What lies beneath


As a nerd myself, I think the majority of nerds are just fine, but there really is a privileged subset that just doesn’t understand how to deal with women as human beings. Here’s a marvelous example: a woman gets into a geeky conversation about comic books on twitter, and her correspondent keeps trying to push the discussion into something about her appearance and her views on sex; she firmly resists, asks him to stop hitting on her and says that he makes her uncomfortable, and tries to redirect the conversation back to the Batgirl comic book. He doesn’t stop! Now you might be thinking that this is fairly innocuous, it’s just a silly chat on Twitter, and nothing harmful can come of it: the male side of the exchange is just being persistent and oblivious, and he means no harm.

But then, frustrated that she won’t talk about what he wants to talk about, i.e. sex, he drops this little bomb in frustration.

I suppose if you wanted to be extremely charitable, you could argue that all the prior conversation was just flirtation — hey, he’s just being friendly and flattering and sweet-talking the nice lady on the internet, how can you be offended at that? — but that outburst lays bare all the privilege and selfishness and resentment that lies beneath the facade, and ought to make you understand why, when you ignore “no” in the little things, you violate the other person’s trust.

(via Almost Diamonds)

Comments

  1. pinkboi says

    It seems many women impersonate men online just to prevent shit like this, which gets me thinking… men should try twittering or facebooking as a female and see what women put up with. I kind of got a taste one time playing a (hot) female character in second life… (guys don’t seem to understand “not interested”)

  2. cham826 says

    People like this guy seem to think that women are leading them on just by the fact that they’re attractive to him, and when they won’t give him the attention that he craves, they are not holdng up their end of the bargain, not realizing that no bargain has been struck, except in his own mind.

  3. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    Ah, the joys of being kinky in public. “YOU ADMIT TO HAVING AN UNCONVENTIONAL SEX LIFE! YOU MUST TALK ABOUT IT WITH ME!!!”

  4. ManOutOfTime says

    I love Adam Sandler’s line in Funny People, when he tells the dorks at a MySpace gala he doesn’t have any use for MySpace; he’s too busy f@$#ing real women. And that’s a big part of the thing with the sexist strain of nerd: if they had any “real” life or ability to connect with fellow humans, they wouldn’t be in front of the computer all the time in the first place. It’s a sad thing, and I hope for the sake of women everywhere they confine their sexist BS to the Intertubes. I am proud to say my nerdy teenage daughter doesn’t put up with that kind of guff online or in person.

  5. Algernon says

    People like this guy seem to think that women are leading them on just by the fact that they’re attractive to him, and when they won’t give him the attention that he craves, they are not holdng up their end of the bargain, not realizing that no bargain has been struck, except in his own mind.

    That’s basically the definition of entitlement. You exist and I exist, therefore you exist FOR ME!

  6. PlayMp1 says

    Rule #3 of the internet should be changed from “We Are Anonymous” to “Don’t hit on internet chicks.”

  7. Rob says

    @ryan

    I think it’s just people in general. Stuff on the net is just less private and gets amplified quickly.

  8. Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM says

    And that’s a big part of the thing with the sexist strain of nerd: if they had any “real” life or ability to connect with fellow humans, they wouldn’t be in front of the computer all the time in the first place.

    Oh fuck off.
    No really.
    I like disdain for sexist nerds just as much as the next pissed off geeky woman, but you’re being a shit to people who aren’t involved.

  9. Kemist says

    It seems many women impersonate men online just to prevent shit like this

    *Raises guilty hand*

    And if it wasn’t that much of a hasle (and was my figure not so obviously female) I would go about my life diguised as a man too.

    I study in a geeky male dominated field (computer engineering), and the sort of things that happens is :

    a) they take interest in you as a “chick” if they find you attractive

    b) they act as if you were invisible if they do not

    But in neither option does whatever you have to say on the goddamn course material is taken seriously, except on these occasions where you raise your voice to answer a question to which nobody else has an answer. And then they act as if they were mildly surprised you, a mere woman, have an actual working brain – and one that seems to be working better than theirs this morning.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    And that’s a big part of the thing with the sexist strain of nerd: if they had any “real” life or ability to connect with fellow humans, they wouldn’t be in front of the computer all the time in the first place

    Right, because our civilization made up of anti-intellectuals, beer-swilling, jock-worshippers welcomes those who are less-than attractive, unathetlic, intelligent, and have “geeky” interests with open arms!

    Yeah, this dumb fuck is being a sexist prick and deserves our derision, but don’t go pissing on alleged lack of social skills of us nerds when society treats us like shit. You can’t learn to be part of a society when no wants you in.

  11. says

    I was a chatroom mod for years and, sadly, every permanent ban I’ve ever made, bar one, has been related to complaints from female members about behaviour like this. And I can’t recall a single woman with even a vaguely feminine-looking name who didn’t complain at some stage about uninvited sexual PMs.

    I remember once being at a friend’s house when she logged in. ‘Just watch and wait,’ she said. We counted ten such advances in as many minutes, without her even speaking in the room.

  12. Moggie says

    This certainly goes beyond nerdly lack of social skills. You will probably never meet anyone more socially inept than me, unless they have a clinical reason for it. I’m the poster boy for the nerd with no social life who gets tongue-tied around women. And yet, even I can look at that exchange and think “dude, WTF?”

    Two things:

    1. If someone you’re conversing with, online or IRL, says that they’re uncomfortable with what you’re saying, listen to them. You don’t want to creep them out, do you? That rarely leads anywhere you should want to go.

    2. If their and your impression of the conversation appear to differ, take a step back and ask yourself whether you may have been addressing an imaginary person constructed out of where you hoped the conversation was going.

  13. says

    My Second Life avatar got hit on often…I had always hoped that it was by underaged kids who were sneaking on to the 18 year old and up virtual world, but I’m afraid that wasn’t always true. I once got hit on by a cute female who eventually confessed (after verbally abusing me) to being an over 50 man. It’s not like I was surprised or shocked…many women in Second Life are Real Life men…

    But it’s not the harmless gender benders who just want to play at being the opposite sex who bother me…it’s the a**es who think that because you have an attractive avatar all you want is cyber sex. I’ve been cyber- raped, assaulted, insulted, abused and groped. Of course…it’s not like Real Life…I can leave, sign off, teleport away, and mute the jerks (which I have done), but it’s still an indication of where the brains of some people are.

    I followed the story of Elevatorgate carefully…geeks and nerds are not immune to the stupidity that drives some to live their lives based on the call of their gonads.

    And, yes…I have considered turning in my female avatar for a male…but I have, at least partially, solved the problem by doing two things…1) I made my avatar less attractive (smaller hips, smaller breasts, plainer face, simpler, looser clothing, etc) and 2) I hang out with people who I know…and I rarely wander around alone any more…just like in Real life.

    Sad.

  14. Brownian says

    You can’t learn to be part of a society when no wants you in.

    Bullshit. It’s not like the geek is the rarest of rare orchids. There’re conventions, comic cons, and so forth.

    If you can’t talk to football society, at least learn to talk to each other. Like normal human beings.

    Sorry Akira; I get your point, but I’d like to head off any “We’ll maybe he’s just socially awkward” type of excuses for this assface before they invariably surface.

  15. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Mebbe it’s where I post & the fact that I don’t post that frequently, but I have been remarkably come-on free in my internet experience.

    Of course, I do not have my own blog, NOR have I ever once, even for a minute, even as a throwaway to access some other thingamabob or doohickie, had a my space or facebook acct. So I don’t assume my experiences are typical in any way. Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing anything by not participating in the whole social networking. Other times I’m convinced that I certainly am missing something & I’m quite glad to miss it.

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m the poster boy for the nerd with no social life who gets tongue-tied around women. And yet, even I can look at that exchange and think “dude, WTF?”

    Same here! In anything other than professional situations, women scare the living crap out of me, especially when it comes to the topic of romance. However, even a sexless nerd like me knows that you should never talk to a woman like that!

  17. Akira MacKenzie says

    I take your point, Brownian. It just seemed to me that ManOutOfTime was saying that geeks only engage in geeky hobbies because they already lack social skills. I’d love to be able to share my love of classic fantasy RPGs and hard science fiction novels with the whole damn world…

    …That is if the rest of the whole damn world didn’t mock me for my interests.

  18. tawaen says

    And if she had called his behavior creepy and ignored him, rather than asking him to respect her boundaries and calling him on his jerkiness, she would be castigated as a stuck-up bitch.

    Guys (and some gals) who complain about women calling creepy behavior “creepy” usually say that all a woman has to do to end the bad behavior is politely speak up and the guy will totally appologize. Because they certainly don’t realize how the woman feels. Just awkward guys, y’all!

    Obviously, that theory is bullshit. Guys like this know they’re pushing boundaries, they like it, and being called on it only makes them get more agressive. And they know that other sexist shitheads will always blame the woman for daring to have boundaries at all, whether she expresses them or not.

