is savvy in her area of expertise and can help you pass that class, yo.

2. She is a walking, living, and convenient encyclopedia. Chances are she’s a huge fan of something – whether it’s anime, video games, sci-fi, comic books, etc, and she will know EVERYTHING there is to that genre. Need a new video game to play? She’ll know what the latest releases are AND the reviews. Bam.

3. She ain’t afraid to walk into a comic book store. Fck those comic book staff that judge her. She’s still gonna buy the latest issue of Spiderman.

4. Video game nights make the perfect date.

5. You can have an enlightening and riveting conversation with her about almost any social issue since she’ll be up to date with current events.

6. Fan meet ups, cosplay gatherings, video game tournaments? Yeah, she’ll not only accompany you, but she’ll participate in them.

7. COSPLAY. Enough said.

8. She is up to date on the latest technology and she’ll have a well thought out opinion on different products.

9. You now have someone who can make terrible puns with you and think it’s hilarious. Han Solo? I think you mean, Han TAKEN!

10. Again, COSPLAY. Enough said.

Think I missed any? Add some more reasons in the comments! 🙂 Happy Geek Week! Check out Youtube this week to watch some awesome videos.

-Alice

It’s Cool to be Uncool

Image

Hey guys! Happy Thursday!

Do you remember back in the day when being a “geek” or a “nerd” was a bad thing? I mean, remember Screech from Saved By The Bell? Toby Isaacs from Degrassi? Umino from Sailor Moon?! Nerds in mainstream media have always been portrayed as unattractive, unpopular, and uncool. But now I’d like to argue that here in the year 2013, geeks and nerds have become the coolest kids on the block.

For the sake of clarity, I will be using the term “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably because there’s a difference between the two. Check out Burr Settle’s article on this topic by clicking here.

Flashback to 10 years ago. In elementary school, I had an obsession with Hello Kitty and anime. (Still do, lol.) This was the year I started attending anime conventions with all my older friends. I was one of the “smart” kids (which is ironic now because my IQ is totally average.) To put it bluntly, my interests were a lot different than most of my friends my age. Don’t get me wrong, I also loved the mainstream music and pop culture at the time (Spice Girls anyone?) but whenever I would start talking about Dragonball Z or Pokemon in very deep detail, people would look at me funny. And then I’d realize only a handful of the other kids were just as enthusiastic as I was. That’s when I realized… people dubbed us as “geeks.”

The point I’m trying to make is that being a geek was seen as weird and different… and not in a good way. I mean, when I would try to talk to the other kids about anime and video games, I always got mixed reactions. The boys in my class would understand whenever I’d talk about Gundams or DBZ, and the girls would kind of have a general idea if I talked about Sailor Moon. But there was never any moment I can full on geek out with anyone over these things. To avoid being an outcast, I always changed the subject to a topic everyone would know about, just so I can fit in and not be different. Has this ever happened to you? I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

It didn’t help that I started cosplaying the year after. Now MOST kids definitely didn’t understand this shit. They couldn’t even comprehend why I loved these Japanese cartoons so much, and now I’m dressing up as the characters and attending conventions? I was always pretty sad that none of my school friends could relate to what I loved.

Now here we are in present time. The reason why I argue that it’s cool to be uncool is because the mainstream media has made the “nerd” or “geek” likable to people. No longer are the days of awkward, isolated social skills, but now we’re put to the forefront and are admired by many. I mean, Big Bang Theory anyone? One of my sorority sisters told me she loved that show and I was beyond shocked when she told me that it was basically about these group of nerdy friends just being nerdy. I kept thinking, “Wtf… Hollywood actually finds this amusing now? Whatever happened to us being so weird and different?!”

And I think that’s just it. Being a nerd or a geek is about being different. It’s about separating yourself from the “norm” and to people nowadays, that’s cool because we all want to stand out somehow. It’s seen as people having so much depth and knowledge about different things and it makes them cool. It’s crazy to think the day has come where my vast knowledge of the first season of Pokemon is actually valuable to people.

I can distinctly remember a time when the manga section of Barnes and Noble was literally just one shelf. Now if you go to a bookstore, the manga section takes up a whole aisle. The proof is in the pudding, you guys. Just look at how Hollywood has infiltrated Comic Con. I remember when I was younger, there wasn’t any big shot Hollywood actors and directors there, and if there were, it wasn’t really emphasized on different news outlets. Now Comic Con has become one of the most anticipated events in the entertainment industry.

I’m not saying any of this is bad. In fact, I welcome the attention! It’s about time cool stuff like anime, manga, video games, and comic books are getting their chance to shine in the spotlight. Look how well all the comic book movies are doing in the box office.

Therefore, I’d like to end on a positive note. This goes out to all the kids who always felt like no one understood their obsession with their favorite anime, comic book, or video game. We’re the shit. Embrace your geeky and nerdy knowledge. Because people wanna be like us now.

-Alice