Live Through This

Poser Pride

You know what’s dumber than pretending to like something you don’t? Caring if someone else does.

Illustration by Minna

Illustration by Minna

I’ve been a poser more than a few times in my life. In middle school, I pretended to like the same music as a boy I had a crush on just so we could have something in common, which is how I ended up with Coldplay on my iTunes even though we never got together. In high school, I tried to fake my knowledge of a cultural theorist just to impress a few seniors in my class. Posing was my way of feeling less awkward.

On the flipside, I’ve definitely called people out for being posers, like classmates who were suddenly into the same bands I had been listening to for YEARS or my friend who got really into fashion, a territory I had sort of claimed as mine. I’ve probably rolled my eyes at your Sex Pistols T-shirt, and even looked down my nose at girls who became feminists years after making fun of me for being one.

Being called a poser is an inevitable teenage rite of passage. Most of us try on different personalities in our teen years n an effort to find ourselves, but we’re still quick to cry foul when others do the same. We are simultaneously protective of our own identities and unwilling to let other people find theirs. Whether it’s a wardrobe switch (suddenly the preppy girl is goth) or a personality flip (pill-popper goes straight-edge), when someone changes their script others are quick to judge them for being insincere. But how are you supposed to learn what you like if you don’t try different things? If we’re lucky, we will spend most of our lives evolving—who’s to say which stage we go through is the “real” one and which ones are “just a pose”?

I mean, I get it: When we love something like a book or movie or video game or song or whatevs—truly love it, not just enjoy it sometimes—it’s usually because it touches something within our core. We identify with it—our identity has a soulmates-y relationship with it. So when someone with whom you seemingly have nothing in common suddenly is really into that thing too, in a way you’re just being loyal by protecting the thing you love from this obvious impostor. They couldn’t possibly identify with the same thing you do; their identity and your identity do not even live in the same universe. You want to expose them as a liar. Questioning the longevity of their interest in X or Y thing is a classic whistle-blowing technique: “Wow, it’s funny that you’re at this reading ,because weren’t you talking in class last year about how much you hated poetry?” you might say, or “Do you actually like Nirvana, or did you just buy that Kurt Cobain T-shirt because it looks cool?” BOOM. You have proved your mastery of this cultural domain. (In this case I’m using “mastery” to mean “acting like a jerky baby.”)

This behavior often starts in high school, a period when we are so fiercely protective of our identities that we instinctively dislike anyone who comes close to mirroring them. Thankfully, as most of us get older and more sure of ourselves, we let go of our need to act like some kind of cultural gatekeeper, making value judgments about people before we know anything about them. Sadly, some people never outgrow it.

Earlier this year, the comedian and adult Scott Aukerman wrote this seriously sexist tweet:

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 6.00.14 AM

By espousing that it’s impossible to be a Joy Division fan AND good-looking AND a girl, Aukerman was basically calling any female in a Joy Division T-shirt who is attractive to him, personally, a poser. Women are posers by default, just by virtue of being women, and Aukerman automatically has the authority to judge who’s “real” and who’s “faking it” because I’m not sure why. (To be fair, these cases aren’t very hard to adjudicate: Is she a girl? Do I want to have sex with her? VERDICT: POSER. CASE CLOSED.)

For some reason (OK it’s sexism), girls are a popular target for this kind of authenticity trolling. TechLife editor Rae Johnston posted this awesome tweet after a dude called her out her for wearing a Bioshock: Infinite T-shirt:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 8.52.48 PM

The snarky coffee shop guy and self-appointed authenticity-police officer in question was obviously hoping to catch Johnston in the act of posing, but instead got his ass handed to him (and the game ruined, aw). This kind of thing happens a lot when female fans participate in comic-book conferences and gamer forums—we are accused of being Fake Geek Girls. Nerdery was never a purely male arena—girls have been made fun of for playing D&D, wearing glasses, and having braces for just as long as dudes have—so it’s weird that guys still cannot handle the presence of women in these spaces. A lot of guys assume that girls only pretend to be geeks to get attention—and it’s true that people often do things outside their comfort zone when they find someone attractive and want to be noticed by them (I repeat: Coldplay in my iTunes). Aside from the larger point of “who cares,” attributing that attitude to a considerable segment of the nerd population based solely on gender is the very definition of prejudice. It’s also pretty stupid for a notoriously shy, largely male subculture to actively discourage women who share their interests from coming to them. Not that we’re there for them, of course, but you would think they would’ve thought this through a little.

