Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 8.24

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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35 Comments

  1. One of the comments on the “sexy geek girl” article decried that women dress as slave Leia, instead of Amidala (or Leia in other contexts).
    Attention: No one dresses as Amidala because NO ONE LIKES THE GORRAM PREQUELS. Hell, I bought a friend the non-Special Edition version of the OT just so his son could see them.

  2. I’ve had an anecdotal sense that decision fatigue existed but never had any empirical evidence to back it up. I’ve occasionally blown up at people when asked to make a decision late in the day. Now I have a better sense of why.

    I’m of the camp that believes there is such a thing as too much choice. I’ve been utterly exhausted and frustrated by the experience of trying to buy a computer and decide between all the different possible configurations.

    This research (I’m looking forward to reading the book) points out how a plethora of choices can be used and manipulated by sellers to intentionally wear out a buyer so that by the end of the process they are an easy mark for things like extended warranties.

  3. One interesting thing about the decision fatigue article is that it reminded me of how I sometimes feel when not on Ritalin. I actually find it really hard to make decisions, or in general to prioritize different actions, like I’m too tired or slow to decide effectively. I wonder whether this is a similar state to decision fatigue or whether it is a superficially similar state with different underlying biology (having to do with general impulsivity and/or working memory). Certainly “from the inside” it feels more like general disorganization/confusion than a lack of willpower, but I dunno.

    One reason I’m curious is that it raises the question of whether or not stimulants would increase apparent willpower in an otherwise “normal” person.

  4. I think the self objectification article is too negative. How we are on the inside has a huge effect on our perceived hotness but it would be dishonest to pretend simple objectification isn’t a big part of sexual desire too. Objectification has become a shorthand for the rudeness of expressions of selfish objectification towards others, as if all simple objectification is evil, just like simple narcissism , it’s not. There are people who love being in images that sexually inspire others to the point of orgasm, which is fabulous and there are people who are aroused by being desired, and human physical hotness is way more diverse than the media portray, and in it’s diversity it’s a lovely gift for anyone who owns it. Any gift someone has can be selfishly objectified by others. If you have a great singing voice and someone says, come on, sing us a song then or get lost, your gift is selfishly objectified and so are you. So lets celebrate the diversity of hotness by stopping with the negative personl judgements and instead showing subjective appreciation and making people feel good. If someone wants to dress as slave liea let them, they may be expressing a very passive sexuality, it doesn’t mean they want to really be abused outside their sexual fantasy. Lets be tolerant of other peoples sexuality and appreciate diverse hotness.

  5. The common theme among all those forms of traditional marriage is that men and women fell into strict proscribed roles, with the woman subordinate to the man. This is exactly the type of traditional marriage that homophobes want to preserve, not the equal partnership between a man and a woman that they pretend to care about.

    And in some ways, same-sex marriage does threaten their preferred traditional marriage. They convince women to tolerate their lower status by claiming that it’s necessary and the only way a marriage can be successful. If two men or two women get married and they have the same success rate as hetero marriage, then they suddenly lose a lot of their justification for treating women badly. They’re not afraid that their wives will turn lesbian and leave them for a woman; they’re afraid that their wives will stand up and demand equality. When the husband says “I get the final say in this decision because I’m the man”, the wife can easily say “Judy and Tina down the street seem to get along fine and a woman must be making the final decisions”. He can no longer claim that women having the final say causes all kinds of problems. So even though same-sex couples frequently fall into roles, clearly those roles are not based solely on genitals.

    I have even known some fundie extremist blogs to claim that feminist or equal marriages are already basically same-sex marriage.

    Just remember what homophobes really mean when they say “traditional marriage”. They won’ admit it in polite company, but they want Patriarchal marriage with men in charge.

    1. When the husband says “I get the final say in this decision because I’m the man”, the wife can easily say “Judy and Tina down the street seem to get along fine and a woman must be making the final decisions”. He can no longer claim that women having the final say causes all kinds of problems.
      .
      Another way to achieve the same goal is to get society to stop putting stock in the antiquated writings of a long passed people. Maybe that and open “marriage” (I believe it should be extended to all adults who wish to enter such a contract ragardless of relationship, number, sexuality, etc.) would be enough to put the last nail in the coffin of such regressive ideas as homophobia, misogyny, and cisnormative thinking.
      .
      Probably not; but watching fundies’ heads e’splode would be fun.

