FAKE GEEK GIRLS - MY OPINION
So, you know that debate on fake geek girl? I have a testimonial. Turns out I did meet two girls that would fit that definition, if I believed in it, at the Avengers midnight show. I had forgotten about them, but it all came to me last night. So this is my personal testimony about it. And my final word on it.
So, I had managed to get press passes to the midnight show, and had gotten the rights to interview people in the audience before the movie started. I, of course, gravitated towards the people in costume, because I expected them to be the biggest fans (not a stupid expectation, I hope you'll agree).
So I met those two girls, dressed up as Scarlet Witch and Mrs. Marvel. Interested by the fact they had chosen obscure comic characters, unlike most of the other people, I went and talked to them. Before we started, they warned me not to ask questions about the Avengers - I thought they thought I had already seen the movie, and didn't want me to ask them spoilery question. So I asked them question on the characters they were dressed as - turns out they knew nothing about them but their name. After the interview, they were (understandably) upset because they had told me not to ask those questions. I apologized, explained the misunderstanding, and we spend a few more minutes talking, and I gave them a bit of info on their characters and they seemed to appreciate it. (I also assured them I would edit out the responses where they stammered and admitted they knew nothing of the characters - that's just journalistic etiquette. When you are doing an interview you can edit afterwards, you always edit so the interviewee looks good - even if he or she is a giant jerk and you are going to look stupid.)
Now, those girls are what Tony Harris and his followers would call Fake Geek Girls. And you know what was my initial feeling when I found out they knew nothing about their characters? If I'm really honest? Disappointment. It's rare you can find someone to talk about Mrs. Marvel, and when I see someone dressed up as a character, male or female, I conclude they are a fan of the character. I think that's natural. So I tell myself " Cool, I'll be able to talk with a fellow knowledgeable fan!" And when it turns out not to be the case, I'm a bit disappointed. I think that that little momentary twinge of disappointment in not having found the companionship you expected is normal.
And yes, I do believe that if you are going to wear something related to a movie, TV show, video game, band, sports team, etc. you should expect people to expect you are a fan of that thing. If I go around wearing a Slipknot t-shirt, I think it's normal for people to conclude I'm a fan of Slipknot. If I wear a "Romney 2012" cap, people will conclude I am a Romney sympathizer. If I walk around in a Patriots jersey, people will expect I know something about football. That doesn't mean I should not wear all those things if I fancy it - I must just recognize what other people with naturally conclude. But making a falsio conclusion and being disappointed does not allow you to behave like a jerk.
The problem for Harris et al. is that this disappointment leads to a feeling of loneliness, which leads to anger. Anger at being alone. They start believing they've been fooled to expect companionship (when in reality, they fooled themselves), so they narrow down their acceptance criteria not to be fooled again, and lash at everyone outside it. It's a fear reaction - but not a fear of girl cooties. A fear of being alone.
Of course everyone can see the irony in that - for fear of being alone, they push people away. So my message to those people is - if you find a Fake Geek Girl (or guy), instead of rejecting her, why not offer to teach them some things? If you are at a con, why not suggest a few good comics they could purchase from vendors there to know more about their character? If it's a acquaintance or a friend's girlfriend, why not offer to lend her some comics? If it's a stranger with a t-shirt, why not offer to give her a little info or crunchy detail? This person is already in the water - you just have to teach her to swim!