Poser policing isn’t restricted to the male-dominated worlds of comedy and gaming; in academic and professional settings women are constantly told we don’t know what we’re talking about, even when we know as much as or more than our male counterparts. Rebecca Solnit wrote about a conversation she once had with a man who insisted she didn’t know as much about photographer Eadweard Muybridge as he did. He haughtily quoted a recent New York Times best-seller he had read about Muybridge, showing off his superior expertise. Little did he know Solnit wrote the fucking book he was talking about, and—plot twist—he hadn’t even read it! What a posing liar!

Having been on both sides of this divide—poser and poser-pointer-outer—I’m glad that none of the people I called out ever slapped me in the face with the business end of the truth like that, but I’m also a little sad that I wasn’t clever enough to come back at my accusers with comparable badassery. Not that I ever got it so bad—pretending to love Coldplay for the attentions of a boy is about as far as I was willing to go, but it could have turned out much worse. Or it could have turned out great! What if my feigned love for Coldplay was an on-ramp to a lifelong, heartfelt passion for Coldplay? How this soul-stirring, unshakeable love started shouldn’t matter, should it? Are we now disqualifying women for getting into something the “wrong way”? Do we essentially have to present some sort of long-form fandom birth certificate as proof of our authenticity?

Ironically, the worst I ever got it from the poser police was over an incident where I was actually not posing at all. They couldn’t even see how real I was, man! I wrote about my love of R.L. Stine here on Rookie a year and a half ago, and a few months later I found—I honestly can’t remember how—an ENTIRE LiveJournal comment thread making fun of me. According to the commenters, I was too young to have even heard of R.L. Stine, and therefore I was adopting a nostalgia that I had no right to. Never mind that I grew up on the Goosebumps series and that R.L. Stine doesn’t belong to any one generation and that it’s not like you’re only allowed to enjoy art that came out when you were a specific age. (I hope that none of the people in that forum ever reads Jane Austen. I hope that they have never seen The Godfather. If I ever catch one of them listening to David Bowie or Mozart, I will call out their poser shenanigans.)

I’m happy to report that my concern about what other people are into and the manner in which they enjoy it vanished when I got a little older and stopped caring so much what anyone else thought of me. I realized there is no cultural value in liking something first, and that I can’t make judgment calls on people for coming to a shared interest in their own way. To the poser police, I say: You are not a toddler, so you can’t expect to keep getting rewarded for doing something for the first time, and you sort of have to use the social skills you’ve developed since then to let other people play with your toys. Acting like there’s a right way to like something is snobby, petty, and mean, and no one makes friends that way. It’s OK to give a person some space while they figure out who they really want to be instead of policing every pleasure they manage to eke out of life. Save your energy for making fun of things that are actually important. ♦

65 Comments

  • martaosbourne July 3rd, 2013 3:13 PM

    I have to admit that I have been a poser for several years. I even had a star wars t-shirt (and I haven’t watched it yet!!).

    But now that I’m older I don’t feel that pressure. Now I say what I like with pride, whether it is Hannah Montana or Rammstein.

    By the way, this article reminds me of this http://thisishangingrockcomics.tumblr.com/post/46382121327

    http://www.filthygrrrl.tumblr.com

  • FlowerandtheVine July 3rd, 2013 3:26 PM

    I collect records. My all-time biggest pet peeve is when I walk up to the register to purchase my records, and the guy at the counter looks at what I’m buying, looks at me, and says, “What, are these for your boyfriend or something?” RAGE.

    http://flowerandthevine.wordpress.com

    • caro nation July 3rd, 2013 4:35 PM

      OR when they ask “are you sure this is what you want?” FUCK WHAT DO YOU THINK

      • TessaTheTeenageWitch July 4th, 2013 12:11 AM

        UGH YES! Like I am going to turn around and be like “Oh, oops! My silly girly brain must have switched the words around – I thought this was the new 1D album?!?!?!”

        Sometimes, people like things that don’t comply with the stereotypes you give them. DEAL. (Similarly, the smirks you get when you buy something that actually does fit their stereotype of people like you, and they look at you like “ugh typical”. You actually cannot win).

