Real Geeks Only, Ladies

Most of the women I know waited until this weekend to read their comics. I know this not because of any major plot point or spoiler that had people talking, but because of the way one ad in last week’s books seemed to make every woman I follow on Twitter exclaim, “What? What?” almost simultaneously.

"YOU CAN KEEP YOUR FILTHY COOTIE MONEY"

The offenders were DC Comics. The ridiculous ad was for CollegeHumor.com’s newish “comics and geekery” section, poking fun at the “villains of nerd culture.” The villain showcased was the Fake Geek Girl.

If you are not aware of this meme, I seethe with jealousy for your charmed existence and please can I be you for even one day it’s built on the notion that attractive women—any women, really—are only claiming to be geeks to impress or get attention from guys. When a Megan Fox or a Rosario Dawson describes herself as a “total comic book nerd” or a “gamer” on a talk show, there’s a subset of the population whose blood boils. These are people whose cognitive dissonance allows them to see comics as something that sets them apart as individuals yet reflexively shout “Hey! Hands off my label!” at the dizzy broads at the same time.

If you were to ask one of these guys about this attitude, I assume they’d tell you they were reacting to the phoniness that pervades modern life. (I haven’t bothered to ask one of these guys. That conversation just sounds dead on arrival, doesn’t it?) These are probably guys who got hassled for being geeks as kids, maybe didn’t light the dating world on fire, and now they see everybody who ignored them or picked on them hopping on the superhero bandwagon. When they look at Megan Fox on that talk show, they see the girl who wouldn’t talk to a geek like them in ninth grade acting like she loved The Fantastic Family Or Whatever all along, and they attack.

Funny how people who were bullied throughout their childhoods will become the most hateful bullies themselves at the first whiff of a victim. Hang on: when I typed “funny,” I misspelled “unimaginably depressing.” A round of applause for human nature, everybody.

Yes, these are pathetic creatures protecting Comics, clutching Comics like Gollum. To an extent, though, I get it. I’ve done it myself at least once. I have a vivid memory of being in a Blockbuster Video in the nineties when the in-store TV network was showing the newest Star Trek trailer. When it was over, they cut to the smiling face of Entertainment Tonight’s Leeza Gibbons, who chirped, “I admit it! I’m a Trekkie!” I looked up at the screen and said to it, out loud in a room full of strangers, “Oh, shut the @%$# up.”

Here’s the thing, though: who the hell am I to say what (if anything) is going on in Leeza Gibbon’s head? Who the hell are you to determine what is in Megan Fox’s heart vis-à-vis penciling? Who the hell is anyone to declare what’s really going on inside a stranger, and if anyone can do that, couldn’t that skill be put to a much better use during an election year?

“These girls aren’t real geeks. You can tell.” Yeah. All of a sudden, you understand women.

Hypothetically, though, let’s say the Fake Geek Girl is an actual thing. Let’s accept that there are scores of women now masquerading as geeks in an effort to impress you “real” geeks. (This is how you know the premise of the Fake Geek Girl is false, by the way. Don’t flatter yourself, “real” geeks. You’re not exactly the catch of the day; I don’t care what your mom has been telling you.) Let’s say it’s all true.

What do you care?

The real geek who made this does not know X-Man is an actual comic book character.

How does a mad pandemic of Fake Girl Geekery impact your life in any way? Are these poseurs making your shop sell out of Tiny Titans before you can get your copy? Oh, no, if we don’t get rid of all these fakers, people without Hobgoblin mini-busts might start to feel comfortable going into our comic shops! How are we supposed to sustain our persecution complex and drive our hobby back into obscurity?

The Android’s Dungeon isn’t your clubhouse anymore. The band you used to see at the 100-seat club is on the radio now. CollegeHumor.com has a Comics section, for Chrissakes. Your specialness is gone, and it’s not coming back unless you go get super into Westerns or toy trains or something.

Is my irritation about this coming through? I can never be sure.

There is no danger to comics culture or the geek community, partly because the existence of those things is sort of ridiculous when you think about it for a second. I need to start more sentences like, “As a lifelong participant in television watching culture” and “We in the grocery-buying community….” Every time Chris Hardwick talks about Nerds like it’s his goddamn ethnicity, I lose another layer of tooth enamel to grinding. Honestly, isn’t killing the comic book community the best thing that could happen to it? What if we started acting like this thing we do is as normal and mundane as drinking Pepsi Cola? What if we fumigated the clubhouse, opened the blinds, and started welcoming in as many people as possible, without judging their intentions or checking their genitals? You may say I’m a dreamer.

As irritating as this is to me, I can’t even imagine how irritating it must be for a woman trying to enjoy her comics and talk to people about them. Imagine enjoying Batman, then flipping to the back cover and having the company who sold it to you say, “You don’t really like Batman. Why don’t you go to the mall and buy shoes or something?” I know Time Warner doesn’t care about their comic book revenue, but why not just print “Go away, audience” in block letters?

I don’t know what to do with these people. I was talking to my friend Kelly about it this morning, and she suggested that taking them seriously and combating them only gives the fire oxygen. The adage “don’t feed the trolls” also sort of irritates me (some schmuck waltzes onto my site every day and takes a crap on my head, and I’m just supposed to sit there quietly hoping he leaves? That’s your plan?) but she may have a point. It’s like that stupid, somehow timeless argument about how “women aren’t funny”: when it reemerges, my first thought is not “That’s not true! Outrageous!” My first thought is, “How can we possibly still be talking about this?” If Christopher Hitchens had said that Mexicans are dumber than British people, we wouldn’t be asking Mexican academics to comment; we would be asking Christopher Hitchens to shut up forever and not printing his article. Maybe we should be looking at these guys the way I looked at my grandfather when he weighed in on black people. After a certain point, all you can do is shake your head, secure in the knowledge that there won’t be another generation coming along to continue his nonsense. His time has passed.

 


Jim Mroczkowski is firmly on Gawker’s side.

Comments

  1. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Gross. I have precious little more to contribute.

    Your response to this issue, Jim, is the one I have every time I read a “What’s Wrong With You” article. That is to say, “Wait… that’s still a thing?” Do adults still give a shit what other people are doing with their time, and whether they’re honest about it? Do we still do this? I wouldn’t think so, but I guess College Humor does? And DC, apparently? Or maybe they don’t read their ads before printing them?

    Gross.

    • kzap kzap says:

      College Humor doesn’t care and neither does DC.
      College Humor are just trying to attract their target demographic and (sadly) this will probably work.
      Studying TV Production at university there’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot “we’re not racist but we accept some of our customers are” it’s horrible and I think it’s immoral but sadly it’s how these companies make money.
      DC have no affiliation with the ads they run, sure they have the power to ban them, but you could argue doing so would be showing a political bias.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      “DC have no affiliation with the ads they run, sure they have the power to ban them, but you could argue doing so would be showing a political bias.”

      You don’t think DC has any say in what ads go in their books?

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      Yeah, no, I get that, and certainly this sort of thing is endemic to a much broader socials issue regarding the disproportionate value placed on profit relative to the just and moral representation of the demographics that advertisers are (and are not) targeting.

      But whatevs. Still gross.

    • I don’t find it sad at all. It’s kind of a funny pic. They’re not making a crusade against all women, it’s a joke. That it’s offensive to some? Right on. PC mania is runnin’ wild.

      Conner even made a women joke in a recent article, ha not PC, the point was it’s a joke.

    • I butchered his name ha not the point. But man, yes everybody should be nice to eachother and not be prejudiced or bigoted. This doesn’t mean humor needs to die.

    • To just further elaborite, this entire article seems like it’s treating the picture seriously. Like when they say “greatest villains of geek culture” it’s a serious statement. It’s a joke, satire, humor, get it folks?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @PsychoJudgeDredd I tend to agree with you here. It appears pretty satirical to me. The use of the word “Villians” alone is certainly hyperbolic. Are we actually battling these people like the heroes we so adore in comics? No, of course not. Nor are these people trying to actually cause us physical harm.

  2. bigben2012 says:

    Shouldn’t more of the blame belong to College Humor? Sure DC put it in their comics but it is a product produced by College Humor. I want to hear from from women on this site who had a problem with this.

  3. TheSquirrel TheSquirrel says:

    I didn’t take that ad as being against women, but against posers. As someone who works in an LCS though this mentality is there now. We do not purchase comics but pass along the phone numbers of people who do. One of these buyers is a woman who runs a antique toy/comic shop locally. More than once I’ve heard “so girls buy comic books now huh?” and I have to point out I’m generally the only man working in the store. My boss and all the behind the scenes (ordering, dealing with Diamond etc) is done by women.

