Friday, September 16, 2011

On the sexist failures of geek culture

Read this piece. It's long, but worth it. Seriously, go, shoo.

I know far too many male (and female) geeks who slip into the type of hypocritical, misogynistic vitriol this article describes. But before you think I'm out to slander all geeks guys, I also know plenty that are kind, thoughtful, and - dare I say it? - feminists.

Oddly enough, those are the geek guys I date. What an peculiar coincidence!

44 comments:

  1. It was a good article and it actually made me step back and reassess my initial reaction to the situation.  I've played Magic the Gathering for fifteen years so my first reaction to the story was not a pleasant one.  I have to admit more than a few names for this Alyssa came to mind and many of them were very sexist.  Though I still think her article was mean spirited and wrong the remarks made against her were just as nasty.  Many of them did indeed come from a knee jerk reaction due to years of being made fun of for something we enjoy.  

    That said I disagree with the author's seemed implication that said knee jerk was solely because nerds have been trampled on by women.  I think he is grossly oversimplifying the issue.  For me it wasn't women (I was lucky enough to find a girl as nerdy as I was) it was people who thought nerds weren't part of the "in" crowd.  The "abuse", for lack of a better word, I endured were from people who considered themselves apart of the 'cool crowd'.  Kid's in school who didn't understand why I wasn't into sports or thought it was weird that I read comics.  It was also from my father who was actually ashamed of these things in me and hoped they were "just a phase.

    I commend the author for bringing to light something that needs to be illuminated.  However I take offence to the idea he seems to bring across in that we were angry simply because we can't get laid.  I also find that the article seems to approach a solution to this sexual frustration by telling us nerds that we are the ones who need to change who we are instead of finding a middle ground.  

    I very well may be seeing something that isn't their in that last bit but it is the feeling I get from reading his work.   

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  2. You probably haven't heard of the 'Nice Guy' issue that a lot of gamer/nerds/geeks have working against them. Here is a fun blog post about it:

    http://icedteaandlemoncake.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/feminsim-101-nice-guy-syndrome/

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  3. Unfortunately, the quotes on the label "Nice Guy" don't seem to come through clearly.  I wonder if calling them BINGs ("But I'm a Nice Guy!") would convey the intent more clearly?

    ...then again, that assumes anyone was ever confused in good faith...

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  4. The "Children's Card Game" is a reference to Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series BTW.


    Ultimately it is a game and obsession with "a game" is the same be it the football fanatic who simply cannot shut down his love of the sport (I am a Manchester City fan and was one since 1995. I really love football but I am not the crazy city or die fanatic like many sports fans are. I play football once a week and was on cricket teams but my true love is Rugby) or someone who plays toy soldiers (I play Warhammer and Warmachine. I am not great but I have placed highly in a few GTs and Rogue Traders) or someone who likes RPGs (Shadowrun and I help play test games for a friend). But the important thing to remember is that these are JUST GAMES. Often for children (Warmachine isn't but warhammer 40K is definitely aimed at squarely at the 13 year old demography) and even Magic the Gathering is aimed at people between the ages of 13 to 17 primarily with the tournament scene being people who take it seriously (just like Warhammer games). 

    It's just the fact that there are many culturally acceptable hobbies. F00tball, Rugby, Cricket, Car Restoration... Some of those are even considered as "interesting hobbies". Mainly because they are mainstream obsessions. Your date can possibly understand the drive to restore old cars because a car is something in the normal sphere of understanding. Your date can understand art because art is something in the normal sphere of understanding. Same for music. However Magic the Gathering, Warhammer, RPGs, weird games, video games, LARP, comics and the umpteen other weird things? Those aren't understood as much. 

    Just remember there are hobbies that we dismiss handily too. I have had my love of opera roundly ridiculed (I used to have season tickets to the opera and ballet and go every fortnight). I have had my love of sport laughed at with people who simply didn't understand why I had to go watch 20 grown men get paid millions to chase after a ball for 90 minutes or worse my love of cricket which is inexplicable. I like dancing in clubs and talking to random people in bars. And many geeks/nerds have stated that those things are somehow shallow and pointless and mainstream.  

