Claudia Winkleman is a sexy woman. Some male nerds are uncomfortable around sexy women. Some women certainly don’t like or trust other sexy women. A lot of people, both male and female, indulge in nerdy pursuits to escape from the pressures and perils of dealing with the opposite sex and sexuality itself. If you then unbalance that equation with some misjudged sex appeal they get confused and angry, like at the impossibly perfect models who present shows about Starcraft on Anerican videogame websites, or at the sexy Spock who snogs Uhura (not logical, apparently).
I’m actually not that much of fan of Claudia Winkleman but I got to say there is something very sinister (hinging on sexist) running through the criticism of why she shouldn’t be hosting BBC’s Film 2010 show. I actually thought you she did alright and after the shock of seeing her on the show (I just happen to have the TV on and was expecting Jonathan Ross) I did check out some of the comments across twitter and the blogs (not singling anyone out except the Daily Mail). But alas Den of geek hits the issue where I’m thinking.
Let me be clear about something: I’m not saying that if you are male, and you don’t like Claudia Winkleman, then it would follow that you are a raging sexist powered by the heady combination of hatred, lust and jealousy. What I would argue that it is a combination of her femininity (she’s the opposite of a tomboy like, say, Emily Booth), attractiveness, and track record on reality shows that makes her so unpalatable to many male viewers.
Gabby Logan and Emily Booth both had to prove themselves up to the task by being better informed and better presenters than the majority of their male counterparts, and this is the area where Winkleman is ultimately going to live or die – is her film knowledge up to scratch?
It a sad fact but yes you need to be better that your counterparts. You almost have to shock your counterparts into believing you are amazing. The recent character assassination of Claudia Winkleman has got me thinking about woman geeks again. Of course we are going to explore this at a much deeper level at the series of talks we got setup starting with geeks talk sexy on 19th November at Madlab.
If I had a penis and was 10-15 years younger, there would probably be a movie about me, too. But I’m not. I’m a woman who has been told since she was a young girl that she needs to be quieter, more humble, more demure, more agreeable, more attractive, less outspoken, less ambitious, less aggressive and more ‘woman’-like. I was highly unpopular growing up because I didn’t feel the need to fit a mould. I learnt as soon as I did fit a mould, I was rewarded. I got the academic awards and accolades? I was ostracized + called a show-off. Nobody wanted to be my friend. When I slacked off, dressed pretty and laughed at the boys stupid jokes? I was popular! This didn’t change in adult life, either (don’t even get me started on how dating advice on how a woman ‘should act’ fits into this whole mess)
There will be lots more of this type of analysis at Geeks talk sexy… But for now its worth saying there is something sinister, I’m also saying its not all out sexism but there is certainly a need to change the script.