        • caro nation July 4th, 2013 7:22 AM

          I’M GOING TO REPLY AGAIN BECAUSE OH MY GOD
          DOES ANYONE REALIZE HOW GOOD SHE & HIM ACTUALLY ARE
          YES I’LL TAKE VOLUME 3 ALONG WITH MY BOREDOMS RECORD THANKS

  • bugaleeto July 3rd, 2013 3:33 PM

    This was so funny. I do have to admit that sometimes fiery hipster annoyance still ignites in the dredges of my soul. I’m working on trying to control it , although I would never say something so rude to someone and challenge their knowledge, passion, etc for it.
    Those pretentious dbags deserved it

  • Lorelei July 3rd, 2013 3:52 PM

    I needed this. I am often quite protective of the things that I really like, be they bands or movies or books or even activities. But I have to admit that it does still annoy me a little bit that the same friends that once laughed at me for wanting them to come thrifting with me a few years ago now are dying to go because ‘it’s so cool’ or whatever. Just kinda stings a little when they finally come around on books or movies or anything I previously showed them that they originally thought I was a weirdo for liking.

    • vatfp July 3rd, 2013 6:12 PM

      That’s exactly how I feel.

  • annadaly July 3rd, 2013 4:00 PM

    That’s the best rationale for my possessiveness of my culture. In high school, my identity was in a flux, and I felt like I was actually DYING if anyone brought up my “special things”. I felt like they had pilfered my soul, I remember my stomach flipping, feeling a hot flash, a wave of anger, embarrassment, exposure. it was awful.
    I was the original hipster child, but I’m glad to know other people experienced this. I always thought it was my neurotic self combined with only child inability to share.

  • annadaly July 3rd, 2013 4:02 PM

    also, rookie, your comment system is not the best. i have to re log in every time i come here and most of the time register again because it doesn’t recognize me. I am running out of aliases, is there anything you can do about this?

    • Anaheed July 3rd, 2013 4:17 PM

      Hmm, I don’t think that’s happening for most people. Do you always sign up with the same email address? And what browser are you using?

    • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake July 8th, 2013 3:14 AM

      It’s happened to me several times too. It would be great if you could fix it. :)

  • alisatimi July 3rd, 2013 4:31 PM

    For me it’s the other way around, usually. Most people I know haven’t even heard of any of my favorite movies, bands, etc. (they’re not even that obscure!), so I get really excited when someone likes the same things as me. Well, unless I don’t like the person.

    • Mimi7 July 3rd, 2013 9:44 PM

      I totally know what you mean!

  • Thesi63 July 3rd, 2013 4:52 PM

    really like your article!
    but i think in a way you can say what is “true” and what is “fake”. as you grow older you do not always think about what might be cool, what might be uncool. you rely a bit more on your heart and on what really comes from the inside. ey then suddenly you do not think about categories such as”mainstream” or “alternative” because you do not care about those constructs of you mind anymore. you just FEEL what you like and what you do not like. so i think that is what makes people “true”: they do not care at all about what they might embody, they just “be” what they are, without judgement.

  • onehandclaps July 3rd, 2013 5:02 PM

    I was visiting my friend who was tour guiding during the summer at her college, and I had just unearthed this Simon and Garfunkel t-shirt from my mom’s closet and I decided to wear it during my visit. I am very picky about the shirts I wear (design wise not really like ‘content’ wise? I rarely wear branded shirts unless I like the design)
    Anyway someone on a tour came up to me, probably thinking I was a tour guide or office assistant there, and started talking about how much they Paul & Art. And I was just standing there trying to think of how many of their songs I could name off hand if the conversation continued?
    Anyway I felt kind of bad for wearing it- because shirts really do form a nonverbal bridge of communication? And even though I was trying to communicate my taste in well designed t-shirts, I inadvertently was a poser ‘twice’ – one being representing I school I didn’t go to, and the other being an enthusiastic fan of the band.
    Of course I still wear the shirt though because I love it! Ahahaha

  • taste test July 3rd, 2013 5:34 PM

    really good article. when I met someone who liked some things I did but who I didn’t like as a person for the first time, it confused the hell out of me. you explained why perfectly when you talked about how it’s like our identity is being challenged and we try to call them liars to eliminate the challenge. that was like 2 years ago and until I read that, I was still confused about how my immediate reaction was to dismiss her as a poser when I’d never cared about that before. but now it makes so much sense.

    also, uuugh. guys who assume girls are posers are the worst. I was in a record store once and these two dudes down the aisle were talking about a band I like. and one of them said “it’s a shame girls don’t like this band.” and I was about to say “hey, I do!” when the other one was like “yeah, there were some chicks at their concerts but they were all with their boyfriend or looking for one.” and I was just so mad I dropped the CD I was looking at and walked out of the store. then I turned around & walked back in because it wasn’t the store’s fault these douchey dudebros were hanging around. but anyway. it still makes me mad, and it wasn’t even aimed directly at me.

