Monthly Archives: September 2013

geek stereotype and smell

Another overly long fb post carried to here.

Oops, I have been referring to SDCC being on when it was actually DragonCon. SDCC being talked about on isn’t that strange since it has been drawing more of the mainstream population especially for the movies. DragonCon is a little farther into geek.

There is a comment about “Thousands of excited sci-fi and fantasy fans,… makes everything a little more odoriferous,” I have heard and partaken in discussion on this idea of smelly fans for most of my con life but, honestly, I don’t run into it. There are a few smelly fans but I run into smelly people outside of fandom as well pretty much the same percentage. I can imagine that in the dark ages of fandom when fans were only those that lived in basements and/or most were socially ignorant, that this was a prevalent problem. By the time I discovered cons and groups of fen in the 80s it had spread much larger than that group. Hours in heavy costumes or sitting for days gaming can lead to odoriferous fans but I haven’t run into this any worse than hanging around people that work out. They smell for awhile and then get cleaned up by the next time I see them.

If it is a problem and I can’t tell because I am in the middle of it and have adjusted, then it is fine for it to show up in articles like this. But if it isn’t the kind of problem that doesn’t show up with other groups then I am sick and tired of people making this assumption and passing it along. I am good with a lot of the stereotype of a fan and glad when someone that has looked down on us gets a clue (like Shatner) but we keep this up ourselves we need to stop. Pretty much everyone I have heard that upholds the 6-2-1 rule (at least 6 hrs sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower a day) sound like they have experience of people who need showers missing them. But because my overly sensitive and often offended sense of smell hasn’t found it to be a problem I wonder if we haven’t been buying into the stereotype too much ourselves and not noticed that particular emperor has no clothes.

Being a token and not resenting it

This ended up being a long post on fb so I am also putting it here where long stuff should live.

This is an article about what it is like to be the only representative of a minority and be in the role of either putting up with wrong ideas or taking on the responsibility to educate and how taxing that role is. I get it. I appreciate those who are inside taking the effort to teach me who is on the outside. But this is a cerebral understanding, I don’t feel it. I am a White Female that has loads of privilege. I try to learn what I can and spread the information because I feel that role comes with the privilege I have. I am not an activist so I don’t have the ability to take on huge chucks before I wear myself out and become useless and I have learned to live with the little I can do.

I am searching my head for places where I can identify the feelings she expressing of being in that role but I am not finding any. I am white so that pretty much greases that path so there is no friction and nothing to grab onto. I am female but I can’t think of a time that has been a big deal or much of a difference for me. I am learning how to see it differently so I can stand up when there is an issue but it isn’t personal for me. That path is relatively smooth as well. I am well educated and grew up with at least more than just enough money. I am learning now what it is like to not have money and even that is skewed due to savings and such. There is a little traction on this path but still pretty smooth.

The only place I can find that even remotely puts my in the same ballpark is being a geek growing up in the land of the mundanes. I have been the token geek. The author talks about how difficult it is to represent her entire race and her entire gender etc. I get that, but I don’t find it difficult like she does. I rather like it. I like presenting an understanding of my culture and oddness to people that want to listen. It is a role I am comfortable with. This leaves me wanting to support where she is coming from but feeling like I can’t because I have such a different experience with the same things. I suspect it is because I am in the role rarely and she has to face it over and over and over. To boot, my outsidiness is getting mainstreamed and my minority status is wearing away because people are flocking to geekdom (SDCC is on CNN for goodness sake). And I am somewhat bummed about this (as well as grateful).