  4. Stuff like this makes me pretty mad, too. My take on it is, if somebody isn’t OBSESSED with something to the point that they know every tiny little piece of minutia about it, these “comic nerds” call them fake fans. It is possible to like something to varying degrees. That’s a concept that obsessive fans don’t understand. If somebody says they like comics, it doesn’t mean they can name every inker who worked on Power Man and Iron Fist in the 70s, it means they have picked up some comics, read them, and enjoyed them.

    They have this chip on their shoulder, like if you don’t know as much trivia about comics as them, then you must not be a “real” fan. it’s idiotic.

    My wife likes comics. She reads comics in trade and enjoys them. Not constantly. not all the time. When something interests her, she reads it. She probably can’t even name the creative team on Y;The Last Man, but she read every single issue of the series and loved it. We have discussed the series at length. Her not knowing the name of the artist off the top of her head doesn’t make her enjoyment of it any less valid than mine. When I bought the first trade of Saga, I told her she should read it. She asked me what it was about, and I began by telling her it was by the same writer as Y. Before I could tell her more, she said “That’s all I need to know, it’s on my to read list!”

    But because she only knows that she likes something, and not every tiny detail about it, comic nerds would call her a “fake fan” or whatever. The best apart about that being, because she is a “fake fan” she doesn’t go on comic book websites and would never read their spiteful comments anyway. The ONLY time she ever goes on a comic website is to see the Weekly Sketch Up on this site every Friday, because she has a bachelor’s degree in illustration and loves looking at the artwork. But while she can point out, in detail, what she likes and doesn’t like about a piece of artwork, taking into account the anatomy, composition of the piece, use of lighting and shading, the texture, etc, but NOT that the particular artist once pencilled a back up story in a Fantastic Four annual twenty years ago, she isn’t a “real fan” to these nitwits.

    • We are simpatico on this issue. The world needs more comic fans like your wife.

    • I love Y, and I couldn’t even name the artist’s that worked on it.

    • kzap kzap says:

      An interesting thing to note, if you wanted to get really technically and pedantic about it is, the word ‘fan’ stems from the word ‘fanatic’.
      And I think some people do take the meaning of the word that seriously, that if you’re not absolutely 100% frantically crazy about something then you’re not a ‘fan’. That’s not to say you don’t like it, that’s not to say you’re not allowed to like it but that’s their definition (and arguably the ‘correct’ definition) of the word.
      Now I don’t agree with that, and I would class myself as a comics ‘fan’ even though I admit I only got into it recently and don’t read a lot of stuff, certainly not the “big two” superhero stuff. So if someone said I wasn’t a ‘fan’ in the true definition of the word then I’d find it hard to argue with them, in fact I’d agree with them. Of course it’s unlike anyone is going to say that because I’m a man and that annoys me.

    • Do you think he really has a wife? :-P

    • The word fan being derived from “fanatic” is something everyone says that is actually not true. The word fan actually comes from “fancier” which is far different than fanatic.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Origin: 1885–90, Americanism ; short for fanatic

    • The following entry occurs in Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue as Revised and Corrected by Pierce Egan (1823): “The Fancy: one of the fancy is a sporting character that is either attached to pigeons, dog-fighting, boxing, etc.” Since the fancy was long a name in both Britain and America for followers of prize fighting, some suppose that the term was borrowed.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1550, means “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion”. It comes from the Modern Latin fanaticus, meaning “insanely but divinely inspired”.

    • I know what fanatic means, and you are completely missing my point.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      I never said you don’t know the meaning of fanatic. To clear things up, I just copy/pasted fhose words from a source. The second sentence is what I really was trying to get across.

      I didn’t miss your point at all. I’m disagreeing with you on the etymology of the word fan.

    • falconpunch falconpunch says:

      i feel like i’m most like your wife. she probably has nicer boobs than me though. also, i’m a guy.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      What’re you even talking about, dude? Who are you talking to?

  5. kzap kzap says:

    “These are probably guys who got hassled for being geeks as kids, maybe didn’t light the dating world on fire, and now they see everybody who ignored them or picked on them hopping on the superhero bandwagon.”
    ^This.
    I’m ashamed to admit I used to be one of these guys, maybe not as venomous as many I’ve seen onlinw but still I’m ashamed.
    I still feel a little sympathy for them though. I can relate, I used to bullied and called a “geek”, so in the end I embraced and accepted that term only to have my tormenters claim it as well, was a little infuriating.
    But lashing out isn’t the answer, especially ageist people who have done nothing wrong. It’s a shame the bullied of yesterday become the cyber-bullies of tomorrow but it’s understandable.
    If people could just learn to accept everyone for who they were and not try to put everyone in boxes, either ‘geek’, ‘non-geek’ or ‘jock’ the world would be a better place. But that’s never going to happen.
    At the end of the day, I don’t think this meme is that harmful but it’s annoying we live in a world where it exists.

    • kzap kzap says:

      The sexism here is what REALLY annoys me. Attacking “fake geeks” in general strikes me as pointless and mostly harmless.
      If they really don’t exist, which I agree with, then no one is actually being attacked. I personally think there are far WORSE things to get upset about.
      I think this whole situation stems from those “nerds are cool now” or “geek is the new cool” articles you see all the time, I swear publications trot them out like “comics aren’t for kids anymore” headlines, when they don’t have any REAL stories to report on.
      It encourages other people to adopt that label, people who wouldn’t have before.
      So geeky people go from being social outcasts, to being told their the “new cool”, to having everyone else trying to join their club too.
      It’s a scenario which almost seems designed to make certain people snap.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Question: I was going to post something as devil’s advocate, surprisingly enough, but as a self-procrlaimed reformed member of that club I thought I’d just ask you. Is the following at all accurate?

      It seems to me that it’s probably less a worry that a woman or celebrity is trying to impress and get the approval of any individual guy so much, Jim’s right, that’s nonsensical. Instead I’d say it’s more a worry that the celebrity or woman is trying to *take advantage* of nerds. If it was to get a date, would anyone really be using an “I’m too good for you,” argument against Megan Fox? Doubtful. I think people are worried that some woman is trying to lure them into their slobbering mass fan base under false pretenses. They’re the personification of that really cute girl junior year who tried to get you to do her homework for her… or something like that. They don’t like the idea of trying to get them to buy a ticket to their next movie, or be another view on youtube just because they spouted some Klingon. People don’t like feeling *used* and they put their guard up. I think that’s a totally reasonable feeling and I understand it.

      That said, is lashing out against these woman the proper response? Pretty obviously not. I just think we’re never going to get any resolution by completely misrepresenting their psychology, and then countering it in a way that’s just combative and unproductive.

    • kzap kzap says:

      @itsbecca
      Yes, I think that’s definitely a part of it.
      It seems every actor or actress involved in a TV or Film project that might appeal to geeks, always claims to BE one and that pisses some people off.
      I remember the example I always used to use, was Nicholas Brendon (the actor of Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) once said he was a geek in an interview and then when the interview asked him to elaborate he backpedaled and said something like “I’ve always been a “sports geek” my dad used to take me to baseball games all the time” that annoyed me then because I thought he was trying to trick people.
      Now I don’t care, if he wants to call himself a “sports geek” he can and who am I to judge? Maybe he was just trying to compare the two fandoms to show how similar they really are after all.
      It’s the same with attractive women who host geeky TV shows or podcasts, people assume they’re just actresses pretending to like this stuff to get a job, and actually, in this particular situation, that might be the case but there’s nothing wrong with that. I remember RedLetterMedia did a gaming show on youtube and the opening segment used to make fun of those people.
      I feel the need to point out this does not JUST apply to geeks.
      In the UK there’s a car show called Fifth Gear (a competitor to the BBC show Top Gear) and the presenters often read from a script, I remember some of my friends being outraged that they “weren’t REAL car fans” hosting the show.
      This was especially true of female presenters.
      So while some geeks aren’t above this, the problem is with society and NOT limited to one subculture, which is somehow MORE depressing.
      Another example, I’m certain when I was younger I remember my mum getting annoyed at a cooking show because the female presenter got something wrong and my mum ranted that she only got the job “because of her pretty face”.
      Sadly our society thinks you can only be attractive OR smart, especially if you’re a woman.
      Which happens to be another thing we’re studying on my TV Production course at University.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Thanks for the reply. I think you’re definitely right, that it’s not at all limited to this fandom, we’re just getting a lot of press lately because of popular movies and whatnot (plus we notice it because we’re tuned into it…) Someone below mentioned sports fans doing it, I’ve seen it a LOT in music communities. It runs close with the whole “It was my club first, get out here” mentality. As if more people loving something is somehow going to dilute your own experience.