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  5. I think it's more an issue that anyone with a driving obsession is unattractive mainly because it's something that will always supersede the relationship. Be it nerds or normals. I wish more people realise that there is an entire world out there to indulge in rather than just one thing. And that nerds would do wonders for their own development if they actually experienced normal things and didn't care so much. I suck at football but I still play it to be social. Sometimes trading integrity for social contact is handy. We aren't special little snowflakes who will find the perfect hole for our oddly shaped peg, sometimes we are just awkward buggers who need a swift kicking into shape so we get some perspective in life. 


    An example of a "serious" driving obsession is medical school. One can argue that my example of medical school is objectively more valuable than playing a card game. That in the end one is a game the other is life or death for people. 

    But put it this way, I cannot honestly trade work for a personal life without there being negative consequences at the moment. To me anyone I date will have to put up with me on saturdays and sundays alone out of every day of the week like clockwork. I may not have time to call, I may not have time to go out and I may have exams requiring me to vanish for months at a time to read. It will be like this till I am 35... My choices are celibacy (which is not the ideal, 3 years without any dates has been extremely distasteful) or to find someone who is willing to play along (usually someone else who has a similar obsessive line of work or understands the nature of mine. Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Paramedics, Fire Fighters, Coppers... Anyone who basically does not work the 9 to 5 and has a similar job where both of us will understand when the other cannot make it to something important and not begrudge the other. 

    To me it's completely valid to say "Wow, Avi. I did not realise that medicine is so much work and I don't wish to play second fiddle to it so I don't want to date you anymore". I will probably grumble about women lying when they say they think doctors are attractive, probably call George Clooney some choice words about fooling women about doctors being sexy and pretty and then drink like a mix of  Hawkeye Pierce, House and Cox and probably refer to some of my male friends as Barbie and perhaps regale male friends and acquired fellow dipsomaniacs with my theories on how doctors are considered attractive because people aren't told the reality of our lives and that women are possibly crazy. 

    I have done the same for female friends who without irony would slag off men while drinking expensive drinks with umbrellas on my tab. And I would have to grin and bear it because that's what they need right then. To bitch about their lives to someone so that they will feel better the next day and be there for me when I need to bitch about my relationships. They aren't man haters and I am not a sexist pig since the context is vital. 

    As for the date in question? He took her to a play on Jeffrey Dahmer. I would consider a woman as creepy rather than endearing if she suggested that! 

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  6. That barely seems responsive to Azkyroth.  Again, the complaint is not that Alyssa Bereznak in particular doesn't want to date nerds, but rather that she seems to think they shouldn't be allowed to talk to women (or at least that they should really take better care not to attempt to date women with the social status of herself and her friends).

    Lest you think "nerds shouldn't try to date normal women" is an unreasonable thesis to take away:

    "I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing."

    "I later found out that he infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at
    least two other people I sort of know, including one of my co-workers.
    Mothers, warn your daughters! This could happen to you. You’ll think you’ve found a normal bearded guy
    with a job, only to end up sharing goat cheese with a world champion of
    nerds."

    "Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two
    Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you.
    We live for this kind of stuff."

    [This is of course from the original article, not the current bowdlerized version. She only mentioned the Dahmer play once until she got flak, at which point she repeated it to replace a reference to nerds.  See http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/08/my-okcupid-affair-with-a-world-champion-magic-the-gathering-player , although even this has the new intro warning that it's "mean." ]

    And so, having made the inexplicable decision to post this on gizmodo of all places, she has a bunch of people saying she's an ugly bitch who'd be lucky to have access to Mr. Finkel's money for plastic surgery.  Whoopty-fricking-misogynism-doo.

    She mentions twice that she hoped or expected he worked for a hedge fund (which I think are known for good work-life balance, incidentally), there's not even much of a basis to claim that people are hypocritically being shallow by pointing out Mr. Finkel's financial success.

    She's certainly not attempting to present any sort of argument against
    dating nerds on the basis that you'll play second fiddle to an
    obsession, so that's neither here nor there. By comparison, there are
    certainly legitimate downsides to dating obese people, but you would
    nonetheless expect to get a lot of grief for ranting on a widely read
    blog about how some "bloated sow" used a 5-year-old picture on OKcupid and
    tricked you into going on a date with her, ending with a warning to
    "all the fatties out there" about who they should "go after."  And the criticism you would take would not be evidence of misandry!

