Geeky Feminism – Slut Shaming in Geekdom

Thanks Autisicook for suggesting that I bring this back, it’s been something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, especially as I need to get into a routine with blogging now I have university and a job (yes, I am now employed, will write about everything I’ve been up too soon). Anyways, TW: slut shaming, rape culture.

So, it’s been in the media about Miley Cyrus and her ‘Wrecking Ball’ video, and her performance at the VMA Awards. People have been freaking out about how she’s ‘a terrible role model to young women’ that she’s ‘being far too sexually provocative’. 

People then argue back by saying ‘She wants to get rid of her Disney image’ and ‘She just needs to get her angst out’.

I on the other hand, as a liberal feminist who isn’t afraid of sexuality, has a different viewpoint. Just quit slut shaming her, and let her make her own damn choices. If she wants to explore and experiment with her sexuality in this rather public manner, then so be it.

But what does this have to do with geeky feminism?

Well….

This is one example of an instance where slut shaming could end up being featured. In cosplay, women dress in what can be seen as a sexualy provocotive way. This can be a great confidence booster, as they are able to show that they are beautiful young women who are unafraid of other people’s opinions. However, due to the misogynistic culture in geekdom, male geeks use this as a way of saying that girls don’t take geekdom seriously, that they are only in it so they can wear revealing clothing in order to seek attention from men and therefore bring ridicule to the ‘true geeks’ who are usually men. 

This is utter rubbish! I have a few female cosplayer friends who have been working on cosplay for years, and they take their work very seriously indeed. These costumes often take a lot of time and effort to put together,and can be very expensive to produce. Therefore you can’t say that these women are in it just to seek attention, although positive attention is appreciated. 

What makes slut shaming worse is that more often or not it’s ‘feminists’ doing the slut shaming in the first place! This has become more apparent in recent times, especially when female celebrities end up being criticised for ‘not being good examples to young women’. Perhaps by insulting them like that,all you are doing is proving that you are the bad role model, as you are the one insisting that these women fit into your ideals or else, and that would therefore make you into a far more negative character than these women, who just happen to be famous, with no other crime.

So, slut shaming is probably the worst practice, both in feminism and in the outside world. Enough said.

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10 thoughts on “Geeky Feminism – Slut Shaming in Geekdom

  1. If she wants to explore and experiment with her sexuality in this rather public manner, then so be it.

    Oh indeed! How empowerful! Expressing yourself as a woman in patriarchal cultural by definition means expressing yourself sexually, because as a member of the sex class it is the only option available.

    • Well, if that is what she wants to do, then we have no right to make her feel bad for doing it. OK, it might not be ’empowering’ to you, but don’t slut shame them because you don’t agree with it.

      • but don’t slut shame them because you don’t agree with it.

        Is noting compliance with patriarchal norms slut shaming? I would have to disagree if that is the comparison you’re offering.

        then we have no right to make her feel bad for doing it.

        Naming and categorizing activities that reinforce the toxic gender binary is not about making any particular person”feel bad” it is about combating a societal paradigm that systematically devalues and oppresses women.

        The wider context of the discussion is that, why is going the sexy-objectification route so often the only route available to women?

      • Ok, this is a completely separate debate you are offering. No, this isn’t the only route, I for example haven’t chosen this route to make me happy, choosing to use my writing to make me feel good, and listening to other people’s comments. You do have a valid argument, I’m not saying that you don’t, and I am only nineteen and still am learning about the world, but I do think your argument is bringing the point that by saying that women should not choose do do this is oppressive can be seen as slut shaming. I have good friends who cosplay, and you could argue that they are dressing in an oppressive manner towards women, but a) it’s an artform and b) They feel empowered by showing off their talents and skills in dressmaking and other arty talents. They can’t help that characters in games/films/anime/etc are provocatively dressed, so instead of saying that these women shouldn’t ‘comply’ with patriarchy when they are dressing for themselves rather than for others, maybe we should worry more about the way games/films/anime portray female characters? That’s the main issue here, and I’m sure my friends would totally agree with me.

  2. I think it’s a real issue that often the *only* choice of costume for women is minimal clothing (I’m thinking of Hallowe’en really, not sure how this applies to cosplay), but that’s the fault of the surrounding culture seeing women as sex objects, not the fault of the women who wear them because there’s little else to choose from, or because they’re pressured into it, or, y’know, because they actually want to!

    • Couldn’t of put it better myself! It is difficult to apply this to cosplay as the hobby is also an artform, whilst general costumes are a different kettle of fish. Let’s focus on changing the general culture than shaming the women who wear the clothing!

  3. I do not hold anything against her as a person, mostly because I don’t know her. On the other hand I can say that I do not care for her music and do not really respect her as an artist. I have nothing personally against her, her clothes or even her weird teddy bears, she’s just not my cup of tea. But that is a part of life.

  4. Pingback: Feminist Aspie
  5. Alex says:

    Let me ask a question. Why when I google Princess Leia Cosplay are a vast majority of the pictures of women dressed as Leia the sex slave? Why don’t I see more of Princes Leia in her traditional dress, or in any of her Hoth outfits? Are you saying that I shouldn’t question the power behind these choices? Why when I look up images of women cosplaying do I see spread legs and rear ends in the air? I was told by one person that the photographer chose those positions so it was not the cosplayers fault. Really? Then how can these women say they are empowered? If you want to Cosplay why not modify a costume, especially if it is during the day when there are families at the conventions?

    • Yes, you have a point, but I’m not saying that you shouldn’t question the power, after all, choices are choices either way. And the person was right, a model does as the photographer asks, never the other way round, and if it fits the idea of the character, or the way that model wishes to be portrayed, it’s fine for the model and the photographer to make that choice. Women are empowered by having the right to choose how they as an individual are perceived by others. If they choose a revealing cosplay, it’s their choice, and should never be judged for that, just like a girl in a dress going out on a night in the town shouldn’t be judged. Yes, their are families at conventions, but these are costumes, not lingerie, and instead of judging the cosplayers, teach the kids the difference between costume and underwear, and about consent?

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