Contempt for Your Audience

I like games. Games are good. People should play them. But every once in a while they should put those games back on the shelf and see what else the world has to offer.

This is the closing line from this Paste post about PAX East 2011.

I’m rather angry at the condescension on display here, and it’s an attitude I’ve seen before. It seems to me that some (read: not all, or even most) people in the industry–whether they make games or write about them–just don’t understand what the big deal is about conventions for non-industry fans.

Does the author of this piece really not understand that fans who go to game conventions actually don’t live, eat, and breathe video games? And that this is, in fact, why they go to conventions? The scolding about not being obsessed with games is completely ridiculous. His job is games. Mine? Is not. I spend about eight hours a day doing a job that has nothing to do with video games. When I come home, sometimes I play video games. Sometimes I do other things, like sew or read or write stories or watch TV or go out to dinner or go to concerts or hang out with friends and family. PAX East is the three days out of an entire year that I do nothing but play games, talk about games, drink, and sleep. The fact that people who go to PAX have lives outside of games is also the very reason they can seem so intense: this is their only chance out of the entire year to be immersed in the game industry, to meet other gamers, play tons of games, and maybe even meet some of the people who make the games they love, so yeah, people go overboard with the geekiness. If you are immersed in the game industry 365 days a year–if you make or write about games–I guess it’s hard to see what the big deal is, since there are so many more industry and press events than there are fan conventions (reminder: there are TWO video game fan conventions, PAX and PAX East, on opposite sides of the country from one another).

But that’s not my only problem with this piece. At first, I understood the comment about it not being enough to love games, you have to love the idea of loving games. I had moments at PAX East, both years that I went, where I looked around and thought, damn, I am in NERDLAND. But then I laughed it off and continued to enjoy myself; it certainly didn’t send me spiraling into self-loathing. If just being around a ton of nerds makes you feel disgusted with yourself for even being in the same room as them, that’s your own problem.

The thing about how it’s cool to be a nerd now is a total lie, and it always has been. It’s cool to like Star Wars and video games, and be socially awkward in a cute and endearing sort of way. It’s cool to be a nerd like Zachary Levi’s character on Chuck. It’s not cool to be the sort of nerd who isn’t Hollywood-attractive, who is actually socially awkward in an awkward and uncomfortable way, the sort of nerd who can’t make small talk and takes things too literally and obsesses over things no one but other nerds care about (in case it’s not clear, I am describing myself here). So it makes me pretty angry when someone who perhaps self-identifies as a nerd but is a cool nerd comes into a space with non-cool nerds and tells those nerds to stop being so nerdy, already.

Telling people they should be more reserved and dignified in their interests is puritan and ridiculous. It’s not your job to police other peoples’ enthusiasm. Commenter Peter Stocking put it best: “A convention isn’t about liking everything in the place. It is about having a place for the things you like.” When it comes to conventions, take what you want, leave the rest, and don’t judge other people.

Edit: I enjoyed this response at Gamers With Jobs by Rob Zacny, particularly the last couple paragraphs. I’ve been both judge and judged (I used to the think the days of considering cosplayers losers was behind us, but apparently not…), and neither roles are particularly pleasant. Less judgment of others in general can only make things better.

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Is This Only Entertainment?: My Click Moment and Why I Write About Games

One of the most common responses to feminist critiques–or indeed any sort of critiques–of games is, “It’s just a game!” Feminist critiques of games outside of specifically feminist blogs are often met with not just outright hostility in many cases, but an attitude of befuddlement; gamers wonder what is the point of writing about video games when women face so many other, bigger problems in the world. This is a question that has been answered over and over. Mighty Ponygirl from Feminist Gamers explained that video games contribute to sexist social conditioning:

…But behavior is more than just action — it’s a way of internalizing what is expected of you. Little girls are taught almost from birth to be quiet, compliant, passive, and that the most important thing is to be attractive to men. These lessons are reinforced when they play games that push women off in the corner to be rescued, or only allow them to pick up a sword if they’re wearing a bikini.

Andrea Rubenstein, aka tekanji, wrote a four-post series explaining why studying popular culture is important. One of her main points is that fighting oppression has to occur on many different levels and in different areas of or society:

Studying popular culture is probably my main focus, but since I love cross-sections I also keep abreast of other topics such as feminist issues, human sexuality, and general oppression work. I don’t think that this is inherently better or worse than someone who chooses one topic, or even a smaller subset of topics, to focus on.

