Fedorable – Faux Geeks

I already saw the photo from Wonder Con. It is of a T-Shirt that says this.


So what’s wrong with it? Well? 

I am aware that there are geeks who despise the fact that our culture has become mainstream. To which I have said “Are you crazy? Women are not repelled by comic books, will watch Doctor Who and we have seen the Avengers become a high budget movie.”

Geek culture is finally cool. And you know what? So what if people are taking part in it. Are we to ban musclebound jocks from owning smart phones? Must I knock people operating a Nokia 1020 to the ground and yell “Fuck You! You are poser! Your 41 MP camera is ruining photography! DSLR for life! Posers!”

No. That would make me a douchebag. That would make me the jock of my culture and a stereotype, denying groups acceptance simply due to me being part of a cultural mainstream. You cannot possibly be a real geek if you do not appreciate D&D or obscure comic books.

There are geeks who bemoan the fact that we are now popular because their erstwhile tormentors now dress and act like us doing the same things we were once bullied for. Guess what? That is the same in so many different cultures. Perhaps we should let go of the anger of our youth and stop thinking that people don’t grow.

And what is the point in getting angry and raging against jocks wearing fake glasses. My cousin wears fake glasses, it rather amuses me since my glasses are actually pretty expensive (I have a pretty hefty prescription so require HI lenses and those cost. I do actually have a pair of lenses cut for me from standard plastic and let us just say that it is a proper coke bottle prescription. One of the things you guys reading and donating paid for was a proper pair of glasses that don’t make me look like I mugged Urkel)

It is no secret that there is a sizeable overlap between communities of atheism, MRA and indeed the geek community.

For a long while we have been an entirely male dominated community. And in this we create an echo chamber and deny people outside our groups who may not share our exact ideals membership of said groups.

For instance? Pro-Life atheists. I know they exist. But I also know that they are wrong about what they think. I don’t think atheism is ruined by inter-atheism differences. I don’t mind that people like Penn Jillette exist, I do think they are wrong though and when they push their ideals I am entitled to voice my opinion. I do think that people like Pat Condell are harmful as they propose an anti-theistic view built on ignorance and hearsay and gossip rather than reality.

I oppose the MRA not because I dislike men but because what they propose is damaging women’s rights rather than actually helping men.

And the problem is the “Fedora”. The intersection of Geek and MRA. Misogyny is very real and entrenched within all of geek culture. Comics, Games… you name it. The Fedora is the term used to describe the person who is the stereotype. The social overconfidence and frankly terrible opinions turn any even into a toxic miasma. This can be sexism, it can be homophobia or racism too. But it’s most visible format is sexism.

But our world is changing. It is becoming more open.

And the last thing we need are people trying to keep geek exclusive and forgetting the reason why we used to be exclusive. It wasn’t because we were cool, but because we were pariahs. We need to change and this means changes in our media and in the way we behave.

This is what we wanted.


  1. Jeremy Shaffer says

    There are geeks who bemoan the fact that we are now popular because their erstwhile tormentors now dress and act like us doing the same things we were once bullied for.

    Um, doesn’t that last part sort of mean we won?

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Butbut…my geeky daughter loves wearing a fedora! Why must that noble hat be maligned by associating it with these no-nothings?

    If I saw someone wearing that shirt, I think I’d read it as “I hate girls.” I wouldn’t be able to parse that as being gay, because I don’t know any gay guys who hate women. So the only reading that would make sense would be “I hate everybody. Stay far away from me.” Which I certainly would.

  3. jedibear says

    I wasn’t really bullied in school. Between an early growth spurt, growing to a massive size, playing football, and going to a weird high school where the Drama Club was the Cool Kids, I might have been socially isolated, but I never got stuffed into a locker. I don’t think that does anything to diminish my geekly bona fides.

    I’d much rather have women around than guys who don’t want women around. More diverse perspectives in the community make for a deeper fan experience. Being mainstream has its downsides (there’s an argument as to how much geek blockbusters celebrate geek culture versus how much they appropriate it,) but the chance to talk to women about the things that interest us without their eyes glazing over is *not* one of them.

    I hate coffee and like fedoras. It’s unfair that such a fine hat has become associated with a certain type of man who wears his own ass for a hat.

