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Geek Tragedy
November 15, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Geek Masculinity and the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl - why we get things like the "Imposter" ad and the Tony Harris rant.
posted by Artw (259 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have RTFA. I'm still not clear on the issue.
posted by infini at 9:54 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the discussion. Please check your fedoras at the door.
posted by usonian at 9:54 AM on November 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


This.

The truth is, of course, that it's not a zero-sum game: insularity and identity-policing will consume geek culture faster and more thoroughly than any legion of imaginary interlopers. For decades, we've prided ourselves on being forward-thinkers, early adopters, willing to challenge cultural norms and think and work outside the boxes imposed on us. Imagine how far we could go if we could then stop replacing them with boxes of our own design.

posted by infinite intimation at 9:55 AM on November 15, 2012 [20 favorites]


Jesus when I was a pimple faced geek at D&D and Comic conventions having girls there at all was a win.

I'm not understanding the kids these days.


get off my lawn!
posted by bitdamaged at 9:56 AM on November 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Oh. GEEK. Not Greek. Fake Greek girl?
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:57 AM on November 15, 2012


Succinctly put by regisl: THE IDEA OF THE "FAKE GEEK GIRL" COULD ONLY EXIST IN A CLIMATE OF ASSUMED DISTRUST FOR WOMEN
posted by Greg Nog at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2012 [21 favorites]


This is the reason I quit being a geek. I've stopped going to cons and doing cosplay, now I go to the football games and wear my favorite team's Jersey. In sports fandom,we are much more open and accepting of women.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


I liked it better when geeks were asocial loners and not a tightly-defined exclusive club with strict membership requirements.
posted by rocket88 at 9:58 AM on November 15, 2012 [72 favorites]


Know what's funny about this?

Lots of people who are defensive about the word "geek" think that it should refer to people who not only have certain interests, but who have been prosecuted for those interests by other people. "Geek" is a badge of having been socially stigmatized, in their minds.

The punchline, of course, is that these girl geeks who are being stigmatized for their interest in geeky things probably deserve the title more by this logic than anybody else does.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:00 AM on November 15, 2012 [37 favorites]


I don't know. Most of the geek "girls" I've known are attractive, but because you want to keep them in your circle of friends, you pretty much understood that anything physical would be temporary, at best. Intelligent women tend to be able to handle themselves, and certainly don't put up with the typical chest-thumping nonsense...nobody can fake THAT. If anything, people feign stupidity or naivete, not the other way around.
posted by Chuffy at 10:02 AM on November 15, 2012


> I have RTFA. I'm still not clear on the issue.

The passive-aggressive masculinity of geek culture gets unsurprisingly toxic and aggressive when confronted with its own misogyny.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2012 [31 favorites]


"Geek" is a gendered noun. There's a GeekGirlCon, but no GeekGuyCon: every con is GeekGuyCon, unless it specifies otherwise. You don't say "geek guys" the way you say "geek girls": once you've said "geek," the "guy" is pretty much taken as read.

Aw, that's too bad. Not being a con person I was getting a completely different picture based on what I've read and seen online. I was under the impression that women were pretty ubiquitous at cons in general.
posted by ODiV at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


if co-opting your identity means wearing several articles of clothing while parroting some easy topics and this makes you mad, maybe you should find other reasons to like yourself. maybe this will lead you to a better place. maybe you should be happy somebody else is happy.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


but who have been prosecuted for those interests by other people.

Some of them are dudes who think they have been persecuted by women all their lives because women irl do not conform to their juvenile sex fantasies.
posted by elizardbits at 10:03 AM on November 15, 2012 [48 favorites]


I have RTFA. I'm still not clear on the issue.

We all have RTFA.

So please, give generously to the National RTFA Foundation, won't you?

With your help we will find a cure.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:04 AM on November 15, 2012 [71 favorites]


who would want to attract geeks?

(runs form room)
posted by The Whelk at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was under the impression that women were pretty ubiquitous at cons in general.

Present? Yes. Included as equals? Not so much. An unfortunately pervasive opinion is that you are there either as a slutty eyecandy booth babe or as a poseur looking for attention.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2012 [20 favorites]


Another 'funny' thing is that geek (as in freaks and geeks) are those who are not "naturally able" to perform as 'freaks' [yes freaks is offensive, I am referring to a time when "side-shows" were commonplace] were ones who, despite not 'being' freaks, could, by "faking it", or "fighting through the pain", "perform" as though they were freaks.

Geeks, in their genesis, are 'fakers', 'essentially interlopers' upon those outcast from society by innate features.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:06 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know nerdpandering is annoying but calling out every female ever for engaging in nerdpandering while blindly accepting that nerdpandering from other sources is clearly sexist and exclusionary behavior.

Instead of engaging in holier than thou geek purity tests we should look to embrace people that want to identify as a geek or nerd because if you've experienced exclusion in your life you should be loathe to practice it yourself.

But the abused become abusers I guess.
posted by vuron at 10:08 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Every time I read something similar to this sentiment:

You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”.

I think of David Wong's 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women essay, point #5: We Were Told That Society Owed Us a Hot Girl:

And now you see the problem. From birth we're taught that we're owed a beautiful girl. We all think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, and we all (whether we admit it or not) think we're heroes for just getting through our day.

So it's very frustrating, and I mean frustrating to the point of violence, when we don't get what we're owed. A contract has been broken. These women, by exercising their own choices, are denying it to us. It's why every Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won't win him sex. It's why we go to "slut" and "whore" as our default insults -- we're not mad that women enjoy sex. We're mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us.


It's not just misogyny, bad social skills, anti-poseur kneejerkism. It's a toddler's rage at being denied a cookie in the bodies of grown men, and that's apparently not considered dangerous or something that needs to be dealt with.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:10 AM on November 15, 2012 [143 favorites]


elizardbits: Guess I've been watching too much Geek & Sundry lately and not getting enough other perspectives.

Not that I completely missed that some con organizers have been (are being) thickheadedly sexist and that there are exclusionary dickbags attendees. But the "geek" as default male is a bit surprising still.
posted by ODiV at 10:13 AM on November 15, 2012


Some of them are dudes who think they have been persecuted by women all their lives because women irl do not conform to their juvenile sex fantasies.

Well yes your gender has been rather key to the world's not rearranging itself to fit my slightest whim. But some of you are alright anyway so let's call it a draw.

Another 'funny' thing is that geek (as in freaks and geeks) are those who are not "naturally able" to perform as 'freaks'

That's an important part of what geek means to me, actually. Somebody who is interested in things which they're not necessarily super expressive about. For me "geek" represents a certain comfortable blandness versus a more exhibitionist personality.

Perhaps there's something interesting there which explains some (not-always-gendered) geek dislike of other people assigning the term to themselves: if you think "geek" refers to an unassuming low-keyness then it's probably uncomfortable to have the term self-applied by more extraverted personalities. But that's separate from the very real and very shitty sexism that's just as prevalent, if not more so.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:13 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like the central theme of self-identifying as a "geek" is that you've been put upon because you are not handsome and social. When an attractive woman enters this circle she is shunned because it's immediately assumed she couldn't possibly have withstood the same abuse due to her aesthetic and social advantages. This is, of course, really stupid.
posted by basicchannel at 10:14 AM on November 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I liked it better when geeks were asocial loners and not a tightly-defined exclusive club with strict membership requirements.

I have recently been reflecting on how much "Geek Culture" now consists of buying things. It's become as much of a consumption-based, status-seeking, corporate-controlled bag of awfulness as any other pigeon-holed segment of society is these days. I say this, of course, and am simultaneously the proud owner of a TARDIS cookie jar that randomly makes time travel sounds without prompting. The squee is strong with this one.

If my path forward coalesces as I suspect it will, I may be cutting up that geek membership along with anything remotely resembling a "rewards card." Rewards makes me think of pavlovian rats ringing bells for snacks.

I'm keeping the TARDIS though.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:14 AM on November 15, 2012 [35 favorites]


Jesus when I was a pimple faced geek at D&D and Comic conventions having girls there at all was a win.

Opposite side if the same coin, really. An attitude like this can be just as objectifying.

As someone who used to be a virgin geek who went to cons, I can totally understand where they are coming from. Basically 'geek girls' (intentionally or not) offer the promise of sexual availability to guys who have been shut out of it from more mainstream society, usually for very good reasons (poor hygiene, bad social skills), and when these guys find out that smelling like armpits and knowing a lot about Pokemon doesn't automatically unlock the vagina of the girl in the Pikachu outfit, they cry tears of bitter nerd-rage.

These guys think that they've moved beyond all the jock hyper masculine bullshit because they've been bullied, but they haven't, and they have a lot of growing up to do.
posted by empath at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2012 [25 favorites]


More context:
Booth babes need not apply

There is a growing chorus of frustration in the geek community with - and there's no other way to put this - pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention.
This CNN article is the proximate source of furor, as near as I can tell. The primary link above is a reaction to it. Also linked is John Scali's reaction: Who gets to be a Geek?
posted by bonehead at 10:15 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there is a relationship between this and the whole hipster hate phenomena.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


nah, hipster misogyny is different
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:18 AM on November 15, 2012


SMBC Theater covered this pretty well the other day.
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have recently been reflecting on how much "Geek Culture" now consists of buying things.

Or watching multi-season, prime time hit TV Shows.
posted by ODiV at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


But you guys, I appreciate the Muppets on a much deeper level than you.

A Fake Geek Boy is someone who is so insecure in himself that he feels the need to make himself feel superior over everyone by trashing other for not being as pure as he is. Knowledge of a subject doesn't make you an expert. I mean, the irony of someone making someone feel like an outcast because they are dressed up like an attractive X-Men member is huge.

Not all of us need to be socially damaged in order to like geek stuff. Nor do we have to be unattractive. The only thing you have to do is like geek stuff. That's the only requirement...and there's absolutely no one who could ever possibly be qualified to administer a test for it, try as they might.
posted by inturnaround at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Artw: both of them tie into ideas of "authenticity" and "presentation."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:22 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked it better when geeks were asocial loners and not a tightly-defined exclusive club with strict membership requirements.

Eh, show me a time when geeks weren't generally hostile to women sharing their interests and I'll show you endless stories of being actively dissuaded from pursuing geeky interests and/or excluded from those things until young adulthood, and then having geek cred challenged on the grounds of having not been a member of the club long enough.
posted by likeatoaster at 10:23 AM on November 15, 2012 [25 favorites]


This baffles me. I had no idea!

This surprises me:

BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER.

I'm not much of a geek, but is the premise here really that someone is dressing up as a character from a comic or a video game and then attending a convention where they wear that costume without really being into the whole thing? That seems absurd on its face.
posted by OmieWise at 10:23 AM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


I was under the impression that women were pretty ubiquitous at cons in general.

Present? Yes. Included as equals? Not so much. An unfortunately pervasive opinion is that you are there either as a slutty eyecandy booth babe or as a poseur looking for attention.


In my experience at anime cons at least this isn't true. Women are all over the place as staff, running panels, as guests, running and participating in cosplay contests, selling stuff in the artist alley, as normal congoers etc.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:24 AM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I agree that this exists, and is a bad thing. I think it goes way beyond geek culture, it is simply part of culture as a whole and geeks simply reflect that. I just wonder why geeks take the most shit for it, after all we could just as easily be talking about finance, or sports, is it because we are on the Internet? Are we all closer to geek culture and therefor see it more clearly there? Is it because geeks are traditionally whipping boys?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:24 AM on November 15, 2012


I think lately there's been a lot more overt misogyny from so-called geek culture.
Also, I think there's been a lot less patience with misogyny from chicks in geek culture so they're calling people out on it more.
These two things end up in a hell of a feedback loop.

GOD FORBID PEOPLE LIKE THINGS I LIKE BUT NOT ENJOY THEM THE SAME WAY! IT'S JUST WRONG I TELL YOU.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:27 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm also reminded of the recent sexism controversy in the skeptic community. It's not just con geeks.
Rebecca Watson's first-hand account of sexism in the skeptic community — and the 5,000+ comments it's inspired in the past 24 hours — illustrate that just because someone says they value "rational thought" doesn't mean they're not also a misogynist troll. But the controversy also highlights how hard it is for women to broach "feminist" topics within tight-knit communities. What are Watson's violently aggressive bullies so afraid of?
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:31 AM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Maybe geeks just don't have the social skills to say "sorry baby, I'll change, I promise" and just continue pulling the same bullshit they always have the way other male dominated subcultures do.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess in some ways this just might be my own semantic issue, but if you're saying geeks are hostile to women or geek culture is exclusionary, aren't you kind of reinforcing that women aren't geeks with your language?

I'm not trying to concern troll, nor am I suggesting that a language shift would solve everything, but how we talk about this seems important.
posted by ODiV at 10:32 AM on November 15, 2012


From the creator of Dresden Codak: Let me tell you about Fake Geek Guys

A snippet: "Sure, some people say that in this female-dominated Dresden Codak fandom, we might be treating men unjustly, but all I’m saying is that it’s fine to be a guy and fan of my comic. You just have to take a test to prove that you’re a real fan, just like every female reader already is."
posted by Peccable at 10:33 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Harris rant is really hard to parse, but basically I got this from it:

1. Women want to eat nerd souls and take their virginity. Or maybe not: they may want to just sniff their virginity as if it were a delicate flower and then not have sex because women are evil that way
2. Unfortunately these women are not really hot, which is an insult to my manhood and this convention
3. Despite not being hot enough to really be attractive they still want to take virginity and eat nerd souls
4. Something, something, something I HATE WOMEN AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING HERE?
5. Sometimes women haven't read the comics I have and therefore they are liars and teases and also not very attractive
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:36 AM on November 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Here's something interesting to me. I know this exists. I can see, even, where it kind of comes from (i.e. "if women come to my places and still don't want to have sex with me then they are just like all the other bitches out there and are just posing in order to suck up attention from us poor oppressed geeks!") and that it is awful.

What surprises me is that I've never actually seen this personally. Like, at all. Now, I've spent my life as a geek, but don't do the Con thing. Is this pretty specifically a facet of that, or what?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:38 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah ok, I see. Its something the kids these days have come up with. Back in my day, when I stayed back after school to hang out in the Computer Lab after school, and I was the only girl, it was still Dos 1.0 so we didn't really know any better. The Chess Club, otoh...
posted by infini at 10:41 AM on November 15, 2012


An example I just thought of from my non-con experience, Navelgazer is the comic shop patrons (loiterers?) who are constantly attempting to educate the female staff on the minutae of whatever.
posted by ODiV at 10:41 AM on November 15, 2012


And that's fair, and skeezy, but that seems more like "mansplaining" than this weird toxic anger directed at women for having the temerity to be involved in geek culture.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Navelgazer: "Here's something interesting to me. I know this exists. I can see, even, where it kind of comes from (i.e. "if women come to my places and still don't want to have sex with me then they are just like all the other bitches out there and are just posing in order to suck up attention from us poor oppressed geeks!") and that it is awful.

What surprises me is that I've never actually seen this personally. Like, at all. Now, I've spent my life as a geek, but don't do the Con thing. Is this pretty specifically a facet of that, or what?
"

As a guy and a geek (I am a cisdude and geeky myself), I'm willing to bet there is lots of misogyny in geek circles that is going one that you just don't notice-- not because you're uninformed or indifferent, but because you don't have be aware of it in society at large. There are things women have to put up with or think about or deal with all the time that us guys don't, just because those things aren't even in our way as guys.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Not all of us need to be socially damaged in order to like geek stuff. Nor do we have to be unattractive. The only thing you have to do is like geek stuff. That's the only requirement...and there's absolutely no one who could ever possibly be qualified to administer a test for it, try as they might.

Well, let's not get into the whole argument between geeks v. nerds, but there is a semi-related recent Maddox rant on fake nerds and science's Facebook fans:

"Here's a quick rule of thumb: if you don't have to make an effort to get laid, you're not a nerd."

"Stay out of nerd territory unless you know what you're doing. Being a nerd is a byproduct of losing yourself in what you do, often at the expense of friends, family and hygiene. Until or unless you've paid your dues, you aren't welcome. Being a nerd isn't graceful or glorious. It's a life born out of obsessive dedication to a craft, discipline or collecting some stupid shit that only you care about. "
posted by FJT at 10:47 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer: yeah it lacks the anger, but I think it comes from the same "you can't be a true fan" place.
posted by ODiV at 10:47 AM on November 15, 2012


Let me tell you about Fake Geek Guys

In a similar vein: Sexual Harassment Fluttershy.
posted by figurant at 10:49 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


ODiV - I think it's a combination of both, sometimes coupled with a sort of awkward attempt at flirting via impressing someone with your knowledge? Maybe?
posted by elizardbits at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2012


This is so sad.

When I was marginally involved in Sci-Fi fandom back in 1988 or their abouts, we "geeks" were proud of how inclusive we managed to be. Women felt safe(ish) at Cons, there was a huge amount of tolerance with regard to sexuality, and even though it wasn't perfect it felt like culturally, we were a step ahead of the norms.

