Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks.

Most male geeks* believe that they are subverting traditional masculinity by reclaiming and self-identifying with the term “geek”. For most male geeks, geek identity is defined partly as a rejection of the “jock” identity. According to the traditional high school male social hierarchy, jocks are high-status males and male geeks are low-status males; jocks are alpha males and male geeks are beta males; jocks are masculine and male geeks are “effeminate”. Thus, when a man proudly self-identifies as a “geek” in response, what he is doing is redefining what it is to be a man, redefining geek identity as masculine.

Typical male geeks argue that to be a geek is to be masculine by interpreting the scientific, mathematical, and technological achievements of overwhelmingly male persons as definitive proof that science, math, and technology are inherently male and define maleness. Such male geeks typically argue that there are innate differences between male and female brains that make success in science, math, and technology exclusive to men. Thus, arguments and studies that suggest otherwise are perceived as a direct attack on the masculinity and male identity of male geeks. According this male geek worldview, if women are equally capable in science, math, and technology, then male geeks lose their claim on masculinity and become low-status, beta, and “effeminate” males once again, because there would be nothing left to separate male geeks from women. Thus, male geeks—much more than non-geek men—tend to be emotionally and socially invested in maintaining the idea women’s brains are hardwired against understanding science, math, and technology to the same extent as men.

The mere possibility that women and men may be equally capable in science, math, and technology threatens the typical male geek’s self-identity. This explains why male geeks in Internet comment threads generally vote up speculations about women’s hard-wired brain limitations and speculations about our evolutionary past, while ignoring or dismissing empirical studies showing gender bias. When male geeks discuss the topic of women in science, math, and technology, the skeptical and critical attitudes towards anecdotes normally valued in geek communities are eschewed in favour of narratives that appeal to male-geek self esteem and superiority.

In other words, male geek bias prevents an objective discussion about women in science, math, and technology from occurring. We need to recognize the existence of and motivations behind this male geek bias to truly address the hostility in geek communities against the idea of female geeks.


* The definition of “geek” I am using is, as WHO WANTS DESSERT so eloquently expressed, “still firmly rooted in the 80s, where being a geek meant actually knowing lots about science and engineering, as opposed to now when it means building your entire identity around consumable entertainment like videogames and anime.”

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182 Responses to “Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks.”

  1. Epimetheus Says:

    I think we can discuss this at a more mature level than attributing the problem to “most male geeks” and “typical male geeks,” as though such a thing existed. The fact that the sexism you describe is endemic in geek culture is no excuse. Feminists don’t generally appreciate conversation that begins with “Typical feminists . . .” and they sure as heck don’t respond well to “typical women.” It’s rude to adversarially define terms that diverse individuals use to self-identify.

  2. Danny Says:

    Well if you really want to get down to it one must look at why the male geek has gone his own way. For the most part its not just to express superiority over women but to separate themselves from other men as well as from women because as far that they are concerned both of those groups have teased, harassed, picked, on and otherwise abused him.

    This is why (in a high school setting) the male geek doesn’t like the girl anymore than the jock.

  3. Best of teh Internets: Gender Roles and Sexy Time « hepfat Says:

    [...] has a great post today about male geek culture and how the assumptions male geeks make in attempts to reclaim their [...]

  4. Restructure! Says:

    Epimetheus,

    What do you suggest instead of “most male geeks” and “typical male geeks”? If I just say “male geeks”, then it’s often interpreted as “all male geeks”.

  5. Restructure! Says:

    Danny,

    This is why (in a high school setting) the male geek doesn’t like the girl anymore than the jock.

    The category of “girl” is not comparable to the category of “jock”. Girls are not monolithic.

  6. Danny Says:

    Very well then let me rephrase.

    This is why (in a high school setting) the male geek doesn’t like the company of girls anymore than the athletic males.

  7. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Really, Danny? The male geeks that I hung out with in high school seemed just fine with my company – and the company of a lot of the other girls I knew. But maybe they could recognize better than you that even though we were “girls”, we weren’t the girls who teased, harassed, picked on, or otherwise abused them.

    In other words, like Restructure! said, we’re not monolithic.

  8. danratheratcbs Says:

    How is reclaiming the term geek inherently making it masculine? It’s a rejection of the anti intellectual culture held in a lot of places. There are female geeks who proudly self identify as geeks and nerds as well.

    Furthermore not all geeks subscribe to the sexist patriarchal tendencies of a larger scientific community.

  9. Danny Says:

    “But maybe they could recognize better than you that even though we were “girls”, we weren’t the girls who teased, harassed, picked on, or otherwise abused them.”

    Or maybe its a matter of the experience of the person in question. (I guess that would explain why folks are willing to go to war to assert that girls aren’t a monolith but have no problem with me implying that jocks are a monolith.)

  10. Hardlearn Says:

    dan: I may be reaching, but I don’t see how ‘reclaiming’ geek is not in a sense claiming some kind of masculinity.
    A lot of times people tend to equate intelligence with geekiness with intelligence being a trait that certain men have. This by implication excluding women.

    Restructure!: On another sorta’ tangential point, why the acceptance of the geek label in the first place? I can see one having certain factual interest, but why the clamming(I’m not saying that you are) up under the term ‘geek?’ Is it possible to link this geek label with the term nigga(used as a term of ‘endearment’)?
    It seems like this sort of behavior extends to the creation of national borders/identities which is of course the source of a lot of conflict.

  11. Jayn Says:

    Hardlearn: It might be a generational/regional thing. I’ve never seen ‘geek’ as a derogatory term in the first place (unlike ‘nerd’, though a friend of mine proudly uses it as his nickname). On the other hand, I’ve never seen geekdom as being inherently male either, so maybe (probably) I’m just oblivious that way.

  12. Cessen Says:

    For what it’s worth, I agree with this post as a whole. Although I find it a little erasing of my own experiences as a self-identified geek. But the problem you outline is of course a real problem.

    What do you suggest instead of “most male geeks” and “typical male geeks”? If I just say “male geeks”, then it’s often interpreted as “all male geeks”.

    That sounds really disingenuous to me. He also said:

    Feminists don’t generally appreciate conversation that begins with “Typical feminists . . .” and they sure as heck don’t respond well to “typical women.”

    Which does the work of providing an empathetic context for you. How would you want others to manage such cases when you’re on the other side?

    I think a lot of the problem is that whenever someone says “typical women” or “most feminists” or “most guys” or “typical male geeks” in the context of criticism, it often comes across as being code-speak for “all women/feminists/guys/male geeks”. So the literal meaning of the words isn’t what people hear.
    And on top of that, it also creates offense at the idea that there is such a thing as a “typical” whatever-is-being-talked-about.

    Having said that, I don’t think you have any obligation to make your writing male-geek friendly. And whenever you are criticizing something that is common or even pervasive in male geek culture, of course there are always going to be upset people.

    But if you so choose, you can help avoid alienating the male geeks that actually agree with you by making it explicit that you are not using such phrases in a code-speak way, and that you mean it quite literally: most, but not all, individuals in this group have this objectionable trait/behavior, but this group is not homogeneous.

  13. Restructure! Says:

    danratheratcbs,

    How is reclaiming the term geek inherently making it masculine? It’s a rejection of the anti intellectual culture held in a lot of places. There are female geeks who proudly self identify as geeks and nerds as well.

    I’m a female geek.

    No, reclaiming the term geek is not inherently making it masculine. I changed “Thus, when a man proudly self-identifies as a “geek”, what he is doing is redefining what it is to be a man, redefining geek identity as masculine,” to “Thus, when a man proudly self-identifies as a “geek” in response, what he is doing is redefining what it is to be a man, redefining geek identity as masculine.” Hopefully that clears things up.

  14. Restructure! Says:

    (I guess that would explain why folks are willing to go to war to assert that girls aren’t a monolith but have no problem with me implying that jocks are a monolith.)

    No, it sounds like you are saying boys can be divided up into male geeks and (male) jocks, but girls do not have subdivisions. It also sounds like you are saying all girls are non-geeks. How would a female geek have social power to pick on a male geek, for example?

  15. Restructure! Says:

    Which does the work of providing an empathetic context for you. How would you want others to manage such cases when you’re on the other side?

    I think it depends on the context, if the description of a “typical feminist” rings true to me. If someone said, “the typical feminist is white,” or “the typical feminist is racist,” I would not find it offensive. However, I would find “the typical feminist wears birkenstocks,” offensive, because I would think this is a stereotype and false.

    I suppose “typical woman” would also depend on the description, but I can’t think of illustrative examples for that one.

  16. Cessen Says:

    I think it depends on the context, if the description of a “typical feminist” rings true to me.

    That’s a fair point. Probably some of the discomfort I feel with this post is because it rings too close to home, and I reflexively want to say, “But not me!!!!1!!eleventy!!” Which is a nice tell-tale sign of privilege rearing its head.

    But part of it is also, I think, because if masculinity has anything to do with why I identify as a geek, it’s because I’m trying to distance myself from masculinity rather than to trying to reclaim or redefine it. So on some level I feel like the post *is* talking about me, but is totally getting the story wrong. Which isn’t rational or justified, and I realize that wasn’t what you were doing at all, but emotions are strange things.

    More women identifying as geeks is actually comforting to me rather than threatening because it further distances masculinity from this thing I identify with. I think masculinity and “being a man” in general is actually a threatening topic for me, because the way I relate to it is primarily as an unwanted and painful box that I have been expected to fit into. I would like to abolish the box entirely rather than redefine it to make it easier for me to fit into.

    But I realize I am not typical in this regard.

  17. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure you are arguing by the converse.

    That geeks that happen to be men retake the word nerd does not mean they are gendering the word nerd.

  18. Barry Deutsch Says:

    I think it depends on the context, if the description of a “typical feminist” rings true to me.

    Speaking just for myself, your description of the “typical male geek” doesn’t ring true to me.

    The male geeks I know are mostly very liberal and feminist types who would argue against the idea that math is inherently male. I’ve definitely run into male geeks like the ones you’re describing — mainly folks who are very into Ayn Rand and libertarianism. But I haven’t thought of those folks as the norm for geek culture as a whole (although they do seem to dominate in some geek subcultures, like IT), and I hope they’re not the norm.

    My own experience is more like Cessen’s: “if masculinity has anything to do with why I identify as a geek, it’s because I’m trying to distance myself from masculinity rather than to trying to reclaim or redefine it.”

  19. Barry Deutsch Says:

    I wrote “But I haven’t thought of those folks as the norm for geek culture as a whole…” What I SHOULD have written is “But I haven’t thought of those folks as the norm for men in geek culture as a whole…” Sorry about that!

  20. Restructure! Says:

    Barry Deutsch,

    Yes, I’m thinking of male “IT” geeks as “typical” male geeks, but “IT” is not the right word, because I want to include those who identify as “CS” over “IT”. I also don’t want to suggest that it’s something exclusive to male “computer” geeks, because I think it might apply to male math geeks as well. Male gamer geeks seem to be sexist as well. There’s also overlap between these cultures. (What geek subculture do you consider yourself to be a part of?)

    In any case, I do not think that a feminist male geek is a typical male geek. That’s absurd to me. I’m not sure why you feel that when I write “typical male geek”, I’m talking about you.

  21. Barry Deutsch Says:

    What geek subculture do you consider yourself to be a part of?

    I’m a comic book/science fiction geek, primarily. (I’m not even sure what “CS” stands for, to tell you the truth, although I’m guessing “computer science.”)

    In any case, I do not think that a feminist male geek is a typical male geek. That’s absurd to me. I’m not sure why you feel that when I write “typical male geek”, I’m talking about you.

    I didn’t think that you were talking about me!

    It was very clear, from your post, that you’d consider a male geek with my views to not be in the category “typical male geek.”

    I’m just saying that in my anecdotal experience, the typical male geek is more often a squishly liberal than to be the sort of strong antifeminist that your post describes. They’re usually not as feminist as I try to be, but they’re also usually not as anti-feminist as the “typical male geek” you describe. (I don’t deny that there are plenty of extremely sexist male geeks within comics fandom, but I’m not sure they’re the norm.)

    I’m not saying that my experience is more valid or representative than yours. It could be that you’re absolutely right and that my experience is wildly unrepresentative — my friends and associates are weirdos, even within geekdom.

  22. Restructure! Says:

    In my experience, the typical male geek is libertarian. But again, this is IT/CS-centred (where CS = computer science) geekdom with other geek cutures branching out from and overlapping with the centre.

    As for online geek communities, prototypical examples are Slashdot and Digg (these are links to entries in the Geek Feminism wiki).

  23. Epimetheus Says:

    Restructure,

    Why can’t you just say “gender essentialists?”

    The issue for me is that I don’t see a need to reclaim geekdom from being defined by people I knew in high school. I need to reclaim the word “geek” from people who would use my passion for science, technology and art as evidence that my humanity is somehow underdeveloped. Which, by defining geekdom in terms of 1960′s adolescent stereotypes . . . yeah.

    In fact, I would happily welcome most of the jocks I knew in high school as sports geeks.

  24. Epimetheus Says:

    > “What do you suggest instead of “most male geeks” and “typical male geeks”? If I just say “male geeks”, then it’s often interpreted as “all male geeks”.”

    > That sounds really disingenuous to me. He also said

    No, no. That was fine. I don’t have a problem with the message — most of the conversation about gender that I’ve had with my geeky associates have been dominated by gender essentialism.

    If you do a survey of 10 white people, and discover that 6 of them have a particular racist trait, then you’re totally within your rights to say, look, most white people are racist.

