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One comic creator's rant is just the latest example of misogyny in geek culture.
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I love women))
As with every group of people, it's always the 'vocal few' who get the attention of the media. I am a male nerd, and most of my male friends are nerds, and while it's true that some of them do not have good social skills, none of them are misogynistic. However, some of the male nerds that I know (who aren't my friends) are, and as usual, they get the attention. In some ways this is good, those few male nerds out there who are misogynistic should be noticed, should be told that their actions and words are not appropriate, and if they don't change they WILL be marginalized. Instead, the media picks up on these vocal few and portrays the entire nerd culture as being misogynistic. That helps no one, it vilifies an entire community, creates bitterness, and does nothing to help those women getting poorly treated by their fellow nerds. I, personally, may not enjoy looking at overweight women wearing a corset and not much else, but I just as much don't enjoy looking at overweight men wearing skin-tight superhero costumes. But as long as their doing what they enjoy, who am I, or anyone else, to criticize them for it.
I'd like to point out that you can switch out the specifics for whatever you want and use this answer to respond to any number of accusations laid against a general population (in this case male nerds) because of the actions of a vocal few (in this case some comic book writer).
I also think, however, that the comic book culture does tend to objectify women. This is simply due to the fact that until recently, their entire market was male. The big comic book makers really need to step up and realize that more and more women read comics. Since they're not, I see the future of comics being on the internet, where webcomics are already absurdly popular, many of them written by women, and most of them show none of the objectification of women that 'mainstream' comics do.
The entire market has never been all male, but it has up until recently been male dominated. I disagree with you that all of male nerdom is being accused here, but I understand how it might feel that way. I don't think if you re-read anything on the subject that you'll see this is implied. When someone sees a sentence like, "there are men who hate women," they often tend to see a sweeping generalization, but if you actually look at the sentence, how can you disagree? There indeed are men who hate women. It does not follow that all men hate women or any of the other assumptions that people make about what isn't said.
Lecture over, and apologies kinda for that. I think that as is natural with communities, you'll find that the women in it tend to love the sort of guys who are attracted to it (mysoginistic asshats aside of course). I don't think I've ever met a nerd/geek girl that didn't find the socially awkward behavior of the variety your friends possess to be sexy. It's part of their charm.
Awesome comment, you hit the nail on the head!
Bollocks. Speak for yourself, troll.
I'm a nerd, and I love women.
Article title is insulting, and doesn't accurately represent all of nerddom.
Never mind the article itself is boring, vapid tripe. Glom on to some other sub-culture, we're tired of you using us for page-views.
Chimps is spot on:
"What's great is this article is basically a generalised criticism of a group of people for generalising and criticising a group of people. Written without a touch of irony it seems blissfully unaware that it's perpetrating the exact same laziness that lead to it being written in the first place. "
"Article title is insulting, and doesn't accurately represent all of nerddom."
No, but it does accurately represent a certain tone that is incredibly prevelant in nerddom.
Are all nerdguys sexist people? Hell no. Most of them are pretty awesome fellas.
Has almost every nerdgirl had at least one creepy, sexist experience in a nerdspace? Yeah. Had to at some point had to justify her geek cred to some dudebro? Probably.
Hell, there are still people working high up the ladder at the Big Two who assume that the majority of women that they see at cons are only their for with their boyfriend.
But whatever. Get mad at the article about oppressive culture by pointing out semantics and saying "Well, I"M NOT LIKE THAT!"
Hell, Harris is the one who started the generalizing, both of men and women. He paints cosplaying ladies up as harlots, but the men in his world don't come off much better--they're socially pathetic and gullible nerds apparently.
FTW! Nicely said.
This reads as bitterness also towards people getting more attention in a venue than Harris does. Don't people realize that everyone should be adoring the comics creators and gracing them with their full attention at all times at conventions, instead of interacting with each other? Rude!
Most of the geek girls I know are pleased to meet people into the same things we are at conventions, and have spent hours interacting online (geekily) discussing the source material, creating artwork or fiction, and working on costumes. But they're not real geeks, because...they're wearing the costumes they've been working really hard on? Clearly!
Why is it that when a man says this kind of thing it's misogyny, but if it was a woman saying exactly the same thing its just opinion? And ladies if you say you never have sad something like this you are a LIAR. I have been to many Cons and heard many girls saying this kind of thing. Over and over again. People want equality but refuse to treat people equally. It is a sad state. The important question is: who are you? America has become a cruel and vicious place. We reward the shallowest, the dumbest, the meanest and the loudest. We no longer have any common sense of decency. No sense of shame. There is no right and wrong. The worst qualities in people are looked up to and celebrated. Lying and spreading fear is fine as long as you make money doing it. We've become a nation of slogan-saying, bile-spewing hatemongers. We've lost our kindness. We've lost our soul. What have we become?
