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The Struggles of a Fake Geek Girl

Social justice is a very broad topic, but one topic that comes up frequently by most is one of the first causes behind which people have rallied: feminism and treated females fairly.

Females make up about 51% of the population, and control a considerable amount of spending power. However, women are not always treated fairly, and are not always taken seriously, within the realm of business, neither as businesspeople or as consumers. One example of this is shown below.

Fake Geek Girl

A rather recent and niche complaint is that of the “Fake Geek Girl”.

A guy making the same mistake wouldn’t be ridiculed and laughed out of a comic store

This phenomenon came to public (non-comic book) attention when comic book artist Tony Harris wrote a scathing Facebook status about said “Fake Geek Girls”.

tony harris

The thing about branding all women as “fake geeks” means that you are inadvertently branding all men as “pathetic”. Catch 22, I guess.

This phenomenon is a completely false and made up one. Girls have always read comics, been interested in “geeky” things, and participated in these things. It’s just a furthering of the idea that whatever girls do, they do for men. It is a continuation of the male gaze: a girl dresses up as a superhero in a skimpy outfit? Doing it to attract men. A girl walks into a comic book store? Doing it to attract men. A girl goes to see Iron Man 3 in theatres? Doing it to attract men. It’s a very common trope used in everything from movies to marketing that women only do things for men, and people fall for it every time.

It is not only a stupid concept, but it has been disproved. 40% of comic book fans are women, so how can you say that “women only read comics to attract men?”

How to Learn from Tony Harris

Women are an important demographic, making up 51% of the world’s population, yet they are still not taken seriously by many companies, and indeed, many industries. Being misogynistic is an easy way to lose half of your target market. And the easiest way to not do that is not to do research, it isn’t even to talk to women; it’s to think “if I were a woman, would I be offended by this? Would I not want to buy this product because of this?” Facebook is especially bad for this, since you don’t have a word limit like Twitter (of course that’s not to say it can’t happen over Twitter).

The Struggle is Real

While this post is about females specifically, the lesson learned can be applied to any demographic: buying power is buying power, whether you are  a women, an ethnic minority, handicapped, etc. And any business that deliberately does not care about a portion of its target demographic  is not doing itself any favours. 

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Works cited

Berkey, Rachel. "Can DC Stop Killing Their Darlings? Please?" Hello Giggles. N.p., 9 Aug.2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
Comics Beat. The Beat, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog. WordPress.com, 26 Aug. 2007. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/ faq-what-is-the-%E2%80%9Cmale-gaze%E2%80%9D/>.
Harris, Tony. "Weblog post." Tony Effing Harris. Facebook, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <https://www.facebook.com/tony.harris.313/posts/4441714834591>.
Know Your Meme. Cheezeburger, Inc, 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/idiot-nerd-girl>.
Kuitenbrouwer, Peter. "Two Toronto firefighters terminated over ‘unacceptable’ sexist tweets, third reportedly fired over Facebook post." National Post 16 Sept. 2013: n. pag. National Post.Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/09/16/ two-toronto-firefighters-terminated-over-unacceptable-sexist-tweets-third-reportedly-fired-over-facebook-post/>.
Statistics Canada. Government of Canada, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.
Time Magazine 2013. Time U.S. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://content.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,2031700,00.html>.

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