    But how do you do a survey of 10 geeks? It’s not a distinct population. So when you say “most geeks do X,” you aren’t describing a population but defining it. Someone reads that geeks are beta-male gender essentialists, and maybe probably it does mesh with their personal experience, and then next week I introduce myself as a geek and they think, oh, he’s a beta-male gender essentialist.

  25. Restructure! Says:

    Why can’t you just say “gender essentialists?”

    That’s the end result. Using that label in the beginning obsures how a male geek can become a gender essentialist without intentionally trying to be sexist, and that they are doing it as response to a social threat (it is motivated by “good intentions”).

    Also, I changed the last sentence of the first paragraph so that it does not sound like that is the only reason why a male geek would self-identify as a geek. Also, I self-identify as a geek for the anti-anti-intellectualism reason and the “people who would use my passion for science, technology and art as evidence that my humanity is somehow underdeveloped” reason.

  26. Restructure! Says:

    But how do you do a survey of 10 geeks? It’s not a distinct population. So when you say “most geeks do X,” you aren’t describing a population but defining it. Someone reads that geeks are beta-male gender essentialists, and maybe probably it does mesh with their personal experience, and then next week I introduce myself as a geek and they think, oh, he’s a beta-male gender essentialist.

    You just erased female geeks right there. It’s not coming from my post.

  27. Danny Says:

    “No, it sounds like you are saying boys can be divided up into male geeks and (male) jocks, but girls do not have subdivisions.”
    Its not.

    “It also sounds like you are saying all girls are non-geeks. How would a female geek have social power to pick on a male geek, for example?”
    By taking advantage of the notion that guys are supposed to be chasing girls.

    Whether correctly or not (usually incorrectly) a lot of male geeks get the feeling that they are simply not supposed to be with girls (presuming heterosexuality of course) in a romantic setting. So in come cases like that they do get monolithed.

  28. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Danny, no, they don’t get monolithed at all. THEY monolith girls themselves into one entity that supposedly is not interested in them, no matter what individual girls actually want and do (as a fringe woman myself, I’ve seen far too many female geeks pining for a male geek whose attention is focused entirely on women who are not interested in him or anything that he is interested in), and then complain that girls don’t want to date male geeks. You can’t then claim that those girls are doing it to the guys; the guys are doing it to themselves.

    It’s sort of understandable in high school that this dynamic happens because everyone is so busy trying to figure out which clique they are supposed to fit into, they forget to look at people as individuals. And some male geeks grow out of this, realize that there are female geeks too who have a lot more in common with them than female non-geeks, and live happily ever after. But a lot don’t grow out of it and continue to assume that the problem exists outside of themselves when it really doesn’t.

  29. Restructure! Says:

    Yep, in high school, heterosexual male geeks typically don’t even see female geeks as dateable, and go for the high-status, alpha, feminine girls.

  30. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure

    So what do you say to my experiences in grad school, where the few women present chased after the men who thought it was fun to always tell really hurtfull jokes about the rest of us?

  31. Barry Deutsch Says:

    Oh Really, I’d say that probably you’re not an impartial observer; and that even if you are, your sample size (“a few women” in grad school) isn’t large enough to draw any meaningful conclusions about relationships in general, or about women in general.

  32. Barry Deutsch Says:

    Yep, in high school, heterosexual male geeks typically don’t even see female geeks as dateable, and go for the high-status, alpha, feminine girls.

    FWIW, this wasn’t my experience at all. Most of my guy friends in high schools saw the nerdy girls as datable. And a little geek on geek dating did go on. But only a little, because nearly all of us (girls and boys) lacked the social skills and confidence to get relationships started.

    (Not saying you’re wrong about your experience in high school, just adding another data point.)

  33. Oh Really Says:

    Besides, could somebody enlighten me as to why men seeing beta females as undatable is a societal problem? In my world it feels almost as if females want to shame men into accepting not so hot chick when she has passed her prime. That men should be grateful for what they get woman wise.

  34. fred Says:

    Oh Really writes, “In my world it feels almost as if females want to shame men into accepting not so hot chick when she has passed her prime.”

    That’s pretty much it. Ever noticed how most feminists are unattractive with a bad attitude? That’s why I always figured the road to feminism was paved with bitterness and rejection.

  35. Oh Really Says:

    fred

    I would acctually like to hear some input on this. First there is set in stone that women have the right to be attracted to whatever they please, and if man does not fit, then man will just have to accept and either change or accept living in celibacy.

    After this comes the discussion about how if man was not so picky then he would find lot of potential partners. As if somehow suddenly feminist cares about male problems on the meat market.

  36. Lisa Harney Says:

    Wow, the last three comments are practically an entire field of straw. I don’t even know what you’re talking about

    Barry,

    I’ve been a part of geek culture for a long time but I’ve never really felt like a complete part of geek culture, you know? Not because of my lack of geeky interests and skills, but because most of the geek spaces I’ve been near have been dominated by white cis straight men who hold a significant number of oppressive attitudes and beliefs. Right now I know more than a few somewhat liberal white male geeks who are more than willing to steer a conversation about rape directly into “why it’s a woman’s fault she got herself raped” or who will become incredibly angry if you even imply that racism is something they’re capable of. Most will deny that their homophobia is really homophobia, and seem to deny that transphobia even exists (“it’s just the way things are”).

    I don’t really find that being liberal makes it difficult or impossible for someone to hold busted, oppressive attitudes. And in the US at least, I find that a significant number of liberals seem to be remarkably centrist, or even somewhat right of center. How did that happen?

    Restructure!,

    I appreciate this post.

  37. Barry Deutsch Says:

    Yeah, Oh Really and Fred are sort of a tag-team of thread trashing. Ick.

    Lisa, I definitely know what you mean. I didn’t mean to suggest that liberal men couldn’t also be sexist and racist asshats at times.

  38. Oh Really Says:

    Barry

    That I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean that I trash threads. I really want to know why feminists talk so much about how if men were less picky, then there would be lots of potential female partners. Why is this a societal problem?

    Please explain.

  39. Restructure! Says:

    Oh Really and fred,

    You are totally derailing this thread and attacking straw men arguments, which appear to be motivated by your sentiment that the goal of feminism is to make the world unsexy for (heterosexual) men.

    Oh Really,

    Besides, could somebody enlighten me as to why men seeing beta females as undatable is a societal problem?

    Next time, could you read the logic of the discussion carefully before commenting? You’re not actually reading what is being said, but you are just interpreting what is being said as confirming the “feminism is about making the world unsexy for (heterosexual) men” frame.

    Danny claimed, essentially, that all girls (including female geeks) have social power over heterosexual male geeks, because all girls (including female geeks) have the power of being sexually attractive. However, not all girls are considered sexually attractive to male geeks. (Actually, most girls do not meet the minimum beauty standards for women/girls set by mainstream media, since female celebrities usually use cosmetic surgery and airbrushing). Therefore, most girls do not have the power of being sexually attractive, and most girls do not have social power over male geeks.

    (Often, non-attractive girls/women are not considered “girls”/”women” by boys, since who boys and male geeks usually refer to as “girls”/”women” are only the girls/women they are attracted to. There is a difficulty in imagining the real category of women, because of the idea that girls/women exist as objects of desire or sex objects. Most women are invisible to heterosexual men.)

  40. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure

    My main impression of feminism is that its practitioners seem to want a very clear division among men.
    In their youth they want to have the privilege of their ‘free sexuality’, this is when they are attracted to the interesting and exciting men that are described in so much detail on heartless bitches.

    When they grow older and their looks start to fade, when the meat market is no longer favorable to them, then they want the guy who can’t do better, who couldn’t compete in the meat market in his youth. The guy that is grateful that Hot Chick who now weighs in at a healthy 280 pounds will suddenly not great him with pepper spray and a knee to the groin.

    But in order to maintain this division they need to instill shame and more shame into their safety men from a young age, from this stems all the talk about men being too picky.

    Your own link that you have regurgitated again and again and again show this shaming tactic at work in all desirable clarity.

  41. Oh Really Says:

    And to add to this I could tell my experiences about women that would not exactly be able to model things having no problem sitting laughing at really cruel jokes at other peoples expense, the joker of course being Exciting Man ™.

  42. Restructure! Says:

    Oh Really,

    Actually, the link says, “If you have ever passed over a woman who was available at a time when you wanted to be with someone, you have standards for who you will date. Don’t feel bad – it means your brain is functioning, which is important for your overall health and well-being.”

    But you see what you want to see.

    The point of the link is in response to people like Danny who think that women have social power over men, and that this social power is in the realm of dating. It is in response to heterosexual men’s perception that women have “female privilege” and that our “female privilege” is being sexually attractive.

    But the average woman is not considered sexually attractive. Would you think the female version of yourself can pick and choose among men? If you can’t imagine that, we can look at genetic similarity. Can your (heterosexual) mom/sister/aunt/female first cousin pick and choose any man she wants?

  43. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure

    Here is another quote

    …men imagine themselves less picky about looks because they don’t even see the women they reject.”
    Nice try Jennifer, this is pure speculation to shame men some more.

    And at the same time I have seen a number of women, talking about how they desire to be with someone, declining male offers, because they thought they could do better. You yourself have used league talk, as in men in a lower league should be ashamed of being interested in women of a higher leauge. Shall we compare some more?
    http://community.feministing.com/2009/09/penis-size.html#comment-301156
    Notice the flocking of feminists supporting her right to preference.

    Compare to this
    http://community.feministing.com/2010/04/never-perfect.html

    Where is the flocking of feminists supporting his right to preference?

  44. Oh Really Says:

    “Actually, the link says, “If you have ever passed over a woman who was available at a time when you wanted to be with someone, you have standards for who you will date. Don’t feel bad – it means your brain is functioning, which is important for your overall health and well-being.””

    So you mean I should just disregarding the gaping satire and barbed tone of the rest of the article to read what you want me to read?

    “The point of the link is in response to people like Danny who think that women have social power over men, and that this social power is in the realm of dating. It is in response to heterosexual men’s perception that women have “female privilege” and that our “female privilege” is being sexually attractive.”

    So let’s hypothetically assume you and I both went out trying to get laid tonight, who do you think would have the easiest time?

    “But the average woman is not considered sexually attractive. Would you think the female version of yourself can pick and choose among men? If you can’t imagine that, we can look at genetic similarity. Can your (heterosexual) mom/sister/aunt/female first cousin pick and choose any man she wants?”

    What do you know about this? This is just normal feminist always-worse-for-the-female talk.

  45. Restructure! Says:

    So let’s hypothetically assume you and I both went out trying to get laid tonight, who do you think would have the easiest time?

    If you only settle for alpha females, and I only settle for “alpha males” (non-dangerous guys I find hot), then it would be equally hard. If you only settle for only alpha females and you expect me to settle for “beta males” (whatever that is, but including men I’m not attracted to), then I would have it easier.

  46. Cessen Says:

    (as a fringe woman myself, I’ve seen far too many female geeks pining for a male geek whose attention is focused entirely on women who are not interested in him or anything that he is interested in) [...] You can’t then claim that those girls are doing it to the guys; the guys are doing it to themselves.

    Honestly, it just sounds like a whole bunch of people who are incompetent at expressing interest pining after other people that aren’t interested in them, and then blaming the other people as being broken for not being interested back.

    Well… maybe the geek girls you are talking about didn’t blame the geek guys. But you certainly are. It sounds like you’re downright bitter about it, in fact. And I must say, it’s starting to sound dangerously like Nice Guy(tm) behavior.

    I’m sorry, if a geek guy is not interested or attracted to someone, that does not make him broken.

    Also, admittedly my experience is anecdotal, but as a geek guy I had quite a few geek female friends, and none of them ever expressed interest in me. At least not in any way that I could discern. And I did look for it, because I would have been interested.

    But I don’t blame these girls or feel bitter because they were too caught up with the hot upperclassmen. They aren’t broken for that.

    Now certainly we can talk about social constructs that make all kinds of people pass over others who may be “better suited” to them by some standard of your choosing. But I really don’t think it’s appropriate to blame guys for passing over women that would be “good for them” any more that it’s appropriate to blame women for passing over guys that would be “good for them”. I think it’s even less appropriate when we’re talking about school-aged individuals.

    But the average woman is not considered sexually attractive.

    By whom? If you mean by popular culture, sure. if you mean by “most men” in the literal non-code-speak sense, sure. If you mean by “most women”, sure.
    But don’t do what you’re accusing other posters of doing: turning a group of people into a monolith.

    Throughout my life, in school, college, jobs, walking around, etc. my experience has always, always, always been that the large majority of women are sexually attractive in some way, and I would enjoy having a relationship with them insofar as physical characteristics go.

    And I don’t mean that in terms of, “They fit pop-culture ideals of beauty.” I mean that they don’t. And yet they are still physically attractive to me.

    And I have met several other guys (all geeks) that feel similarly. So I’m not just an isolated case.

  47. Cessen Says:

    That’s pretty much it. Ever noticed how most feminists are unattractive with a bad attitude? That’s why I always figured the road to feminism was paved with bitterness and rejection.

    Fred, you are a huge troll. Are you even interested in having a real (and hopefully mutually-informative) discussion here? For what it’s worth, there are a lot of traditionally attractive female feminists. But even if there weren’t, your point is still ridiculous. Grow up.

  48. Cessen Says:

    Ack. @Restructure: sorry for the response to “But the average woman is not considered sexually attractive.” I was skimming the comments and didn’t catch the context. I agree with your point.

    Again, sorry.

  49. Jayn Says:

    “If you only settle for alpha females, and I only settle for “alpha males” (non-dangerous guys I find hot), then it would be equally hard.”