  • Madness July 3rd, 2013 6:37 PM

    I’m studying jazz right now in college and its so frustrating when people assume I don’t know anything. When ever I say I like a certain musician, a guy jazz major will say, “wow! that’s so cool that you like Monk” but I don’t see what the big deal is because I’m supposed to know all this stuff and listen to all this music just like they are. They just assume I wouldn’t know a hip musician. I feel like I’m viewed as a novelty rather than just someone trying to create art. When I go to a jam session and I don’t play some one will say to me “don’t let those boys scare you from playing.” which is definitely not the reason I don’t play. They would never say that to a boy.

  • lauraunicorns July 3rd, 2013 6:45 PM

    I think this article is great because it shows both sides of the whole “poser” issue – it’s so easy to get really attached to and protective of the stuff you like, but you have to remind yourself that there is a reason why you fell in love with that stuff in the first place, and it’s great when other people realize they like it too! I try to remember that no one really sets out to become a poser – everybody has their reasons for liking things, and just because their reasons might not be my reasons doesn’t mean they’re not valid. But it is still tough when the interest in question is not, like, music or movies or stuff like that, but something more significant like feminism! Cause I’ve seen that happen too. But then I have to just be like, okay, spreading the cause and UNITING GRRRLS EVERYWHERE. Girls fighting amongst themselves (especially over feminism, how ironic) just gives the patriarchy more power over us. Sorry for the super long post but I found this really interesting!

    http://lauraunicorns.tumblr.com/

  • TessAnnesley July 3rd, 2013 6:51 PM

    *slow clap*

  • blackstar July 3rd, 2013 7:24 PM

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article, mostly because I have found myself taking on the role of the poser police countless times in the past, even in one particular situation at present.
    Although, with age, I do agree that this notion of cultural possession which most of use to brand as our “identity” is perhaps at times, unfounded and unjust, I suppose what really bothers me in such situations is when people merely adopt a false interest in something, be it a book, a band, a TV show, on the pretence of trying to mimic what you genuinely enjoy doing, or to attract someone’s attention or impress someone. Hey, it happens, I guess.
    What about when someone tries to “steal your identity”, or rather your cultural repertoire which you feel deeply defines you and then conveniently enough, use it to impress a guy you like or a group of friends you’ve recently befriended in the hopes that they will be able to ferment a better/cooler view of themselves in this guy or this group’s mind, as a consequence?
    It really does sting.
    What is worse perhaps, is when they even begin to say things and re-iterate YOUR views, wich you’ve chosen to freely express, about a book you love for instance, to someone who they merely want to impress? To solidify a certain view of themselves that they are trying to mould, but that does not consequently define them, but rather you?

    Maybe I’m digressing. I guess this is a rather touchy subject. I do enjoy bonding with people over all things culture, however, and often it does make for great relationship starters.

  • Monq July 3rd, 2013 10:12 PM

    I am definitely guilty of being the “Poser” Police especially when something I like start to become mainstream. Though I must admit I never been called out as being a “Poser”, Thank God.

    xoox

  • Abby July 3rd, 2013 10:55 PM

    This is actually perfect…. I hate it sooo much when people say you can’t like something because you only just started liking it or you didn’t grow up with it or you found it in a way that isn’t to their liking. It’s ridiculous.

  • Cassie N July 3rd, 2013 11:55 PM

    Oh my gosh this is great. I know that we are all still trying to find ourselves and maybe that means doing or trying things we don’t normally do and sometimes that’s ok. me and my brothers constantly make fun of “posers” calling them m.l.p.s which means:Major League Posers. we usually say that about those wannabe cool kids that wear big obey shirts, sagging shorts and Nike elite socks. we always thought they dressed like that just because everyone else was.After reading this article i don’t know if i will call people mlp’s anymore because maybe that’s just who they are.
    (when my brothers called people mlp’s, at first i thought they were calling them my little ponies but that would be a compliment because who doesn’t like my little pony?)

  • Jen L. July 4th, 2013 12:04 AM

    Hazel, I truly envy both the forthrightness and fluidity of your writing. Thanks for another killer article!

