In defense of lady geeks
Strong female personnas were common in the cosplay of San Diego Comic-Con 2012.
July 26th, 2012
01:14 PM ET

In defense of lady geeks

Editor's note: Genevieve Dempre is a self-described feminist killjoy whose past work includes contributions to Ms. Magazine Online. She loves Joss Whedon and loves to mock Sweet Valley High. She can generally be found moderating at, sometimes in a Rainbow Brite outfit, or on twitter @Genevieve_Marie.

Geek culture has a bit of a misogyny problem. That’s not news to anyone who’s been paying attention.

From the abuse heaped on Anita Sarkeesian to the criticism of Felicia Day, it’s become obvious that women who identify as geeks and who are vocal about their opinions on the culture are probably going to face some backlash. Fortunately, that’s becoming recognized as fact by most of the people who pay attention, but the conversation around why it happens and who’s to blame for it isn’t always particularly positive.

Case in point: the recent discussion of Booth Babes and their effect on geek culture started by Joe Peacock.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as opposed to the concept of companies using women’s bodies as marketing tools as the next feminist. I think criticism of the practice that points out how this marginalizes women and treats us as the product instead of as potential consumers is necessary and important.

What I object to in the current discussion is the idea that the professional models who are paid for their work are somehow deeply broken human beings who are willfully exploiting men. I also object to the conflation of women who model professionally at conventions with women who genuinely love geek culture and who happen to be attractive and enjoy some occasional cosplay.

Geek girls, even the ones who are conventionally attractive, come to the culture for the same reason men do: we’re looking for our people. Almost everyone who finds a home in it is someone who has experienced alienation in another part of their lives. For many of us, finding the other weirdoes who love the same things we love is fantastic and life changing.

It truly sucks when you find those people and realize that they don’t believe you’re one of them and when they make it clear that you’re going to have to jump through some hoops to prove you’re worthy of being included. It especially stings when it comes to one particular element of being a female geek: the part where you are simultaneously appreciated and denigrated for your sexuality.

The thing is? Geek guys are definitely not opposed to the idea of sexy women.  Highly sexualized women in skimpy outfits have been a part of geek culture for a long time. It often gets taken to hilarious extremes. Female comic book characters that manage to display both their boobs and their butt in body positions that defy all known facts about human anatomy are common. (See the adult content Escher Girls tumblr for great discussion on this particular sexist trope.)

In fact, most of the female characters that geek guys love don’t wear a whole lot in the way of functional clothing (unless they were created by Joss Whedon). It’s pretty clear that geek men don’t object to sexy women.

What some of them DO object to are sexy women in skimpy outfits who expect to be treated like people.

Here’s the double-edged sword: to be visible at all in geek culture, women often have to be conventionally attractive and comfortable playing the role of eye candy. Women who aren’t are generally ignored at best, and harassed, fat shamed, mocked, and disdained at worst. These same women who are being derided and dismissed as attention whores and poachers would be all but invisible if they distanced themselves from their sexuality.

That’s a huge problem, but it’s not a problem that we’re going to solve by making these women feel less welcome. The Frag Dolls, for example, are attractive women. That’s also not even close to all they are or all they contribute, and ignoring what these talented women accomplish as professional gamers and as advocates for women in the gaming industry, as Peacock did in his opinion piece, does them a major disservice.

I reached out to the Frag Dolls in the wake of the booth babe Twittersplosion. The group, which Ubisoft PR spokesperson Michael Beadle said has been around since 2004, vocally supports female gamers and game developers. Their appearance on convention panels and their contributions to a growing online community are, "part of a larger effort to raise awareness about video games as a legitimate pastime and career for women," Beadle said.

The work they do to promote a more inclusive culture for women gamers shouldn't be ignored or dismissed.

The other problem with this whole conversation about which women are legitimately geeks and which women are just faking it for male attention is that it still assumes that men are the ultimate arbiters. It’s another reminder to women that while we may be appreciated for our decorative qualities, we certainly shouldn’t expect to be welcomed beyond that as active participants. It’s another hoop to jump through, and a glaring indication of the fact that we’re seen as girls first, geeks second, and that we’re always going to have to work harder to prove that we belong.

It also assumes that all the women who attend conventions in sexy attire are doing it for the same reasons. This is patently false. Some women just genuinely enjoy dressing as highly sexualized characters, and they’re geeks through and through. Some women are being paid as professional models by major corporations to sell products to men, and shouldn’t be shamed for doing an honest day’s work. Some women are new to geek culture and are finding their way, and yes, some women are looking for attention and validation and a way to feel liked and accepted.

What’s wrong with that? Geek culture has traditionally been a haven for men who are looking for acceptance and haven’t found it in other places. Why should women be treated any differently? This idea that pretty girls have it all together and that they’re all consciously using their pretty girl powers to hold dominion over nerds really needs to die already. It’s not true. Learning how to be comfortable with ourselves is a lifelong journey for most women.

There are so many men, women and individuals who identify as neither or both who are clamoring for a more accepting and inclusive geek culture. It’s an awesome goal, and we definitely can’t get there by shaming women who enjoy expressing their sexuality through cosplay.

This whole conversation could have been really positive. It could have focused on the idea that geek demographics are shifting, and that hiring scantily clad women to sell your product is no longer the best way to go about it. It could have focused on the fact that there are a lot of different ways to be a geek, and celebrated those “stunningly beautiful women who cosplay as stunningly beautiful characters from comics, sci-fi, fantasy and other genres of fandom”. It could have encouraged women who are new to geek culture or who hover on the fringes to really find what they like and get involved.

Maybe next time?

soundoff (235 Responses)
  1. reithena

    Good post. Kinda confused as to why the lady on the left is cosplaying as Logan instead of the equally strong and totally bad ass X-23 though.

    August 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
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    July 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  5. Tiffany

    Who cares? Women or men should be able to show as much of their bodies as they please. We were not born in turtlenecks. You all think too much.

    July 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  6. Surthurfurd

    Respect the Lady Geeks because one day you will need them to hire you.

    July 30, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  7. chad

    I love............Nerdy and Geeky Women!!!! Their alot more interesting than other women!!!

    July 30, 2012 at 5:33 am |
  8. GenericMan

    Being a nerd doesn't make you a geek.

    July 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jerry

      Bien cita un comentario que para los que no estomas en la onda de la tecnolog{ia, nos ayuda tu definicif3n sobre los geek bien por ello. Ya que las personas deben de estar al deda o estar enterdas sobre los avances de la tecnologeda, pues ased lo requiere la actual situacif3n socio-econf3mica-laboral .Pero soy de la opinif3n que todo debe de ir de la mano con los valores y las creencias, pues al vivir en un mundo tan acelerado y en donde se vive me1s del sobrevivir en esta jungla de robots, con mayor razf3n debemos de recordar a nuestros hijos la importamcia de los valores morales, pues se puede gobernar o ser un gran magnate , pero con respeto hacia los deme1s. Pues para tener o llegar al poder, no siempre se debe de pasar sobre todos o minimizando la razf3n de ser de la existencia de cada ser humano.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  9. Amr Azim

    Is this the example we are trying to show the World about Democracy? If it is so, no wonder the World is falling down everyday. No, every second! USA! USA! USA! USA! We Americans are supporters of the abnormal! WOW!

    July 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  10. ArthurP

    The best thing about lady geeks is you have someone intelligent to talk to before and after se.x.

    July 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  11. eroteme

    Never gave it a thought before, I must confess I have no opinion atout lady geeks. I do have the opinion that there is nothing less attractive than a female athlete, or a female trumpet player. As a young male of 21 I made my first overseas visit, Paris, 1958. I noticed there for the first time that lady's hair grew down the back of their necks. I had never seen this before. Nohing wrong there, it did not look unattractive. However in the past few years I have seen American women with strands of hair spouting from the back of their necks. In this case it appears they are poorly groomed. I would have roughly the same opinion if they were also to keep hair growing on their legs.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • cheer up

      I read what you said and then I puked my breakfast.