Zeus, please see Thathat's comment to your's.
Thathat gave an example of (her?) being mysoginistic, and then reconsidering later. That's how it goes with evolving, compassionate humans. We ALL have our moments of hate, fear and self loathing (which perpetuates it). It's our jobs to try to do better next time.
When one doubles down, however, by staunchly defending the practice, seeking to institutionalize it or telling it's victims that they should go elsewhere to avoid it rather than fixing the problem, then we have to rise up against that. That's what's happening now.
Actually, if a woman says it* it's still misogyny.
*It being "those hot ladies in skimpy cosplay aren't REAL nerds."
And I won't lie. I've said it. I remember getting miffed at a fantastic Mystique whose costume was basically body paint and a thong (no worries, it was the PM Dragon*Con; no little kiddies running about). How dare she be hot and parade around in a costume that gave her the excuse to be mostly naked. Nevermind how incredible the bodypaint job looked, with prosthetics and contacts and everything just so.
It's a kneejerk reaction that I regret, because in retrospect, I don't know her. Who am I to say that someone shows up at geek Mardi Gras but isn't a geek? Why did I need to see her Proof Of Geek? Because she was hot and comfortable with her body and maybe felt like showing off a bit at the con (not like D*Con isn't EVERYONE'S place to strut a bit).
It's still misogyny.
What's great is this article is basically a generalised criticism of a group of people for generalising and criticising a group of people. Written without a touch of irony it seems blissfully unaware that it's perpetrating the exact same laziness that lead to it being written in the first place.
On a slightly nerdy note I think you could easily wrote a program to bash out this sort of thing, or at least take other articles but switch the targets / perpetrators for something/someone else. I read something a while back that said Democrats who were shown Romney's policies but told they were Obama's agreed with the vast majority of them, and vice versa. What i'm trying to say is once ideas and groups become identified and defined, politicised even; Men, Women, Nerds, Geeks, Jocks, Republicans, Democrats etc.. their criticism and caricatures of each other often just become meaningless and essentially interchangeable.
It's not that the specific criticism of an individual here is unfair, just that you've applied it to a whole group and made the exact same bloody mistake as the person you're criticising!
Can't wait for other articles in the series:
Isrealis: Stop hating Palestinians, please
Cats: Stop hating dogs, please
Fat people: Stop hating thin people, please
Toothpaste: Stop hating orange juice, please
I'm sure someone a lot funnier than me can think of a better one... :)
You've sold me on your assertion about the title, but I have similar issues with many titles whose sensationalism often doesn't accurately depict the article's tone or nature just to draw in an audience. I've also heard, but cannot verify that the authors often don't write the titles.
I did not see that in the actual article.
I often go with my sister to Sci-Fi and comic book cons and while she's a fan of Star Trek and she enjoys the odd bit of geek culture, she's not, by any definition that Harris would accept, a "geek". But still, she likes to go, occasionally cosplaying as an original series Star Trek science officer. But she often tells me that she dreads bumping into guys that will try to trip her up and make her feel like she's not welcome because she's not sufficiently knowledgeable about this or that. Truth be told, I don't exactly have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things geek either, but of course nobody ever tests me.
Sadly, it seems my sister's experience is a common one. What right do these guys have to dictate how people choose to enjoy themselves? I am pretty much an archetypal example of a basement dwelling loser but I still feel like saying that while you lot might be my people, frak you all the same, I say the more the merrier. Everyone from the casual fan to the most obsessive should be welcome at any convention.
He and the other people flailing on his FB about "You didn't read it, I wasn't talking about *those* women who are *real* cosplayers!" is pretty pathetic. Obvious CYA language, trying to legitimize his viewpoint of marginalizing 'some' women based on some arbitrary criteria he's made up in his own litttle head.
It's the same in all these misfit male cultures: skaters, surfers, punks, death metalers, computing, banking, science, religion, politics, film industry, press.
The simple problem is a lot of men hate women and a lot of women don't seem to understand that they really mean it.
Another problem is that a lot of women hate men.
But it's politically incorrect to talk about it, isn't it?
Bingo. And of course most of these men have absolutely no reason to hate women. None at all.