      The whole attractive and smart being mutually exclusive is actually a great point, and smart can be replaced with talented, skilled, etc. It’s really unfortunate, but totally easy to fall into because of some basic human emotions like jealousy. I’ve completely been captive to that in my life before emotionally, even when I knew rationally that I was being silly. I’m really happy I’m finally getting to a place in my own life that I don’t, for example, view all attractive women as “the competition”. I don’t know if it’s maturity or just a healthier self esteem, but it was a poisonous way to live and it’s really freeing to be past that.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      I had one of those experiances, where a nerd tries to impress a girl by helping her with homework (yesterday). Epic fail. So I guess that does happen, but I blame myself for choosing to do it. I’m not that upset by the experiance, I had almost no interest in dating the girl anyway.

  6. Ragtime Ragtime says:

    “Hypothetically, though, let’s say the Fake Geek Girl is an actual thing.”

    I assume it is exactly as actual a thing as a Fake Geek Guy, which is to say that every real geek started out as a fake geek. The difference is that Fake Geek Guys are allowed to continue to fake it until they can become real. Fake Geek Girls have to run the gauntlet to prove their cred at every step.

    At some point, everyone who is a huge Batman geek was just a fake geek who thought Batman was really cool, but had only seen one movie and read one comic arc. Then, over the next 10 years, they saw more movies and read more comics. But, during that time, the Fake Geek Guy is allowed to continue to fake it. But he might not do so if the reaction he got every time was, “Oh, yeah? Then name at least 3 Robins!”

    If you put every Geek Guy to the test, you’d find out that a lot of them are Fake Geeks, too.

    • kzap kzap says:

      One of the “Rules of the Internet” (written by these type of people) is “Lurk more, it’s never enough”.
      Basically saying, don’t come out as being a fan of something until you’ve lurked enough to know everything there is to know about it, and yes, they’re admitting that doing so is impossible.

  7. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    I didn’t even see this in a Batman comic. I saw it in a BatWOMAN comic. A comic that featured a teamup with Wonder Woman. A comic whose first trade edition was published with an introduction by Rachel Maddow, and if nobody said WHO’S RACHEL MADDOW AND WHAT IS HER HISTORY WITH DC COMICS? in response to that, I’d be shocked.

    So, yeah, good job, DC. (And yes, it’s College Humor’s thing, but I also noted it listed that this was ’1 of 12′ or something like that, and that’s the one they chose to print, apparently in every issue.)

    Is this the biggest deal in the world? No. Is it just tiresome? Yes.

  8. muddi900 says:

    You visit CollegeHumour…

    *shakes head in dejection*

  9. Fuck that meme. If I met a girl who loved X-Man as much as I do, I wouldn’t be able to contain my ecstasy.

    I never thought about that whole “they’re just trying to act geeky to please ME!” angle. It truly shows how egotistical and self absorbed these people are. It’s like the stories they read will somehow be stripped from their memories or made lame because god forbid someone else shows an interest in them.

    It’s this inclusionist mentality that’s truly diminishing and, dare I say, slowly killing comics. Someone new sees these movies and gains an interest in, say, Iron Man. They delve a little deeper in researching how to get more into Iron Man. They find a comic community that’s something akin to a 4chan message board (which, unfortunately, is the majority of comic discussion sites) and get instantly turned off by all the dickery going on. And DC Comics is promoting this behavior in all of their books.

  10. zombox zombox says:

    I agree. Let people be people. Stop using others based on assumptions. Can we not resurrect this argument for the 100th time this year?

  11. itsbecca itsbecca says:

    I will forgive College Humor the benefit of the doubt, if only for the Xbox Girls Get Revenge videos. They got a lot of flack from angry internet boys, yet still made a sequel because guys still weren’t getting it. It is an intensely grotesque, but oh so cathartic two minutes of video. I watch it whenever I get lady gamer rage.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      Yeah, I’m not making a judgment of the site as a whole, or even of their comics section. It seems like this picture had a greater context, but the fact that this is what they and DC together chose to run is a bit tiresome. Though the ad itself wouldn’t be as annoying without the context of the larger argument which I thought we ran through LAST month, you know?

    • I LOVE that video. I feel like the guys their mocking in that video are the same type of guys that are making this Fake Nerd Girl meme.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Caroline, I think it’s definitely ill timed. Although, I do wonder if they’re doing it precisely to make fun of the current hub bub about the issue? But maybe that’s giving them too much credit. I unfortunately don’t care enough to actually look into the campaign itself to try to find out.

    • You are giving them too much credit.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Oh probably. There’s just so many enraging things around I sometimes get tired and try to find an excuse to skip one.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Xbox Girls Get Revenge. I like that video, just because it’s so ironic. “I’m gonna F%@& you till you cum dust!” LOL. If you’ve ever heard of an HBO show called “Flight of the Conchords”, theres an episode where a girl is trying to sleep with one of the male characters using the same excuses a guy would say. It was funny just to see the roles reversed.

  12. I long for the day when comics can just be read casually by anyone, without the need to self-identify as a “nerd” or “geek”. It doesn’t need to be part of a sub-culture. When I visited Japan, it seemed like every other person using public transportation was reading manga: men, women, young, old. As a medium, comics have the potential to entertain all sorts of people. The College Humor ad just reinforces the idea of exclusivity, that only “real comic geeks” are valid comic readers. Geek snobbery is just as unattractive as other types of snobbery.

    • Very good point. It is also part of the reason why comics don’t sell anymore. People feel like it’s a closed club and it’s too late to get into it if you don’t already know everything you need to know.

  13. MutantSentry MutantSentry says:

    I have never gotten this trend. I mean, I was bullied, and didn’t get dates in high school, but a lot of my friends were females who enjoyed X-Files and Star Trek. In college most of my gamer friends were female, and variously hardcore Elfquest, High Lander and Doctor Who fans (and that was back before the show relaunched) and they were willing to listen to me rant about Marvel stuff and watched Buffy with me. I’m now happily married to a wonderful woman who lists Heinlein, Gaiman and Brin as her favorite authors; our favorite sitcom currently airing is Big Bang Theory.

    Personally, knowing some of the male comic book geeks I’ve met in my day (and Gamers, Trekkies, Whovians, etc) I’d rather hang out with the girl geeks. They smell better ;D.

  14. This is what, the third or fourth article on this subject? It seems every couple months there’s one on here. As to the add in question, it’s humor, it’s good that it offended some people.

    Yes, people shouldn’t be sexist or have prejudices, on the other hand I feel like that pic is the kind of thing say Ricky Gervais would defend. Like comedians often say, it’s a joke.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      Yeah, it is the third or fourth time this topic has been the subject has been an article, each time based on a different incident.

      Hmm…

      And you’re quite correct, it is a joke. The problem is that it’s the kind of jokes that assholes tell.

    • You get that it’s a joke, so you understand that this isn’t a serious opinion being put out there? Yet you say the people making the jokes are assholes. I feel like you don’t get it.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      It’s very possible that I don’t. I’m not what you might call “savvy.”

      I think maybe I don’t really understand this joke. Maybe you can help me, Dredd. Is it a satire on what nerds think of the hostile forces invading their hobbies? Is it a joke about how stupid the people who think that people who are pretending to be nerds are stupid are? Or is it a more direct joke about the kinds of people who pretend to be nerds in order to hop on a bandwagon? Exactly what “serious opinion” are they not actually putting out there?

      Assholes may have been a bit much. My bad.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Casual proliferation of discriminative notions and opinions are often more damaging and dangerous than similar remarks made seriously. It’s easy enough to identify bigots when they express their hatred and paranoia plainly. The vitriol is clear and we tune it out.

      Jokes and casual discrimination are a lot more insidious because they make light of this behavior. It makes prejudice seem harmless and perpetuates more of it. And not everyone has the grasp on irony the person telling the joke might. Especially the younger audiences an ad like this targets. When an impressionable mind is assured that this is harmless, it only feeds into ignorance and our baser fears.

      It’s also a lame joke.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      What he said.

    • “Exactly what “serious opinion” are they not actually putting out there?”

      Well, I’d say there simply is not any serious opinion being put out there by this joke comic ad. And I don’t think it’s casual discrimination either.

      Just to put this out there, do you the Dr. Pepper “Not For Women” campaign is offensive or discriminating? Just how out-there does a joke have to be before it’s recognized as a joke?

    • Yeah, that’s equal parts dumb and offensive too.

    • Well, ha needless to say everybody won’t agree on humor. I feel like people really want humor to be serious, as odd as that sounds. It would only be dumb if it was serious… and it’s not… so I just disagree

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Jokes don’t have to be complex or highbrow. But I’d rather they not come from a place as petty and prejudicial as this.

      If the comedy isn’t “nice” at least say something of worth.