    2. You’ve got a point there, I hadn’t really thought about why some people are against gay maraige other than the rediculousness of the bible based objectoin.

      I think reasons why the people you discribe are like this goes back to what I was saying to Mikefromcanada troll man. It’s based on one kind of culturally moulded narrow hetro sexuality, that’s then culturally linked to a mans identity and more importantly his ego. This means their procreative erection becomes dependant on the ownership of subordinated women. and the godly women conspire. If their wife earns more than they do they feel imasculated because their narrow notion of their sexual masculinity has invaded their identity and whole being and so is violated by anything a woman does that’s capable of undermining it. What bloody aweful existence!! :) I’d rather be single :) And how metally pathalogical too, especially when the threat comes from someone you don’t even know who’s life is none of your business. Yeah pathelogical. That’s why their arguments against gay marraige are so desperately ridiculous and unsustainable.

  6. Dressing sexy is fun but has nothing to do with women’s “empowerment.”

    I’ll consider dressing as a sexy Leia is empowering when a two-hundred pound woman can do it as freely and be as readily accepted as a woman half her weight.

  7. The author of the geek objectification post is a joke. Tried posting this and they wouldn’t approve.

    “This post is ridiculous. What’s wrong with men or women objectifying themselves? It’s a personal choice people. No one should feel ashamed for wearing scantily clad clothing. If anything, it’s no one’s business to tell them what they should or shouldn’t wear. Who is it bothering when an adult woman dresses in a slave Leia constume? The answer is no one of course. If a man can dress as a sexy fireman, and not be bothered about what he’s wearing, than a woman shouldn’t be bothered either. Who’s stupid enough to think that what someone else wears is anyone else’s business? Let alone a societal issue.”

    1. Not surprising that they wouldn’t post it since you completely missed the point.

      From the article:
      “Women aren’t the problem, whether they crossplay and eschew femininity altogether or they pull out the sexy Leia costume. The problem is that women who dress sexy, who frame themselves as sex objects, are rewarded by geek culture for doing so.

      “The problem, then, isn’t what women do, but a culture in which the only way that women can be recognized as a desirable part of the culture is when they participate by making themselves consumable sexy objects for geek men.”

      No one is talking about shaming women for dressing up in costumes.

      1. “one of the most distressing trends I’ve been grappling with is how women will choose characters, costumes, or costume constructions based on how “sexy” the costume will appear on them.”

        “In other words, a feminist can wear high heels, but she shouldn’t lie to herself about what that means.”

        “But the trend of sexy geek cosplaying, the trend of geek women objectifying and sexualizing themselves, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame. We need to be talking about this as a problem of our culture, not a problem that women bring upon themselves.”

        It seems to me that she does have a problem with how women dress. Especially in the last part, “We need to be talking about this as a problem of our culture, not a problem that women bring upon themselves.” Everything is a product of culture. However culture does not make decisions for free-thinking individuals.

        It shouldn’t matter to anyone as to why a certain person is wearing what they are. Either if they feel empowered doing so, or just want to be rewarded with male attention. It’s personal choice. No one should tell someone they’re wrong for wanting male attention.

        1. This post seems to take the thesis that a.) the only way women get accepted into geek culture is through pandering sex: “The problem, then, isn’t what women do, but a culture in which the only way that women can be recognized as a desirable part of the culture is when they participate by making themselves consumable sexy objects for geek men.” (Bold in the original.) And b.) the sexualized female image is fundamentally bad. But she doesn’t provide much support for these assertions.

          I think cosplay, or at least racy cosplay, is the wrong thing to focus on. Cosplay is at heart exhibitionism combined with objectification: Your dress and your manner shout “Hey look at me, not at who I am, just what I look like!” It’s the same message regardless of whether you’re dressed as Slave Leia or Domo Kun.

          So, I think sexualizing cosplay is less of a problem than in other areas of life. For whatever reason, when you cosplay you’re creating a persona, a fantasy to show off to other people. It’s not demeaning to tailor that fantasy to attract the most attention, your whole point is attracting attention and an excellent way to do so is by playing to the tastes of your audience. Exhibitionists are about the last group of people you need to worry about being objectified by the male gaze.