We get it. You're a bitter angry virgin with misogyny issues. And, of course it's the fault of every woman on the planet. You're just a perfect little snowflake who isn't the problem at all. No, it's EVERYONE ELSE.
Bitter--yes absolutely. Angry--almost always...virgin-unfortunately no. You see they automated all the lighthouses there is no place to go.
Nothing like fighting generalization with another generalization eh? You're just as bad as the guy in the article.
In what way is saying "they hate us" as bad as saying "I hate you"?
The day you go to a concert and watch a 100 young women attacking an effigy of a man to the tune of a song celebrating slitting their throats, we'll talk again.
okay--and the next time i see a men's panel show laughing about the mutilation of a woman's genetalia like it was the most collossal joke in the world , we'll talk again..actually no we won't--because i don't have to talk to you do I?
....erm OK, men should stop doing that when women stop murdering infants...a fatuous comment, but has all the logic of yours.
Jesus is this the state that humanity has reached? Sorry, but grown ups getting all catty about comics need to GROW UP. It might help then to stop using capital letters.
I could be more eloquent, but all I can think of saying is: Man, fuck this guy.
Go take a look at that link showing examples of cosplay. Or search for cosplay videos on YouTube - there are hundreds of them, I tried to post one here but it triggered the spam filter.
Don't they look happy? Aren't they having fun? Who the hell does this guy think he is, then, to come along and say to half of them, "Sorry, you're not REAL nerds. Stop having fun now please."
What's more, I'm sure the vast majority of them know about and love the characters they're dressing up as. And if there are some that don't - that are these posers he seems to be attacking - well, really, so what? They're not hurting anybody as a result. Even if some of the women really are just dressing sexy to attract guys, what's ultimately so wrong about that?
Aren't we ignoring the fact that gaming/comic culture is built upon a deep-rooted misogyny to start with? Most of the action games and comics were designed to exploit boys'/men's fantasies of being heroes and being surrounded by scantily-clad women. In so many games, when I even have the option to use a female character, the only way to play using a character wearing an outfit that doesn't end with essentially a bra and panties is to play using a male character. Can't I save the world and wear a shirt at the same time? Think about how many booths at conventions have dancing, young women and even stripper poles? This is a culture that freely embraces the objectification of women and yet gets pissed off when women try to turn the tables and use that as some form of power.
Identity is a strange and complex thing. The nerd stereotype certainly has some basis in reality. People that have trouble fitting in socially take refuge in the fantastic and identify SO strongly with those stories that they take on great meaning in their lives. I'm certainly one of those people, at least to a degree, but I think most people have felt awkward or out of place at some point. Especially as a teenager. But you can't own something like that. Not really. And trying to decide who is or isn't allowed to love something that was important to you is both impossible and self destructive. See: hipsters: indie rock.
This gets compounded by sexual frustration/rejection in a person like Vaughan. Clearly. He's using the one tool at his disposal, his self perceived ownership of nerd culture, to get back at the people he feels did him the great injustice of not noticing him when had pimples and jerked off into a sock. Where does it end? I was kind of an awkward kid, with awkward friends but as an adult I've grown pretty comfortable with myself and therefore more comfortable around pretty girls. Am I no longer a real nerd? I still love the hell outta some comics.
I think Ms. polo hit the nail on the head. If somebody is interested in something you love but doesn't know it that well, than lucky you, because it gives you the opportunity to share it. If nerd culture is becoming cool, than great, more people to talk about this stuff with. And of course everyone retains the right to ignore the insincere but assuming that this is going to be determined by someone's background, looks and even gender is foolish and sad. You're probably missing out on some really great people. Who might just have things to teach you.
I meant Harris. Not really sure where I got Vaughan.
Vaughan wrote Ex Machina, one of the comics Harris illustrated. From what I've heard, though, Vaughan is genuinely an alright guy.
Is generalising about "nerds" as self-loathing, misogynistic misfits in some way different from Harris's behaviour? Pretty much all my friends are geeks, and I don't think any of them fit your thoughtless, trivial stereotype.
Do guys not think that nerdy girls had it tough growing up too? "As if" worked just as well from a "cool" guy to a book-loving, computer-loving, gamer girl as it did to nerdy guys.
"Watching women frantically try to be sexy in order to get attention IS depressing." What? Seriously? What, is being a 'comic book know-it-all' the only appropriate way to get attention?
Sexuality is part of who we are as human beings, as is art (such as the performance art of role playing, the art of creating costumes, and so on.)