  • iamsherlocked1887 July 4th, 2013 1:55 AM

    So

    Scott Aukerman isn’t sexist. He is married to feminist Kulap Vilaysack (not that it would mean he was a feminist.. I just feel it’s important to note), who is also a comedian, and if you listen and enjoy Scott’s comedy you would know that he makes fun of those macho, misogynistic guys (kind of like how The Lonely Island constantly does in their music.) I feel like this post was somewhat hypocritical because you were writing about the same thing Scott was making fun of just a few paragraphs before. “I’ve probably rolled my eyes at your Sex Pistols T-shirt…” which I understand as you rolling your eyes at someone wearing a t-shirt for a band you know they don’t listen to. I can see why you would think this was sexist because he decided to write that it was a “hot girl” instead of say, just a girl or even a guy, but I just think you were reading it out of context.

    I’m sorry if this comes off as rude or mean in any way. I was just really caught of guard with the words “Scott Aukerman” and “sexist” being in the same sentence. I’ve been an avid reader of Rookie for about a year now, but I actually felt the need to make an account and comment for the first time in order to defend one of my favorite comedians! I would definitely consider Scott a feminist ally.

    p.s. I have never once in my life listened to Guns N Roses, but I own a Guns N Roses t-shirt because I found it at Gap for like two bucks. It’s really comfortable.

    • Danielle July 4th, 2013 11:46 AM

      I really like Scott Aukerman, and think he’s funny. His wife is dope!

      That said, it’s still possible to say sexist things even if you’re not, generally, sexist. This post is only referencing his (sexist) comment, not his entire body of work or life.

    • Hazel July 4th, 2013 6:04 PM

      Not rude or mean at all! I was referencing the sexism of this specific tweet, not his entire career (which I am not as familiar with) because his tweet is a perfect example of that sexist “dude calling pretty women out for not being genuine” phenomenon I write about here.

  • Queen Mab July 4th, 2013 1:55 AM

    This article rang very true for me. In fact, I am very glad to have read this today specifically, because I recently got into one of those “battles-of-intellect” wherein a prejudiced male is 1. astonished that I am a girl and into their “cultural domain”, and 2. questioning me up and down about every aspect they are familiar with, adding a condescending “oh you DON’T know ____?!” when they feel necessary.

    In my experience, to the male it is oftentimes less important to vibe with the girl over what parts she likes and what interests her about the field than to intimidate or dominate. They may not realise they’re doing this.

    Luckily for myself I’m older and wiser than I once was, and I taught him a few things about the field. However, this shouldn’t have to be the case. I shouldn’t have to be an expert on multiple levels just to “prove” that I am indeed worthy of liking or being familiar with the field. What if I had fumbled, been intimidated by his demeanour, or had elected to not discuss this with him? Chances are likely that he would think of me as a poser or somewhere below him.

    For those who can relate, just keep your head up and be proud to like what you do, and never ever let a guy (or anyone) make you feel like your interests and perspective are less valid than their own.

  • enchantedviolin July 4th, 2013 2:14 AM

    Thank you so much for talking about the ‘fake geek girl’ thing. It is so depressing! I mean I’ve met some lovely geeky chaps who think it’s great that girls are into graphic novels and computer games too (and not just there for their personal gratification) but then you meet someone who calls you out as being a fake and it ruins it for everyone. And I’m afraid it’s not just guys – girls also call other girls out for being fake geeks which is the worst! This article by Tara Brown really made me sad as in a male dominated world like technology you don’t need women judging other women on their values based on how they look: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarabrown/2012/03/26/dear-fake-geek-girls-please-go-away/

    I drew a short comic about it. I hope you like it: http://rachelyelding.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/fake.html

    • emlyb July 4th, 2013 4:56 AM

      omg that comic (and general blog post actually) is wonderful! <3 is this hand drawn or did you do it on a computer (i am a complete n00b when it comes to comics sorry)?

      • enchantedviolin July 4th, 2013 1:33 PM

        Sometimes I hand draw then scan it on and go over it using the computer but this time I decided to try drawing straight onto the computer.

        Thank you <3

  • maddyr July 4th, 2013 3:02 AM

    This is a great article, but lame is an ableist word and I’m disappointed to see it on this wonderful site.

