So I ignored the G33k and G4m3r Girls song/video when I first saw it in my RSS in a “who cares?” kind of way. These kinds of videos come out all the time and I ignore most of them. But my husband follows some of the same feeds that I do so I watched it when he got home from work.
What I saw made me react in a few ways, not the least of which was “meh” with a dash of “seriously?!” In short, my interest was piqued by the title (“ooh something about me”) and lost by the contents (“oh wait, these women don’t speak for me at all” *sad face*).
For those who haven’t seen the video I’m talking about, watch it here for context.
A guest blogger on Geekfeminism.org articulated, I think, much better than I can what irked me about this video:
Now, let me get a few things straight: I’m a geek. I’m a gamer. And I’m a woman. … The video is not aimed at the women it is purporting to celebrate: it is straight-up pandering to the largely sexist, male-centric geek subculture. It is geek women served up for the male gaze on a shiny latex platter.
This video perpetuates the idea that we’re only in it for the male attention: it’s a list of geeky references wrapped up in skinny, conventionally beautiful white girls wrapped up in sexy outfits.
It can be hard for a female geek/nerd to get along in this subculture. One way to deal with not fitting in is to act in the very manner we’re reinforced to act by the hyper-hetero-male, sexist, racist, and homophobic dominant “class” (not that all geeks are like that, of course). So I get it. These women have had a lot of positive reinforcement for being young, pretty, and geeky.
Besides, why get labeled a frigid bitch with no sense of humor when you can just laugh things off or ignore? It’s much easier to do the latter and fit in.
Oddly, one of the girls in this video appeared as a hyper-aggressive FPS gamer in the online geek show The Guild (for example). This character seemed to be subverting the caricature of the “geek woman trying to hard to fit in with the guys” by calling such explicit attention to her behaviour in a negative light. (Not that I’m saying she couldn’t simply have this personality – or perhaps I’m overthinking the context – but that was my impression.) So I was a bit surprised to see this particular woman in the G33k & G4m3r Girls video unironically embodying the very stereotype she was previously a part in making fun of.
G33k and G4m3r Girls doesn’t make me feel included. It makes me feel objectified. And I’m not even in the video. This video does nothing to prove geek and gamer girls really exist – it proves that some geek and gamer girls are still willing to do almost anything to fit into a subculture that fundamentally disrespects them.
For clearly expressing why G33k & G4m3r Girls may not be what it thinks it is by pointing out that I am a geek/gamer and not “someone’s girlfriend”, Geekfeminist.org, and especially guest blogger Metaneira, are collectively my Nerd of the Week.
PS: Why didn’t last month’s Fuck Me Ray Bradbury bother me in the slightest? I think maybe it’s because many elements of the Bradbury video seem to subvert the male ideal by sarcastically borrowing imagery from pop culture icons like Britney Spears and featuring lyrics about the sex appeal of a 90-year-old man’s intellect and talent. So are these videos fundamentally different, where one is humorous parody and one is hopelessly taking itself too seriously? I think so. Or am I being a hypocrite?