[Editorial] The Sexist Nonsense Of “Appropriating Nerd Culture”

written by @Ceilidhann, originally published on Bibliodaze March 13, 2016. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Cliff Bleszinski doesn’t like Olivia Munn, and he wants you to know that.

Munn, an actress who got her start on G4’s flagship geek focused programme Attack Of the Show, made some claims that she did all her own stunts in the latest X-Men movie. This wasn’t true but is hardly the crime of the century. Indeed, it’s a claim many actors make (the infamous example being Natalie Portman in Black Swan). However, Bleszinski used this moment as a launching pad for a rant against Munn and alleged attitudes she demonstrated towards friends of his and former colleagues. This wouldn’t have been of much interest beyond yet another dude with an overblown axe to grind against a successful woman if it weren’t for his claim that Munn was guilty of “appropriating nerd culture”.

The internet quickly responded with ridicule, which he didn’t seem to get. Unfortunately, for most women with even the vaguest interest in the poorly defined pool of nerd culture, this is a rodeo we’re all too familiar with.

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Meet the Failcrew – Kayleigh Donaldson

This week we introduce one of the newer members of the family. No bagpipes this time, though. Kayleigh brings us snark direct from the highlands.

What is your role in Made of Fail Productions?

I am a co-host on the pod-cast Anglo-Filles. This role mainly requires me to say lots of random and incoherent things that can occasionally be passed off as insightful, partly due to my accent. In my defence, it’s a cool accent.

What fascinates you the most about your fandoms, or fandom as a whole?

I’m hugely interested in the psychology behind fandom, both the positive and the negative. When it’s at its best, fandom can create an amazing sense of community, a safe place for discussion. Then it can go crazy. I mainly stick to book blogging these days, and YA blogging has seen its fair share of the madness, particularly over the past year or so. Seriously, why would you need the NYT book reviews section when you can have the bully blogger scandals? And yes, I’m apparently one of those bully bloggers. It’s a badge I wear with sick pride. The publishing industry has changed so dramatically recently thanks to some terrible books I won’t mention, and it’s the ultimate train wreck to document.

What is your proudest accomplishment or achievement?

Being called a bully blogger embarrassment to feminism and a monster because of my reviews? No, not quite. I’d say graduating from university with my degree in Celtic & English literature. It nearly destroyed me but it was worth it.

What do you do when you’re not online?

Not online? What an odd concept. I mainly read, write and watch movies.

What is your dream job?

I’m going back to university in 2013 to study theatre & performance studies, with the intention of specialising in writing about politics of and in drama. Ideally I’d like to work in theatre or dramatic academia, but I also have a sick and uncontrollable desire to work in politics. Not that you’d know it from my reasonable and balanced twitter feed.

What is your greatest pet peeve?

People who think that you can get away with saying abhorrent things if you do so nicely and claim you’re not trying to offend. Um, boo to you and your nice-person routine, it’s a terrible and insulting smoke-screen. Don’t think a smiley or a “good day” makes your comments excusable!