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Author Topic: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community  (Read 5124 times)

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Offline LunarSageTopic starter

http://kotaku.com/5868595/

This is an article that AndyZ Andy posted in Eden's Awesome thread.  I read the whole thing and while I agree that there is a problem that should be addressed, I question whether it's even possible to fully change it.  A lot of guys are attracted to girls.  I would even say most are.  Geeks on average are either lacking in social skills or are shy and awkward.  This can be debated, but in my experience, we have a -lot- of geeky guys who just lack the ability to talk to people unless they're talking about a new game or comic.  I was one of them.  I still get apprehensive around large groups of strangers (I hate parties) and when faced with an attractive woman, it's hard to know what to say or how to act... though I have thankfully gotten better over the years. 

It's instinctive for many of these guys to stare at a woman, even if it's impolite to do so... because to a socially undeveloped guy, their brains simply don't register that something is inappropriate.  I know mine didn't.  Trying to teach them generally doesn't help, either, because they don't want to think that they are lacking social skills, so you encounter denial.  Heck, to this day my eyes are drawn to cleavage even though I have the sense to not stare.  I usually just avoid looking at her at all, for fear of offending her.  I guess what I'm saying is that it's -really- hard to do what the author of that article is suggesting, which is to change our immediate reactions to women.  Many geeks rarely see women up close, so when they do it's like they're a deer caught in headlights. 

My only real beef is with the general finger pointing tone of the article, which to me is implying that "all men are privileged, sexist chauvinists and they should be ashamed of themselves!"  I find it very hard to get past that tone, personally.

(Gah, keep in mind this was written hastily.  I'm rushed to get out the door for a family event.  Also bear in mind that I was hesitant to even post this at all... I don't usually post in this section since it can get heated when it comes to debates.)

That said, I'd love to see discussion about the article, whether you agree or disagree with it.  What I don't want to see is me or anyone else vilified for our opinions.  Just because I don't entirely agree with the article doesn't make me sexist or a misogynist (dear lord I hate how often that word is misused). 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 02:20:27 PM by LunarSage »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 02:42:01 PM »
I also know game stores and comic shops where you do that sort of behavior to anyone and the owners would bend you like Bender does girders.. I know at least one store that got a rep for being 'girl safe' because the owner would..and did.. black list people who showed their ass. He had a sign on the wall to that effect..

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 02:44:36 PM »
Try being a feminine lesbian geekette with her cute feminine SO with her at a convention guys seem to be even worse, but cute to about it.

Girl geeks are just a minority.

I for one don't mind the attention humans are wired to like beauty so what is the harm, I usually admire women to. ;)

I will give a hint women like guys who are gentleman, respect them and yes admire them for their many varied charms so you can talk to us. Geek girls are still geeks so you have that in common.

Offline Aidonsious

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 02:50:21 PM »
It is hard to stereotype one group of people because everyone is different. Yes there is the while males who stare at woman's breasts but there are also so many different people that  fall under that one group that have different views.

I am a white female and I play Arkham city (love catwoman by the way), World of Warcraft and stare at their boobs. They are just there and the costumes make it so you follow the lines that point to the boobs. It is what it is and you either by the game or you don't.

In the beginning of the article with his girlfriend, what was she wearing? I notice that alot of females who have issues with comments about their body, show off their body in a way that invites people to look. Tank tops, short shorts, mini skirts, fish net leggings, tattoos. By presenting yourself in a certain way, you have to learn to tolerate certain reactions, it is the fault of society that people judge by what they see.

There is male dominance in this country (USA) and as the world changes, so will the views on woman and social cultures.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 03:52:38 PM »

Going to agree that the article is biased towards claiming that men have some sort of privilege.

Here's the first image out of the box for a Google search on Batman.  This isn't designed to be seen as sexy for those who are attracted to men?  It's easy enough to point out how men are also objectified, and that Batman doesn't need his bodysuit to be, as one movie put it, "anatomically correct."  Consider that the clothing designs more closely mirror what women wear than Batman's bodysuit mirrors body armor.

