Posted by : Wendy B Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Since this entry is actually not about praising geekdom’s princess, I had better get my disclaimer out of the way in case this post be found by the mob and my life be made forfeit.

It's not that I dislike Felicia Day or her work. I liked The Guild initially, but grew bored – mainly with her character – and was very unimpressed with the subsequent comics. I don't care much for her contributions to Dragon Age, but I can't fault her for injecting her own headcanon and fanfic into something she loves. Okay, I suppose I'm not overly fond of her work, but if I had the money and influence, I'd be all over turning my fantasies into reality, too. She's living her dream and I certainly won't hate on her for that.

What I do hate is the bias surrounding her and her work as the epitome of female geekdom. She has been made into geekdom’s poster girl, resulting in this seemingly blind loyalty that puts her on a pedestal that leaves no room for all the other contributors to the industry – female and male. I feel similarly about Joss Whedon's supposed feminism. The way some people go on, you'd think he was the only male to ever write and promote "strong female charactersTM”.

And if you dare say anything against either of them, well. Let’s just say, I hope your insurance covers pitch forks, tar and feathering and general stake burnings.


In fairness, some of the vitriol that has been thrown at Day has been just that. Most recently, this guy ignorantly went after her via Twitter and has had to do some most pathetic backpedalling and apologizing that deserves a condescending pat on the head in appreciation for his unfortunate case of foot-in-mouth syndrome and a smack upside the head for his general stupidity.

I definitely do not approve of what he said and did - no one deserves such treatment - but I do disapprove of the consequent and continuous fan rally that claims it wants to end this kind of sexist treatment, but in truth, is really more focused on protecting Felicia Day than about ending the misogyny against female geeks. The "white knighting," that, as a friend points out, is a form of misogyny in itself. The rest of us female geeks might have boobs and vaginas, too. But we're no Felicia Day.

Championing the cause of Felicia Day is internet geek god, Wil Wheaton. If he catches wind of anything, fandom will mob mentality behind him. If he catches wind of anything against Felicia Day? Watch. Out.

Where was the fan rally around Aisha Tyler when she suffered the same ignorant hatred flung against her status as a female (and Black) geek? Unfortunately, the attacks against her had the misfortune of happening during the same week as another attack against Felicia Day. Apparently, the quota for fandom rallying was filled. Sorry Aisha.
Not that she needs the help...
What about all the rest of the female geeks that suffer such hateful indignities? Remember when Jennifer Hepler was called the "cancer" of Bioware? Will Anita Sarkeesian's project and the harassment she has dealt with be remembered for its role in trying to defeat this misogyny? How many people care about Burnyourbra's regular adventures in gamer sexism and racism? How about Melissa McEwan

Hell, as much as I hated having Diana Allers shoved onto my ship when Mass Effect already boasted two perfectly good reporters, I don’t hate Jessica Chobot and certainly don’t believe she deserves the venom that was spewed at her. Who came to her rescue?

Are they not famous enough? Cute enough? Oh I'm gonna say it... White enough?

Does it matter? They are women too and they are being assaulted for their gender while doing something they love.

Yes, there are causes and campaigns and websites and articles, but always always always these things can’t help but mention Felicia Day at the top of the list, as if she is the only female geek out there.

She is not my poster girl.

I’m much more interested in the Gail Simones and Aisha Tylers and Ann Nocentis and Rene Geerlings and  Ashley Ecksteins and Amanda Conners and Amy Reeders and everyone at The Mary Sue ...

Change has to happen somewhere, but I’m tired of it only focusing on one person. If Felicia Day magically disappeared today, the geek female movement would still exist and do just fine without her because of the myriad of other contributors to the cause.

Of course, if Felicia Day magically disappeared today, her name would be submitted for sainthood and a million more shrines would be built in her honour….

4 Responses so far.

  1. Dang. First, the term "white knight" is totally gross and implies that women can never have allies against patriarchy because it's "just" men who have been coerced through sex or are just acting out of an expectation of sex. It removes agency.

    Second, I am amazed that you think the Day/Perez debacle was given so much more attention that any other woman lately. The Jennifer Hepler shitstorm was all over the internet and the media. Anita Sarkeesian's Kickstarter made $160,000 -- are you really saying that her issues were ignored by a larger crowd? You're perpetuating the idea that fighting oppression is a zero-sum game. We don't lose out on caring about Feminist Frequency because we also care about not having a female gamer icon be portrayed as nothing but boobs.

    And hey, I get it -- I'm a fat, older feminist geek. I'm not going to inspire any supporters simply because I'm cute. But what you're doing here, in my opinion, is blaming Ms. Day for being attractive and that is pretty uncool of you.

  2. Ugh, this "blaming her for being attractive" thing again. Plenty of the other women mentioned in this post are just as attractive. That's one thread I always see in any post that mentions Felicia Day that isn't praising her. It's always that same regurgitated phrase, "You're blaming her for being attractive," when she did no such thing, a seemingly blanket response. And quite honestly statements like that reduce what she's said to being a "typical, vapid female" response. It's always about looks with women. We're so shallow. We can't reason well. Miss me on that.

    She asked why is sexism in gaming suddenly an issue when someone is attacking Felicia Day, but when someone like Jennifer Hepler or Aisha Tyler get attacked, it's chuckled off as "gamers behaving badly" and quietly forgotten. This post raises the question of why someone like Aisha Tyler is shrugged off probably because of a double whammy of sexism and racism because she doesn't fit the fandom's Day standard of beauty. And why aren't more women recognized for their contributions? I get sick of people asking me if I'm so proud because Felicia Day is such a "shining example" of my culture (female geeks) when there are more women out that contribute to "my culture" than Felicia Day. Why are women boxed in like that? I'm just going to ask men if they're so proud that "such and such" is such a shining example of their culture? And then, when they say they don't like that guy, I'm going to say they should stop blaming that guy for being attractive.

  3. Conversations:

    Sunny D's original post: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114531508083334881137/posts/FoJ1JAV2Hsn

    Subsequent reshare: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102543948831967474502/posts/SY17Q1fFoar

    G+ comments on this post: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102543948831967474502/posts/K48htK7c6D2

  4. I personally don't find Day to be attractive, and not just because of the way she looks. It's the persona that she falls into whenever she's around men. I've watched her in her book club that she does with those other "nerd girls" on Geek & Sundry, and she seemed normal. Just some girl who is in to science fiction. Watching her other shows, however, makes me a little ill. She's so helpless, so clumsy, so dingy. It's not cute. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I find a woman who knows what she's doing to be sexy. And I'll be more into "strong female characters" whenever they start actually looking strong, and not like little bundles of twigs that could be broken by a strong breeze.

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This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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