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  7. If I were Jon Finkel, I'd encourage people to be nice, figuring that she's going to have enough trouble as it is, while still enjoying the spectacle a little.  It's called not kicking someone when they're down.

    Regardless of what Mr. Finkel said, the article can speak for itself:
    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/08/my-okcupid-affair-with-a-world-champion-magic-the-gathering-player

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  8. To a large extent it is personal choice. Like it or not human beings are creatures of bias. It's why sexism, racism, anti/pro religion and all the other little biases in society exist. 


    And like it or not just like how a lot of men expect their female dates to be lean, attractive and sexually active a lot of women have expectations about their male dates. I will honestly stand up and admit that I have dumped a girl because she was ugly and overweight and also had issues that I was just not ready to deal with. I only dated her because I had poor self esteem and thought I was genuinely ugly. And that I won't date single mothers because I don't want the drama of children who aren't my own. 

    Like it or not we aren't cool. We aren't regarded as amazingly interesting by the normal population. There are a lot of misconceptions about nerds and there are a lot of nerds who match up to the misconceptions. For every nerd who is a weedy obsessive who lives in his parent's basement there is one who plays around with Large Hadron Colliders. For every nerd with poor personal hygiene there is one who is doing biology research. But the problem is that we aren't considered nerds. We are considered as "normal people". The stereotype nerd isn't attractive, he isn't well dressed, he is generally a man and he is generally weird as hell. So the moment we assume some of the same interests people see that stereotype. It's sad but you aren't going to change it via nerd rage and photoshops. 

    There is a deeply inherent level of anti-female antics in the nerdly world. And this did show in the backlash of this. Okay, a woman doesn't like what we are. The response is "Okay, that's her opinion most nerds aren't so bad. There are always a few bad eggs in the equation". Instead it's about whores and bitches. It shows a lot about us that we cannot accept that there are people who simply don't like us inherently. We aren't going to change their minds, and infact all we can do is say. 

    "That's a shame, why is it such a problem?" or "What has two thumbs and doesn't give a fuck?". We can't simply attack her, after all aren't we all nice? If we aren't what she is looking for then all we can do is wish her luck that she finds whatever she likes. She isn't going to see the error of her ways and fall deeply in love with the world Pokemon TCG champion. She knows what she wants and it's not us. 

    Deal with it. Go to a bar, whine about her a bit. Drink heavily and declare y0ur undying love for star trek (I have done this once...). Get it out of your system and try again. 

    I actually wouldn't mind asking her "what's so bad about being the king of nerds"?  Not confrontationally but just out pure curiosity. 

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  9. Did anyone else notice how incredibly condescending his tone was toward female gamers? Some of the language made sense in terms of the framing device of a letter to his hypothetical daughter and it's hard to untangle from when he's talking about other people's perspectives, but wow. Talk about white knighting and nice guy syndrome.

    Those mean boys will expect you to wait in the wings, little girl! They should really stop doing that, shouldn't they? Maybe someday they will. It's so sad that you're expected to demurely wait for recognition. If you're lucky, someday more of the boys will become enlightened like daddy! Then you might be allowed to come and play and be happy!

    Has he ever met a female gamer? I mean, ever? It's not like those women have agency or passion or power of their own or anything. They just sit around being marginalized all day, apparently...

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  10.  For the second time, I don't give a fuck who Alyssa Bereznak wants to date.  In fact, this thread is the first time I've had occasion to discuss it.  What bothers me is the notion that the backlash against her is evidence of misogyny or anti-female antics.

    I'm not saying I think people are wrong not to date me, which by the way is a ridiculous straw man.  I'm saying that people should treat me like a human being, or, failing that, expect to be called out as jerks.

    You can't expect to be that rude to people and not be insulted back.  Don't dish it out if you can't take it.  Again, suppose I rant about "bloated sows" using old pictures on OKcupid and that "all the fatties our there" should expect a blog post about them if they attempt to date me.  Would women who call me a "dick" be man haters?  Of course not, it's absurd.

    > We can't simply attack her, after all aren't we all nice?

    Speak for yourself.  I don't think that women are delicate little flowers such that I can't call them an asshole if they're being one or they'll get the vapors.