In fact, I’d go one step farther to say that the only way I think we’ll ever have a chance at winning the battle against oppression (as much as one can “win” such a thing) is if we wage this war on multiple levels. I believe that every fight we fight — whether it be against domestic violence or raising our voices against the overabundance of “sexy girls who kick ass” in popular media — is a valuable one. I believe every stride we make, however small and however flawed, should be appreciated.

And I absolutely agree with both points. But there is something I would like to add, something I see as another reason writing about video games and popular culture in general is worthwhile: talking about pop culture is a great way to reach out to people. Not every feminist-minded individual is going to take a women’s studies course or pick up a bell hooks book from their library, but plenty of folks love discussing games, television, movies and so on on the internet. Looking at these things from a feminist perspective can introduce these concepts to people who may hold feminist ideals and just don’t know it yet.

I’m an example of this. Feminists sometimes talk about their “click moment”–the moment or event that led them to realize they were feminists. My click moment happened a little over two years ago. Ubisoft Montreal was promoting the shit out of Assassin’s Creed, a daring new IP that they hoped would turn into a franchise. The producer for the game was a woman named Jade Raymond, and in her role as producer she gave interviews and helped promote the game. The backlash she received from the online gaming community–as well as from so-called game “journalists” from Kotaku, Joystiq, and Destructoid–was swift and horrific, because she dared to be a woman speaking with authority about games.

It was my own outrage over the incident that led me to The IRIS Network and the aforementioned Feminist Gamers, as well as general feminism blogs like Feministe. I stayed up late night after night reading everything I could find, all these passionate and critical essays that put words to things that I had always known on some level, and opening my eyes to new manifestations of injustice that I’d never thought about before; I took the red pill and I never looked back.

But that one incident wasn’t the beginning of my feminist education, merely the catalyst that fused everything I had already learned and seen with newfound knowledge, giving me the tools to describe all those events that made me deeply uncomfortable in my gut but I hadn’t been able to explain. I’d had plenty of lessons before then on oppression, even if I didn’t know what to call it. And a lot of them came from fandom, the feminists and womanists and social justice advocates who cared enough to call people out in various venues. I clearly remember, ten years or so ago when I was still in middle school, getting educated on what “sexual orientation” means and why it’s wrong to assume everyone is straight until they say otherwise, on the now-defunct FanFiction.Net mailing list, of all places. It was a webcomic that first introduced me to the idea that sex and gender are two different things. During the first season of Heroes, I learned about subtle racist biases from a post about racism and the show on the heroes_tv LJ community.

And I learned more and more about feminism every day on the girl_gamers LJ comm, where feminists weighed in on sexism-related drama that popped up fairly often, and every time I would learn something new, or someone would put words to an issue that was previously only a minor itch at my brain that told me something is wrong here.

All of these people prepped me for my click moment simply by participating in fandom, by talking about their favorite shows and games in their own way, braving the inevitable backlash and meeting it head-on. I benefited so much from these discussions, though many of the participants were never aware of it.

My greatest hope with my writing is that I can pay the favor forward as much as possible. I try to reach people in a different way than scholarly writing does; and while this may not be the most convincing reason games are a worthwhile topic of feminist discussion, it’s an important one to me, because it is deeply intertwined with my understanding of both topics. I know I’ve already succeeded once; I received an email a few months ago from a GameCritics.com reader who had enjoyed my article about gender and Mass Effect. As he described how he had been ravenously reading the Feminism 101 blog and suddenly everything made more sense, I realized I’d given someone their own click moment. It reminded me of all those lessons I’d learned, and how the seemingly frivolous act of chatting about games on the internet can actually be important, even if you think games are “only” entertainment. And that’s why I write about games.

Joystiq Donates EA Cash to The White House Project

If Joystiq and I had a Facebook relationship, the status would be “it’s complicated.” I totally adore the podcast, but the site itself is often troublesome, having incited anti-feminist trolling in the past and having unmoderated comments that are a total cesspool of misogyny and general hatred, among other things. There have been incidents where I’ve sworn off the site all together, only to begrudgingly pop in the next day ’cause I need my game nooz and it’s this or… that other gaming blog.

But then, once in a while, they go and do something totally awesome.

So today, my hat is off to you, Joystiq!

