It’s been a long while since I talked about me & my Vulcan. Autism is a topic that I like to talk about from time to time when exciting things happen. The other day we went to have a pint with an old neighbor of ours to a nearby pub. As you know, my Vulcan has High Functioning Autism, aka HFA. He went out of the autistic closet, and to our surprise, our old neighbor told us about his group at Uni where people talk about diversity of all types. One of the girls has HFA too. In trying to explain how she feels when talking to people she had a brilliant idea: let’s talk to walls.
At first sight, this might seem silly. But, we’ve tried it as soon as we came back home and it works. I’m the neurotypical illogical part of this partnership that is going to celebrate ten years of happy entanglement. For me, it’s hard to understand what happens in my Vulcan’s head. However, there’s always a new way to get to understand my sweetie. It looks like walls work miracles!
I’ve been struggling with the idea of writing this post about how not to send fanmail EVER for more than a week now. Just because I did send the fanmail and… I had no shame while the crime was on the works. Or at least I wasn’t in my best mindset. Never binge watch a show while taking a beer and then go near a keyboard. Seriously: you can end up finding a mail you sent to your mailbox in Facebook (oh crap!) days later and surprise yourself. What was I thinking!? Not all the facepalms in the world can capture the feeling I felt when I found out what I had done… Seriously? [I obviously cannot be left alone at home… someone create a dagger, put my name on it and control me, please!]
So, this is how not to send fanmail EVER! [Read carefully, and whatever happens, do not follow my steps into the darkness. It’s dangerous!]
This week’s lessons on Geek Anthropology is about stereotypes on teen fangirls. Have you ever wondered why people hate teen fangirls? Or why people hate the things that teen girls love? The reaction that we have towards teen fangirls, or young fangirls while fangirling on something they love is diminishing at best. We judge them, make fun of them, and if we happen to like the same things they do, we hide all about it. But why? Blame cultural misogyny and outdated stereotypes on teen fangirls, young fangirls, and grown up fangirls. But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
Do you remember when you were a teenager, and you were passionate about something? Have you let your feelings flourish just for fun? If so, why we keep on diminishing teen fangirls?
This week’s lessons on Geek Anthropology is about the acceptance of women in fandom compared with the acceptance of white men in fandom. Finding your way into the geek culture and fandom can be challenging for women. While men are quickly accepted, women are tested about their intentions. It is true that times have changed quite a bit and that women can enter without much ado in certain circles. However, the stereotypes on geek girls and fake geek girls are alive and making things difficult for those who decide to enter into the realm of fandoms and geekdom.
One of the main barriers still existing is the hostility girls face when entering certain male-dominated fandoms or geek realms, like comics. Women-friendly comic book stores have been popping out recently, but many women find themselves in uncomfortable situations every time they want to explore a comic book store. Talking with friends, I discovered that the main reason many order their comics online is to skip the same comments and questions of the creepy local comic book store. All of this is due to stereotypes that make it hard to the community to accept women in comics or women in other fandoms.
So, I decided to take part in Fandom Friday starting with my 5 most binge worthy shows. The idea of 5 Fandom Friday was started up by Super Space Chick, and I found it out at the Nerdy Girlie. It’s fun and a great way to know more things nerdy. So, yup, though I start up on a Saturday, let’s take a look at my 5 most binge worthy shows!
1. Star Trek.
It might sounds as a little bit extreme but, binge watching the entire franchise is a delight. Prepare pillows, lots of beverages and chips to last you some months. You are surely going to explore new worlds and entering into the madness realm. This is an extreme binge watch plan that can entertain you for a long time. Beware though: you’ll end up trying to comply or using Qapla’ more than usual.
What happens when the mainstream makers do not deliver what fans want? Very simple: they do it themselves. The “do it yourself” (DIY) phenomenon is not only something related to crafts, but also a very deep trait of fandom. When a mainstream maker does not deliver what the audience wants, the audience will eventually create what they want.
One recent example of fans creating for fans is the unofficial “Loki movie” called “Loki, Brother of Thor”. Fans of Loki have been demanding a solo Loki movie for a long time now. Tired of waiting, some fans have decided to take action and create a solo Loki movie editing the existing Marvel movies, creating a version of the events using available material.
This not only happens with movies, it also happens with cosplay dresses, t-shirts, jewelry, shoes, and all sorts of different merchandising. Traditionally, fan fiction and fan art have been the realms of the “DIY” expression. Fans who wanted things to happen in the movies, but didn’t happen write down the alternate stories. Others, decide to create for themselves, as well as for others, goodies that would love to have bought from the mainstream makers.
On Thursday I wrote about the need of having a female superhero portrayed correctly on the big screen. I did not talk about a strong woman, but a real counterpart for the superhero: a real female superhero who stands alone and has the same status among her peers, male and female. (You can read the post here.) I focused on was the portrayal of women in superhero movies, which happen to be based on comics. As usual, I posted my ideas in my Facebook page, my wall, and to a new group that I created on Thursday, so that I had a space to discuss comics, movies, geek/nerd culture, etc, comfortably, from an anthropological point of view. Hours later, I got some interesting comments from different men, one of which could be interpreted as the Test.