So to see this step back is just depressing.

I suspect that the anger people are feeling towards fake geek girls is not about discovering you're a loser even when surrounded by other pokmemon fans, it's a manifestation of a larger anger towards fake geeks.

Of course - as appears to be the norm in our society - the women are judged harder and more vocally than the men.

Not cool.

(Though - I get the hatred towards fake geeks. Sometimes the world feels like we spent ages being laughed at for making and doing these awesome things and then the bullies decided the awesome things were OK and just took them off us. I do get this little bubble of anger inside me when someone tells me that they're such a geek because they once watched Buffy and they own an iPad. YOU ARE NOT A GEEK.)
posted by zoo at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just wonder why geeks take the most shit for it, after all we could just as easily be talking about finance, or sports, is it because we are on the Internet?

It is (maybe) because of the thing I quoted up above from the first article... it is because 'we' see within (generalized) 'geek' culture, the ability, and even desire, to "learn" to adapt, grow, become more encompassing; and even in a few years since the 90's things have budged, people are starting to think about depictions of minority groups in mass media, and (the ever-cool) Jscalzi for example is one of many voices for more inclusion, more diversity, more acceptance of differences, oddities, and otherwise marginalized people; I am guessing it is a hopefullness held out that "geeks" (a diverse and divergent moniker, comprising film fans, gamers, comixers, musicians, music fans, and even bleeding into 'artisans', and 'do it myself-ers', and many more that I have not time to list individually, but may "fly under a generalized banner of nerd or geek, without, as Rory notes "being really pushy about their ownership of the term"- many geeks are quiet and internal in their 'practices').

I guess many hope that this diverse interest in working to think outside of "how the world is" towards "how the world could be", and in that, a hope, a belief, a thought, that it is one area that could change, or grow, adapt, and develop (as contrasted to sports or finance, or journalism, or screen-writing).
posted by infinite intimation at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2012


Well, one thing I see is that women who post to /r/gaming are usually attacked pretty disproportionately . They are usually attacked over stuff like game related tattoos. Plenty of men have gaming related tattoos, Deadmou5 for example, but they usually aren't attacked for "karma whoring" or being fake gamers.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:51 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Right, but if someone genuinely enjoys a thing that you like, and their only crime is not having enjoyed it for as long as you have, why does that make them a "fake" somehow? Why would their enjoyment of this thing actually anger you?
posted by elizardbits at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well, one thing I see is that women who post to /r/gaming are usually attacked pretty disproportionately . They are usually attacked over stuff like game related tattoos. Plenty of men have gaming related tattoos, Deadmou5 for example, but they usually aren't attacked for "karma whoring" or being fake gamers.

This is a thing with reddit culture generally (all of which is, to some degree, geek culture). Women posting anything where you can see any part of their body are assumed to be doing it for attention.

Right, but if someone genuinely enjoys a thing that you like, and their only crime is not having enjoyed it for as long as you have, why does that make them a "fake" somehow? Why would their enjoyment of this thing actually anger you?

I have to confess that I come to this from a perspective of enjoying geeky things while not really understanding wanting to "belong" to a subculture, but I'm pretty much here. I like stuff. I don't really care how or why other people like them, except to the extent that liking things for wildly different reasons can make talking about them fruitless. I like basketball, and I love a good article breaking down basketball strategy, but I'm not going to call someone a poseur if they like basketball, but could care less about the Xs and Os. Whatever. It's their life to enjoy stuff as they see fit.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess the disparity is that there aren't enough comics and jokes about brogrammers? Because holy hell are they the bane of all geek existence, especially in typical office situations. They've just about ruined "IT" as a career option. Some poseurs are actually disruptive/destructive to things that are positive about geek culture. Your friend's girlfriend who's seen fewer Star Trek episodes than you have is not "part of the problem" (and if you think she is, maybe you are).
posted by trackofalljades at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually just posted a rather lengthy comment on that thread, and I thought I might post it here as well:
I think there is definitely an element of perceived sexual resentment involved in hostility towards "Geek Girls." When women enter a previously male-dominated field, there is sometimes a tacit assumption that this also signals "availability for sex" (and this is by no means limited to geeky activities- look at journalism or advertising in the middle of the 20th century). When that "availability for sex" is either implicitly or explicitly denied, the response can be hostility towards the newcomer. Compounding this is the issue that men belonging to geeky communities (and already having a degree of social outsider status), may not be all that well socialized in a conventional sense (or may have replaced conventional modes of socialization with in-group modes of socialization that have an oppositional relationship to convention). Having been involved in geeky communities for most of my life (not to mention having attended the University of Chicago), I am well aware of the role of non-standard modes of sociability in my own life, and how they may be perceived by outsiders.

I believe that these factors, plus a (at times legitimate) sense of grievance towards the mainstream, have combined to produce phenomena like the imagined "Geek Girl" who is only into geeky things because they are recently cool, or to meet men (who she nevertheless rejects, contributing to a self-fulfilling cycle of failure in the mind of the imaginer).

I also think that in some geeky communities, what has been perceived as a safe social space has contributed to the emergence of ways of speaking and interacting that are well outside the mainstream, such as explicit sexism and racism (much of it born out of a resentment towards the mainstream that may not be entirely illegitimate). With the mainstreaming of many aspects of geek culture, members of these communities are now being confronted by criticism of their behavior, and responding with resentment and hostility.

I would like to argue that it is still possible to maintain distinct geeky identities and communities without being hostile to newcomers and generally acting like dicks. I would also like to say that it is not OK to be angry at someone because they like something you don't like, or like something in a different way than you do (again this is not limited to traditionally geeky communities- check out amateur road cycling, and various websites with their lists of rules about how to be a "proper" cyclist). If you are responding to these things with a lot of anger, you might want to look at where that anger is coming from. Also, if you are generally being a sexist or racist dick, and people from outside your community are calling you on it, maybe think about how your community is enabling your dickish behavior, and how your behavior reflects on your community (this goes equally for geeks, nerds, jocks and Republicans).
This is something I saw myself doing when I was younger, as part of my involvement in SF and RPGs, and also in the punk and hardcore scenes. Let me tell you, it gets kind of exhausting to carry around that kind of resentment.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:01 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Celsius1414 and ODiV: My friend uses a very excellent term for this recent phenomenon that 'geek culture' is really about roving tribes of people who buy specific things.

He calls it fansumerism.
posted by whittaker at 11:02 AM on November 15, 2012 [34 favorites]


Right, but if someone genuinely enjoys a thing that you like, and their only crime is not having enjoyed it for as long as you have, why does that make them a "fake" somehow? Why would their enjoyment of this thing actually anger you?

The rationale is that some people were tormented for gaming when gaming was uncool. Now gaming has some sort of cache and people are jumping in now, due to the cache, without having been properly tormented. It is pretty damning that the only people attacked in this way are women. It is also kind of insane to say "fuck games being accepted by society, we want to remain in some sort of self imposed gamer ghetto just for nerd-cred"

It is (maybe) because of the thing I quoted up above from the first article... it is because 'we' see within (generalized) 'geek' culture, the ability, and even desire, to "learn" to adapt, grow, become more encompassing

I sincerely hope that is the case and hope geeks can learn something.It is sad to see people who have been victimized are now aping their tormentors.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:03 AM on November 15, 2012


when these guys find out that smelling like armpits and knowing a lot about Pokemon doesn't automatically unlock the vagina of the girl in the Pikachu outfit, they cry tears of bitter nerd-rage

if women come to my places and still don't want to have sex with me then they are just like all the other bitches out there

I can understand "geeks" being angry about prettier, cooler and more socially adept people coming into their formerly-exclusive club, as misguided as that is, or as misogynistic as it can be in practice. Everyone wants to be a part of a group where they're not on the bottom rung of the latter.

This whole "and she won't have sex with me" doesn't need to factor into it. Where is that coming from?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:05 AM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


It is pretty damning that the only people attacked in this way are women.

Yeah, exactly. I doubt many first-time male con attendees of any age who are all excited about their first cosplay are derisively called attention whores.
posted by elizardbits at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Now, let's be clear WhiteSkull. Nothing about having attended the U of C signals "availability for sex" for either men or women.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:06 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whittaker, I'll bet that disgust with fansumerism explains the willingness with which some people spit bile at hipsters.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:08 AM on November 15, 2012


Oh lord, that Maddox piece distills what is wrong with the whole obsession over obtaining some sort of Platonic Geek Ideal: that it must necessarily be pathological. The notion that those aspiring to be a True Geek must eschew "friends, family and hygiene" is just an excuse for the aspirant to continue to ignore their own personal problems.

Having an encyclopedic knowledge of some geeky subject does not necessarily prohibit bathing and it doesn't mean you have to be a shithead to people, and it needs to stop being a justification for both.
posted by Panjandrum at 11:09 AM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Right this very second, in a place you've never heard about, people that you've never seen on TV, men *and* women, awkward people, those who may not conform to pre-existing notions about style or behavior, are getting together to discuss topics and engage in activities near and dear to their hearts, but which aren't in any way reflected in mainstream media. Confused by their presence outside of societal norms, they will be excluded by their peers and members of their communities, who either do not understand or disdain the value of their interests. Perhaps, in twenty years, there will be some similarities in the nascent interests of these groups currently off of our radar, those interests will be noticed and reported on in the mainstream media or travel by mutual friends, and those groups will grow larger. Some of those joining this long-standing group will be individuals genuinely interested in those topics, but who have always felt alone, or at odds with their community. However, many others, both men and women, will be drawn into these activities when their friends start to latch on, and to maintain friendships and show that they're knowledgeable, will proclaim their love of these common things, through arguments or role playing or costumes. Commercial enterprises will spring up to cater to these desires and groups, with materials that bowdlerize or water-down those aspects most initially appealing to those who were interested. Many in the initial community will simply disappear at this point, not wanting to be part of the wild rumpus of mainstream attention, and focus on their idiosyncratic interests in private or with small groups, but others will jockey to proclaim themselves true to this now-mainstream culture, causing petty disagreements at turf wars and the spread of blame and enmity. But at that moment, in a place that you've never heard about, people that you've never seen on TV, men *and* women, awkward people, those who may not conform to pre-existing notions about style or behavior, are getting together to discuss topics and engage in activities near and dear to their hearts.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 11:10 AM on November 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


TBH I think women would have sex with them if they stopped being resentful, and pushing women away. Homeless guys have girlfriends for gods sake. I think that part of the resentment is because they deep down believe they are unlovable and are truly forever alone, any woman who shows any kind of interest must have ulterior motives.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:11 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus when I was a pimple faced geek at D&D and Comic conventions having girls there at all was a win.

I'm not understanding the kids these days.


i ran into the fake geek problem in the mid '90s. my boobs were too big for me to be taken seriously, apparently. i was also a prude because i didn't want to read the DM's seven of nine slash, starring himself.


I just wonder why geeks take the most shit for it

maybe it's because they keep writing spittle mouthed screeds about it.


Is this pretty specifically a facet of that, or what?

i've never been to a con. this has been the background radiation of my entire public geek life - starting when i was 13 or so. i'm not overly cute, but i'm tall, hourglass shaped, and project confidence even if i don't feel it. if it's not outright suspicion of real geek level, it's shit like this. both seem to come from the same place.
posted by nadawi at 11:12 AM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why would their enjoyment of this thing actually anger you?

I wouldn't necessarily say anger, but I guess I would look at it like the division between old school gamers that have been around since the Nintendo/Atari days and those that just came in through casual games or only play Call of Duty.

There's an aspect of "get off my lawn" and also of "your generation's music sucks". And I think there's also a feeling that the older fans "invested" in the fandom first and subsequent fans are just building their community on top of that.
posted by FJT at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's hard to not be resentful if you're really, really ugly
posted by MangyCarface at 11:13 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


All major comic book authors are either batshit crazy (a few (Warren Ellis) in a good way, but most in a bad way) or aspire to be. Tony Harris was just trying too hard.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:14 AM on November 15, 2012


Fansumerism! I'm stealing that.

Up to now, I thought of it as fandom obligation. I have a friend who is really nuts about Avatar: The Last Airbender - like it is maybe his favorite thing ever - and went and saw the live-action movie and hated it. But I had to ask him why he saw it since the reviews were so atrocious? And he said he'd already bought the tickets to the midnight showing.

Which I really didn't get, because it's not like there was no way to see that the movie was plainly going to be awful going in. The months leading up to it painted a clear picture of a terrible movie. I think it really was just fansumerism - he couldn't conceive of not spending money on this thing since it had on it the name of a show he really liked.

Or when I told friends of mine I wasn't going to go see Star Wars Episode 3, because I wasn't really interested. The general reaction was, "What? But you gotta see it!" The two movies before it weren't worth anyone's time, and everyone knew that, and it didn't matter. You gotta see it. So I did, and regretted it. It was fansumerism. It was the idea that I somehow owe support to a multibillion-dollar brand, irrespective of quality.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:17 AM on November 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's hard to not be resentful if you're really, really ugly

What a ridiculous thing to say
posted by dng at 11:17 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


"YOU ARE NOT A GEEK"

Are you saying this in your official capacity as Captain of Geeks?
Because (first, it would depend what they did with the ipad, and also if that one episode of buffy was subsequent to /OtherGeekThing) those aren't really descriptive of the totality of that person... sure maybe they watched one episode of buffy, and it was boring, but you like it so they go along and say they like it, but they also make their own musical instruments, or use their ipad to make music. I am saying, 'your' favorite "geekdom" may be considered completely boring and not worth a second thought to OTHER actual, real, not fake "geeks". You picked two "popular" things, there are geeks who instantly deride "stuff" based on popularity of said stuff. Kneejerk "anti-fansumerism" can be as unthinking and uncritical as fansumerism itself.

Anyway, I am saying, y' not captain of the geeks (*if you are I guess I am off to execution, make it so Captain Archer), not all 'geeks' need to be on the same page, or following the same script, in fact it is better, and more fun when some people are obsessive about, say, the old star trek, and some see the new ones as neater, or some people like only the first ghostbusters, or the original GTA series, or the original commander keen, or whatever; so what any given person has to say [about policing the "who is/isn't in the club] doesn't ultimately matter (to my head).
posted by infinite intimation at 11:18 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


FAMOUS MONSTER, I saw a similar thing happen with Harry Potter. I read the last book out of obligation, and I haven't seen the last three or four movies in the series. My brother, on the other hand, has seen all the movies, and he attended the first-sale parties for the sixth and seventh books. He still calls me a snob.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:21 AM on November 15, 2012


Rustic Etruscan: To be honest, I just think it means that people lack perspective when they get highly defensive of their social clique.

For example, as part of the twitter fallout from the Tony Harris rant was the statement that JJ Abrams "wasn't a real nerd" because he wasn't very familiar with the Star Trek property before directing the 2009 film.

Honestly, comments like that piss me off; I watched a TED talk given by Abrams once. The guy is ridiculously enthusiastic about printing press technology and magic show equipment. If we're going to draw lines in the sand over ridiculous notions of authenticity, hey, at least he's unapologetically enthusiastic about things which aren't routinely goosed by billions of dollars in marketing budgets and 'fan outreach' employees.

(A classic conception of "geeks" were people who were passionate about shit like the Saturn V rocket or perhaps the Cabinet members of the Kennedy administration. Now it seems that there's a lot of self righteousness coming from people who, essentially, really like a TV show, like a lot. I'm not saying that it's wrong or bad or 'inauthentic'--whatever that means, but it really diffuses the term to meaninglessness. Why do people self-identify as geeks anyway? Aren't we all just a bunch of people that like things?)
posted by whittaker at 11:23 AM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


infinite intimation: exactly. I love that people are geeking out on whatever floats their boat, ranging from baseball stats nerds to star trek: TOS to harry potter fanficcers.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:23 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


bonehead: More context - "Booth babes need not apply: There is a growing chorus of frustration in the geek community with - and there's no other way to put this - pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention." This CNN article is the proximate source of furor, as near as I can tell. The primary link above is a reaction to it. Also linked is John Scalzi's reaction: Who gets to be a Geek?

And to build off your comment here - the "Booth Babes" piece was previously on MeFi back in July, and the author of that same CNN piece posted a follow-up on his blog yesterday: Rethinking My Stance on Fake Geek Girls. This follow-up is not anything near a 180-degree-turnaround, but he does say
The unfortunate part: whether I meant to or not, I've touched a nerve where respect toward women is concerned. I actually see now, with Marian Call, Wendy Hathaway, Liz Stricklen, Genevieve Dempre, Jessica Sides, Amy Ratcliffe, Taffeta Darling and all of these other incredibly smart, geeky females that I admire and respect (genuinely) calling this out and flat out saying "Look, you make good points but there's a bent here that borders on (or outright infringes in) misogyny" -- There's some reconsidering I need to do...

This is too important now. I can't just let this flow into the stream of things I've written and move on to the next thing. I can't treat this the same as I treat all of my other "Joe The Peacock" type angry-funny things.

