May. 18th, 2009

cynaravurzyn: Blair Sandburg (Default)
Later in the pipe I do have some fics with Original Characters of Color, but nothing presentable today. I'm going to take it for granted that the low volume of traffic that comes here will find a banner for today's celebration of diversity in fandom on my friends' page.

Instead, I present some ponderings. Sunday NPR replayed their Nerds exploration. One of the segments lightly touched on the impression that when you say 'nerd' the image retrieved is very likely going to be white. That the nerd is presumptively male, female nerds needing an adjective, passing was touched over the hour's segments.

Now, my expectation is that there is a statistically significant correlation between 'geeks' (my preferred self-identification) and fen. So, I wonder if some things that seem to apply with nerds and geeks, are the issue with fen 'visualization'. Nerds (for simplicity) are one of the last groups whose stereotypes are open season for humor. People mock the My Kid's on Honor Role bumper stickers with other bumper stickers (so the My Cat's Smarter than Your Honor Student _is_ funny. But it always reminds me there are the My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student stickers.)

The nerd stereotypes came from a particular discourse of difference, where the upperclass white man is who is 'normative' and from whom all others differ. The nerd has deviated from the 'well-balanced' center, 'eschewing emotion' and 'segregated from sex'. One could posit the 'presumed white and male' avoids both nasty contradictions of other 'othernesses' and inconvenient 'collapses' where there is a 'too animal', 'too machine', and 'just white' sorting.

Likely in media it's so no one is confused why the character is the butt of jokes (you can laugh at the man with the graphing calculator and glasses, it's all white.) Which, isn't 100% true, there have been media nerds of a different hue (I didn't watch enough consecutive minutes to speak to Urkel more than a namecheck) but they don't come to mind as readily.

Back to fen. There are two ways of looking at fen (other than while they read on the bus), on the internet and at conventions. Until someone says something, you don't know anything about anyone on the internet. I tend to hand out 'shes' and 'hers' de facto when attention isn't drawn to 'this person he, his and him', because at various points it seems as if 'everyone' is female. Conventions have their own selection issues, like advertising. 'They won't come if they don't know it's there.' I've not gone to any cons this century, so I've no 'visual sense' of actual attendees.

Needless to say, this is unbetaed, and isn't a formal debate, just some riffs thrown out, with several intentional puns.

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