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    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2014 edited
    All right, I thought I'd post this to Newstrange, but since this is a topic that's now up in the news again because this sort of asshattery found yet another pustule to break through, I think this might merit a thread of its own - starting with this rather good write-up of the phenomenon.

    Now then, this is an incendiary topic that has lead to weapons grade asshattery in many forums. Let's remember we're whitechapelians here, mm'kay.

    edit: I was told that content warning on the topic could be prudent, so added one.

    Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds

    We (male) nerds grow up force-fed this script. Lusting after women “out of our league” was what we did. And those unattainable hot girls would always inevitably reject us because they didn’t understand our intellectual interest in science fiction and comic books and would instead date asshole jocks. This was inevitable, and our only hope was to be unyieldingly persistent until we “earned” a chance with these women by “being there” for them until they saw the error of their ways. (The thought of just looking for women who shared our interests was a foreign one, since it took a while for the media to decide female geeks existed. The Big Bang Theory didn’t add Amy and Bernadette to its main cast until Season 4, in 2010.)

    This is, to put it mildly, a problematic attitude to grow up with. Fixating on a woman from afar and then refusing to give up when she acts like she’s not interested is, generally, something that ends badly for everyone involved. But it’s a narrative that nerds and nerd media kept repeating.
  1.  (11359.2)
    @vornaskotti That article is a great write-up, thanks.

    A disturbing thought crossed my mind. Could some of anime and manga's popularity in the US come in part from catering to this nerd lusting after hot girl mentality? What's referred to as the "harem" genre, where a nerdy loser type finds himself in a situation where he's in close quarters with at least three girls of varying hotness, seems to be the embodiment of that entitlement attitude. At least that's the vibe I got just now thinking of such works as "Love Hina" and "Ah My Goddess."
  2.  (11359.3)
    Personally I think this is pathetic - list a bunch of individual things that we know are wrong, then somehow say they're the same thing.
    The Fake Geek Girl thing is shit, and involves nerds.
    There are films about nerds tricking people into sex, which is rape, and is shit.
    Elliot Rodger was apparently a nerd, a racist, a misogynist, and killed six people. All shit (except for him being a nerd which is fine).

    This doesn't make them all necessarily facets of the same thing. It doesn't mean that if a subculture could just flagellate itself a little harder, a guy who thought he was entitled to his mother marrying a rich guy so he could be better off, wouldn't have killed six people and himself.
    To the extent that "nerd" is a recognisable social category, there's a lot the people in it could do with cleaning up, but I don't see why this disgusting event has to be the soapbox that's used to deliver it.
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2014
    I think the article is more about asking one community to look in on itself rather than pigeonholing it as just a nerd problem. And not letting that specific group be all "oh, we would never do this" when there are obviously a lot of really terrible examples in it. And because, as it pointed out, there is a crossover with PUA and the nerd community.

    True fact, this is a widespread issue that goes far outside any one subculture. I don't know anyone who considers Revenge of the Nerds to not be a mainstream movie that's been seen by most everyone.

    I'm not sure what you're thinking is pathetic though, Ben. That they're talking about it in how it relates to their community or that they shouldn't be talking about misogyny at all?
  3.  (11359.5)
    Indeed - also, this is a conversation and topic that has been up and simmering before Rodgers and related travesties, which just bring it to a boil, which again I think is good - this has to be talked and talked and talked about until the information sinks in. I think the variety of misogyny described in the article is definitely one that's up in the "nerd" community or discourse, and not even dependent on how loosely or strictly you define that community. It's not the whole of the problem, but it's one facet of it.
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014 edited
    Nerd culture certainly doesn't have a monopoly on misogyny. But that doesn't mean it's above being called out on its toxic shit, either. Particularly when said culture claims or aspires to be noble, thoughtful, and progressive.

    IMHO, one of the big failings of nerd culture is, as suggested in the article above, a sense of entitlement. And that entitlement is often coupled with a sense of victimhood, justified or otherwise. There seems to be an attitude that, if you feel you've been excluded, mocked or otherwise treated unfairly because of your nerdy interests, you are therefore automatically the wronged hero. Other people have treated you badly, and you therefore must be the good guy. And as the good guy, any opinions you hold or behaviours you exhibit must automatically be good too. Which leads to failing to consider that said opinions and behaviours might actually be pretty destructive.

