Saturday, January 5, 2013

‘Microagressions’ don’t belong in fandom

In July 2011, I weighed in on a debate whether Miss USA Alyssa Campanela was too pretty to be a genuine geek.

It bothered me that self-professed geeks would exclude someone from their ranks. I believe a person should be able to declare herself a geek and the declaration should be accepted.

In an essay published Dec. 21 on, Dr. Andrea Letamendi discusses “microagressions” directed against women in fandom.

The term “microagressions” was applied in 2007 by psychologist Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D. to encompass “subtle and seemingly harmless expressions that communicate ‘hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults’ toward people who aren’t members of the ingroup.”

Microagressions reinforce stereotypes about who belongs and who does not.

Letamendi raises an interesting question: What do we find so threatening about “imposters”? A false notion of limited resources, misinterpreted sense of ownership or resentment of changing culture? Her essay is a worthwhile read for its thoughtful perspective.

Letamendi’s essay supports my belief that there is too much exclusion in the world; real geeks shouldn’t practice it. Fandom should be an inclusive haven; it should not be an exclusive club.

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