Another issue I have with the article is how it implies that women who dress this way are all about sex.  We already have topics on here about "slut walks" and how women can wear whatever they want and shouldn't be instantly cataloged by their clothes.


Roughly on topic, I actually heard from one of my female gamer friends last week about how there are now "posers" where girls will pretend to be interested in gaming in order to attract guys, which really offended her.  If desired, I can ask her for the article.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 04:19:04 PM »
In the beginning of the article with his girlfriend, what was she wearing? I notice that alot of females who have issues with comments about their body, show off their body in a way that invites people to look. Tank tops, short shorts, mini skirts, fish net leggings, tattoos. By presenting yourself in a certain way, you have to learn to tolerate certain reactions, it is the fault of society that people judge by what they see.

... this is a joke, right? Please tell me you're not being serious.

Going to agree that the article is biased towards claiming that men have some sort of privilege.

That's because there is a lot of male privilege regarding gaming and comic books. The audience is assumed, still, to be a straight male. Batman hasn't been portrayed as a bad-ass to appeal to homosexual men or straight women, he's portrayed as a bad-ass so that the straight men who read the books can picture themselves as the ripped hero, rich by day and dark avenger by night.

The hypothesis of the article seems to be that: 1. Women are uncomfortable in geek culture. 2. It is because the traditionally-male culture still treats incoming females in ways that make them uncomfortable. The article provides examples and support for that two-part hypothesis, and it does it well. Are there some gaming groups that are female-friendly? Absolutely. Are they the standard? Absolutely not.

It is a trend that I would personally like to see changed, because I would appreciate being able to walk into a gaming store and head over to the tabletop books without being harassed - no matter what I'm wearing, thank you very much - by the mostly-male (if not all-male) staff. I would like to be able to appreciate gaming culture without having to search high and low for a gaming group that won't demand that I play a sex object. And I would like to play in a D&D campaign where the smarmy shopkeeper says something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'll let you have a discount on my boat... if you let me spend some time with him" while waggling his eyebrows at someone not my character.

So, yeah, there's male privilege in geekdom. And ... yeah, it's a big obstacle to how comfortable women are among other geeks.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 04:27:19 PM »
Here's the first image out of the box for a Google search on Batman.  This isn't designed to be seen as sexy for those who are attracted to men?

That's one possible reason for it. However, his costume also provides combat uses as has been very often demonstrated in the comic. It does include body armor. It includes lots of places to hide gadgets. And so on. The pose in that specific picture? Sure, it could be construed as pin-up visual porn for persons interested in male musculature, but that's not all it is.

Compare and contrast:


























Just hypothetically, how likely is it Starfire wearing only crotch and chest protection is beneficial to her crimefighting efforts? Oh, but she's superhuman, you say. She doesn't need to wear armor, she can absorb a tank shot naked! Sure, that's true...but she doesn't need to fly around that exposed, either.

That doesn't mean anything! you say. She can choose to wear what she wants! Or, as you actually said:
Another issue I have with the article is how it implies that women who dress this way are all about sex.  We already have topics on here about "slut walks" and how women can wear whatever they want and shouldn't be instantly cataloged by their clothes.
That's absolutely true! ...if it were her choice. But it isn't. It's the choice of the writer/artist responsible for the character's representation. If you want to compare that to the slut walk, it's more like having someone else tell you what avatar you're going to use for the slut walk rather than having the freedom to pick it yourself because it's the avatar you want.

If they were dressing themselves, this wouldn't be an issue. Since they're not, it is.

Offline Aidonsious

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 04:31:08 PM »
All I am trying to say is as a woman, seeing how other woman present themselves are inviting a certain reaction. That is all.

By a woman intentionally showing a lot of cleavage and going out to look with her friends, shows she is trying to get attention by whom ever she is trying to get.

I am not saying all woman should be careful how they dress because society will label them as this and I am not trying to get anyone upset...

All I am saying out of my own reaction to this article is SOMETIMES woman dress INTENTIONALLY to attract others to get what they want such as sex but because
there are some woman that are out there that do that, other woman who wear identical clothing but do not want that same reaction, will get that reaction.

I can blame men all I want about their actions but there is two sides to every story and my opinion is only one sided because I have no idea how a man would think..