#EAFail Link Roundup

#EAFail is a total clusterfuck of misogyny and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Here are a bunch of resources on it. (Last updated August 3 at 10:00 PM EST.)

IRIS Forums Thread

This post on Digg

GayGamer’s PixelPoet entered the contest with a photo of himself and a “booth bear” in order to make a point. He ended up being selected as a runner-up winner and sending an amazing letter explaining exactly why he was declining the prize, pointing out the heteronormativity and sexism of the contest and giving suggestions for what to do with the prize instead. Read it, seriously!

Acid for Blood: Convention Sexual Harassment and #EAFail — in-depth analysis by Brinstar

General Posts

Ars Technica post explaining the situation.

The Escapist also reports on the situation.

AdFreak’s post against the contest. (H/T Brinstar in comments.)

GamingAngels points out that the hub-bub over the “male only” IGN contest should have tipped them off (H/T Brinstar):

Alright, I get it. The game is about the 7 Deadly Sins, one of them being Lust. And sure, this is one of the easiest (aside from Sloth) sins to use to promote the game. But really? After the debacle with the IGN contest recently wouldn’t at least do a little thinking about the audience – not to mention the ‘booth babes’? The contest is specific in stating “any booth babe” so, this isn’t even about the girls that might be at the Dante’s Inferno area – which means every girl working a booth at the Con is fair game in their eyes.

Negative Gamer tears the contest apart (H/T Brinstar!):

In their continuingly desperate plea for people to care about their game, EA have taken to just being bigots. In a competition being held at Comic-Con you have to “commit an act of lust” with one of their booth babes, then post the picture on twitter.The winner gets a “sinfull night with two hot girls” (the quote should technically be in all caps, but I thought you may not be able to handle it).

Even Destructoid thinks the contest is sleazy (H/T @sephiros):

On the other hand, there’s something repulsive about offering people up as prizes in your PR stunt, especially given game culture’s bad habit of over-sexualizing its female characters anyway. And while our beautiful free market ideally allows booth babes to opt out of stunts like this at their discretion, let’s be realistic: living in California ain’t cheap and the rent still has to get paid. Even if there’s nothing technically wrong going on here, it’s still sleazy and, at the very least, alienating.

MetaFilter post (H/T Pearl in the comments.)

Technology News: “EA’s Big Success at Comic-Con This Year? Alienating Women Gamers” (Same article at Wired’s GeekDad.) (Same article at Coolbeans.)

More links care of Brinstar:
Post on LJ comm sf_drama.
Post by LJ user yendi
JournalFen community unfunnybusiness
Post on FF site Limit Break
OffWorld
.tiff
Jezebel: “Not only is this promotion gross and a bit sad, it also reinforces the notion that everyone at Comic Con is a horny douchebag loser who just wants to rub up against a Booth Babe for a cheap thrill.”
Kotaku: “The contest details, emblazoned on the chest of a woman in faux tattoo, also offers five runner-up prizes which includes a copy of the game, a $240 EA gift card, a limited edition shirt and ‘tons more swag.’ No word if that swag includes brass knuckles.”
LJ comm girl_gamers: “EA must not think highly of male gamers… and they don’t seem to think anything at all of female gamers.”
Technologizer: “If only the gaming blogs covering the story could see the forest from the trees. Destructoid, for example, cries foul despite having no problem celebrating booth babes during E3.”
Newsarama: “What NOT to do at SDCC”
Kotaku post about @danteteam’s failpology.
Broken Toys. And here’s a follow up:

And I apologize for any confusion in how I worded my belief that your marketing team was devoid of common sense, views its female employees as sexual objects, and reflects poorly on our entire industry in its juvenile pursuit of attention.

Kill Ten Rats: “EA, when I talked about game developers and porn stars, I was not implying that you should treat your employees like underpaid prostitutes.” Here is the follow up.
Jeremy Preacher:

I’ve worked Comic-Con. and while there are lots of perfectly normal, well-adjusted people there, there are also a LOT of people with boundary issues, an imperfect understanding of social norms, and/or a really fucking twisted view of women. It’s hard enough to maintain one’s personal space – having fucking Marketing supporting the random gropage as a CONTEST does NOT HELP.