  19. starstuff91 says

    Misogyny and sexism seem to be a bigger problem in the nerd community (especially online) than in society at large. Or at least that’s what I’ve personally observed.

    It gets really annoying sometimes. Sometimes I avoid certain sites that I normally enjoy wasting time on solely because I don’t feel like being hit on or being singled out for being a woman. Even when I lie about it, I still have to watch the same thing happen to other females.

    Or when I talk to seemingly nice and interesting people I’ve met online on aim. I just want to talk to them about Doctor Who or how annoying religious people are, but they always find a way to hit on me. Most of the time I just ignore it and continue my ranting.

  20. Mommiest says

    “People like this guy seem to think that women are leading them on just by the fact that they’re attractive to him”

    IIRC, this was one possible basis for accusing women of witchcraft, in days of yore.

  21. The Edge says

    “Hey, wanna dance?”

    Me: no, thanks

    “Bitch”

    These sorts of interactions are not limited to the internet. The above exchange is a verbatim encounter I had at a bar. And it was not a one-

    I get followed by a creepy guy to my car in a parking lot after dark and I avoid that part of town after dark.

    I get on the internet and find the same sorts of attitudes and I’ll avoid those parts of the internet.

    How sad that a few misogynistic assholes cause me to limit my life.

    I’m glad to see that this sort of behavior is being exposed to the glaring light of public opinion by both women who don’t want to be limited and men who want to welcome women into parts of the internet that have up to now been not very friendly.

    I hope this is a sign that things are changing.

  22. JediBear says

    Well, I guess that’s better. It’s not out-and-out nerd bashing, but you’re still tripping over a nerd stereotype while trying to address a real problem that actually has little or nothing to do with nerds.

    Again, there’s no rational basis for the belief that this is specifically a nerd problem.

    It should usually be a clue when you start out on a defensive footing when talking about a group of people you identify with and claim to like.

    This isn’t a nerd problem. It’s a man problem. And it has a deeper cause which is a human problem.

    Nerds are not maladjusted losers. Some maladjusted losers are just nerds.

  23. Smedrick says

    He’s a meathead Army grunt. Unfortunately this kind of behavior comes with the territory far too often. Privileged nerd? No, he’s just an aggressive dude with far too much testosterone. These guys go way past the boundary on the internet because they’re protected by a layer of anonymity (or so they think).

  24. Rawnaeris says

    I’m also working on my Real Life appearance to make it more androgynous, so that when I am in a strange place, I’ll get taken for a teenage boy rather than the female that I am. A small chest and compression bras work together nicely. I also keep my hair short.
    I’m still working on getting the swagger that most teen boys walk with down to a believable point.

    As to online interactions, I tend to experience rule 30. *shrug*

  25. Aquaria says

    men should try twittering or facebooking as a female and see what women put up with.

    A couple I knew, the husband didn’t believe his wife when she brought up how she gets hit on all the time online. He couldn’t believe it. He didn’t get that kind of treatment.

    So she told him to sign on as a woman. He created a character called NurseX (X being a random last name), and as soon as he walked into a chat room, he got hammered with everything from, “Hi, how are you” to “Hi, I’m 8″ uncut” “Are you naked/hot/wet?” “Got pics/cam?” “Talk dirty to me?” “Are you a baaaad girl?” and on and on and on.

    He tried going to other forums–same thing.

    And at last he understood why his wife was so careful when she was tooling around the Internet, how she didn’t post on forums without observing a community for a long time, how she was reluctant to give out her email, and etc.

  26. says

    Smedrick

    First off, I live in a barracks town, and those ‘meathead army grunts’ are usually the first to get really really nasty with blokes who act like that, if they catch them at it.

    Second, it’s way more common than you seem to think. There just aren’t enough military personnel on the planet to make it as common as it is.*

    *Possibly hyperbole.

  27. tricycle says

    Misogyny and sexism seem to be a bigger problem in the nerd community (especially online) than in society at large. Or at least that’s what I’ve personally observed.

    I don’t see this isolated to geekdom. I have seen this kind of behavior in jock communities and corporate groups. There’s a certain kind of person (man) who just feels entitled to behave this way.

    They are on my list of people to avoid or sometimes I even take time to undermine their power if I have the opportunity.

    BTW, these jerks are also the kind of men that all my male friends dislike, too.

  28. raven says

    anonymous twitterer:

    You’re a cunt. Plain and simple.

    You’re a troll, a loser, a disgusting human being, and a waste of time. Plain and simple.

    All anyone needs to know.

  29. Smedrick says

    Daz

    Exactly. They don’t get that kind of confrontation when they behave like this online.

    But I’ve been to countless military bases and spent a lot of time with servicemen. It takes a certain kind of person to voluntarily enlist in the military. Part of that is being a meathead (more so for the Army than any other branch). I respect their sacrifices, but I don’t shy away from calling a spade a spade when I see one.

  30. starstuff91 says

    I don’t see this isolated to geekdom. I have seen this kind of behavior in jock communities and corporate groups. There’s a certain kind of person (man) who just feels entitled to behave this way.

    I’m not saying that it’s not a problem in other groups. I’m just saying that I personally have only experienced this kind of behavior in the nerd/geek community. However, I don’t think it’s something specifically wrong with the individual nerds. I think it might have started out because the community was largely male to begin with and now more females are coming into it. As time goes on, it should get better.
    I think people in geekdom should speak up more when some idiot like this guy does something like this. If no one says anything, he’s going to think that his behavior is OK, and will continue to do things like this in the future.

  31. raven says

    I’ve never been a fan of “social media” and avoid it. It was pretty strange in the mid-1980’s during the DARPA Usenet days, and hasn’t gotten any better.

    1. One of my acquaintenances ran through the available men in her environment (not many), and decided to try online dating. That worked until one of the guys she met beat her up pretty badly.

    2. – Infinity. Too many trolls, sociopaths, psycopaths, morons, and the occasional murderer.

  32. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    This is not a “nerd” problem. I see this kind of shit on Internet places that are not particularly geeky or nerdy. Unless you’re counting the net itself as a geeky or nerdy space, but I think the time that that was true has passed.

  33. says

    Smedrick

    My father was RAF. My step-father was army. While I might have had some problems with the former, neither was a meathead, or a mysogynist. I have a lot of friends in various miltary branches, and would have been in myself, but for health problems.

    Sure, some service personnel are meatheads, but so are some civvies.

    If I appear to take your comment personally, well it’s probably because I do. Please take your unfounded generalisations, fold them ’til they’re all sharp corners, and shove em into the orifice of your choice.

  34. Praedico says

    I had a similar experience to Aquaria’s friend. A female friend of mine was telling me about her experiences on a dating site. I couldn’t quite believe she wasn’t exaggerating, so I made a quick female profile, intending to leave it up for a week and see what kind of messages I got.
    I hadn’t even finished filling it in when some douchebag sent me an uninvited picture of his dick.

    On the other hand, I regularly play female characters in games, partly because they’re usually more visually appealing (not in an ‘omg hot ass’ way), and partly because sometimes it just works better for the character I have in mind. Even so, I rarely get hit on in games. Maybe I just get lucky (I tend to play with friends and guild-mates, so that’s probably a major part of it), or just come across as male somehow.

    The only time I have been hit on regularly was when I played Star Wars Galaxies for a week. I wasn’t exactly dressed sexy -I was on Tattooine, so I was wearing desert combat gear- and yet I still got hit on more often in that one week than in several years of playing female characters in MMOs. Thankfully, I never got any of the ‘I-have-social-skills-that-would-embarrass-an-ape’ kind of attention.

  35. Aquaria says

    “Hey, wanna dance?”

    Me: no, thanks

    “Bitch”

    These sorts of interactions are not limited to the internet. The above exchange is a verbatim encounter I had at a bar. And it was not a one

    Are they ever. Here’s my infamous encounter, that ended up with cops and sirens and everything:

    I’m at the bar, drinking. I’m not into male company. I’ve had a bad day at work, had to work very late, well after 8 p.m., and I’m drinking at a bar on the way home to unwind. Jerk takes chair next to mine, wants to buy me a drink. I refuse. Gets me one anyway. Goes on and on, I’m mostly ignoring him–and I’m not touching the drink he bought for me. Finally, he asks me to go home with him.

    Me: No.

    Jerk: You have to sleep with me. I bought you a drink, and everything.

    Me: Whores on Cedar Springs won’t give you a hand job even for that, and I’m no whore, anyway.

    Jerk: Bitch! What are you, some kind of dyke?

    Me: Are you the alternative?

    The guy went totally gonzo–why, I don’t know. It wasn’t that rude was it. Then he took a swing at me, and made a grab for me. And that meant he touched my vintage 1947 Dior New Look suit.

    I see everyone who knows my fashionista side shuddering, and well they should. Don’t ask how gonzo I went at that point. You don’t want to know. But here’s something interesting I learned from being a fashionista: Gucci slingbacks ca 1981 can withstand coming into hard contact with kneecaps, groins and insteps. Not a scratch on ‘em! That they held up so well when I retaliated against a jerk sort of relieved my mother’s horror that I’d bought Italian shoes retail.