          I would be much more likely to agree with the post if it had been about a lack of non-sexualized female characters to cosplay as, or taking issues with cosplay itself.

      2. Only accepting someone because they’re sexy is freaking ridiculous, if that’s what gaming culture is like I’m glad I’m not part of it. For the people who are there must be some positive ways to solve this problem though. There were and are lots of exelent and coragous spies who were female. We need a Jane Bond and a Jane bond game. Yeah popular culture presenting principal characters with angency who are female.

  8. I am in geek culture, but not a person who goes to cons. I do not at all see that girls are only accepted if they’re sexy. In fact, since there are less girls than guys, girls are pretty much universally accepted in geek circles. Then you get into the problem of the under-socialized geek boys who don’t know how to act around a girl…but that’s another issue. I would like some sort of proof that girls that aren’t scantily clad aren’t accepted. If the basis of that is who gets the most superficial attention and has their pictures posted the most…well that’s the whole basis of that kind of attention *anywhere*. Beautiful, sexy people (men and women) get more attention than other people. It’s the way it will always be, regardless of what the current standard of beauty is. And there will always be an idealized version of beauty in our culture. People are always trying to top other people, and there will always be extremes. Trying to control all this because it plays into the insecurities of some people (or whatever other reason) is futile. Just like in the general population, women want to look sexy. Have you gone to the Halloween costume shop? All the female costumes are the sexy version of snow white, witches, doctors, etc. It’s not because men won’t accept them if they’re not dressed that way, it’s because they want to be sexy. And individual women have their own individual reasons for that.

  9. Blackcat wrote

    “The problem is that women who dress sexy, who frame themselves as sex objects, are rewarded by geek culture for doing so.”

    I understand the reasons why you might say that when their are gynosexuals who don’t respect female sexuaity, but isn’t that a very negative and devaluing view of female sexuality? Should we let people who don’t respect sexuality or women as sexual beings dictate the agenda for all of us? I’m gynosexual and respect female sexuality because it’s wonderful. There are so many cultural forces like slut shaming that want to shut female sexuality down. why not respect the sexuality of people of all sexes and genders along with everything else about us.

  10. Wny isn’t there a critical skeptical analysis of the so called “geek culture”? Is it truly defined by ComicCon with scantilly clad “geeks”? To me geek culture is Skepchick, Stephen Hawking, Benson Honeydew and Beeker of the Muppet Show to name a few. Walk into any medical school classroom and you will find a room full of men and women geeks. I can assure you that as a physician who works in a teaching hospital, absolutely none of the brilliant women medical students dress up like Princess Leia slave girl. Are the vast majority of brilliant geeky women (atheist, scientists, physicians, etc..) being truly defined by something as pathetic as a convention devoted to comic books? If the author of this article or anyone else here truly thinks that way, I seriously think that they have an extremely narrow concept of geek culture. They should have a sit down and chat with any woman medical student who stays up late at nights not reading comics or playing video games but is burning the midnight oil studying for her boards. Now that my friends is the geek culture we should all be proud that women are a part of.

    1. Got it…sorry no one asked for your input on defining one of those cultural memes that usually grow spontaneously out of shared experiences. I’m sure it would have been a fascinating forum discussion differentiating between the “high” geek culture of a blind muppet with his abused assistant who only speaks in “meeps” and those low-brow comic books.

      “Are the vast majority of brilliant geeky women (atheist, scientists, physicians, etc..) being truly defined by something as pathetic as a convention devoted to comic books? If the author of this article or anyone else here truly thinks that way, I seriously think that they have an extremely narrow concept of geek culture.” Look, I get it, you want a broader definition (pick from about 50 of ’em I guess, since it’s essentially a self-description). I’m not sure how you create a less narrow definition when you derogate one aspect of “geek culture” (an aspect that the Skepchicks take part in: http://skepchick.org/2011/08/vaccinations-at-dragoncon/) to hold up your own personal preference as something more pure. It’s like LARPers shunning Furries!

      “They should have a sit down and chat with any woman medical student who stays up late at nights not reading comics or playing video games but is burning the midnight oil studying for her boards. Now that my friends is the geek culture we should all be proud that women are a part of.”

      So, geek culture should only be defined by hyper-educated individuals with no social lives? That’s pretty much a textbook narrowing of a concept.