    • Exactly. There’s a reason why Chris Rock talks about things that are taboo and is considered funny, and Carlos Mencia tries it and comes across like a hack. One is saying something of worth and is commenting on the state of things, and one is just reinforcing stereotypes. Which is exactly what this ad does.

    • I like comedy that says something sure, I love Carlin and whatnot. But I also find Andrew Dice Clay to be one of the funniest alive. I don’t think this ad is necessarily coming from a petty or prejudicial place either. It’s definitely meant to get a reaction, a la this article, but ah… well, there’s no simple right or wrong in comedy.

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      I’m glad you are around PsychoJudgeDredd. I wish your name was shorter though.

      You make the points I would like to make, except you are able to remain calm and civil instead of seething and foaming at the mouth like I would be, ha.

    • Ha, thanks my man

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      Just like everything, not every joke is for everyone and while I don’t find this particular meme very humorous, most racial, sexist (from any side), sexual preference, and other offensive jokes tickle my funny bone. I like it when our differences are used to to make us chuckle.

      Now, living in Georgia, I get that these kinds of jokes can be extremely dangerous. I’ve seen it. In the backwoods round these parts, there are folks who have never met anyone different in their lives, and anything pointing out our differences in a derogatory fashion, including jokes that should be harmless, can actually be harmful. “N” bombs dropped in anger are not fun to be around. Downright scary.

      I don’t know how you weed out the idiots, but mean jokes can be fun for us smart enough to know that they’re just jokes. Some people ain’t that bright though, sadly.

  15. itsbecca itsbecca says:

    So I have a related annoyance that is weirdly at odds with this “fake geek girl” thing; yet, people still seem hold both beliefs simultaneously….

    When the “there aren’t geek girls” or “there aren’t gamer girls” thing was a bit more rampant, I found that you aren’t actually considered an exception to the rule unless you’re attractive to whoever is making the judgement. I thankfully was never told this personally, but I’ve seen a girl speak up before and be told, “Oh you don’t count you’re fat.” Wooaaaaah. I have fluctuated weight in my lifetime however, so yes, I did notice that when I was overweight I was more likely to be treated as just one of the guys, and it wasn’t until I reached a smaller size that I attained Unicorn status as a “geek girl”. So you don’t count as a woman unless they want to have sex with you. Basically. Oh but if you’re attractive, you also must be faking.

    Wait, what?
    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…

    • There are obviously some judgmental weirdos out there, but I think they’re a small enough group nobody’s really “damned” here.

    • @itsbecca: This observation is not 100% accurate. PsychoJudgeDredd is spot on. Guys I know don’t call women at like that. What’s more the people that do view women as such are usually the blogger types who want / need traffic going through their blogs.

    • kzap kzap says:

      Yea, I know, society sucks doesn’t it?
      I found this before, I think most guys actually accept there’s an equal spread of guys and girls in geek culture (maybe slightly biased towards guys) but what they’re looking for is a “cute geek girl”, apparently that’s the pinnacle of what they want.
      I think it’s all built around the stereotype “geeks are ugly and fat” and it’s odd to see people who claim to be “geeks” perpetrating this myth, maybe their self esteem is so shot they’ve accepted they’re unattractive and can only find solace in the fact everyone else who likes what they like is fat too.
      So they see a woman who they deem unattractive call herself a geek and think “yea that makes sense, they’re ugly like me, they’re probably one of us”.
      And if you ARE attractive, you’re either a poser or held up on a pedestal as some kind of perfect-being because they can’t let themselves think for a second that being attractive and a geek is normal, because if that was the case they’d be pathetic.
      It’s a sad, sad situation, for all involved.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @PsychoJudgeDredd

      Oh, I definitely mean that it’s a subsection like unto the people who yell the fake geek girl thing all the time. Which is why thought it relevant. I make no claim that it’s everyone or even a majority. Unfortunately, they’re an annoyingly vocal and attention seeking minority.

      I do think it’s a little misguided to reply to me defensively though Dredd. You’re effectively telling me that my personal experience is not valid, probably because you feel I’m making an accusation against all males, which would include you. That was not my intention and unless you’re part of the above described subsection, then there’s no reason to feel slighted. Additionally, my experience is real, not entirely uncommon and completely valid.

    • I wouldn’t say I was replying defensively, if anything I was optimistically pointing out how, since like you say, it’s just a small subsection, I don’t think you’re “damned if you do damned if you don’t” here.

    • And just for the record, I think we’ve all been insulted or disrespected, especially on the internet. I don’t pay mind to it, and the good people outweigh the bad, ha just sayin’ nobody is damned here in comic fandom, we’ll all be fine.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Well there’s a difference between being insulted in a discussion or forum of some sort, and being insulted just because of your mere presence. The latter gets pretty tiring. But, as you state, it’s not everywhere. My primary tactic is to be very picky about where I spend my time, and to not engage in places I know are going to be hostile. Granted, I don’t have that option when it comes to playing games in an open matching system. That’s where avoiding using a female name comes in handy.

      Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate optimism, but when it’s used to negate a complaint then it comes off as dismissive. Is this an issue we should focus all our energy on until we fall apart? No, live your darn life, but it’s cathartic to complain in a trusted space sometimes.

    • It sounds like we largely agree on a lot, I just think your initial post painted a more negative picture than now, since you’ve fleshed it out more.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Hooray! People have come to understand each other better on the internet! This is a momentous occasion.

    • blackcanary blackcanary says:

      @itsbecca – I agree with you completely. As we’ve established, not every male is this way (I’d even venture out and say most men in this specific group aren’t), but as a woman who’s not exactly skinny, I’ve encountered a lot of that same mentality in the geek world.

      But really, if you’re female and don’t fit into society’s definition of what’s beautiful, you can expect the “you only matter if you’re attractive” mentality everywhere you go.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Maybe this would change if people knew what geek girls actually looked like? Not all of them can look like Jessica Day (I have not met any woman who bears any physical remblance beyond shared interests). I get pegged as a geek (boy) pretty often based on my looks so I don’t know about judging people on appreances or not, not sure if I could be objective.

  16. Wentos Wentos says:

    Comparing this to racism? Really? Why not go full-on internet rhetoric and call them Hitler?

  17. daningotham daningotham says:

    Is the reason people get annoyed by this the same reason people get annoyed by people jumping on the bandwagon of a winning sports team? Say you have been a loyal sports fan of a football team for 30 years. You know somebody, doesn’t matter guy or girl, who has shown no interest in that time. One year the football team makes a run for the Super Bowl and this person you know is suddenly wearing the team jersey and watching all the games saying, “I have always been a fan.” Because if I was that loyal fan who suffered all those years of losing then yes, that might annoy me. This person is just becoming a fan when it is easy to be a fan. Like now being a fan of the Avengers is all the rage. They are so popular so it’s cool to be a fan of the Avengers.

    Just playing the Devi’s Advocate, I really don’t care either way.

    • Well…yeah, that’s kind of dumb too. Of course a winning team is going to attract more fans. It’s dumb to outcry people who like a team that’s regularly successful.

    • dix says:

      I think we see a lot more *new* geeks – whatever their gender – lately because what we traditionally label as geek stuff has become more popular and accessible. It’s not necessarily that some of them wouldn’t have loved them some Batman comics before Nolan’s movies, but that just wasn’t in their realm of experience at the time. I mean, let’s face it, there’s still enough stigma and stereotype about what “geek culture” is that a lot of people aren’t going to dive into it just to see what it’s like.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      It’s a pretty idiotic mentality. “I liked this longer so I’m MORE of a fan of a thing than you are, and therefore I’m entitled to say who is and who isn’t a “real fan”!” Everyone starts somewhere.

  18. It was genuinely weird and off-putting seeing this advertisement in the back of Wonder Woman this week. What the hell were they thinking?

  19. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    THANK YOU for this article!
    I saw this ad in the comics last week and was so confused. I thought maybe I was missing something, or some kind of joke that was subverting this offensive meme, but no – it was just the offensive meme writ large on the back of comics books published by DC Comics. It’s appalling and so embarrassing, its actually shocking to me that this is out there and being published

  20. Jennifer deG Jennifer deG says:

    The very awesome Dark Horse editor Rachel Edidin has taken on the “Idiot Nerd Girl” meme head-on:

    “I hate the Idiot Nerd Girl meme. I hate it for much the same reason Feminspire writer Jessica Bagnall hates it: the entrenched geek misogyny that informs its pretty pink face. I hate it because it’s a convenient distillation of everything I hate about the “fake geek girl” strawman. I hate it because it vilifies enthusiasm. I hate it because, as a member of the geek community and a geek-industry professional, and especially as a feminist geek, I nurture a deep and abiding dislike for gatekeepers.”

