The Tipping Point: Girls, Geeks, Sexualization and How It Starts So Young

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This winter, I wrote a column called “The Tipping Point,” about how geek and nerd society has reached the point where so many women have become involved that even though the resistance is there, integration is inevitable, especially in comics and gaming.

The reactions some men have to this integration, especially the call for more three-dimensional characters in gaming and comics, can best be seen in the comments to “Nerds and Male Privilege” an article at Kotaku.

The article is written by a man who’s seen the pattern of rejection of valid complaints over and over, to the point where he predicted exactly what comments his subject would receive.

One of the major objections I’ve seen over and over is “well, why should women care about games or comics meant for men?” and that one is in the comments to the article as well.

There’s nothing inherently male about wanting to game or indulge in a superhero fantasy. They both offer a chance to do something adventurous and out-of-this-world.

And I always wonder exactly what those who object think will change if the women become more three-dimensional and less prone to sexualization and being reduced to only a sex object. Would that somehow ruin the game?

Is sexualizing and marginalizing women an essential element of superheroes or gaming?

I can’t see any reason why it should be and I can’t see how making the women as fully realized characters as the men will harm these things. It’s not as if Hermione being a strong character somehow ruined Harry Potter or having Sarah Conner in the Terminator movies ruined those.

But there’s another reason this attitude of “hey, it’s just for me and you should find your other stuff” bothers me and it’s one I didn’t realize existed until recently.

It’s because this male gaze that views women more as sex objects than people filters down to the kids, even to the instruction books for children who want to draw comics. This has to change.

Read the rest of Corrina Lawson’s post and comment over at GeekMom.

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