    TLDR: If the Nerd President does it, then it's not a crime.
  4.  (11359.7)
    @Glukkake: Sorry, I thought I'd been clearer. My problem with this article is the odd idea that the nerd community just has one overarching problem from which all of its other somehow spring. I'm all for discussions about sexual assault, I'm all for discussions about the weird "cultural gatekeeper" crap that people from subcultures pull on those they consider "casuals", and how and why in this case it's laid on women far more thickly. What I don't get behind is the idea that those two things are closely related or that they have the same solution, I'm not sure the second one is even precisely based on misogyny as much as it's fallout from a bunch of outdated social memes that we need to get shot of.
    The thing that specifically strikes me as pathetic is trying to tie all of this baggage to Rodgers though. His expectation that women should fall at his feet doesn't sound like pining, it sounds like his expectation that the natural order of the world should be to serve him - as I said, he also thought that his mother should marry someone specifically to give him more money. He killed two women and a man because of it, but he stabbed three other men to death right before that because they were "racially inferior". He planned out ways to kill his younger brother to stop him from one day "surpassing" him. Basically, I don't see how this guy embodies any of the cultural problems we're talking about.
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014
    If anything positive can come of this, perhaps it's that men will actually listen to women and realize that they're not making it up or lying when they say they feel threatened.

    I'm a slim guy. Skinny. Always have been. I got picked on and beaten up a lot as a kid. If I went to prison, I'd be assaulted in the first five minutes. That said, I don't know how women feel and I would never say that I do. I can understand their fear but I have not had their experiences. Men need to listen to women. For women, the entire world is like prison - a rapist could be lurking around the next corner or sitting next to you on the couch, in your own home.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014
    Good piece.
    There is a kind of infantilizing self-indulgence running through quite a lot of this nerd culture thing. It can be silly and sweet and fun, depending on the context and your personal mileage. It can turn rancid in all sorts of ways. When it strays into the fecund swamps of human sexuality, it can produce some utterly repulsive behaviour.
    The broader public discussion about Rodgers has been reminding me of this FilmCritHulk piece from late last year.


    If there is a link between Rodgers' murderous sense of entitlement and the misogyny evident in so many spaces - meat and cyber - where geeks gather, maybe it has something to do with that attainment conditioning - something Chu touches on as being a big problem with RotN. As others here have already recognized, this is at root not a problem springing from nerd culture but a problem with the behaviour and attitudes of men generally. Those attitudes can be reflected in the actual content of nerd media itself but it's when people interact with each other that the behavioural components are exposed. In online gamer communities they often manifest in certain very common, very specific ways. At fan conventions they also manifest in certain common, specific ways. In creative industry workplaces and conferences... well you get the idea.

    Am I talking out my behind here? we all know the sorts of thing I mean, right? either from personal or reported experience? it might just be my filter bubble but I feel like I could easily find a dozen or two recent stories detailing the many colours and flavours of sexist bullshit that women working or playing in geek spaces have to put up with pretty much all the time, just to get through the day.

    It should be relatively uncontroversial to look at all these different things together and say "geek culture has a misogyny problem" without qualifying it immediately with "not all geeks though" or "but so does the world". Critically addressing a supposed nerd culture in general on this is a matter of making ready to identify and tackle these nasty behaviours wherever they arise in geeky social spaces and of building broad support, including previously oblivious men, for a subculture that is actively conscious of its responsibilities to its entire audience and not just the demographic elect.

    I've used geek and nerd culture here interchangeably which I hope is forgiveable on the basis that neither refers to anything concrete, unitary or particularly meaningful outside of a marketing meeting. Arthur Chu has an interest in propagating the idea that they do, and I have some sympathy with the notion that he is essentially piggybacking on the largely unrelated tragedy of the moment for clicks, but his final analysis seems good enough to me. I've already heard someone unironically say Rodgers just needed to get laid, as though that mindset, that framing of the situation, wasn't the exact same force feeding his spite and violence. "We need to grow up," is a glib way of saying that nerd culture - the amorphous, multivalent, many-fandomed beast it is - desperately needs to develop into something more inclusive and (crucially) expressive of women's voices and experiences rather than consistently acting out in overtly sexual and/or plain hostile ways towards them. A shift in attitude and behaviour Rodgers wasn't able to conceive of, to disastrous end. The parallel Chu draws is tenuous, even obnoxiously tactless, but maybe not wholly without merit.
  5.  (11359.10)
    @mister hex - Except that he wasn't a rapist, he was a murderer who killed twice as many men as women. I'd hope what men learn from this is that when women say they're afraid, men should be afraid too.
    @city creed - I agree about attainment conditioning thing. I've been dragging myself through his manifesto and his fixation seems less about sex or romance, and more about status. Some of it comes through as wanting to be percieved as wealthy, wanting the approval of people he's decided are high status, etc, but the continuous, loudest note is speculation on how young people managed to lose their virginity, how he perceives people who seem more sexually successful, etc.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014
    More reading material : Lessons From a Day Spent With the UCSB Shooter's Awful Friends, all ex-PUAHaters, most of whom worship him as a hero now, claim they're writing their own manifestos right now, argue on whether it's okay to shoot people when you're an "incel".