    Sort of.

  36. Smedrick says

    Daz

    I’ve lived and breathed military. Half my family was either US Army or Navy. They would also all back me up. If you take a generalization personally, then you don’t actually understand what the word “generalization” means. As for your violent suggestion as to what I should do with my comments, I thank you for supporting my statement.

  37. says

    I don’t see this isolated to geekdom.

    Unless you’re counting the net itself as a geeky or nerdy space,

    No, it’s not just the geek community…and I don’t think that it’s any worse among them/us than the general public. It’s also not limited to the net…though I agree that it’s “easier” to be an anonymous jerk than be a jerk to someone’s face. My experience has been that most men are polite and accept it when someone says, “No thanks.” The problem is that the small minority make it so that any time someone says, “Hi,” or “Wanna dance?” or “Can I buy you a drink?” the radar kicks in and the flight or fight response turns on. It’s not that ALL men are a**holes…but the ones who are can destroy a life. I’ve seen it happen.

    How do you know if you’re talking to a nice guy who just wants to meet new people, or a serial rapist?

    In one of the comments about Elevatorgate someone said something about the thoughts which run through a woman’s head when she’s alone with a strange man on an elevator. It’s sad, but true…women always have to be on their guard…situations in which men find themselves perfectly comfortable can be terrifying for a female.

  38. says

    As for your violent suggestion as to what I should do with my comments, I thank you for supporting my statement.

    And your concern for tone has been noted.

    I understand perfectly what a generalisation is, and I also understand what your “It takes a certain kind of person to voluntarily enlist in the military. Part of that is being a meathead” to apply to all persons in the military. “Oh, they’re not all complete meatheads,” you say, “but they’re all part-meathead”.

    I stand by my remarks.

  39. Dhorvath, OM says

    ManOutofTime,
    What about the internet isn’t real?
    ___

    JediBear,

    Nerds are not maladjusted losers. Some maladjusted losers are just nerds.

    This is truth. I would like to think however, that it would be easier to relate to being marginalized when one has been marginalized oneself.
    ___

    Aquaria,

    I see everyone who knows my fashionista side shuddering, and well they should.

    Should I smile? Maybe not. But I did. Ferociously.

  40. Saerain says

    I’m not sure it makes sense to me to call this display misogynistic because the offended person is female.

    I guarantee you that this guy is making no exception for this Lastnora. He’s very much treating her like a human being. If he was nicer, he wouldn’t be.

  41. nemothederv says

    A typical MRA usually responds to an article like this in one of three ways:

    a) “Well, that isn’t me so what do you expect me to do about it?”………(denalism?)

    b)” You think it’s so bad for you then what about women in X country?” (dismissivism i.e. the “muslima” argument)

    c) “Sure it’s unfair but it’s not that big a deal”
    (secretly a.k.a. “What’s in it for me?” or “Why should I even care?”)

    There may be hope for getting through to an A or B type
    but I can’t think of anything that would bring C around.

  42. nemothederv says

    I have suddenly found myself thinking of other examples. I’m afraid I don’t have enough alphabet

  43. starstuff91 says

    I’m not sure it makes sense to me to call this display misogynistic because the offended person is female.

    I guarantee you that this guy is making no exception for this Lastnora. He’s very much treating her like a human being. If he was nicer, he wouldn’t be.

    What the fuck are you even trying to say? Do you know what misogyny is?

  44. Smedrick says

    I understand perfectly what a generalisation is, and I also understand what your “It takes a certain kind of person to voluntarily enlist in the military. Part of that is being a meathead” to apply to all persons in the military. “Oh, they’re not all complete meatheads,” you say, “but they’re all part-meathead”.

    You missed my point. You’re complaining about generalizations in a discussion about generalizing. The blog post is trying to place this douchebag into a psychological profile of “privileged nerds”. I’m just offering up my own psychological profile. I think

    Psychologically, one who enlists in the military fits the profile of aggressive machismo. The religion of patriotism draws that type of personality in. That machismo is then massaged in basic training…it’s how the Army operates. The very heart of any military requires grunts to take orders on blind faith.

  45. David Utidjian says

    smedrick (and others),

    This kind of behavior isn’t limited to, exclusive to, or common in any particular group men or society. It is common throughout all groups. Geek, jock, nerd, redneck, working class, upper class, rich and famous, religious, spiritual, atheist, agnostic, socialist, capitalist, libertarian, academic,… it is everywhere. You have to watch and listen what is going on. No man on this planet is automatically immune simply because of where they were born, went to school, career choice, social group, or how they were brought up. We all do it, or have done it, at some point.

    Speaking for myself… it isn’t always easy to notice when one is behaving in the wrong way but it is something that I have to watch for, recognize, and deal with as I come across it. There is no magic pill or ‘twelve-step-program’ or book or whatever that will cure me. The best I can do is be aware of it and shut up and listen.

    To get an idea of what I am talking about watch ‘Made in Dagenham’ (Netflix has it). While it is a great movie overall and Sally Hawkins is superb, as is Bob Hoskins… the particular scene I am thinking of is this one:
    http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1721174297/

    A thoroughly ‘decent bloke’, ‘a saint’, doesn’t get it. He does later.

  46. azkyroth says

    I like disdain for sexist nerds just as much as the next pissed off geeky woman, but you’re being a shit to people who aren’t involved.

    Err, what are you talking about? He was very explicit that men who spend a lot of time on the computer or who have difficulties socializing aren’t “people.”

    [Cue idiots who think I’m defending the entitled jackasses who try to use the group I just referred to as a shield for their shitholery in 3, 2, 1…]

  47. azkyroth says

    Sorry Akira; I get your point, but I’d like to head off any “We’ll maybe he’s just socially awkward” type of excuses for this assface before they invariably surface.

    Thank you. I can assure everyone that people who are actually socially awkward get reallllly tired of being constantly compared to these douchebags.

  48. Saerain says

    What the fuck are you even trying to say? Do you know what misogyny is?

    Do you?

    I’m saying he’s a dick. Which may very well include being a misogynist, but this exchange is only evidence of mis-lastnora-ism. Like calling him a meatheaded dick (which he is) is against him personally and not an outburst of misandry.

  49. azkyroth says

    Misogyny and sexism seem to be a bigger problem in the nerd community (especially online) than in society at large. Or at least that’s what I’ve personally observed.

    I think that’s largely illusory and comes from three things:

    1) the sense of wounded entitlement that can come from being degraded and spit on (the Real component). Society COULD always stop doing this, you know, since it’s kind of pointlessly sociopathic. Just sayin’.
    2) the effects of semi-anonymity and the lack of face to face emotional feedback on the internet. (see Greater Internet Fuckward Theory).
    3) nerds aren’t as skillful at leaving things mostly unsaid and cloaking them in code words as most of society at large. So the problem isn’t that there’s more sexism, just that you SEE it more readily.

  50. starstuff91 says

    Do you?

    I’m saying he’s a dick. Which may very well include being a misogynist, but this exchange is only evidence of mis-lastnora-ism. Like calling him a meatheaded dick (which he is) is against him personally and not an outburst of misandry.

    Yes, I do. The question is, do you? Your quote seems to show that you don’t.

    I’m not sure it makes sense to me to call this display misogynistic because the offended person is female.

    What does that even mean?

  51. starstuff91 says

    I think that’s largely illusory and comes from three things:

    1) the sense of wounded entitlement that can come from being degraded and spit on (the Real component). Society COULD always stop doing this, you know, since it’s kind of pointlessly sociopathic. Just sayin’.
    2) the effects of semi-anonymity and the lack of face to face emotional feedback on the internet. (see Greater Internet Fuckward Theory).
    3) nerds aren’t as skillful at leaving things mostly unsaid and cloaking them in code words as most of society at large. So the problem isn’t that there’s more sexism, just that you SEE it more readily.

    I didn’t say nor mean the nerds are more sexist. I think the number of sexist assholes in the nerd community is the same as most communities. I think that it’s a bigger problem than most communities because so few will speak up when someone does/says this kind of shit. But what you said there does also make sense (except maybe number 3).

  52. Saerain says

    Wait, I think I see what you mean. That could be interpreted two ways. This should be less ambiguous:

    I’m not sure it makes sense to me to call this display misogynistic on the basis that the offended person is female. Is there another basis?

  53. starstuff91 says

    How can I clarify?

    Say what you mean by putting words in an order that makes sense to other people. You can explain your thinking behind that statement.

  54. starstuff91 says

    I’m not sure it makes sense to me to call this display misogynistic on the basis that the offended person is female. Is there another basis?

    Ok, you clearly don’t know what misogyny is. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny
    Read up and then maybe you can talk with the big people.