      July 30, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • cj899

      what in gods name does this have to do with the article or the discussion? lose your preoccupation with neck hair and stay on topic

      July 30, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • LetsHaveAMeeting

      I have to say, I agree. The best kind of women, geek or not, should be well groomed. For the most part, no hair anywhere. Get rid of it, chicks.

      July 30, 2012 at 9:54 am |
      • Anon

        Sure-if you shave all of your hair off first.

        May 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Kristy

      Your post makes me sick, and it is only your age that is keeping me from going on a tirade. First off, you have generalized women to a disgusting level. Nothing less attractive than a female athlete? Athletes – men or women – come in all different shapes and sizes, so I have to assume that what you mean is that strong, able women are unattractive to you. It has nothing to do with their physical appearance.

      On top of that, on the discussion of body hair, what business is it of yours? And unless you're willing to do an equal level of self-grooming, your expectations are ridiculous. Let me tell you, women don't find your leg hair attractive, either, and I have yet to meet a man that couldn't use a professional manicure once in a while.

      The point of this article, and I both agree and disagree with the authors positions, is that we should all be judged individually in the geek "culture" rather than the status quo, which is to assume that men are genuine "geeks" and women must prove they are geeks. Instead of trying to engage more women in this culture, the previous article served to reinforce the notion that women are not worthy of this value and acceptance by virtue of their presence alone, but men are.

      There are various levels of geeks, and we should all be able to find where we belong without the stigmas attached to our genders.

      July 30, 2012 at 10:46 am |
      • Jimmy

        Thank you Kristy! eroteme has no idea what he is talking about.

        July 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Pliny

      Thank you for providing my daily does of crazy.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  12. reithena

    All I really want is to be accepted for who I am and what I enjoy. those things happen to be computers, comics, anime, and sci-fy/fantasy. I don't necessarily think the booth babes need to go away but I think it needs to change a bit. We are one of the sole communities that has such a vibrant mix of cosplayers, so why not use that? It isn't as if car shows and the like could really adapt to that. Also, when I walk into a tech store, don't treat me like I'm an idiot, answer my questions and get me my stuff in and out. easy as that.

    July 29, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  13. Rob

    Someone couldn't get published in The Journal of Feminist Analyst, Conflict Studies, and Telling People Who Couldn't Care Less All About It.

    July 29, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • maty

      I know, I know, seen and not heard.

      July 31, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  14. blackluke8

    Do what you do. Stop looking for acceptance. If you want acceptance, go make me a sandwich. That I would praise you for.

    July 29, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  15. Fed Up

    Looking silly doesn't make you a geek – it means you're stupid looking.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  16. Sean

    Stop it, already. There is no "geek culture." A true geek just likes what they like. That's it. No need to beg for acceptance from a community or "culture." You sound like a self-conscious, image-obsessed hipster. I guess the logo for the CNN "Geek Out" blog says it all.

    July 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Odds

      No geek culture? Sure there is! It's just that the geeks are so busy feigning apathy in a misguided attempt to avoid being ridiculed for being who they are, they don't have time to consider the irony of their predicament. No geek culture? Are you sure you aren't simply in denial? It sounds to me a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. Hey, you want acceptance. It's what you and every other non-sociopathic human being who ever lived want. You aren't fooling anyone with your false security. And geek girls want the same thing you want. So why not wake up and get on the same page? You might get laid more often! Wouldn't that be cool?

      July 29, 2012 at 11:24 am |
      • Sean

        If it exists, define it. Who's feigning apathy? Just do what you like. Its that simple. I'm sorry that you so desperately need validation. As for the human need for acceptance, that is fulfilled by one's friends and family, not a bunch of strangers at a convention. If that's all you've got, no wonder you're so desperate for the validation. You may be desperately searching for a 'scene' to belong to, but most of us got that out of our systems in high-school.

        July 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Eduardo

      I do accept as true with all of the ideas you've irndotuced in your post. They're very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  17. Ham Sandwich

    If everyone hates the fact that the companies they buy from are using their money to pay booth babes to lure them in, why don't they just STOP going, stop paying? The exploitation is coming from the Comic companies who pay the models. Modeling is a job & they're not paid to know all about the product. Why are there no hot male models dressed up for people to ogle? Some muscle-bound beefcakes in some of those skimpy male hero costumes would give the misogynist haters a taste of their own medicine!

    July 28, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • mojojuju

      Speaking as a female geek...I think many of us would appreciate that. Very much!

      July 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • blackluke8

      Because if you start putting half naked dude out there it will repel the fan boys.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  18. cm

    I'd love to have a gf into cosplay... so many women these days are humorless, uptight *****.

    July 28, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Kristin

      Oh yes, and calling women "uptight, humorless *******" is really going to get you a girlfriend. Show some respect, and then maybe you'll get a girl.

      August 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  19. md22mdrx

    If she not only knows what LARP is when you ask, but then wants to show you .....

    She might be a geek/nerd.

    July 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Ivan

      Hello Rob, my name is Analia Maurizi, I live in Argentina, south America.The reason why I'm wrttiing is not about the test written avobe, is because we have the same surname,that is not so common and I would like to know more about you. We migth be related.kind regardsAnita

      December 22, 2012 at 4:33 am |
  20. md22mdrx

    As long as the girl doesn't make awkward seemingly-forced comments about "girl wood" .....

    July 27, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • reithena

      Nah, no girl wood...just nerd wood 😀

      July 29, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  21. Jo

    You know, it's really funny to me how serious everyone's taking this.

    EASY LITMUS TEST ON WHETHER A GIRL, ATTRACTIVE OR NOT, IS A TRUE GEEK-QUALIFIED LADY OR NOT: Ask her. If she raises her eyebrow in a totally snarky manner and/or then launches into a three minute long diatribe about how she doesn't give a rat's what you think because you probably can't tell [obscure reference] from [other obscure reference] in your crap-azz storebought wannabe Iron Man costume: TA DA! She's legit. Heck, if she uses snark *at all*, she's legit.

    I put in my freakin' years of getting picked on just like the rest of you jerks did, don't you even think I'm going to sit there and put up with being questioned by a bunch of people who are supposed to be my peers.

    Then sit back and enjoy the fact that you get to talk geek with someone who also serves as eye candy. If you ignore the trolls, they won't keep coming back to cons for attention. DUH.

    July 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • maxxismyname

      WFT, Jo. QFT. (b ^_^)b

      July 29, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  22. sugar renae

    Woah, wait. Why do we ever need defending? Firstly, we can defend ourselves. And then beyond that everyone thinks geek girls are awesome! At least anyone that's worth anything. I play MTG, DND, WOW, have ink and piercings, listen to alternative musics of many sorts. How is it a big deal? It's nothing! It's just people being people and having hobbies.

    July 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  23. Sivick

    I thought that tumblr was pretty funny. "That girl can fly, punch through walls, and absorb other crazy powers, but her back looks a bit twisted and that takes me right out of it." perspective. Just more 1st world problems.

    July 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  24. electri

    What frustrates me most is my female friends who show up to Cons specifically with the goal to be ogled in costume (and they're completely open about that being their only interest) because they feel it gives them validation. I understand it's their right to do so – BUT – it's a sad submission to a male-dominated culture and only reinforces men's perception that women are just there for the attention. I would love to see more open-minded people at cons who see women as equals and even the women themselves – don't be so quick to wave the white flag of defeat, and just enjoy yourself for YOU!