    • Danielle July 4th, 2013 11:48 AM

      Maddy, thank you for bringing this up, and I hear you. I’m really sorry if you were at all offended – it certainly wasn’t the intent, and we’ll be more vigilant about ableist language.

  • queserasera July 4th, 2013 4:04 AM

    “we are so fiercely protective of our identities that we instinctively dislike anyone who comes close to mirroring them”–i’ve been reading this line over and over

    http://televiseddinner.blogspot.com/

  • Gwendolen July 4th, 2013 6:39 AM

    This was so great to read! At the moment it feels as if one of my friends cannot have her own opinions and that whenever I say something like “oh I think X despite Y” suddenly a week later it’s “Well I’ve always thought that Y is wrong, and really it’s X”. I think opinions are an interesting one because the creator of the idea is at once wanting everyone to hear it and believe it, but very protective at the same time.

    http://theirfancies.blogspot.co.uk/

  • A Beautiful Tragic July 4th, 2013 6:47 AM

    I went to this record shop and asked for a Fleetwood Mac’s record and the man gave me THE LOOK, and said, “But you’re so young.” INSIDE MY HEAD I WAS LIKE UM OK. GIVE ME THE FLEETWOOD MAC AND I’LL LEAVE.

    This post is one of those that makes me hit my desk and yells, “YES!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! YES!!!!!” and then tweet about it with a little too many exclamation points.

    I’m glad someone made me understand my poser-self just a little bit better. Thanks Hazel :)

  • Sophie ❤ July 4th, 2013 7:00 AM

    This is simply so, so, perfect.

    http://plainlysophie.com

  • RhiaSnape July 4th, 2013 7:18 AM

    I can definitely identify with both sides to this whole poser/poser-police thing! A very large proportion of the music that I listen to now is stuff that my best friend and boyfriend have shown me, them both having very music obsessed families, when my mum listens to musical numbers. (still cool.) I love Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Big Star..etc now, but these artists are so blatantly my boyfriends ‘artists’ that I feel that when I say I like them I’m just copying him even though I really do love them! He’s always recommending me stuff though and loves it when I like stuff that he tells me to listen to. But then recently this other friend of mine answered a question on ask.fm about her favourite music and said all of my boyfriends favourite songs because he gave her a playlist when she asked for one, and I felt so protective! This may be partly because of history between them and I felt bitter…but I felt like ‘what? you don’t listen to marvin gaye! You like paramore’ even though I basically had done the same thing.

  • trassel July 4th, 2013 8:35 AM

    I was so afraid of being called a poser for such a long time. I was so obsessed with originality and how to obtain it. I guess I still feel like that sometimes. But I’ve never really been that protective of my own interests, I’m always happy when someone finds out about some awsome thing that I like. I think we would be better off if ewejust accepted that some people will find out about stuff when it becomes popular and that they can love it sincerely anyway.

  • Sophii July 4th, 2013 8:44 AM

    This resonates with me so much. I got into The Smiths after reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower but I always feel the need to point out that I liked The Smiths after reading the book, not watching the film. The people my age who claim to be ‘real Smiths fans’ (meaning that they didn’t discover them through Perks or 500 Days of Summer) discovered them from their parents. Oh, well, I’m sorry that I don’t like my parents’ music taste. I remember seeing a tweet that said ’15 year old girls need to leave The Smiths alone.’ At first I was upset then I was angry. Also, because I think that The Smiths are a very teenagery band. Not that they are exclusively for teenagers but teenagers today shouldn’t be called out for being posers. Sure, I would have loved to be a teen in the ’80s and go to Smiths concerts and buy their records when they first came out but that’s something I can’t possibly do. Music snobbery is the worst. That said, I would be annoyed if someone at my school that I have nothing in common with started liking The Smiths ;)

    http://prettypassionsfinefashions.blogspot.co.uk

    http://sophiewilsonsbooks.blogspot.co.uk

  • AnoHana July 4th, 2013 10:01 AM

    This article reminded me of http://mansplained.tumblr.com, a really good blog that collects stories of mansplaining (a man explaining something to a woman because he assumes she doesn’t know it because she’s female) and also situations where men are posers pretending to know things better.