I think I'm going to readdress my article(s) on this topic, and then only after a bit of soul-searching to find what it is that is actually causing my concern. Or, in other words, I'd like to start attacking the illness, not the symptoms. And after that, I'm going to welcome ANYONE, supporter or detractor, to converse with me about the new viewpoint and help me to understand what I'm not seeing. Because let's be frank: if I'm this confused by the outrage over the things I've written, and I cannot possibly understand what is being misread or how to get people this angry... It can't be all of those people.

I've screwed up somewhere, either in being blind to the unintended message, or in writing it in a way that isn't clear.
posted by flex at 11:23 AM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's hard to not be resentful if you're really, really ugly
posted by MangyCarface at 11:13 AM on November 15


Eponysterical.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2012


If you scratch some Geek Guys deeply enough, you find someone who really really wishes he could be a Jock. And the current cultural "Ascension of the Geeks" is giving them the opportunity.

And let's face it, the "War Against Geek Girls" is just another part of the War Against Women. Because they are indeed a threat to everything Real Men hold dear. Their genitalia. I, for one, welcome our new Female Overlords. Or Overladies. Whatever. The Simpsons quote gives me Geek Cred, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


And what whittaker said!

I actively encourage a broad meaning of "geek" for "near-obsessive interest in stuff"
posted by rmd1023 at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2012


I say this, of course, and am simultaneously the proud owner of a TARDIS cookie jar

I don't think I've ever heard a Doctor Who fan talk about the plot of Doctor Who. I have heard many many conversations about buying and owning things shaped like TARDISes, or selecting appliances and shoes and backpacks based on their TARDIS-like color. I'm beginning to suspect Doctor Who is actually an hour-long block on QVC.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:26 AM on November 15, 2012 [19 favorites]


For example, as part of the twitter fallout from the Tony Harris rant was that JJ Abrams "wasn't a real nerd" because he wasn't very familiar with the Star Trek property before directing the 2009 film.

Completely independent of sexism inherent in the "real geek" stuff, I honestly don't get why "geekdom" is a coherent entity of interests. There's nothing that makes Star Trek, Buffy, and Doctor Who of a piece. Enjoying one is not really a good sign you'll enjoy the others.

The fact that people have completely and totally geeky interests in things outside the purview of traditional geek culture would seem more relevant than what you're interest in.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:26 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


>Are you saying this in your official capacity as Captain of Geeks?

Yes. Because when I talk about how things make me feel personally, I'm obviously setting myself up as some kind of spokesperson for everyone like me.
posted by zoo at 11:26 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metroid Baby: My girlfriend is a huge Dr Who nerd and will definitely discuss plot and mood and how serious things were even while they had classic BBC special effects that could be summarily described as "OH YOU GET THE IDEA"

That said, I'm tempted to buy her a TARDIS cookie jar. (which means maybe I shouldn't point her at this thread. shit.)
posted by rmd1023 at 11:30 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


MUTINEEEEE!
(joking, I was just round-aboutly getting at an the idea that 'everyone like you' actually has really diverse interests, and everyone can be a "bad nerd" to someone else... so, if you go around saying that, eventually it will happen to you, and that will suck when you are a "bad nerd" for liking something that you genuinely like, or putting yourself 'out there' so maybe I misread the all caps "you are not" as more serious than you meant it, sorry if so, I was feeling that that is actually a pretty common position leading to many of the "fake geek" stuff that is the topic here, and that stuff all seem so very toxic, far as I can tell, no hard feelings, you are allowed to dislike stuff, my opinion also just remains my opinion).
posted by infinite intimation at 11:34 AM on November 15, 2012


I agree totally, I think of people like the TMRC and people who broke into labs in the middle of the night to solder new opcodes into the school PDP. I'm not interested in Star Wars or Buffy since they have very little to do with computers. But then again, who am I to judge. If you think playing angry birds or watching a tv show makes you a geek go for it. I myself self-identify as a neckbeard or basement-dweller.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:35 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Come 2013, Doctor Who will be 50 years old. That a LOT of plot to talk about, you don't know where to start, and you may never have been able to see a lot of the early stuff.

So we stick to Fezzes and Tardis-shaped cookie jars. (But be careful: it holds more cookies than you think).
posted by jb at 11:36 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's another reason why I'm kinda sketchy on the whole idea of reclaiming "Geek" as a subculture identifier similar to the way some of us reclaimed "queer." I mean, I read genre lit and watch genre television. My response to hearing that someone is reading/watching in the same genre is to start swapping recommendations, not try to gatekeep over trivia.

rmd1023: I think lately there's been a lot more overt misogyny from so-called geek culture.

I don't think it's "lately." It seems there's always some reason to complain about women showing up within science fiction/fantasy/comics fandom with their own interests, probably going back to pissing matches over New Wave and Soft SF&F "feminizing" the field. Fanfic, manga, Potter, Twilight, and New Who have been used for rationales that female fans are ruining the medium/genre.

Which leads to all sort of double standards about how slash or eroticizing characters is bad while having their own fetishes for Slave Leia, booth babes, Heavy Metal, Barsoom, Conan, and Gor.

Maddox: Here's a quick rule of thumb: if you don't have to make an effort to get laid, you're not a nerd.

That wasn't my experience at all, but then again, I picked up a guy at a bar mostly by virtue of being the only two trekkies in the room intending to go to the same uncool underground Irish punk gig together. That led to conversations about cyberpunk, techno-utopianism, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore, which led to cuddling while watching samples of his video collection, which led to a fair bit of necking.

Getting laid among nerds, in my experience, seemed primarily to be a matter of being open-minded when it came to quirks and demonstrating a willingness to learn about another person's obsession. Getting laid often came naturally from geeking out over our hobbies over a few points of beer.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:38 AM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


It all comes down to the same old dominance games, which men in geek fandoms have a problem with just as much as men in sports fandoms.

This is why I did not enjoy Jack Black in High Fidelity; not because he was a music geek, but because he was an angry dismissive music gatekeeper, much like the guys in comic shops who sneer at you for liking the wrong flavor of Batman or what have you. These displays seem to get especially vicious when aimed at women, and have the effect of chasing off new women fans who are still insecure and unsure about hanging out in a geek space.

Or at least it did, until the internet made talking about geek interests something you could do without someone necessarily knowing your gender, or even something you could seek out other women to do together.

And now the gatekeepers are even more angry, because the barricades have been breached and there's crossdressing Green Lanterns and yaoi and hot Doctor Who's and steampunk crafting and Escher Girls criticism as far as the eye can see. There are Disney Princess mashups with Star Wars and My Little Pony brofans.

So let 'em froth. They already lost.
posted by emjaybee at 11:42 AM on November 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


This whole "and she won't have sex with me" doesn't need to factor into it. Where is that coming from?

Maybe we're conflating dating/sex/meeting people you might be interested in, but it's all the same drive.

For a lot of the "geeks" out there who might have trouble socializing with others, going to a con is their only chance to really meet and try to hang out with what they think are like minded people. And if they're not smelly, or a frothing ranter, that might work out. But the ranters are the very same ones who will fly off the handle in a misogynistic blog post if they get shot down instead of just shrugging it off. Which is why we hear about it so "frequently" on the internet; for every Tony Harris there are hundred of creators who aren't misogynist assholes but it's hard to write a screed about that without it being in response to something like this.

In the comics scene, there are a lot of examples of people who have met/hooked up. Of the three women currently writing regularly for Marvel, two I know are married to or dating someone else at the company. I'm not trying to suggest that's how they got their jobs; I'm trying to say that people do meet in the scene and it's not necessarily some chaste event. But that sort of thing works a better for people who know how to do things like talk to other human beings, or not attack their looks or gender on a whole if they get rejected.
posted by thecjm at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2012


This relevant comic was making the rounds on tumblr, and then, based on the somewhat obnoxious responses, this one quickly followed.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm a big old nerd and have been since the Reagan administration. But – and I don't know if this is my age showing, or just me having a hard time feeling a part of any subculture, or what – I have to say that I've felt completely baffled by the geek identity movement that's boiled up in the past few years, and then double completely baffled by the rise of geek misogyny as a problem. I'd say that I can't believe that some guys are being such total assheads, but that's not literally true... I can and do believe it, I just don't fucking understand it even a little bit.

Honestly, I'm starting to think that just not being a shithead is more of an accomplishment than I ever thought it was.
posted by COBRA! at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I've never been a real geek because, while I really love a lot of science fiction books, movies, and comics, I don't really appreciate the way people interact with that material or make it a culture in the convention style or bicker about authenticity. I'm more than happy to talk about whether I think a writer is taking Batman in a mediocre direction or whether the internal consistency of some storyline isn't any good or why, philosophically, one take on post-singularity fiction is better than another. I don't feel the need to dress up like a character, talk about the character like they're real, or speak to a creator in-depth about their reasons for writing something in a particular way. It's their creation.

I doubt I'd be accosted at a convention or judged harshly, though, because I'm a pretty boring white male and somehow get a free pass.
posted by mikeh at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was almost 15 years ago, but I remember players in my LARP group complaining about the "6 of 9s" or whatever. "So and so isn't even a nerd! She's just yadda yadda yadda wah."

Time won out and one of the female players that they complained about has gone on to write comics for DC.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:49 AM on November 15, 2012


I've been waging a war to reclaim the geek and nerd title from the mainstream. Geek and Nerd are not labels to wear like a shirt purchase at H&M, they are the scars and emotional trauma of having grown up ostricized and marginalized by the very people who now want to take the one thing they gave to me (my shame and self hatred for growing up a socially awkward fan of genre entertainment) and claim it for their own.

FUCK THAT!
posted by mediocre at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


@infinite intimation

Fortunately, I was always a rubbish nerd. Outside the rather insular world of my own D&D club I was never really accepted into geek culture. I was always a bit too common. A bit too country poor to fit in with the urban wonderment that was the UK sci-fi scene. The books I read (6 a fortnight from the mobile library) were always the rubbish sci-fi books. I hadn't read the right people. I didn't know enough about the things that mattered. I didn't even like the right Sc-Fi shows.

I made friends in fandom, but always felt removed from the hard partying pansexual intellectualism I saw in the circles around me.

So yes - I understand that whole gatekeeper better-geek-than-thou mentality, and how it excludes people.
posted by zoo at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


So let 'em froth. They already lost.

The invaders went after the wrong cultural gatekeepers. They're still charging close to $300 million for a Cezanne painting.
posted by FJT at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2012


I wonder if part of the anger and resentment at these supposedly "fake geek" women stems from seeing attention as a zero sum game: all the attention paid to the cosplay women takes away from attention that could be paid to the "real" geeks.

What I mean is maybe the thought process is something like "Nobody's going to come to my panel about the ecology of Mirkwood if there's a girl standing over there in a Power Girl costume!"

I think a lot of the comfort people find in geek culture (and any sub-culture, really) comes from finally being listened to. So I'd be willing to bet the resentment over the perception that it's easier for cosplay women to get attention from the geek bros is a major factor in the foul and bubbling stew that is geek misogyny. You have to memorize encounter tables and starship names to get a following, and you think all she just has to do is dress a certain way.

(To be clear: this is not the way I feel. I consider the geeks/nerds my people, but, Good Lord, they're one of the worst groups on earth to talk about issues like sexism and racism with.)
posted by lord_wolf at 11:53 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos:I don't think it's "lately." It seems there's always some reason to complain about women showing up within science fiction/fantasy/comics fandom with their own interests

Oh, it's been around forever, but I think it's become more overt lately. Partly because anti-misogynists are calling more shit out, which seems to be leading to more 'YOU'RE RUINING EVERYTHING' from misogynists. Making the subtext into text, as it were.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:56 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


You Deserve An Orgy Today!
posted by Anything at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And now the gatekeepers are even more angry, because the barricades have been breached and there's crossdressing Green Lanterns and yaoi and hot Doctor Who's and steampunk crafting and Escher Girls criticism as far as the eye can see. There are Disney Princess mashups with Star Wars and My Little Pony brofans.

It is a bad, bad time to be a gatekeeper in general. Thanks to the Internet and technology, everyone who wants to can publish their own book, create their own CD or movie, read scientific research papers, or connect with various facets of "geekdom," whatever that is. I am just amazed at how much easier it is to connect with what I want to find in general since I was a kid back in the Pleistocene.

I think a lot of gatekeepers in general know that their time is up but they don't want to go without a fight. And of course a lot of gatekeepers are misogynists who want to keep those icky wimminz from coming in and Ruining Everything FOREVER with their girl cooties.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2012


I should mention that the cookie jar makes the TARDIS noise when you open it, not at just random intervals. The point of this is that Celsius1414 is an impostor geek.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:59 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


i don't deserve an orgy today, but i really wish i did : /
posted by MangyCarface at 11:59 AM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked it better when geeks were asocial loners and not a tightly-defined exclusive club with strict membership requirements.

I used to define "Geek" as liking something, anything, regardless of what people around you think about that thing or the intensity of your liking. It's not so much choosing to be a loner as take me or leave me.

Nowadays geeks are whoever consider themselves geeks. I'm fine with that definition too. It's a more evolved version of my old definition, come to think of it.
posted by fatehunter at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2012


And let's face it, the "War Against Geek Girls" is just another part of the War Against Women. -- oneswellfoop

I think that's it, exactly. I think there's a lot of geeky men who have some taste of power now in their small world and it scares them that women are going to wander in and take it from them. And that women don't need these men to approve of them or their interests.

(To be fair, I think a lot of the "fake geek girl" stuff that comes from women is sort of the flipside -- these women complaining about it are upset they're no longer "special.")

But I think these people will learn that there's no point standing around the gate when the fence around it is already down.
posted by darksong at 12:03 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafiltwr: Didn't deserve an orgy today.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I, too, read "Greek"" instead of "Geek". To futher complicate matters I misread "Tony Harris"as "Tony Harrison". Went in expecting some delightful poetic vituperation of women pretending to know more about the classical era than they actually did; came away disappointed.
posted by Decani at 12:04 PM on November 15, 2012


The reason that the "old guard" of geekdom, as it were, abhor seeing the definition and culture change around them is, well.. the fact that it is changing around them/us. I am very, VERY much someone who hates the commodification of Geek as a brand. And much of this is based on the fact that for the majority of my life it was not a brand, but a scar. And now the very things that made me a social pariah as a teen (aside from my own social leprosy, that is) are what gets people podcast networks, television chat shows, and laid (so I'm told).

I don't pretend it's not petty jealousy.
posted by mediocre at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am semi-secretly embarrassed to admit that deep down I know I have no real reason to think that TOS Trek is great and Doctor Who is unbearably silly.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:09 PM on November 15, 2012


I'm not at all embarassed to admit that deep down I know that TOS Trek is Readers Digest, and Doctor Who is The Paris Review.
posted by mediocre at 12:13 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


TLF discusses geek misogyny.
posted by Jpfed at 12:14 PM on November 15, 2012


Now, let's be clear WhiteSkull. Nothing about having attended the U of C signals "availability for sex" for either men or women.

No, no. I just meant the "poorly socialized" part. Sorry, I should have better defined my terms.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:14 PM on November 15, 2012


To try to further explain my first comment, I definitely wasn't saying that I don't see sexism or haven't seen this "fake geek girl" spectre referenced here, I was just disappointed and surprised to learn that it's been successful enough to make geek a gendered noun in the public consciousness when pretty much every time I've seen it, it's been rejected.
posted by ODiV at 12:15 PM on November 15, 2012


I can't stand the Doctor's ridiculous bigotry towards Cybermen and Daleks. Why is The Doctor so intolerant of cybernetic life forms. I stopped watching about the 5th time he tried to commit genocide against a cybernetic life form.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should mention that the cookie jar makes the TARDIS noise when you open it, not at just random intervals.

That is the advertised behavior, yes. However, mine also turns on at random times, which can be quite startling in the middle of the night. As I wrote just after I got it:
My new TARDIS startles me every so often as its engine noises will suddenly break the studio apartment silence. At first, I thought it was just random events, perhaps jostled into life by me moving around. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if it's returning from journeys through space and time just as I turn to look for the familiar sound.

I say "my" TARDIS. As anyone familiar with them knows, one does not own a TARDIS so much as have a relationship with one. We are still working out ours.
The point of this is that Celsius1414 is an impostor geek.

My brain locked up: the geek side was ready to fight, the anti-fansumer (love the neologism) was like, Thank God! Not one of us! Not one of us!
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


And just as this argument happens to be getting underway, major webcomic PVP starts a story arc mocking "white knights", furthering that wonderful argument that any guy who argues women should be treated like human beings is a hopeless nerd trying to get into her pants. Yay.
posted by themadthinker at 12:20 PM on November 15, 2012


I've been waging a war to reclaim the geek and nerd title from the mainstream. Geek and Nerd are not labels to wear like a shirt purchase at H&M, they are the scars and emotional trauma of having grown up ostricized and marginalized by the very people who now want to take the one thing they gave to me (my shame and self hatred for growing up a socially awkward fan of genre entertainment) and claim it for their own.

FUCK THAT!