    July 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Geek

      That's not a "sad submission to male dominated culture." That's just you being mad that women who are better looking than you are can use their looks to get what they want.

      July 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
      • Kristin

        Right. Cause us attractive girl cosplayers totally want the attention of jerks like you. Get off your high horse: I dress up for myself because I love the character that much.

        August 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Nikhil

      I DEFINITELY need two tshirts like that for when the twins come. thkans for your comments, yeah I'll hang in there! Morale is improving have made a truce with the gyno, and making sure the blogs I read are positive///! like yours!

      September 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  25. laststonecarver

    Please take the time to check out the Escher Girls Tumbir link provided.

    July 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  26. feminismindc

    Great article. I love it. I'm sending on to my listservs.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  27. NateFromIndiana

    This is such a strange discussion to someone like me who basically lived through the geek experience from the inside as a peer group of last resort, a socially awkward refuge for people who were essentially bullied out of main stream social circles. This crap about rejecting geek girls for not being real is itself a completely phony act, something that can only happen because the "geek culture" has been co-opted by people who pretty clearly didn't suffer through the almost desperate loneliness of what being a geek used to mean.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Potter

      This is fact.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The definition of geek has change… deal with it.

      July 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Zachary

      I see article after article and message boards brimming with these statements. Yet I have never met anyone in real life, not in Michigan, California, Maryland or Nevada who was ever actually bullied like this. I am not saying my sample size is definitive, it is just troubling that a problem so apparently pervasive as John Hughes style bullying exists more in retrospect and victim-culture than reality.

      July 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Razorback

        Growing up Geek: Junior high school (in Maryland, BTW) in the '70's was three years of hell. By high school I had learned to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble. Still didn't get a date until college where I did everything I could to shed the geek image. It was very real but it got better.

        July 30, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  28. dug

    Geek girls might face backlash from their more prissy sorority girl brethren but not amongst geek guys. Geek girls are the great white buffalo that every geek guy is searching for.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • A

      But who cares if that's what you're looking for? The point of this article is that geek women should be allowed to be geeks in their own right, regardless of whether or not you find it appealing. We're not doing it for you. We're doing it for ourselves.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Geek

        There was a point to this article? I thought it was just the whining of an unhappy woman.

        July 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
      • blackluke8

        Awesome. Then do it for yourself. And we'll ignore you. If you are cool with being ignored then that's cool with us. But no girl on this planet likes being ignored so...

        July 29, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • md22mdrx

      So true ... almost to a fault.
      My bro is in an awful relationship .... but refuses to leave her because "where else would i find a geek girl who's also a skinny redhead?" I know. He's an idiot. But, he chased the great white buffalo and caught it. He doesn't know how to go back and they are a rare breed.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • Cipriano

        Merci e0 tous ! Des mois de travail pour un rendu juste sumible ♥@: On a toujours cite9 nos sources, la grande nouveaute9 e0 ce niveau, c'est notre volonte9 d'aller en profondeur et de remonter jusqu'e0 la source. Donc 2 liens pour une meame source.

        October 12, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  29. cooldaddysquid23

    Great article! One thing about the Frag Dolls, however. When I see a frag doll that isn't attractive, then I'll agree that they're making the effort to make the gaming culture more accepting to females. Until then, they're really just making the gaming culture friendly to attractive women. I don't object to attractive female gamers, quite the opposite. However, until the Frag Dolls represent all types of women and not just the attractive ones, their mission is totally half-assed.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  30. Ryan

    Men love geek girls!
    But that doesn't mean men will be any less superficial about what we're physically attracted to.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • md22mdrx


      We have a winner folks!!!

      July 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  31. Jim Daily

    A post about sniffing crotches goes through without a hitch, while point-by-point refutations are held up for moderation. It's pretty obvious where CNN and this author want this discussion to go.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  32. virginia

    Does anyone know who the middle girl is? I recognize wolverine and princess monokoke but I'm not sure about the girl in the middle.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • drlemaster

      Woman in rennfaire clothes with a magic wand. Could be any number of characters, or no one specific. Assuming that perhaps she is going for a specific character, and has picked one with hair similar to her own, I would guess Narcissa Malfoy (Draco's mom).

      July 27, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  33. Nerdy 30

    As many posting here, I have been a Geek, Nerd, what have you for much longer than it has been cool. BTW, we may be more accepted and growing, but other sub-cultures DO not think we are cool, merely tolerate our growing ranks.
    I think that many of who have been around the block have met the Nerd Jerks that take pride in being the "Geekiest". "you don't even know what a rod of negation would do to your Lich's wall of force! Heheheh" Just insecure people trying to be a big fish in a little pond. Which is no worse that a low self esteem good looking girl doing cosplay for attention.
    I understand and agree that someone claiming to love what you love just to get what they want is at least anoying. But its not just women who do that. And I would venture to say that by claiming hot geek posing girls are a serious problem were setting all girls back, at least just a bit.
    If I saw anyone that looked interested, I go talk 'em up. Cause, well I'm a geek! If they aren't really interested, who cares.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  34. mnsundevil

    This isn't confusing. It's the projection of Rule 16 onto real world settings.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  35. PeteInOhio

    These geek threads are extremely entertaining! I'd have to say if the girls in the picture are geeks, I might have to fake being a geek guy to go to a convention and check them out! Any pointers? How do I kick up a conversation with a geek girl?

    July 27, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      Act like a real man, don't be the little emotional puss who says he understands their feelings, you'll end up in the friend zone with no escape.

      Doesn't matter how much of a geek or nerd she is, women everywhere want a man with more testosterone than estrogen.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:02 am |
      • Simone R

        The "friend zone" is an ego-massaging lie. If she's not that into you, thats all there is to it.

        July 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • md22mdrx

      Way to try to pick up on ... what .... 14 year olds here? lol

      And don't try to fake it ... you won't make it past the first awkward comment.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  36. Jim Jones

    Omg... You people cannot read... The original article is about PAID MODELS WHO PRETEND TO BE GEEKS... Hence "booth girls" bc they get paid to be at the booth... Also to the G4 hostess references too

    But to take your dilluded issues seriously... Girls who are genuine "geeks" (if you can even call it geek anymore bc it is becoming VERY mainstream now) do not need to prove it at all

    If you like games, comic books, etc... It shows... If you're hot it's a plus... But just as the stererotypical 200lb geeker who's plastered to his "command com" chair needs not to look like captian America or a wizard on Warcraft, nor does Suzy need to be hot in order to be accepted in geekdom...

    Idk why this discussion is the way it is.. Geeks by definition aren't very aggressive or violent in nature so why would they be so judgmental on who can or cannot be a geek?? But like I said the issue is moot because the article was about PAID MODELS WHO PRENTEND TO BE GEEKS... Duh

    July 27, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • malonealone

      OMG. Re-read the editorial! It was about BOTH. I guess you just read the headline.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • kilo

      Jim Jones – pass me some of that kool aid because I agree

      July 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • cb

      whatdya mean the issue is moot? what did moot ever do to you?

      July 27, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  37. Bo Darville

    San Diego. Land of beaches, mountains, and eternally dry sunny 72 degree weather. And these freaks spend their free time in San Diego inside a convention center doing "cosplay"(whatever that is) and dressing up like freaks. THAT is the true definition of Geek.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Danno

      Awww...What's the matter Bo? Got too old to push smaller kids around and give out wedgies in the locker room?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • kilo

        right on Danno

        July 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • fred

      spot on! waves to be surfed, mountains to climbed/biked/hiked...i will probably go to comic con eventually tho when i finally make the move!