Edmonton Journal‘s Button Mash: ”
EA Games pimp out booth babes at Comic-Con, the Internet explodes”
Geeks Are Sexy
Social Media Today post describing what went wrong WRT using Twitter as a contest platform. (Same post on Social Media Guidelines.)
Pope Hat post on the legal issues involved: “‘Acts of Lust’ At Comic Con: Electronic Arts Wants To Make Some Lawyers Very Happy”:

Employers have an obligation to take reasonable steps to protect employees from sexual harassment by customers and other third parties. They also have an obligation to refrain from encouraging and ratifying such harassment. This is a briskly developing area of law. And while EA might plausibly argue (as have employers like Hooters, for instance) that being ogled is part and parcel of the Booth Babe job, they’re going to have a tough time explaining how Booth Babes signed up to be exposed to ill-defined “acts of lust.”

Tradeskill Perspective talks about organizations such as Women in Games and Gamers in Real Life (GIRL) that try to raise awareness about issues relating to women in games and the industry.
Set on Stun: “Misogyny Marketing: EA Pimps Booth Babes for Dante’s Inferno Game”
VG247
Get Your Blogs Out
DigitalFemme: “The next person to tell me that the only thing a company is looking for in a consumer’s pants is a wallet or that the only color a company sees is green is going to get told off. For days. Because time and time again this has been proven to be untrue.”
Spinksville
dwell on it: “Booth-babes though, as a marketing gimmick, are just insulting. I’ve got nothing at all against the women who do the work. It’s a job like any other – and not an easy job by any means – and people are paying for it. But really, the whole notion that they have to be there is an insult to gamers, and to game journos – whether or not that insult is actually warranted.”
Kellie Parker succinctly explains the sexism and heteronormativity of the contest.
Blippitt: “#EAFail: Video Game Marketing Gone Bad”
Shack News

Carnal Nation: “#EAFail – Is EA Games Deliberately Being Crass For The Publicity?”

At Mother Jones, Stephanie Volkoff Green investigates which other circles of hell EA manages to fall into with this contest.

Geek Syndicate‘s post. (H/T jeffy in comments.)

Yahoo! Games’s PluggedIn: “EA blasted over questionable marketing stunt”; this post made Yahoo’s top 4 news articles. (H/T @BigDumbHippy)

Joystiq: “Photos of the booth girls and their potential “dates” can be found on the Dante’s Inferno Facebook page. Our faith in humanity can be found in the corner, curled up and mumbling something to itself.” And the follow up: “We can’t imagine Beelzebub begs pardon from those he makes swim through a sea of fire and brimstone for all eternity. ‘Oh, man. That looks like it hurts. I’m like, really sorry about this, guys. Do you want some aloe?'”

Penny Arcade weighs in:

Now, Electronic Arts seems determined to wrest the title of “most egregious promotional bullshit” from the Acclaim of old, with some crazy Comic Con antics that involve committing “acts of lust” on “booth babes.” They apologized, ostensibly, but it’s a mealymouthed, worthless thing – a recitation of what they’ve done, capped with the assertion that they’re sorry you’re offended, but not sorry for offending you, as though your reaction were some bizarre, extra-dimensional phenomenon independent of their own actions.

Kieron Gillen at Rock, Paper, Shotgun decries the contest, describing a couple stories of con-goers harassing his friends at SDCC:

On the first day, a Photographer friend of ours wandered over, sighing that she’d already had her arse pinched four times.

This is what comicon is like without a multinational corporation deciding to turn it into a sport.

Feminist Responses

A comment on Ars Technica by an actual “booth babe” with firsthand experience of con harassment (H/T Brinstar). Here is an excerpt, but be sure to read the whole thing:

Lastly, you guys think that people offended by this are over-reacting because SANE people at a con would never do something criminal? Spoken like someone who’s not female and dressed up at a con. Last week I had some moron ACTUALLY STALK one of my new girls. Kept coming back to the booth even after she told him she wouldn’t hang out. He kept getting more insistent that she hang out with him and give him her phone number. Kept telling her he’d come back when she asked him not to. Tried to FOLLOW HER. Yah, that’s obviously not dangerous AT ALL. I’ve had my own issues over the years, including stalkers, men trying to take invasive photos, or grabbing things they shouldn’t. I have at least a couple of guys a con who cross the line. Please don’t downplay the seriousness of a situation that you know NOTHING ABOUT.

Here is the Kotaku post about iola’s comment. It’s good that it’s getting so much attention.