Offline Trieste

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 04:50:17 PM »
The thing is that a woman can walk into a lingerie store or a sex toy store and be treated with more respect than she is treated with when she walks into a comic shop. The only other traditionally 'male' bastion I can think of where I might expect to be treated as an ignorant piece of decoration is a hardware store - and even that is on the decline. That says to me that it has little to do with what I'm wearing, and more to do with the fact that geekdom really is behind the times and needs to smarten up. Throwing the blame on what someone is wearing doesn't solve the problem, and does in fact make it worse by providing an excuse.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 04:51:46 PM »
Exactly my thoughts, Trie.  Blaming what a person is wearing as justification to how society reacts to them is just another form of victim blaming.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 05:34:03 PM »
My main point is that the author could have made his own points without painting such a broad accusatory stroke toward pretty much every man in the geek culture. 

That and so many of the guys who are unwittingly making women uncomfortable are, to put it bluntly socially retarded.  Does that completely absolve their behavior?  No... but to some extent they really can't help how they react in those situations.  Some know that this behavior is unacceptable, but I believe that most don't.  Much of this social cluelessness stems from actual mental disorders as well. 

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 06:12:22 PM »
All I am trying to say is as a woman, seeing how other woman present themselves are inviting a certain reaction. That is all.

By a woman intentionally showing a lot of cleavage and going out to look with her friends, shows she is trying to get attention by whom ever she is trying to get.

...

All I am saying out of my own reaction to this article is SOMETIMES woman dress INTENTIONALLY to attract others to get what they want such as sex but because
there are some woman that are out there that do that, other woman who wear identical clothing but do not want that same reaction, will get that reaction.

You're making two different statements here. The second is accurate: sometimes women dress in a manner designed to elicit a certain response. It can be a tactical thing. This is true.

The first, however, is overreaching. How a woman chooses to dress does not then necessitate a specific response, nor that she wants or even expects any given response from anyone. It is completely possible to dress in a manner that you like because you like it. If other people like it as well, cool, but that shouldn't be your problem.

That and so many of the guys who are unwittingly making women uncomfortable are, to put it bluntly socially retarded.  Does that completely absolve their behavior?  No... but to some extent they really can't help how they react in those situations.  Some know that this behavior is unacceptable, but I believe that most don't.  Much of this social cluelessness stems from actual mental disorders as well.

So, wait, back up: you're upset by someone labeling male geek culture as globally sexist and misogynistic, but you're okay with calling the majority of geeks retarded.

Sure, that makes sense. >.>
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 06:16:10 PM by Shjade »

Offline Star Safyre

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2012, 06:29:19 PM »
This isn't just about geeks.  To be frank, in any subculture where the predominant gender is male, there will be heterosexual guys who can't interact with women of the same group positively and respectfully.  Take a look at fans of pro-wrestling, American football, "hard" genres of music such as metal and rap, competitive weight training, automobile enthusiasts... A woman who shows interest in these areas can often incorrectly be viewed as unfeminine or endure an unhealthy gravity of attention.  Just like a man who takes interest in creating clothing, dolls, "chick lit", fashion, or any other stereotypically feminine interest will likely endure unwanted attention from women who might not have the best social skills or have his masculinity attacked. 

Until everyone is born with a complete knowledge of social skills or our culture loses the habit of associating certain interests with certain genders, this isn't an issue that's going away.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2012, 07:16:11 PM »
OK, 'Token' Straight Male here, but you know what?  To ME, that Batman pic IS sexy.  Also, it's ART.  Art is a visual medium that requires a lot of exaggeration to portray what it wants to.

Let me take apart the Koriand'r AKA Starfire and Richard "Dick" Grayson AKA Nightwing shot.  First, we have her.  Standing tall, resolute and ready.  She's 'taller' in the image (ignoring the fact that she's 6' 4" without heels, and he's just 5' 10") portraying that she's honest and forthright, also confident.  She doesn't need to crouch down and be part of the Gargoyle.  In fact, you could replace her with Superman and for the most part the image loses nothing.  Her hand on Nightwing's shoulder is to indicate that she cares about him.

