Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I've got a heart on my right, one on my left, neither suits my needs

"You can wear it or use it as home decor." The hell you say. (Image NSFW. Text NSFW. Title likely NSFW. Will need to have Adult enabled on the Marketplace to see it anyway.)

Some time ago, I brought up Tony Harris, who aimed a rather high-powered weapon, all things considered, directly at his feet--and shot himself with great accuracy. I know it's been a while, but I felt this was important enough to revisit.

Now at this point, yes, one-third of the men involved in these various misogynistic controversies have apologized (and by that, I mean Dirk Manning, not Harris or Joe Peacock, who trotted out his girls-are-icky speech clear back in July). Which, considering the level of ire, is a good thing. (And that one man has done everything he could to distance himself from the inevitable, and, some would even say, wholly deserved, backlash.)

How'ver, that still leaves Harris, and Peacock, and that specific sector of the male geek population who believes these things are true just because.

First, let's explore some of the divisions. Let's play who's who as a touchstone for this round of dissection:

Which one's the cosplayer, and which one's the 'booth babe'? This one, or this one? The latter actually bills herself as a 'booth babe', but that's partially because she's a professional model for game companies, in addition to being a freelance fashion designer and artist. She also makes her own costumes, which most other models would disdain doing. Like this one, while we're on the topic--which she managed to bring in at under $200, exclusive of wig and sword.

And of course, they're both cosplaying Black Canary:

(from the dolly album, because this is actually the action figure version)

Since that's actually Black Canary's costume, including fishnets, where's the line between sexual titillation and costume accuracy, then?

Or what about this one, versus this? They're both portraying Ivy from Soul Caliber:

(from the dolly album, because Ivy's still pretty much an action figure)

Both Crystal and Belle Chere make their own costumes, too. In Crystal's case, not only did she tear apart and substantially recut the fabric from three separate dresses to make Ivy's lingerie-and-jacket-tails outfit, but she cast the pauldron and the sword. It's not Ivy's usual whipsword, but it was hand-cast by Crystal.

Meanwhile, not only does Belle Chere have one of the most drop-dead perfect Jessica Rabbits on the planet, but she manages to make the Marvel outfit I hate most look decent. And she also made everything you see in the Ivy cosplay, from pauldron to boots, whipsword to dying and cutting her hair.

So what's the dividing line between a "true" geek girl, and a "fake" geek girl, and why does anyone care? Which brings us back neatly to Tony Harris:
Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: "Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you. Some of us are aware that you are ever so average on an everyday basis. But you have a couple of things going your way. You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as "CON-HOT". Well not by my estimation, but according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU.
That's a direct quote from Harris' Facebook rant which started the second round of misogyny off with a bang. I corrected nothing, and there's more of it, this is just what I thought of as the "best" extract.

Let's break it down.
  1. You're not hot. Bitches.
  2. You're more pathetic than real nerds...who are also pathetic.
  3. We know you all hate us. Bitches.
  4. You're not as smart as we are, either.
  5. You're all sluts.
  6. Did I mention you're not attractive? You're just thin and ugly, or fat with cleavage.
  7. All you've got going for you is boobs.
  8. "Con-hot" is an insult, by the way.
  9. Almost all geeks are virgins, or severely socially malajusted, and they never speak to girls. Because you're all bitches.
  10. Just go die somewhere out of view. You can't be trusted, so go away.
So, what does this tell us about Harris, other than he's a jerk? First, that his starting insult out of the bag for anything regarding the female gender is "you're not hot". So in his estimation, either women are trying to hard--and are damn unattractive doing it--or they're absurdly hot, and thus, not "real" geek girls. Where does this leave costumers who make their own costumes, based on characters they love? Bring up Paolo Horstmann, for instance, and we think he's an amazing guy celebrating the characters and design of a game he loves. We see him at conventions, or out shopping, and we think he does amazing stuph for his fandom. Why does this feeling change when gender does?

Let's bring up Yaya Han, and keep it in the game territory, because she's got a drop-dead stunning Lulu from Final Fantasy.

For those who don't know, this is Lulu, in the strappy "Black Mage" outfit she spends a large part of this particular game in:

(from the dolly album)

And this is Yaya Han's handmade cosplay variant:

(from the dolly album)

Were I Ms. Han, I might have tea-dyed the lace, over hand-painting it in pastels, and that belted skirt looks like it would be heavy as hell. Still, detail by detail, she's close to costume-accurate, and more to the point, she not only has fairly close facial features, but she has the curves of the game character, too.

But according to Mr. Harris, and tangentially, Mr. Peacock, they feel like seeing someone like Ms. Han--attractively garbed in a revealing costume, makeup artfully applied, breasts and legs partially hidden, but still exposed...somehow "cheapens" their enjoyment of conventions. This is the part I don't get. Pretty girls tattooed with NVidia product names in short, black satin slip dresses? Okay, they're obviously cheesecake hires. A job's a job, but they don't have any interest in being there, beyond smiling the appropriate amount of times and trying to interest customers in their client's merchandise. Personally, I find nothing inherently offensive in 'showroom models', so to speak. I know there are folks that do, but I think these hires are distinct and separate from the women that Harris and Peacock seem to be going after.

And that, for me, is the main point. This is also going to spin out into at least one more part.

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