      July 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  38. Simone R

    Thank you for writing this. If only there were more nerds, maybe more people would get it

    July 27, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  39. mackmm

    It's good CNN has headlined this article with attractive girls AGAIN. It seems that "Geek Girls" are craving respect and acceptance when in fact most people who are dubbed geeks or geeky guys and girls are being done so out of bullying. It's great that some people are taking the power out of a term that is used to degrade someone, unfortunately that's not what's happening. This is a hipster non-issue that's gaining ground only because it's about good looking people who are trying to be cool by not being cool. Kid's are still being picked on, THAT SHOULD BE THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE!

    July 27, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  40. MTP

    Male geeks have a long historic track record (generalized statement ahead) of being lead on by beautiful women pretending to be into them only to realize they got used to do their homework. Unfortunately, genuine female geeks have to chip away at this trend, just like nice, attractive guys have to prove themselves to not be egotists and jerks to relationship seeking girls.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • malonealone

      Get over High School already!

      July 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
      • matt

        @melonealone you missing the point he is trying to make.

        July 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • matt

      I was just about to write a very similar statement. Historically attractive women/girls do not have a genuine respect for the geek male crowd. Now that the attractive gals are getting into gaming it hasn't completely saturated yet. So geek guys are still leery. When you have been burned multiple times you really have your guard up. As for the skimpy outfits? Sure, any guy programmed by nature will like that. But who's choice is it to wear them? You cannot seriously blame men for the way women choose to dress. I have feminist friends, and that's fine by me, but the extremist feminist doesn't want to take any responsibility, they prefer to leech off of the stats quo by blowing it out of proportion and pulling things way out of context.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • Saly

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        September 15, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Maty

      That's the plot of every 1980's teeny bopper flick, not reality.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
      • Kain

        Sadly to say in a lot of cases that is reality. Writers of those movies didn't just come up with that, it was based on actual culture.

        August 21, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  41. BigRed04

    Geek guys must really not like getting laid. I'm and engineer, love video games, and read sci-fi books often and I could care less if some girl wants to pretend she knows about "geek stuff". A beautiful girl is a beautiful girl, plain and simple. Its your job to teach her about the things you want her to know (and I'm sure she can teach you a few things too), the simple fact she is dressed up or whatever is a really good start. Maybe I'm just a nerd then?

    July 27, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Nadamomo

      Did he say "Bear" in the polar bear clip?? It sure did sound like it!And in the Beat Box, I think he was "waving his hands in the air like he just don't care". That is exactly what he is supeospd to do.

      October 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  42. kei

    I think a lot of people missed the point of the Booth Babe article. I have been to many conventions and I've never felt the need to jump through hoops to belong to the crowd. While waiting in lines, I've had great conversations about movies, games, and comics. It's great to be so readily accepted in a group of people with common interests. On the other hand, the girls being criticized are the ones putting on glasses, holding a PS3 controller, and claiming they're "such a nerd, lol".

    July 27, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • kilo

      exactly kei, thank you

      July 27, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • matt

      i agree, you re-asserted the original point being conveyed. well said.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  43. woodie

    I think the definition of geek got lost somewhere in the last 10 years. Geeks were guys who couldn't get dates and stayed home and did homework and played with science toys and read sci-fi. Now suddenly, geeks have some honorary status like they are smart or savvy. And they still can't get a date. So whatever.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  44. kilo

    one last thing the original article that provoked this one was NOT ABOUT GEEK GIRLS it was about girls who come to conventions dressed up for attention there is a huge difference and if you dont see that you have have not been to enough conventions.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Ryan Mcmann

      The point is there are FAKE geek girls just out to find something to get into to make them halfway cool, and then there are the true geek girls. The difference being you will know when you chat one if these girls up at a convention or other event. Usually they will feign interest in order to show up and be noticed.

      Basically we of the geek culture can tell the difference and yes as cheerleading is a women's activity that had men participate therefore they are the arbiters of this activity. Geek culture being what it is and the fact that we spent years getting ignored by these same girls who use to make fun of us. Now being that there are so many social circles they want to identify with what the mainstream media has finally gotten around to capitalizing on. Fake Geek girls do exist and those taking exception seem to be doing so out of fear that their new found popularity will fade when we real geeks realize your just a poser looking for attention. You're so fake!

      July 27, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  45. disagreement

    OK look, these conventions are like the one place where we shouldn't have to worry about this kind of femenist BS. Is nothing sacred anymore?

    Women are more than welcome to partake. In fact a geeky girl who really knows her stuff reigns supreme at these conventions, not the other way around.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Patrick Lewis

      I'm going to guess that you are not married.

      It's not feminist BS, it's misogynist BS that is being addressed here. We men have to learn to accept that there are ladies present and that we're not at a strip club. It's REALLY NOT THAT HARD TO DO. I've much love for our geeky sisters and while, yeah, it's easier to talk to someone who is not in costume, that goes for just about anyone you don't already know. They are in costume and when you are in costume you are acting a part, generally. It's called escapism and it's central to speculative arts and entertainment.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • lydia

      Awww...thank you for welcoming girls into your little male world. You're so sweet to accept the girls who know their stuff can play with the boys.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  46. jasoncdanforth

    THe geek girl is a "problem" and it will continue to be a "problem". Problem in quotes, to indicate a phony or perceived problem.

    The geek culture, even for it's rich history, is immature. What we need to recognize that the geeks who constantly criticize and denigrate for any of the myriad reasons they do so are the equivalent of crazy conspiracy theorists, ranting racists, or soccer moms... those people in society with such a narrow view of reality or a twisted concept of what is acceptable behavior that they throw all rationality out the window to be heard. And geeks bashing faux-geeks love to be heard and to soak up the critical acclaim of others too willing to let someone else do the thinking for them.

    It is ironic and pitiful that a community that came together out of exclusion and ridicule would so ready to reproduce the exclusion and ridicule. This whole "revenge of the nerds" thing has gotten old and needs to finally stop.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      No joke. I'm 33, I'm married, have kids, and I collect comics, video games, build PC's, love 80's and early 90's sci-fi and play Magic. I also could give two cr4ps about who attends conventions and their motivations behind it.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • kilo

      I dont know what you guys are on but wouldnt if feel weird if you were at a sports game and the person all painted up had no idea how the game was even played?

      July 27, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • kilo

        until you have a discussion with some stupid girl cosplaying a character
        becasue she saw a picture of them on the internet you have no idea what this is really about. The best part is when they get the name wrong of who they are dressed up as!

        July 27, 2012 at 9:38 am |
      • Lars Babaganoosh

        I wouldn't feel weird, uncomfortable, or offended. I wouldn't care.

        Actually I would actually welcome it. The more people in attendance = more money for the team = better players for the team.

        More money being dumped in to an economy – sports, comics, video games – means more product.

        If more people had shown up to Sonics games we would still have them.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:47 am |
      • Lars Babaganoosh

        And if it offends you or makes you sad that a girl dressing up like a character that she doesn't know, and you learn this by talking to her, grow up and grow a pair. It's not that serious. Sorry if your feelings are hurt.

        The rest of us guys will take advantage of the girl trying to fit in. They generally give it up easier.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • Patrick Lewis

        No, It'd think they were an idiot with a lot of time on their hands. Maybe I'd appreciate the artistry with which they painted "Go Steelers" on their beer belly. OR maybe I could, after actually talking to them, inform them about how the game is played. Introduce them to things they might like. You know, ACTUALLY BE FRIENDLY.