    Which is basically the problem, especially in high school. If everyone only aims for the alphas, then the betas are screwed in both genders. (And if you want to talk about an ego deflation, ever realise that the only males asking you out are betas among the betas?) It’s kind of funny, in an ‘I want to punch somebody’ way, to realise that the betas are expecting the alphas to settle to less than another alpha, even though they aren’t willing to settle for less than an alpha themselves. For an extreme example of this, see ‘Shallow Hal’.

    Regardless, it leaves those betas who ARE willing to ‘settle’ with very few options.

  50. Oh Really Says:

    Jayn

    Here is a radical, really ground-breaking totally world shattering suggestion. Why don’t you ask the guys you find hot out instead? Oh, and regarding being unwilling to settle, try visiting any feminist forum and the almost guaranteed discussion there about having the right to have high standards.

  51. Jayn Says:

    Oh Really: I would but I’m married now.

  52. Oh Really Says:

    Were you born married? Did you walk up to the first man you found attractive and got affirmation on your request to marry him?

  53. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    “Here is a radical, really ground-breaking totally world shattering suggestion. Why don’t you ask the guys you find hot out instead?”

    As far as I understand it, that is in fact exactly what women do.

    This leads to a lot of whiny geeks complaining that “women only want to date hot men, not nice guys like me” and – to address your earlier point – complaining that this is *an enormous social injustice*.

    Some people, some of whom are feminists, may then point out that it is silly to complain about women only wanting to date hot men while *simultaneously* only wanting to date hot women.

    I think. With apologies for showing up here (linked via geekfeminism, for what it’s worth) and being all Man Who Explains Things.

  54. Jayn Says:

    You’ve got it, Daniel, and that was exactly the point of my previous post. There’s nothing wrong with high standards per se, just don’t turn around and complain about someone else’s standards being too high because you don’t meet them.

  55. Oh Really Says:

    I present just this paradox, and from a feminist site as well

    http://community.feministing.com/2010/04/never-perfect.html

    http://community.feministing.com/2009/09/penis-size.html#comment-301179

    Oh, and as I have always said. Don’t drool over eight-pack abs and enormous penises, while you yourself cry about how society forces women into being slim and big boobed.

    And to end it. Don’t come running to me now that I have lost all weight you teased me about when I grew up, now that I have gained a foot in height in my last grow spurt while you made fun of me for being to short. I deserve something a lot better than Not So Hot Chick who used to be hot.

  56. Oh Really Says:

    Daniel Hemmens

    This is what I mean by feminist shaming tactic. Just keep telling man that he is too picky and should lower his standards. So that when woman can’t compete on the meat market any more, then he will have so low self esteem that he will be thrilled that Chick that used to be hot will give him the time of day.

  57. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    I don’t quite understand how it’s a “shaming tactic” to suggest that if “hot” women don’t want to sleep with you (where “you” in this context is a the hypothetical subject of this “tactic”) that this is, well, entirely your problem.

    What’s the alternative, in your opinion? Should hot women deliberately have sex with men they *don’t* find attractive? In order to boost their self esteem? Which would be helpful because…

    I’m also not clear what “feminists” are supposed to gain from “shaming” men into having “low self esteem”. In my general experience, men with low self esteem are *colossal pains in the ass*.

  58. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Cessen, are you responding to me?

  59. Geek_Girl Says:

    A very well written article. Thank you Restructure, for bringing up this issue and for stating the obvious the way it really is.

    I’ve also noticed that there is some existing stereotype about the ‘geek girl’ appearance as well in groups and if a girl who is mathematical/technical/analytical/logical but does not necessarily prescribe to the ‘thick-glass-tomboy’ geek-girl stereotype that most films/cartoons would love to prescribe but she has a sense of style or dresses more ‘femininely’, many ‘geek guys’ immediately push her to the cliched ‘girly-girl’ stereotype which the media again projects many women as, and some even don’t stop from the slight condescending snicker.

    In either case the women in more technical fields have to deal with a double-bias. Feminists often take up the cause of women in liberal arts and other fields but the particular struggle-against-stereotyping that tech-science-brained women face is often not addressed or pushed under the rug. Or if tech-women even bring it up, it’s considered ‘irrelevant’. So thanks a lot for being brave to address it. I myself work in a technical field where there are only 10% women, so I know from experience that what you say is true, whether it sounds PoC or not. Thank you.

    Also, LOVED your post on the preconceived notions of scientists and how perceptions changed after the children visited the labs. As well as the one about math-brains.

  60. Oh Really Says:

    Daniel Hemmens

    My suggestion is simple. Feminists start telling women ‘You made the bed, now lie in it’. You are superficial, so don’t complain that you yourself are being held to superficial standards. Oh, and if you age badly and don’t have the level of looks that you previously demanded from others, bad for you.

    Or even simpler, if feminist reserves the right to demand eight pack abs and huge penis, then she should keep quiet about thin waist and big breasts herself. This is something that the feminist movement seem notoriously incapable of doing. First comes statement of ‘Female right to sexual preference’ after that comes ‘Down with photoshopping, stop setting unrealistic beauty standards’. It seems the movement wants it both ways. To chose but not be chosen.

    Feminist want men with low self esteem that are eternally grateful that women extend any curtsey whatsoever to them. This I have observed among other things in speeches such as first establishing that sex is no human right and man (gender, not used as general pronoun for humans) should just stop valuing sex so much. After this comes a long list of things that feminists think that society (men) should pay for when it comes to female sexual freedom.

  61. Jayn Says:

    “Feminist want men with low self esteem that are eternally grateful that women extend any curtsey whatsoever to them.”

    You just described abusers/control freaks (of both genders), not feminists. What feminists want are to be respected as people, rather than treated as brainless sex-objects.

  62. Oh Really Says:

    Jayn

    This is a fascinating thing I have observed. Every time criticism arises, then the response is either ‘Not my kind of feminism’ or Not Real Feminism ™.

  63. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    My suggestion is simple. Feminists start telling women ‘You made the bed, now lie in it’.

    Umm … first of all, I’m pretty sure that “telling women” things is generally considered a bad idea in feminist circles.

    Secondly, I’m pretty sure that feminists tend to be a-okay with the idea that women are capable of making their own choices and living with the consequences. I understand that some extremely *radical* feminists even believe that women will do this *without being told to*.

    Or even simpler, if feminist reserves the right to demand eight pack abs and huge penis, then she should keep quiet about thin waist and big breasts herself.

    Speaking *as* a feminist-identified heterosexual man, I’m not sure why I’d reserve the right to demand a huge penis in my sexual partners. Although I’m okay with eight-packs.

    More generally, though, you realize that “big muscles and a huge penis” is not, in fact, what most women want in a man (some women, sure but not most women – I am given to understand that huge penisis in particular are a mixed blessing for reasons I hope I don’t have to spell out). What you describe is actually a *male created* ideal which emphasises things that *men* think are important in *other men*. If it is this image of conventional masculinity that’s causing you trouble, you’re angry at the wrong people.

  64. Restructure! Says:

    Oh Really,

    Or even simpler, if feminist reserves the right to demand eight pack abs and huge penis,

    LOL #1 @ “huge penis”: You really don’t understand women. But hey, while you can’t trust anything women say, you can trust that the email spam selling penis-enlargement potions know what women really want.

    LOL #2 “eight pack abs”: I had to check if you were Hmmmm The Misogynist because of this, and it turns out you are! Still obsessed with your six pack abs and bitter that women aren’t flocking to you because of it! I thought you said you “don’t care” anymore, but apparently, you still do! But now you have convinced yourself that women aren’t flocking to you because you have a six pack instead of an eight pack. And because of your penis size.

  65. Restructure! Says:

    Geek_Girl,

    Feminists often take up the cause of women in liberal arts and other fields but the particular struggle-against-stereotyping that tech-science-brained women face is often not addressed or pushed under the rug.

    That’s why we have Geek Feminism.

  66. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure!

    I present for your own approval

    http://community.feministing.com/2009/09/penis-size.html#comment-301156

    Is this a spam email telling me about what women want?

    Or for that matter, what about this?

    http://community.feministing.com/2010/04/never-perfect.html

    Seems this thing about accepting other peoples preferences is not something that extends to women. I would say that the feminist movement had a lot more credibility if there were just as many feminists writing in the second thread defending the man’s right to his preference as there were in the first thread defending her right to preference.

  67. Jayn Says:

    How do you use a huge penis to attract girls, anyways? It’s not like you can walk around with it hanging out (well, you COULD, but you’d better have bail money).

    The funny thing is that he’s complaining about women wanting looks, yet based off what he’s posted here he could look like Johnny Depp and I still wouldn’t want to look at him.

  68. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure! Your nice blog doesn’t allow links to feministing, but do a search on google for penis size site:feministing.com and read what the feminists there says. I ask you, is this a spam email telling me?

    In the second case, do a search on google for

    never perfect site:feministing.com

    I ask, where are all the vocal defenders for the male preference in the second thread? The ones that so loudly supported the female right to have any preference whatsoever on the male physique. Oh, and I have personally witnessed women bragging about cheating on their partners with much more well endowed men and how much better those men were. So don’t pretend this does not exist.

    Oh, and I have come to understand why women reject me. It’s still because I have made it perfectly clear to them that my wallet is not their’s to use as they please. And yes I have also personally witnessed women talking about how their prime selection would be a manly man, someone exciting, but at least the boring guy has a lot of money. So don’t pretend this doesn’t exist either.

    So to sum it up. You are free to reject me, I am free to reject you, but don’t come complaining to me about how you can’t compete with photoshopped anorectic models when you defend female right to demand a male physique that demands a career as a professional athlete.

  69. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    Getting back to the original post… I’ve written about five responses to this and then deleted them.

    I think this is interesting and thought provoking, but I’m not sure I agree. On the other hand I suspect that this is in large part because I hang out in subtly different parts of Geek Culture.

    The areas of Geek Culture I tend to move in (Roleplayers, Pop Culture Geekdom, vague and tangential Goth overlap) tend to be less interested in “science, maths and technology” than in “creativity and imagination” (whatever they mean) which means that the kinds of Geek Men I’m used to tend to be less invested in stamping their seal on All Things Science, and in particular it makes the kinds of Geek Men I hang out with more inclined to reject gender-essentialist ideas about brain types – because most of us like to see ourselves as creative emotional types.

    But umm … yes, this is all quite thought-provoking. It had genuinely never occurred to me that geeks would be invested in defining geeky pursuits as specifically masculine (again, most of the geeks I’m used to like to do the opposite) but in the context you describe it makes rather worrying sense.

  70. Restructure! Says:

    Dear geeks in this thread who are not STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) geeks:

    If I referred to Slashdot and Digg male geeks (basically male tech/computer geeks but with STEM overlapping) as “typical male geeks”, would you feel that it marginalizes non-tech/non-STEM geekdom? Or do you feel that the standard geek definition has tech/computer geeks at the centre anyway?

  71. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Restructure!, do the soft sciences count?

  72. Geek_Girl Says:

    I’m in architectural design/structural engineering and I am often appalled how even design (and not just pure math/science) is seen as a ‘guy’ domain – yes – even furniture design now, where many talented women are pushed away through a lot of internal politics. What Restructure has written is very true. It occurs not just in high school, it spills over in the workforce too.

    I present – a video of a brilliant designer Marc Newson (and true he is a genius – but then I do know of women like that too who are never promoted in the same fashion). Newson in the first part of the film claims his ‘geekness’ through his words about ‘geeks and details’. In a good way. Yet what is very interesting and disturbing is how the presenter for the show describes design and geekness as ‘very male.’ Really – take a look. I found it so sad (and actually quite irritating – the smirk with which the presenter says ‘VERY male.’) – because that’s what a lot of women architects/engineers and designers face – ‘design’ is viewed as a male domain, and other tech/science fields even more so – this view largely maintained by the men in it. (never mind that some of the greatest renaissance architects were actually gay/bisexual or some of the ‘macho-est’ designs made by modern architects were actually done by their invisible female associates.) And the people who pay for this stereotype are the smart tech-brained women in these fields because it is true – that many men in this field seem to express their ‘maleness’ at the expense of the geek girls. It may sound un-PoC but a spade is a spade.

    It was bad enough when women architects were pushed into doing interiors even if they might have been better/equal in many cases than the men in structural engineering, but now even interior design is seen as some ‘male’ domain. The opening 5 minutes of this video is a clue in itself. I’ve been in the design field for 10 years, so I do know what I’m talking about. Female geeks are certainly the most under-represented minority. And if one is an ethnically mixed female geek sometimes the stereotypes one has to overcome to succeed are even doubled and tripled.

    “When male geeks discuss the topic of women in science, math, and technology, the skeptical and critical attitudes towards anecdotes normally valued in geek communities are eschewed in favour of narratives that appeal to male-geek self esteem and superiority.” well said and VERY true.
    Here’s a more hilarious video that shows again the stereotypes that occur (though this one is funny and stirical – but alas, often true in the female-stereotyping in male geekdom.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnvzAyZIqRc&feature=player_embedded

  73. fred Says:

    In spite of cessen’s troll comment, I would say there is quite a bit of common ground between cessen, oh really, jayn and myself. Or at least, there is common ground on the point which I’m more concerned with – People often pursue someone out of their league and then bitch when that person isn’t interested. I’ve noticed men and women both doing that.

    The difference, however, (and this is where I may diverge from other readers) is that men simply say “f’ing bitch” and let it go. Whereas ~some~ women sit around talking about how unfair and discriminatory it is.

