Harem Scarum

Yesterday’s Twitter war between Simon Pegg and self-described “immoral, vulgar, gay-loving feminist” Courtney Stoker was an odd back-and-forth. Pegg posted a photo of several ComicCon “cosplay” (i.e., costume play) women dressed in Princess Leia‘s Return of the Jedi harem costume, and wrote “makes noise like Homer Simpson thinking of donuts.” Stoker replied that Pegg is a “gross unenlightened jerk” and that he was “objectifying geek women & discouraging more from identifying as geek.”

In other words, in Stoker’s view, Pegg wasn’t getting with the spirit of ComicCon cosplay and degrading the environment by conspicuously smacking his lips and sounding like LexG/Ballsworth. I get what Stoker is saying but c’mon…a couple of dozen women in harem costumes and Pegg is a sleazebag for noting that harem-girl attire has a certain effect upon his libido? Pegg replied to Stoker by saying “it was not my intention to offend and I am against the objectification of women when the intention is malicious…chums?” And Stoker responded “if you’re actually against it, apologize.”

A guy is always asking for trouble, of course, if he says anything in a public forum that objectifies women or alludes to their sexual allure in any lewd way. It’s unwise to go there. But the point of a harem costume, of course, is to sexually titillate or arouse. The reason George Lucas told Carrie Fisher to wear a harem costume in that Jedi sequence is because it would be sexually titillating or arousing to the Star Wars fan base. The reason women wear Princess Leia harem costumes to ComicCon is because they know that sexually titillating costumes always get attention, and that a certain portion of this attention (if not the bulk of it) will be prurient in nature. They know that going in so Pegg’s reaction, however obviously he expressed it, was more or less precisely what they were expecting if not looking for.

  • 62Lincoln

    Amen, Jeff. These women were objectifying themselves with these costumes, uptight bitch commentary towards Pegg notwithstanding. It is also a simple truth that thoughts as he expressed are best held in one’s own confidence in today’s environment. I guess he learned a lesson. Good grief.

  • Los Bostonian

    Every single girl wearing that costume is hoping for that kind of attention. There are dozens of other Star Wars costumes that have lots of clothing and thousands of other geek friendly costumes in general that are far subtler sexually than a metal bra and open dress with legs in sight. Good on Pegg.

    My theory on this has always been the Chris Rock quote regarding Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, which paraphrased is basically if Clarence looked like Denzel, it would have been Ohhhh Denzel!

    SNL did a great SNL sketch about this with Tom Brady and Fred Armisen too.

  • AH

    Memo to Ms. Stoker: Half naked non-fat women turn straight men and gay women on. If this upsets you, blame nature who, to my knowledge, is always referred to as a female.

  • Krazy Eyes

    Jesus Christ. Idiots like Courtney Stoker give women a bad name. She’s probably just looking for attention and is loving all the publicity this is getting her.

  • Jesse Crall

    Yeah, terrible place to take a stand on Ms. Stoker’s part. Nothing wrong with Pegg’s comment.

    Los Bostonian’s right about the Armisen-Brady sketch; brilliant and funny.

  • Zach
  • Tristan Eldritch2

    Man, she looks like of those people who develops a half-assed, academic, faux-intellectualism as a compensation for being physically unappealing. Obectification of beefy male bodies is rampant in gay culture, but we will be waiting a long time for this attention-seeking twat to get on her high horse about that.

  • Ira Parks


    No offense, but those outfits must smell horrible.

    Seeing one of those girls sidle up to/hug a Faraci beardo in a black t-shirt with a LAST STARFIGHTER logo would send me to Bellevue.

    There must be BILLIONS of new diseases spreading in San Diego thanks to this fest.


  • Krazy Eyes

    Courtney Stoker in cosplay:


    This whole spat now makes PERFECT sense.

  • RoyBatty Returns

    Courtney Stoker (875 followers) wanted nothing more than to enlighten the interwebs to the existance of Courtney Stoker. Her beef is with the women for objectifying themselves, not for Pegg (2,409,903 followers) responding in the intended manner.

    Yes, intended: to suggest that that costume is not sexualized in the extreme is so disingenuous it suggests you are either a not so clever troll or a completely oblivious fucking moron.

    It also suggests that these women are not “allowed” by Ms Stoker’s fatwa to present themselves in a manner that elicits a sexual-attraction response. By my quick mental count, Carrie Fisher has about 9 wardrobes over the course of 3 films. That these women (and pretty much EVERY woman at EVERY con) choose this outfit is pretty strong evidence they do so more out of a desire to present themselves as sexually appealing than as simply a “nerd” thing.

