“Geekdom is the only place where socially shunned males can be save [sic] and be themselves”

This popped up among several friends, from an anonymous geek person . [Sic] all around.

Geekdom is the only place where socially shunned males can be save and be themselves. So when women, who exclude them outside geek culture, invade those save spaces and force the scene to conform to their wants and rules they leave the men with nowhere to go. Where can they flee? They’re backed into a corner. Attacking invading women is not harrassment – it is defense. Women hate socially inept males. Why should they not hate them back when they try to destoy their only sanctuary.

First, it’s blatant nonsense that women – or rather not cis dudes – were never part of “geekdom”, it’s bullshit to say women “invade” geek spaces. The first games I bought were by Roberta Williams and Jane Jensen; I was reading Ursula le Guin before I knew I was apparently supposed to hate all girls (i.e. teens); and the most popular character among me and my friends for Halloween was Frankenstein’s monster, created by – *gasp* – a woman.

But, I don’t need to list women who revolutionised the various mediums they were part of or elaborate on the quality and beauty they brought to their various genres. The works speak for themselves.

While some of us dudes were writing shitty poetry and thinking we could be the next Stephen King, women were adding quality to stale genres and mediums that were constantly poised to antagonise them.

If you tell me women are invading geek spaces, I just don’t know what you mean because the “geek spaces” I know and grew up with are comprised of women and their creations, of women friends coding software, winning awards, and building computers; writing books that have stayed with me for generations; creating games I still get nostalgia for (I’m replaying Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. Thank you, Jane Jensen!)

That geekbros don’t know this shows that the first premise is false: Geekdom is not maledom. Never has been. If the first premise is false, everything else collapses – since this is how logical arguments work.

But this Anon Geekbro isn’t trying to make a sound argument: it’s a justification to maintain the status quo, to not self-reflect; to mend the fences feminists and others have to started to rightfully dismantle, fences propped to keep the privilege soft and warm.

That was just the first part, though.

So when women, who exclude them outside geek culture, invade those save spaces and force the scene to conform to their wants and rules they leave the men with nowhere to go.

Note the assumption that geeks are straight and men (more diversity would inform you about different sexualities and genders!). We’ve already seen that “invading” is bog-stained horse manure.

But let’s assume it really is the case that before, um, 2012 women never appeared in geekdom anywhere (sorry Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and other Vertigo writers who then became household names: Karen Berger can’t get a job creating the finest line of comics imprint, because women can’t invade geek spaces!)

Many dudes growing up have often felt excluded by girls* (not girls’ fault), been bullied and were considered weird and strange in high school – that’s a lot of us. The first issue, you’ll note, is that they want to blame women for this sense of rejection, not themselves. Even blame might be the wrong term, since there could be a multitude of factors, beyond our control, that left us feeling isolated, socially awkward and so on. The issue requires care to think about – but you throw any sensitivity out the window as soon as you attack women as the catalysts for your male geek troubles.

Thus even if women had never been part of geekdom and now suddenly want to be, it’s still not a reason to oppose them. We’re not talking about someone who threw you into Robben Island and now wants to join your board game club; we’re talking about a particular group you were attracted to, but had trouble engaging, now entering a space you assumed was your own.

Why do male geeks not think any geeks from other genders exist? Could it be because, um, male geeks only hung out with other male geeks? The idea that girls were doing the same nerdy thing but among themselves seems alien. Instead, women appear ex nihilo into geekdom ready to conquer it? Maybe there are all sorts of other issues male geeks never had to face that often forced girls to be silent or downplay their geeky interests?

No! Far more likely women spring into geekdom to… “invade” cos… reasons. (I mean, why wouldn’t they, look how fucking welcoming it is!/s).

This part is interesting

conform to their wants and rules they leave the men with nowhere to go.

Note how this leaves out that men themselves want to hear from women; that we want to listen to feminist critics or – *gasp* consider ourselves feminists! There is a polarising of men versus women (assuming gender binary, too), and apparently all think alike – there’s no consideration that “Men agree with feminists’ arguments” or “Men are listening to women because maybe the women have something to say” or “Women actually made this or are in charge” etc. (Reminder: women already started gaming companies, made games, wrote books, etc. before so many of these angry dudes were born!)

Again: the idea is that if women “invade” and have their evil way, it would directly oppose (all) men – the reality is they would be opposing sexists, misogynists, transphobes and many other kinds of people a lot of us men do not want to associate with either!

If you feel anti-sexism is attacking you as a man, the problem isn’t anti-sexism.

Where can they flee? They’re backed into a corner. Attacking invading women is not harrassment – it is defense.

Fuck you.

Women hate socially inept males.

Tell that to my partners. Maybe women are getting better at spotting gross sexist jerks, who use “socially inept” as an excuse to blame women instead of figuring out how they can be better men.

Why should they not hate them back when they try to destoy [sic] their only sanctuary.

I for one welcome an end to toxicity where women find it easier to abandon writing careers in gaming, for goddamn law and politics; toxicity so vile, it hurts my friends who just tried to support me and others.

