Friday, July 27, 2012

Geeks, Feminism and Assholes

Most institutions have some level of misogyny inherent in their culture. Even the skeptical/atheist communities are not immune, as can be seen from the last few fun times like "elevator gate" (I fucking hate attaching 'gate' to anything remotely controversial) and the general hatred towards Rebecca Watson or any of the Freethoughtbloggers who mentioned sexual harassment at conventions. Like any tradition, people get very defensive about changing it, piled on top of the instant hate generated by the mere suggestion that someone is a bigot in modern society. Wonderful catch phrases have arisen such as "feminazi" when someone mentions some issue related to gender, or "reverse racism" and so forth to talk about the threat felt by privileged people, usually white and male. They like to claim the problem doesn't exist or isn't important in THIS case, or that they didn't do it etc.

This brings me to a pair of articles on CNN. The first is a horrendously misogynistic rant about how "booth girls" and "fake geeks girls" attend conventions dressed in slutty outfits for attention. While I bet there are a few who are there for attention they otherwise wouldn't receive, I always thought that was why all the guys were there, too. Geek culture was always about a place to fit in where you wouldn't otherwise, but FSM forbid if a girl wants to do that. Note they are geek "girls" or "babes" not women or ladies or whatever, while males are just geeks. The Link. The article blathers on about some imaginary abuse brought about by attractive women showing off their bodies in some racy outfit from whatever game or comic, and he seems offended they would dare not be long term fans from infancy or some such nonsense. Many of the male geeks at conventions are onlookers as well, but they get none of his anger, being male and non sexy. The comments are very telling, if you dare read into them. Many who agree, and the ones who dare mention the insane amount of sexism in the rant are drowned out by shouting and accusations of being a "cunt" or "feminazi" and demanding people keep feminism out of their little sheltered world. For people who pride themselves on intellect, geeks sure seem incapable of calm, rational thought when their tradition of male dominance is threatened.

Perhaps it goes back to some feeling of frustration, since many who self identify as geeks have a history of being rejected by women. Sexual frustration seems to go hand in hand with anti-feminist rhetoric, from what I have seen. And rather than focus on themselves, why they have issues, which often come from their asshole nature or their attempts to interact with incompatible people, having convinced themselves they "deserve" a certain type of women with little interest in them.

Speculation aside, the anger towards women who don't "prove" themselves to be geeks, something never asked of male geeks, these men are little different from the conservatives and religious they claim to differ from. They are every bit the sexist assholes they claim other groups are, but they convince themselves it is the women's fault for not being "geeky" enough. If a man wanted to try dressing up and going to a convention, immersing themselves for the first time or looking for acceptance where they couldn't find it before, they would be welcomed with open arms, with many clamoring to explain the intricacies of their given comic or game. When a women does it, she is either ignored if she doesn't dress or look sexualized, or hated when she isn't knowledgable about the specific fantasy world the geeks love. You can watch the comments in the response article, written by a self identified female geek. She responds quite well, explaining why many women go there dressed up (same reason as the men) and talks about the models and celebrities involved and even why you shouldn't hate the ones there for attention. Hint: it is because that is why the guys are there, too. The Link.

As I mentioned, the comments immediately become defensive and full of asshole. Left and right you have people accusing the author of "radical" feminism and demanding she keep it out of geek culture, when all she did was explain the difficulties of being a female geek. She demanded nothing, she merely mentioned the reasons women show up to these conventions, these game shops, these shows. And the vast majority of the comics are offensive accusations and the always present rape threats and such that appear when anyone dares point out an inequality of gender expectations. I should stop being surprised when sub cultures that pride themselves on rational thought are quite irrational, especially when someone points out their flaws.

Logic Priest

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