    > If we aren't what she is looking for then all we can do is wish her luck
    that she finds whatever she likes. She isn't going to see the error of
    her ways and fall deeply in love with the world Pokemon TCG champion.
    She knows what she wants and it's not us.

    And if I were on a date with her and she cut it short by politely telling me she doesn't like nerds, I'd want to shake her hand.  However, if she were to insinuate that I did doing something wrong by using a fucking dating site to "infiltrate my way" into a date with her, I'd think she was a stuck-up bitch.

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  11. Jared, the notion that the backlash against Bereznak is sexist and misogynist comes from all the insults flung her way and at women in general as a result of what she wrote.

    It would be entirely possible to criticize her for the mean-spiritedness
    of her article in a completely mature and non-sexist manner. Some few
    people did that, but it was very few. The vast majority of responses to
    her were gendered insults, sexist rants and even a lot of full-on
    misogynistic diatribes.

    I don't see how you could miss the sexism and misogyny in that comment thread on the Gizmodo article.

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  12. Correction: I missed a comment that compared the Vulcan neck pinch to roofies.  So we have that plus the 3 people calling her a bitch that I mentioned.

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  13. As was observed, this has fuck-all to do with the point I was making.

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  14. Uhg, yeah.  The woman has the right to dump someone for any or no reason at all.  I would never argue against that.  But the public shaming, and the "How dare he dress like a hedge fund manager when he's a nerd" is just disgusting. 

    I thought most people outgrew this by the time they left high school. 

    At least the object of this public shaming has acted with some maturity -- simply shrugging it off.

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  15. It is reason for 'any woman' to dismiss him out of hand. Or am I working under the false assumption we don't get to pick our partners?

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  16. You know perfectly well what I meant.

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  17. Thank you for sharing the link, Jared.

    And, having read the article, I have lost some of my sympathy for Ms. Bereznak .  She is allowed her dealbreakers.  But, the tone of the article seems to say that nerds and geeks are a lower class of human that should put up disclaimors lest they surprise real people.

    That said, I will say that the article that Jenn linked to does bring up other instances of sexism in nerd and gaming culture.  I don't think he needs the Bereznak piece to tie anything together or to make that message of "things are tough for women in nerd culture".  And, having read her article, referencing her article now seems to detract from that message rather than add to it.

    Still, sexism acknowledged.  I'd like to see what I, personally, can do about it other than just be aware of my own behavior.

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  18. I'd direct your criticisms of the first paragraph more to Jen in highlighting the piece than to the author. Although, in fairness I'd volunteer to be the first in line to tell Geordie he has...issues...with the sidenotes/bars/conversations.


    He's one of magic's most well known writers, writing to an audience of competitive players at StarCity, published on magic's "biggest deal" website. The overwhelming response to it on SCG indicates to me that the intended audience was able to negotiate through the mtg culture. 

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  19. Just for the record, Mr. Tait's article goes on to make various legitimate points.  For example: nerds are not uniformly perfect mates; non-nerds are not uniformly chauvinist cretins; and developing an attitude that women aren't dating you because they're stupid bimbos doesn't help anyone except the women who proceed to avoid dating you, etc.

    However, he massively detracts from his points by spending so much time on the reaction to Ms. Bereznak's post.  As I've noted elsewhere in this thread, it's instructive to read her original post which is preserved here: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2011/08/my-okcupid-affair-with-a-world-champion-magic-the-gathering-player (although even the Australian copy added her after-the-fact initial paragraph warning that the story is mean), not the US version which has been edited to be less offensive.

    Mr. Tait seems to think that nerds are outraged that Ms. Bereznak doesn't want to date them.  However, if you actually read her post, she's clearly upset that a nerd merely tried to date someone like her.  It's perfectly respectable for nerds to find this offensive.  Furthermore, when someone suggests that he or she is out of someone else's league, it's perfectly normal, albeit slightly immature, for the second party to retort that in fact they are out of the first party's league.  It doesn't actually mean that the second party thinks that the first party is obliged to be sexually available: it's just trading insults.

    Finally, I agree with other people that the article is so saccharine that I had to keep reminding myself that people are often condescending to their children, so as not to think that Mr. Tait was being condescending toward women.

