My name is Anne, I refuse to type /played while playing World of Warcraft, and I'm an Anomaly.
A few days ago, a group of women calling themselves “Team Unicorn” released a music video anthem titled “Geek and Gamer Girls” on break.com. We even linked it here on our Anomaly blog. The song is a parody of Katy Perry’s “California Girls” and was written and produced by Michele Boyd, Clare Grant, Milynn Sarley, and Rileah Vanderbilt. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out and form your own opinions before reading the rest of this article.
Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos
Now a great many people enjoyed this video. Initially, it won me over with appearances by geek staples Seth Green, Stan Lee, and an Anomaly favorite: Katee Sackhoff. The production quality is high and the costume design is awesome. Michele Boyd of "The Guild" fame is especially badass and fetching in her female Han Solo cosplay outfit. I admit that I dislike Katy Perry immensely and so it would be hard for me to like her music, even when it has been heavily geekified by the likes of these ladies. My first problem with the video lies in the fact that I don’t think the song is performed particularly well. Yet, the wittiness of the lyrics carries it most of the way, Seth Green raps to perfection and keeps the viewer’s interest at a key point when boredom could settle in, and before you know it, the video is over in flourish of bright lights, and montage of everyone involved. The whole video was fun and the lyrics were clever even if they didn't always fit the meter perfectly.
Despite loving the subject matter and the people involved, the more I watched the video, the more I was left with a nasty aftertaste. After following Twitter feeds and the comments on break.com, I found I wasn’t alone.
Many women who watched the video have a problem with the objectification of the hot female gamers in it. They appear as geekerrific sex dolls interspersed with images of dorky males dancing in cosplay outfits. Placing half naked images of themselves lying on beds of comic books with game controller bikinis next to images of an overweight man cosplaying as Legolas creates the impression that they are the fantasy that all these geeky guys lust over and not skilled gamers within their own right.
Clearly, these ladies aren’t posers. They are each real gamers and they are belting out their anthem. The words are generally positive if you listen to them without the imagery. Take, for instance, the first verse.
“I, know a placeWhere the gamer scores are so extreme (bloop boop boop!)Dune, D & D,Where Rand al’Thor still reigns supremeQuestin’, in HyruleDominating Final Fantasy (Seven) (yeah yeah, siete)Those boysLosin’ sleepTryin’ ta keep up with our l33t sp34k (what up, n00bs?) (n00b sauce)-”
So far, the song is about our gamer scores being extreme, dominating a game, and being more geektastic than the boys who generally dominate this social sect. However, the lyrics take a turn at the bridge that leads into every chorus.
“Be a part of our worldIn latex and bowsCuz’ these girls play cos’Set our phasers to stunYou’ll be falling in loveOoooooh oh ooooooh”
All of the sudden, the song becomes a provacative invitation to men telling them they’ll fall in love with our hot latex cosplay outfits. This is the root of the conflict the song inspires in me as a viewer. On one hand these ladies are commanding attention for their l33t skills, but when it comes to the chorus, its becomes a siren song to lure men with sex appeal.
In addition, when Seth Green starts rapping in the bridge, he talks about Hogwarts boys making us swoon and Aragorn and Legolas being hot. Perhaps this is just a personal gripe of mine, but I am often frustrated that boys assume I like sci-fi/fantasy because the actors and characters are swoon worthy. You know what, boys, sometimes they are. I have a rather unhealthy crush on Alistair from Dragon Age Origins, but at the end of the day, I love the story and the setting more than anything else. Again, perhaps I’m taking this personally, but SEX WITH HOT KNIGHTS IS NOT ALL WE THINK ABOUT, BOYS! It’s some of what we think about... BUT NOT ALL! I think there are a lot of Anomalies out there who flaunt their love of sci fi by talking about how hot everyone is and not talking about the performances, the story crafting, and the effect of the show/movie/game/book on our culture. This behavior seems to me to be a bit more about attention seeking and less about discussions of substance. I think some women "go geek" in order to tap an audience of men that they know to be available. However, that is a topic for another day.
If you'd like to read the rest of the lyrics for "Geek and Gamer Girls," you can check them out on Michele Boyd's website.
In their defense, these ladies aren’t exactly being objectified because they are the ones who wrote and produced the video. They chose how they wanted to present themselves as gamers to the world. However, I would hazard to say that their choice to represent themselves in this way exemplifies the curse of being an Anomaly in the geek-o-verse. Is the only way we can be noticed within the geek and gamer community to sexualize our identities while singing about “pwning your a$$ in Halo?” Why can’t we just corpse camp your sorry bum and be done with it, fully clothed and locked and loaded? Within the gaming community we ladies take enough abuse with remarks like "get back in the kitchen" or the rampant opinion that women either don't game or those that do aren't serious about it, let alone skilled. I don't want to be seen as "so and so's girlfriend." I want to stake my claim to the highest dps in my guild and be proud of it.
So what? Should these gamer gals have uglied themselves up before shooting this video? It's not fair to assume that in order to be taken seriously you can't be hot. I don't take issue with them looking hot as much as the fact that they've made themselves the object of men's fantasies in the video, which detracts from the point that I believe they intended for this to be a fun anthem for girl gamers. I could be wrong, but I'm willing to make that assumption. I don't even think they realized their video would create such a dichotomy between it's viewers. Sometimes you can never know how your art is going to be received until you put it out there.
All in all, I think this video is fun and I look forward to seeing what Team Unicorn comes up with next. I simply wanted to open up a dialogue with the rest of my fellow Anomalies about their thoughts on the video. These ladies are talented and smart and Anomalies need to support each other in this community.
So say we all!
Further reading on this topic:
There is a great article by Edgar Garcia that expresses some very good opposing viewpoints.