        It seems to me this whole discussion is about how not to be a self-superior jerk to girls. Grow up. The world is not populated with clones of yourself and it's better that way, keeps things interesting.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:56 am |
      • brad

        And that is a problem because why? Are these people dressing up that don't know the characters name having fun? If so, then mission accomplished. There are lots of things I've seen that I liked, and didn't know what it was, where it came from, wether it was art, sci fi and so on. Simply put, Kilo, if you are judging people because of that, then you are truly and idiot, and I really don't care what you think about me or anybody. I wasn't born into this world to please idiot kilo, I was born to do things, YOUR way. You don't like, me, good, never asked you to, get a life idiot.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:05 am |
      • kilo

        "The rest of us guys will take advantage of the girl trying to fit in. They generally give it up easier."
        you dont even qualify to have an opinion on this, much like the articel author pelase give us more information about something you no idea about

        July 27, 2012 at 10:13 am |
      • Lars Babaganoosh

        Haha – out of all the responses you choose to attack that one because it's the easiest to pick apart. It was not meant to be serious and great job ignoring the rest of the replies that are logical and thought out.

        Protip – if you can't attack the logical points you have no argument.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |
      • John

        I hope you can understand how immature that argument sounds. Everyone starts somewhere, and all paths to knowledge are different. To continue your sports analogy, the difference in knowledge between fans at game is huge. There are always newcomers, and the grizzled old guys who know everything, and a full spectrum in between.

        Geek culture is the same, and complaining because someone doesn't know as much as you, or worse as much as you think they should is childish. Of course there are some people taking advantage of the publicity and attention....people do that in every facet of life. Learn that fast, or be doomed to a life of misery.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:53 am |
      • LC

        Imagine if a girl went to your fantasy football meeting for the sole reason of trying to get attention. They didn't care about the game or the players or even speaking about the game. They only wanted to make their presence known and liked hearing the phrase "OH you like football?" Its the same at a convention. The women who were criticized were not those who appreciated the culture but women who fished for compliments on their physical features. They have no intention of leaving with anyone at the convention. They only wanted to attention that they couldn't get in the outside world. Meaning they are bottom feeders.

        July 27, 2012 at 11:07 am |
      • kilo

        thank you LC, you said what I was thinking there

        July 27, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • Lars Babaganoosh

        Your analogy does not hold water. My fantasy football setting is a private invite only. I invite my friends who want to partake in our league.

        Conventions by nature are public events, open to the public, not discriminating based on overall knowledge of the industry. You have money to buy a ticket, you get to get in.

        Conventions have vendors who want to sell their wares to the public, so the more public in attendance the greater the chance of making a sale. Who cares why they are there, to get attention, to get knowledge, to hang out with like minded people, money is money.

        You want a convention that only lets in "real" geeks then throw your own.

        If random hot girl shows up at our fantasy draft and she knows nothing about the game, then good. She's hot, gives me something to look at between rounds, and I don't have to listen to her babble. I'm not going to cry about it. Since she's hot she is probably watching what she eats so she won't eat up all my pizza and chips. What's the problem here?

        July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
      • kilo

        Lars we have already established you have no idea what your talking about why dont you move on to the sports section buddy?

        July 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
      • LC

        You are right. Fantasy Football is a private meeting. So lets use another example. Say you go to an AV Convention. All the AV stars are easy to talk to and the love what they do. Then comes in someone who... LOOKS like an AV star, DRESSES like an AV star but has no idea who Ron Jeremy is, has absolutely NO interest in AV or sleeping with anyone at or after.

        She's there to be gawked at, receive her petty compliments, and then leave. Buys nothing, goes in and leaves knowing just about as little as she did walking in.

        Its a tease, she went into a culture she didn't belong to and it wastes space for people who wanted to go but couldn't. And YES there are plenty of conventions that are limited. BlizzCon, VERY limited in passes. I've never gone because I couldn't get a hold of a ticket. If you buy a ticket and go for the sole reason of needing attention in our eyes you just wasted space for someone who could actually enjoy the culture.

        July 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  47. Lars Babaganoosh

    J3sus, this discussion is so old.

    Hi everybody, let's draw attention to our differences in order to get clicks on an article.

    Nobody cares about geek girls, or geek guys, or sports girls, or sports guys, or guys who like cooking or girls who like working on cars except the people within that group that feel they have to protect the status quo of said group.

    How about celebration of the fact that geeking out, once something that got you beat up at school is now something that people who used to do the beating up try to emulate.

    How about rejoicing in the fact that we have come full circle and now the people who were shunned are now the popular ones.

    But no, lets whine about booth babes, and attack "fakers." SO MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  48. dianawelsh

    I've been a geek pretty much all of my life. I rank only a few points lower on the Geek test than my husband (I never held a Star Trek rank, he has.. though if/when I make Laurel in the SCA that may change). I admit, I don't Cosplay, but I do dress up in garb and fence, do archery, cook, dance, etc. Our kids are also both proud geeks, both our son and our daughter. They enjoy different sorts of games, but they both game, and we watch and read Sci-fi and Fantasy together.
    The problem being a geek female is, too many geek men try to hard. They don't know how to deal with women, they think they have to have this machismo, when we'd rather they just be themselves.
    And trust me, geek ladies out there, once you get them to start being themselves, all that repressed ... energy... can *really* pay off.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  49. kilo

    The author of this has no idea what she is talking about and is an outsider looking in. It is a feminist Knee jerk but in reality all this does is prop up the women who are truely NOT GEEKS and cause further division in the rank, nice job provocating the issue!

    July 27, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Marcus

      Agreed. I have no problem with women at these conventions. I have a problem with women who have no interest in the culture being there with nothing to contribute.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:45 am |
      • Marcus

        Guys too for that matter.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • John

        Do you support segregation too? Idiot.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  50. virginia

    This article focuses a lot on video game geeks but I consider these some of the least geeky geeks. There are tons of different types of geeks out there. There's anime lovers, LARPers, cosplayers, fantasy buffs, goths, steampunkers, medieval enthusiasts, magic card players, harry potter fans, ect. Even among video games there are differences between someone who plays grand turismo and someone who plays world of warcraft. I don't think you have to work so hard to prove yourself when you up the geekiness level. In defined markets like these it is hard to fake it.

    I am an anime geek and talk to other women about anime all the time. Men don't seem to have captured the market on this.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Adam

      So then... is it dub or sub?

      July 27, 2012 at 9:26 am |
      • Ritz

        Does it matter? I listen to subs on Crunchyroll and dubs on my DVD/Blu-Rays at home (I do admit I used to prefer subs but I've come to realize the voice acting is good and bad in both)

        July 27, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • Adam

        Well yes, it DOES matter. Not because the answer is important, but because you actually have AN answer. That is the core problem that I think a lot of female gamers run into – and it is the booth model's fault. It's not that they are 'broken individuals' as the author claims, but it's the fact that they are there for money, and don't know or care about what they're modeling.

        When I go up to a girl at the Mass Effect booth dressed like an Asari, and she has no idea who SHEPHERD is, or go up to a girl at a comic convention booth dressed as Nami and find that she has no idea who Luffy or Chopper are, or a girl dressed as Sakura and find that she has no idea who Sasuke or Naruto it makes me question every other girl there.

        That is the problem girls face. When guys see another guy at a convention in a costume, its probably a 99% bet that they are a fellow geek. When you see a cute girl dressed in a costume, there's probably only about a 40% bet that they are ACTUALLY a geek instead of a paid model. So what do you do? You have to verify that they ARE a fellow geek, and not an outsider brought there for her 'assets.' Get actual geeks for your booth girls and a lot of this problem would disappear.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • virginia

        I will watch either although I like to stick to one of the other through a series. For example, I watched the first half of Inuyasha with dubs and the second half with subs and it was weird. You get used to the voices. For some of my favorite anime series, like One Piece, I go subs because you can get them like a year earlier. Actually, when I am really impatient (such is the case in One Piece and Fairy Tail), I read the manga.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Whatever122

      " Get actual geeks for your booth girls and a lot of this problem would disappear."