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  20. I agree with this view! I'm so disenchanted with the male atheist community at the moment. Whenever I read a post about feminism on an atheist blog, I feel a glimmer of hope for our community, but then I read the comments... :( 

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  21. It's a great article! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  22. Her basic point was that if you leave certain crucial bits of information out of your profile then you shouldn't be surprised if you disappoint the person who shows up to meet you.  This is something that women hear ALL OF THE TIME when it comes to online dating, only we're told that it's our appearance that we have to be completely accurate about down to the tiniest detail.

    She doesn't want to date nerds.  She's allowed to have that opinion.  I personally would much rather date a nerd than a jock and for me, the deal breaker would be having to hear all about the football season on our first date.

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  23. "being a nerd would be reason enough for ANY woman to dismiss him out of hand."

    It is.

    ANY reason is enough for ANY woman to dismiss ANYONE out of hand. No woman is obligated to give any man a "Fair Chance" or anything else they may have convinced themselves they're entitled to.

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  24. That is a very narrow, almost stilted reading.  Yes - any person has the absolute right to dismiss anyone for any reason -- no question.  What no person has the right to do is dismiss someone as being without value or subhuman.  That was the fundamental problem with Ms. Bereznak's article, along with the assumption that Mr. Tait deserved his embarrassment.  She saw Mr. Tait as being something less than her, and, in the most immature, mean-spirited fashion possible, proceeded to try to embarrass an apparently decent guy (not a NiceGuy©®™) who hadn't done anything other than follow his passions in life.

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  25. This is a real blind spot for a lot of people, unfortunately.  The problem isn't that she doesn't want to date nerds; the problem is that she sees nerds as subhuman.  It's the haughty, aristocratic attitude toward Mr. Tait that is Ms. Bereznak's problem.  She is offended that someone like this managed to "infiltrate" their way into her life.

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  26.  So, since nerds are human, it's okay to hide that defining aspecf of their life in order to get dates (dude was the world champion and didn't even mention it as one of his hobbies. Come on), and women have no right to complain. You're saying that qualifying as a member of the human species should be all it takes for women to date you.

    Ms. Bereznak is well aware dedicated magic players are human beings. She just doesn't want to get involved with one because she doesn't like that game. Simple.

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  27. Collin, I think you got the actors in this drama mixed up. Bereznak, in her article, was never referring to Geordie Tait, the author of the article Jennifer linked to. Bereznak was writing about her date with John Finkel, a Magic: the Gathering world champion. Tait wrote an article about the gamer community's response to Bereznak's article and how that over-the-top, vitriolic response highlights a problem with sexism and sometimes outright misogyny in the gamer community.

    It's been a few days since I read Tait's article, but ISTR that he acknowledges that Breznak's article wasn't nicest and she should be ashamed of how mean-spirited it was. Some people seem to think, based on their comments, that Tait's article *should* have been about or was about Bereznak's meanness, rather than about the way in which the gamer community's response, but Bereznak is really a different issue than what Tait was covering.

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  28. jose, did you actually read the article?  Nobody is saying that if you are a human being, then everyone should have to date you.  Nobody.  It's a strawman, and a pathetic one at that.  This woman did not offer any sort of reasoning why a gamer would be a bad person do date, she just judged him on his gaming as soon as she found out about it.  In fact, she was even upset that he dared to dress like a normal person!  Don't know if his scarlet "G" was in the wash that day or what, but I'm pretty sure you're allowed to say what you want in an online dating profile.  The fact is, nobody's saying she should have to date him, or even that you can't reject someone because they're a gamer.  What we're saying is that rejecting someone based on their hobby, while knowing nothing about it other than tired and obvious stereotypes, is stupid.  It also doesn't make a good impression when you shred someone in a widely-read magazine article when that person did nothing more than have a hobby the author didn't like.  And as if to ice the cake, she writes for a tech site!  It's like me writing for a Jebus magazine and getting upset at the people who don't like me calling them "people who believe in sky wizards."

    Simply put, if he had been a total obnoxious asshole on their date, he might have deserved the literary ass-beating he got.  The fact that the only thing he did was be a gamer and not make it the most noticeable thing in his profile makes her article a total overkill and a perfect way to paint herself as a shallow shit-show of a human being.

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  29. Collin said she considered nerds as subhuman. I only considered his assertion and took it to its obvious implication to show him how he didn't understand her position.