  • AnaRuiz July 4th, 2013 10:13 AM

    Yayy, this article is just so RIGHT! Let’s indulge poser-ness in ourselves and others, because who gets the say on what is “authentic”? Never again calling someone a hypocrite again, pinky promise!

    http://anaruizwriting.blogspot.com

  • sunshine July 4th, 2013 10:26 AM

    wow this article has really brought me some serious closure.

    http://www.batmanisreal.blogspot.com

  • izzybee July 4th, 2013 10:33 AM

    uugghh this is me so much. I used to get so protective over bands because I had listened to stuff like that for years but people at my school had been listening to justin biber a week earlier. I’m getting better at accepting it though. People change when they grow up.

  • Alice123 July 4th, 2013 10:47 AM

    Ugh, I might be the worst ‘poser police’ eveeeer! But I take so much pride in the things I like (I only just recently made my boyfriend PROMISE not to tell anyone about the Mighty boosh after finally introducing it to him)… I just really don’t want my favourites to become too mainstream (CRINGECRINGECRINGE), or even worse that any of them would get popular without me getting any credit! Haha I sound so ridiculous, but there’s no describing that crazy panicky feeling I get whilst listening to someone talk about my faves.. I definitely hope I grow up soon xD

  • Bumblecake July 4th, 2013 12:18 PM

    This is brilliant, I do this all the time though , I am really bad for it. I can’t explain it but things just annoy me ahaha I don’t judge people for liking the thing it’s when they decide to like it which makes me doubt wether it’s genuine. I know it’s a really bad habit because I hate it when I’m looking at CD’s or Records and the guy is like uhhh there’s a lot of rock in there you might want to try over there. But I’m not sure I’m going to be able to stop it any time soon!

    http://www.frankiesimone.blogspot.com

    http://www.frankiesimone.tumblr.com

  • abby111039 July 4th, 2013 5:05 PM

    This is just so true. Reading this makes me feel like less of a horrible person for standing on both sides of the poser thing.

  • darksideoftherainbow July 4th, 2013 5:23 PM

    holy shit i loved this. esp the bit about muybridge. that’s probably one of the best things i’ve ever heard! i’ve been dying to play bioshock but video games make me anxious :/ . i know this one guy who has come very close to calling me a poser bc i just watch game of thrones but don’t read the books. i’ve been wanting to get in on doctor who and sherlock but i always feel like i’ll be called a poser all bc i’m new to it. it’s like you can’t like something unless you were BORN liking it. lame. awesome read! thanks!

    • Danielle July 4th, 2013 5:38 PM

      You should DEFINITELY watch Doctor Who and Sherlock. I’ve never seen more supportive fandoms, and they’re really easy to get into. I mean, Doctor Who has been around for 50 years – it RELIES on new fans to keep it going!

      I started watching it a few years ago, and then loved it so much I went back to watch the older ones. Give them a shot, no matter what anyone says. :)

  • joeywoahs July 4th, 2013 7:32 PM

    Long time reader, first time comment. I’ve enjoyed reading Rookie since it’s first month and it has been delightful to see it grow into what it has and gain respect from all corners of the internet. Similarly, I’ve enjoyed reading Hazel’s posts, and this one is no exception, but I feel as though you are drawing at straws with the Scott Aukerman bit of the article. I can see how it might come off as sexist, but nowhere near the amount you described when you wrote, “In his worldview, women are posers by default, just by virtue of being women, and he automatically has the authority to judge who’s “real” and who’s “faking it” because I’m not sure why.” I’m not really sure how he inferred all that, but the tweet seems more in the vein as some of the comments about finding common interest (or lack there-of) with the opposite sex more than a authoritative stamp on who is a poseur or not. Even if it does come off as sexist, compared to the acts of the male in the next section of the article and the outrageously sexist things said on twitter all the time, Scott’s post is tame. It almost seems as though that bit is riding on the coattails of Scott Aukerman’s current relevance (why would he be in the tags and not rae johnston?) rather than making any particular point. Just take a look at his posts from the Comedy Bang! Bang! messageboard in which he speaks out against sexism and champions women comedians. http://forum.earwolf.com/topic/9740-episode-193-%E2%80%94-what-else-what-else/page__st__20__p__46612#e