    Now, I’m physically attractive so one might think I don’t have to worry about this. But they’d be wrong. For example, I’m not very good at flirting so I don’t have a good track record at pursuing women. I almost never get the girl I’m interested in. On the other hand, a lot of women hit on me. So even if I don’t get the girls who tickle my fancy I’m still getting plenty of opportunity. Or at least I used to. I’m married now.

    Now, there is still hope for you girls who are ugly, fat, etc. I had actually turned down several marriage proposals from really hot girlfriends before I asked my wife to marry me. My friends thought I was crazy because she was obese. But I just enjoyed being around her so I didn’t care. After we were married, she lost a lot of weight and actually turned out to be hotter than any chick I ever dated. I much prefer my wife hot than obese. But I’d still be with her either way.

    The problem is most people aren’t like me. If you aren’t hot then you aren’t getting the time of day. So you’d be better off going to the gym than bitching about geek guys not asking you out.

    Now you girls can listen to these feminists whining and bitching and join in if you want. But that isn’t going to get you any meat between your legs. Cuz that’s a real turn-off. Take my advice and go to the gym and beauty salon and make yourself hot. Those are the girls getting dates.

  74. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    I’m afraid the only answer I can give to that is “I don’t really read slashdot or digg so I seriously have no idea”.

    I think the problem is that geekdom is vast and nebulous and not terribly well defined, and everybody tends to think of their own bit of it as the “real bit” (I tend to say “it’s a geek thing” when I really mean “it’s an RPG thing” or “it’s a this-specific-TV-series-thing”).

    I hope I didn’t come across as defensive in my last post – I’m not actually particularly precious about “geek identity” and to be honest I think I’d be on thin ice complaining about my segment of geekdom being “marginalized”. (And even thinner ice complaining about people making broad generalisations about geek culture, because I do this myself all the freaking time).

    I absolutely don’t have a problem with you defining “typical” geeks however you like – I think the STEM definition (incidentally I’ve never heard the acronym before despite being a science teacher – I am really quite a *bad* geek) works fine and I’m certainly not bothered by anything in the original post, I just think that this is something that varies a lot between different areas of geekdom.

    Sorry, this is really freaking rambly now, the reason I found this article so interesting is because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about notions of masculinity amongst geek men recently because I, well, am one, and this gave me another perspective on it I hadn’t considered before simply because I know squat about STEM geekdom.

  75. Ampersand Says:

    If I referred to Slashdot and Digg male geeks (basically male tech/computer geeks but with STEM overlapping) as “typical male geeks”, would you feel that it marginalizes non-tech/non-STEM geekdom? Or do you feel that the standard geek definition has tech/computer geeks at the centre anyway?

    I’ve never thought that STEM is the center of geekdom. I don’t really think of geekdom as having a center.

  76. Geek_Girl Says:

    @ Fred : ” If you aren’t hot then you aren’t getting the time of day. So you’d be better off going to the gym than bitching about geek guys not asking you out.” Wow- that’s one of the most insensitive and presumptuous comment I’ve heard in a while…

    I’m a geek-girl, an architect AND was a print model for years and have won many awards for my academic/professional work and active in many other sports activities. Talking about geek-girl equality has nothing to do with looks. ‘Hotness’ and ‘geekiness’ in a girl is not contradictory. And what I’ve sadly noticed because I refused to compromise my femininity for my feminism is that if a geek-girl dresses or looks nice (and many do) then they are pigeonholed into being ‘less intelligent’ by geek guys or conversely the men often act flustered and tongue-tied around them.

    Asking for equality in math/science professions here in this article has nothing to do with looks. Whether a woman is attractive or average looks is irrelevant when it comes to feeling good-hearted or secure inside. Or demanding equal respect for brain capacities. We are not here because we’re ‘not getting laid’. What a misconstrued presumption! And in my experience geek girls are in fact more emotionally secure than most other shoe-holic/shopoholic women. I’ve dated intelligent attractive men and had many men who wanted to date me but I was very picky.

    What Restructure has written is how women’s capacities are stereotyped in the male fields. How wrong to think that this has anything to do with getting laid!

    I’ve seen many smokin’ hot super-smart geek girls in architecture and engineering who face the same biases that Restructure talks of here and so do many other geek girls who have average looks. It’s not to do with our ‘looks’, this article’s to do with the biases we face about our intelligence and professional capacities. And in my experience, I preferred dating non-geek guys because even though geek men made great buddies, I found most did have some underlying insecurity to not see themselves as alpha-males (which was very sad really) and thought that they were good only for women who were a little ‘lesser’ than them. It’s funny and sad how many geek men now turn up at the ‘shrink for men’ site because since they are shy, they are targets of manipulative women suffering from BPD (who are always non-geeks) who then end up leaving the men with even more issues about pigeonholing ‘women.’

    That being said, I understand that the naivete about deciphering different types of women by male geeks often occurs due to their introversion and an absence of too many women in the professions they usually take up.

  77. Cessen Says:

    @thewhatifgirl:
    Sorry, yes. I forgot to put your name next to the quoted section.

  78. Cessen Says:

    @fred:
    I wasn’t saying there wasn’t some commonality between what any of us are saying. I was saying that your comment was clearly trolling.

    Which it was. It was essentially, “Feminists are ugly!”

    How is that not a troll?

  79. Cessen Says:

    I found most did have some underlying insecurity to not see themselves as alpha-males (which was very sad really) and thought that they were good only for women who were a little ‘lesser’ than them.”

    This.

    But I would not include geek girls in the category of “lesser” by any means. There were definitely geek girls in my social group that I wanted to date. I basically didn’t think I was dateable. Which thankfully I later discovered was not the case when I went to college. But it was almost by chance.

    And yeah, it’s sad.

    I think some of the trouble also is just that we have this magical idea of romance, where everyone is supposed to find “someone”. Which is really bullshit. As has been said before on other sites, the universe does not owe you a boyfriend/girlfriend. We need to get over this idea that everyone deserves someone.

    Some people just get screwed in the game of match-making. Trying to lessen the number of people that do is laudable, but needs to be done without forcing people to date others that they don’t want to. ;-)

    (My… we have ventured far away from the original topic…)

  80. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Cessen, I think you misread me then.

  81. Geek_Girl Says:

    @Cessen.
    I meant ‘lesser’ only in the sense that those who had some insecurity of their own. In my experience geek girls were rather ‘more’ and more self-assured than those who purely based their worth on external factors. Yes – this is going off-topic but since you brought this, I can understand. I was a real geek-girl tomboy growing up and was teased a lot in school though I was good in studies. In my early twenties I found myself by accident turned into a print model as I was active in theatre. So I saw the ‘stereo-typification’ from both perspectives. The funny thing was I hadn’t changed but people’s perception of me was changed based on external grooming/dressing. So I saw both the pros and cons of being viewed purely externally as a tomboy-geek and a well-groomed-well-dressed-geek.

    The sad thing is that many geek men are exceptionally brilliant, sensitive and aware of global trends, more than ‘jocks’ usually are, yet as Restructure has written correctly they are not seen as alpha-males in domains where more extroverted type men are included. I have always personally preferred geek men, but find that if they have faced early rejections in life, they often get skeptical about women – and because most geek men are introverted the wounds are deeper. I later found that so many sadly were targets of women with BPD in their youth, that their opinions of women were badly affected. So even though tech-science brained women are in fact far more logical/self-assured/intellectual than many other women, they sadly have to face the ‘stereotyping’ caused by BPD/HPD non-geek women.

    As someone had written here, just as men are different in their types/personalities, so are women. And there is a difference between girls with more geeky brains vs. those with less geeky brains. And each group can look attractive/average. Looks has nothing to do with brains. We geek girls are only asking not to be stereotyped. And in NO way are geek girls ‘lesser.’ I’m in my 30s and in my experience I have seen that we geek girls who were bullied in school actually ended up having more guts and inner strength later in life than the so-called ‘popular girls.’

    I found the best way to stop getting ‘screwed’ is to read about diff. personality types and see red flags early on in relations. And avoid NPDs/BPDs in relations both amongst men and women. These are the ones who perpetrate gender myths the most and leave out the ‘nice-guys’ and ‘nice-girls.’

  82. fred Says:

    Geek Girl writes, “that’s one of the most insensitive and presumptuous comment I’ve heard in a while…”

    I don’t care whether its insensitive or not. It’s the truth. But if you really want insensitve then here ya go…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqXi8WmQ_WM

  83. Geek_Girl Says:

    @Fred. I didn’t find that video insensitive at all….I felt a lot of pity instead for the obvious cerebral trauma this bloke must have received in life. Seemed more like an audition for ‘Dumb and Dumberer’ to me. And a soulmate match for the likes of ‘Kendra.’
    That being said, since you have shown your own mental capabilities enough on this board, and seem to be baiting for a flamewar, I’m done here and am definitely not engaging with you any more. Deliberate exposure to Mind-numbing is not our style. You may go ahead and post or try to provoke as much as you want, you’re not getting any reactions.

    There’s an advantage in being a geek girl. Rationality and logic over irrational stupidity. And guys like that in the vid – jeepers – talk about an audition for ‘jackass.’ It’s so pathetically idiotic, it’s funny in a rather pitiful way. The same it feels at your attempts to troll. And just to aid a bit with your obvious lack of awareness, google Danika McKellar and then know what a math whiz geek girl can be.
    Good night and good riddance.

  84. fred Says:

    Geek Girl-

    No. The video is definitely insensitive. But it’s also hilarious. But you failed to realize that it’s actually a parody of sexism, rap, etc. If your knickers weren’t too tight you would have gotten the joke.

    I do, however, think your bringing up Danica McKellar is a bit odd. I mean, she’s attractive and intelligent. But I never said women couldn’t be smart and attractive. For example, I think your smart and attractive also. At least, I checked out your page and your pics looked alright. I hope my wife looks that good when she’s in her forties.

  85. fred Says:

    Hey! I just read your about about page. Monty Python fan, eh? Awesome. And you say you think in pictures. I know why. Because I do, too.

  86. Cessen Says:

    @thewhatifgirl:
    Ah, yes. Re-reading your comment makes me quite embarrassed. Sorry for the misinterpretation.

    I’m still bothered by the “grow out of it” bit, though, as that seems to suggest that they need to shift who they are attracted to. Certainly growing out of blaming others for their romantic failures is important (lest they turn into Nice Guys(tm)). But people are attracted to who they are attracted to. And certainly that can change over time, but I don’t think “growing out of it” is an appropriate way to describe such changes. And I think perhaps that’s what gave me the impressions I got upon the first reading.

    In the respect that they would be more successful in romance if they were attracted to different people, sure, it’s a good thing to change. But that can be said of many people’s attraction tendencies.

  87. Restructure! Says:

    In the post, I have changed

    Such male geeks typically argue that there are innate differences between male and female brains that make success in science, math, and technology exclusive to men.

    to

    Such male geeks typically argue that there are innate differences between male and female brains that make success in science, math, and technology exclusive to men.

  88. Lisa Harney Says:

    Nice. I think that’s pretty accurate. I do think it’s more widely applicable (like male gamer geeks, for example), but I’m not trying to nitpick.

    I recall a game designer (Wizards of the Coast? Jonathan Tweet?) saying last year that women’s brains aren’t wired for games because of evo psych. This doesn’t just have an impact on gaming as a hobby, but also a career.

  89. Epimetheus Says:

    > You just erased female geeks right there.

    I don’t see it. The comment is predicated that a person is credulously taking the definition of the word “geek” from a blog post. That filters out a rather larger swath of people, including myself. I’m not going to cop to erasing a population that I belong to.

    And no — it’s not coming strictly from your post, but from your uncritical reflection of problematic stereotypes. I wouldn’t care if you erroneously implied that typical geeks like carrots.

    In any case, in my view, my advocacy of geekdom on a feminist (yes also geek, but I don’t see geekdom as the surface of conflict here) blog obligates me to advocate some feminism on my geek blog. I will do this.

  90. Restructure! Says:

    I don’t see it. The comment is predicated that a person is credulously taking the definition of the word “geek” from a blog post. That filters out a rather larger swath of people, including myself. I’m not going to cop to erasing a population that I belong to.

    I do not see how I am “defining” the word “geek” in my blog post.

    And no — it’s not coming strictly from your post, but from your uncritical reflection of problematic stereotypes. I wouldn’t care if you erroneously implied that typical geeks like carrots.

    What uncritical reflection of problematic stereotypes?

  91. fred Says:

    I’m still amazed that people of any gender are actually proud to refer to themselves as “geeks”. What you’re experiencing isn’t “sexism”. It’s just the natural consequence of you being losers. LOL!

  92. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Cessen, no problem.

    I agree with your objection, to some degree. When I said “grow out of it”, I meant more along the lines of “mature into realizing that people with the same group marker are not all the same”. But I can see how you would interpret it as you did, too, in which case I think you are totally right.

  93. Cessen Says:

    @thewhatifgirl:
    Okay, thanks for the clarification. Yeah, I think we’re in agreement. Totally my fault for misreading you (and it probably means I have some more self-examination to do). My apologies.

    @fred:
    I’m confused: how are you not a troll, again? :-)

  94. fred Says:

    cessen-

    Because what I’m saying is true.

  95. Restructure! Says:

    Oh Really,

    Sorry, I just saw all the feministing comments in the spam folder, and I have approved them now. I think it might have been because your comments contained links with the word “penis”. However, I will look at those comments a bit later, because I don’t have time right now.

    Edit: Wow. One of your feministing links is about too much emphasis on penis size, and the other is about a man with double standards who expects perfection in women but expects women to accept his flaws. How does this help your argument at all? Aren’t you a penis-size-obsessed guy and a double-standards guy, attitudes which these posts are criticizing?