Dick on the other hand works almost as much by fear of his reputation as his skills, so he needs to hunch down, and be a urban predator.  He works with secrets, he sneaky, he operates mostly at night.  He even has a double life (or did) as a police officer.

Hell, if anything Starfire is probably the most feminist female in the DC universe.  She's confident in who and what she is, she finds humans and their prude natures amusing and only covers herself to be POLITE.  She's an excellent fighter, and very intelligent as well.  She doesn't need to change herself to fit someone else's perception, she is who she is and she expects others to accept her for it.  If they don't, then she doesn't care and simply moves on.

I believe that her creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez once mentioned that she was supposed to be an 'intelligent nymphet'.  Sexist?  Maybe, but you know what?  She's never been portrayed as desperate for attention, she's always been pretty confident when she needs to be.

Also, one thing:  Women and men use sex in different ways.  I remember an old joke 'sequence' from Fraiser, I forget the characters but the exchange goes something like this:

Female:  "You've never used sex to get what you want?"

Male:  "Honey, sex IS what we want."

Funny?  Yes, but because it's true.

Offline Silverfyre

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2012, 07:22:25 PM »
You are using something as subjective as art to prove your point, as well as generalizing on how women and men use sex.  It doesn't work so cut and dry like that.  I don't just want "sex" for its own sake.  I don't try to use it as a tool to get what I want either. It boils down to the individual.  I might interpret that same picture way differently than you so I think your argument falls a little flat by using that as support. 

Along the same line, I think the tone of "all men are X" or "all women desire Y" is ridiculous, like Lunar initially said.  Generalizations do nothing but hurt people and make the person who makes them seem like they really just want to put things into nice, easy categories.  They rarely work in such a fashion.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2012, 07:29:15 PM »
In fact, you could replace her with Superman and for the most part the image loses nothing.

It loses 90% of its current exposed skin, 'cause you bet your ass if it were Superman standing there he'd be covered up.

Starfire is perhaps one of the most sexually carefree females in the DC universe, but the most feminist? I don't see how; she doesn't share human values. The concept would be (literally) alien to her.


Renee Montoya, on the other hand?

Offline AndyZ

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2012, 07:39:36 PM »
That's one possible reason for it. However, his costume also provides combat uses as has been very often demonstrated in the comic. It does include body armor. It includes lots of places to hide gadgets. And so on. The pose in that specific picture? Sure, it could be construed as pin-up visual porn for persons interested in male musculature, but that's not all it is.

Compare and contrast:

Just hypothetically, how likely is it Starfire wearing only crotch and chest protection is beneficial to her crimefighting efforts? Oh, but she's superhuman, you say. She doesn't need to wear armor, she can absorb a tank shot naked! Sure, that's true...but she doesn't need to fly around that exposed, either.

That doesn't mean anything! you say. She can choose to wear what she wants! Or, as you actually said:That's absolutely true! ...if it were her choice. But it isn't. It's the choice of the writer/artist responsible for the character's representation. If you want to compare that to the slut walk, it's more like having someone else tell you what avatar you're going to use for the slut walk rather than having the freedom to pick it yourself because it's the avatar you want.

If they were dressing themselves, this wouldn't be an issue. Since they're not, it is.

Shjade, the way I see it, it's art imitating life.  It's much more common for men to wear clothes that don't show much skin beyond the head and forearms, while women often wear clothes that show a lot more.  If only men designed clothes and edited fashion magazines, then men could be blamed for it.

Now, if every woman in DC comics is an out-and-out slut, I can definitely see an issue forming.  As comparison, I've seen enough of Hollywood that as soon as I see someone religious, I already know they're usually the murderer in a mystery story, or a pedophile, or something worse.  I think that would be my demarcation of where we start seeing a serious problem.  Then again, I'm seriously out of date on comics (especially DC), so we may have already hit this point.

That's because there is a lot of male privilege regarding gaming and comic books. The audience is assumed, still, to be a straight male. Batman hasn't been portrayed as a bad-ass to appeal to homosexual men or straight women, he's portrayed as a bad-ass so that the straight men who read the books can picture themselves as the ripped hero, rich by day and dark avenger by night.

