I went to a great panel at Comic-Con called “Oh You Sexy Geek.” They talked about sexy women proclaiming their geekhood for marketing purposes, you know the p word (pandering). They spent some time on cosplay (wearing costumes) and empowerment. It was primarily focused on women in geek and how they are treated. Both by geeks and the media. It really made me think long and hard about the word sexy. I know there seems to be some sort of consensus in mass media on what is sexy but I just don’t buy it.
Walk down any street in any country and you will see a multitude of different body types and looks. Most of them would not be given the chance to grace the cover of magazines. They would not be put into the 100 most sexy people list. I find it amusing that the concept of sexy in media is dominated by the smallest minority of people. I always tell my students that when they see a beautiful actress on TV to remember that what they are looking at is a small slice of society and by no means the only example of beauty.
The truth is sexy is going to be different for everyone. Beauty is everywhere. The mass media doesn’t get to decide for us. If they did I am sure they wouldn’t have allowed Christina Hendricks in the club. As a teacher, I think it is important to teach what it means to live healthy. I also think it is important for my students to understand they shouldn’t buy into the bill of goods that are being sold to them. If they do they will be chasing after illusionary pots of gold for the rest of their lives.
Which brings me back to the world of geek and the concept of pandering. I am a little insulted by the whole notion. I can’t be pandered to. I am a strong, funny, intelligent, kind, and good-looking man (even if sometimes I have trouble remembering it). You are not going to be able to trot a beautiful actress out in front of me and get me to start jumping through your hoops. You can’t pander to me because I am smart enough to know when people are shoveling shit. An actress or actor suddenly saying I am a geek doesn’t make me want to buy their product. It also doesn’t immediately lead me to wondering if they are being fake. Maybe they don’t know as much about a certain subject as me, doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be welcomed in with open arms because frankly I am about spreading the message of how cool the culture of geek is. Exclusion is petty and exhausting.
You know what I think is sexy? Women wearing their favorite geeky shirt. Eye glasses with lots of color. Intelligence and humor and kindness. The ability to surprise me. Strength and passion. A sense of wonder. I think being a geek is sexy and very little of it has to do with what the media wants to spoon feed us. It’s time for my lovely geek community to stop worry about who is or isn’t a geek. Our time would be much better spent spreading the culture of geek around the world. Then our takeover will be complete.