Shakesville post about it. From a comment by trifling:

One particular horror of this is that entrants to the competition are encouraged to “(take) photos with the models working the Dante’s Inferno booth or any other booth babes at the show.” Forgive my potential lack of understanding of the operation of the event, but I am pretty sure that the tone of this competition is encouraging more than the average “stand next to her and smile” photo, and they are encouraging this interaction with people who do not work for them or have any association at all with this competition.

A Midwife in Training post about how she mostly buys EA games but will now be boycotting them:

I’m loving the fact that EA seems to think that my gender isn’t interested in their video games or winning contests for free swag. Or that I wouldn’t be offended that they’ve declared open season on the “booth babes”, essentially reinforcing the misguided idea that harassing or “lusting” after a woman, and then snapping a picture of it for proof, is a great way to get her to spend some time with you.

Response from PixiePalace:

EA is not only condoning behavior that dehumanizes women, but they are encouraging and rewarding it. This is socially irresponsible and morally repugnant. I don’t bring up morals a whole lot because I think it’s kind of a dicey subject, but this one kind of pushes me over the edge. We live in a rape culture and this kind of a contest reinforces that. I know that these models likely went into this job knowing about this contest, but I also know that some of the women to take booth babe jobs really need the jobs, regardless of how degrading they are (it’s better than stripping or worse, right?) and that women are told that being objectified is good for them (when we know, scientifically, that it’s not). Saying that it’s ok because they went into it with their eyes open doesn’t make it better.

The F-Word: “EA games invites convention attendees to sexually harass ‘booth babes'”

Feminist Law Professors: “EA has a new way to annoy its own models: give out prizes for Comic Con attendees who commit acts of lust with their booth babes. Also, if you win, you get to take the lady out to dinner! This is going to end well for everyone involved.”

Girl vs. Robot: (H/T Kat in the comments.) This is a great post that outlines the sexism faced by girls and women in nerd-dom:

The problem is that gamer girls are nerds too. They feel the same pressure to conform to mainstream society that male nerds do. However, when they reject it and flee to the communities of nerds online, they often are faced with a second pressure to behave in a certain way, whether that be the hyper anime girl ideal or the “one of the guys” anti-girl. Girl gamers are just looking for a place to be themselves.

YES, YES, YES. That is it exactly. (Also the third paragraph is an excellent example of satirizing sexism. The sarcasm is quite clear and the statement truly ridiculous.)

Feministing Community: “EA Fail: How to Alienate Female Gamers”

Geek Girls Rule!:

As I’ve said many, many times before… I am not against being pretty or sexy, or whatever. I am not against finding people hot. I AM against setting up your employees for sexual harassment, and probably some sexual assault as well. People, male or female, have a tendency to behave badly when feeling anonymous in a crowd. Add that to this society’s view of women’s bodies as objects and public property, then give them permission to engage in one level of bad behavior… The stupid starts to stack up pretty quickly.

Other Resources

Brinstar’s screencap of @danteteam’s now-removed response (now re-posted?) to the Twitter outrage.

TweetGrid search for #EAFail, this can be used to keep up with the latest developments on Twitter. Responses should also be under the hashtag #lust and as replies to @danteteam.

Via Brinstar, two posts on harassment, containing specific stories of incidents of harassment. This stuff HAPPENS, and it happens A LOT:
Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun!
Cerise article on con harassment and Girl-Wonder’s Con Anti-Harassment Project.
More on harassment at last year’s SDCC

In addition, this stunt has serious shades of the “Open Source Boob Project” debacle from last year. More analysis here.

If you have any more posts or resources, drop them in the comments.

A summarized list of the grievances against this “contest”, in no particular order:
— Assumes women and gay men aren’t interested in the game/don’t play games at all.
— Caters to the lowest common denominator of male game/comic fan: the drooling fanboy who can only get a date with a woman if he wins a fucking contest.
— Disembodied female chest and other sexist imagery used in the ad.
— Language that encourages sexual harassment of not only EA’s “booth babes” but every model at Comic-Con. (“commit an act of lust”)
— Women being offered as prizes.
— Prize worded in a way to imply the winner will get to have sex with the models; there is a word for this, and it’s prostitution.
— Women referred to as “girls”.
— All-around sleaziness and grossness, and an attitude that completely ignores and erases the RAMPANT harassment women, especially booth babes, have to put up with at gaming/comic/etc. conventions.