  55. says

    pinkboi said,

    It seems many women impersonate men online just to prevent shit like this, which gets me thinking… men should try twittering or facebooking as a female and see what women put up with. I kind of got a taste one time playing a (hot) female character in second life… (guys don’t seem to understand “not interested”)

    It is pretty amazing what happens when you do this. I was at with a group of friends who were mainly women, and mainly people who met on a social network I use. We were discussing our experiences on a rival social network that is more of a meat market with less of a social atmosphere. While I have a profile on this site I rarely get messages, probably because I am a man, but all of the women had wonderful stories of the awful, inappropriate and unintentionally hilarious messages they got. That evening we sent up a fake account that only indicated they were a women in their early 20s and the location. The profile had no text in the body, no photo, it was totally bare. However within a few minutes we received at least 20 messages. Some were obviously form messages that they send out to every women they see, other messages were just one liners asking how they were or if they wanted to hook up, and the best were the messages containing elaborate wank fantasies about what they wanted to do with them.

    What I always wonder is whether these guys think women actually like getting these messages or take them seriously. My friends mainly seem to take pleasuring taking the piss out of them or laughing at them among friends.

  56. Saerain says

    Ok, you clearly don’t know what misogyny is. Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny
    Read up and then maybe you can talk with the big people.

    On that note, can you explain your thinking behind that statement?

    My thinking, perhaps my hope, is that your understanding of a misogynist is descriptive of a person who dislikes or hates women rather than a woman.

  57. says

    That’s horrifying that so many people get barrages of uninvited lewdness and rudeness when using feminine names and avatars. I happen to be a socially inept nerd (complete with AS diagnosed as a child) who often resembled a less-educated Sheldon Cooper in my preteen years, but even the most socially inept can understand “No”, “Stop that”, or “That’s rude” or “You’re making me uncomfortable” or “I don’t want to talk about X,” unless they have a major disorder of comprehending language.

    Heck, there have been times a woman was being extremely obvious about coming onto me but it went over my head until others pointed it out later, but that’s the thing – I have trouble telling whether someone is interested in me romantically/sexually, so I play it safe and do not just go assuming that everyone I think/hope is attracted to me really is. If I can, I’ll ask for more information before writing off someone as uninterested, but if I had to choose strictly between assuming someone was interested in me and assuming someone wasn’t, the latter assumption would be far preferable, if frustrating. Of course, the fact I’m lesbian probably helps me to understand how unwanted advances can unnerve, having had experience of jerks making passes at me like most women experience.

    While I haven’t had experience with this kind of harassment online (maybe because I don’t usually use explicitly female names/avatars, typically more gender-neutral), I have signed up to forums posing as a man or as a woman with an orientation differing from my own, and it’s very telling how people respond to bi women vs. bi men, and it isn’t good for either group, even if the bile directed to bi women tends to be concealed in a Trojan Horse of compliments instead of outright “GTFO fag” type comments.

    That’s one of the reasons why feminism (not talking about the rabid stupid variants that posit women are superior, just plain ol’ advocating women are equal to men and deserve equal treatment) benefits men as well – a lot of the awful social constraints imposed on men are the result largely of devaluing women, which is why it has been easier for women to become socially accepted to wear pants but men who wear dresses are ridiculed to the extent it’s practically unheard of to see men walking around in public wearing dresses, and men who show their emotions are branded as weak, “faggy”, and told not to be such a girl, and are often the focus of animosity against gays, since there is the implication that being a gay man is like being a girl, which is a horrible, lowly status for men second only to those who shed their male sexual traits because they are transgender and express themselves as women instead of men.

    It reminds me of this shirt I saw a guy wearing the other day. It said something like, “I’ll stop staring at your boobies when they stop staring at my eyes”. Seriously. Now, I’m someone who thinks there’s nothing wrong with looking at someone you find attractive and deriving enjoyment from looking regardless of whether you know them or they could possibly find you attractive. But there’s a difference between looking and staring. It’s like some men think they are entitled to stare at women’s bodies the same way Lucy stared at William Holden in the Brown Derby episode of I Love Lucy. No, it doesn’t come off as a compliment as to how attractive we must be; it comes off like you’re an unhinged stalker.

  58. starstuff91 says

    My thinking, perhaps my hope, is that your understanding of a misogynist is descriptive of a person who dislikes or hates women rather than a woman.

    Ok, you must be new to this topic on this blog. We all understand that hating a particular woman doesn’t make you a misogynist. What is the unspoken assumption here is that his use of terms and his reaction to something like this demonstrates that he is a misogynist.

  59. mike says

    This behaviour is pervasive throughout society, not just nerds on the ‘net. That is bullshit. And it’s not lack of social skills or practice interacting with girls/women. It is verbal violence, sexual assault, and fear. The only privileged position it is coming from is malehood.
    It is a sign of immaturity and emotional damage, fear of women, values taught at home and community/peers.
    In my neck of the woods, west Canada, racism is less tolerated than degrading women, and many younger guys even matter of factly substitute the word bitches for women.
    More nerd? C’mon, PZ, you know where personal anecdotes, and all manner of distortion in our personal *data collecting* leads – stereotyping.
    It is a sign of immaturity and/or anger, and funny that younger people are generally more immature.
    This shit is a sign of all manner of causes, and if you want to single out specific groups then you need hard data, not opinion, no matter how common sense it seems.

  60. honeymaid88 says

    Saerain:

    “My thinking, perhaps my hope, is that your understanding of a misogynist is descriptive of a person who dislikes or hates women rather than a woman.”

    Could also mean a person dislikes *a* woman because she *is* a woman. This may or may not include the fact that she is not conforming to what the hater expects of said woman (rather than person). But I don’t hope about words. They have actual meaning, not hopeful ones.

  61. Hazuki says

    It’s even more fun when they discover you’re gay and start with “There’s no such thing as a lesbian, just a bi woman who hasn’t met my dick yet!” and suchlike!

    If people could actually choose who they were attracted to I suspect there would be very very few straight women out there sometimes *sigh*

  62. Saerain says

    Could also mean a person dislikes *a* woman because she *is* a woman.

    Which still requires the former definition to first be true and doesn’t change the standards of evidence, so I don’t see how this is really an alternative unless you disagree (in which case I’m interested in your argument), but I appreciate the thoroughness.

  63. Roger says

    There’s a distinction. I think.
    A true nerd or geek [by the way, what’s the difference between a nerd and a geek?] would be too interested in the subject to care who he spoke to about it or to talk about anything else. However, one effect of the internet is that people with strong nerdish tendencies are encouraged to emphasise their nerdishness and also have even fewer opportunities to interact socially with women so they have difficulties doing so even on the net and burst into fits of mysogyny. Real nerds- people who would have been nerds even before computers were invented- usually have no problems interacting with women because they behave with women exactly as they do with men. Women usually appreciate this.

  64. says

    Smedrick

    On re-reading, perhaps I took your term ‘meathead’ as more pejorative than meant. Whatever, I had some really shitty news today, and I think perhaps I’ve jumped on a rather minor point of yours and blown it out of all proportion. Which should teach me to stay off internet message boards when I’m in such a mood. My apologies.

    I do still stand by the second half of my original comment to you. There’s way more of such behaviour on the internet than can be accounted for by ‘nerds’, ‘army’ or any other single group. It seems anonymity brings out the worst in way more men than we’d like. Many women have told me (see my comment #13) that it can be a minute-by-minute problem on occasions when the room/board is busy.

  65. jose says

    You said you are kinky: therefore you have the duty to talk about sex with me, or else you’re a cunt.

  66. kristinc says

    Ah, the joys of being kinky in public. “YOU ADMIT TO HAVING AN UNCONVENTIONAL SEX LIFE! YOU MUST TALK ABOUT IT WITH ME!!!”

    Or even better: “YOU ADMIT TO BEING A WOMAN WITH AN UNCONVENTIONAL SEX LIFE! YOU MUST BE JUST ITCHING TO SUCK MY DICK!!!” Sigh.

    I’m still working on getting the swagger that most teen boys walk with down to a believable point.

    I find that stompy boots, preferably with a bit of a heel rather than a sneaker-type sole, help considerably.

    even the most socially inept can understand “No”, “Stop that”, or “That’s rude” or “You’re making me uncomfortable”

    And non-jerk people with diagnosable social disabilities (Aspergers and so on) are usually really concerned with learning how to behave in socially acceptable ways. Of course, there are sexist jerks with Aspergers too …

    (Also: It’s Not That They Don’t Understand, They Just Don’t Like The Answer.)

  67. Gregory Greenwood says

    I have come to the sad conclusion that there is a (hopefully small) proportion of men, both geek and non-geek, who are genuinely incapable of recognising the fundamental humanity of women. They honestly see women as nothing more than living sex toys, and so become irrationally enraged when women – an individual woman or women more generally – refuse to play the part of the obliging siren.

    It is hard to believe that such an attidude is still so relatively widespread in this day and age. It is not as though ignorance can readily be claimed as an excuse, since it stretches credibility that these people managed to miss little things like the Suffragettes and the entirety of the feminist movement, and the only alternative explanation I can come up with is a deep-seated, almost psychotic misogyny. It is frightening to think that the intertoobs is crawling with jerks who really do believe that a woman’s entire worth is situated between her legs.