      This is what the original article was all about – I was at PAX a couple of years ago and was talking to a "booth babe" who knew her stuff. She was pimping a Magic'ish game and had obviously played Magic and REALLY knew the product. I saw her a few days later in normal clothing and she was sitting down playing a table top game... HAWT!!!

      July 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
      • kilo

        This is dead on right here, nice job

        July 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  51. Jake

    The author of the "Booth Babes" article did not attack genuine lady geeks or women who were paid to do their job, but he revealed that he didn't like or support amatuer or wannabe models who parade around looking for attention from "low-hanging fruit" of the attractiveness tree.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • LC

      Congrats, unlike the 70% of the comments *and the author of this article, you read both articles. Thanks CNN for posting an OP piece that makes no sense and shows that your authors have no clue what they are talking about.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:11 am |
      • Jerbel

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        September 15, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  52. Rachel

    So the definition of geek is now media drone? It used to mean outsider, bookworm, non-conformist. Now it means I worship Hollywood. Lame.

    July 27, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  53. Wrenn_NYC

    I agree with a lot of this.

    But, I will add, that it is often easy to distinguish the ones who are 'in it for male attention' from those who are genuinely geeks. They tend to fan gurl for the higher profile guys, or tend to all but stalk such, or even stalk own boyfriends at conventions. Interests that their boyfriend doesn't have that they have in fandom? And you've got it.

    As far as the skimpy outfits for skimpy outfits sake and because it can feel good to wear such, in what is, lets face it, a somewhat controlled environment (not necessarily 'safe' but more safe than say walking down Madison Ave in NYC on a weekend), has it's own attraction. We've been doing it for decades (women in fandom). I remember once 20 years ago, being propositioned by a drunken insurance salesman (there was an insurance convention going on in the other half ot he convention center that weekend) because I was walking around in a silk tank top, leather mini, stockings and high heeled boots. I laughed it off and walked away. I was at a sci fi convention, there were people around me who were also at that convention. There was no percieved threat. I don't know if I'd have laughed it off in, say, a midtown bar. Probably not. But the, I wouldn't have dressed that way for going out to a midtown bar.

    July 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Adam

      I completely agree, and THAT is the reason that 'lady geeks' have such a hard time being accepted. When you see a girl at a convention booth dressed as Yuna or Lightning, and you go to talk to her and find out that she has absolutely no idea who Tidus, Wakka, Hope, Fang, Eidolons, Sin, etc.. are, she IS an 'outsider.' When you go to the booth for Mass Effect and talk to a girl dressed as an Asari, and find that she has no idea who SHEPHERD is, she IS an 'outsider.'

      That is the root cause of all of this. By and large, males are NOT hired as eye candy. If you see a guy in a costume, its about a 99% bet that he is a fellow geeker. If you see a hot girl in a costume, there's probably only about a 40% chance she's ACTUALLY a geek, so it is entirely reasonable for guys to not accept her until they have verified that she actually IS one of them.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:01 am |
      • Jaris

        ..except that this makes the atmosphere really unwelcoming for women. If a guy starts talking to me at a con, is he really wanting to have a conversation or is he 'testing' me? If it's the latter, I would not be happy. I brought a ticket, I dressed up, I wanted to be here – and it's none of your damned business.

        July 27, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  54. ron

    being or acting retarded is a far cry from murdering innocent people in cold blood and they are kinda cute 🙂

    July 27, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  55. Beavis

    I learned from the 13 year old kids on XBOX Live that women belong in the kitchen

    July 27, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  56. Paul

    My wife is a "geek girl" and I wouldn't trade her for the world.

    July 27, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  57. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    Imagine if on e day, the tables suddenly turned...oh, man. That would be great!

    July 27, 2012 at 7:18 am |
  58. coop

    Men will always have their eyes on attractive women. Boys will make lude remarks. Bringing attractive women into nerd culture is great. Fakers wont hang around long and dudes just need to learn to shut shower and you might just pull a girlfirends situation. Quit being a bunch of D_cks

    July 27, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  59. Mike

    Women have to jump through hoops to prove themselves because a lot of women use faking it as a tool to meet/get things from people. I can't count the number of women I've met that claim to be sports fans/fans of a certain team then when asked to name one of the team's players that wasn't a star they come up empty. If you claim to be a fan of a football team and can't name any players beyond the starting QB you're not really paying attention to the team.

    Moving to geek culture and cons it only makes things worse when you have the models and such that are paid to be there and interact with people. Faking it. The author even admits that there are women going to these things for the sake of getting attention. Faking it. So at least partially women have to admit that other women are part of the reason for reluctance to accept them.

    July 27, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Jillian

      Being a women I know first hand the shady crap women do to get attention, it disgraceful, and i for one are NOT one of them. One thing men have always said they like best about me, Im real....I have modeled, and when i quit it was because I lost the joy in it! Never for the attention. Women who model for attention have serious self esteem issues or something! Oh and im a geek, always have my head in a book! I think women whom are labeled "geek" are hot! Not all women are evil geez.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:40 am |
      • Abe

        How you doin? 😉

        July 27, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  60. sean

    this is silly, the fad with these girls will be over in a few months, if not the end of the summer. i think " Florist" is right on, with those opinions. what ever though, fun is fun.

    July 27, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • nash

      hard to make a call on whether someone is at some stage of a fad by a pic, but i'll take you up on it. from left to right, the fad level decreases. you put some wolverine spikes on your hands – that's cool. you attempt a reproduction of san from mononoke – that's devotion. here's the thing with all of that – 17 years ago, i discovered i was an anime fanboy, and that i had been one about the previous 17 years from that point. i've never cosplayed, mostly because i can't sew and would be too embarrassed to show up in a halloween costume (or some wolverine spikes), but that's all i'd be capable of.
      i don't watch every show that comes out, and i don't go to cons, but over 34 years of love of animation (and still getting a little misty eyed over the 'battle' in ep 23 of captain tylor) hardly makes it a fad for me. i'm bald, full of tattoos and generally mistaken for someone in the military. hardly the geek stereotype. the chic on the left could be the biggest geek there, and a lifelong one.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  61. 0rangeW3dge

    Even Boy geeks are stupid. Oh well, you were born this way...
    There's no hope so forget it, you will NEVER get it,,,,well, maybe if you ever have children, but you'll probably mess that up too, So just go on now, go play your video games, chump

    July 27, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Calling geeks stupid doesn’t reflect well on your own I.Q.

      Now hurry along your boss isn’t going to tolerate you being late to your burger flipping post again.

      July 27, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  62. Brad76

    The middle one is a young Anne Coulter.

    July 27, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  63. Florist

    Please. The Booth Babe article, which, incidentally, was not about Booth Babes, was spot on. It was about the girls who pretend they care about what's going on around them, dress up and assume that they'll be worshipped as goddesses among all of the geeks. If you've ever been to a con even once in your life, you know that it happens a lot. Those girls are gross, misogynistic, offensive to geeks and of particular offense to the guys they assume will worship them.

    July 27, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • finkster

      Don't you mean "Misandry" and not misogynistic?

      July 27, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  64. chillinvillain

    So the point of this was that women are [essentially] marginalized within a subculture? Let's compare notes some time on being a Female "True" Geek and a Male Cheerleader or a Male Nurse...of which I have been both. Look forward to it!

    July 27, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Em

      Male nurses make more money and are more likely to be promoted to leadership positions than female nurses. Google the phrase "glass escalator". But sorry to disappoint you.

      July 27, 2012 at 7:53 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

        You completely missed the point.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Simone R

      Yes! Dear God, what about the men???!!!!

      July 27, 2012 at 10:28 am |
      • LC

        Actually yeah. Sure. Lets talk about Men. Society has Double Standards. If there were 3 genders we'd had TRIPLE STANDARDS.