The crime isn't using ones sexuality to get attention. The true crime is having a narrow view of what's valuable in a human being.
Oh, and FWIW, intelligence and respect are also sexy.
This guy is 43? He sounds like an adolescent.
Really? I read this a little differently. He's mad at these "ordinary, not hot" women for daring to be sexual in public BECAUSE they are not actually available to him and his ilk. He thinks their sexual availability is a lie (along with their interest in comics) BECAUSE they are not receptive to his advances and the advances of his friends. Its the same exact misogyny it ever was, geek or non geek. I hate you because I cannot have you without your agreement. Yay rape culture!
I'd offer that Harris and his ilk are running anger and meanness at geek girls as a cover for fear and painful suspicion. Growing up nerdy isn't easy for boys, and we get perhaps more than our share of meanness and rejection directed at us, sometimes even in the terrible mode of feigned interest followed by the "AS IF!" coup de grace.
This does not by any means excuse Harris' bad behavior - in this case a form of what I call "passing it on" when I talk to my young son about such things. The worst thing about such "passing it on" is that against all hope it doesn't serve to make even the perpetrator actually feel any better.
Saying, "I'm going to reject you before you even get the chance to reject me" still leaves the speaker all alone.
The tone and content of this essay are so great because the author responds to the misdirected negativity not with insults, but instead with more rational (and therefore kinder) possible actions boys and men could take in response to the girls and women who walk among them in their shared cathedrals of common interest. It's hard to argue with that (though obviously some will still try).
Sure. Just as soon as we stop hating ourselves, I suppose...
I would ask as a "Creep" and a "Nerd" perhaps women could stop hating us and preferring beer swilling wife beaters. I can provide specific instances.
Because all men who are nerds are creepy, and all men who are not nerds are alcoholic wifebeaters. I am glad I don't live in your world.
And here you're still doing that thing that Harris was, but with (slightly) less vitriol and thankfully fewer sexually charged insults.
But you're lumping the entire gender of "Women" all together in one group of people who hate "us" (I assume you mean nerdly men) because in some "specific instances" a woman that you were attracted to spurned (or failed to notice) your advances in favor of someone else (who may or may not have been a horrible human being).
I could comfort you by saying "Oh, honey, there's loads of women who love geeky guys!" Because it is true. It is so, so true. Geek girls are many, and many of them love their nerdy men, because come on, is anything better than Geek Love?
Most women, however, especially women of the nerdy variety, who find that they have to put up with it very often, do NOT like "victim" guys. Men who feel personally wronged by the universe for failing to provide them with an appropriate partner. Men who feel that if they liked a woman and she didn't like him back, or didn't like him back "that way" that they have been done an injustice, instead of realize the hard truth of any sex--You Are Not Entitled To Anyone's Affection.
And if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder because the women you have previous set your sights on all done you wrong by not reciprocating (and even worse, getting into a relationship with another, possibly terrible, person), then your odds of finding a woman, or anyone, who will love you for your geekiness decrease dramatically.
Teal deer: "Nerd" may be attractive to many people, but "Bitter" rarely is.
Wow, comment thread pulled off course in one post - that's gotta be a record.
I keep thinking the text on my screen will veer to one side as the inertial dampers struggle to keep up with the sudden change in vector.
Watching women frantically try to be sexy in order to get attention IS depressing.
What Tony Harris fails to grasp is that women aren't doing this by choice. Not really. They have grown up in a society women are considered worthless unless they are of sexual relevance to men. They are pressured to please, to be sexy, to get male attention and validation.
Those men who are disgusted at sexual displays of women they judge to be insufficiently hot to be worth anything should stop and think hard about the ways in which they are contributing to a system that only values women as sexual objects.
And he could stop with the body policing, while he's at it. The problem is not that women are ugly and stupid, but that men hate women and collectively pressure them to be sexual all the time, and then judge them for it.
No, seriously, that would've cracked me up if I hadn't been gritting my teeth.
On one hand, these "chicks" are not hot. They are "quasi-pretty." All of them are. So let's insult them by shaming them for not being "actually hot."
But on the other hand, they're "preying upon lonely geeks" (and wow, how many men should be insulted by the insinuation that comic nerds are STILL the "Weird Science" guys who can't possibly handle a woman? I think...all of them.), presumably by flaunting their not-hotness (which they should be ashamed of) in a flirty manner that I guess promises the guys sex or magic or possibly a pony?
Alex Hern is a staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.