  96. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    So I’ve gone away and thought about this a bit more and I’ve pretty much gone from “I’m not sure I agree with this” to “Actually I totally agree with this.”

    While the examples in the main article don’t really reflect anything I’m familiar with, the underlying idea (that male geeks, in an effort to reassert their masculinity, exclude female geeks) is one that actually describes a lot of behaviour I *have* observed.

    A good example might be the tendency of video game geeks to (a) define “real” games as the ones which stereotypically appeal to men and to dismiss games which appeal primarily to women as “not real games” and (b) to deny the fact that large numbers of women play the games they define as “real”.

    More generally, there’s a tendency for male geeks to define geekdom in such a way that excludes the more “feminine” parts of it (that is to say, the parts of it which contain more stereotypically feminine elements) and excludes areas of geekdom in which women are (demographically) better represented. Ironically a good example of this appears upthread when a commenter insisted that he would “happily welcome most of the jocks he knew in highschool as sports geeks” rather than – say – “happily welcome most Stephanie Meyer fans as ‘Twilight Geeks’” or “happily welcome most /Harlequin/ readers as ‘Romance Geeks’.”

    Similarly, a lot of male geekdom is quite dismissive of fanfic, and generally doesn’t view it as a definitional “geek” activity in the same way as – say – playing FPSes or LARPing would be.

    Of course having written all this out, it strikes me that I may be missing the point of the original post (which seems to be grounded in a more concrete Science-and-Engineering view of geekdom) in which case I apologize.

    Also, just in case I’ve not made myself clear, I’m not arguing that the things like casual games and fanfic are *inherently* feminine activities, or that things like FPSes and RPGs are inherently masculine, just that they get stereotyped that way, and that geeks reinforce those stereotypes, and tend to exclude stereotypically feminine elements from their definition of geekdom.

    Hope that made some sense somewhere along the line.

  97. Restructure! Says:

    Daniel Hemmens,

    Hardcore Maleness by Rowan Kaiser

  98. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Cessen, no problem. I’m not always clear in what I am saying.

  99. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure!

    I am impressed, did you even read the penis size thread?
    Starting from this comment.

    “I think the problem is how important it’s supposed to be, specifically in “making men insecure” and how god forbid we should ever do that. Well, too bad if it does happen. Sure you can have sex without a big penis. You can also get off without another person there altogether. That should not be the point.
    …”

    I ask, in the second thread, where are all the loudspeaking proponents of the male right to preference? The ones that so vocally express their support in the penis size thread.

  100. Daniel Hemmens Says:

    Thanks for the link.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly the kind of phenomenon I was talking about (although for what it’s worth I’m not sure using “gamer” rather than “hardcore gamer” helps – I’m pretty sure most game-geeks don’t really think of bejewelled players as “gamers” either).

    I think the reason it took me a while to relate this to the phenomenon you describe in the original post is that it sort of works the opposite way around. Rather than stating *explicitly* that (say) video games are Boy Things for Boys, we define games that *don’t* fit that category as “not games” – it winds up having the same effect, but from the opposite direction.

  101. Restructure! Says:

    Oh Really,

    You seem to be missing the point of the comment. Here is the entire comment, the latter part which you skipped over because you didn’t understand:

    I think the problem is how important it’s supposed to be, specifically in “making men insecure” and how god forbid we should ever do that. Well, too bad if it does happen. Sure you can have sex without a big penis. You can also get off without another person there altogether. That should not be the point. Why do we, as women, constantly assume responsibility for “not making men feel bad”, about their dicks or anything else? They sure don’t return the favour much. I don’t care about their insecurities. It’s their problem. They can stare in the mirror all day for all I care and I will just laugh.

    The point is that it’s not a woman’s responsibility to not make a man insecure. It’s actually the man’s job. Read this comment by Daniel Hemmens again.

  102. Oh Really Says:

    Restructure!

    I am going to make you happy. I will never comment on this blog again. It is obvious that you are so stuck in your gynocentric fixation that you can not even see your double standards.

    God bye.

  103. Restructure! Says:

    Yes, because being against phallocentrism—which is the point of the “too much emphasis on penis size” post and point of the comment about how women’s lives should not revolve around making a man feel good about his penis/masculinity—is somehow “gynocentric”. God forbid if feminists even suggest that women’s culture should not be supporting/following men’s culture of obsessing over penises. Anything where the penis isn’t the centre of the world, even for women, must be “gynocentric”.

    (sarcasm)

  104. Restructure! Says:

    Daniel Hemmens,

    Yes, I think of that hardcore vs. casual game article as somewhat related, but coming from a different direction, as it’s not really an exact parallel.

  105. Jay Says:

    You linked a sarcastic Evolutionary Psychology Bingo Card to prove one of your premises. Not a good defense.

  106. fred Says:

    restructure writes, The point is that it’s not a woman’s responsibility to not make a man insecure. It’s actually the man’s job.

    I agree. Neither is it a man’s responsibility to not make a woman insecure. Which flies in the face of this article and what most of you have been saying.

  107. Lisa Harney Says:

    You’re confusing some concepts, but since you’re not here to contribute, this isn’t a surprise.

    She’s saying it’s not a woman’s responsibility to make a man not feel insecure.

    She’s saying men actively exclude women from STEM and make us feel unwelcome. This is not insecurity, but sexism.

  108. goaler Says:

    hey miss restructure maybe its youre privates that have to large of a diameter and not the mens size we should be concerned about! why dont you have a blog on this issue?

  109. fred Says:

    goaler-

    Don’t go there.

  110. fred Says:

    I just asked the three women in my life if they thought “sexism” was a problem.

    My mother said that it used to be 40 years ago. And that she had known women with degrees who started out as technicians instead of engineers. And that they had lost money and promotions because of it. She also said that today some women actually get more than they deserve because companies don’t want to be accused of sexism.

    My sister said she occasionally runs into men who are sexist. But that she wasn’t sure if they were sexist or just jerks. And that it wasn’t enough to make a difference. She also said she usually gets along better with men because a lot of women are “bitches and backstabbers”. Her words, not mine. I’ve also heard the same thing from other women.

    My wife said she occasionally runs into difficult men. But that she also runs into difficult women. She also said she doesn’t have any problems getting along with most people. And if someone is having a lot of problems getting along with people that it’s probably them.

    ===================

    In every single survey where people are asked to compare their intelligence to others the majority of people say they are above average. Now, this is obviously impossible. By definition, only half the people can be above average. The rest are necessarily below average. This is because most people over estimate their abilities relative to others. This is called “illusory superiority”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_superiority

    Similarly, most people think they should be making more money than everyone else. No shit! I’d like to be making more money than everyone else, too! If only that brown-nosing bastard with the corner office wasn’t married to the boss’s niece maybe I could get ahead!

    I’m just kidding about the guy in the corner office. I actually got tired of doing the work while affirmative action candidates get the credit, raises and promotions. So I quit and started my own company.

    So was I right or wrong? Was I suffering from “illusory superiority”? Well, after I quit the company some of those affirmative action candidates hired me back as a consultant. So now I’m making twice as much money as before, doing the same job I was doing before, because they don’t know how to do it. And the ones hiring me back are the ones doing the most bitching about “sexism” and “white privilege”. It’s all I can do not to laugh in their faces.

    Interestingly enough, the one I had always held in high esteem don’t bitch at all. That reminds me of an old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Only in this case it should be, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, bitch.”

  111. Restructure! Says:

    Men overestimate their intelligence in all 12 countries, research finds

  112. fred Says:

    restructure-

    The study referenced in your article is mentioned in the wikipedia article on “illusory superiority” that I linked. It says “men are more likely to overestimate their intelligence by 5 points, while women are more likely underestimate their IQ by a similar margin.” And I don’t doubt that.

    But not all women bitch about sexism. So I would like to see a “break out” specifically for women who bitch about sexism. How does their estimation of their abilities compare with reality? And equally important, how does their estimation of others’ abilities compare with reality? After all, the perception of discrimination is relative to BOTH factors.

    But there is still another aspect to consider. The wikipedia article I linked references a study by CL Dowling in which he found that “the ability to accurately estimate others’ intelligence was proportional to one’s own intelligence.” This is particularly important since most people don’t normally hire and promote themselves. And one would think those who do hire and promote others would be of higher intelligence and, hence, a better judge of the abilities of others.

    So, ultimately, how one estimates their own abilities relative to others has no real bearing on whether one gets what they deserve. It only affects whether one THINKS they got what they deserved.

  113. Restructure! Says:

    And one would think those who do hire and promote others would be of higher intelligence and, hence, a better judge of the abilities of others.

    Why would you think so? Is it because these people tend to be rich white men? (Are you one who hires and promotes others?)

  114. goaler Says:

    and do the chinese hire outside of their race ,NOT.
    they are most racist people of all, especially towards the black community!
    only want something to do with others if they are wanting.

  115. Jayn Says:

    Fred, one doesn’t have to ‘bitch about sexism’ to realize that it still exists and is still an issue in today’s culture. I’ve personally been very fortunate to be the recipient of very little overt sexism in my life, so I don’t have much to complain about, but I can still see some of the ways that it affects our society and harms both men and women.

    There is still a sense of the ‘masculine’ being superior to the ‘feminine’ in our culture. This leads to the ‘feminine’ being undervalued, and by extension women often are undervalued. On the flip side, however, it is more socially acceptable for a woman to take on ‘male’ roles than for the reverse, so men are pressured to avoid things seen as feminine, which is kind of where this article comes in.

    These attitudes often slip into hiring and promoting decisions, even when the person making the decision isn’t aware of it, and especially when parents are involved. For men, having kids can help their careers, while for women the reverse is usually the case. This is at least partly due to the idea that women are nurturers, so they often wind up doing most of the child-rearing, which leads to both them taking more time off for child duties (which is going to cause problems in and of itself) and an attitude that if she’s working, her children are being neglected, and thus she’s neglecting her ‘real’ job.

  116. fred Says:

    restructure writes, Why would you think so? Is it because these people tend to be rich white men? (Are you one who hires and promotes others?)

    Actually, I was once tasked with recruiting professionals for a fairly large corporation. At one point we were taken into a back room and quietly told we had to have a certain percentage of women and minorities. I reviewed many of these people myself and was forced to recommend a number of them over more qualified white men just to make the quota.

    Now, my business is small enough that I don’t have to worry about “diversity”. You don’t sound like you’ve ever owned a business so I’ll explain to you what small business owners look for – THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB!!!

    A small business owner can’t afford to discriminate. Not even to hire a friend or a relative. It just costs too much money to hire an idiot. If there were any women and minorities being discriminated I would start singing “happy birthday to me…” because I would be able to snap them up at a discount. As it is, it’s white men who are being discriminated against and so I gladly hire them at a discount instead. So I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on affirmative action. Because it allows me to hire better employees for lower pay.

    ===============

    jayn writes, “one doesn’t have to ‘bitch about sexism’ to realize that it still exists and is still an issue in today’s culture.”

    You’re entitled to your opinion. I would just hope that when an opinion adversely affects others you do your best to make sure its correct.

    There is still a sense of the ‘masculine’ being superior to the ‘feminine’ in our culture.

    You sure wouldn’t know it by watching sitcoms. Regardless, there are more women than men. So I don’t know what to tell you. Personally I get along with women slightly better than I get along with men. Men tend to be too competitive with other men which comes out in nasty ways. Of course, I can see that women often behave similarly towards other women. But as a man I normally don’t have to worry about women treating me that way. Unless they’re the nasty feminist type. In which case I just save myself problems by avoiding them.

    On the flip side, however, it is more socially acceptable for a woman to take on ‘male’ roles than for the reverse, so men are pressured to avoid things seen as feminine, which is kind of where this article comes in.

    That’s a very reasonable comment. And I imagine that men are discouraged from going into nursing or elementary education because of it. Still, I wouldn’t want a man to watch young children or elderly patients in a nursing home. Not that women never abuse. But men are a much higher risk and that’s just a fact.

    It is similarly a fact that the role of “woman as nurturer” does affect business and legal decisions. However, I wouldn’t consider it sexism because it’s a legitimate concern. If a woman takes maternity leave or extra days off to take children to the doctor, etc then it costs the business money. Businesses should be allowed to factor that into hiring, promotion, compensation, etc.

    On the other hand, I certainly wouldn’t want undue hardship placed on someone because of it. I’m not sure what the best solution for that is. But I’d like to see a reasonable compromise.

    I would point out, however, that most women don’t object when young male drivers pay higher insurance rates or divorced fathers get screwed with custody. But your last comment was rather reasonable so don’t take that as me throwing it in your face. I’m just saying.

    and an attitude that if she’s working, her children are being neglected, and thus she’s neglecting her ‘real’ job.

    That’s a very interesting comment. I once took a few months off to look after the kids while my wife was busy with her career and I’m the one who got dirty looks for it.

  117. Jayn Says:

    “However, I wouldn’t consider it sexism because it’s a legitimate concern”

    The sexism isn’t in that it’s a legitimate concern, the sexism is that it’s almost ALWAYS women who suffer for it, because they’re the ones expected to take on those extra chores. Some men do help with the childcare–some even stay home and let the wife be the breadwinner. But that’s still pretty uncommon.

    “I once took a few months off to look after the kids while my wife was busy with her career and I’m the one who got dirty looks for it.”

    That’s the other side of things. You strayed from your expected role, that of breadwinner, and took on the ‘feminine’ role of child rearing. (Although, props to you for being willing to take on that role.) People generally don’t like it when you stray from teh expected social narrative.

    “And I imagine that men are discouraged from going into nursing or elementary education because of it.”