    This woman offered a perfectly valid reason why she wouldn't date gamers: she doesn't want to. And you and I have absolutely no say about who she will date and who she won't date.

    You can have whatever opinion you want about other people's deal breakers. What you can't do is to demand I date gamers if I don't want to. Other thing you can't do is to deny the right of people to have whatever deal breakers they wish to have, regardless of whether you find them stupid or not.

    haha, good one, that "not make it the most noticeable thing in his profile". You're a funny one :'-D

    No comment on judgmental statements.

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  30. No sir, I didn't say that.  In fact, I explicitly said that there is no problem with Ms. Bereznak's desire to not date nerds, and she is free to steer clear of those who play Magic.  

    What people choose to present in their online dating profiles is a matter of putting your best foot forward, and many, men and women, choose not to list what they do for a living.  Ms. Bereznak freely admitted she didn't do her research when she forgot to google Mr. Tait.  What one does for a living or other details that are important to you should probably come out over the course of one-on-one messaging with the person.  Honestly, though, that's neither here nor there.

    If you go on a date with someone who turns out to not be your type, yet treats you with respect, the decent thing is not to turn around and post that you just had a date with the "world champion of nerds."  You chalk it up to remembering to do your research better next time, and move on.  There was nothing to suggest that Mr. Tait did anything untoward, that he's acting like the "NiceGuy™", or that he's doing anything other than behaving gracefully.  

    Standing back on the internet and laughing at the gall of the king of the nerds for deceiving his way on to dates with normal women is petty and cruel.  Mr. Tait deserves better.

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  31. And again, who the fuck is saying you (or anyone else) HAS to date gamers?  This is the crux of the problem, you think the rest of us are saying something that we are not saying.  Here's a hint: if you think I'm trying to force someone to date anyone else, then you should keep rereading my comments until you actually get what I'm saying.  I do find it hilarious that you thought I said that so much you had to clarify it about three times, including telling me that I can't "deny her right to have whatever dealbreakers they want to."  Can you please point to where I tried to deny her right to have her own dealbreakers?  The one thing you did say that made sense is the following: "You can have whatever opinion you want about other people's dealbreakers."  Exactly.  And as for myself and a shitload of other people, her reasons are bullshit.  Standard shallow assholery, in fact the exact type of shallow stupid thinking that men are excoriated for (rightly so).

    jose, the point never came down to someone preventing this woman from being an asshole.  Nobody's trying to take away her right to do anything, but acting like this is certainly going to provoke a response from people, and that response is generally going to be negative.  You may think it's perfectly acceptable to not date someone for superfluous, stupid reasons, but it doesn't mean the rest of us have to agree with said stupid reasons, nor does it mean we have to be silent and "respect" a shithead belief.  She had every right to not date him because she didn't like his shoelaces, but that doesn't mean anybody else has to look at that opinion as worth anything but derision.

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  32. Glad we got the subhuman thing cleared up :-)

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  33. I'm having a hard time accepting some of my kid's attitudes (2 boys, 13 and 12)... they are both gamers, but I strongly believe that it's more their age than the gaming since their peers act the same, no matter if it is during soccer practice, facebook chats or after school... Or maybe, like the author suggests, actually spending time with a girl is the cure.

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  34. 1. Overall a good article, though sometimes a bit hard to understand as a person who doesn't closely follow M:TG


    2. The quote about men fearing embarrassment and women fearing death really helped put some things in perspective to me as I hadn't really thought that it was that up front in most women's minds.  That does seem scary.

    3.  A part at the end bothers me, the rather gratuitous description of violence hypothetically done against him by his wife was a bit bothersome as I think humor like that is pretty disturbing, and there's something of a cultural blind spot when it's a woman inflicting that on a man.

    4.  It does bother me that I often will think of myself and my hobbies as being at an intellectually higher level than many others and it bothers me that this sort of thing happens.  I really need to keep a better eye out for this.  

    5. I do think he makes the mistake of seeming to assume that, because the backlash against it was even more morally reprehensible than the article itself, that the article ought to be excused, when it was written in an extremely rude and flippant manner.  I dunno am I wrong?  Should it be excused?

