Something happened earlier tonight which caused some interesting debates to fire off. Before I get into it, full disclosure, I am friends with Michele Boyd and have briefly gamed with Milynn Sarley. Furthermore, I may come off possibly as a jerk or at least a hypocrite, and you could be right. I’m ok with that. These are my opinions and could quite possible be wrong.
Here are their names linked to their twitter feeds:
After watching the music video, I want to quote the description provided by Break, I believe:
This music video parody proves Geek and Gamer Girls really do exist. Extra geek cred for appearances by a rapping Seth Green, Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff and Stan Lee.
Lyrics and mp3 available here: http://brk.to/gamergirlsong
Team Unicorn – http://www.facebook.com/TeamUnicornFTW
From what I can see, most people loved this parody. There were a few people that did not like the direction this video took. I wanted to address these issues, I will not name names, I just want to discuss some points I saw brought up and give my take on the video and why I believe it should not be dismissed the way some have. I will also say that I do not at all harbor any negative feelings towards anyone, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect that. Don’t hate me!
The main issue that was brought up was that the women in the video are all beautiful and do not represent gamer girls because they come in all shapes and sizes.
Someone brought up a good video that discusses sexualizing women in the gaming culture. Watch it here.
Admittedly, it’s a bit unfair to point fingers. A lot of these girls may be legit gamers who just enjoy flaunting what they got, and it would be really unfair for me to demand that they set a good example.
From the video linked right above. He goes on to say:
but at the same time we have so few other types of female presences in gaming and this can’t be helping either gender feel more comfortable with one another in the game space. And women feel alienated, men feel manipulated, I’m just saying…
Felicia Day recently posted a blog post on her well maintained website [self reference har har] titled Women in Tech. Within it she links several articles that are very good reads on the gender subject.
Team Unicorn is a group of women who are friends, geeks, gamers, actresses and all happen to be beautiful women. Also, they’re a group. Like a troupe.
Comments like “they’re all beautiful” and “they don’t represent all geek and gamer girls” would be factual statements. They’re not saying they represent all geek and gamer girls. They’re not even saying they’re beautiful. Sure, they’re showing it and practically saying it on their video, but the video itself is a parody. Parodies are done over the top. The song is basically California Gurls by Katy Parry feat Snoop, only with their own lyrics.
The thing that made me blog tonight were the comments that basically suggested adding “variety” because the girls are all beautiful. That really sounds to me like they’re saying “Add some ugly girls” which just sounds absurd. Team Unicorn has four members. They all appeared in this parody. If other people joined them, they’ll appear in future things they work on, I am sure. What is this need to say geek and gamer girls have to be frumpy? If they want to wear makeup or heels or whatever “girly” thing they want, it is their prerogative.
As part of the parody, they had what has normally been the “norm” of geekdom, the nerdy guys. You don’t see male models, like myself I might add, complaining that buff guys were not represented. Yes, this is a weak argument, I will move on, I just wanted to call myself a buff model type.
The origin of their troup/group name, Team Unicorn, is in their press release – “Geek girls are like unicorns: technically they don’t exist – except in this awesome musical parody by Team Unicorn!” again lampooning the fact that the “norm” is that girl geek/gamers are a myth.
Another issue that was brought up was using Seth Green, Katee Sackhoff, and Stan Lee. Seth is married to one of these women, but he himself is considered in the realm of the Geek due to his various projects and because he himself is a geek. Katee, of BSG fame, well, BSG. Stan, good old Stan represents the comics, a staple of Geekery. A parody tends to be much more parodier with celebs.
Something else that kinda grinds my gears is if it were a voluptuous woman or a “plainer” woman playing the sexy in a video, she would be cheered as a geek champion, but oh no, these four beautiful women can’t represent geeks or gamers because they… what? They’re too beautiful? This is what I see. This is my main gripe with the people that were complaining about this video. This is the same issue as me not being a male lead in a movie or an tv show because I am fat and wear glasses… well, also because I haven’t tried auditioning for one, but you know what I mean… why can’t they be what they claim they are?
A friend asked a very good question, something like “What if it were a bunch of male models representing geeks, would you be ok with it?” Yes. Yes I would. Are they geeks? Because, Michele, Milynn, Clare, and Rileah are. If four six-packed male model-types had their own little parody music video, I would be ok with it. Mainstream has had a fun time of telling us that real life is about mostly good looking people while the rest are delegated to the side-kick or comedic relief, but does that mean that we should quickly attack people because they aren’t “ugly” enough?