Congratulations on transforming your own personal issues into cultural elitism.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that I did not know what the Paris Review was, but now that I do I can only respond with:

Paris Review, huh. From everything I know of it I would say if TOS Trek is Reader's Digest, Doctor Who is Soap Opera Digest.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:24 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been waging a war to reclaim the geek and nerd title from the mainstream. Geek and Nerd are not labels to wear like a shirt purchase at H&M, they are the scars and emotional trauma of having grown up ostricized and marginalized by the very people who now want to take the one thing they gave to me (my shame and self hatred for growing up a socially awkward fan of genre entertainment) and claim it for their own.

I can somewhat relate to this, but geeks really need to stop being shitty to people who actually take an interest in things they like. And to the online gamers: shouting sexist or racist abuse over Xbox Live is not a political statement! Especially if it's because you are having a hard time in high school. Guess what? Everyone is having a hard time in high school!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:26 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


JJ Abrams "wasn't a real nerd" because he wasn't very familiar with the Star Trek property before directing the 2009 film

When Wrath of Khan was on the TV a few months ago, I read on Wikipedia that Nicholas Meyer actually had no idea what Star Trek was like, and was keen to make up his own stuff, which is probably what made that movie so good, as he was able to rethink and reinvigorate it.
posted by Grangousier at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


major webcomic PVP starts a story arc mocking "white knights"

To be fair, PVP sort of epitomizes the issue of hating on girl geek cooties. It's kind of the worst at gender relations.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:28 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


TLF discusses geek misogyny.

I couldn't get past the "Girls Don't Like Metal" part. I know referencing a conversation on Metal Sucks (legendarily focused on the glammiest of vaguely metallic hard rock) is hardly relevant to anything resembling the real world.. but I've never bought the idea that girls don't like metal for one very simple reason, I've known shitloads who are. And every one of them thought I was a pussy for listening to Rhapsody. I was at a party once, wearing a Rhapsody shirt (an armored knight carrying a massive gleaming sword riding a flying dragon that is spewing fire at nothing specific), and no less then 3 girls laughed at my wussy tastes, each of them brandishing patches or shirts of much more extreme black and death metal acts. Women like metal, and generally speaking they seem to like stuff that is waaay further down the brutality scale then most metalhead guys I know..
posted by mediocre at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2012


Mediocre: I'm not at all embarassed to admit that deep down I know that TOS Trek is Readers Digest, and Doctor Who is The Paris Review.

Harlan . . . is that you?
 
posted by Herodios at 12:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't stand the Doctor's ridiculous bigotry towards Cybermen and Daleks. Why is The Doctor so intolerant of cybernetic life forms. I stopped watching about the 5th time he tried to commit genocide against a cybernetic life form.

I COMPLETELY AG-REE WITH THIS SENT-I-MENT!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:30 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Harlan . . . is that you?

Can't be - he didn't use any (C) or (TM) or (R) symbols.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:31 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can't be

Only when he sues me later will I know for sure.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:32 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would say if TOS Trek is Reader's Digest, Doctor Who is Soap Opera Digest

If Doctor Who is Soap Opera Digest, TOS Trek is Highlights For Children. (Quick! What's the difference between these two people?)

Now, if you were specifically referring to RTD Who, I may give some leeway..
posted by mediocre at 12:39 PM on November 15, 2012


I, too, read "Greek"" instead of "Geek".

Amusingly, the only identity debate I've ever seen that comes close to the one about who gets to call themselves a geek is the one about who gets to call themselves (or their ancestors) a Greek. Historical ethnography is fraught.
posted by Copronymus at 12:40 PM on November 15, 2012


I can't stand the Doctor's ridiculous bigotry towards Cybermen and Daleks. Why is The Doctor so intolerant of cybernetic life forms. I stopped watching about the 5th time he tried to commit genocide against a cybernetic life form.

Urge to KILL ALL HUMANS... falling.

Still pretty high, though.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:41 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I suppose I should clarify that I am mostly referring to what is (gag-inducingly) called "Nu Who". I am not nearly as familiar with the old stuff (and I do have a soft spot for Tom Baker).
posted by adamdschneider at 12:51 PM on November 15, 2012


I think geek culture is of an independent axis from misogynism. Meaning, you'll find plenty of non-girl-excluding geeks, and the people who exclude them are doing so because of the anti-feminist undercurrents of general male culture. Which explains why the computer games which cater most to stereotypically masculine pursuits, like first-person shooters, are the ones that are least accepting of women. You find much less of that kind of thing among board gamers, for instance.
posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


whittaker: I'm not saying that it's wrong or bad or 'inauthentic'--whatever that means, but it really diffuses the term to meaninglessness. Why do people self-identify as geeks anyway? Aren't we all just a bunch of people that like things?

Well, my thinking about this was influenced by a linguistics paper by Bucholtz I read over a decade ago in my misspent early adulthood as a PhD student. She looked at nerd girls in a California high school and defined them as a sub-culture based on their linguistic rejection of "Valley Girl" markers and a shared value for pre-collegate academics. This group were neither "varsities" who gamed high school politics through conspicuous consumption, nor were they "dropouts" who engaged in various levels of resistance to the formal school system.

Since I'm no longer a part of that social structure, I don't see any reason to identify myself as a "geek." I'm 40, lucky to be employed in my area of expertise, and wear a business casual uniform. I'm a fan of SF&F. The guy down the hall plays guitar and banjo The supervisor does renovation. The women in the office next door run marathons. My dad rides a motorcycles, and my mother organizes neighborhood politics. What I read is no longer a litmus test for sub-cultural conflict.

People who do cosplay are putting in much more obsessive energy and more money into it than I can spend on a fandom. So I don't have much room to say that I'm a "geek" for reading a few dozen novels in a year, and they're not for obsessively researching, building, and wearing costumes while spending hundreds of dollars in the process. In terms of fandom fetishes for conspicuous consumption, cosplay is about the only one I respect, and I have prejudices that people who spend an extra $40 to get collectors-edition game packaging on release day are flaming idiots.

mediochre: And now the very things that made me a social pariah as a teen (aside from my own social leprosy, that is) are what gets people podcast networks, television chat shows, and laid (so I'm told).

One of the benefits of being 40 is that I feel free to talk about just what a dipshit I was at 16. It turns out that my limp-wristed, neurotic, nearsighted teenage self missed out on a couple of good relationships. My lack of HS relationships is entirely due to my own insecurities, internalized homophobia among male peers, and putting young women on a ridiculous pedestal.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


(Quick! What's the difference between these two people?)

The one with higher status has braid about his neck.

But both are descended from . . . apessssssssssssssssssss.
 

posted by Herodios at 12:54 PM on November 15, 2012


Is this the kind of thing you'd have to have a computer to understand?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:55 PM on November 15, 2012


I'm a geek, and a straight white male. I keep wishing that I'd be around for any of these moments of misogyny so that I could jump all over it--or, even better, to be there to voice support for the girl(s) in question when she/they jump all over it because they don't need a guy there defending them. That problem isn't about me, obviously, but at the same time I'm sure it'd be nice to see that there are plenty of guy geeks who don't contribute to the bullshit.

But I rarely actually see this myself, and I wonder if that's because I'm a guy and I therefore don't see any of this through the right lenses.

I am also irritated as hell at the argument of "pretty girls pretending to be geeks for attention," because you could make that same accusation at ANY girl who HAPPENS to be pretty and is simply branching out into a new interest all her own, or who is trying to explore her friends'/SO's interests (and when did that become a crime?). I don't even know why anyone thinks this is something legitimate to complain about.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2012


Urge to KILL ALL HUMANS... falling.

Posted by ROU_Xenophobe


Eponysterical?
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2012


Is this the kind of thing you'd have to have a computer to understand?

Here I am, brain the size of a planet...
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Darn, I was going to post Nick Mamatas' rant about geek pride:
What we are seeing now, a generation later, are so-called "nerds" who were in no way victims of any sort of systematic abuse, adopting the rhetoric of victimhood even as they claim simultaneous superiority of their own mores, tastes, folkways etc. It is no surprise to me that discussions of minority representation in SF/fantasy, or the problems of cultural appropriation in the same often lead to messily hilarious explosions—the white male nerd has begun to believe his own press releases. They're the real victims, not those black people (who are cool and dangerous-looking and get all the booty!) nor all those people overseas (who never had to fight for the right to watch Dr. Who in order, and who can understand anime without subtitles) and thus any remarks that move the locus of victimhood—and the associated "topping from the bottom" fake victims use—from the white male nerd to any other party, including the white female whore nerd is greeting with flailing idiot outrage.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


If Doctor Who is Soap Opera Digest, TOS Trek is Highlights For Children.

Oh do we really have to get into that? I've seen plenty of classic Who, and some of them break the Sonic Goofy Meter. Watch "The War Machine" for instance, where an ENIAC-style computer with flashy lights created by 60s scientists mind controls people and tries to take over the world. It broadcast the same year as TOS's first season.

Both are sometimes embarrassing, but sometimes amazing.
posted by JHarris at 12:59 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


and I do have a soft spot for Tom Baker

And we're right back into me being NerdRighteous. Not you specifically, but I totally had a moment where some person whom I know only saw the program for the first time this year, and has since only seen "NuWho" and a couple random Classic serials proclaimed Tom Baker to be the "only true Doctor." At which point I got all ridiculous and said that him saying that is basically saying "I liked being into cool stuff before it was cool, before it was cool" since he has virtually no history with the program..

Doctor Who fandom can get messy..
posted by mediocre at 12:59 PM on November 15, 2012


I don't really know much about the fake geek girl charges, but it's been interesting and somewhat unsettling for me to watch the term shift a bit.

A friend of mine started a facebook group "Nerds & Geeks Anonymous" and at first I thought "Oh, this is a place on FB I can talk about math, programming, science." Instead, though, it turned out to be mostly focused on pop culture. Primarily TV, movies, and Internet memes, with comics and books running a distant second.

That's fine enough; I like those things too. And I've had a good time participating. But there's this unease at the apparent divergence. My growing-up & past adult experiences habituated me to the idea that math/programming/science and sci-fi/fantasy/internet communities were largely the same. Apparently no longer so. In some ways, this is fantastic for me -- I can still remember the moment where I realized some of my more "mainstream" friends were in on the Numa Numa guy and it's great to know that Internet "culture" is less of a subculture. There are more and more people who are interested in some of the things I'm interested in. On the other hand, the divergence I'm talking about means that I can no longer count on those interests to indicate whether it's a good idea to talk about the cardinality of non-finite sets of numbers, or whether that could turn out to be a faux pas.

Some discomfort here, some nice things too. All-in-all, I can't bring myself to get too worked up about it, but that might be partly because I don't have my entire identity wrapped up there. If someone did, I can imagine them feeling more threatened.
posted by weston at 1:02 PM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


With respect to this topic I think we're witnessing a confluence of unpleasantries:

1. Geek "Purity" Obsession
2. Lord Anthony tendencies
3. Standard Issue Misogyny

Also, it's 2012. What the hell does "geek culture" even mean these days? It's an empty phrase. Maybe back in the days, before ubiquity of the web, back when the only way you really could connect to like-minded souls was within the dim walls of hotel meeting rooms and convention centers, maybe that's when this concept of geek culture mattered.

That concept is dead. Fragmented into a million pieces. Or at least it could be if we just stopped insisting that it exists, that there's any kind of entrance exam, and that any of it fucking matters.

We don't need monoliths, we need each other.

I once met a guy who --now he's my friend-- let's just say my first impression of him was less than generous. He looked like a jock and a salesman: tall, tan, athletic. Nice suit on, good clean hair with a clear part in it. He smiled too much and talked about NBA a ton. I thought "this guy is not like me. He is not a geek. He is a jock and a douche and I will not like him."

But then we ended up working together on a project and traded emails. He added me to his goodreads friend list. "Okay", I thought "I wonder how many issues of SI he's going to review before he tires of this". Boy was I wrong. This guy was reading like 3x the amount of books I was reading. And from all kinds of genres: history books, science books, fantasy books, sci-fi books. And every time he finished one he'd write like a two-page review of each one. And when he talked about sci-fi or fantasy that he liked it was like talking to younger, less jaded version of myself. He was so passionate, so unashamedly enthusiastice. Most of all he was friendly and encouraging about it all. I doubt he would have ever considered himself a geek. He just liked things!

He's a smart guy, and in many ways a much bigger nerd/geek than I am. If that means anything, which it doesn't.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could stop perpetuating the myth the geek culture is a thing that needs to be protected? How absurd.

Also, is it weird/evil that I grew up watching and loving Dr. Who (my sister is actually named after Tegan from the 4th and 4th Doctors) but I just can't get into the new series? Maybe I've lost all geek-cred...(see above, haters)
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:06 PM on November 15, 2012 [14 favorites]


Which explains why the computer games which cater most to stereotypically masculine pursuits, like first-person shooters, are the ones that are least accepting of women

I think that is a very good point. We also see it in fighting games, It was especially visible in that cross assault kerfuffle. Plenty of people rushed to say misogyny was a natural and necessary part of the FGC. Of course the FGC is particularly hostile towards newcomers, they are still bitching about 09ers and talking about the glory days of the arcade.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2012


If TOS Trek is Reader's Digest, Doctor Who is Reader's Digest except the spelling is different in places (colour, aluminium, realise, etc), and that is fine, it is just fine.

C'mon. One is a show about a dude with a beer gut who flies through space, occasionally either punching aliens or hanging out with Abraham Lincoln; the other is a show about a guy who time travels in a phone booth and occasionally waves a glowstick at some giant robot salt shakers.

No one's walking away clean. They're both dumb fun escapism, they both feature made-up bullshit TV science, and so on. And regardless of which one you're into (or both), you still were probably getting ready to correct me that actually it's a police call box.

We're all in this together, and we're all dorks about something.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, this is a place on FB I can talk about math, programming, science

Tangentially, this is what Google Plus is for. /derail

On the other hand, the divergence I'm talking about means that I can no longer count on those interests to indicate whether it's a good idea to talk about the cardinality of non-finite sets of numbers, or whether that could turn out to be a faux pas.

You should be able to post what you want. If someone is offended by talk about the cardinality of non-finite sets of numbers, they're probably a finitist and you just don't need to abide that kind of toxic discourse. Unfriend and block!
posted by Jpfed at 1:11 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the benefits of being 40 is that I feel free to talk about just what a dipshit I was at 16.

I'm 31, and have no qualms about it either. I fully admitted in my post that I was a social leper, and all that you mention (minus the homophobia, but I grew up in a place where these people tried to do this, so I was quick to see that homophobia is just asinine at best) was more or less also among my myriad of inadequacies both imagined (no, I wasn't THAT ugly.. and some of the girls actually thought I was cute but I was waaay too busy being self hating trenchcoat guy to notice)
posted by mediocre at 1:11 PM on November 15, 2012


Well, the Tom Baker ones are the only classic ones I ever watched in the back room of my grandparents' house as a small child, flipping between Car 54 Where Are You on Nickelodeon and Dragon Slayer on USA Cartoon Express.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think geek culture is of an independent axis from misogynism

As someone else said, I've turned my own faults into a sort of cultural elitism. I haven't said word one against women in this discussion. I have no issues with geek women, but things like Olivia Munn being super famous for being a hot girl in a slave Leia outfit set off my NerdRage not because I don't think she's being disingenuine about it.. but because her existence shoved someone else (also hot, probably also hot in SlaveLeia outfit) out of the spotlight on the network she made her emergence in.
posted by mediocre at 1:22 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which explains why the computer games which cater most to stereotypically masculine pursuits, like first-person shooters

Now, hold on there a second. Building rollercoasters, ruling civilizations, running restaurants, and managing cities are all "stereotypically male" pursuits, but there seems to be more civility in those gaming communities than your typical Halo or WOW communities.
posted by FJT at 1:23 PM on November 15, 2012


I'm just laughing (yet again) at the myth that "geek" culture is counterculture. Star Wars marketing ended up on practically every shelf of the supermarket. You're not weird for owning Star Wars toys, you're unusual for having kept them in pristine condition after a decade where you couldn't give the damn muddy things away in thrift stores. ST:TOS, ST:TNG, and Dr Who were successful TV shows with millions of viewers when they aired. D&D was one of the more popular games of the 70s, spawned a successful television franchise, and a best-selling game franchise. Game of Thrones novels hit the NYT best seller list.

You're not that far out of the mainstream for having an opinion about the most-watched movie of the 1970s, or characters from a multi-billion-dollar multimedia publishing empire.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:32 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Olivia Munn

Yeah, Munn's done some sexist things in the past, and anyone that dislikes her goes up 10 points in my book. Same points apply for anyone that hates Sucker Punch.
posted by FJT at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please. Tony Harris's rant is not about fake geek girls. That's a red herring.