    Read the whole thing here: http://feminspire.com/idiot-nerd-girl-has-a-posse-taking-back-the-meme/. Rachel and others have been working to re-purpose the meme to stop this kind of gate-keeping nonsense.

    We all were new to what we like at some point. And if we were true fans and advocates for the media we consume, we would welcome newcomers — even seek them out — and do all we can to help them learn more.

    • I agree, but I would go further to say that treating comics as belonging to “geek” culture is a form of gate-keeping as well. “Fake geek girl” is a damaging label, but so is “fake geek”. It is perfectly valid to enjoy comics on a casual basis, without self-identifying as a geek or nerd. It is petty and ridiculous to intellectually distance yourself from other people over comic books. I just think the concept of “true fans” vs. “poseurs” is damaging as well. Exclusivity and snobbery has no place when it comes to comics, IMO.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Man, I thought that gate-keeper thing was just for this article. That’s a real thing? Huh, sexism in geekdom just went up in my awareness. I have one question: where do we seek out newcomers to bring them in? And I guess we should appeal to both sexes as well?

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Why would you not appeal to both sexes? That’s not a given for you? If anyone shows interest in what you’re interested in, you should go “hey, want to check this out?”

      I remember when the first season of Power Rangers was out, people in school were buzzing about the Green Ranger. In the conversation, girls and boys were talking about it, and I was a bit stunned that girls liked the show, but we all just organically got into talking about it.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Yea, it’s a given. I’ve just had little success with either. I find that most guys I talk to will listen longer, than many of the women I talk to. Could be the area, or the people I talk to. I do remember when that Green Ranger thing started tho, it was a fun time when Power Rangers was cool. Go Tommy!

  21. Like all things, this too will pass. The posers will move along when the next fad arrives. Only the faithful shall remain.

  22. I dont care at all about flash in the pan memes, fake nerds, guy nerds or girl nerds. If you’re not someone or something who resides in my house I dont acknowledge your existience.

  23. The reason the idiot girl or fake girl meme (the one with nerd written on her palm) works is because the girl in the picture looks like an idiot. She has a smug look on her face, ridiculously large glasses, and she’s written “NERD” on her palm. Who in the world does that? That’s ridiculously STUPID LOOKING. It’s almost as stupid as a white guy painting his face black, his lips red, and writing, “BLACK” on his palm. She’s attempting to superficially adopt the stereotypical characteristics of a nerd and failing miserably at it. As a result, it becomes hilarious (unlike blackface). Get it? She attempts to adopt one specific stereotype (nerd) but unwittingly becomes another (fake nerd).

    Feminists have long dealt with the stereotype that they have no sense of humor (see: George Carlin). The overblown reaction to this meme is not accomplishing anything but reinforcing that stereotype.

  24. markavo markavo says:

    I did not know this was a thing and was very confused by the ad… Why would a woman want to “pretend” she’s a geek to attract a geek?

  25. I do reject the celebrity / actor pretending to be “geek”. It is a hypocritical attempt at relating to others or to be seen as a sympathetic person. If we know these people exist (and we all do know this), then there’s nothing wrong in calling that person out.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      There’s a lot of issues with this, but I think the biggest complaint I’d have is… do you “know”? A lot of people seem to base this knowledge in vagueries like, “well there’s no WAY Megan Fox plays games.” Is there? Why? What actual knowledge do you have of her personal life or how she spends her time? How well do you know her as a person in order to make a judgement about the psychological motivation of her potentially wanting to fake playing video games? What do you ACTUALLY “know”?

      I think if people stopped to assess real knowledge over baseless assumptions then they might be left a little more empty handed than they originally thought.

    • dix says:

      Yes. What @itsbecca said.

    • Here’s something Becca: DEXTER & BREAKING BAD are excellent t.v. shows. I love them both. What the hell were these shows doing at SDCC? The mediums do not relate. This is my problem with showbiz sticking its nose in comics. Its sad that the world’s biggest comic book convention has been bought out by other media for their own use. I’m very passionate about this. Maybe, I should have been more specific with my accusation. I don’t know what Megan Fox likes or doesn’t. I wasn’t referring to her. If she is genuine about her hobbies and activities, then have fun.

      I hope that my comments are not taken as confrontational because they are not and i really do try to be respectful of other’s opinions.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Oh. Okay then. I was just using Fox as an example, because you said “celebrity/actor”.

      The whole comicon turning into more of a media convention rather than just a comic convention is kind of left field. I don’t see how it’s related to the original post, but it’s a valid concern and you won’t get any argument from me about it.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Isn’t the MASSIVE convention having non-comics guests there a dead dog by now? It’s not going to go backwards, become small and niche again.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @itsbecca Just out of curiosity, has Megan Fox actually come out and said that she’s a geek, or a gamer or something? I’ve heard her name come up previously in other conversations about actors/celebs claiming “nerd cred” and am curious if this is something that actually occured, or are people just using her since she’s a “pretty girl” and has been in movies with a nerd/geek slant like Transformers and Jonah Hex?

      Don’t think I’m singiling you out. I’m just asking you specifically since you brought her up. If anyone know if/when this actually happened I’d be curious to see the interview or read the article so I can put it into some context.

    • Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

      Fox was on Jimmy Kimmel in 2009 and talked about this. In fact, she gave Kimmel a portrait of him that she drew herself.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @ClasikRok Becca didn’t bring up Megan Fox, she was mentioned three times in the above article.

    • @ VichusSmith: I’m not calling to arms the people or anything. And I’m not wanting revolution here, its just sad to me: A lament. I was venting a little that’s all.

    • Why do people keep bringing up this Megan Fox? I know very little about her, except for the TRANSFORMER movies, so I’m not understanding how she relates to this at all.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      Thanks for the info Jim! That’s what I was looking for

      @Conor I wasn’t really asking @itsbecca specifically as I stated in my comment, “Don’t think I’m singiling you out. I’m just asking you specifically since you brought her up.” To clarify my statement of “since you brought her up” I just meant that she mentioned her, so please forgive my phrasing. Which is why I stated that I wasn’t singling her out, I didn’t want it to come over looking like an attack. I was genuinely asking when this happened so I could see if I could find a YouTube video of it or something. Jim didn’t mention when the event specifically occured in the article, so I was asking Becca since I have conversed with her in the past and didn’t think that she wouldn’t throw a random celeb’s name out there on a whim.

      Next time I’ll choose my words more carefully. I’m sorry you felt like you need to defend her against my inquiries.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @TotSA She’s a pretty actress who claimed to be a geek herself once in an interview (per Jimski, on Jimmy Kimmel in 2009). Many see this claim as pandering to the nerd/geek audience so they’ll continue to follow her career as she’d be seen as “One of Us”

  26. It doesn’t matter if you have a Y-chromosome or not comic books and geek-dom can be and should be enjoyed by anyone. Honestly some of the best conversations I have with people about comics come from a girl. She’s also a lesbian so she didn’t get into comics for male attention

  27. Kelly Kelly (@annaluna) says:

    I think the College Humor villan ads are harmless, but I might have gone with a different villan in titles featuring female leads. Then again, if they’d only put “The Imposter” ad in titles that don’t trend towards female readers, we’d probably be here chiding them for trying to hide her.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      I’ve spent all day resisting going to the site to see what the other options were, because I don’t want to reward this with traffic. And…it’s not like I’m outraged. It’s more a, “Once again you are living down to my expectations, I’ve stopped expecting anything better” situation. In the words of the great GOB Bluth: :D ead dove, do not eat.

    • supamike says:

      There’s some funny other options. The alpha nerd, angry nerd. No other female types. Ck it out. Its harmless.

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      WRONG! It’s a secret attack from the high misogynistic council that is trying to make sure women are paid less and are forced out of comic book readership man, get with the program. You are either one of us or one of them, man , pick a side!

    • ^Mad, dude?

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      Joking, dude.

  28. I don’t have a problem with new people trying to get into comics (I know a girl who moved from watching the Avengers movie to being a huge fan of the comics, she’s pretty great), and I don’t think anyone should. In fact, I’m always searching for other people who like comics (total of two in my entire school so far), as I have almost no one to talk to about my greatest passion.
    Then again, I’m a teenager, so who knows how long my optimism’s going to last.

  29. Just thought of something. Does not the very term “fanboy” as in “iFanboy” denote a certain male-centricity to comic fandom. Please don’t hate me for pointing this out.

    • dix says:

      “iFanboy” is a bit more practical, though, than “iFanboy-or-girl” or “iFanperson.”

      “Fangirl” is a term, too, if not one associated with comics so much as other areas of geekdom more stereotypically associated with having female fans (manga, anime come to mind). In either case, I think those terms have come to imply a negative characterization of the sort of fan who is completely uncritical (and extremely defensive) of every bit of whatever they are a fanboy/fangirl of.