The hypothesis of the article seems to be that: 1. Women are uncomfortable in geek culture. 2. It is because the traditionally-male culture still treats incoming females in ways that make them uncomfortable. The article provides examples and support for that two-part hypothesis, and it does it well. Are there some gaming groups that are female-friendly? Absolutely. Are they the standard? Absolutely not.

It is a trend that I would personally like to see changed, because I would appreciate being able to walk into a gaming store and head over to the tabletop books without being harassed - no matter what I'm wearing, thank you very much - by the mostly-male (if not all-male) staff. I would like to be able to appreciate gaming culture without having to search high and low for a gaming group that won't demand that I play a sex object. And I would like to play in a D&D campaign where the smarmy shopkeeper says something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'll let you have a discount on my boat... if you let me spend some time with him" while waggling his eyebrows at someone not my character.

So, yeah, there's male privilege in geekdom. And ... yeah, it's a big obstacle to how comfortable women are among other geeks.


Trieste, if it wasn't against the rules, I would rhetorically ask where in the world you're gaming at.

The last time I spent any significant amount of time at a gaming shop, it was because a friend of mine was running a game there and wanted me in it, she wasn't the only girl there, and not only men worked there.

Now, she has told me that she's been to one place where she got stares for being female and walking into a place, and never went back.  They didn't seem to say anything except be shocked, and the store owner asked if she was buying the books for her boyfriend.

I've been to anime conventions where guys and girls will wear the bare minimum that places that the hotels will allow, and if anyone actually says or does anything, I would hope they get reported.

The last time I got a girl's phone number, I met her at a video game store where she was buying Arkham City.

Maybe I'm just fortunate enough to live in a place where people aren't jerks, but dear crap, not all geeks are like that.

This isn't just about geeks.  To be frank, in any subculture where the predominant gender is male, there will be heterosexual guys who can't interact with women of the same group positively and respectfully.  Take a look at fans of pro-wrestling, American football, "hard" genres of music such as metal and rap, competitive weight training, automobile enthusiasts... A woman who shows interest in these areas can often incorrectly be viewed as unfeminine or endure an unhealthy gravity of attention.  Just like a man who takes interest in creating clothing, dolls, "chick lit", fashion, or any other stereotypically feminine interest will likely endure unwanted attention from women who might not have the best social skills or have his masculinity attacked. 

Until everyone is born with a complete knowledge of social skills or our culture loses the habit of associating certain interests with certain genders, this isn't an issue that's going away.

I think this sums it up nicely.  There are jerks, it's not acceptable, it needs to stop, but it's not something to blame an entire subculture for.



Now, I have a hypothesis here that I'd love for people to chime in about.

I'm guessing that there's a strong correlation between physical appearance and revealing (if revealing isn't the best word, please suggest another) clothing.  Someone who's attractive and proud of their body is much more likely to display skin than someone who is not.

In the world of comics, where nearly everyone is attractive and nearly everyone that isn't is completely hideous, it would therefore make sense that many of the women wear revealing clothing.

I don't really know if this is true, and it certainly doesn't make them sluts.  I would just be curious to know if people think that this applies to any significant degree.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2012, 07:48:19 PM »
Not saying that.  What I'm saying, or at least trying to, is how Art changes for everyone.  I should have been clearer as to it's how I SAW the pictures.  Everyone else will see something different.

And the sad part is it's exactly as your wife says.

Socially inept people are everywhere.  The problem is one of perception.  Geeks are 'loud', and a relatively new type of tribal society.

The Sports Guys have been around for several generations now, and so their social ineptness is accepted.  Same thing with the Mechanical Guys or the Music Guys.  So much so that it's EXPECTED.  You see someone who gathers with the guys for Superbowl Sunday, and expect crude and/or sexist humour or neanderthalic displays of testosterone.