It's about hatred towards women who don't exist in a perpetual state of 1) being super attractive, 2) being single-mindedly interested in pleasing dudes, AND 3) being sexually available at all times to anyone who tries hard enough. This doesn't have a goddamn thing to do with his subculture or the purity of it. It's tedious, ages-old misogyny. The only relevance his subculture has on his ignorant opinions is the assurance that he should know better.
posted by almostmanda at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I just wish we could all get along and that anyone who is willing to bite the head off a live chicken, male or female, gay or straight, cis or trans can be free to do that.

is that so much to ask
posted by Sebmojo at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Like most of you I am also a geek and have been in the geek sub-culture for a long time, although in my case it was RPGs and video games, not computer science and math (which is more of a nerd thing really - of course nerds and geeks have a huge cross-sectional relationship).

And come to think of it, a lot of geeks when I was growing up were downright jerks; because no matter what your social status may be, there are jerks in every circle. And of course, socially awkward groups like geeks could become a refuge for many jerks who couldn't fit in elsewhere. That this jerkiness and general asshole-ish behaviour is now being targeted at women is no big surprise, in some sense they are an easy target for idiots seeking to boost their "status" within their chosen sub-group.

Like anything else it will run its course, and those who are aware of this and in a position to call out such boorish behviour should do so at every opporunity; especially in public gatherings such as conventions.

And we also need to understand the crushing horrible feelings that come with meeting a truly awesome geek girl and finding out that she is not interested in you, not even a little (it plain sucks).
posted by Vindaloo at 1:45 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Munn's done some sexist things in the past, and anyone that dislikes her goes up 10 points in my book. Same points apply for anyone that hates Sucker Punch.

I always just feel bad for Olivia Munn. I've never been a big G4 watcher, but every time I saw her on it or saw something about her she just seemed like she was being treated like a circus freak (See the amazing...GIRL as she...HAS BREASTS...and....DOES OTHER THINGS). Like I get that there's something sexist about participating in it, but I always sort of felt like she was playing a character that she had no choice in playing if she wanted to be successful.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how you'd readily identify the gay chickens, but if you want to bite their heads off, be my guest.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2012


Grangousier:
I read on Wikipedia that Nicholas Meyer actually had no idea what Star Trek was like, and was keen to make up his own stuff, which is probably what made that movie so good, as he was able to rethink and reinvigorate it.
Agreed, which was my counterexample when the JJ Abrams thing came up.

Even better, Meyer--who really didn't know much about Star Trek other than Spock's pointy ears--infused Wrath of Khan with his own personal pop culture enthusiasm: Captain Hornblower, which has definitely been a part of the Trek-movie DNA ever since.
posted by whittaker at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2012


I wonder if a lot of it stems from how much value we place on things we like, and how we've identified them as defining us.

I recall when I was younger, I was very much into the Star Wars and D&D genres, but also liked playing baseball. However, I felt like I could actually talk to fellow SW/D&D people more than I could with the "jocks." Perhaps it helped that my teammates vocally expressed disdain for things geeky, whilst the geeks I knew didn't mind my involvement in sports. Still, I ended up harboring a dislike for anyone who scoffed at my interests, and also those who I felt weren't as "into it" as I was. I think I defined my self-worth as something visible to outsiders and would try to defend my "membership" of the group/subculture.

Now that I'm older, I think I've taken a more personal ownership of my likes and dislikes, meaning that I no longer place value on how my tastes are superior to those of others. And that's regardless of whether or not I like the same things as others. I like Halo, but I don't consider someone as "not a fan" if they only played one game out of the series, and I don't consider someone as "a true fan" if they've read all the books and immersed themselves wholly into the franchise. I think of them simply as a "fan of Halo" and wouldn't mind swapping stories.

The only way I can explain why people continue to bash others in such a way, male or female, is that they still view their own self-worth as defined by how much more they like something above and beyond anybody else. I know that's a big generalization, but like some of you described in other posts about this topic, we shouldn't be at a point where we have to feel like we need to exclude people from sharing a fondness for similar things.
posted by CancerMan at 1:52 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


And we also need to understand the crushing horrible feelings that come with meeting a truly awesome geek girl and finding out that she is not interested in you, not even a little (it plain sucks).

Why? Rejection sucks, for everybody. There's nothing special about geek rejection.

For instance, I imagine it feels pretty crushing and horrible to meet like minded people and find out that they don't care about what you have to say about things, but only care that you're the opposite sex. Being rejected as a friend sucks just as bad as being rejected as a date.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


And come to think of it, a lot of geeks when I was growing up were downright jerks; because no matter what your social status may be, there are jerks in every circle.

This is true, but geeks generally feel like they're obligated to accept the jerks... because geeks feel like they're shunned by others, and they don't want to mimic the behavior. Unfortunately, this leads many to take the openness way too far.

Five Geek Social Fallacies

Hopefully at some point very soon "geek culture" will learn that it is entirely right and justified to shun its own misogynists. At least it's becoming a significant point of discussion in a lot of circles.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:53 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Scratch a lot of these gatekeeping arguments hard enough and it really comes down to "But these are the guys that held my head down in the toilet. Now they're coming to steal my hobby! Fuck those guys!

Much sympathy to people who had a rough time in school but get over yourselves, get over this petty, misapplied revenge sentiment, and grow up.
posted by whittaker at 1:55 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


but because her existence shoved someone else (also hot, probably also hot in SlaveLeia outfit) out of the spotlight on the network she made her emergence in.

I have never understood what Olivia Munn had over Morgan Webb. On any level. I don't hate Olivia Munn, but she's just plain not as appealing or interesting.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2012


Much sympathy to people who had a rough time in school but get over yourselves, get over this petty, misapplied revenge sentiment, and grow up.

There are entire nation-states built around that ethos.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The original "Geeks" were carnival folks who could consume anything and tolerate obscene amounts of pain. A true "geek" would therefore not exclude anyone and dealt with the discomfort therein with aplomb.
posted by Renoroc at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2012


The exclusionary streak in fandom comes in part, I think, from fandom's emphasis on specialization conflicting with the nature of the Net. A lot of geeks get their sense of self-worth from being experts. Before the Net, it was easy to be the only person you knew who had the entire Monster Manual memorized (or whatever -- can you tell I'm an RPG nerd?). With the Net, though, suddenly there are whole forums of people who've got every edition of the Monster Manual memorized, plus all the addenda. It became much harder to be a big fish, because the pond got so much huger. So people started to get super-specialized, and started to encounter more and more people with the same super-specialized expertise. In order to get self-worth from that kind of expertise now, you have to either a) be willing to smack down any other 'experts' who get anything wrong, or b) actually be okay with the idea that other people's expertise doesn't conflict with yours. And b) is very difficult to do, human psychology being what it is. That tendency to want to smack down anyone who dares challenge your 'expertise', however you frame it, leads to a desire to push out anyone who isn't as nerdy and to therefore reduce competition. Like with academia, the feelings get so intense because the stakes are so low.

There is indeed a lot of garden variety sexism involved in this, but the expertise factor gives it a particularly fannish flavor and makes it just that extra bit worse.
posted by jiawen at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Now that I'm older, I think I've taken a more personal ownership of my likes and dislikes, meaning that I no longer place value on how my tastes are superior to those of others. And that's regardless of whether or not I like the same things as others.

A thousand time this. I think a strong element of the exclusionary behavior of many geek/nerd communities is an internalized defensiveness about unconventional passtimes.

Don't be ashamed of what you like, and don't shame other people for liking things.

I want to see more people, male or female, interested in the things I like. I've just returned to gaming after a long hiatus- interested in RPGs but never played before? You are welcome at my table. Think classic steel bikes are cool? I want to see you out there on the road. Into Medieval music? Awesome! Into Medieval music because you're obsessed with Hildegard von Bingen? Well...ok, that's cool. Want to drink lots of Belgian beer? Come drink with me!

Life is really too short to get all wound up about who likes a thing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:15 PM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


If Dave Sim ever makes new Cerebus comics, maybe Tony Harris can replace Gerhard on the backgrounds and inks.
posted by thecjm at 2:30 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I have to note, a lot of the comments in this thread seem to still be using "geek" to mean "male geek". I wish folks wouldn't do that; lots of geeks are women, and the default term shouldn't denote men.
posted by jiawen at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I've really never got this. It's as moronic as the opposition to gay marriage. I like some things. You like some things. The fact that you like things does not have the slightest effect on me.

So, everybody just like things, ok?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:35 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I used to volunteer at a major US con, doing con operations stuff (not track stuff). Most tracks were welcoming, but there were a few who would be cooperative with the men on our team but would close doors in the women's faces or say "we don't have to talk to you." For me, geek culture has, at times, felt like a literal closing of the ranks to keep women from the door. At other times, geek culture has been a home when I haven't had one; USENET comes to mind, where I used my (identifiably female) name and never really had trouble.

As for TheWhiteSkull and Bulgaraktonos - Chicago is still the only place where I never felt unsure if I wasn't the only one not having sex.
posted by catlet at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2012


But there's this unease at the apparent divergence. My growing-up & past adult experiences habituated me to the idea that math/programming/science and sci-fi/fantasy/internet communities were largely the same. Apparently no longer so.

That part of the (primarily) American-based net culture took a while for me to get used to. When I grew up in Taiwan, math and science were the tickets to the good life, so children were pressured by society to excel at them and other academic subjects. Kids who enjoyed and mastered particular subjects were just "good" kids, not geeks. Geeks were the ones who pursued extracurricular interests with unusual intensity. The math/science model students and the sci-fi/fantasy fans were separate groups with little overlapping, because there was only so much time and you couldn't ace the weekly exams unless you concentrated on studying.

It was a culture shock when my family immigrated to North America and I experienced first hand how the teenagers here viewed math and science. It baffled me that math and science could be considered the geek's domain. Programming on the other hand was a young and novel subject, so I could kind of see it in the context of geekdom.

It's much easier now that geeks are whoever identify themselves as geeks. Math geek, programming geek, design geek, fandom geek, social media geek, fashion geek, sports geek... and you don't have to be obsessed to be geeky either. I like the broadening of the geek concept.
posted by fatehunter at 2:44 PM on November 15, 2012


the only place where I never felt unsure if I wasn't the only one not having sex.

I think I'm gonna need to drink something to parse this fully.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:46 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dear people commenting in this thread:

Here's a perspective:

"Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engage in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you. Well, I'm not going to apologize for any of that, or even really acknowledge that it ever happened, but turns out that the whims of our culture have changed, so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible. Hope you're OK with that, because if you aren't I'm just going to call you a sexist!"

Here's another perspective:

A significant cause of the traditional marginalization of young male geeks has been their refusal or failure to perform gender in ways that conform with "normal" expectations. Demonizing them for that, and then demonizing them again for being upset when we change our minds later, is unlikely to yield productive results.

So, people in this thread, I know y'all just love a good "let's enumerate all the awful sexism here" pile-on, but maybe we could try, just this once, not to have quite so shallow a conversation about it?
posted by ubernostrum at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


If geeks are so awful, why do the girls want to join their culture?
posted by zscore at 3:15 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engaging in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you.

And you can tell, because they've got breasts?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:16 PM on November 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


"Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engage in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you. Well, I'm not going to apologize for any of that, or even really acknowledge that it ever happened, but turns out that the whims of our culture have changed, so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible. Hope you're OK with that, because if you aren't I'm just going to call you a sexist!"

Well, I'm pretty sure no twenty-two-year-old woman dressed like Supergirl is personally responsible for any physical violence or harassment committed against me or probably anybody. Nor harassment, nor threatening behavior. That leaves mockery. If you see some woman in a costume at a con and your first thought is to confuse her with some hottie who made a joke about your dick size in high school, that's a bummer and I get it, I guess, but it's not her fault she's turning you on and it's giving you all kinds of confusing feels.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:21 PM on November 15, 2012 [30 favorites]


i used to be very vocal in my hate of olivia munn. people who know me could probably recite my points of contention with her as an entity in entertainment culture. something changed recently - i think it was the "boohoo fake geeks! not like real geeks like felicia day!" and i finally just snapped. i realized that sneering at olivia munn was just feeding into the whole rat king problem of women in traditionally male geek spaces. if all things were equal, there is plenty about her to complain about, but all things aren't equal. some people use her a symbol for their shitty sexist opinions and just won't participate in that sort of in fighting anymore.

and olivia munn didn't push aside morgan webb. they weren't even on the same show. G4 has obviously hated their brand for a long time. when they were restructured and consolidated with E!, morgan webb's entire styling changed - that coincided closely with olivia munn showing up, but it's not olivia munn's fault. that's a problem with the powers that be, not two employees in the same shitty situation.
posted by nadawi at 3:24 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like the broadening of the geek concept.

Meh - it's just a phase. Eventually the geeky-come-latelys will go back to Jane Austen without the zombies and we'll be able to huddle together in 'chat'-VRs, wearing hi-def Gorean avatars and talking about who would win in a fight, Pikachu or She-Hulk as we code our retro Escape-The-Room/Text-Adventure pastiches in c-like syntax to the general derision of the masses.
posted by Sparx at 3:28 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Social deviancy is defined by those on the inside - geeks traditionally didn't chose to be geeks but had geekness thrust upon them. Now the mainstream, the people on the inside, want to adopt elements of geek culture, to appropriate it in the same way that the mainstream always appropriates other cultures, to avoid stagnancy and generally further its own interests.

But the culture that the mainstream wants to appropriate isn't always that friendly to the mainstream, so ideological pressure has to be brought down upon it in order to make it fit the preferences of the mainstream - think Elvis, Vanilla Ice, whatever. It's a kind of gentrification.

The criticisms of geek culture, that it doesn't conform to mainstream values, are self-serving; they're just the means by which the mainstream justifies and moralises theft; the White Man's Burden in a modern form.

Geeks are going to resist domination for lots of different reasons, many of which have to do with negative experiences with the mainstream. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I think it's much harder to justify the use of moral panics about rampant misogyny or whatever (as if these things are unknown in the mainstream) to commit what amounts to cultural theft.
posted by chrisgregory at 3:32 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to

i am totally not one of those people. i was mocked, threatened, harassed, and marginalized. i raised my hand in class too quick. i didn't wear the right clothes. i read babysitters club too late into early adolescence. i had a my little pony collection. i stole my brothers erector sets because i was told those were "boy toys" and i wouldn't be interested, so i never got one of my own. i found other marginalized people who were also socially inept and i was like "my people!" but when i'd go to hang out they'd mock me, corner me in hallways, "accidentally" feel me up when no one was around, and all around marginalize my place (because i could never really understand being lonely because i had tits).

i'm really tired of it being assumed that i, and other women like me, are looking for attention or looking to appropriate or are somehow like the shitty cheerleader who pretended to like you so she had something to mock later (guess what, that happens to girl geeks too from the men in those social circles). our vaginas don't make us a monolith and if you think they do, i'm going to think you're sexist.
posted by nadawi at 3:33 PM on November 15, 2012 [33 favorites]


The criticisms of geek culture, that it doesn't conform to mainstream values, are self-serving; they're just the means by which the mainstream justifies and moralises theft; the White Man's Burden in a modern form.

Oh Good Lord, frat guys playing Halo or whatever it is you're going on about and the fucking White Man's Burden are so far from each other than they can't see each other with the most powerful telescopes.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


Geeks are going to resist domination for lots of different reasons, many of which have to do with negative experiences with the mainstream. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I think it's much harder to justify the use of moral panics about rampant misogyny or whatever (as if these things are unknown in the mainstream) to commit what amounts to cultural theft.

I am a man on the wrong side of thirty, and I will tell you what I think when people say things like this (other than: holy fuck, dude, if you honestly see nothing problematic about conflating nerd stuff going mainstream with for real cultural appropriation I simply do not know): We're old. Too old to see that Star Wars went mainstream all over again in the late '90s; that the Justice League cartoon premiered over a decade ago; that the first X-Men movie came out twelve years ago; and too old to have the perspective to grok that for someone who now is twenty years old, all of this stuff has been the background noise to basically the world of pop culture as they have always known it. That it has always been mainstream and it has always been there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engage in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you. Well, I'm not going to apologize for any of that, or even really acknowledge that it ever happened, but turns out that the whims of our culture have changed, so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible. Hope you're OK with that, because if you aren't I'm just going to call you a sexist!"

You do realize that male lifelong geeks do not have a monopoly on feeling excluded, mocked, hated, threatened, etc., right? Every single person on this planet has felt marginalized. Including hot women. You can take the experience of that feeling and use it to empathize with your fellow humans, or you can do... what you just did with that strawman.
posted by oinopaponton at 3:45 PM on November 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


i'm really tired of it being assumed that i, and other women like me, are looking for attention or looking to appropriate or are somehow like the shitty cheerleader who pretended to like you so she had something to mock later

And now for perspective #3: congratulations, you're Schrödinger's Geek. Is it nice? No. Is it fun? No. Does it get tiring? Yes. Is it going to continue due to larger social forces beyond your control? Yup. Do you get to lay 100% of the effort of overcoming that on someone else just because you don't like it? Not any more than any other victim of a Schrödinger-type effect.

Plus, you and the other people responding to my comment are all buying into the idea that there are ways to distinguish "real" from "fake" geeks, and that both types exist.

You can take the experience of that feeling and use it to empathize with your fellow humans, or you can do... what you just did with that strawman.