      I usually take the “fanboy” in “iFanboy” and the like as slightly self-deprecating.

    • Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

      Also, I don’t think any two people responsible for this site would name it that if they had it to do over again. At the risk of speaking out of turn.

    • Jim, I sort of assumed that would be the case. Clearly it’s too late now, the site is too popular. Articles like yours do show that the site promotes comics as inclusive and is opposed to mysogynistic stereotypes.

  30. teiso says:

    Ha. The idea that I only pretend to enjoy geeky things to impress geeky boys is dumb. I was liking geeky things before I started liking boys. Maybe I only like geeky boys do I have access to their loot.

  31. supamike says:

    I didn’t see any harm in it. I thought it was pretty funny. I have female friends that consider themselves fangirls and they find it doubtful when somebody like Meghan Fox, for instance,says she’s a nerd or into gaming. As far as it being just the “nerd community ” where this stuff takes place,its not. Just ck out pro sports media coverage. Most ppl,male and female, don’t buy into female side line reporters giving updates.

  32. Batcaptain says:

    I very much do this, but I do it with men too. Every time I hear anyone say they’re a “Total Nerd” on a talk show or something, I’m always suspicious, because there’s a definite chance that that person’s trying to inject some kind of fake adversity into their life so that people think they went through “Rough times”. This is supposed to make celebrities feel more relate-able to us, and it turns me off when people try to be manipulative about the way I think of them. It says that they’re out for attention, and that’s the kind of person I hate.

    On the other hand though, I think you’re overestimating how much people get worked up over this stuff. You’ll see it on message boards, sure, but you see everything on message boards. The number of people who don’t like celebrities saying they’re nerds is ten times the amount posts you see on message boards about it, but the rest of us just live with it. If someone’s bullshitting to try and appeal to a larger audience I just stop paying attention to that person. I have no idea what Olivia Munn is doing right now, for instance. I don’t know if it’s irony or not, but we actually take your friends’ advice: Ignore the trolls.

    And I think you missed something about that X-Man joke. They clarified that she thought Hugh Jackman played X-Man at the bottom of the picture, which makes it irrelevant that there’s an actual X-Man character.

  33. cassieforgen says:

    Fantastic article! This perfectly captures my reaction against this kind of thinking.
    In regards to the motivations behind the “fake-nerd,” it’s always seemed to me a problem with the word “nerd” itself. It’s too big, no one knows what it means. So when someone calls themselves a “nerd” no one can correct them because the word is not defines.

  34. TomiH TomiH says:

    Can we at least agree that Big Bang Theory sucks?

    • k5blazer k5blazer says:

      I like Big Bang Theory.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Me too, so we cannot agree. It’s “Two and Half Men” for nerds I guess. Yes there’s egregious amounts of sterotypes and jevenile humor, but sometimes thats just what I’m in the mood for. Maybe a better/smarter/funnier show about geeks will come out in a few years that is inspired to top BBT thanks to all the interest in the genre.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      I also like Big Bang Theory, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinions.

  35. VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

    This whole “issue” is funny to me, and eventually it’ll die down, tremendously. Kids are growing up with devices in their hands, and more girls will be gaming/reading/watching than they did in the 80s. It’s a rough fight, because all those geek gatekeepers are so hyper-protective about something no one asked them to guard.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Still its something that they grew up with, and gave them peace of mind during a rough couple of years. Not trying to justify, but try to see the other side. That’s how battles are won. And also, I don’t think any of ‘this” would be here right now unless a small dedicated group was protecting it.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      No, “this” is here because people shared it, not just protected it.

      I don’t understand your point about battles.Sometimes the other side doesn’t have a great point to make.

      Especially since the internet became popular, I have never seen the benefit of keeping knowledge to yourself, unless it’s extremely harmful to others. We’re not in the CIA. We’re comics readers and geeks. You should be sharing what you love to anyone who’s willing to listen.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Right, no more metaphors for me. @Paul Montgomery was thrown by that too. The “other side thing” is just personal experiance, sometimes when I’m dealing with difficult people I need a minute to consider their viewpoint to fix the communication or get my point across. Sometimes tho I meet people who, even though I’m trying to help by explaining something to them, still feel the need to argue with me like I’m the one confused or like I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s not here, just something I ran into yesterday. And I do try to share “this”, with many backfires because its not always looked at by average people as normal or productive.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      You win some, you lose some, but I think it’s easier these days than a decade or two ago to share geeky things with more mainstream folk.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      You and I have had different experiances then. I’m in college now, and I find the average person only slightly more tolerant. There are lots of geeks and nerds, and anime fans around tho so I guess it balances out.

  36. k5blazer k5blazer says:

    I am in agreement with the over-pimping of the “nerd” and “geek” culture by the mainstream media and marketing outlets. But I also don’t use either term in describing my love for comics, and I also must point out that because I don’t look like the stereotypical comic reader that I always get the sideways glances from people at cons when I go. Like a “You don’t belong here” look, it’s been present for years so I’m accustomed to it, but it can make a person feel unwelcome even though their love for this hobby is genuine. I’ve run across a person from this site a couple of conventions and every time I say “Hi” and say how much I enjoy the site he looks at me as if I am about to beat him up and take his wallet. This is a very insular and guarded group and one that doesn’t take kindly to pretenders, and due to the recent success of all the films from comics its now in vogue to claim to be a part of the culture, even though the ones claiming it are only vaguely familiar with it. i don’t know what Megan Fox does with her free time but I can see her authenticity for the hobby being doubted solely based on her appearance. And the piece that is talked about in the article doesn’t help when someone who looks out of the perceived norm starts to get into the hobby, “humor” like that is small-minded and only makes people circle the wagons more and increase the reluctance to welcome others into the fold because their interest is always being unfairly scrutinized. So believe me, I see the effects of this weak attempt at “humor”.

  37. Limitless Limitless says:

    I was wondering about this myself when I saw it in my books. I wasn’t so much outraged as just…confused. This is a thing? Really?

  38. I only pretend to like iFanboy

  39. I completely ignored the ad when I saw that last week. I glanced at it and never thought it would become a 100+ comment outrage that it is right now.

    Not that, after mulling it over (for several hours in the den) and reading this article, that I do find some problems with it. It is incredibly small minded on the female fan base in comics and it does make it seem like ALL women are not fans. Which is totally not true and the ad could make people think that way.

    But on the other hand…..I know a bunch of women who are exactly like this. Just watching a couple of Marvel movies or episode of Walking Dead and they immediately think they’re comic fans. So while I think the ad does send the wrong message overall I can’t totally dismiss it based on examples in my life.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Well, are they? Do these females you know start reading comics, or are they just really into the licensed movies/TV?

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      probably just into the licensed media. I can’t think of any time where someone watched a show or movie and said, ” I want the original thing now!”. Unless it’s based on a novel, thats sort of a different beast than comics or games.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      “they immediately think they’re comic fans”

      How do you know what they think?

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Yeah, you felt the attitude in that sentence like I did. It’s the whole “true fans” thing. We (geekdom) all need to calm down.

  40. Andrew Andrew says:

    The truly infuriating thing is that it’s not a funny ad even in the ad’s own context, regardless real or imagined misogyny. I’d think that a site with “humor” in its title would be better than this if it was trying to get me to check out their product.

    Plus, if I saw a woman walking around with a bow and arrow the last thing I would be concerned with is the authenticity of her comic book interests.

    Just lame on so many levels.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      “saw a woman walking around with a bow and arrow the last thing I would be concerned with is the authenticity of her comic book interests.”

      BEST RESPONSE

  41. lonelyglory lonelyglory says:

    I find the presence of the meme a bit frustrating if only because I know so many wonderful guys who have to deal with me rambling on and on, who have given me awesome suggestions on what to read and have all around be really welcoming in regards to comics. It’s things like this that sorta snap me out of my nice little bubble and force me to realize that there are indeed people out there who still think like this — who associate “female” and “nerd” as two completely opposite sides of a spectrum that cannot possibly exist within the same person. Even if it’s a joke, the implication’s still there and it doesn’t help the mindset at all…

    Also — I’ve received a couple comments implying that I chose my major to be surrounded by guys and not because it genuinely interests me enough that I would want to make a career out of it. I didn’t make much of it since I didn’t have anything I needed to prove to them, but the whole gatekeeping phenomenon in relation to things that are usually associated with “nerdy” does get kind of annoying.

  42. Great article and commentary on this asinine line of thinking among the worst of fan-dom. Every subculture tries to “verify” the street cred of anyone who claims to be a part of it. Thats always the strange elitism that takes place, and its so lame. Who cares….enjoy what you enjoy and stop trying to pass judgement over other people’s fandom.