The other issue is that geek stuff is now becoming very gender neutral.  Before 1991, before the advent of Vampire: The Masquerade, the gaming and comic hobbies were very male oriented because they were.  In fact they STILL ARE.  The amount of stories of guys stumbling on gaming (and I mean ALL gaming, RPG, Mini/War, Video) or comics is still very common.  It's not as often for the girls.  In fact, I come across (anecdotal, of course) more instances of a brother, a boyfriend or other male influence in a girl's life to introduce them to either gaming or comics.  However, the fact of the matter is, we now have girls coming into a hobby that was almost completely laughed at by OTHER GUYS.  Which ironically was considered to a badge of honour, a link to a sense of group (Or tribe.)   So no one, except the girls, know what to do with this.  And 'worse' (note the quotations, please) a lot of these girls are as good as the boys are in geekery.  I know of several young ladies whose boyfriends showed them Warhammer 40K, and then they turned around and promptly trounced their (sadly) then boyfriends at their own games.

So most geek guys don't really know what to make of this.  Most other 'male oriented' hobbies there are still very few girls interested so they're considered exceptions.  However, in gaming and comics it's becoming rapidly accessible for both genders, so now girl gamers or comic readers are quickly being considered the norm.  Especially since 1991.

And in typical male fashion we lash out, and swing toward the idiotic extremes.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2012, 07:53:13 PM »
Shjade, the way I see it, it's art imitating life.  It's much more common for men to wear clothes that don't show much skin beyond the head and forearms, while women often wear clothes that show a lot more.  If only men designed clothes and edited fashion magazines, then men could be blamed for it.

...

I'm guessing that there's a strong correlation between physical appearance and revealing (if revealing isn't the best word, please suggest another) clothing.  Someone who's attractive and proud of their body is much more likely to display skin than someone who is not.

In the world of comics, where nearly everyone is attractive and nearly everyone that isn't is completely hideous, it would therefore make sense that many of the women wear revealing clothing.

I don't really know if this is true, and it certainly doesn't make them sluts.  I would just be curious to know if people think that this applies to any significant degree.

It's not art imitating life. It's more common for women to wear revealing clothing than men in social situations, perhaps, but female soldiers wear the same uniforms and armor male soldiers do in the real world. They don't wear camo thongs outside of Playboy.

Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 07:54:06 PM »
Quote from: From the article
A guy who plays a first person shooter Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, what-have-you online may expect a certain amount of trash talking, but he's not going to be inundated with offers for sex, threats of rape, sounds of simulated masturbation or demands that he blow the other players but not before going to the kitchen and getting them a beer/sandwich/pizza first. Men will also not be told that they're being "too sensitive" or that "they need to toughen up" when they complain about said sexual threats.

Clearly the author is not a good enough FPS player if he's never experienced any of the above.  The only female-specific insult and abuse is the 'go back to the kitchen' comment, which is frankly just replaced with an assortment of bigoted jokes targeting race, religion, sexual orientation (regardless of whether it's true or not), ageism, and wealth.  And let's not forget the always fashionable sleights against one's parents.  Combine anonymity with aggression, competition and especially youth and you get a recipe for discourtesy.

I've never been one for the term privilege, but there is a modicum of truth when it comes to the difference between male characters and female characters.  Mostly this is the fault of the artist who rarely escape thinking of their female characters as having sexuality they themselves control.  Many times they wear costumes that aren't rationalized to be wardrobes they themselves made and wanted to wear.  And the poses and angles they are forced into are very clearly ones that are overly sexualized for no apparent reason, as if they are aware there is a camera and they're posing sexy for it in the middle of a big battle with the forces of evil.

Starfire above is objectionable because very rarely are we convinced her manners and clothing choice (or lack thereof) are her own decisions rather than a male artist and writer squeezing her into them and giving a half-assed explanation as to why she is empowered by it.  It feels less like it's for her sake and more like it's for the sake of the artist and reader.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2012, 08:02:45 PM »
Starfire above is objectionable because very rarely are we convinced her manners and clothing choice (or lack thereof) are her own decisions rather than a male artist and writer squeezing her into them and giving a half-assed explanation as to why she is empowered by it.  It feels less like it's for her sake and more like it's for the sake of the artist and reader.
Actually, Starfire has had several incidences of people reacting 'badly' to her choice of wear and her amused responses.  She's been quoted as finding human prudishness amusing and nonsensical, given our predilection and focus for sex.  She's NOT empowered by scant clothing, to HER it's normal.  It just IS.

