Not long ago, I developed a form of measurement for class/gender ascension that I will name: “The Basement Test”. In brief, the more women, working-class and people of color who indulge a borderline socially unacceptable degree of geekdom, the closer we are to achieving equality.

The elitism of geekdom has been brought back to my attention with this chilling piece on Trolling authored earlier this month by the brave Matthew Schwartz. Seriously. Read it.

What I found most disturbing about Trolling is the fact that these boys’ real weapon is their free time. Those most vulnerable to Trolling are internet users limited by real obligations, able to use the net only for recreation, not a substitute for life. To quote “Weev”:

“I want everyone off the Internet. Bloggers are filth. They need to be destroyed. Blogging gives the illusion of participation to a bunch of retards. . . . We need to put these people in the oven!”

The ability for people with marked or deviant bodies to find online the platform to write, socialize, and elect if they so choose to shirk their physical identity is one of the great liberations the internet has engendered. After all, I could be a limbless circus performer dictating every word of Pop Feminist to my trained typing monkey “Eduardo”, and you all would be none the wiser.

When these Trolls attack this “illusion of participation”, they find their victims defenseless against the weapon of Trolls’ isolation and disconnect. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be mercilessly trolled on a blog you’ve put time and heart into, but unable to stoop over your keyboard and defend yourself because you’re crippled with responsibilities that these boys are unshackled by.

In any case, I’m not denying that a great number of women and girls pass The Basement Test with flying colors. The rising number is extremely encouraging! While I don’t write this from my mom’s basement, by virtue of the fact I’m able to indulge myself to write and think online, I probably would rank higher on the basement hierarchy than most.

In fact, women are entering comic book consumerism in great numbers. Especially with the primacy of gothic graphic novels (goth being one of the traditionally pro-woman subcultures), we see a spike in female attendance at the ComiCon. Which brings me to the disturbing rise of sexual harassment reports at these increasingly co-ed conventions.

Rachel Edidin writes, “Let me make one thing abundantly clear: by harassment, I am not just talking about wolf whistles, “Nice costume” comments, or accidental touch. ComiCon is crowded–REALLY crowded. It is pretty much impossible to navigate without coming into physical contact with another person. What I’m talking about is people deliberately touching, stalking, demanding sexual favors from, or actively harassing other congoers–fans and professionals–without consent.”

“Geek” culture has been a boy’s club for so long, it’s interesting to see how the participation of women is being handled. Not to say all congoers are harassing women, but this seems to have become a fairly pervasive phenomenon. The rise of a female basement culture is being combated with old-fashioned misogyny. Could this be a method of undermining women’s ascension in general? Some of the most heinous sexism I’ve ever encountered has been committed by geeks (the reason being to psychologically transparent to waste time pointing out).

If any of my readers have been to ComiCon or another convention like it, I’d love to know what your take is on this supposed trend…plz comment!

Okay, I’m done. Thanks Eduardo.

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