First of all, what is the Test? If you are a geek girl you might have been subject to the Test, which can come in a subtle way (lists or references to what the male considers you do not know because you are an outsider), or a direct way (a bunch of questions about the geeky topic you’ve talked about and surely you don’t really know). In both cases, the Test happens when a geek male resists to believe that there is a true geek girl in front of him.
There are two possible interpretations that can be applied to the comments that I got:
The Test. It came in shape of a link to Wikipedia stressing out the existing female superheroes. This could be considered as a subtle way of subjecting someone to the Test.
Lack of understanding. The person who commented did not read or understand the post.
The one that interests me is the comment which shows up the Test. Why? Because it shows up the problem existing in the Geek/Nerd community when a woman expresses openly her geekiness. Stereotypes surrounding women make it difficult for them to comfortably enter and enjoy the same status into the geek/nerd subculture as their male counterparts do.
I have recently started to watch the Big Bang Theory. Though a friend of mine introduced me to it years ago, I simply disregarded it because it didn’t appeal to me too much: there were way too many stereotypes. Recently, despite the stereotypes, I’ve decided to watch it from another perspective and analyze some of its characters: Sheldon Cooper (the nerd who seems to have HFA and OCD) and Leonard Hofstadter (the neurotypical geek).
Sheldon Cooper does show traits of having HFA. However he is an extreme stereotype of what a nerd with HFA might be. So he can be extremely enervating, specially for a non-geek neurotypical. Let’s see some of his traits:
He has a high IQ and a photographic memory. He remembers everything like if it were a movie, and can tell you exactly when and what happened, and which were your words. In fact, he seems to have photographic memory and think with images (very much like Temple Grandin does.)
He has interests in many different things, and he does know deeply about all of those interests. Ask, and he’ll tell you all about them.
He does not like physical contact. Hugging is an issue for him.
Being alone is being at peace. He gets nervous with people around, but being alone does not affect him in any way, in fact, it is Heaven.
Back in the 80s, kids used to collect trading cards. For some reason, at the age of 4, I got an unfinished album from one of my cousins. And, for some reason, I needed to finish it up (along with all the sweets you needed to eat in order to get the trading cards). The album we’ve saved from oblivion is from the end of the 70s, but the collection lasted as long as for me to collect the missing trading cards! It means that the same collection of trading cards lasted during years, giving the collectors time enough to end up the whole collection.
“The book of riddles” has a total of 266 trading cards and it is accurate and complete. However, it is not the type of album a 4yo of the 80s would be willing to fill up. It looks like it is meant for older kids with more knowledge than a 4yo has. Whatever the case, it is a relic and a funny album to possess, specially if you take a look at the “technology” section. They imagined the future in funny ways. Another section that also makes you giggle is the “money” section. In there you can take a look to old European currencies, along with very old international bills. It makes you think how fast we’ve changed.
Two days ago, in a local bookstore, I found these two books: “Modernet de Merda” (“Hipster” in “negative slang”) and “Yo fui a EGB” (“I went to the old schooling system”). So, why did I buy these books? I bought the one of EGB (Educación General Básica, or Basic General Education; which was the old schooling system in the 80s) just because of nostalgia. And the Hipster one I bought it out of lame curiosity, to know what a local hipster does… (Later on I kind of regretted the decision… local hipsters are… too weird for my standards!)
Yo fui a EGB is like a small dictionary of objects and things people who studied under that system used to have. It also displays a way of doing things that has long been forgotten by so many. Thanks to this book, many memories came back (including ice creams, manga, films, TV series, computers…) But I found out that there were things that were missing in the equation. The book did not include all the artifacts I used to surround myself with. (And here came the shiver throughout my spine!) This book is cool, but it does not really include all the geekery I had (or still have stored in my old room). It is a good example for exercising your memory, remembering the bullies at school, but it lacks all the geekery I was used to. I must say that thanks to it, already forgotten stuff from my childhood came as a flash into my mind: OMG! I was such a geek! (+ with nerdy tendencies)
Modernet de Merda is like a guidebook to become a local hipster. The problem I have with the book is the clearly derogatory title it has: “modernet” could be translated as “fashionista,” but it literally refers to “a little modern guy”. “De Merda” means “shit”. And it is clearly derogatory. Even if local hipsters assure you that the wording is “cool,” I find it misleading. So, we could translate the wording in English, trying to be literal, as “Shit fashionista”. But in fact, this wording refers to hipsters! (Thus my astonishment!) It seems that they refer to themselves using this negative wording, but they take it “cool” (while those who are not hipsters are taking it, obviously, as very negative). I must admit that, years outside my own country make some stuff difficult to swallow. And this type of wording is one of them. Who on Earth would like to be called like that? Why not just using the word “hipster”?? Wouldn’t it be easier?? (Who knows… but there is an English-word-phobia that makes folks use weird combinations instead of using easy words like “hipster”, and this just makes things more difficult.) This guidebook explains all the ins and outs of local hipsters in Barcelona, and it also includes a test to know if you are one. (The test is quite stupid, btw.)