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Stop Accusing Olivia Munn (and People in General) Of "Faking" Their Geeky Interests

By Genevieve Burgess | Think Pieces | March 13, 2016 |


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Let me say upfront that I am incredibly skeptical of “geek” or “nerd” culture still being something that we can consider apart from mainstream culture. When superhero movies are topping the box office, the biggest series on HBO is a fantasy with dragons and magic, and Comic-Con is an industry staple that features panels from the largest movie studios in the world, I think it’s wrong to draw arbitrary distinctions around certain properties as being part of “geek culture.” There are definitely levels of interest that vary widely from “enjoys the Avengers movies” to “knows the exact comic that each of the Avengers was introduced in, and feels personally slighted that the movie version doesn’t align correctly with the original comic book stories” but it’s not a separate culture unto itself. Besides which, the things that fall under the apparent purview of “geek culture” are so widely varied and unconnected that it’s impossible to keep up with. Ex: Knowing who Wedge Antilles is and having strong opinions about him, but also being enthusiastic about “Settlers of Catan”; these things are NOT related in the least, but still seem to both fall under that “geek culture” umbrella, in my experience.

One of the things that does seem consistent about the people who insist on a “geek” or “nerd” culture, with their own highly specific personal definitions of what that entails, is a firm belief that women aren’t a part of it. Or if they are a part of it, it’s not for their own personal enjoyment, but rather as some kind of ploy to get men to pay attention to them. Particularly attractive women. Particularly women like Olivia Munn.

Now, Olivia Munn started working on G4’s Attack of the Show back in 2006, and has been in and out of projects considered part of geek culture ever since. This is not something new that’s come up with her being cast as Psylocke in the upcoming X-Men film. The Mary Sue has a good piece explaining a misstep she did make regarding her stunt work, but nothing to incite a new attack. This is the same old, tired, exclusionary attitude of “You like the things I like, but not in the way that I like them, so you’re WRONG and a fraud” attitude that plenty of people with geeky interests have experienced. Or simply when they like ONE property but have no interest in another. I practically have the Game of Thrones books memorized, but have little to no interest in comic books, am I a “real” geek? If I can win Star Wars Trivial Pursuit but don’t own a video game console, can I say I’m a nerd? At some point you just have to give up and accept that a loose collection of interests is not the same thing as a culture, and people can like what they like without having to pass some bizarre and impossible to quantify test.

If you don’t like Olivia Munn as an actress or find her interviews shallow, then that’s fine. No one has to like anyone. But when Henry Cavill straight up admits that he’s being Superman for the money, it’s baffling that Munn is still the one being attacked for somehow being less than genuine.


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