  68. Mak says

    Saerain:

    If a white person walked up to a black person and the following exchange occurred:

    WP: Excuse me, but I really like your hair! *touch touch touch*
    BP: What are you doing? Stop it.
    WP: Why?? I really like it!
    BP: Because I don’t know you, and it’s really weirding me out.
    WP: Well, you’re just a nasty nigger anyway, I don’t know why you have to have such a problem with me complimenting your hair. Fuck you if you’re so much better than everyone else!

    Would that be racism, or just hating a person who happens to be black?

  69. Gregory Greenwood says

    Aquaria @ 37;

    Jerk: You have to sleep with me. I bought you a drink, and everything.

    Classic level 1 sexist arsehole behaviour. I did *insert minor, often unsolicited ‘favour’*, therefore you have to have sex with me – a complete stranger who you have only just met – as some sort of quid pro quo.

    B***h!

    Ah, yes, an old favourite. I think the ‘logic’ goes thusly…

    Angry with a woman? Why then, casually deny her humanity! That will put her in her place! She’ll be bound to want to have sex with you then!(/snark)

    What are you, some kind of dyke?

    Oh, this joker is two for two – sexist and homophobic? Some people are just a waste of oxygen…

    Here we see escalation to level 2 sexist arsehole behaviour. Any form of homosexuality is, of course, reviled by the pathetically sexually insecure dregs who bother women at bars. Thus, ‘dyke’, as an identifyer of female homosexuality, is deployed as an insult.

    Further, this privleged moron naturally assumes that any woman who does not wish to have sex with him must surely be homosexual. I mean, what kind of self-respecting straight girl would give up this golden opportunity to be pawed by a drooling knuckle-dragger who has all the social sophistication of an inebriated, faecese-hurling monkey? Just think of what you are missing! (/snark)

    But here’s something interesting I learned from being a fashionista: Gucci slingbacks ca 1981 can withstand coming into hard contact with kneecaps, groins and insteps.

    If only you had been wearing steel-toecapped heavy work boots…

  70. honeymaid88 says

    Saerain:

    “Which still requires the former definition to first be true and doesn’t change the standards of evidence, so I don’t see how this is really an alternative.”

    It is an alternative as it neatly exposes the trope of “But I like X woman, therefore I am not a misogynist” or the some-of-my-best-friends-are-x defense. Being a misogynist doesn’t require one to hate *all* women, but to rather dislike *a* woman based upon her woman-ness. My grandmother was an example of this: she didn’t dislike black people, as neighbors or grocery clerks or janitors, she just disliked it when she thought a black person might think him- or herself her equal (or god-forbid a doctor, horrors!). She didn’t join the KKK or use the n-word, but she was still racist.

    Furthermore, please see Jay Smooth’s explanation of the difference between being a racist and saying something racist. This dude may or may not be a misogynist but quite certainly said some clearly misogynist things and trying to say he is or is not a misogynist is missing the point. He did say something that is terribly demeaning to a woman based upon her woman-ness (and his expectations of her to use that to his pleasure) and needs no other evidence otherwise to prove any point.

  71. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    In my neck of the woods, west Canada, racism is less tolerated than degrading women, and many younger guys even matter of factly substitute the word bitches for women.

    Interesting fact: Groups protected by Canadian laws against genocide, hate propaganda, and incitement to hatred? “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Women aren’t. Despite what happened at Montréal Polytechnique.

    @Aquaria

    Jerk: Bitch! What are you, some kind of dyke?

    Me: Are you the alternative?

    The guy went totally gonzo–why, I don’t know. It wasn’t that rude was it.

    I think he must have thought you were calling him gay (i.e. the male alternative of a dyke), rather than implying that you’d rather be a dyke if he’s your only alternative.

  72. otrame says

    ask yourself whether you may have been addressing an imaginary person constructed out of where you hoped the conversation was going.

    This is actually very wise. A useful thought for those of us who do not read people well. <—-Me

    It is possible, of course, that the person your are conversing with has been "burned" so many times that they automatically do a little preemptive attacking, when you have not, in fact, been doing anything wrong. If that is the case, you should respond exactly as if you have been misinterpreting the conversation, back the fuck up and say goodbye politely.

  73. says

    Misogyny and sexism seem to be a bigger problem in the nerd community (especially online) than in society at large.

    no.

    He’s a meathead Army grunt. Unfortunately this kind of behavior comes with the territory far too often.

    not that, either.

    all he is is a man in modern western culture. that’s fully sufficient to produce that kind of behavior.

    And dudes wonder why Schroedinger’s Rapist applies. *sigh*

  74. says

    There is no doubt the guy is being a jackass, and one of these days he’ll try something on someone with a black belt who will rightly tear him a new one. It is not at all clear to me, though, that the guy will learn from his mistake.

    However, why did the woman let it go on for so long? The guy was so obvious. There’s got to be other people on twitter interested in what the woman is interested in. Why settle for that wanker? Respectfully, I suggest she should have told him to FOAD on the 1st occurrence of smarminess after her indication to him that she was uncomfortable.

  75. Ophelia Benson says

    I suppose if you wanted to be extremely charitable, you could argue that all the prior conversation was just flirtation — hey, he’s just being friendly and flattering and sweet-talking the nice lady on the internet, how can you be offended at that? — but that outburst lays bare all the privilege and selfishness and resentment that lies beneath the facade…

    Exactly. What I’ve been saying for the past [shudder] three months.

  76. otrame says

    This

    Psychologically, one who enlists in the military fits the profile of aggressive machismo.

    is pure unadulterated bullshit. Most men and women join the military (at least in the US, I can not speak for other countries, where there are other options) because their only other option is working at McDonalds. Or selling drugs. Patriotism and machismo have precisely and absolutely nothing to do with the decision. Show me some research that indicates that men in the army are more likely to behave like emotionally stunted ….Christ, I can’t even come up with a simile in the animal kingdom that doesn’t just sound silly. Nothing else in the animal kingdom acts as badly as that. Humans are the best at being complete assholes. We should be proud.

    But my claim is that if you compare men in the military and men in college or men who work in factories or men who work on Wall Street, you will not find that those in the military are more likely to behave like that.

    Some men behave like that. Quite a few of them. What they do for a living doesn’t matter.

  77. David Marjanović, OM says

    Jerk: You have to sleep with me. I bought you a drink, and everything.

    *headdesk in slow motion, complete with splinters flying up from the desk and all*

    Jerk: Bitch! What are you, some kind of dyke?

    Me: Are you the alternative?

    Pure pwnage.

    A true nerd or geek […] would be too interested in the subject to care who he spoke to about it or to talk about anything else. However, one effect of the internet is that people with strong nerdish tendencies are encouraged to emphasise their nerdishness and also have even fewer opportunities to interact socially with women so they have difficulties doing so even on the net and burst into fits of m[i]sogyny. Real nerds- people who would have been nerds even before computers were invented- usually have no problems interacting with women because they behave with women exactly as they do with men. Women usually appreciate this.

    Emphasis added. I agree with what you say, if only because I like to think I’m a “true nerd” by this definition, except that you contrast “people” with “women” and blithely assume that all nerds/geeks are men. (And straight.)

    attidude

    :-) :-) :-)

  78. Saerain says

    It is an alternative as it neatly exposes the trope of “But I like X woman, therefore I am not a misogynist” or the some-of-my-best-friends-are-x defense. Being a misogynist doesn’t require one to hate *all* women, but to rather dislike *a* woman based upon her woman-ness.

    Right. That’s exactly what I’m saying I don’t see here. I don’t care whether he has thirty or zero female friends, and I was not suggesting that misogyny must extend to all women to be misogyny. That’s silly. So seems to be this conclusion that one person’s disdain for another is based on their gender, unless that is somehow evidently so.

    What I see in the exchange between these two is that DMBIII was fine with Lastnora until he found that her comfort with discussing certain subjects was not in alignment with his, hence the feeling that she is ‘stuck up’ and whatnot. It may be extraordinarily short-sighted and a failure of empathy on his part, and I think he’s a curmudgeon under a thin layer of faux casualness, but I don’t find anything about his distressed state to be derived from ‘her woman-ness.’

    My grandmother was an example of this: she didn’t dislike black people, as neighbors or grocery clerks or janitors, she just disliked it when she thought a black person might think him- or herself her equal (or god-forbid a doctor, horrors!). She didn’t join the KKK or use the n-word, but she was still racist.

    Maybe this isn’t being proposed to be analogous, but would you say that this DMBIII seemed upset because she ‘thought herself equal’?

    This dude may or may not be a misogynist but quite certainly said some clearly misogynist things and trying to say he is or is not a misogynist is missing the point.

    Indeed, what he said is what I’m interested in. Like I’ve said, I can tell I wouldn’t like the guy and I’d be unsurprised to find that he is misogynistic, but I’m unconvinced that his tweets were, however obnoxious, misogynistic.