The last point I will focus on is a comment that basically said, “I admire people who don’t feel they have to sexualize themselves to get fans”. To the person that actually said it, I am not trying to single you out here, it is just that you made a very good point and I felt it was worth exploring here. We’re dealing with four rather intelligent women, in this Team Unicorn. Personally, I know Michele has a Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. I am sure they knew there was a pot and it would be stirred. They are actresses. They live off fans. Fact of life. More people will know of them now. Yes, other people either don’t or keep “the sexy” to a minimum. Someone was mentioned in this comment specifically who has done what the commenter suggested she hadn’t. It was argued by others privately that one instance was a character, and the other was purely a parody and also used a variety of “types” of people, but the fact remains that sometimes sexy is a device used in comedy. I am sorry for the vagueness but I want to keep the focus here and not really make comparisons even though I kinda am.
Controversy is a good thing sometimes, especially to garner a base of fans. Sure, it could be viewed as a negative thing, but again, I personally think their video was expertly done, their lyrics were on par, and they definitely flaunted their beauty, and their geekness. In this parody music video, they were representing themselves. Ladies, maybe you want to make your own parody video in which you’ll represent your own self. I promise I won’t complain about there not being “beautiful girls” in it. Odds are, you are beautiful and you just don’t know it.
Yes, Michele is my friend, and I do support her, and her friends, in everything they do. I may be biased because of this, or because I myself am a male and may not understand what it really means to be a geek girl or a gamer girl or both. I am a geek. I am a gamer. I have scoffed in the past because of similar attempts of getting my attention with the beautiful women doing the geek things, but when I know they are the real deal, and they are doing a parody music video to boot, what’s the harm in that? They are proud of being healthy. They are proud of being girls. They are proud of being geeks. They are proud of being gamers.
And I am proud of them.
Part 1 can be read here.
Based on a meme where someone used a site to play two youtube videos together. Usher’s Papers and a goat. I wrote a back-story for Billy, the goat.
*Apologies for my international friends that cannot view the videos, try finding Usher’s Papers on youtube and replace the one that doesn’t work.
Part 2 (remix)
It was his birthday party. Eleven years old. Almost not a kid anymore, his beard had started to grow early in the year. Best of all, Billy had just come home from winning the school talent show at West Side Elementary in Marietta. Seventh grade was going very well, and now Maria, the most beautiful twelve-year-old in school was at his party.
“Maaah!” Exclaimed Billy, seeing Maria entering the Showbiz Pizza on Roswell Road in East Lake Plaza. She had on a turquoise tank top and a black leather tube skirt.
“Billy!” Maria returned, loving the nickname Billy gave her the first day of school.
“Maaah, maaah… maaah?”
“Yes, Billy, I saw you win the talent show, great choice by the way. Love Shack.” in between the love shows at this place, the box set television was on Star Search. A show that showcases young talent, a competition. Two enter the stage, one goes home.
“Everyone get ready for the show.” said some random low-wage employee. Fake electronic animals started dancing around the stage and singing some banjo song. Billy, Maria, and the rest of the party watched. When it was over, the television turned back to the Star Search.
On television a new young boy came on. Ed McMahon said “and now, I present to you, young thirteen year old Usher Raymond, everybody, here to sing ‘End of the Road’ by Boys II Men.” young Billy the goat had never heard someone sing like that before. Neither had Maria, for her eyes stayed glued to the television set and no matter what Billy tried, she would not respond. Then, she fainted.
In the kitchen, which is kept tidy most of the time, for the manager at this particular Showbiz pizza was very strict except when Star Search was on, things were being left out on the counters instead of put away properly. It was their favorite show and everyone watched. Their recent shipping of tomato sauce was a strange one. The container used with this shipment was different. The cans were thicker. Stronger. While refilling their tomato container from the metal cans, Billy’s parents entered the kitchen, for as frugal parents go, they know they can get away with having their dinner from the kitchen garbage.
“Maaah?” asked Bill Lee, Billy’s father.
“Yes, Bill, I see the cans of tomato on the counter, should I get them for us?” replied Martha, Billy’s mom. Bill nodded, and they ensconced with two tomato cans.
The next morning the manager at Showbiz Pizza received a phone call. “Listen, we have a problem. With that little girl fainting, and the freak metal can-eating accident, we will not be able to support the lawsuits.”
“What is the update on them anyway?” asked the concerned manager.
“The girl is fine, but we could still be sued for stress, people sue for less. The other two, we should worry about. They survived, but will be ailing and in need of medical attention. We can’t sustain that. If this Bill Lee Goat and his wife sue. The lawyers came up with a plan. They can’t sue if we change our name. We need to rebrand. From this point on, we will be called Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza.”
“What did you say your name was?” asked Usher.
“Maaah.” responded Billy. They stepped out of the restaurant and towards the limo that was waiting.
As they neared the long black vehicle, Usher turned to Billy and mentioned, “Billy, I want you to meet my lady, she’s waiting inside.” but before they could get close enough to the door, it opened.
“Oh my lawd, Billy!” it was Maria.
“Maaah?” was all Billy could say. He was shocked. He hadn’t seen her since College. There she was, with her arms around him. He forgot himself for a second and breathed her in. Realizing Usher was right next to them, he remembered where he was, and what he needed to do.
To be continued…