    It’s more common socially than career-wise for this discouragement to happen–when’s the last time you saw a man wearing a dress who wasn’t in drag? Still, I hope you’re not so dense as to not realise that while nursing is a ‘feminine’ profession, the more prestigious doctor career is considered a ‘masculine’ profession. (Likewise with childhood educators vs. university professors.)

    “I would point out, however, that most women don’t object when young male drivers pay higher insurance rates or divorced fathers get screwed with custody.”

    Believe it or not, this is the kind of issue feminists are concerned with. We want equality–anywhere that women and men are treated differently we want to change things. Generally, men are privileged over women, but as a feminist, I do have an issue with situations where the reverse is true.

  118. goaler Says:

    if insurance rates can be gender related,
    then why not cultural related?
    a study through a major metropolitan fire dept clearly showed
    one culture was a higher risk for accidents per cap.

  119. goaler Says:

    Why is it that the white male , and only the white male can,
    Be hit over the head with a frying pan.
    Made to look stupid in front of their children in solving household problems by their spouse.
    Have there bodies, fat bellies mocked.
    And made out to have the lesser I.Q. in financial issues.
    And it is a white male that is always shown as the criminal behind bars in the crime stoppers posters. that is a joke!
    This is what occurs on all telivision and other advertisement on a regular day!
    I wonder if the man gave the wife a tap over the head with a hammer,
    mocked her fat ass,
    down graded her in front of their children,
    or if a black women was used in the crime stoppers poster,
    Would this be ok or not?
    Huge double standard in place !

  120. Lisa Harney Says:

    Men can be portrayed this way because they’re also portrayed as having a hot wife who will make sure everything turns out okay anyway. Men are portrayed as having leeway to slack off because women will pick that slack up for them.

    As for men being mocked for being fat? Have you noticed that misogyny and fat hatred also intersect? Do you think fat women never experience any hatred?

    As for the crime stopper poster, oh my god, don’t even make me laugh.

  121. goaler Says:

    Lisa i think you are living in the past.
    Would you not agree that the white male is constantly the one that is the tolerated target of these degrading commercials?
    And Lisa does this occur amongst any others?

  122. Lisa Harney Says:

    Let’s talk about fat. Did you know that recently, Lane Bryant tried to air a lingerie commercial featuring a plus size model, and ABC and Fox refused to air the commercial? You complain about fat men being ridiculed on television, and I am telling you that women that, honestly, wouldn’t even qualify as fat are too heavy to even appear on television.

    I also see women degraded in quite a few commercials aimed at men. I don’t know what you’re watching.

  123. goaler Says:

    cdn television Lisa!

  124. Lisa Harney Says:

    So Canadian television only shows imagery of men you find negative, and never any of women?

    I find that hard to believe given the conversations with Canadians I’ve been privy too, and I’ve heard your exact complaints from American men, down to the “how horrible it is that they make men look like buffoons compared to women” rather than “how horrible it is that they make it look like no matter how little responsibility men take, women are there to clean up their messes.”

    And I still can’t believe you’re trying to say fat hatred against men is worse than it is against women. First, there is no hierarchy of oppressions (Audre Lorde). Second, women have to deal with fat hatred and misogyny, and putting both of them together doesn’t simply add them up like 2+2, they affect each other in pretty unique ways that men just don’t experience (see Audre Lorde reference above).

  125. goaler Says:

    thats what he said!

  126. fred Says:

    jayn-

    You appear more reasonable than some of the other folks. So maybe you’ll appreciate the reasoning behind what I’m about to share with you.

    Your concerns seem to center more on social pressures and relationship inequities than anything else. For example, you mention the inequities of women who work doing more than their share of the housework. I’m aware of that. But why would you allow that to happen? That doesn’t happen in my home because my wife and I have discussed it and come to a fair arrangement. At least we think it’s fair. If you don’t think your arrangement is fair then its on you.

    As for social discouragement regarding career, why would you even care what others think? If someone tried to tell me what I could or couldn’t do I’d show them my middle finger and then I’d show them the door.

    You’re not helpless. You have personal power in your own life whether it’s career or social pressures or relationships. When you say others are controlling your situation then you are surrendering your personal power. Why would you give others that kind of power over you?

  127. Jayn Says:

    Part of it is internalisation. These things are so normal to us that it doesn’t occur to us that no, it’s NOT fair. When they’re pointed out to you they’re obvious, but until that point you don’t question it. If you’re not aware of it, I suggest you look up the Bechdel test. It’s really, really depressing how many movies fail it. But it’s part of the culture we grew up in, so we don’t notice how unbalanced male and female roles are. Likewise with the choices we make. If we’re raised in a world where the men all work and the women all stay home with the kids, it may not occur to us to do anything differently.

    The other thing is that when you go against the grain, you pay for it, as you found out when you took time off to care for your kids. Sometimes, it’s not worth it for a person to do that, and there’s nothing wrong with someone deciding that the personal price isn’t worth it to them. But that’s why feminists are working to change the social narrative, and question the status quo, so that people don’t have to pay those prices.

    It’s not really about giving up power, it’s about realizing that we HAVE that power. And even then, there’s a limit. I’m going into a male-dominated profession, and one of my teachers has a story about how she had to practically blackmail her boss to get the promotion she wanted.

    There’s too much to really get into here. The sexist attitudes our society holds are really insidious, and there are a lot of ways that we are conditioned since birth to behave in certain ways based on our gender. I feel very fortunate in that my parents never forced me to behave in any particular way–my mother taught me to sew, and my father taught me to use power tools–and I’ve never felt limited by my gender. Even so, I’ve still absorbed some of the sexist (and other -ist) ideas prevalent in our society, and now I’m working to be aware of and question them. A lot of people don’t get that far.

  128. Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks. | Geek Feminism Blog Says:

    [...] This post was originally published at Restructure! [...]

  129. Jeff B. Says:

    First of all, I really liked this article. It was a bit infuriating at times, but it’s nice to see something that gets one thinking about one’s own thought process. Great job. I’ll be adding this blog to my reader for sure.

    That said, I do have one small complaint, following epimetheus: your use of “most male geeks” or “typical male geeks.”

    Anyways, I think the reason I was somewhat miffed by this post was that I, as a “male geek”, am horrified at the thougth of being judged as part of the crowd over at slashdot or digg or (god forbid) the *chans. Maybe instead of using phrases like “typical” or “most” you could have used “some” or “the slashdot / digg communities feel that” in the future?

    I mean, what is a “typical geek?” Geekdom is a large and varied community, and geekdom is not exclusive to other activities. It’s perfectly feasible to be somewhat jock-ish and somewhat geeky. Back when I was in high school I’d come home from a varsity ice hockey games and play Mechwarrior III or magic: the gathering online. I still play m:tg, video games, and watch battlestar after working out at rugby practice. I hum the star wars theme while looking through my microscope at work (I’m a microbiologist)

    I certainly agree that some internet geek communities have systemic issues in how they deal with women. If you think slashdot and digg are deserving of such a blasting, I can only imagine what you would say in regards to /b/.

    @ Fred

    ” Ever noticed how most feminists are unattractive with a bad attitude? That’s why I always figured the road to feminism was paved with bitterness and rejection”

    That kind of talking is A. a bad way to try and start a constructive conversation, B idiotic and C. really really obvious trolling. So, please don’t ever accuse somebody else of trolling after a comment like that–it reeks of hypocrisy.

  130. fred Says:

    jayn writes, “Part of it is internalisation.”

    Are you actually blaming others for your own thoughts and feelings? Surely you can see how mistaken and unproductive that is. If you don’t like what is on television then turn it off. F* television. I got so disgusted with it that I tore the antennae off my roof and cancelled my cable subscription. My reasons for doing so might appear different from yours ie your not wanting to “internalize” sexism versus my not wanting leftist hollywood homosexuals influencing my children. But it really all amounts to the same thing – We simply don’t like other people telling us what to think. The difference is that you’re complaining about a problem that I’ve already solved.

    The other thing is that when you go against the grain, you pay for it, as you found out when you took time off to care for your kids.

    I wasn’t complaining about people giving me “dirty looks” for taking care of my children. I don’t care what people think. I mentioned it because I thought it was a funny story.

    I’m going into a male-dominated profession, and one of my teachers has a story about how she had to practically blackmail her boss to get the promotion she wanted.

    I’m sure that from her perspective she had to blackmail someone into giving her the job she “deserved”. On the other hand, I wonder how much one deserves a position if they had to blackmail their boss into giving it to them. Not that such things don’t happen all the time. But I personally wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that. Which is why I started my own business. Once again, your complaining about a problem that I’ve already solved. Start your own business. That way the only person you have to blame is yourself.

    I feel very fortunate in that my parents never forced me to behave in any particular way–my mother taught me to sew, and my father taught me to use power tools–and I’ve never felt limited by my gender.

    That’s great. Everyone should be allowed to do what they’re capable of. My sons and I all sew and knit. And I taught my wife to use tools. But I still do all the “man’s work” because I’m the man. :P”

    ===============

    Jeff B.-

    A Bite me
    B Your momma
    C I haven’t accused anyone of trolling

  131. Jayn Says:

    “Are you actually blaming others for your own thoughts and feelings?”

    That’s a little strong, especially because they probably don’t realise themselves how sexist our society is. ‘Subliminal messages’, I guess would be the way to put it. It isn’t as simple as being told what to think–it’s about certain things seeming to be givens.

    You’re right, I don’t like being told what to think. But it was really scary to realise that I’ve spent my whole life trying to achieve some sort of male ideal. There’s a part of me that still sees the masculine as being better, and while I’m trying to change that, it’s very ingrained. I hate that part of me, and others like it, because they fly in the face of my philosophy of equality, and without the insight of other feminists, and some serious introspection, I never would have realised they were there.

    “I wasn’t complaining about people giving me “dirty looks” for taking care of my children. I don’t care what people think. I mentioned it because I thought it was a funny story.”

    You’re fine with catching shit for the choices you make. That’s great! Some other people aren’t capable of dealing with it as you did. And neither you nor they should have to put up with it.

    “Which is why I started my own business.”

    You make it sound so easy. It isn’t. We’re not all the entrepreneurial type. Some of us aren’t suited to that sort of thing. Others aren’t in a financial situation that allows them to make such a bold move. Still others may have time or energy constraints that make the work of starting their own business more than they can take on. And some of us just plain don’t want to. Frankly, starting your own business isn’t an option for everyone.

    “But I still do all the “man’s work” because I’m the man.”

    I don’t know how to take this.

  132. fred Says:

    jayn writes That’s a little strong, especially because they probably don’t realise themselves how sexist our society is. ‘Subliminal messages’, I guess would be the way to put it.

    I’m immune to ‘subliminal messages’.

    You’re right, I don’t like being told what to think.

    Then think your own thoughts. If you think you’ve had some mistaken notions in the past then fine. But don’t be so quick to replace one set of crap with another. By the way, I hope you realize I’m not telling you want to think. On the contrary, I’m telling you to think for yourself, forget about what others think about you, take responsibility for yourself and you’re the only one who has power over your own life. I’m talking about real liberation and not just getting sucked into someone else’s political bullshit.

    Some other people aren’t capable of dealing with it as you did. And neither you nor they should have to put up with it.

    You’re as capable of dealing with it as I am. The difference is I don’t care what people think. Regardless, you’re going to have to put up with shit whether you like it or not because “shit happens”.

    You make it sound so easy. It isn’t.

    Sure it is. 14 hours a day / 7 days a week and in just a few short years you’ll be an “overnight success” too.

    I don’t know how to take this.

    I taught my wife how to use tools but she still makes me do all the “man’s work” because she says I’m “the man”.

  133. Jayn Says:

    Okay, my energies are going to be needed elsewhere for the next while, so I need to end this. But I do need to point out that your responses so far have been classic victim blaming, along with a pretty amazing display of privilege. Your last comment is also a perfect example of the type of cultural conditioning I’ve been talking about.

    Bear with me for a moment and play along, ‘kay?

    Imagine, for a moment, walking into a video game store. You do a quick check and determine that 95% of the games feature female protagonists, and 75% of the rest are steeped in patronizing male stereotypes.

    Imagine that you wouldn’t dare walk alone at night because you’re afraid of being attacked. Imagine that you were constantly being told to avoid wearing certain things to avoid sexual harassment. Imagine that if you did experience harassment, you’ll get told that a. you were asking for it and/or b. you should be flattered.

    Imagine any successful male you know being accused of achieving what he did because of his looks or who he’s sleeping with.

    Imagine walking into a movie theatre and the only film playing with a male protagonist is a trashy ‘boy flick’ that no woman in her right mind would be caught watching except for the sake of her boyfriend, unless she’s a lesbian. Imagine that the male lead in every other film playing is the romantic interest for one of the female leads.

    Imagine a world where men boys are expected to ‘save themselves’ for ‘the one’, and women are expected to sleep around to prove their womanhood. Imagine that boys are assumed to have no sex drive, thus those who do have sex are considered sluts with no self-respect who are only doing it to get things from women.

    Imagine a world where a man running for political office is a notable event.

    Imagine walking into a store and being able to recognise anything being marketed to men by the fact that it’s blue, possibly with ducks and trees on it. Imagine that no women would wear or use anything blue, or decorated with ducks and trees.

    Could you really blame someone living in such a world for thinking that women are better than men? Because in such a world, men are clearly treated as being second class. That’s the kind of world I, and every other woman here lives in. Virtually every bit of media we are exposed to since birth sends and reinforces the message that men are the primary, men are the alpha, that women only exist for the sake of men.