    [11:26 AM]: thats why one could argue that what he did was commendable

    [11:26 AM]: No you cant argue that

    [11:26 AM]: That's a ridiculous argument

    [11:26 AM]: only an aspie would

    [11:26 AM]: what he did didnt benefit him

    [11:26 AM]: His suffering was voluntary to a degree. He did not suffer physically

    [11:26 AM]: its not commendable lol, losing a daughter is worse than being incel wtf

    [11:26 AM]: nobody wants to suffer. he didnt choose to suffer


    [11:27 AM]: There are many arguments but the best ones are that 1) His actions did not ease his suffering 2) His actions were not aimed at those that made hmi suffer

    [11:27 AM]: if elliot had grown up as a good looking guy, he wouldnt have gone insane in the first place

    [11:29 AM]: If he killed some girls who rejected him in a totally harsh way and made him feel miserable maybe I could begin to understand

    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014
    People need to stop plastering that guy's face and name all over the place, and insinuating that he made any kind of statement about anything, other than that he's a psychopath.
  6.  (11359.13)
    I feel like I could look up the jargon these people are using (incel, aspie, etc) or I could stick my head in a gallon of raw sewage. The latter would leave me feeling cleaner overall.
  7.  (11359.14)
    Aspie is just a slang term for somebody with Asperger's and is in pretty wide usage.

    Incel is some bullshit that these psychopaths made up for themselves.

    Amongst all the other horribleness in that Jezebel piece, nobody seemed to pick up on the Ayn Randian undertones of of the PUAHate assholes. The idea that Rodgers's actions weren't commendable because they didn't actually benefit him has 'self interest is the only true morality' written all over it.
  8.  (11359.15)
    While I'm not Aspie, much of my family and most of my friends are. My kids. My inlaws.

    Tread carefully.

    Comorbidity is a thing, that much is true. It remains possible in this case. The active factor was psychopathy, though, not any form of ASD. Asperger's gets used as an excuse for bad behaviour by bad people sometimes, because it is generally viewed sympathetically. These people are almost never actually Aspie. Labelling murderers as Aspie as if this explains anything puts a group of harmless, anxious, and often kind and loyal people at great personal risk.
  9.  (11359.16)
    I've never heard the phrase "aspie" ever. PUAHate is another one that I've got no idea about. Still, I don't think I'll be using aspie any time soon. It just sounds a bit wrong, like it's asking for trouble.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2014
    As far as I understand it PUA stands for pick-up artist. PUAHaters are the guys who hate pick up artists and the seeming ease they supposedly get women. Rodgers', for instance, supposedly tried to learn from various PUAs, failed, which led him to that group.

    Incel is involuntarily celibate, which in itself is a pretty horrible fucking term when you consider the implications (i.e. that celibacy is something forced on people by others withholding sex).

    Honestly, I really don't hope we forget this. Anyone remember that shithead from a few years ago who did pretty much the same thing and shot up a gym full of women because they wouldn't give him the time of day?
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2014
    Honestly, I really don't hope we forget this. Anyone remember that shithead from a few years ago who did pretty much the same thing and shot up a gym full of women because they wouldn't give him the time of day?

    That would be George Sodini, another of these guys's heroes

    He was mentioned — with praise — seventeen times by the PUAHate participants during the time I lurked.
      CommentAuthorWill Couper
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2014 edited
    @ RenThing, I think that's George Sodini and he's referenced a couple of times in the Jezebel piece. (Dammit! Wood got in ahead of me)

    My wife found the piece the other day and had me read it. It's unnerving seeing a bunch of individuals talk about this stuff as if it were right and proper, backslapping every horrible, wrong-headed statement. We can hope is that the cheerleading is only magnifying their grotesque ideas in this one space and that they don't act on their dangerous fantasies. We can further hope is that someone can reach them and impress upon them just how far off their ideas about gender relations are or that experience will get in the mix and show them.

    Outside of them we can keep up the conversation, attempt in whatever capacity we can to take the conversation, broach the reasons for Elliot Rodger's actions (misogyny, of course, but also racism, entitlement and he's been represented in the media) and keep threads like this alive. We just have to keep up the dialogue.

  10.  (11359.20)
    @RenThing - "Involuntarily celibate" doesn't necessarily imply people are withholding sex from you, it just means you don't want to be celibate, but are. I may not like these guys but I can't pretend it's a pleasant state of being*, and I can see that being that way for your entire life could easily lead to you overvaluing sex.

    *In fact, there are organisations like TLC Trust who specialise in arranging contact with sex workers for people whose have disabilities that would make it likely that they'd otherwise be celibate.

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