        It works both ways. Men are discriminated as are Women. Is it right? No. But Feminist opinions on how society is still unfair to women is very one-sided.

        While its true that women are discriminated in the professional field (i won't argue that is indeed the case) men are discriminated when it comes to family matters. If I get divorced I have to maintain a lifestyle that my exwife was accustommed to? Why? If we have children I get 2 days out of the week, maybe?

        July 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Laura

        Actually LC, who pays maintenance (or alimony as it is called in some states) is not based on gender. Women can pay it, too, and many of the female clients we had were the ones paying maintenance. Also, at least in my state, unless there is a pretty good reason not to, 50/50 parenting is the norm.

        July 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

        Actually Laura, my mother worked family law for 30 years and LC is correct. There is ‘what should be’ and what actually happens’.

        July 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  65. rotorhead1871

    geeks are cool....go girls.....!!

    July 27, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Mhasnain

      Cool! I'll set you up with an account and send you your login dlaeits and then you can submit whenever the mood takes you you'll be resident photography geek Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  66. 0ver9000

    Mila Kunis is a geek. she plays wow lol. as for booth babes there are many events that hire attractive women: concerts, nascar, any event that deals with cars, the olympics, parades, sports, it's every where.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  67. N

    "This idea that pretty girls have it all together and that they’re all consciously using their pretty girl powers to hold dominion over nerds really needs to die already. It’s not true."

    No, but of course, the idiotic EEEEVILLLL misogynistic patriarchy holding dominion over all girls should continue. You know, because pretty girls have it so hard.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  68. I agree

    "Some women are being paid as professional models by major corporations to sell products to men, and shouldn’t be shamed for doing an honest day’s work."

    I'm glad you feel that way. I've always felt the same way about Penthouse, Cheri, and Playboy.

    July 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  69. Marlee

    Do Geeks really need to prove their street cred? Wow...that is pathetic. I only started liking sci- fi in my 20's when I discovered shows with strong female characters like Star Trek Voyager, Sam from Stargate, and all the women in Battlestar Galatica (yes, even the toasters).

    July 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • prosegardener

      Geek culture is just like any other culture, where yes, you have to 'prove your street cred.' I think that because of the content of the stuff that culture is interested in, and the high likely that a girl who is into it is ALSO very intelligent, we have (as we should) a higher bar for how women are treated when we look at the geek culture critically. As a girl in that culture, it can be really frustrating socially, sort of like perpetual high school. A lot of girls either hide their gender online or withdraw completely from social aspects.

      July 27, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  70. oodoodanoo

    This isn't a geek-specific thing. Just that geeks are more acutely aware of it, given their self-image as outcasts.

    If a woman in a law office, say, were conventionally attractive, then she'd be able to use that asset in getting clients. However, if she appeared to be whoring herself out, then that'd backfire.

    It's similar to the difference between beauty and obscenity. There's a fine line. Attract, but don't appear to sell. Cross the line and you lose all respect. Unfortunately, that line exists in the eye of the beholder, not the one being viewed.

    You don't have total control over the situation, but you're on the receiving end of the risk/reward. Fact of life. Sorry.

    July 26, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  71. Eh?

    At the end of the day, your convention experience depends on you. You can choose to listen to snarky comments from other attendees or you can ignore it and continue doing what you enjoy.

    Not all men and women objectify attractive convention attendees. There are a lot of very nice, laid back individuals who will embrace your nerdiness and talk to you because you're interesting, and not because of what you're (not) wearing. Perhaps try standing in line with some of them and talking with them instead of ranting about how shallow others are next time. Or perhaps you enjoy the victim role so you can rant about it on CNN?

    July 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Florist

      The point isn't snakiness. The point is the experience itself. When the place is clogged up with these fakey girls, the gist of the con changes. It's already been changing over the past five years, moving from a place that isn't at all about looks, a place where you can find people who are crazy about the same things you are, to a place where hot girls walk around haughtily and real girls feel badly about themselves. That's destroying con culture completely.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:42 am |
      • prosegardener

        Just be careful not to assume that all girls that are sort of good looking and completely and totally nervous are fake. That's not true, and some actual conversation with many (though I understand, not all) of them would probably prove out their inner geekiness. That said, the guys going to these things never need to prove they are actually into the culture/geekiness, if they didn't know enough about it they'd been noobs, not pretenders. It's a major double standard.

        July 27, 2012 at 8:51 am |
      • Wrenn_NYC

        If you're talking about SDCC.. well, it's become mainstream trendy. Last year was the first time I saw it get news coverage outside of California. It was all over the news here (in NYC) for a couple of days.

        It became 'popular'. Outside of sci fi/comic book/media fantasy circles. These things happen.

        July 27, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  72. Dave

    This problem boils down to simple shallowness and the inability of people who are full of themselves to lay off of everyone else. The descriptions of these women as it relates to "geeks' are always along the same lines; how the booth babes won't give geeks "the time of day on the street" or variants of that phrase.

    Maybe there's your problem right away. If these booth babes are so shallow they can't even stand being in the same room with geeks then they should get a job around people as mean and shallow as they are and not at a comic convention.

    Alternately, the convention itself could hire GEEKY GIRLS for their booth babes and see what happens.

    If the guys don't respond more positively to such a change, then perhaps they're just as shallow themselves.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  73. Seth

    Let's say this; the rarity of women in everyday geek circles (comic shops, game stores) is a major cause of this perceived issue. Women make up fewer than 1 out of every 10 customers at these places; at that level every woman gets attention whether they want it or not and virtually all of that attention is positive regardless of body type. When that same geek attends a convention to find almost a third of the attendees are women, the demographic is skewed so severely that incredulity is all but guaranteed. This is made doubly so by the influx of cosplayers who don't engage in other geeky pursuits. Some will get ignored in that setting, to be certain, and those who make unfortunate fashion choices will be taunted regardless of gender.

    In all fairness though, for every woman feeling jilted or ignored, there are at least 2 men who are utterly ignored at these cons, even by "booth babe" women hired to woo them. There are a contingent of men at these conventions whom the average woman on the street would not give the time of day to, and it's those guys who are usually most verbal online about fake geek women. To them attractiveness relates to geekiness as much as body type, as their geekiness is often their greatest asset (along with abnormally large amounts of discretionary income).

    July 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • N

      Seth, I think the entirety of this article is to minimize the white elephant that you pointed out - that women rarely are as invisible to society as men can be. It's the whole reason why men die of virtually every known cause on earth more than women yet very little is done societally about it - but the "pretty girl" feeling bad at a geek conference is a cause worth fighting for.

      These conventions are one of the few "male-only" spaces that the latter group has - when a societally privileged (attractive) walks into the room, there's bound to be resentment. Women understand this resentment when viewing "male" privilege, and push for public policy to rectify the matter. Yet when it's their privilege, then the messages seems to be to man up and get over it. Intriguing hypocrisy.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • bbooey


        July 27, 2012 at 12:50 am |
      • Beavis

        @N said "rectify" ... hehe he

        July 27, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • Wrenn_NYC

        One of the few 'male only' places?? Not in the fandom I've been involved with for the past 25 years. Which encompasses literary, anime, comic, and media sci fi conventions. Both going to as attendee, staffing and running them. It hasn't been even close to 'male only' in all of my adult life. It skews to more male in some (comic and anime for example, yet the anime convention I've been involved in running – the 2nd largest on the east cost, there were and are more women on the exec staff than men), but at the most a 60/40 split.

        You're perceptions are skewed

        July 27, 2012 at 8:59 am |
      • Wrenn_NYC

        sigh. coast. Your.

        and I'm blaming the already 50 hours I've spent in the office dealing with numbers and not words this week.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:00 am |
      • Mojojuju

        Gotta say, as a lifelong female geek, I kind of resent the assertion that this is a male only world by nature. I claim this culture as mine, too!