See above, and please particularly look up the history of the "Schrödinger's X" usage.

Still waiting for someone to bite on the performing-gender perspective, by the way.
posted by ubernostrum at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


ubernostrum: as to perspective one, I stand by a prior comment.

Without glossing over or diminishing the problem of bullying or violence, we have to realize--from a social science perspective--that an adolescent's first hand anecdotes of their harassment is incredibly subjective and probably doesn't often reliably indicate exactly why they were harassed or bullied in the first place (it may not have been the Star Wars novel you or I had clutched in our hands) , or even how pervasive the harassment was within their peer group. With that in mind, I find it a little stunning whenever I see people decades later freely willing to implicate complete strangers as being just as guilty as their actual teenaged tormentors on the basis of some arbitrary signifiers and furthermore that their own interests and passions were somehow diminished by the interest of other people.

Add that to the fact that we're talking about people who like things--most frequently pop culture things and this whole carrying on like this is some great, unified historic injustice that demands cultural sensitivity and it gets even more silly.

On preview: Bulgaroktonos put it better than I ever could.
posted by whittaker at 3:48 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


And now for perspective #3

i've read this response 5 times and i still can't parse it. what effort am i laying on someone else? what does my response have to do with existence/non-existence of real/fake geeks? what are you talking about?
posted by nadawi at 3:54 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


if all things were equal, there is plenty about her to complain about, but all things aren't equal. some people use her a symbol for their shitty sexist opinions and just won't participate in that sort of in fighting anymore.

What? No, no, no. I genuinely hate Olivia Munn because it's just another reason for me to hate mainstream geek/nerd culture. I just pile Olivia Munn's fandom into a corner with similar fandoms like Kevin Smith, Zack Snyder, Halo, anything that involves zombies, the new Fallout games, Frank Miller comics after 1990, Frank Miller himself, Blizzard games, and Big Bang Theory.
posted by FJT at 3:54 PM on November 15, 2012


Anyone out of high school who still worries about labels like "geek" and "nerd" is doing it wrong.

I say this as someone who back then was unquestionably both (was on the math and science teams, worked at DragonCon, went to an uber-nerdy college, etc).

Labels like this just don't matter as an adult. I get that they do under a certain age, because of how people at that age are, high school is just naturally clique-y in that way. But as an adult, you just like things or not, and associate with people who share your interests or not, etc. You don't worry about labels, and CERTAINLY not about whether other people deserve their self-given labels. I mean... what?
posted by wildcrdj at 3:56 PM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


The criticisms of geek culture, that it doesn't conform to mainstream values, are self-serving; they're just the means by which the mainstream justifies and moralises theft;

Ironically, as you pointed out in your next paragraph, misogyny can also be very much a mainstream happening so it's not the best example of geek culture not conforming to mainstream values. (And now I have a vision of geek culture being stolen like the Elgin Marbles from Greece, only I can't work out if in this scenario geek girls are Lord Elgin or the Turks.)

"Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engage in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you. Well, I'm not going to apologize for any of that, or even really acknowledge that it ever happened, but turns out that the whims of our culture have changed, so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible. Hope you're OK with that, because if you aren't I'm just going to call you a sexist!"

I can assure you I'm only going to call you a sexist if, in fact, you are a sexist. Like Harris is. And, no, people don't get a pass because they were ill-treated in high school or elsewhere.* Being ill-treated does not give you the right to ill-treat other people. It just doesn't. Nor does being socially awkward. There's lots of socially awkward people who somehow manage not to treat other people awfully.

If geeks are so awful, why do the girls want to join their culture?

Because some women like to discuss and enthuse over geekish things with people who feel the same? Perhaps at conventions dedicated to those things?


*Which really covers a LOT of people. Not just geeks.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Re: "Schrodinger's Geek." If you're saying that insufficiently pure enjoyment of a pop-culture artifact (which is the "dead cat" result in this particular thought experiment) should be considered a violent offense analogous to rape, that is...it's...well, I don't know what, exactly, but whatever it is, is very very dumb.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:57 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


the new Fallout games

Wait , what? What are wrong with those.

Also, re: Olivia Munn, I don't necessarily disagree with any of you about hating her, but see how easy it is to start judging geek levels? The same thing happened time after time with Morgan Webb, people pissed and moaned that she wasn't a real gamer. I guess there is a line in the sand after all and Olivia Munn is just over that line.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:59 PM on November 15, 2012


Excellent point, wildcrdj. I wonder if the recent "self-empowerment of the geek" stuff that seems to be everywhere could be meaningfully tied in to all those essays about the adulthood essentially being part of an extended adolescence: people who are deliberately retaining obsolete, high school taxonomies.
posted by whittaker at 4:00 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the reasons I dropped out of geek/SFnal/RPG culture is that we're still having this same damned set of arguments. I started gaming in the mid 80s and although the terminology is different and the behavioral patterns vary somewhat, the rank sexism and misogyny is pretty much the same.

(We had fake geek girls in D&D when I was in college. "She's only here because she's so & so's girlfriend" and someone else handles all her battle tactics for her, and wonders why she can't be bothered to get into the game seriously. D'oh.)
posted by immlass at 4:00 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


whether you genuinely hate olivia munn or not (and i feel you, i really do), she's still used as a symbol, a dog whistle, for some really grotesque opinions. because of that, i won't participate in the vocal damning of her any more.
posted by nadawi at 4:00 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


You do realize that male lifelong geeks do not have a monopoly on feeling excluded, mocked, hated, threatened, etc., right? Every single person on this planet has felt marginalized. Including hot women.

I'm trying to imagine a thread on personal safety where "everyone has felt threatened at some point" would fly. "You don't have a monopoly on" is the language of "let's pretend our situation is equal". It often isn't. Some stuff is gendered. Just because you've felt rejection doesn't mean you understand the life of a male geek (nevermind pretending that "hot" women -- or men -- aren't treated differently in countless ways).

I was never a con guy. My geeky circle was comparatively well-rounded. But this looks to me like a simple issue of a group that has never experienced a lack of harassment or belittling being themselves in public -- except among their own -- believes (rightly or wrongly) that that is coming to an end -- not because geeky women will harass and belittle them -- but because being themselves will suddenly be out of the question. Let's not forget that acceptable male behaviour has a narrower range than female -- being tough might be "bitchy" if you're a woman but there is NO place for weak/effeminate (and sadly in N.A. this can include intellectual) traits in men.

Probably a thread I should have avoided, but that's my $.02. Time for dinner.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:01 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I have aged, I have found the problem with wishing that people would just grow the fuck up and stop labelling themselves and others is that there is a continuous ongoing backfill of new people who are keen to do so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:01 PM on November 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just because you've felt rejection doesn't mean you understand the life of a male geek

My point is that just because you're a male geek doesn't mean you automatically understand other people's experiences or intentions.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:03 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


If geeks are so awful, why do the girls want to join their culture?

This is a funny sentence, as it assumes that "geeks" is a male thing, with "girls" now trying to "join" them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm one of those people who used to...

I think if you still have grudges from High School, you should probably talk to a psychologist, priest, minister, rabbi, or guru.

Almost all of the women I meet in fandom got hooked, in some way, as children. Most of them were also harassed because being too bookish isn't exactly an ideal feminine trait.

... so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible.

I don't understand what that means. In some circles, I'm the superficial one because all I do is watch the shows, read genre novels that apparently not many other people are reading, read a few blogs, and make comments about them. Oh, and once in a blue moon, I stop in at a convention.

Why does it matter that I read Claremont and someone else watched First Class? Why does it matter that someone's starting point is New Who, Abrams Trek, or Movie Thor? If someone shows up just for Potter or Twilight, why is it my problem?

A significant cause of the traditional marginalization of young male geeks has been their refusal or failure to perform gender in ways that conform with "normal" expectations. Demonizing them for that, and then demonizing them again for being upset when we change our minds later, is unlikely to yield productive results.

Well, as a limp-wristed queer, I'm usually happy when people change their minds, even a little bit. I'll take my cultural change where I can get it.

Do you get to lay 100% of the effort of overcoming that on someone else just because you don't like it?

Well, the only thing that's being asked of you is to be polite when someone enjoys their fandom in a different way.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


I always just feel bad for Olivia Munn.

Same here. That's probably because she didn't really last long enough to make a place for herself on Daily Show, though.
posted by JHarris at 4:14 PM on November 15, 2012


If geeks are so awful, why do the girls want to join their culture?

You know, a little while ago, there was a discussion about a list of top jazz albums. During the course of the discussion, it was pointed out that there was only one woman on the list, and this lead to a great discussion about how weird the jazz community is about instrumentalists who happen to be women. The thing is, the world would be a worse place if the great women instrumentalists of jazz had just said "eh, jazz musicians and fans are awful, I don't want to join their culture." Jazz as music doesn't revolve around being crappy to women, and neither does any particular bit of geek-dom.

So you know, maybe women want to join and have joined geek culture, and have CREATED parts of geek culture (in my particular area of interest, sci-fi\fantasy\weird fiction we have: Elizabeth Bear, Ann Vandermeer, Ekaterina Sedia, Ellen Datlow, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Joyce Carrol Oates, Margret Atwood, James Tiptree, etc.), because they enjoy the same things about it that you do, and maybe they want to be able to do it without putting up with crap that guys don't.

In other words, women are people too. They like people things, they do people things, and they'd like to do and like them like other people get to.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:15 PM on November 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you're saying that insufficiently pure enjoyment of a pop-culture artifact (which is the "dead cat" result in this particular thought experiment) should be considered a violent offense analogous to rape, that is...it's...well, I don't know what, exactly, but whatever it is, is very very dumb.

So, let's step back a moment here.

When we talk about "geeks", and particularly when we talk about "geek culture", we are not talking about people who have been subjected to just a bit of mild teasing over their quirky taste in movies, OK? We're talking about people who have been through organized, sustained harassment and violence of such levels that it not-infrequently drives them to suicide, and which can and does legitimately trigger them when it comes up again later in life, just as any other form of trauma. To belittle that in the way you're doing, and in the way others in this thread are doing, is not "very, very dumb". It's patently offensive. To draw analogies between this experience and that of other trauma victims as a way of pointing out the legitimate parallels is not in any way inappropriate, except in the minds of people who want to pretend these things don't happen in our society.

I think if you still have grudges from High School, you should probably talk to a psychologist, priest, minister, rabbi, or guru.

To say that it is their own fault for still having these hangups, for not just working it out in therapy or whatever, goes beyond offensive. It is also verging on deeply-gendered insults, since a lot of these guys -- and, let's face it, it's the guys we're talking about -- went through these experiences in a culture whose response to their suffering was "man up already".
posted by ubernostrum at 4:17 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now the mainstream, the people on the inside, want to adopt elements of geek culture, to appropriate it in the same way that the mainstream always appropriates other cultures, to avoid stagnancy and generally further its own interests.

I'd buy this argument if 90% of geek culture didn't consist of blockbuster movies, top-rated TV shows, and bestselling novels.

You can say that To Wong Fu and The Birdcage may be appropriation because they involve a tradition of performance that was originally done illegally on the street and in bars that were frequently threatened with police raids is reasonable.

To say that it's appropriation when a woman you don't know shows up at a convention dressed as a character from a media publisher that is worth millions of dollars, has a daily strip in the newspaper, a blockbuster movie in the theaters, and an animated series on cable demonstrates an astounding lack of perspective.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:20 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


When we talk about "geeks", and particularly when we talk about "geek culture", we are not talking about people who have been subjected to just a bit of mild teasing over their quirky taste in movies, OK? We're talking about people who have been through organized, sustained harassment and violence of such levels that it not-infrequently drives them to suicide, and which can and does legitimately trigger them when it comes up again later in life, just as any other form of trauma.

and some of these geeks are women. which is why it sucks that we're constantly being asked for our bonafides and insulted for merely existing as women.
posted by nadawi at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [23 favorites]


We're talking about people who have been through organized, sustained harassment and violence of such levels that it not-infrequently drives them to suicide, and which can and does legitimately trigger them when it comes up again later in life, just as any other form of trauma.

I'm really confused as to why you think that kind of bullying and harassment is a gender-specific issue. And I'm still confused as to what this has to do with the extent of misogyny in "geek culture."
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're talking about people who have been through organized, sustained harassment and violence of such levels that it not-infrequently drives them to suicide, and which can and does legitimately trigger them when it comes up again later in life, just as any other form of trauma

You may be, but that does not describe even close to a majority of people who almost everyone would agree are geeks / nerds. That level of trauma was not common among even the most excluded and marginalized geeks I knew (sustained and organized harrassment and violence is not common).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new Female Overlords. Or Overladies. Whatever.

Ovarylords. You're welcome.

Girls at cons are awesome, and I particularly enjoy seeing them destroy Macho Gamer Bros in live competitions, then walking away like "yep, deal with it". Magfest (game and game music convention at which I play chiptune concerts) is strongly inclusive and anti-creep, and has had a wonderful mix of all genders, shapes, sizes, and species for 10+ years. If any MeFites go, track me down and I will make sure you have a blast.

Still slightly annoyed by "I <3 geeks" t-shirts, though I fully appreciate that they can sometimes be worn by people who actually <3 geeks, and not just by people who really <3 frat boys who yell racist epithets on Black Ops, and it's not a distinction you can make by looking at someone's appearance, so it's better to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Also my (mostly settled, at age 31) resentment is less about "you're co-opting things we enjoy, jocks" and more about "SEE??? I was right all along, this stuff IS AWESOME, and you used it as ammunition in your relentless bullying.. I'm glad you're finally seeing the light, but I wish it hadn't previously been used to justify hurting me"
posted by jake at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


In some circles, I'm the superficial one because all I do is watch the shows, read genre novels that apparently not many other people are reading, read a few blogs, and make comments about them. Oh, and once in a blue moon, I stop in at a convention.

Oh man, I think this exists in pretty much any "geekdom".

Take anime fans for example. They've got a whole pecking order going on. Like, someone who has pretty much only watched one of the Big Three (i.e. One Piece, Naruto or Bleach) is mocked by the person who streams, who is in turn mocked by the person who buys DVDs in their own country, who is in turn mocked by the one who torrents subbed episodes months or years after the fact, who is in turn mocked by the one who torrents subbed episodes hours after they air on Japanese television, who is in turn mocked by the one who has mastered colloquial Japanese and torrents raw episodes recorded off of Japanese television, who is in turn mocked by the same person who also buy things from Japan, who is in turn mocked by the same person who also lives in Japan. I guess the Anime God would be someone who moves on to work for an actual studio, but such wizards are the stuff of legend.

I used to think it was only anime fans who were cannibalistic like this, but I know now that's definitely not the case. And this kind of geekier-than-thou hierarchy building contributes enormously to the rampant misogyny in these circles. If you even mention you are female on some anime forums, you can expect to have scorn and ridicule poured upon you, as simply stating that you are female is considered "attention whoring". Paradoxically, they say the reason for this is that they don't care about what gender you are.

To say that it is their own fault for still having these hangups, for not just working it out in therapy or whatever, goes beyond offensive. It is also verging on deeply-gendered insults, since a lot of these guys -- and, let's face it, it's the guys we're talking about -- went through these experiences in a culture whose response to their suffering was "man up already".

The point, though, is that your past pain - as deep and as real as it is to you - does not give you the right to act shittily towards those who enjoy things differently than you. It's plain transference. It does not give you the right to make unfair assumptions and draw baseless conjecture about who someone was in high school, and decide that you will now treat them with contempt. I would add that if you are actually interested in healing, this type of transference and drawing up the worst possible assumptions you can make about the characters of other people is a very unhealthy practice; it builds a world where everyone around you is persecuting you. Try and give other people the chance that you wish you had been given.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:24 PM on November 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


and have CREATED parts of geek culture

Don't forget Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

I agree ubernostrum quite a bit, There are many who did suffer organized sustained harassment. Not all, but many. Many of these people may suffer from PTSD years later. It is perfectly understandable, maybe not exactly healthy, if they still feel resentment years later. It does not excuse them from lashing out at women disproportionately, as seems to me to be the case.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:24 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't forget Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.

Well, I just learned something new today. Thanks.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2012


If Grace Hopper isn't a geek, nobody is.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


My above comments notwithstanding, I do get some of the disdain for mainstream appropriation of geeky/nerdy things along the lines of Big Bang Theory. For me Community is a nerdy show because it throws out nerdy references all the time, but also because it is a show about inclusion and about getting your own shit together. Big Bang Theory is a show that proclaims its nerdiness while pitching itself to the mainstream. When they make fun of "Captain Sweatpants" in the comic book shop, it bothers me; not simply because in nerd or geek communities, we all know a "Captain Sweatpants," and something different groups have to come to terms with, but also because to a majority of the audience of BBT, we are all Captain Sweatpants regardless of how we would define ourselves as geeks, nerds, etc. I think more than a little of the "girl geek" rage is being directed towards imagined figures, based in part on female characters from the show.