  43. IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

    I think the ad is kind of funny, and I can see why it might/(Probably) offend geek girls. However I have never once actually seen a girl reading a Batman comic, but when I’m reading one then thats when girls tell me how much they love him. Most of them I wrote off as watching the Dark Knight and loving Bale or Ledger. I have meet girls (actually) into geek stuff and can tell they’re sincere. But here’s the thing, no one wants a bunch of pretenders in their’ clubhouse. At the same time if someone wants in that really wants (comics,games, whatev) let em in. Let’s expand sure, with people that actually care about the subject matter. I don’t think thats alot to ask. “Are you into comics? Me too! I love Maus and Doctor Who and …” five minutes, you’re in regardless of gender or whatever. Who takes anything on face value anymore? One last thing, that ad seems pretty focused on a familiar achetype. But suddenly that represents every woman in geekdom? I can get how it can be seen as such, but maybe its mountains out of moleholes? Probably not, probably its an insult to every woman in geekdom, but I try not to jump to conclusions.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      It’s not a ‘clubhouse’ and we shouldn’t think of it as such. It’s a medium anyone is free to enjoy for whatever reason attracts them. Thing is, we don’t have to ‘let em in’ because it’s not some fortified hideaway, it’s an open air community that doesn’t need gatekeepers.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      I’m not talking about “gatekeeping” or actual clubhouses, thats a metaphor for groups like hipsters, jocks, etc. I’m saying if someone says there a geek, take 5 minutes to talk to them to see if it’s true and not immediately write them off based on appreances. that’s what i try to do, and it’s lead to some nice conversations. If my proposal is problamatic or flawed, then feel free to ignore it. I just hate people lying to your face or trying to get you to make fun of yourself for them. And yes, I had a rough time in high school.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I’m sorry you had a rough time. Sincerely. But you did say, “No one wants a bunch of pretenders in their clubhouse.” I was responding to that because I find it incredibly problematic.

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      Thank you for your sympathy, but I wasn’t digging for it. I was just trying to give some background from where I’m coming from, so I don’t look like some elitist misogynist. I’ll think I’ll avoid metaphors on this site from now on, cause its caused confusion with someone else further up the page. My main point is;if someone says they’re a geek and you doubt that, then talk to them a little. Or embrace them blindly I guess, would be the normal way to go about this than all the debate.

    • “However I have never once actually seen a girl reading a Batman comic, but when I’m reading one then thats when girls tell me how much they love him. Most of them I wrote off as watching the Dark Knight and loving Bale or Ledger.”

      I was in a comic shop paging through a Batman comic (I forget which one), and I meet a girl who starts talking to me how much she likes Batman. I asked her what her favorite story was recently, and she told me that she doesn’t really read them and pretty much only knows Batman from the movies. NOW…I could have scoffed at her like the way tons of people in this comment section are doing, but I acted like, you know, a nice guy. Not only did I recommend that she reads The Dark Knight Returns, but I actually bought it for her. It’s nearly 5 years since that day, and now that girl is 1) truly enjoying more comics, old and new, and 2) my fiancee.

      Just be a nice guy. Don’t automatically go for the snooty response, and turn a situation to a positive one for the uneducated masses. You’ll never know what comes from it.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      ” I have never once actually seen a girl reading a Batman comic, but when I’m reading one then thats when girls tell me how much they love him.”

      So girls want to talk to you about a thing that they are able to see you like and. . . this is a bad thing?

    • IthoSapien IthoSapien says:

      I’ve meet 2, only 2, that i know for sure like batman and have read the comics. When I say other girls love Batman because of the movies, I know they have zero interest in the comics because I know those same girls pretty well. I don’t mean random women just walked up and said those things, it was my classmates that i’ve known for years. And @Ohcaroline, theres a difference between people who love Batman, and those that love the movies by Chris Nolan (TDK). I’ve been a Batman fan for years, and when I was in elementary school, Batman was considered lame because of “Batman & Robin”. I meanwhile maintained that Batman was awesome, the movies just happened to suck.So it’s not a bad thing, its when someone says “Ohh, I love Mexican food” and really only eats at Taco Bell once in a while. Not judging them, but thats difference between them and me. But if a girl did come to me in a comic shop and said “I love Batman”, I wouldn’t write her off because she’s a girl. I probably wouldn’t pay for her comics after one talk tho, that’d be expensive today.(I have a big pull list).

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      As guys who only like the movies. They don’t give a crap about reading the comics, either. It’s not an issue with girls not wanting to go deeper into the fiction. Most of the people who like Batman in other forms are satisfied with TV or film.

      Also, if you were in elementary school when Batman & Robin came out, aren’t you a little young to be giving other people a litmus test on how deep their Batman comics knowledge is?

  44. 8bitErin 8bitErin says:

    I think I’ve moved past anger at the “fake geek girl” meme and into just exhaustion at having to argue the same points over and over again. The problem with the fake geek GIRL as opposed to a fake geek in general is that *in my experience* a male geek tends to be accepted off the bat before it is discovered that he is a “big fat phony” whereas as a female the default assumption seems to be that we are faking and have to constantly prove to them otherwise.

    My question is WHO CARES? Sure, there may in fact be some people faking being a geek. What does that matter to anyone else? Does that really hurt your own experience so much? And if so, why?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      THANK YOU!!! I thought I was the only one thinking this. Why do people worry so much about what people think about them? I think that’s one of the things that I love about being a geeky/nerdy guy. Loving things that are not necessarily deemed “cool” in popular culture, and not caring if other people say you’re “uncool”

      Yeah, I’m uncool. I like comics. I like Buffy and Doctor Who and X-Files. I dig Star Wars, Back to the Future and Logan’s Run. Why would I ever have to prove to anyone that I like these things, regardless of my sex, race, religion or any other further dividing factor we use to catagorize people.

  45. ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

    Slightly off topic: @Jimski, what exactly is your issue with Chris Hardwick? I love Chris and am an avid listener to the Nerdist podcast. What’s wrong with celebrating the things that make us all nerdy or geeky? I don’t think he makes being a nerd like an ethnicity. Can you elaborate? I’m just curious what made you form that opinion of him and/or his podcast.

    • Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

      It hasn’t happened in a while, but when he gets on a jag about Nerds and being out and proud and taking back the word “Nerd,” it grates on my last nerve. The rest of the time, he’s A-OK by me (well, it annoys me that he front-loads the plugs on his podcast and lets them run ten minutes at a time, but that’s another issue). It’s just the way he talks about this one thing. I wish I could refer to a specific example to illustrate.

    • Grandturk says:

      I’ve never related to being a “Nerd” because its not all I am, and it never has been and never will be. Oh, no… maybe I’m a faker… must… make… saving throw…

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      I always used to use the word “Geek” because I felt “Nerd” always had a bit of an added connotation of smartness to it. And while I do think I am smart in some ways, I certainly wouldn’t call myself smart enough to be called a “Nerd” in that way.

      Chris is a bit older than us, so I’m sure to him being called a nerd in his day was somewhat analagous to being called some other demeaning phrases that single people out (not intentionally referring to that program he hosted back in the day, just a happy accident).

      I was in the high school band, and we all referred to ourselves as “Band Geeks.” It is a bit empowering to take a word that is meant to hurt you, and turn it around to make you feel good about yourself. Like you belong. But I think that is something a little more common to our age group and those younger than us.

      @Grandturk That dying gasp save makes it clear that you are no faker LOL

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      I subscribe to the same definition. All nerds are smart. All geeks are not.

    • Grandturk says:

      @Vichus – tsk tsk tsk… what kind of smart? Books smart? Street smart? Intelligence vs. Wisdom? etc etc etc Back in my day there was little difference between nerds and geeks and level of intelligence had nothing to do with it. I played D&D with guys who ended up going to Yale on a full ride and others who ended up pumping gas.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Sometimes words evolve in meaning. Geeks used to be the circus freaks that bit the heads off chickens.

      I also subscribe to multiple intelligences. If someone can run circles around you with the knowledge that they posses, I consider them nerdy about that topic. Geeks can be knowledgeable about topics, but it’s usually trivial content.

    • Grandturk says:

      Like a beer geek? You won’t find anyone more knowledgeable about beer – and that’s not trivial.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Beer geek, shoe geek, taco geek, whatever. It’s all geek to me.

  46. glennsim says:

    I have absolutely no problem with having more women in the hobby.

    I think what bothers me is the situations like the author notes with Leeza Gibbons. When people refer to themselves as something that they simply aren’t. Not because they are lying, or because they don’t meet some high standard being set, but because they don’t meet even the minimum standard.