    One last thing:

    “Sure it is. 14 hours a day / 7 days a week and in just a few short years you’ll be an “overnight success” too.”

    Thanks for proving my point.

  134. Girls aren’t a monolith, but male geeks are « Toy Soldiers Says:

    [...] in point, feminist blogger Restructure attacked male geeks and geek culture. No substantive evidence was presented demonstrating that geek culture revolves around excluding [...]

  135. Grillen sind die coolsten Tiere « kiturak Says:

    [...] Restructure!, vie Geek Feminism Blog: Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks. [...]

  136. Restructure! Says:

    fred,

    I’m immune to ‘subliminal messages’.

    Wow.

    No, you are not. Go here (Demonstration), click through the disclaimers, and take the one called “Gender-Science IAT”.

    The point is that you are generally not conscious of your unconscious thoughts.

  137. Restructure! Says:

    Anyways, I think the reason I was somewhat miffed by this post was that I, as a “male geek”, am horrified at the thougth of being judged as part of the crowd over at slashdot or digg or (god forbid) the *chans. Maybe instead of using phrases like “typical” or “most” you could have used “some” or “the slashdot / digg communities feel that” in the future?

    I don’t think it’s limited to Slashdot and Digg. It’s also Hacker News, to a lesser extent, and Reddit too. I suppose I’m using the tech/computer geek definition of “geek”, which refers to tech/computer geeks.

    I certainly agree that some internet geek communities have systemic issues in how they deal with women. If you think slashdot and digg are deserving of such a blasting, I can only imagine what you would say in regards to /b/.

    I want to write a post about /b/ one day, but that would mean I have to revisit it, and I already cannot unsee the stuff I saw last time.

  138. fred Says:

    your responses so far have been classic victim blaming, along with a pretty amazing display of privilege.

    your responses are what what i refer to as “howling at the moon.” the moon is there whether you like it or not. so howling at it isn’t going to accomplish anything. instead i’m counseling you to take personal responsibility for yourself. and that’s the one thing you can do something about.

    Imagine walking into a video game store…

    Imagine walking into a movie theatre…

    Movies and video games are market driven. Those videos and movies are produced because that’s what makes money. I don’t like most of them, either. So I don’t watch or play them. And that’s my choice. Although you would probably consider that a “privilege”.

    Imagine that you wouldn’t dare walk alone at night because you’re afraid of being attacked. Imagine that you were constantly being told to avoid wearing certain things to avoid sexual harassment. Imagine that if you did experience harassment, you’ll get told that a. you were asking for it and/or b. you should be flattered.

    There are places I don’t walk alone at night. There are certain things I don’t wear because of the response it provokes. And I’ve been sexually harrassed a number of times by sexually aggressive women who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

    Imagine any successful male you know being accused of achieving what he did because of his looks or who he’s sleeping with.

    And YOU imagine any successful female you know being accused of achieving what she did because of discrimination or privilege.

    The sleeping for promotions thing is a legitimate complaint. I’ve known men and women who have both done that.

    Imagine a world where men boys are expected to ‘save themselves’ for ‘the one’, and women are expected to sleep around to prove their womanhood.

    I don’t agree with promiscuity and neither does anyone I associate with. You should associate with a better class of people.

    Imagine a world where a man running for political office is a notable event.

    Yeah, well, you’re the ones making a big deal out of gender. Not me.

    Imagine walking into a store and being able to recognise anything being marketed to men by the fact that it’s blue, possibly with ducks and trees on it. Imagine that no women would wear or use anything blue, or decorated with ducks and trees.

    Great! I like blue, ducks and trees.

    Could you really blame someone living in such a world for thinking that women are better than men? Because in such a world, men are clearly treated as being second class.

    Once again you’re blaming others for your own thoughts and feelings.

    That’s the kind of world I, and every other woman here lives in. Virtually every bit of media we are exposed to since birth sends and reinforces the message that men are the primary, men are the alpha, that women only exist for the sake of men.

    Ever seen “Everybody Loves Raymond” or “King of Queens”? In fact, I can’t think of a sitcom in which men aren’t mocked and ridiculed. But I don’t really care because it’s just television. Men are similarly mocked on commercials but there is a reasonable explanation for it. Women do most of the shopping so those ads are targeted towards women. The difference is you won’t see me crying about it.

    ==================
    One last thing:

    “Sure it is. 14 hours a day / 7 days a week and in just a few short years you’ll be an “overnight success” too.”

    Thanks for proving my point.

    Actually, you just proved my point that women aren’t discriminated against. You just don’t want to do what it takes to get the results you want. You want others to do the work and then have it handed to you.

  139. goaler Says:

    Speaking of male geeks, i cannot believe during the lebron jamen decision show on espn.not one of the anaylsts were of the white texture.

    Seems to me hockey night in canada and blue jays baseball , even the OHL have token minority, forced upon, politically correct, analysts from all walks of life.

    But i guess the predominatley black NBA has its own set of rules!
    oh but thats alright though right?
    next year maybe we can get some judges in the miss black america pagent if we can get the naacp on our side!

  140. Mort Says:

    Can someone tell me what a monolith is? I see it show up in feminist discussions all the time, and its never explained.

    Moving on.

    “Restructure!” I am a male video game, movie, anime,manga, comic book and music geek. Even though your blog is supposedly about a different subset of geeks it still offends me greatly. First, you offer absolutely no proof or evidence of your claims anywhere on your post. You offer no interviews with male or female (computer) geeks, no statistics of any sort about men and women graduating with bachelors degrees in computer science. Its just what you THINK about male (computer) geeks.

    While you can say “Oh I mean most male computer geeks in my blog” its still insulting. Why? Because once again, without any proof its still just what you THINK about men who work with and enjoy computer sciences and other hard sciences.

    Let me tell you something. While the word geek is often used against people interested in things like hard sciences and computers, even back in the 80′s it’s definition is a catch all for people with “Socially uncool” interests and hobbies, as well as people who take generally socially acceptable hobbies and obsess over them (movies for example).

    The taking back of the word geek has nothing to do with masculinity, or femininity, or anything along those lines. Its about being proud of your hobbies, the things you like, and yourself. Its about “So I read Aquaman books. So what?”. Its not some way of making computer sciences a boys only club or trying to be “a big man”.

  141. Lisa Harney Says:

    Yeah, what she’s saying? It’s not just her.

    And yes, I have seen male geeks constantly define geeky interests as inherently masculine interests. There’s a reason that there are no girls on the internet is a popular joke to make…among male geeks.

  142. Restructure! Says:

    Mort,

    You offer no interviews with male or female (computer) geeks [...] The taking back of the word geek has nothing to do with masculinity, or femininity, or anything along those lines. Its about being proud of your hobbies, the things you like, and yourself. Its about “So I read Aquaman books. So what?”. Its not some way of making computer sciences a boys only club or trying to be “a big man”.

    You are assuming that I am not a geek (because I’m female and a “feminist”), and you are misreading the post as saying that any time a male geek identifies as a geek it is in response to the male social hierarchy.

  143. Mort Says:

    “And yes, I have seen male geeks constantly define geeky interests as inherently masculine interests. There’s a reason that there are no girls on the internet is a popular joke to make…among male geeks.”

    You get bonus points for mentioning TvTropes. I love that site. I was actually just there editing a page. That said, “There Are No Girls On the Internet” is a joke/meme because of the fact that its dead horse nature. Its a joke that satirizes the silly nature of assuming everyone you meet on the internet is male. I’ll take the time to read the things you recommended and I might post on them later if I find them interesting.

    Moving on.

    “You are assuming that I am not a geek(because I’m female and a “feminist”)”

    No, I’m assuming that you are not a geek because of your willingness to stereotype, mock and generalize them while showing general ignorance on the whole subculture.

    “Typical male geeks argue that to be a geek is to be masculine by interpreting the scientific, mathematical, and technological achievements of overwhelmingly male persons as definitive proof that science, math, and technology are inherently male and define maleness.”

    When you use phrases like “typical male geeks” you can only assume one of two things; First you mean the majority of geeks, or the most visible ones that people will encounter. Also when you post a definition that states:

    “it means building your entire identity around consumable entertainment like videogames and anime.”

    No, it means building your recreational hobbies around consumable entertainment like video games and anime. If you are consuming enough video games and or anime and or any other form of entertainment to the point where it constitutes a lifestyle and aren’t being paid for it, you have problems beyond just being a geek. People like that who shrug off all social, economic, and/or educational responsibilities over a hobby are called neets. Or Hikkikimori in Japan.

    If you have a problem with sexism somewhere, or are actually experiencing it, call them out on it. Personally. Get their IP addresses, usernames, whatever and actually show them up on it rather than calling out and blaming “Typical male geeks” on it.

    Typical feminists…

    See what I did there? Its not nice.

  144. Restructure! Says:

    Mort,

    No, I’m assuming that you are not a geek because of your willingness to stereotype, mock and generalize them while showing general ignorance on the whole subculture.

    Firstly, I am not criticizing “geeks”; I am criticizing most/typical male geeks. Why would I mock myself? Secondly, you are showing general ignorance on the geekdom I am discussing.

    No, it means building your recreational hobbies around consumable entertainment like video games and anime.

    That definition was a bit snarky, but the point is that some people self-identify as geeks only because they are participating in a specific subset of consumerism. Not all are just consuming, as many apply geek principles to what they are interested in, such as analyzing, criticizing, creating new material, etc. However, some tech geeks are equally guilty of nothing more than consumerism, such as those tech geeks who identify as geeks only because they are rich enough to purchase the latest gadgets on the market.

    If you have a problem with sexism somewhere, or are actually experiencing it, call them out on it. Personally. Get their IP addresses, usernames, whatever and actually show them up on it rather than calling out and blaming “Typical male geeks” on it.

    Sexism is not individual acts of meanness. It occurs on a systemic level.

  145. Mort Says:

    I think we’re getting off topic. The point is that you’re being just as sexist as the “Typical male geeks” you criticize when you generalize people and with uses of the words like “most/typical”, which insinuates majority.

    While I’m sure there is sexism and and issues with geeks and online communities, and that it should be highlighted and discussed, if it feels like you’re targeting and generalize me, as well as actually offending ME, someone who might have actually agreed with you and offered support, you’re doing something wrong and you should apologize.

    I’d also like to know what people in the comments mean when they refer to a “monolith”. I asked nicely in my first comment and I didn’t get an answer. I’m seriously in the dark about that.

  146. Jayn Says:

    Monlith. Basically it implies that a group of people are all basically identical and can be expected to act as a unit, which when applied to a large enough group of people is never the case.

    “There Are No Girls On the Internet” is a joke/meme because of the fact that its dead horse nature.”

    Jokes are funny. Saying I don’t exist is not funny. Especially as I almost always hear it immediately after identifying myself as female.

  147. Lisa Harney Says:

    The sites are not a question of interesting or not. They are further opinions about geek culture (not the tech geeks, as Restructure! wrote about, but gaming, comic books, Doctor Who, etc) that provide more information about how male geekdom closes ranks against geek women.

    Jayn, thank you. Yes. I am sick of the joke for exactly that reason.

  148. fred Says:

    there are no girls on the internet

    What do you mean there are no girls on the internet??? You’re just not looking in the right place. Google “girls” and there will be loads of scantily clad women on every page.

  149. fred Says:

    http://encyclopediadramatica.com/No_girls_on_the_internet

  150. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Mort, there are “typical feminists”. The geek feminism blog that Restructure! linked to is an example of feminists outside of the “typical feminist” box. The only time that calling someone a “typical feminist” would be offensive is when the “typical feminist” is assumed to be an inaccurate stereotype, but Restructure!’s “typical male geek” is not an inaccurate stereotype at all because so many female geeks, as Lisa Harney showed above, have experienced the same things.

    And if you’re a male geek who does not engage in sexism towards women, why would you be offended? In that case, it is YOU who is lumping yourself in with those men, not Restructure! I seriously doubt she specifically had you in mind when she wrote this.

  151. Lisa Harney Says:

    I just got that on my own blog today, and I have no idea why “If it’s not about you, it’s not about you. Don’t make it about you” is so hard.

  152. Mort Says:

    “Mort, there are “typical feminists”.
    Trust me, no matter what you’re talking about, referring feminists as “Typical feminists” is going to make someone angry.

    Why is it a big deal? Because If I’m not trying to be a “macho” sexist when I talk with and partake in communities for things, then that means its likely that she thinks my friends are. Even if she doesn’t mean that, the idea that I’m apparently not “typical” or “normal” is apparently cause for alarm in and of itself.

    You talk about “You can’t monolith women” and “Feminism isn’t monolithic”. Neither is geekdom, yet you insist that it mostly is.

  153. HughRistik Says:

    And yes, I have seen male geeks constantly define geeky interests as inherently masculine interests.

    I’m not sure what “inherently masculine” is being used to mean, but there are indeed sex differences in interests. On average, women’s interests are more oriented towards people, and men’s interests are more oriented towards things (See this study by Richard Lippa, viewable in its entirety here).

    If interest in things rather than people is a large component of geekiness, then it could be reasonable to say that on average, males are more geeky than females. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t overlap, or tell us why these differences exist. But it would mean that geekiness is the more male-typical pattern of interests (which is a much more nuanced and rigorous framing than people thinking that geekiness is “inherently masculine”).

    Unfortunately, like with many other average differences between groups, many people can’t think statistically in terms of overlapping distributions, and they will take a trait that exhibits average differences between groups and ascribe it as an essential quality of one of those groups.

