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Posts Tagged ‘geek culture’

  1. Johnny-Come-Lately: Famous Dudes and Sexism

    July 1, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    My silence screams ‘ha ha!’/And you call us wrong either way/It ‘just so happens’ to us everyday.  – Le Tigre

    Look, I’m sick of your shit. I don’t care if you’re famous and “erudite” arbitors of geek culture. I don’t care how many hits your articles or comics get, how many people know your name or laugh at your jokes. You have a big fucking problem right now and that problem is shitty behaviour. You’re all up in arms right now because someone called Felicia Day a “booth babe” but you conveniently forget that there are other, more famous Destructoid writers going around harassing women on Twitter and calling them “feminazi c*nts.”

    I see you, Wil Wheaton, who’s mad his friend got shit on and while I don’t want anyone to get harassed, much less Felicia Day, the idea that you’re just noticing and caring about gaming culture being shitty to women NOW? There’s been tons of other less-famous women who’ve been harassed before and no one gives a shit about them. Gaming and nerd culture turning on women didn’t start with Anita Sarkeesian (though that was horrible), and it definitely didn’t even start with the fucking Dickwolves debacle either. It’s always been there and the fact that nerd guys are shuffling uncomfortably and being angry about it now because it involves someone they care about finally makes me feel sick. Where were you guys when Penny Arcade was being shitty for the umpteenth time; what about what THOSE guys? They’ve been just as instrumental in being shitheads as a couple of Destructoid writers.

    If you really want nerd culture to change, you guys have to start being better people. You – the content creators, the talking heads and the guys who have thousands of followers on Twitter. Don’t sit around and huffily shake your fist at a culture you helped create by not giving a shit about this until now. Get rid of sexist language out of your peers, quash your fans going out and attacking objects of your criticism “for you” and definitely stop grandstanding and using  typically masculine arm-flailing when people say mean things about your women friends. Guess what, men have been saying mean things about any woman that dares to exist on the Internet and they aren’t all Felicia Day. There are a lot of non-successful, non-famous women that have to deal with this crap on the regular. Women you don’t have a close personal connection with need protection too.

    Protection from whom? Protection from Jim Sterling, Penny Arcade as much as a bunch of grognard nerd-types attacking via blog comments or @ replies. This is the shit palace you guys built by not smacking your bros for the awful things they say or joke about in a very real, public setting as much as not putting a muzzle on your fans. You’re mad about nerd culture attacking women? Why don’t you actually DO something about it? Women-bashing is everywhere, especially in nerd culture and none of you are doing a lick of work to help get rid of it. I’ve seen more responsible editorial staffs on blogs with a third of your budgets and twice as many women contributors. I’ve read tons of webcomics that don’t hinge on rape jokes or sexism to get their point across. I’ve seen tons of talking heads that don’t make shitty jokes with their male friends on Twitter.

    This shit doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen because men are threatened by a famous woman. It is because they’re allowed to be shitbags to women for whatever reason they choose. It is because they see us as outsiders, stealing their precious video games and rape jokes, they see us as less. That’s why the insults come out, that is why attack campaigns come out for their amusement, that’s why people are allowed to use anonymity to constantly shit on blogs like this one. It doesn’t help that a lot of them are famous, are well-known and possibly make video games.

    Sexism is coursing through your veins and now that you’ve all become “aware” of it in your precious nerd culture, take the power and privilege you have with all your fancy, angry words and put your vast empires where your mouth is. Realize how hard it is? Now you’ll realize what us nerd women have had to deal with for so long now. It’s not easy. And no one is going to pat you on the back for treating women with respect and watching what you say. This is baseline, basic human stuff here. Caring about others and how you present yourself professionally and publicly requires a much higher regard for your audience than talking amongst friends and you guys, those with so much much pull and reach need to fucking realize that for a second. You have the most responsibility to do the right thing and you need to not run around hoping people praise you for it. You should do it because it is the right thing to do.

    If you got huffy and defensive reading any of this, then you still have a long way to go. Maybe you’ll realize what you need to do now though.


  2. Geek Pride Day

    May 25, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

    Apparently it’s Geek Pride Day; I was only aware of this because of the errant tweets I saw coming across my various Twitter accounts. I have really mixed feelings about this kind of self-appointed holiday. Much like when people talk about “Well, when’s WHITE history month?”, the idea of geeks celebrating a special day for them when they’ve managed to enjoy their exclusion comfortably every day of the year due to their own resourcefulness is hilarious. Geeks don’t need a special day set aside because if you are a self-professed geek, you live every day like that. Secondly, the idea of “pride” in being a geek feels shitty to me.

    Leigh Alexander set out some really on-point feelings on geek culture but the biggest rock stuck in my craw over the idea of geek identity or having pride in it is just how fucking awful geek culture and how exclusionary it is. It’s still constructed and oriented towards one audience and one audience only: straight cis-gendered white men. The enforcement and policing that goes on towards anyone who isn’t that is incredible. Women have to constantly “prove” how nerdy or geeky they are to be accepted, PoC aren’t even considered nerds and don’t forget about how much you get harassed if you trans, queer/gay, or even have disabilities and try to perform as part of geek culture. Face it, a lot of us who’d be called nerds or geeks and got harassed in high school are still living out the same bullshit day in and day out from the people who were supposed to understand. By this notion alone, it is easy to see where privilege insects heavily into geek culture because it isn’t divorced from our society, as much as geeks want to pretend it is.

    So this is my feelings on Geek Pride Day: that geek pride is toxic. It’s not going to stop being that until it stops espousing the same bullshit everyone does. I cannot tell you how much my life has sucked participating in geek culture, especially gamer culture. I’ve been harassed, threatened and driven out of nerd enclaves because I’m a woman. I’ve had my identity questioned and fetishized because I’m bisexual. My interests, which should be tantamount, are meaningless because I’m commodified and sexualized on a regular basis just due to my gender and sexual preferences. Geek culture asserts falsely that everyone is valuable because we’re all alike in our nerdiness and forgets to mention that the background to this is largely masculine, white and obsessive. It’s a trap, simply put.

    If you want to feel a sense of community in this culture, then clean your shit up, nerds. Put your money where your mouth is. Make geek culture a great place to be, where we can all safely and happily discuss our love of Warcraft or build circuit boards. Stamp out harassment of women, increase visibility of PoC, kick the fucking slurs from your language, stop making rape jokes, build video games that are accessible and stop shitting all over people that don’t fit your stupid geek identity. Embrace and build a geek culture that includes everyone in a healthy, positive way.

    Until then, you have nothing to be proud of.