    If I said I was a “sports fan”, and then you found out that I don’t actually watch any games or root for any teams, I just read the sports page, am I really a “sports fan”?

    Is there not some minimum level of committment beyond going to see the Dark Knight Rises that should be required to call oneself a “Batman fan”?

    The key point in the CollegeHumor ad is that she “spends all day on the Internet looking at LOLCats”. That’s not being a nerd. You THINK that’s being a nerd, and therefore that means that you have no idea what it means to be a nerd.

    I remember the news reports when Archie did their “realistic art” issues, or with Wonder Woman’s pants, and seeing newscasters comment that “they liked it the other way.” What? You want me to believe that you actually have been buyin g Archie and/or Wonder Woman comics? Really?

    So to me, it’s not so much saying that someone can’t join the club, it’s only that joining the club should require a little bit more committment than I believe we sometimes see.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      What defines a “fan” of anything? What exactly is the minimum standard should be for being a fan of anything? I think it’s pretty subjective. I would say I’m a Yankees fan, but I very rarely watch any baseball games. Being a nerd is a subjective thing. It’s not like being a doctor, or being 6 feet tall. Either you are or you aren’t.

      Maybe looking at LOLCats all day doesn’t fit your definition of nerditude, but it meets mine. So I don’t think the girl in the ad is an Imposter at all. Unless she doesn’t look at LOLCats all day and is just saying that to make me think she’s a nerd! DUN DUN DUN!!!

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      A little addendum to my comment above,

      It’s like Paul said in his note about clubhouses, “It’s not a ‘clubhouse’ and we shouldn’t think of it as such. It’s a medium anyone is free to enjoy for whatever reason attracts them”

      Being a geek/nerd has no mimimum requirement. There’s no commitment and no buy-in fees.

    • glennsim says:

      Well, then why can’t that ad simply be known to reflect the subjective opinions of the authors and a significant group of people?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      It absolutely does reflect the subjective opinions of the author. I never said that it didn’t. And maybe there are a group of people that agree that the author’s opinion rings true, I’m just not one of them.

      The point I was trying to make is that anyone can be a fan of anything to any degree they wish, and shouldn’t need to defend themselves to others, but again that just my opinion.

    • 8bitErin 8bitErin says:

      “Is there not some minimum level of committment beyond going to see the Dark Knight Rises that should be required to call oneself a “Batman fan”?”

      Honestly? No.
      I think the only way someone claiming to be a fan of something could be not meeting the “minimum level of committment” would be to have never consumed anything related to said topic.

      And again I ask, why does it really matter?

    • glennsim says:

      Well, I’m caucasian. Can I start calling myself “black” if I happen to get a really good tan?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @glennsim Really?

      Really???

    • glennsim says:

      Sure. Apparently I’m freely allowed to label myself anyway I want, and people who might more appropriately be labeled that way can’t get upset about it.

  47. VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

    What I think the problem with this whole “geek girl poser” thing is that it disrespects female geeks in 2 ways:

    1. It implies that geek is basically a guy thing
    2. Why aren’t male posers depicted as a threat to this little geek playground? If there are fake geek girls, then there are fake geek guys as well.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      Check out the article on the College Humor website. The first “Villian” they list is “The Bro.”

      The Bro is a guy with a muscular/athletic build with a tattoo on his bicep (I think it’s supposed to be a Halo logo or something), sporting jeans, a grey t-shirt with a Batman logo and a baseball cap, with a logo of his College’s mascot, I presume. With an XBox controller in each hand, and a belt carrying beer cans in each loop he is shown as saying, “Just saw “Avengers” for the third time this month. ‘Josh Wheebun’ is the f***ing man, Bro!”

      I would guess this cat is supposed to be the the male equivalent to “The Imposter” since he loves the Avengers, but has no idea who the eff Joss Whedon is.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      The Bro’s weakness is “Actually being called a Nerd,” so he’s not exactly the same as “The Imposter,” though I’m not seeing anywhere that specifically says that “The Imposter” necessarily HAS to be female.

      Devil’s Advocate people :)

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      If you have to guess, it’s not so clear is it? “The bro” is the gung-ho frat-type guy. Not the same thing as the imposter. They’re calling that type ignorant, but not a pretender to the pastime.

  48. bansidhewail bansidhewail says:

    If College Humor wants to pay DC for a full page ad, I’m just happy DC sold some ad space and made some cash. As for the content of the ad…I don’t see how LOLcats have anything to do with being a geek, unless your minimum definition for geek is “person with access to the Internet.” It’s not a well-written joke, but I’m not offended by it. It’s just a weak attempt at comedy that relies on a stereotype, like oh-so-many other lame jokes out there. The only difference is this is one of the few stereotypes that doesn’t have a special interest group to demand an apology after. I don’t see how it merits much more response than an eye-roll.

  49. Grandturk says:

    I call everyone “bro.”

  50. AndrewW says:

    Not an issue for me who labels themselves what!

    Simply put, if someone wants to buy comics under whatever pretense, it likely helps the survival of the industry which gives me a lot of joy on a weekly basis.

    I gladly share comic space with anyone who wants in. I’m not into labels for myself, but if a celebrity or the girl at the corner market wants to label herself a geek who am I to argue. Fine you’re a geek; let’s go buy some comics, t-shirts and enjoy the experience.

    As for the ads themselves … all they did was interrupt a story I was enjoying. Barely glanced at them. My daughter simply said “that’s stupid” and then re-engaged herself in reading the actual comic.

  51. CrimsonBlur CrimsonBlur says:

    I didnt take it as saying “All nerdy girls are fake”.. but as an example of those who think wearing a Star Wars shirt and likeing “LoL Cats” makes them a nerd/geek. Am I wrong? Probley, but then again I’m a guy.. this gave me no reason to get paranoid/offended.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      Well, they’re definitely not saying all nerdy girls are fake. That would be ridiculous. I don’t know ANY people who would say “I like a single meme, so I’m a nerd now.” I don’t think they thought out that line well enough.

  52. cupcake13 cupcake13 says:

    It’s funny I saw that ad this past week and actually didn’t pay any mind to it cause I just tend to skip over all ads. With that said, I love comics, baseball (Go Giants!), anime, shopping, shoes, and romantic comedies, and sometimes I get weird looks in my LCS cause I don’t look the part. But honestly if you truly love your hobbies you wont care how others see you, you’ll just keep on loving what you do.

  53. Batcaptain says:

    I posted a comment above, but I did just realize something: The “If it doesn’t affect you, don’t complain about it” argument actually doesn’t make sense. The stuff going on in Syria and Libya doesn’t affect me, neither does Foxconn or Guantanamo Bay. Really, the stuff that actually affects me is a very, very small circle of things: My job, my family, my stability… that kind of thing. We all talk about things that don’t affect us, and that’s okay.

  54. k5blazer k5blazer says:

    I predict there will be a whole new, and rightfully earned, anger in January behind the TBS show King of the Nerds. Tge commercials alone are so demeaning and pander every stereotype. I hate it.

    • VichusSmith VichusSmith says:

      People would have to start watching TBS first.

      Kevin Smith’s show, Comic Book Men had some controversy because they made it an all guy focused show, when they had the opportunity to put a female on it.

  55. I-Doll I-Doll says:

    This ad annoyed and frustrated me in the back of my Batman…Batgirl too, I think…then the next week in more of my comics from Wonder Woman to Catwoman to Batwoman to Birds of Prey. My solution has been to bend those ad pages, so all I see is a folded Arrow. I’m looking forward to an ad change–then again, I use to tear out all the fake-comic ads that they were doing awhile back.

  56. Toshimoko29 Toshimoko29 says:

    I saw this ad and assumed there was something about it I didn’t understand, like maybe I just didn’t get the joke. I still don’t think it’s funny but I don’t think it implies much of anything by having a woman in the picture. Wouldn’t it mean the same thing if it were a man, that a fake nerd can exist and comes across like an asshole? Even guessing the subtext, I think it’s about the same. I mean honestly, if THIS is the ad in a comic that makes you question how women are seen by the comics industry or “nerd-dom” in general, you haven’t been paying attention. After 25 years of reading comics, I’m surprised she’s wearing more than underwear and a blank expression.

  57. I remember this first happening to me when I got back into comics after a decade-+ lapse…..and I’ve NEVER been cool! Also, the same thing happened when Women starting announcing Men’s sporting events….the Boys Club gets upset when Women try to join. Then the Men got over it! Beautiful Women will cause you to forget many foolish notions……

    I’m all for the Geek Women of the World! For selfish reasons, it means I more likely to find a date…lol! More Women means more sales, which means more comic books for longer! Young Women becoming Writers and Artists, contributing to a culture that has always been for misfits, bringing legitimacy to the world’s greatest artform! What’s not to love?