      Whether comic books, video games, science fiction and fantasy are pathetic is up to one’s preferences I suppose, but there is a lot of crossover between those comic book “geeks” you so smugly dismiss and your single-minded, machine-like doctors who apparently, if my understanding of your idea of useful pursuits is correct, apparently will never indulge in Spider-Man…ever (since you speak for all of them).

      Besides, what kind of assholes waste all their time on pathetic pursuits like bullshit genre stuff?

      ‘The famed American science-fiction author, Frederick Pohl said that Stephen Hawking told him that he “spent most of his first couple of years at Cambridge reading science fiction (and I believe that, because his grades weren’t all that great).”‘ http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/09/hawking-plans-s.html

      ‘The true story of Hanny’s Voorwerp is now a comic book produced by two art and design students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville under the guidance of researcher Pamela Gay in the SIUE Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Research, Education and Outreach. It will be released nationally Sept. 3.’ http://www.prweb.com/releases/SIUE/art_science/prweb4438564.htm

      Comic Con 2009: “Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait moderated a panel exploring the relationship between science and science fiction. On hand to offer their opinions were Caprica executive producer and writer Jane Espenson, Eureka creator Jamie Paglia, Eureka and Virtuality science consultant Kevin Grazier, as well as Fringe screenwriters Rob Chiappetta and Glenn Whitman, and neuroscientist Ricardo Gil da Costa. The panel was put on by the Science and Entertainment Exchange and Discover magazine.” http://io9.com/5321798/wait-so-theres-science-in-science-fiction

      My apologies if my hobbies have caused you such offense that associating with them causes such a priggish, visceral response. If it’s all too much for you, we could go back to the original meaning of the term “geek” and only reference weird and morbid carnival acts, so neither the OCD future healers of the world or the folks dressed like Doctor Who will have claim to the word.

  11. In your support, Scribe, my wife is a doctor as is my son and many of our friends. I was friends with her fellow students in the seventies and they were enthusiastic gamers (though not on computers in those days) and also huge SF and Dr Who fans, and loved costume parties.

    We still do! In short, ragdish is not getting invited to the right sort of parties!

    Life is all too short and therefore to be enjoyed – every single precious moment! You actually have to throw it on the ground and fuck it before it’s too late! (Check out XKCD re breast cancer- that’s what we are going through right now.)

    I note also, many surgeons are fanatical gamers and regard it as essential practice for honing their hand-eye coordination. I personally sat behind a pair on a plane on the way to a conference in Singapore. Doom 3 IIRC.

    1. Honestly, did I explicitly state that geeks were only doctors devoid of imagination, wonder or a social life? Did I say anything at all about SF? I merely stated that the author was misleading by implicating that women can only get acceptance into the “geek culture” by dressing up slutty. Medical students is but one example among many. Geek has so many different contextual meanings that the author failed to grasp.

        1. Point taken. My apologies to ComicCon fans. It was not my intent to offend. I was terribly incensed by the article. I felt that the author underestimated “geeky” women. Since high school all of the women I knew were geeky and I have never encountered any of them being pressured to dress a certain way to be a geek. Indeed, historically the frumpy dress style and lack of make-up was considered to be geek. Today however geeks come in all shapes and forms. Even the stereotypical jock and cheerleader in high school venture into geekdom. Geeks now like to dress sexy and frumpy or even both. It’s absolutely great that geek now has less and less of a negative connotation. BUT, IMO the author seemed to be hyperinflating a very small slice of the entire geek pie and claiming that geeky women are defined by it.

  12. So, the day after I read the article pointing out the Slave Leia problem, I get a link to this site.

    I’d love to see a movement form to have a group of women pick images from this site and use them for their cosplay at the next Dragon*Con, GenCon or Origins.

  13. Personally, I’ve cosplayed both sexy & not. And I’ve always had fun. I’d like to think that I was doing it for me, for the fun of dress up, for the fun of interacting with other women (and men) dressing up & geeking out… but I don’t know. Maybe there is some underlying motivation to be “accepted”. There is certainly a lot of pressure for women to look a certain way, and weigh the “right” amount. I’ve no doubt that if I were heavier, that I would’ve had a lot of snarky comments about dressing up for the cons.

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