This contest ENCOURAGES the behavior that makes cons UNSAFE FOR WOMEN. PERIOD.

On Being "One of the Guys": Geek Culture Edition

This post is not about video games.

It is also not a review of Fanboys. (Well, here’s my one-sentence review: Star Wars fans will appreciate it, and it certainly has its moments, but it’s clearly got Apatow’s dirty, homophobic-racist-misogynist fingerprints all over it.)

What this post is about: Zoe.

Zoe is the female “fanboy” from the movie, and she is played by the awesome Kristin Bell. She is also, in many ways, me: a female geek trying to fit in with the guys. In the movie, she bails the four main fanboys out of jail, then joins them on their journey to Skywalker Ranch. Later, it is revealed that she has harbored a crush on one of the guys (Windows), and she eventually admits as much, but only after Windows professes his love for her first. Aside from being yet another “schlubby guy gets the hot girl” story (thanks, Apatow), the romance subplot rang a bit too true for me: in one scene, Windows complains about his nervousness around women, and Zoe points out that he’s just fine around her. And then he makes a pivotal mistake by responding along the lines of, “But you’re not REALLY a girl–you’re one of the guys!” To which Zoe understandably storms off.

The “you’re not really a girl” line is one most female geeks are all too familiar with, whether they’ve heard it jokingly or straight (and Windows uses it in all seriousness). I used to find it funny, but after hearing it so much, it’s gotten quite stale, and it’s based on moronic and outdated stereotypes about how women can’t be nerds. YES, women and girls can enjoy video games, Star Wars, and/or D&D. We even use the internet. Get over it.

Moreover, that line can be deeply hurtful, as evidenced by Zoe’s reaction. It’s denying an integral part of her identity. She’s a nerd, but she’s also a woman. Women have to work very hard just to meet minimum expectations, and that one sentence completely undermines all that work, telling her she is not working hard enough or is inherently inadequate.

Furthermore, the other part of that devastating line, the “you’re one of the guys!” part, is a blatant lie. Zoe ISN’T treated as “one of the guys.” First of all, she endures endless sexual harassment from Hutch. This is passed off as some kind of silly thing he does; Zoe just rolls her eyes. She expositions that this is something he has been doing since they were in SIXTH GRADE. Considering these characters have been out of high school for some time, that is almost ten years, people. Secondly, no one thinks to take her on the road trip in the first place. Maybe she was left out for plot convenience, but no one even says anything like, “Hey, we should get Zoe before we take off and make all our dreams come true”? If she were really one of the guys, her name should have at least come up! But that’s the thing, isn’t it? A woman can never really be “one of the guys”–only an honorary one.

Now, it is painfully obvious when nerdy guys try to write cool female characters. Most of the time they are good at video games, will gleefully engage in nerd-arguments over comic book trivia, are jaw-droppingly hot, and are inexplicably head-over-heels for the protagonist (who stands in for the author and presumably the audience). Not to mention Zoe is the name uncreative people give to characters they want to seem offbeat and cool–I would know, half of my female characters from stories I wrote in middle school were named Zoe.

And yet I identified with this character so strongly… except for one thing that really bothered me: she repeatedly insults or teases her friends by calling them “girls” or “ladies” (and uses “gay” as a pejorative at one point). She IS a woman; why would she feel that her identity should be insulting?

A feeling that is probably familiar to many female geeks, especially if they don’t have geeky girlfriends, is of not identifying with other women. They may say things like, “Girls have way too much drama, I only hang out with guys!” (Sadly, I was there once. And honestly, people, guys have just as much drama as girls do.) This kind of person may try to fit in with the guys and show that she’s different from those other women by using “girls” as an insult. But that person would also take the “you’re not really a girl” line as a compliment, so clearly Zoe is not like that. It doesn’t fit with her character.

We have so few nerdy female characters to begin with, and they are almost always written by men. They come so close to being characters that speak to my experiences as a female geek, but there is always something off, and it always turns out that their only purpose is to be dream girlfriends for the presumed male audience (which, by the way: what is Zoe’s goal in life, other than to work at a comic book store and hook up with Windows? Unlike with Hutch and Eric, we never find out). What I want to see is female nerds telling their own stories about wild roadtrips to midnight game releases or wacky LARP hijinks. A girl can’t be entertained on The Guild alone!