This is not your sanctuary. It’s everyone’s – yes, including yours. And either you accept that boring, sexist horseshit is no longer acceptable or get some money together and become a GOP Presidential candidate.

I’ll be fucked if people expect us who think marginalised folk deserve to be treated with respect should sit down, shut up or get out because gross jerks justify harassment as “defence”.

Fuck that.

Women made this culture before you were born. Sorry. Time to catch up and grow up.


Is this is what “invading” geek space is? Good.


* I literally mean girls, as in high school, since that’s what I’m referring to. I’m not – and won’t – use “girls” as shorthand for “women”.

I am a cishet dude, who enjoys the products of geekdom: video games, sci-fi TV shows and lit, horror, and so on. I have written about them for publications you might know about. I have a great love for these. So, in thinking about this “question”, I am addressing other cishet dudes.



  1. says

    The whole thing also ignores the existence of socially shunned and awkward attractive girls and women.
    It’s been my experience that these “socially shunned males” spend their time pining over the conventionally attractive girls. I had a conversation with a guy once who was complaining that he couldn’t get a date and when I suggested he expand the range of women he would consider asking out his reply was “But I need to get turned on!”
    That’s why I can’t stomach people like the aggrieved geek quoted in the OP.

  2. lakitha tolbert says

    Excellent takedown.

    In the middle of this person’s little rantlet, is the assumption that there were no girls dealing with the same amount of ostracism as they were, going through many of the same painful and awkward social encounters and being vilified not just for being nerds, but being female and a nerd (or having people show absolute contempt for being Black, female and a nerd.)

  3. says

    I doubt there’s a strong correlation between being a socially awkward male and a sexist jerk. But there are always going to be a few socially awkward males who are sexist jerks, and aren’t able to figure out that maybe women are avoiding them because they’re sexist jerks, and whether they’re socially awkward or not isn’t why.

    Thanks for propping Sierra Games. Roberta Williams’ products gave me years of happy. A lot of the coding staff at Sierra were women, too. And, you know what? It was impossible to tell from the games. It’s like the gender of the programmer doesn’t make a difference, or something.

  4. Onamission5 says

    The question I always want to ask of people like this anonymous commenter is, where the hell are the girls and women who were likewise socially bullied and excluded supposed to go, if geekdom is a boys only club? Female nerds have never existed, eh? Oh, we did, yes we did, and do. We were the girls you all whined about “girls only want assholes” to, then wouldn’t let us join the D&D campaign, because we would’ve ruined it with pink, flowery feelings and stuff. Or you did invite us to join, but not to play, not really. You only wanted us there so you could try to fuck us. THANKS FOR THAT SO MUCH.

  5. Scylla Kat says

    Yes, what everyone said. When I was a nerd in 7th grade, my other nerdy friends were girls. When I found boys that would be nerds with me, I was elated (British humor was how we rolled that year). When my boyfriend in college took me to play D&D, we met at a woman’s house. When I went to cons, there were largely white males, certainly, but I delighted at seeing more and more women involved (especially as I watched DragonCon grow a high-level costuming faction!). It’s only the last couple of years that I’ve heard repeatedly how women are invading or taking over and it’s always in the vein that sexist men are getting pushback.

  6. Lucy Montrose says

    Gross and sexist goes far beyond being merely “socially inept”. Don’t even try to equate the two. In fact, they should be outraged that sexist pigs are trying to hide behind the nominally kinder label. Because the effect becomes that ALL social awkwardness is pathologized and made suspect.

    Awkwardness between people is part of life as we get to know each other; sometimes we misunderstand, misread the intentions of, or misjudge others. In fact, not just sometimes– a LOT of the time. And if the “awkwards” in our life are basically good people, that should NOT be an invitation to blackball them, or label them deficient of personality, or neurologically impaired. It takes time to learn how to operate in sync with people. And usually we’re big enough people to mutually mend over the mismatches and move on.

    But because some truly dreadful people insist on hiding behind a more benign front, we all become convinced that awkwardness really is a danger signal after all. And so we don’t give each other the time we used to, to learn how to sync and connect– we expect instant connection, instinctual understanding of the social rules, without asking of course. Which is unrealistic. But it’s what we’re reduced to in our effort to keep out the boundary violators. Because of them, we are forced to hold humans to an unrealistic, non-human standard.

  7. Lucy Montrose says

    Part of the whole problem is how these beleaguered geeks define “socially shunned” in the first place. Most of the time, that’s just code for “people/GIRLS said no to me”.
    Because it parallels how as a whole, we define socially skilled– a person who other people say yes to a lot. We don’t have a mental template for “charismatic person who gets rejected” because we believe that charismatic people don’t get rejected.

    And so, because none of us wants to be socially inept, we go around fishing for Yeses; and if necessary, pressuring or coercing people into giving them to us. Because yeses offer all-important evidence that socially we’re OK. While rejections take that proof away.