  154. Lisa Harney Says:

    Don’t you think that interests are influenced socially? That boys and girls are raised with the assumption that some interests and careers are more appropriate than others? That there is actual resistance to women trying to break into what are perceived as traditionally male fields? That sexism actually serves as a pushback for women trying to get into tech fields?

    You’re saying “This is how men and women are” but we’re living in a virtual tornado of cultural influences and assumptions, so how can you be sure that men and women are just like that or if, culturally, we’re expected to be just like that?

  155. Tamen Says:

    Lisa,
    The country where I live was ranked as world no. 1 on gender equality in the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report 2008. But we still have a more traditional divide on gender in occupational fields than many country rating far lower. The paradox seems to be that the more choice women have the more traditionally they choose.

    This would seem to suggest that societal influences are not the only explanation of gender difference when it comes to interests and occupation.

  156. Lisa Harney Says:

    Gender equality does not mean that gender-based socialization doesn’t exist, though.

  157. fred Says:

    Lisa-

    Are you saying “gender based socialization” is responsible for your sexual orientation?

  158. Tamen Says:

    No, but are you arguing that gender-based socialization is stronger in a more gender equal society? Because that’s the only way to explain the difference if one disregards any biological differences.

  159. Mort Says:

    Lisa Harney,

    I’ve read through most of the links you’ve mentioned. This was the only worthwhile one;

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist/2010/06/29/coutney-stoker-on-feminist-geek/

    This one is filled with blatant misandry, double standards and bullshit. From http://austintotamu.blogspot.com/2010/03/science-fiction-geek-culture-and-sexism.html for example, provides us with these gems presented as an AMAZING POST;


    every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;”

    So wait, karma is bad if they’re women? If someone is completely detestable, why should you about their feelings just because they’re women? Only bad things happen to women? No man has ever gone through the scorn these women have? Or are their experiences bad because they happen to women? Either way, expecting or demanding respect for someone who can be considered detestable just because they’re a woman is the text book example of sexism in favor of woman. Respect is earned, not given freely because of gender.

    “when you insist that women view things from your perspective , you’re not fucking helping.”

    So apparently is unreasonable to want a women to view things from your perspective, you are only expected to conform to and understand theirs. You seriously aren’t seeing the double standard here? You present this as evidence of geeks being misogynistic? Seriously, what is wrong with you?

    http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2009/04/youre_beautiful

    The above link on the other hand isn’t about females facing sexism in geek culture, its about under representation of strong, interesting female characters. Something that has been changing as more women are actively taking roles in writing.

  160. thewhatifgirl Says:

    Mort, it helps if you, yaknow, actually read everything that I said. Maybe even think about it a little bit, rather than just dismiss it out of hand.

  161. Samia Says:

    Why oh WHY did I check out that Toy Soldier dude’s blog. I feel like I need to rip my eyes out and soak them in detergent.

  162. HughRistik Says:

    Lisa Harney said:

    Don’t you think that interests are influenced socially? That boys and girls are raised with the assumption that some interests and careers are more appropriate than others? That there is actual resistance to women trying to break into what are perceived as traditionally male fields? That sexism actually serves as a pushback for women trying to get into tech fields?

    Yes, I believe that all of these factors exist. The question is how much of sex differences are explained by these factors.

    You’re saying “This is how men and women are” but we’re living in a virtual tornado of cultural influences and assumptions,

    I am saying that sex differences in interests and personality exist in the present. I wouldn’t say that these differences reflect how men and women inherently “are.” I think they emerge from a combination of biological and social factors.

    so how can you be sure that men and women are just like that or if, culturally, we’re expected to be just like that?

    It’s not one “or” the other; it’s probably both, depending on which trait we are looking at. For an example, see this fascinating article by Richard Udry, who measured female infant exposure to androgens in the womb, and then followed up with them when they were adults.

    Udry found that lower exposure to androgens in the womb was associated with a higher degree of feminine behavior in women three decades later. He also asked the women about their parenting, and found that women who were encouraged by their mothers to be feminine also had higher levels of adult femininity. Unsurprisingly, women who had lower exposure to androgens, and high levels of feminine encouragement from their mothers, had the highest levels of adult femininity.

    For women with high levels of prenatal androgen exposure, attempts to encourage them to become feminine fell flat; Udry observes that prenatal androgens seemed to “immunize” females to feminine socialization.

    This study is a striking example of the influence of biological factors on gendered behavior, but also of the interaction of these biological factors with socialization.

  163. U R FAIL Says:

    Dear HughRistik,

    Your “scientific research” article is anything but “fascinating”. This is the sort of malarkey that gender essentialists cook-up to reinforce the status quo. Your use of the term “feminine behavior” is especially irritating, as there is really no such thing. It is a term that is highly subjective, and means different things to different people. I can easily see how crackpot studies like this could lead to things like ‘treatments’ for the ‘unfeminine’ women who dare to question male authority. God, this crap is so transparent… as is your agenda, Mr. HughRistic

    PS Would you happen to have any other studies that might give us a clue as to why male geeks are so fucking whiny? Thanks.

  164. HughRistik Says:

    Your “scientific research” article is anything but “fascinating”. This is the sort of malarkey that gender essentialists cook-up to reinforce the status quo.

    What parts of the article give you the sense that the author is supporting the status quo?

    Your use of the term “feminine behavior” is especially irritating, as there is really no such thing.

    Udry defines what his measurements of femininity. I agree that lots of people use the term in different ways, but I don’t think that it is useless. I use “feminine” as a synonym for “female-typical,” i.e. behaviors or traits that are exhibited more commonly by females than males.

    I can easily see how crackpot studies like this could lead to things like ‘treatments’ for the ‘unfeminine’ women who dare to question male authority.

    Udry found that attempts by mothers to socialize girls who had higher levels of exposure to prenatal androgens failed. This result could suggest that people shouldn’t keep trying to socialize women to be feminine who are resisting it, because doing so is pointless. That seems like a socially-progressive idea to me.

    Why do you think this study would to “treatments” for “unfeminine” women?

  165. Clarence Says:

    I hope someone answers your question, Hugh.

  166. Restructure! Says:

    There are also feminine trans women who were born male and raised as boys, and become feminine women anyway.

  167. Monday Open Post, Unwanted Ad Free Edition at Questioning Transphobia Says:

    [...] Restructure! writes Male geeks reclaim masculinity at the expense of female geeks. [...]

  168. Männliche Geeks behaupten ihre Maskulinität auf Kosten weiblicher Geeks — keimform.de Says:

    [...] translation of a post at Restructure! and Geek Feminism [...]

  169. binxterdoodles Says:

    Well, I THOUGHT I was a geek. But I could only get half way through the article so that probably disqualifies me. I never thought I would see the day that women felt threatened by pale, socially inept males with poor hygiene and a Mountain Dew bill higher than most car payments.

  170. Epikouros Says:

    To judge your abilities, you rely on your teachers when you are young. Your teachers say you cannot be good at math because you are a girl. Interiorization mostly happens at a very young age, and you cannot help it. Therefore you just not “stay with problems longer”, because you are told to be hopeless. So you miss the opportunity to get the best education you can have. Here is the gap.

  171. fred Says:

    Are all men equally good at math and science? No.
    Are all women equally good at math and science? No.
    Then why would you expect that men and women would be equally good at math and science?

    There is a very simple reason why the best mathematicians, scientists and engineers tend to be men.

    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math2.htm

  172. Anonymous Says:

    Huh, I don’t see that he actually demonstrated a biological gap, given that it’s pretty much impossible to find a truly egalitarian or matriarchal society for comparison.

    He also doesn’t seem to have accounted for or acknowledged sexism, although it’s interesting that the gap closes in increasingly egalitarian societies, somehow ~coincidentally~. This looks like Bell Curve bullshit to me.

    The actual reason that the best mathematicians, scientists, and engineers tend to be men is because men (esp white men) can go into those fields and expect not to be discriminated against, harassed, being treated as an intruder, and actively discouraged from continuing. Further, they can expect to be supported in their endeavors in these careers whereas women cannot really expect this. Women can also expect their accomplishments to be trivialized whereas men will not.

    There’s pretty clear sociological reasons for everything your guy there claims.

  173. Lisa Harney Says:

    Whoops, that was me.

  174. Restructure! Says:

    La Griffe du Lion‘s math is criticized in general.

  175. fred Says:

    “Clinger” can criticize it all he wants. Its widely known the male distribution curve is flatter than the female. That means there will be more males at the low end and more males at the high end and relatively fewer males at the middle. And that’s exactly what the data has shown for decades.

    Regarding Harney’s claim that differences are the result of “discrimination” rather than ability, there’s no need to resort to mathematical formula. This guy demonstrates pretty clearly why that claim is unreasonable..

    http://www.globalpolitician.com/24460-iq-race

  176. fred Says:

    fyi- It just occurred to me most readers probably don’t know what I meant by”Clinger”. It was a reference to William D Clinger mentioned in restructure’s link and not the character played by Jamie Farr on MASH.

  177. Sister Act « Why the face? Says:

    [...] Restructure argued that male geeks believed that by ‘subverting traditional masculinity by reclaiming and self-identifying with the term “geek”‘, they are redefining what it means to be a man. Typical geeks often argue that their ability to intepret ‘scientific, mathematical and technological achievements of overwhelmingly male persons as definitive proof that science, math and technology are inherently male and define maleness’ (Male Geeks Reclaim Masculinity at the Expense of Female Geeks, 2010, para. 2). [...]

  178. Schala Says:

    “Most will deny that their homophobia is really homophobia, and seem to deny that transphobia even exists (“it’s just the way things are”). ”

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised in MMOs (who are usually frequented by gamer/RPG geeks) with the lack of transphobia, or even how some say it “makes me sound more interesting” after knowing me for weeks. And that person knew I was taken, it wasn’t AFAIK flirting with me.

  179. Schala Says:

    About hardcore gaming. It’s a term I use for an amount people in general consider excessive or way more than they think they could muster. Usually above 40 hours a week of sustained play, exceptions for especially dedicated but extremely busy people (heavy time constraints, but the kind who makes complex spreadsheets and applications for the game/self).

    Videogame testing is just as male-employed as nursing is female-employed (meaning 95-5 ratio) – because some of the criteria of hiring are those:

    -Knowledge of videogame consoles and various game types (note that I don’t know/play FPS or sports games or much recent adventure games (as opposed to 8-16 bit ones), and that didn’t disqualify me).

    -Able to be 7-8 hours in front of the same game. Possibly doing repetitive stuff. Able to not get bored of a game for days, possibly weeks or months, possibly doing repetitive stuff for a long time.

    -Bilingual French/English to an acceptable written level (very good English at least). They work with English-speaking clients, but this is a French-speaking province here.

    -Observation sense, to spot the actual bugs we were asked to report. Ability not to get bored.

    -Able to follow directives as to what is being tested and on how to write a big report in a standardized way.

    The first 2 criteria already disqualify most casual gamers (who play occasionally, for fun, or short durations not due to time constraints) who probably couldn’t bear to sit in front of the same game for months, doing the same thing for full shifts.

    Most testers I worked with were hardcore gamers, not necessarily good testers – however there was consensus (amongst about 200 testers) that it was a pretty good job for “paying us to play games”. You’re a good tester if you can find bugs fast and efficiently… a bad one if all you do is play games (and many did just that).

    Truly hardcore gamers would play after work too. Not deterred from doing it all day.

    I have no problem with hardcore-ism being more associated with men, even if I’m a trans woman. For most mature gamers out there, it’s a meritocracy. Prove your worth, get respect. I got plenty of it from players I interact with, because I know my stuff, research, look up, read forums, write spreadsheets for myself and can help them with info.

    There’s always bad apples in every group, I just ignore them.

  180. Schala Says:

    About math/science ability.

    Math and hard science were my best subjects in high school. I was top of the class (maybe not first but in the 1-digit rank). I did algebra and exponent calculations to pass time when explanations were boring. My worst subjects were PE and 1-unit courses that people considered free periods, the ones that had sex-ed/drug-ed in them.

    Sure I was raised as male, though never told I should be good in math for it. My 3 brothers are nowhere near my proficiency either.

    Then you got my boyfriend, he’s 40 (I’m 28). He was one of two boys, and the oldest like me. He was raised as a guy, but I’m not certain if he was encouraged or not to do maths. The one thing I know is that numbers confuse him. He has trouble understanding fraction equivalency, graphics and tables. Or doing 3 digit additions or just about any multiplication. He’s not bad in other subjects and has written fiction books (unpublished) before.

    How come I’m above average good and he’s really bad at it? He has a Bachelor’s in teaching, I only got a high school degree to my belt.

    Maybe I had some talent and decided to focus on it, and his talent was more in creative writing (which I’m bad at) and teaching.

    He didn’t get discriminated as much as he knew it would take way too much effort to amount to anything productive in that domain. He could be an accountant…if he worked 5 times as hard as me to which it comes naturally.

    He preferred his branch which included working in community services. It wasn’t a chore to him. While myself, bad with people, deficient social skills, it would be a chore to have any “work directly with clients” job, and highly stressful.

    It’s a choice we make based on ability and preference.

    Note: I have no idea where my math ability or his writing ability come from, and any attempt to speculate on it would be more or less futile, since nothing points either way. I read as much as he did when young, but didn’t want to or have the ability to write books.

  181. Across the calculus sections, women outperformed men on grades. « Restructure! Says:

    [...] the topic of women in tech actually did some research on it, instead of leaving comments that make male geeks feel good about themselves and rationalize the gender imbalance in “their” [...]

  182. Finding & Understanding Asian Masculinity | Family | 8Asians.com Says:

    [...] Source: Restructure] MOODTHINGY v.0.2 ALPHA How does this post make you [...]


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