        July 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
      • Adrienna

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        September 13, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  74. Aaron

    Thanks to the Iron Man movies, every one is a comic fan.

    July 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Florist

      Um, no, not everyone is. And not every geek is into comics. Some of us can't stand them and didn't see Iron Man.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:32 am |
      • kei

        If you didn't see Iron Man.. well, you should go home and see Iron Man. Comic fan or not, it's just a fun movie.

        July 27, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  75. GodfatherofSoul

    Legit geek girls are being drowned out by the swimsuit models in tailored costumes. That's my one criticism of the direction Comic-Con has gone with all the booth babes.

    July 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Larry

      Unfortunately its not just comic con. there are still some smaller cons where its real women in costume but a lot fo the bigger ones have indeed started using models its not cool

      July 27, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  76. bluman

    I'm glad someone else pointed out the contributions of The Frag Dolls goes beyond "pretty spokesmodels". They have contributed to the gaming world and getting more women to play.

    The Geek Spot brought up this point as well in their response to the CNN article:

    The big issue I see is that we're still focusing on calling them "girls". Already deliniating them with a stereotype. When we can move past the stereotype we can see acceptance.

    July 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  77. Dark Soul

    Geeks, hipsters, all mainstream now. Time to find a new way to be "different."

    July 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • ImInIT

      Yup, I've a BS in CS and over 20 years of paid experience. It *REALLY* peaves me when some snarky-hipster-barely-20-something with peach fuzz on his face who works at Best Buy says to me, "I thought you might want a *professionals* opinion," after I decline his assistance.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  78. Jinxy

    I've been part of the convention scene for 25 years, I've always seen the increase in women as a positive thing, I love that I'm no longer one of three women in the room, it's fantastic that geek is no longer a dirty word.
    I see where it's easy to be upset over people who are just there for the attention, but there will always be and always have been people like this. With geek being more mainstream these days the numbers have increased is all. There has always been the "hot girl/guy" around who knows how good they look and has no issues with using it to their advantage.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Wuland

      Very fun. Sad that the con sucks. You're going to Otakon this year, right? can't wait to see ya there!BTW, nominated you on accnouts of blog-related comic and most influential blog.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  79. griffer

    Okay, why are only my 'is this thing on' posts showing?


    July 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Geek

      You can't copy and paste so stop spell checking in word.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  80. DatabaseFairy

    Oh my lord people, this can be fixed very easily – Everyone get some manner and a spine.
    The manners is for treating other people well, the spine is for when people don't use their manners.
    I go to cons, I dress as everything from Visas Marr to The Witch from LFD and The Arkham Asylum Poision Ivy, and I've never had any issues.
    Why? Because I don't let them happen, I make sure people know my boundaries, I keep myself in places where I know I am safe, and I make sure I know everyone in my room well. You know, typical rules all girls should follow.I'm not saying harrassment is the girl's fault by any means, but there are things you can do to prevent it.

    July 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  81. griffer this thing on? Where'd my post go?

    July 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  82. wrenthefaceless

    Its the ones who know that 'geek' is becomming main stream, dress as 'scantily clad versions of x popular character', but if you try to hold a conversation with them, they more often than not have no idea what you're talking about, and are just there for the attetion are the ones that issue is being taken with, and the backlash is directed towards.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • wrenthefaceless

      I hate CNN's comment section btw, it keeps eating my posts, appologies for the double posting

      July 26, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • a test

      wanna spot a real geek from a fake one

      if they argue with you over Captain Picard vs Captain Kirk, or Startrek vs Starwars. Then theyre the real deal

      After all Han Solo shot at Greedo first.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
      • sassykitten

        Captian Kirk. 100%.

        July 26, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • James Buchanan

        Heh, Kirk, Picard, whatever. The best captain can be summed up in six words: Sisko slugged Q in the jaw.

        July 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • Ms

        @ James Buchanan

        LMAO Very true.

        July 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
      • Jaiotu

        Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Benjamin Sisko?
        Nope. Any real geek knows that the best spaceship Captain in the Verse is Malcolm Reynolds.

        July 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
      • ImInIT

        Nope – ain't gonna happen:
        1. Kirk
        2. Picard
        3. Pike
        4. Beeblebrox
        5. Lump the rest in this bucket..

        July 27, 2012 at 1:23 am |
      • deidramt

        Lies! All lies!

        We all know that Captain Bill Adama is the best.

        July 27, 2012 at 9:34 am |
      • md22mdrx

        It's STILL Kirk vs. Picard. Don't give me DS9 garbage. He's on a space STATION. It was a travesty. The whole point was to "go where no man has gone before" and they put a whole series on a space station?!? Sisko? Wow. No. Not even being considered. I'd take Janeway over Sisko any day of the week. Though ALL of them were better than Bakula's awful acting in Enterprise. He couldn't act in Quantum Leap. He could BARELY act in Lord of Illusions. Why in the world did they choose him for Enterprise?!?

        July 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  83. wrenthefaceless

    If they're attractive, enjoy dressing as a character that they like (even if character who's outfit is designed to be a bit revealing), are genuinely interested in the fandom and know their stuff; thats great!

    July 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • PigandTig

      What are you? A frustrated bouncer? Sheesh, lighten up. I don't LIKE pompous, judgmental people like you, but I certainly think you have the right to do your thing.

      July 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
      • wrenthefaceless

        Frustrated? Yes, bouncer? No. Personally invested in the cosplay community, perhaps, but it irritates the heck out of me to see these 'non-profit booth babes' popping up everywhere when a con is mentioned by the main stream media as a representation of us, rather than the girls and guys who put blood, sweat and tears into amazing costumes, only to get ignored for no "T&A"

        July 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  84. Original Geek Here

    From the 70's to 2000 no one wanted to be called a geek/nerd, why, because they were outcast by the "cool crew". I'm not trying to be mean about it and I like that geek term is being "socially cool" but they are saying geeks are cool for a different reason than what the definition of a geek is. Geeking doesn't have anything to do with appearance. Have you ever seen an original geek guy or girl. They don't care about appearance. Watch revenge of the nerds. Doesn't have anything to do with comics, super heroes, or role play. Nerds came up with the term Geeks because they didn't like the word nerd and they are cool among themselves and called their group "we are geeks" not nerds because nerd is derogatory term for geek.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Jaiotu

      In a world where EVERYONE now seems to describe themselves as "geek," I really don't mind being called a nerd anymore.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  85. chloe.M.M.

    Just as an aside, I think women need to stop "pleasing" men and start forming their own geek culture, separate & apart. As a research scientist in computer science, one of the most male-oriented of the sciences, I had to be pretty straightforward about how I expected to be treated and generally I was treated with respect after that - by American men. Indian males, with their caste system, are a lost cause. But, begin as you mean to go on. Don't tolerate misogyny, straight up.

    July 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • kap912

      Do you even know what the caste system? I would recommend you learn what you are talking about before you make an uninformed racist comment.

      July 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • kei

      I agree we kap. I'm also a female in CS and while I have come across some discrimination, my experiences have been great. Maybe it's your stereotyping that leads them to stereotype back at you?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  86. H

    i.e. the Frag Dolls: let's not just assume that because they're advocating for women somehow, that they're sincere or positive. I know a Frag Doll...cadet. She's been a cadet for about two years now, watching other cadets get promoted above her. Why? Because they were thin and cute, and she's slightly above HWP. She's watched it happen enough times now to know it's not a coincidence that the unattractive Frag Dolls never make it past cadet.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  87. Jday

    Well thought out and to the point. Thank you.

    July 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
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