    He did say something that is terribly demeaning to a woman based upon her woman-ness (and his expectations of her to use that to his pleasure) and needs no other evidence otherwise to prove any point.

    I’m assuming you mostly or entirely mean the use of cunt.

    I think he’s a massive cunt, himself, and I’m perplexed that the word can generate such offense amongst skeptics, outside the realm of what I’d generally consider to be people who have this response to so-called vulgarity. Especially words that bear, as their only offensive history, a history of being inexplicably offensive (in this case because ‘it sounds ugly,’ supposedly), and have nothing to distinguish them from other supposedly offensive words for body parts that double (curiously) as a personal insult.

  79. says

    However, why did the woman let it go on for so long? The guy was so obvious. There’s got to be other people on twitter interested in what the woman is interested in. Why settle for that wanker? Respectfully, I suggest she should have told him to FOAD on the 1st occurrence of smarminess after her indication to him that she was uncomfortable.

    already explained in #75; do try to keep up, m’kay?

  80. says

    , but would you say that this DMBIII seemed upset because she ‘thought herself equal’?

    yes. or what do you think it means to assert ones boundaries effectively, instead of letting someone walk all over said boundaries?

  81. otrame says

    supposedly offensive words for body parts that double (curiously) as a personal insult.

    Hehehe.

    That clicking sound you just heard was the land mine arming. It will now go BOOOOM!!!

    *goes to get popcorn

  82. kerfluffle says

    However, why did the woman let it go on for so long? The guy was so obvious. There’s got to be other people on twitter interested in what the woman is interested in. Why settle for that wanker? Respectfully, I suggest she should have told him to FOAD on the 1st occurrence of smarminess after her indication to him that she was uncomfortable.

    Respectfully, I suggest that it be her choice how long she wants to carry on a conversation. How you would have dealt with those circumstances has no bearing on her actions.

  83. David Marjanović, OM says

    have nothing to distinguish them from other supposedly offensive words for body parts that double (curiously) as a personal insult

    …except the way they’re used in the USA. Cunt and twat come with quite different connotations in different English-speaking places.

  84. says

    I think he’s a massive cunt, himself, and I’m perplexed that the word can generate such offense amongst skeptics, outside the realm of what I’d generally consider to be people who have this response to so-called vulgarity

    it’s not a vulgarity, it’s a slur. or do you go around calling people niggers, kikes etc, too?

  85. kristinc says

    Saerain, you fucking idiot, he would have been fine with her as long as she accepted that he had the dudely right to decide what they did and did not discuss. When she refused to uphold that dudely right, he flipped out on her. Of course this is about misogyny. It’s about cultural messages that dudes have the right to be catered to by women, and that women, no matter what, are supposed to be flattered by dudes showing interest in them. FUCKING DUH.

    Why are you standing on one hand and jugging ferrets to excuse misogyny? It reminds me of the guys who hang out in rape threads asking very detailed hypothetical questions about what exactly is and isn’t rape — like they’re trying to figure out how much rapey behavior they could get away with. You seem to be trying to figure out exactly how much woman-hating behavior you could get away with.

  86. says

    Especially words that bear, as their only offensive history, a history of being inexplicably offensive

    oy.

    what the fuck am i supposed to do with an argument from ignorance at such a basic level!?

  87. Ibis3, féministe avec un titre française de fantaisie says

    , but would you say that this DMBIII seemed upset because she ‘thought herself equal’?

    Yes. He felt entitled to hit on her without having established a respectful, non-sexual relationship because she’s prey not a person.* He felt entitled to ignore her first clear indication that she didn’t want to be hit on because he feels women are inferior to him. This is just the first exchange. He’s not even near upset yet, and he’s shown himself to be a sexist. The losing it at the end is just the most blatant indication of his misogyny.

    Do you honestly think he’d have said the same things to a guy he was interested in?


    *For the dull and impaired: in other contexts, hitting on a stranger would not necessarily be disrespectful–like at a singles’ bar or on a dating site.

  88. honeymaid88 says

    Saerain:

    “Maybe this isn’t being proposed to be analogous, but would you say that this DMBIII seemed upset because she ‘thought herself equal’?”

    Well, it’s really a simile as I used the word like, but that’s precisely the point! He’s used to, nay expects, his wants to supersede hers. She thinks that her wants (to not be harassed) do supersede his (wanting her to be open to whatever the fuck he wants). This pisses him off. That’s why my grandmother was a racist and this dude is a misogynist.

    “I’m assuming you mostly or entirely mean the use of cunt.”

    In fact, I could give two fucking shits about the use of the word cunt, but rather that he not only did not listen to her when she said she wasn’t interested, when he finally realized that she wasn’t going to be convinced otherwise he turned abusive, insulting and, ultimately, threatening. Cunt, while my least favorite swear, it’s not the fucking point of the whole god-damn post!!!! This thought process, that the use of the word cunt is the worst part of the exchange, is the FUCKING PROBLEM!

  89. azkyroth says

    I think it’s worth noting that aside from the misogynistic connotation, there’s something about the guttural sound of the word “cunt” that makes it especially satisfying as an expression of contempt or anger. I’ve noticed the word “lump” is about equally satisfying and doesn’t have the same Unfortunate Implications (though I imagine someone can find some if they put their minds to it).

    Not that this guy has any rational reason to be angry, though…

  90. says

    @Skepgineer #73

    My douchebag detector was going off on his very first tweet. Why on earth did she continue the conversation?

    But if she’d told him to go away at the first warning sign, people would have said she was a paranoid, oversensitive, man-hating hysterical feminazi who believes that all men are rapists, and that men should not have the right to speak to women ever unless they obtain written permission beforehand.

    If she’d let him continue talking, people would say she was leading him on, not expressing her boundaries, how was he supposed to know that she was uncomfortable, men can’t read minds, they’re not good at this emotional stuff, she was probably sending him ambiguous signals, why didn’t she just say she was uncomfortable and he would have stopped doing it?

    Rock, hard place. You know the rest.

  91. says

    if they had any “real” life or ability to connect with fellow humans, they wouldn’t be in front of the computer all the time in the first place.

    Oh bullshit. My uncle and his wife played WoW all the damn time (until she died from cancer) and wasn’t an asshole to women. I have had jocky dudes who are obsessed with not looking nerdy pull the same shit as the twitter dude, too. This is about masculinity, not nerds.

    The idea is that no matter what a woman does, she can’t call him a cunt back (or a bitch, the insult I usually end up being called in those situations). There isn’t an equivalent, it is a trump card. He has his supremacy over me in that I can’t ever do that back to him in any real way. He has “won”. These dudes view sex as a conquest so if he doesn’t get that then he has to win somehow.

    Robert Jensen talks about it in Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Dudes gotta win or they feel like shit, like they aren’t real men. That is the only way that masculinity works in our current culture, if someone isn’t winning then they are losing, and losing at it is for women and faggots. Her refusal to let him dominate something small, like a conversation, drove him crazy.

  92. The Countess says

    I’ve seen the same problems being an erotic romance and sex writer. Men assume since I’m so open about sex and I write about it that I want to have it – with them. No, I don’t and stop asking me or telling me I “need” a man like you. Just like she said in her Twitter feed, yes she likes sex but NO she doesn’t want to talk about it or have it with some random guy who feels entitled to her. That kind of behavior doesn’t only exist in the geek world. I have cross-over in the geek world because I also write horror and science fiction. The come-ons never end.

  93. says

    Saerain

    I think he’s a massive cunt, himself, and I’m perplexed that the word can generate such offense amongst skeptics, outside the realm of what I’d generally consider to be people who have this response to so-called vulgarity. Especially words that bear, as their only offensive history, a history of being inexplicably offensive (in this case because ‘it sounds ugly,’ supposedly), and have nothing to distinguish them from other supposedly offensive words for body parts that double (curiously) as a personal insult.

    You are talking about what the word means in theory, rather than its practical usage. Its practical usage is on display at the top of the thread, and all over the internet, all over women’s lives, in sentences that all mean “you are shit because you are a woman, so I will use the word ‘cunt’ to signify that”. You can’t take the word back or tell other people what it should mean in the face of evidence of what it actually means to women. Women have the word “cunt” screamed at them from cars for intimidation, they are named “cunt” when they are being beaten up or pimped out. These words are socially constructed and collectively owned, an individual cannot change the shared meaning. If you want to ignore what the word “cunt” brings up to the average woman, for your personal comfort, you are making a very selfish choice. The word “faggot” just means “bundle of sticks”, until you remember that so many gay people have the word hurled at them during violence, or as a threat of violence. That is what the word “faggot” can bring up when a straight person wields it against them, regardless of intent. What the words mean to people who are never on the receiving end isn’t as important, what the words conjure up for people subject to them is my main concern. It is just using courtesy to not subject people to that type of shit without reason. So please, cut it out.