    ReplyDelete
  35. I agree with SonofRyan's point 5. The overreaction of the gamer community was full of mean-spirited responses and is indicative of something that needs to change, yes, but her article was mean-spirited and full of comments that indicate an insufferable level of "my preferences are natural law"-ishness. Gamer culture needs to work on cutting down the misogyny - at least to bring it down to the level of the surrounding culture. True.

    However, Geordie seems to be defending her right not to be attracted to him because of his involvement with gaming. That isn't really what pissed people off, in my opinion. It was that in her piece, the "not being attracted to him" was brought up to a level where the idea that she might actually be attracted to him despite his involvement with gaming was ridiculous. She didn't just say "I didn't like him." She said "The idea that someone like him might be worthwhile is a GREAT subject for a humorous article, since it's so funny!"

    ReplyDelete
  36. "2. The quote about men fearing embarrassment and women fearing death
    really helped put some things in perspective to me as I hadn't really
    thought that it was that up front in most women's minds.  That does seem
    scary."I thought that quote was interesting. I'll repeat it here: "Men
    and women live in different worlds. At core, men are afraid women will
    laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them." -
    Gavin de BeckerTait interprets this to indicate differences in
    objective risk by gender. However, to me it looks like a claim regarding
    perceptions of objective risk--that men perceive embarrassment to be
    worse than death. Outside of context, though, the quote is ambiguous.As
    for the rest of the article, it's kind of an interesting look at a
    subculture that I don't know much about, but I found the writing rather
    tiresome. Leaving out the "letter to my daughter" schtick would have
    helped tremendously. My ability to suspend disbelief was not sufficient.
    His hypothetical daughter, however many years in the future, is going
    to be interested in an explanation of the gaming culture's
    internet-scandal-of-the-week? -And- she knows what juggalos are?! Worse,
    this baffling premise leads him to talk down to his (actual) audience
    under the pretext of talking down to his (hypothetical) daughter. Ick...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh, christ, all my carriage returns disappeared. Oh well...

    ReplyDelete
  38. The carriage returns may have disappeared, but I still agree entirely with your statement. I tried my best to get through his post, but between the sheer length of it and the letter to my daughter schtick, I figured it just wasn't worth my time.

    ReplyDelete
  39. glad i am happily married. . .no more dating bullshit

    ReplyDelete
  40. What was a lot more disturbing, I found, was that he followed up his statement about men and womens worst fears being asymetric by defending Bereznaks right to subject Finkle to mens worst fear.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I got to say, I found the article repulsive in the extreme. Among the problems with it was:

    1) After discussing how men and womens worst fears are different, the article went on to hotly defend Alyssa Bereznaks right to subject Finkel to what it argued was mens worst fear.
    At one point the author presents an entirely self-constructed rationale for Bereznaks acts, and proceeds to regard it as factual.

    2) After implying that people who disagree with the article do so because they are misogynists, there was a massive amount of abuse heped on gamers in general with no attempt at balance. Quotes like " you're a gamer... you voided a black pool of
    nihilism down your own unsteady leg at age 16, and you've been
    floundering in it ever since." ... " the welts of social ostracization still open and weeping upon their hairy backs" is only the tip of the iceberg.

    I would submit that people may have been offended because this is offensive. No ulterior motive required.

    3) The article presents the reaction to the Alyssa Bereznak article as coming from only male gamers. Something of a massive straw man. In fact, the article went mainstream and the negative response came from men and women, gamer and non-gamers. Although the volume of response from gamers were larger, the article never acknowledges that anyone but male gamers had a negative reaction. And it certainly doesn't attempt to determine if the median response from gamers were worse.

    4)  After stating that Feminism is a real field of study,it goes on to spew a large amount of unfounded assertions as facts. For example, sexism in games ispresented as the fault of gamers, rather than game designers. The fact that games withoud barely-clad women tend to sell just as well as the other sort is not mentioned.

    3) The article is, ironically, quite misogynist. And I don't mean the mansplaining format. It pretty much attempts to erease the existence of gamer women. They are only "Wannabe frag dolls". It also attempts to trample the opinions of women who do not agree. If they do not feel like Tait explains to little girls that they ough to feel, they are only "Uncle Toms looking for a warm corner in massahs attic".

    Which is rather an extraordinary statement to make.

    There are a lot of other problems with the article, it is like an onion of ick, with more and more layers the deeper you cut. But those are the ones who stood out the most for me.

    ReplyDelete
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