Stereotypes reduce true nature of sci-fi fans

By: Haley Erickson

We all grew up watching television shows that had nerdy characters depicted as scrawny, pimple-faced kids with braces and glasses. They’re also known to be unathletic, ugly and awkward. This appearance also has connotation with anybody who appreciates sci-fi, video games and fantasy.

Anybody who does not fit that pre-set idea is believed to be attention seeking, especially if she’s a girl. Strictly talking appearance, if a beautiful girl says she likes a certain book-series/TV show/video game, she will be unfairly questioned about ridiculous details, and people will attempt to critique every word that she says.

I’ve seen this a multitude of times, but one of the most disgusting things is when a curvy woman is abused and is believed to be taking advantage of male nerds.

Female streamers on the video game-streaming platform, Twitch, experience this a lot. If they are attractive or voluptuous, they are accused of taking advantage of their viewers by “teasing” them and soliciting donations.

There are two aspects of this viewpoint that are horribly wrong. Sure, there can be a case where a girl knows she’s attractive, wears revealing clothing, solely to get people’s money. This might be unfair, but we all fall victim to this type of exploitation every day with advertisements; it’s just an easy way to get business.

But there are many well-meaning ladies who still get criticized and bullied because they are girls and “they don’t belong.” They are viewed the same as the very small handful of sleezy women who use their looks for money, rather than actual gameplay. And personally, I don’t believe those streamers are very popular. Many of the female streamers I’ve seen are cheerful and have a good attitude and play games for fun, like how it should be.

A Youtuber by the name “SuperMaryFace” was verbally attacked by the hosts of a radio show titled “The Woody Show” at a Star Wars convention in 2015. They came up to her and interviewed her, only asking questions about her appearance. She was not even dressed up in costume, so their initiative to question her was only because they thought she was dressed too slutty.

They start the video off with “So we’re here at Star Wars Celebration, and this lady has decided to tease all the nerds. What’s your problem?” Very clearly you can see that Mary was in disbelief that he said that to her. All of the questions aimed toward her were about if she has been sexually harassed because of what she was wearing.

She defended the other convention-goers, saying they were all lovely people. The interviewer then asked if any men at the celebration had “slipped her their room key” in regards to desiring something sexual from her. She said no and that she was engaged, and he replied, “Do you think that’s going to stop these guys?”

From the tone of this man’s voice, it just seemed like he was slut-shaming her and attacking all of the men at the convention, assuming they just wanted to see her naked.

On the same day “The Woody Show” posted the video interview, “SuperMaryFace” published a video of her rebuttal. She brought out the other distasteful side of this harmful, stereotypical attitude. The people who think that women dress revealing to taunt nerdy men with their bodies believe that the men can’t control themselves. This generalizes these men as predators who are too hormonal to know any better when, in fact, the people who go to these types of events are there because they share a common interest.

These adorkable people should not be shamed for what they like or be assumed to be disreputable and sleazy. These people spend lots of money for plane tickets, convention tickets, costumes and memorabilia because it is something they are passionate about. Many parents bring their young children so they can experience the wonderful movies they grew up watching.

Is it really fair to assume these people have no self-control and are there to sexually harass young women? A very large amount of these people are there to have fun! That’s the entire purpose of most conventions: to bring people together, have fun and give them all the means to be as nerdy as they want to be.

It is so important to treat people with kindness, and that is something it seems some people hate to do. It’s easy to hate, but it’s better to love.

At this high school, there are many who like to harass a mock innocent students for things they are passionate about. Ridiculing someone for liking a video game does not make you better than them. Teasing somebody because they like to read sci-fi books does not benefit you or anybody else. Making fun of a person who enjoys comic books, trading-card games, fantasy literature, retro video games or anything of “nerd culture” is just shameful.

There is no reason to torment a person for something they like, and I hope people who do can find something better to do with their time. We’ve all heard how bullying is harmful, so if you’re tired of hearing that, encourage people to stop. It really is not that hard to be nice.

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