  4. angharad says

    I heard something about that t shirt but I didn’t go look it up. It’s quite a slap in the face. Honestly that’s what seeing it felt like. And I say that as a 40 year old woman with such a solid history of geekery behind me that I don’t think anyone would question my credentials. My lacking in self confidence and social skills 15 year old self would have run away (and possibly not come back). But then that’s the point isn’t it.

    Also when idiots say ‘it’s not misogyny unless they say they hate women’, can we point to this now?

  5. Ysanne says

    What angharad said.
    Fangirls are not an indicator of geek stuff going mainstream. There have always been geek girls. The kind of asshole who wears such a T-Shirt may not have noticed because people, geek or non-geek, female or male, probably don’t want to have a lot to do with him for obvious reasons.

  6. says

    I’m waiting for some Evo-Psych research that shows how you can only be a geek/nerd/whatever if you have a cis-penis. And are presumably white.
    Really, they are saying that half the world’s population is NOT allowed to like certain things. Because!
    And I guess there’s an overlap between those people and those who say shit like “women have it so good, I would love it if women were constantly pestering me for sex”

  7. MadHatter says

    Absolutely Giliell! As a 30-something girl with a long history of geekery I can say that I was both invisible, and unwanted by the geek males who complained bitterly about all the girls who wouldn’t give them the time of day. They were also the first ones to turn on you if you displayed any geek trivia greater than their own.

    I quit trying to involve myself and stuck to lone pursuits very early on because of it.

  8. MadHatter says

    girl == woman…I started writing about being a kid and forgot to fix it…fail.

  9. Jeremy Shaffer says

    jedibear at 6- I love The Guild. I don’t think I had seen that video before. Thanks!

  10. says

    Do you know “The Gamers 2″? There’s a scene where the young woman walks into the Comic shop and I swear I’ve been that woman.
    Every time I ventured outside of my private geeky circle which is a group of trusted friends I encountered a hostile climate where I was treated like “you must have gotten here by accident, let me show you the way out” while those guys simultaneously thought that just because they were male and I was female it meant something.

  11. MadHatter says

    I always thought I was just pretending Ysanne :D

    Giliell, professional cynic -ilk- … yep I do know it, and yea I’ve been there too.

  12. brucegee1962 says

    The more I think about this, the angrier I get.

    My daughter is 13 — always the worst age for bullying. But she’s been fortunate enough to go to a school where there are lots of smart kids — the “nerd herd,” they call themselves — so she’s never been made to feel inferior because of the things like Dr. Who and anime that she enjoys.

    I haven’t been able to take her to any sf cons in the past due to geography and financial constraints, but she wants to go with an incandescent want that 13-year-olds have. And we may be able to afford to go to cons soon.

    So what this dude’s is telling me is that her first experience of being scorned for what she likes may come AT A FUTURE SF CONVENTION. That is so very, very wrong it makes me want to scream. Get rid of these guys NOW before she shows up, ok?

  13. besomyka says

    Y’all are probably sick of me continually mentioning this, but my adoration for The Doubleclicks is limitless. They did video of their song Nothing To Prove, and turned one of the cards from a supporter that read “There are no fake geeks, only real jerks” into t-shirt which I proudly wear to my game dev job :p

    I also joined Gaming’s Feminist Illuminati. , just to make sure they knew where I stood (well, I bought a t-shirt… I think that counts).

    While I’m at it, y’all might be interested in Elizabeth Simins’ zine that she curates: It’s Just A Game. There are so many awesome geeky women making wonderful things, and I’d count myself among them although the ‘awesome’ qualifier for me is a bit presumptuous.. Simins’ stuff is defiantly awesome, and she find other artists just as fantastic, if not better!

  14. geekgirlsrule says

    I was going to yell about the fact that fangirls/geekgirls have ALWAYS BEEN HERE, but others beat me to it.

    Every time one of those jerks acts like we’re just newly invading THEIR territory, I want to scream.

    I do, however, have the ultimate comic store trump card. I have Nightcrawler from the X-men tattooed on my calf. The last time someone started questioning my “cred” I just slid my sock down, flipped them off, and went back to looking at comics.

    The real problem is that ENOUGH women have started being involved in the wider geek culture, that these guys are starting to have to rethink their lifelong excuse for not getting dates, which is, “Women just don’t understand my hobbies.”

    Actually, women understand your hobbies just fine, you just happen to be a douche.

    Painful self-reflection is not something we, as a species, are good at.

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