  94. says

    Oh, I’m very sorry. PZ, I just saw your other post about the ad thing. I’m playing catch-up since I haven’t read you in a few days and I didn’t see that post until now. Sorry about my previous comment. I’ll not mention it again. :)

  95. starstuff91 says

    Because no woman has ever come on to a man too strong before…

    This is a bad joke, right? You can’t honestly think that this is just him coming on to her too strongly?

    He insulted her and tried to put her down just because she didn’t want to talk about her sexuality with him. He continued even after she repeatedly told him to stop. That’s not just someone coming on a little too strongly.

  96. kristinc says

    Class, Porco Dio has demonstrated what “culturally normalized force and stalking behaviors as part of romance” looks like. Thank you, Porco Dio, why don’t you go sit down at your desk now and eat paste for a while.

  97. Rey Fox says

    Because no woman has ever come on to a man too strong before…

    Crap, why didn’t anyone tell me it’s Non Sequitur Night? Okay, here goes…Because no monkey has ever operated a backhoe before.

  98. Sastra says

    The only time I had to change my nick to avoid shockingly persistent lascivious private messages was in #Islam on the IRC. If they found out — or even thought — you were female, that was it. No, it wasn’t every person in the chatroom, but it often seemed that way. You could not have a debate, or even conversation. I’ve never seen or been in any other forum remotely like it.

    But I don’t get around that much.

  99. kristinc says

    Skepgineer: spoken like someone who has never been stalked, threatened or attacked for being “a bitch”. How about you just shut up and learn.

  100. vicarofartonearth says

    While I am firmly stuck to Chef in South Park saying, no sex before 18,. After, even for kids with significant disabilities when you are ready, armed with protection, it is your deal.

    There are a few men who are over the edge and use sex to compensate for lack of power. There are most likely men who for whatever reason can not communicate or I would suggest, brought up by people very afraid of sex, maybe for religious reasons, this is speculation, but have no background. They have no clue.

    A sex worker who can deal with confidence issues and teach manners might solve many problems. I would advise this if a person ends up at 24 or 25 and can’t seem to get it. The magic of first love through Christian matchmaking.org is just not going to happen for most. There used to be sexual surrogates in San Francisco, I know of no studies,

    I have met guys who have used them. I believe it is “better to have loved and lost than never loved at all”.

    One of the skills that primary school should teach when teachers are paid a real wage is team work. Participation in team sports I think,is an important development tool if not over done.

    I found when working with adults who went through a segregated special education program was they could not be comfortable working in a team. Even Mr. Spock played space chess.

  101. John Morales says

    vicarofartonearth, your comment seems a non sequitur.

    (Also—sorry to inform you of this—Mr. Spock is a fictional character)

  102. dartigen says

    @97 she could have ignored him, or blocked him. I’ve done it plenty of times against spam accounts. Twitter has the ‘block’ function on tweets for a reason. There was no reason for her to continue the conversation if she didn’t want to.

    While I don’t have to deal with sexism from men IRL (I actually seem to get it from women – mostly in the form of variants of ‘oh, you’re so pretty, I can’t believe you’re a geek!’ Yeah, because all geeky women are obviously ugly and unattractive. /sarcasm) I’ve had it online before. Most services have ‘ignore’ or ‘block’ functions, and in most cases you don’t have to talk to people you don’t want to talk to.
    These ignore/block functions are not added to these services because they’re pretty or the programmers or designers were bored. They’re added in for specifically these scenarios – when someone is being spammed or harassed.
    On forums and blogs it can be a little more difficult, but again, you usually don’t have to deal with people you don’t want to, and on a good forum or blog moderators will deal with the harasser.
    And so what if you have to block half the server? Block half the server.

    Yes, complain about harassment on sites and in games. Yes, blog about it, get that stuff out there. Nothing will happen if site owners and moderators don’t know it’s happening. But don’t wait for them to do something – block people who harass you or spam you, and they can’t do it again. (If they make sockpuppets, block those too. And make sure it’s reported to the relevant authorities of the site – owners, moderators, whatever they’re called.)

  103. M says

    Nerds…

    They claim to be above ‘shallow popularity’ but they desperately crave it. Nonetheless at least half of them still can’t be assed to at least master basic hygiene. Oh yeah, you’re above popularity and you’re better then everyone else. Keep telling yourself that pimples.

    They claim to hate jocks, but they desperately try to be tough macho guys and end up a horrific parody of jocks, reviled by women and laughed at by real men.

    They claim to be nice guys, but they arrogantly always assume everyone else is an idiot, and though they act like doormats to women deep down they seethe in rage at all womenkind because no one will sleep with them. And then harass women on the internet, and sometimes in real life.

    And don’t get me started on when nerds get some sort of nutjob political ideology in their greasy skulls, such as objectivism or libertarianism. That’s when the real epic fucktardery begins. Not to mention that those type become as impervious to any contrary evidence as the staunchest fundie. After all they’re so smart, if someone disagrees, they must be stupid. HISTORY must be stupid! Clearly it’s all biased! And if only everyone embraced their little political idea it’d be a happy clappy utopia for everyone they don’t hate.

    They always think people hate them for being smart or having intellectual interests, instead of their obnoxious personalities. Hint, maybe just learn what sort of conversation is and is not interesting and appropriate for everyday smalltalk. Your geeky interest? Best kept within said interests fanclub for the most part. And if you don’t speak japanese, don’t pepper your dialogue with random japanese words. That’d be stupid and annoying even if you DID speak fluent japanese.

    And if you crave women so desperately let me tell you this nerds; You are NOT cool and hot enough to just get one on good looks or suave charm. If you could do that you wouldn’t be a nerd. So instead, master hygiene, learn basic social skills, move out of the basement and above all grow some humility. You know how you think you’re the smartest person on the planet? Yeah, can that shit. Because guess who else notices an is annoyed by that smarmy misplaced superiority you exude? That’s right, women. You think they want to get close to a guy who clearly thinks they’re morons? Humility, gain it. (And I mean intellectual humility in your case. (in fact if you become an actual scientist instead of a nerd you’ll be forced to learn intellectual humility, probably the hard way, because you can’t be a good scientist if you think you know everything and can’t be wrong.)

    Maybe I’m just a raging misanthrope (I won’t deny it), but perhaps it could also be that I just see humanity, including nerds, for what they really are. I don’t claim to be a wonderful person myself. But at least I’m honest. And I actually did well enough for myself anyway. And in case you think I’m just another mean bully. I did not once disapprove of actual intellectual interests. I approve of that. In fact I don’t even disapprove of you having geeky non-intellectual interests. Just keep it to the fanclub and don’t bore the rest of the world to tears with it. Me, I’m just not putting up with all the bullshit of ANY group of human beings.

    And in case anyone thinks *I* think I’m so smart. If I started naming a list of topics I’ll happily admit I know little to nothing about this post would be about twenty times as long. And even if I did think I was so smart, everything on the list still goes. Of course if the shoe really doesn’t fit, then don’t bloody put it on. But I’m guessing at least some of those shoes fit 95% of nerddom like a glove.

  104. says

    @99 skeptifem

    Robert Jensen talks about it in Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. Dudes gotta win or they feel like shit, like they aren’t real men. That is the only way that masculinity works in our current culture, if someone isn’t winning then they are losing, and losing at it is for women and faggots. Her refusal to let him dominate something small, like a conversation, drove him crazy.

    You might already know about this, but Deborah Tannen, a linguist at Georgetown has written about the hierarchy in which men grow up…

    http://raysweb.net/poems/articles/tannen.html

  105. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

    M, you can take your nerd bashing rant and blow it out your ass. This thread is not about nerds, its about jerks who can’t show respect for women. The fact that those groups sometimes overlap does not give you license to make sweeping generalizations that don’t even touch that subject.

    They always think people hate them for being smart or having intellectual interests, instead of their obnoxious personalities. Hint, maybe just learn what sort of conversation is and is not interesting and appropriate for everyday smalltalk. Your geeky interest? Best kept within said interests fanclub for the most part. And if you don’t speak japanese, don’t pepper your dialogue with random japanese words. That’d be stupid and annoying even if you DID speak fluent japanese.

    Like this. I must have missed the part where being fascinated with japanese culture lead to rapey behavior. And by the way, who made you the arbiter of what I can talk about to other people? Take your patronizing “advice” and go hoggle over it elsewhere, you piece of shit.

    And in case anyone thinks *I* think I’m so smart.

    Why the fuck would I care? If you are smart enough to form a reasonable analysis of something then by all means post it. If you have relevant experience then share your anecdote. But don’t come in here and post a bunch of stereotypes about people who play D&D or like comics and expect the rest of us to like you.

  106. starstuff91 says

    @ M:
    Have you ever actually met a nerd (and I’m not talking about online)? Also, many, many women would be happy to describe themselves as nerds. I’m one of them. Most nerds are perfectly normal people who happen to be interested in something nerdy, or several nerdy things.

    Also, saying that “women don’t like this or that” really fucking pisses me off. As if women are one homogenous group who all think alike and who are interested in the same things. You’re just as bad as the “nerds” that you hate so much.