Similarly, the whole thing with Raj and the guy who runs the comic book store strikes a very odd note with me as well. On the one hand, it would be interesting in a mainstream comedy to explore a close relationship between men that is not characterized by hyper-masculine interests. On the other hand, the way the relationship is being written is starting to give me a "lol they were so nerdy that they couldn't get laid so they turned gay" kind of vibe, which is fucked up on so many levels.

And on yet another hand, the relationship between Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler is super interesting.

But for the most part, the nerdy references in BBT seem very forced, when they are not outright mocking, while Community comes across as more genuine. Sadly, we know which one gets cancelled first.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:29 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're talking about people who have been through organized, sustained harassment and violence of such levels that it not-infrequently drives them to suicide, and which can and does legitimately trigger them when it comes up again later in life, just as any other form of trauma.

And so, the solution to this is to harass women who may have also been through organized, sustained harassment and violence? I've been through that. Seeing my old middle school is a trigger. A t-shirt on a woman I've just met is not.

To say that it is their own fault for still having these hangups, for not just working it out in therapy or whatever, goes beyond offensive.

I'm a high-functioning crazy person, partly due to sexual harassment and violence in school. And yes, in my not so humble opinion projecting those anxieties on total strangers is a symptom that should be addressed. Just because you had a tough childhood isn't license to treat other people like shit.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:30 PM on November 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


ubernostrum:
When we talk about "geeks", and particularly when we talk about "geek culture", we are not talking about people who have been subjected to just a bit of mild teasing over their quirky taste in movies, OK?...
Actually, ubernostrum, I don't think you'll find your definition to be as widely accepted as you think. Actually, I find it to be a vast oversimplification. In high school, my friends and I were equally and devastatingly dorky over all manner of geek signifiers (fantasy novels, anime, D&D) and I generally found that the amount of harassment and torment each of my friends in high school varied widely because the sad fact is bullying occurs for a wide and sometimes cruelly arbitrary set of reasons.

That being said, it sounds like you had a particularly rough time. That sucks and I'm sorry.
posted by whittaker at 4:32 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was bullied for being nerdy in high school. The group of nerdy kids I belonged to also bullied one or two other nerdy kids who we felt were beneath us. I'm not proud of that. It was fucking stupid, and I would apologize to them if I met them again. This kind of shit needs to stop.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:36 PM on November 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ubernostrum, you seem to be angry at the wrong people here.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:39 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone in this thread needs to calm down, take a deep breath, and check their privilege.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:47 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let me elaborate - as a geeky girl (well, geeky woman, now), I have no interest in policing anyone's gender expression, normative or otherwise. I have no interest in gaining attention from a variety of males just because I have breasts. I have no interest in settling social scores from high school, I have no interest in being harassed or harassing. I'm not here to profit off of geek alienation, or whatever. I just want to talk about mutual interests with like-minded individuals. In many cases, I have a very deep understanding of these mutual interests - I bet I could go toe-to-toe with Stephen Colbert in LOTR trivia, for example (and yes, I liked the books before I thought that Orlando Bloom was attractive, thanks for checking my credibility). In other cases, I'm just dipping my toes into the fandom. It's true - I am only 24 and have not had lots of time to devote to all the things that are likely interesting and worthy of exploration in nerd culture. But that doesn't mean I'm not sincere in my interests. And it gets really fucking tiring to have:

a. the gate check before a male geek will actually have a conversation about a topic with me - yes, I correctly answer your question regarding fiddly-point-about-geeky-topic. Proceed as though I am a functional and conversant (male) human being.

b. the derision when I explain that I'm actually just finding out about something for the first time. It doesn't mean I'm here for the attention or to turn you down for sex! It just means I don't know about that thing!
posted by ChuraChura at 4:50 PM on November 15, 2012 [22 favorites]


i really like big bang theory and i understand the critiques of it, but i don't see it as mean spirited as a lot of people do. i know this calls into question my geekdom but whatever.

I think more than a little of the "girl geek" rage is being directed towards imagined figures, based in part on female characters from the show.

amy farrah fowler and bernadette's geekiness isn't tied to the mass consumerism like the guys. penny is never presented as a geek, but as a girl who is starting to like some geeky things. i don't understand how these are the imagined figures that people like tony harris are talking about.

(as an aside - i used to really like the relationship between sheldon and AFF, but it's starting to make me uncomfortable - figuring out an asexual relationship is awesome for a mainstream tv show to tackle, but what we have is an asexual partner with one who would really like something more - it's turned into "isn't it funny that AFF really wants some action and to be treated like she's important??" i don't know how that storyline evolves or resolves in a good way.)
posted by nadawi at 4:59 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Big Bang Theory isn't mean-spirited at all. It's just its entire existence is grating. Sort of like how Two and a Half Men is for comedy.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:06 PM on November 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd also like to mention that video game music fandom itself (particularly Japanese VGM) is also a very equal, inclusive community.

In addition to the fans themselves being about half-and-half-and-nyu-hafu, I'd venture that nearly, if not fully, half of our greatest heroes (Yoko Kanno, Michiru Yamane, Miki Higashino, Yoko Shimomura, Minako Hamano, Noriko Matsueda, Soyo Oka, Nobuko Toda, Kumi Tanioka, just off the very tippy-top of my head -- there are HUNDREDS) are women. Plenty of them are good-looking ladies, just as male composers can also be handsome fellows (we can! I swear!) but nobody calls attention to it. There's no gross "DURRR I'D HIT THAT" objectification, no idiotic speculation about "how they got where they are". These are professionals who have revolutionized the sound of games through ridiculous feats of skill, full stop.

Also we have a TON of up-and-coming western composers entering the industry now, like Laura Shigahara (Plants vs Zombies, To the Moon) and Winifred Phillips (Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation). Western composers still face tremendous inequality, but it improves each year, and I'm really happy about that. But the fan community has always been buttlord-free; people respect you for what you like, what you create, and who you are, not what's between your legs. I hope other niche communities take note, and evolve a little.
posted by jake at 5:08 PM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Personally, as a gender non-conforming man, feminist authors do more for me than gatechecking women. And I don't like boyzones, because I know the mild homophobia gets voiced shortly after the misogyny.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:17 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good point, CBrachyrhynchos.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:26 PM on November 15, 2012


the mild homophobia gets voiced shortly after the misogyny.

Uggghh yes. I'm way, way out amongst my game music friends, but not amongst my general geek friends or even coworkers (game company). I'll openly tell anyone who asks, but there's always a sort of uncomfortable tension with Gamer Bros after they realize that all those times we joked about loving big fat dicks, only one of us was actually joking. I know women or trans people have it far worse right now, but there's no such thing as "slight bigotry".
posted by jake at 5:32 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, as to what I said way upthread about never seeing this personally: I wasn't just being ignorant. I'm a straight white male, so I know for certain that there are a lot of things that I miss, but racism, homophobia and misogyny bug the shit out me and make me not want to be around whoever is perpetuating them. But I'm not going to try to shore up any bona fides on that front. Instead I'll just say:

1. The geek culture I have lived my whole adult life in is inclusive. Not in the "we don't care how cool you were in high school" way that implies (though that is in there too, of course) but more in the way of "trying to get others interested in your obsessions." There is no "gatechecking." Any questions about knowledge of some facet of whatever are met with either an excited conversation (among those who know) or an excited "well check this out" for those who don't. And this has crossed between two different cities, men and women, and all races and orientations I can discern. The geekdom I know is about sharing interests, not using them as shibboleths.

2. Geek culture cannot, by it's very definition, be "co-opted." It may be exploited, and it may be pandered to, but it cannot be co-opted because it only exists at all as a mass form of co-option of the works of others. Tony Harris isn't ranting about women only dressing for cons as the hero of whatever the fuck he creates instead of the deeper cut characters - he's ranting about them doing that with other people's works. This is a culture that invented fan-fic, for crissakes. Co-option is its lifeblood.

3. After discussing this with my roommate/ex-girlfriend, she was able to give me a lot of background. So let me say, first and foremost, if a geek can try to claim that Felicia Day or Aisha Tyler either aren't legit or haven't "contributed" to the culture, that geek can fuck off and I don't need to hear anything else they have to say on that subject. Because they have chosen to be wrong. But being "legit" is besides the point. I understand that Olivia Munn gets hate because she's not "legit," and, well, fuck that. Likely she's not. She also is under absolutely no contract to fit anyone's definition of "legit" and may continue to enjoy things on her own level of interest. (As for the G4 thing, well, I have seen very little of G4, just enough to know that it is pretty shitty as a whole and to be suspect of pointing out any one person as the lightning rod for that. Gamers need a better network is all.)

4. This is seeming more and more like a simple incident of geekdom being a classic place for the maladjusted to flock to, because it is safe for them. Then those maladroits get pissed when something shakes up their little fiefdom of self-determined meritocracy by bringing in traditionally social aspects. I can sympathize with the maladjusted. I understand that need to belong. But you don't get to hand a "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" sign on the clubhouse door for enjoying something someone else made. You don't get to be the bouncer deciding who is worthy. You don't get to use high school as an excuse to continue to be shitty to others. You just don't.

Finally, while this isn't gendered, I think it is appropriate, and I'll just leave it here.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:38 PM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't even get into this topic because the word "geek" is nails on a chalkboard when spoken aloud. What a disastrous collection of consonants and vowel sounds.

Can't we all just be nerds?
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:34 PM on November 15, 2012


The more I read about this -- and this has all been coming up a lot in my twitter feed of late -- the more I just wonder at what point people start to grow up. Tony Harris is either 42 or 43 years old. It is fucking crazy that this is a thing that he is freaking out over at this point in life.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:37 PM on November 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


I haven't read all the comments so someone might have mentioned it already, but along with the "grr attractive woman is infiltrating my space and still isn't available for sex" rage, there is also the (clearly stated) "grr woman I'm not attracted to is infiltrating my space and seeking special treatment for being a woman" rage. And in that rage, there *is* a small degree of truth, because some women *have* been socialized to expect a certain kind of treatment from men.

The geek guys imagine that this certain kind of treatment is preferential, that it gets women things that geek guys don't get, - and that's true, but at the same time it comes with a hidden clause, which is that woman are only worthy as long as they have that thing that guys want. Otherwise they are worthless. There are pluses but also minuses, is what I'm saying...

Anyway, this whole conversation so far seems way too straight to me. Geek spaces are queer spaces, queer spaces are geek spaces - not always but often. It seems to me that geek guys - the resentful ones, not the self-aware ones - often aren't very well socialized in masculine spaces. They were locked out of those spaces. So the resentment here is having to "act like a man" which in their minds means having to "attempt to pick up women" - and it's having to make the effort that they resent, even more than the thought that they might fail.

It happens this way because of a general sexist culture that sees women as only good for one thing, but also because of the geek idea that "geek space" is a special place, where geeks shouldn't have to conform to burdensome social expectations.

Anyway, the moral of this comment is that damaged ideas of gender roles hurt everyone - women as well as men. Women can hold them too, just as much as men. Although women are, in general, forced by society to be more socially aware than men, who are generally permitted to squeak by on other skills, but anyway.
posted by subdee at 7:53 PM on November 15, 2012


immlass: "One of the reasons I dropped out of geek/SFnal/RPG culture is that we're still having this same damned set of arguments. I started gaming in the mid 80s and although the terminology is different and the behavioral patterns vary somewhat, the rank sexism and misogyny is pretty much the same."

For what it's worth, my weekly RPG group is pretty cool, both in terms of games we play and in terms of politics, so if you're ever in the Twin Cities, let me know. And if there's anything I can do to help you find a game, let me know there, too. (One thing I believe very strongly is that misogyny should not stop anyone from finding a game they can play in.)
posted by jiawen at 8:22 PM on November 15, 2012


Tony Harris is either 42 or 43 years old. It is fucking crazy that this is a thing that he is freaking out over at this point in life.

As much as I disagree with Harris, I don't think age has much to do with his issues. People don't necessarily become more enlightened as they grow older, nor do they become less attached to their lifelong interests/group identities. Some do, some don't.

Take anime fans for example. They've got a whole pecking order going on. Like, someone who has pretty much only watched one of the Big Three (i.e. One Piece, Naruto or Bleach) is mocked by the person who streams, who is in turn mocked by the person who buys DVDs in their own country, who is in turn mocked by the one who torrents subbed episodes months or years after the fact, who is in turn mocked by the one who torrents subbed episodes hours after they air on Japanese television, who is in turn mocked by the one who has mastered colloquial Japanese and torrents raw episodes recorded off of Japanese television, who is in turn mocked by the same person who also buy things from Japan, who is in turn mocked by the same person who also lives in Japan.

Hee. Reminds me of the time I spent in the Chinese fandom for Japanese entertainment, mainly Johnny's Jimusho. The fans who knew Japanese looked down upon those who didn't. Original Japanese merchandise were more legit than the Taiwan/HK releases. Pilgrim i.e. going to Japan for concerts was the privilege of the chosen. Fans living in Japan were the high priestesses. Domain expertise and years in fandom were of utmost importance.

I wonder why the international fandom for Korean entertainment isn't as bad in that regard. There are tons of problems with that fandom, but it's rather relaxed as far as whack-a-noob goes.
posted by fatehunter at 3:01 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Give it time, give it time.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:58 AM on November 16, 2012


The real tragedy about Tony Harris outing himself as a douche canon is that I have two pages of his original art for Starman and reading that screed takes away all my pleasure in them. Once again a straight white man is the true victim of bigotry.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:01 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of the time I spent in the Chinese fandom for Japanese entertainment, mainly Johnny's Jimusho. The fans who knew Japanese looked down upon those who didn't. Original Japanese merchandise were more legit than the Taiwan/HK releases. Pilgrim i.e. going to Japan for concerts was the privilege of the chosen. Fans living in Japan were the high priestesses. Domain expertise and years in fandom were of utmost importance.

That's very interesting. As I've followed and participated in the western fandom, the more it begins to seem as though Japan, to many, is the geological location of Ultimate Geekdom. Or at least as it pertains to otaku.

I mean, there's going to cons in your hometown, which is considered a lower level of commitment than going to a major con that you needed to book a flight to. But those who have actually travelled to Japan or even - if the gods allow - actually end up moving to that Golden Land, well, these people are revered as otaku gods, the puny mortals scrambling to reply to their posts in the hopes of receiving the bright blessing of a reply.

Geological geekdom. It's a weird thing.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:27 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


On re-reading, I believe I've confused geology with geography. Sorry, geology and geography nerds alike.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:49 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


On re-reading, I believe I've confused geology with geography. Sorry, geology and geography nerds alike.

Geological research methods do have some applicability to geekdom. Taking a core sample of a convention attendee and examining the layers of petrified sediment can accurately tell you what day of the convention it is.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:14 AM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Relevant and I believe not yet posted (long thread!): OXM Breakdown: women.
posted by malphigian at 6:01 AM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Somebody upthread wondered if geek sexism and hipster hate were related, and the answer is: of course!

Geeks get mad at "fake" geeks for the same reasons "hipsters" get mad at "poseurs". It's dickish and stupid behavior, but it's no different from the conservative mindset of: we had a good thing going in this small isolated culture of ours, but now it's gotten larger and the thing we liked is harder to find amidst the crowd. Why wouldn't you be mad if the culture you thought you depended on was dissolving to make way for something more generic and nonspecifically targeted to you?

The people here wondering when "geek" stopped being about math and science and started being about hit TV shows know what that's like. When cultures grow, it's not because human nature suddenly changed: when more people profess to like a thing, then the "thing" that they're liking is going to be more universal and accessible than that "thing" that only a handful of people liked somewhere on their own. Geek culture became about musicians and TV shows because lots of people like musicians and TV shows (and photos of galaxies too!).

My Alan Moore fan-friends in high school were pissed off when Watchmen became a movie, because before then liking Watchmen was a way of knowing which people were into a specific kind of culture and afterwards liking Watchmen meant you saw the movie trailer somewhere. Dickish and stupid behavior – but they lost a cultural signifier as its meaning became more diluted. Sometimes, what's lost is a lot more valuable than your favorite comics writer; sometimes it's much, much stupider. The loss allows more people into a culture, but sometimes the people who feel they were there first want to have a circle of close-knit friends, not a larger circle that admits all sorts of people the hipsters/geeks were getting away from in the first place.

Sexism occurs in geek culture for a lot of reasons, but I think what "geek sexism" and "hipster hate" have in common is a sense of envy or desire. I wrote in the hipster thread that a big part of what makes somebody a "hipster" is that they're different from us in a way we like, yet which we still somehow feel excluded from. Hipster hate often comes with a grudging admittance of "Yeah, what they're doing is cool – but it's such a waste of time/bothersome affectation/obnoxious behavior that I still resent them for doing that." If you really want no part of their culture, you don't waste as much energy resenting it (see: juggalos), and if their culture's taking pains to include you then why resent it, you're already there?

It's the mix of the appreciation and the seeming alienation that leads to all the shitty behavior. And it happens both when you're "excluded" by a smaller group and when your own group is diluted into a more mainstream, more diverse culture. Two sides to the same story really. The people who really act exclusive are the ones who feel their own cultural identity's being challenged, and the people "challenging" them are confused as to why there's such a hostile reaction.