  • Sorcha M July 5th, 2013 4:32 AM

    It’s interesting that this sort of cultural defensiveness is never seen with certain kinds of ‘mainstream’ or ‘ironic’ things- to my knowledge, no one’s ever approached a girl in a 1D T-shirt and started quizzing them about Harry’s tattoos, or lashed out at someone wearing a Ghostbusters jumper because they obviously are just pretending to like Bill Murray and the big marshmallow thing. There’s going to be a sweeping statement now, and it is: I think lots of people think there are ‘teenage girl’ things that are inherently inferior, and they see ‘highbrow’ things (using ‘highbrow’ to refer to anything that generally people, or certain subcultures, think are cool) as their domain and territory. People have described fandoms as having their ‘downfall’ when teenage girls start to join in. I have been guilty of making many a passive-aggressive status or eye-roll at popular girls in Hendrix shirts but really, nowadays I could pass for one and have received some bitchy ass comments from teenage boys about my superhero and band shirts. Basically, no one has the monopoly on who likes what and it is okay to buy a Beatles shirt from Topshop because you think it looks good. Also, the internet really hates teenage girls. That was much longer and pointless than it needed to be, but I’m not going to edit.

  • Sorcha M July 5th, 2013 4:34 AM

    The ‘poser’ abuse is one of the main reasons why I’m scared to go to gigs and cons, by the way, aside from the sexual harassment.

  • wallflower152 July 5th, 2013 10:19 AM

    When I like an obscure band I’m always talking/posting about them, telling people they should listen to them. Then when that band blows up and gets the following they deserve I get all defensive. It’s stupid cuz I know that band deserves the fandom and all that comes with it but I can’t help it.

  • julalondon July 5th, 2013 12:38 PM

    Haha when i was 14 i pretended to like Linkin Park and Rock music in general, only to be different from all the other girls who liked Pop music..my older cousin gave me three CDs of them and i totally fell in love with that band, i’m 22 now and still in love with their music..=)

  • Isabellla July 6th, 2013 11:31 PM

    I have definitely had annoying, protective thoughts over lifelong bands i have loved, when these crop up I roll my eyes at myself. These days if I do that i question myself and remember that I don’t own anything, and when i find somebody who likes what i like I’m mostly happy because i’ve found a kindred spirit in a way. Another part of not posing is not being afraid to admit to liking things seen as ‘uncool’ (like cheesy 80s music or country western etc.) just to put on face. There is definitely that point i think everybody gets to where it’s like ‘i can be friends with who i ‘should’ be friends with, or i can be friends with people who actually make me feel good’. Everything you like is valid for you to like and nobody can make you feel bad about that \m/

  • DanneChimal July 8th, 2013 4:22 AM

    One Dany in my personal Style fashion blog i post a photo of me using my joy división t-shirt in a more “chic” versión (i’ve 21 and u work) latee i discovered that in a dumb page of FB a guy use that photo as a “meme” saying “that girl even doesn’t know who is Ian Curtis bit is using the t-shirt of a cool band” and fuck!!!! They doesn’t even know me and just because i don’t hacethat “rock girl look and tattos” i can’t be able to listen that Kundera of music????? I hateeeeee that!!!

    Besos desde México
    thefantastico.blogspot.mx

    • DanneChimal July 8th, 2013 4:24 AM

      I hate my iPhone autocorrector :/ have that* listen that kind of music*

  • barbroxursox July 12th, 2013 1:10 AM

    I’ve definitely been on both sides of the poser thing, but ever since an event during which I accused someone of being a poser about a year ago, I definitely accuse people and care about poser-ness less.
    One time I went to a record store and bought records with some of my friends, and then we met up with some friends of friends. One of the guys said, “do you even have a record player?” Umm, why the fuck would I buy a record if I didn’t have a record player? And I have a pretty wide selection of records already, thank you very much. It’s just annoying that people think you’re faking or not actually part of something because you don’t fit a certain stereotype in their minds, when you’re really just trying to enjoy the things that you like.

    http://lizard-onawindowpane.tumblr.com

  • loonylizzy July 12th, 2013 8:48 PM

    thank you!!! especially for the commentary about prejudice against nerd girls – it makes me so sad to see people bitching out girls who happen to be gamers as “fake”. the fact that the phrase”girl gamer” has become an insult is really annoying to me. i mean i get that there are some girls who play video games only to get attention from guys, but that’s far from the vast majority of female gamers, and quite frankly i don’t see how anyone has room to judge them for that. it’s so stupid how people try to typecast others for just doing stuff that they enjoy.

    http://www.theflightoftheflamingo.blogspot.com

  • Clementine Rose August 14th, 2013 4:49 PM

    Great article! I think that posing is fine on some levels- I don’t believe in totally recreating yourself, though. But it’s fine to try new things or make changes, sure, so long as your morals and beliefs don’t vanish overnight.