  107. Rey Fox says

    but perhaps it could also be that I just see humanity, including nerds, for what they really are.

    Actually, it looks to me like you just watch way too much TV.

  108. David Marjanović, OM says

    The idea is that no matter what a woman does, she can’t call him a cunt back (or a bitch, the insult I usually end up being called in those situations). There isn’t an equivalent, it is a trump card. He has his supremacy over me in that I can’t ever do that back to him in any real way. He has “won”.

    *lightbulb moment*

    How stupid of me never to have thought of this myself!

  109. says

    lol @ M. Your entire argument boils down to “really, nerds are just jealous of the popular kids.” uh, what? I agree with the poster who said you watch too much tv, or maybe you are in high school? I don’t know anyone who still says “you’re just jealous” with a straight face.

  110. says

    I don’t see this isolated to geekdom. I have seen this kind of behavior in jock communities and corporate groups

    Haven’t read the whole thread, so pardon me if this has already been said or if I’m just stating the obvious:

    It seems to me that the quote above indicates that this is a problem related to male-only (or strongly male-dominated) social groups. That is the common denominator between the army, the jocks, the nerds and the corporate types. So, whenever males are together with little or no female input, we get this kind of behavior.

    As a result, the correct response is to include females in as many social contexts as possible, make them visible and ensure their ability to speak their minds freely and safely.
    If we do this, over time, we should be able to weed out this kind of behavior.

  111. kristinc says

    Skepgineer: It took years for Dennis Markuze to be arrested. He was making documented death threats literally dozens of times a day to literally dozens of people. What the hell makes you think a woman being stalked and harassed has a decent chance of being taken seriously?

    Once again: how about you shut up and learn.

  112. kristinc says

    Also, Skepgineer, you are missing (or ignoring) the intense and non-stop training girls and women receive our whole lives, that being “a bitch” is the worst thing we can do.

    So: maybe, just maybe, your facile “solutions” don’t correspond at all to the real world most women live in. Shut. up. and. learn.

  113. says

    In those years, no one actually called up the Montreal police department directly to complain. They went through some other police department that was supposed to contact something or other that was supposed to contact the Montreal police and the chain got broken somewhere along the way.

    You complain if someone says you shouldn’t shut up and take it, and complain if someone says you should shut up and take it, and you complain if people ignore your problems. Clearly the only valid response is idle commiseration.

  114. kristinc says

    Well, apparently you’re not going to learn, so how about you skip directly to the part where you shut the fuck up.

  115. says

    M #118: As a nerd, fuck you. I didn’t want to be popular, I just didn’t want to be invisible. Still don’t.

    Skepgineer #133:

    Shut up and listen is exactly what a misogynist says to a woman, you flaming hypocrite.

    No, a misogynist tries to tell a woman that her concerns aren’t important and she really shouldn’t feel that way. “Shut up and listen” is the appropriate response.

  116. says

    No, a misogynist tries to tell a woman that her concerns aren’t important and she really shouldn’t feel that way. “Shut up and listen” is the appropriate response.

    I didn’t say her concerns aren’t important or she shouldn’t feel how she feels. I suggested a tactic and she responded with the courtier’s reply and various iterations of being a dick.

  117. says

    Skepgineer, your ‘suggestion’ was responded to in comment #129. You attempted to explain it away by making an unbacked claim and whining about how no one takes your advice.

    Why not…try giving different advice? Why not ask why it took so long for Markuze to be dealt with rather than just make claims about it? Are you really that small-minded?

  118. azkyroth says

    Maybe I’m just a raging misanthrope (I won’t deny it), but perhaps it could also be that I just see humanity, including nerds, for what they really are.

    Weren’t you just bashing objectivists and libertarians a few paragraphs ago?

  119. azkyroth says

    Also, Skepgineer, you are missing (or ignoring) the intense and non-stop training girls and women receive our whole lives, that being “a bitch” is the worst thing we can do.

    Haven’t read the last few comments, but…

    Do I recall incorrectly that Skepgineer is a woman?

    Or do you just flatly assume an engineer MUST be a guy?

    (Or that a person who disagrees with you MUST be a guy?)

  120. ichthyic says

    In those years, no one actually called up the Montreal police department directly to complain

    actually, that’s not true at all.

    In fact, what was done was to contact THEM first! It was the Montreal police that told those contacting it to handle it via their local PDs first, and that their local PDs would forward any formal requests through “proper channels”.

    so, if this is the example you want to use to prove a point, uh, you’re starting off in a hole.

  121. ichthyic says

    Clearly the only valid response is idle commiseration.

    perhaps that should be YOUR response.

    idle, QUIET, empathy.

  122. ichthyic says

    Or do you just flatly assume an engineer MUST be a guy?

    hackles raised without merit.

    could be that the assumption of guydom comes from the responses given, and has nothing whatsoever to do with profession?

  123. ichthyic says

    They claim to be above ‘shallow popularity’ but they desperately crave it.

    which is then followed by a pages long rambling post full of utter geekitude and misanthropy.

    project much?

  124. ichthyic says

    Maybe I’m just a raging misanthrope (I won’t deny it)

    you know, you could have just said that one line and fucked off.

    it would have the same effect and have been much less wordy.

  125. kristinc says

    Azkyroth: Whether Skepgineer is a man or a woman, it still remains true that to so blithely make the claims Skepgineer has made displays complete ignorance of (or willful refusal to acknowledge) the anti-bitch socialization girls and women receive and the risks women run of being harassed or stalked without effective recourse.

    If Skepgineer is a woman all that means is that Skepgineer is the functional equivalent of the woman who says “Well *I* have never been raped/groped/sexually harassed, therefore women who worry about those things are just silly.” And she is an ass.

  126. says

    It reminds me of this shirt I saw a guy wearing the other day. It said something like, “I’ll stop staring at your boobies when they stop staring at my eyes”.

    I wouldn’t mind them passing a glance at my boobs if they actually acknowledged the fact that I indeed have eyes.
    I’m not tall (1,63m), but “very welll endowed” (to the point that normal shops don’t cater for my size anymore).
    I have literally seen guys taking a step back from “normal conversation distance” so they could stare at my boobs without having to bend their knees. It menat that I’d usually turn my back on them if possible.

    I think that one of the things that makes problems a bit, well, if not worse than at least more obvious in the gamer community is the lack of women therein (this might not even be a lack of actual women, but a lack of “obvious” women, as many women disguise their femininity as mentioned before).
    Stupid ideas about any outgroup are most rampant in people who hardly ever deal with said outgroup. It’s hard to maintain lots of biases, prejudice and misconceptions if you deal with people on a daily basis.
    If you want an example: In Berlin, the “Pirate Party just won a number of seats in the Berlin Representative House. As I watched the news yesterday I paid attention to their celebration, to all the camera shots at the crowd. Their main candidates are all male. Their leaders are all male. I saw one female face in the crowd. They are actualy quite liberal and left-leaning, but somehow I doubt that the are sufficiently aware of gender issues.

    Personally, I never made it into the online-gamer community, but I was part of the trading card community for a while. Our group was wonderful, they are still some of my best friends and well, let me put it into numbers: less than 1/3 were heterosexual men. But the next group we sometimes played against were “gamer geek nerds” in the worst connotations. I swear if I’d written them as characters in a novel people would tell me stop stereotyping the gamer community because such people surely don’t exist like that.
    They seemed to own a single bottle of shower gel between the 6 of them and except for one of them didn’t talk to women who hadn’t to talk to them in the whole week

  127. cynic04 says

    Did you guys hear about that Duane Buck fellow who just had his execution postponed? I’m not sure that was a great idea, I mean, most blacks are just fine but there is a violent subset that can’t be trusted to live freely in society.

  128. greame says

    Azkyroth #49

    Thank you. I can assure everyone that people who are actually socially awkward get reallllly tired of being constantly compared to these douchebags.

    QFT!

  129. Rey Fox says

    it still remains true that to so blithely make the claims Skepgineer has made displays complete ignorance of (or willful refusal to acknowledge) the anti-bitch socialization girls and women receive and the risks women run of being harassed or stalked without effective recourse.

    As well as being victim-blaming. We love victim blaming around here.

    A couple people have asked why she didn’t just tell the guy off right away or whatever. My answers are 1)The guy wasn’t completely intolerable from the get-go, he took a while to ramp up to it, and 2) Does it really matter?

  130. Ewan Macdonald says

    I have a Twitter account but don’t know the details of it very well… why do some of his posts have the Delete option next to them? Are they private messages that you can remove? Because I don’t think you can delete other peoples’ posts normally…

  131. JoeKaistoe says

    @77 Ibis3

    I hate to burst your bubble, but the actual text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly lists sex as one of the groups covered.

    15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal
    protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without
    discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental
    or physical disability.

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/Charter/CHART_E.pdf

  132. JoeKaistoe says

    @153 Myself

    I apologize, you’re referring to something different. I retract my “burst your bubble” comment.