The dickish and stupid behavior is especially dickish/stupid when it's applied to a whole damn gender, but it's the same damn situation. Somebody's tiny localized culture didn't include women, and when women turn out to be, surprise!, people who like people things too, their response isn't, "Great! More people is more fun!", it's, "Shit! Now we're back to having to deal with women!" If they've grown up, as many geeks grow up, thinking of women as painfully distant objects of desire, then they're bound to see an inclusive culture as threatening to them, because it'll be just like when the girls liked the jocks back in middle school! Woman present equals instant rejection.

This is not endemic to all geeks everywhere. My younger brother's social circle is kind of amazingly inclusive towards girls and boys alike. Watching high school kids treat each other like human beings gives me the willies. But I'm certain that even within his same high school, there're geeks who've convinced themselves that being lonely and male somehow makes them special, and they've formed their culture around that belief, and when they get loose into larger society they're going to release a little bubble of nasty misogyny into the world. Because the very notion of inclusivity is what they feel excludes them. Funny how elitism and insecurity are always so tightly intertwined.

Or not funny. Sad. Very, very sad. Poor little fuckers, ruining everything for everyone in their goddamned misery.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:15 AM on November 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


jlawen, you are a prince among women! I'm doing a lot of online gaming (PBEM, because I kick it that way), which scratches some itches, but not others. I'm not in a group right now because of time commitments, including the one involved in finding a group, but it's on my list for when my life settles down.
posted by immlass at 7:26 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


SHINING KNIGHT 'OUTED' As DC's First Intersex Hero/ine?
posted by Artw at 8:40 AM on November 16, 2012


Haven't read all of thread, wanted to comment on this:
When an attractive woman enters this circle she is shunned because it's immediately assumed she couldn't possibly have withstood the same abuse due to her aesthetic and social advantages.
Yeah, no one ever thinks maybe the girl just geeked out on makeup or fashion. I was a tomboy, ugly duckling, geek building my own computer in the 80s from cast off parts and bits from Radio Shack, playing AD&D with the other weirdos, hosting LAN-parties, attending math camp, etc. (More "geek" than "girlie")

One day, in my late 20s, I had a roommate who decided I needed to look feminine (I think she just wanted a blank slate) Oh, what a wonderous and colorful world in which to play! I totally geeked out. If it's worth doing, it's worth knowing as much about it as I can!

Now I get the creeper treatment along with all the other "hot" girls (basically, the ones that know how to flatter their looks with the right clothes/cosmetics/haircut.) I -do- kind of miss just being interacted with for myself, as a geek not as something "other" - a female. But not so much I'll put away the face paint. LOL

A lot of what makes the aesthetic and social advantages is just learning how to fancy up one's appearance. Most women (models included) wouldn't qualify as "attractive" if they showed up looking as they do when they first wake up. I kind of wish a lot of the geek guys would figure that out... it might help the few who still don't know about personal grooming (yes, they're still there.)
posted by _paegan_ at 8:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


clarification:
Most women (models included) wouldn't qualify as "attractive" with attractive meaning the stereotypical "hot chick" that scares off the typical geek guy - using cosmetics, hair product, push up bra, and all other kinds of accoutrements.

I am well aware that many (most) have attractive natural attributes.
posted by _paegan_ at 8:54 AM on November 16, 2012


immlass, you're probably aware of Skype + MapTools style online gaming, but if not, that's something to check out; it'd scratch a lot of itches that PBEM doesn't. Regardless, I hope you get the gaming you want.
posted by jiawen at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2012


As I've followed and participated in the western fandom, the more it begins to seem as though Japan, to many, is the geological location of Ultimate Geekdom. Or at least as it pertains to otaku.

That's how it seems to me too, though growing up in Taiwan at a time when Japanese pop culture was put on a pedestal probably biased my opinion. Otaku was my definition of geek, pretty much. As I mentioned above thread, geekdom in Taiwan (and East Asia) was all about obsessive interest in subjects outside school/work. Math and science were meal tickets and there was no such thing as "too obsessed" with them - if you were good at those, you were on your way to respectable careers at companies like Sony, Samsung and Foxconn.

those who have actually travelled to Japan or even - if the gods allow - actually end up moving to that Golden Land, well, these people are revered as otaku gods

I actually knew a few fans who had moved/were moving to Japan. Most of them had little time for fandom after living there for a while. Tokyo is my dream city, and I have precious memories from my family trips there, but I can't imagine living in the place. Way too much stress, both financial and interpersonal. I wouldn't enjoy living in surrounding areas and travelling to the city once a month, either. Anyone who can make it work is a deity of their personal life.

These days I see more Asian and Western fans flocking to South Korea. Seoul is another City of Dreams that's fun to visit but stressful to live in, from what I've heard. I expect such a fan mecca to pop up in China within the next decade or two, but all signs point to the theoretical place being out of my reach, again. I'm staying put in front of my home computer for life.
posted by fatehunter at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even in one of the most female accepting geek groups I am involved in, at cons we're outnumbered. I was at a con earlier this month that was 2/3 guys, 1/3 girls, if not fewer women than that.
posted by SuzySmith at 5:30 PM on November 16, 2012


Now let's try one last perspective, and it's a bit different.

I work in tech, which is -- as everyone knows -- a pretty heavily male-dominated industry. And puts up a lot of barriers to women who want to get involved. The best we can say right now is that it's not as bad as it used to be. But I have female colleagues who've said things like that, and have been rather viciously attacked for it... by other women.

Typically the ones doing the attacking are older, and broke in to the industry at a time when it was even worse than it is now. And they tend to come from one of two places. On the one hand, there are those who feel this new generation of younger women in tech have had a much easier time because of the trailblazing and suffering and hard work of their predecessors, and so there's very much a "you haven't paid your dues" kind of resentment. On the other hand, there are those who feel that to hear younger women talking about how it's gotten easier somehow belittles or demeans what the earlier generations had to go through.

This is not actually unique to tech -- other fields have the same phenomenon -- but because of what I do for a living it's what I see most often. And it's not nice, and it's not pretty, but it is a valid way that human beings feel in this kind of situation.

And that's what I've been trying, in a roundabout way, to get at with my comments in this thread: there are lots of perspectives, based in valid ways that people feel and react to things, from which to look at this whole "fake geek" phenomenon. But is anybody actually trying to do that?

Of course that's a rhetorical question. What we actually do is reduce people -- actual human beings who have a rich spectrum of possibly-conflicting experiences and emotions and motivations -- to one-dimensional caricatures. We set up a little clockwork sexist automaton, rather than a person, and we talk about that automaton instead of talking about people.

A lot of responses in this thread were along the lines of "I'm a woman and a geek, and you don't understand what it's like for me". I don't. But not understanding another person's experience is a two-way street -- how well do you actually know the experiences of the people you're going after? It's easy and comforting to resort to the sexist automaton caricature, but is that really going to do anything to effect real change?

So maybe, just maybe, we could try granting basic humanity -- including the possibility of more complexity than just "pull the lever and watch it make a joke about getting back into the kitchen" -- to the people we're talking about, and try to understand the very human and potentially much more complex things that actually make them tick?
posted by ubernostrum at 6:00 PM on November 16, 2012


Geeks get mad at "fake" geeks for the same reasons "hipsters" get mad at "poseurs".

Erm, what? I wasn't aware that hipsters got mad at anything in particular. I thought people hated hipsters because they appropriated culture without appreciation -- eg: the reference-laden t-shirt that, when you give them a big thumbs-up and signal with a word or two that you appreciate the reference, they look at you quizzically because they have no idea what you're talking about, ie: they're the poseurs, turning others' objects of deeper appreciation into shallow fashion choices. I'm sure I have heard this multiple times on the blue.

But yes, geeks get mad at "fake" geeks for the same reason people hate hipsters (well, one of many reasons -- add free time, youth, earnestness, etc.).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:35 PM on November 16, 2012


And lest we forget the no-prescription glasses wearing that people seem to despise, there are fake geeks. There are people faking every niche, clique, and interest group. However, you can't spot them by gender, or buff-ness, or any other easy indicator, though a few minutes of conversation usually works.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:39 PM on November 16, 2012


And they tend to come from one of two places. On the one hand, there are those who feel this new generation of younger women in tech have had a much easier time because of the trailblazing and suffering and hard work of their predecessors, and so there's very much a "you haven't paid your dues" kind of resentment. On the other hand, there are those who feel that to hear younger women talking about how it's gotten easier somehow belittles or demeans what the earlier generations had to go through.

And there's a minority holding a third point of view. Who are happy and pleased to see more and more younger women break through barriers or simply walk through them as they don't exist to places where they'd never been before. To know that the effort was worth it because if you're shattering glass ceilings only for yourself alone then there's no point in that. You have to shatter them for all those coming up behind you. If nothing else, the fact that you exist where you do and do what you do can help a younger woman or a girl imagine possibilities.

Look at what Obama's reaching POTUS has done for the aspirations of young people of all backgrounds.

"It is possible" is far more powerful a driver than "We can't do it"
posted by infini at 8:11 PM on November 16, 2012


I guess I just don't understand this "fake geek" thing. Yeah, yeah, I know that people are not really rational economic agents but are there really hordes of people spending their cash and spare time on something they are just not interested in, especially something that's likely to be viewed as taking your fandom a little bit too far?

The "I paid my dues" bit doesn't make much sense to me either. I'm a cheap and lazy fan, having just downloaded Bujold's latest directly to my computer from the Baen Web site. I have Netflix, iTunes, Crunchyroll, and Metafilter. I've not seen Avengers yet, which is all the rage in our social networks. That my niece gets Star Trek from the same internet firehose as me 35 years after I demanded to be called "Kirk" doesn't her interest in it inauthentic.

But not understanding another person's experience is a two-way street -- how well do you actually know the experiences of the people you're going after?

Well, we do because, in this case, the people complaining about "fake girl geeks" have been publishing their thoughts about it in magazine articles and editorial cartoons.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:22 PM on November 16, 2012


the people complaining about "fake girl geeks" have been publishing their thoughts about it in magazine articles and editorial cartoons

All the articles I've been seeing are people basically attacking anyone who dares to suggest there's such a thing as a "fake girl geek", with pretty heavy insinuation that sexism and misogyny are the only possible explanations for anyone attempting to level such an accusation at someone. Perhaps because those are the articles that actually get traffic.
posted by ubernostrum at 8:44 PM on November 16, 2012


it might serve you well you read the articles linked in the post, especially that last one. if you're only reading the reaction articles, it's you who aren't seeing all the perspectives offered.
posted by nadawi at 9:02 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hey there. Remember me? I'm one of those people who used to harass, threaten, mock, and commit physical violence against you, as well as engage in lots of other behaviors designed to marginalize you and people like you. Well, I'm not going to apologize for any of that, or even really acknowledge that it ever happened, but turns out that the whims of our culture have changed, so now I'd really love to appropriate a lot of your culture in the most superficial way possible. Hope you're OK with that, because if you aren't I'm just going to call you a sexist!"

Is this just a straightforward conflation of bullies who have harassed, threatened, mocked and assaulted you with... women in general? Is there something bullying about women existing in a state not available to geeks, or something? Why do women frustrate you-- were they the ones assaulting you? (The way you've written this states that they are.)

I was never a con guy. My geeky circle was comparatively well-rounded. But this looks to me like a simple issue of a group that has never experienced a lack of harassment or belittling being themselves in public -- except among their own -- believes (rightly or wrongly) that that is coming to an end -- not because geeky women will harass and belittle them -- but because being themselves will suddenly be out of the question. Let's not forget that acceptable male behaviour has a narrower range than female -- being tough might be "bitchy" if you're a woman but there is NO place for weak/effeminate (and sadly in N.A. this can include intellectual) traits in men.

My high school experience was one of being one of two girls in a sea of male geeks. The reason I found myself at the epicenter of the group was that I had a lifelong male best friend who naturally insinuated himself into the group and I tagged along with him, because I also like movies and MST3K and sci-fi and liked to talk about my hobbies. If he hadn't brought me along, I never would have chose that social circle, or would have surely left when I found myself "getting used to" things like another friend's older brother asking me if I wanted to "make a porno with them" when I was like 14 years old. My best friends in the group were the effeminate and intelligent types, whereas I was annoyed and harassed by the geek alpha males, who have existed in nearly every large group of geeks I've ever encountered. So basically I don't understand 1) when geek culture has totally excluded alpha male behavior, 2) why men should feel that the presence of women puts pressure on them to be less effeminate unless women are only useful for wooing, and 3) why people who are tired of assholes can't just keep making friends with people who don't act like assholes, instead of needing this whole prepackaged (Geek Social Fallacies-ridden) friendship network.

In fact, both of these quotes and most of these rants make a stunning, effortless leap from "I'm a geek, I've been harassed and assaulted" to "and THAT'S why I am not comfortable with women appropriating our culture!" It makes no sense-- what's missing there? Honest question. My instinct is that in most of these rants what wants to come out is "I'm a geek, I've been harassed and assaulted AND passed over by women" but then the fact that we're talking about misogyny sinks in and there is a rapid tapping of the backspace button, leaving these arguments with a strange hole in the center. I'd like to know if there's another explanation, though. Because it seems like victimization by women is just implied, and women as a group are automatically associated with bullies.

Oh, and FYI, women are dumped on for being "weak"/effeminate, as well as intelligent and tough. I'm sorry that it's difficult for men to be associated with women and therefore invalidated, but try being a woman for a little while. Being "weak & effeminate" wins you the grand prize of male sexual approval and continuing subjugation. (I sympathize with men who are taunted for not being masculine enough as I've been friends with a few, but going as far as to say there's NO place for effeminate or intellectual traits in men is really overstating the issue.)
posted by stoneandstar at 2:26 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


A lot of responses in this thread were along the lines of "I'm a woman and a geek, and you don't understand what it's like for me" I don't.

I'm pretty sure what they've been saying is "I am\was\am becoming a geek, and here's my experience as one." Which is different then yours, partially because they're women, and partially for all the reasons that the male geeks in the conversation have had different experiences. The point is, even if it's different than yours, it is still an equally valid geek experience. You've been bemoaning the idea that women and geeks don't understand each other. Which is blatantly and willfully ignoring the fact that if there are women who are geeks then they have an understanding of both geeks and women. Try listening to what they're saying.

So maybe, just maybe, we could try granting basic humanity -- including the possibility of more complexity than just "pull the lever and watch it make a joke about getting back into the kitchen" -- to the people we're talking about, and try to understand the very human and potentially much more complex things that actually make them tick?


You can think somebody is behaving badly, and still appreciate that they are a complex human being.
posted by Gygesringtone at 7:33 AM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


All the articles I've been seeing are people basically attacking anyone who dares to suggest there's such a thing as a "fake girl geek", with pretty heavy insinuation that sexism and misogyny are the only possible explanations for anyone attempting to level such an accusation at someone.

I'm curious then: what level of geekishness is necessary not to be a fake geek? Is there an hours/money/suffering invested chart that one can follow to become a real geek? At what age does the geekishness have to exhibit itself? 10? 15? 25? What things do you have to like to be a bona fide geek? Who decides on those things? Is there a test that everyone takes? What clothing should one wear and how often should one wear it? What is the percentage break down of fake geek girls vs fake geek boys? And how are real geeks harmed by the presence of those who are faking it?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:03 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


previously on MeFi, back in March: "So Tara Tiger Brown of Forbes.com wrote an article begging fake geek girls to go away. Leigh Alexander of Sexy Videogameland responds with "This is the worst kind of thing to me, because not only is it sad for her, but it sucks for all of us. Women in our space, having once been something of a scarcity, face particular challenges. We lack for companions and mentors. " Followed by The Mary Sue's Susana Polo "So yes, I understand the desire to weed the “posers” out of your personal life and interactions. But I have never, actually, in the flesh, met a “fake” geek girl. Or guy.""
posted by flex at 1:24 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Courtney Stoker - “Oh, You Sexy Geek!”: “Geek Girls” and the Problem of Self-Objectification: "This presentation will explore the ways in which female geeks’ choices are limited by geek cultures, how the trend of self-objectification among geek women can signal both a hostility towards women as equal participants and a resistance to that hostility, and how blaming women’s performances is a hand-waving exercise intended to gloss over the culture(s)’ problems."
posted by flex at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2012


Bronies just want attention.
posted by Artw at 7:02 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


a stunning, effortless leap from "I'm a geek, I've been harassed and assaulted" to "and THAT'S why I am not comfortable with women appropriating our culture!" It makes no sense-- what's missing there? Honest question.

The part where I say I've been harassed and assaulted and am uncomfortable with women appropriating the culture? I was clearly writing from a perspective of "this looks like where these chaps are coming from".

Oh, and FYI, women are dumped on for being "weak"/effeminate, as well as intelligent and tough.

I'm sorry, I have to presume bad faith. Unless you're playing the "don't have a monopoly" game referenced above in which case, please see above.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:07 PM on November 18, 2012


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