|Pic courtesy of Abbie G.|
I got intrigued by the comments from the above picture and it got me thinking about women in the Transformer fandom and in general "geek" culture. I decided to contact Abbie on Facebook to ask her a few questions. First off, she's had a lot of G1 figures as a kid, but started all over again about ten years ago. During that time, she's amassed over 3000 figures! That's something like 8 times the figures that I have! No matter how you slice it, that's a hardcore collector.
When I asked her if she was expecting the reaction that she got, she told me that "Being in a male dominated world of transformers, it was apparent that it would happen - the pick up lines, the few side messaging. I took no offense to any remarks, so no harm was done. So you can say I went in with an open mind." That to me is disappointing. Shouldn't anyone wanting to talk about Transformers or posting a picture be able to just do that without having to deal with that?
|My version of the pic. My room is a mess|
I talked about this with my best friend, Kelly, who has worked for DragonCon (yes, the infamous one) in Atlanta for the last few years doing publicity. I figured that she would have some stories or insight into this. One thing she told me was that from her experience, when guys at DragonCon see a woman that identifies as geeky, the assumption is that she's desperate and kinky. Kelly related a story to me about the con last year when a guy about half her age was trying to get into her pants because of her geek tendencies. Apparently, according to her, all social morays vanish and guys lose their filter when they're around geeky women. I don't know if this is true or not since I'm not regularly around geeky women.
Which brings me to my point. While a lot of the geek culture has gone mainstream to a point, the Transformers fandom is still pretty much on the fringes. If I tell someone I'm into Star Wars or Star Trek or even Dr. Who, they'll want to have a three hour conversation about it. I'm not into Dr. Who, just so you know. Anyway, when I tell them that I'm really into Transformers, I usually get a stare and a derisive "you mean those robots that turn into cars?" And since we're on the edges of the culture, should we really be alienating fellow collectors simply because they're a different gender? A fandom is only strong unless everyone within that fandom is allowed to speak their opinions and add their point of view. Giving a fellow fan unwanted advances simply because she posted a picture isn't the way to strengthen the fandom, only the way to weaken it.