    Ms. Stoker is part of the reason many attractive geek ladies complain that can’t catch a break: they spent spent their adolescences getting peer pressure that they can’t be both geek & hot and then when they do embrace it, people like Stoker make them feel ashamed for possibly “objectifying” themselves.

    Let me make a Swiftian suggestion for Ms Stoker and her merry band of killjoys: establish a global “My Body, My Choice” registry for every woman to log onto to make clear their intent and desired reaction to every wardrobe decision they make. If they just happen to like that sweater because it is their favorite shade of purple, we will refrain from noticing that it also has a scoop neck that shows off their ample cleavage.

    That way, the next time she will be on firmer footing with Mr. Pegg and can’t tweet with authority: “Shame on @simonpegg – the gold bikini Leah 3rd from left was simply proud of her DIY cosplay sewing prowess!”

  • RoyBatty Returns

    EDIT – “..CAN tweet with authority…”

    Jeff, 21st century tweeted: edit buttons are now de rigueur.

  • Ghost of Kazan

    This is further proof that it takes special training to be as stupid as an academic.

    “Objectification” is one of those asinine words that literally means the opposite of what people think it does. Normal people don’t get turned on by furniture. We get turned on by characteristics that are specifically human.

    They could just say “sexualizing” instead, but of course that would make them sound like prudes and god forbid anyone accuse them of THAT.

  • Travis Actiontree

    Somewhere Naomi Wolf is writing a 900 page book about all of this.

  • Floyd Thursby

    “This is further proof that it takes special training to be as stupid as an academic.”

    I have toiled most of my adult life in what, in these United States, is laughingly called higher education and can testify that a shockingly high percentage of academics are narrow-minded, intolerant of opposing views about anything, and humorless. And too few of the women are cute.

  • cyanic

    I have toiled most of my adult life in what, in these United States, is laughingly called higher education and can testify that a shockingly high percentage of academics are narrow-minded, intolerant of opposing views about anything, and humorless. And too few of the women are cute.

    You sound like a conservative.

  • Cadavra

    As the old saying goes, the time to be upset is when men stop looking at you.

  • Krillian

    Team Simon.

  • David A.

    “You sound like a conservative.”

    You’re correct, what he said did make sense. ;)

  • Ballsworth

    I’ll objectify and ogle women all day long, but it’s never cool or gentlemanly or disparage a woman’s looks to win some stupid argument, so rallying behind Pegg by bagging on this chick isn’t cool.

    Plus from the couple pics I found, like her Twitter and Guardian or whatnot, she’s actually kind of pretty. Plus Pegg always seems vaguely annoying.

    How on earth did Wells crack that “Ballsworth” might be LexG? Not saying I’m him, but this was a pretty good disguise if so.

  • Ghost of Kazan

    “You sound like a conservative.”

    To the extent that this is true, it’s a sad commentary on the current state of liberalism.

  • Ghost of Kazan

    And I totally agree with Lex’s first statement, will remain neutral on the second, and am stupefied by the last one.

  • Hallick

    I’m sorry, but will no one stand up for the donuts in that tweet?

    Women don’t want to be sexually degraded by being ogled, but at the same time they’re unwilling to give up the power that comes with the trappings of explicit sexuality that gain them so much persuasion and leverage with the opposite sex.

    What Stoker wants is an intimidated sort of man who can’t even bring himself to look at the woman’s bosom much less look up at her face. This is why some women love the company of gay men so much. It’s all of the appreciation they look for from a male, but none of the obligation for sexual contact.

  • reverent and free

    Sheesh, if anything Pegg behaved less sexist by being good humored about an aroused libido. Men who pretend that they wouldn’t get caught dead jerking off to pictures are the ones who ought to have their computers seized and inspected.

  • tommy five-tone

    Any time anyone compares themselves to Homer Simpson, they’re pretty much making themselves the butt of the joke.

  • Floyd Thursby

    “You sound like a conservative.”

    Have never voted for a republican for any office. Just tired of political correctness because I see it every day.

  • fortunes.fool

    Is it just me, or is Simon Pegg not funny?

    When he’s playing the straight guy to Nick Frost he’s fine, but is there any film he’s been in that wouldn’t be improved by removing him from it?

  • Paul

    @cyanic Actually, he sounds like someone who works in higher education. Floyd’s description is pretty spot on.

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    Somewhere Naomi Wolf is writing a 900 page book about all of this.