That's the big difference here.  To HER, it's not a weapon, not a statement against anything, it just is a part of her and her culture.  Ironically, that we (the real world) get up in arms only proves her point.  The point of a fictional character.

Or at least, that's how I've seen her portrayed.  I could, of course, be wrong.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2012, 08:08:17 PM »
It's not art imitating life. It's more common for women to wear revealing clothing than men in social situations, perhaps, but female soldiers wear the same uniforms and armor male soldiers do in the real world. They don't wear camo thongs outside of Playboy.

Most superhero/ines don't have uniforms, they have costumes which they choose for themselves. 

Now, maybe I'm putting too much thought into this because I've been playing a superheroine, but I think having a smaller costume would actually be easier because you could hide it under darn near anything.  If you have a huge and thick suit like Spider-Man, you always have to wear thick and baggy clothes, which isn't as common in female attire.

Starfire above is objectionable because very rarely are we convinced her manners and clothing choice (or lack thereof) are her own decisions rather than a male artist and writer squeezing her into them and giving a half-assed explanation as to why she is empowered by it.  It feels less like it's for her sake and more like it's for the sake of the artist and reader.

Now, I haven't read Starfire, but I could certainly see this as irritating, if not problematic.  We've all seen poorly written characters, and though it isn't delegated only to gender, we all want less of it.

Having not read Starfire, Chris Brady's interpretation may also be correct.  I'm not going to claim to know on that one.

Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2012, 08:10:54 PM »
Quote from: Chris Brady
Actually, Starfire has had several incidences of people reacting 'badly' to her choice of wear and her amused responses.  She's been quoted as finding human prudishness amusing and nonsensical, given our predilection and focus for sex.  She's NOT empowered by scant clothing, to HER it's normal.  It just IS.

That's the big difference here.  To HER, it's not a weapon, not a statement against anything, it just is a part of her and her culture.  Ironically, that we (the real world) get up in arms only proves her point.  The point of a fictional character.

Or at least, that's how I've seen her portrayed.  I could, of course, be wrong.
Problem is we know there is an artist behind Starfire, which makes seeing her neutrally impossible because so many cues are present to think 'this is just an excuse to draw her overly sexy.'  It feels empty.  Sure, if she was a real woman that did these things she'd be considered pretty empowered.  But as it is these very claims she makes seem just as (or more) plausible that they're artist justifications.

This disconnects us from the story, and we can't think of her as a character because of it.  She feels fake because, in the back of our minds, there's the presence of the author/artist which makes us think of her like a puppet justifying titillation behind a guise of 'female empowerment.'

Offline Sure

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2012, 08:33:29 PM »
Just like a man who takes interest in creating clothing, dolls, "chick lit", fashion, or any other stereotypically feminine interest will likely endure unwanted attention from women who might not have the best social skills or have his masculinity attacked. 

Aye, but I'd say a big difference is... the female version is being addressed, and talked about, if not changed. I've encountered women who made just as ignorant presumptions about me when I was in traditionally female spheres and hobbies, sure, but there are no articles about that, are there? For example, I've had issues with knitting circles because I'm male, but I've yet to see an article about female privilege and discrimination against men in their hobby in Threads Magazine.

And I would like to play in a D&D campaign where the smarmy shopkeeper says something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'll let you have a discount on my boat... if you let me spend some time with him" while waggling his eyebrows at someone not my character.

I do have to say, far and away the worst sexual harasser I have ever seen in a campaign was a woman. Whenever she played a man she played him as the sort who would do exactly this sort of thing, and insist that's how 'all men are'. Also, on the flip side, I was playing in a campaign where a girl playing a girl tried to use sexiness to get her way and utterly failed. That got her in a bit of a huff.

And I have seen that happen, though the last time it happened it wasn't a swarmy shopkeeper but a swarmy noblewoman who wanted it in exchange for a political favor. Then again, I've also seen a guy play a male who's main skill/usefulness was that he was a seducer, who went around using sex/seduction/his attractiveness as his primary (and preferred) way of getting things done. He did seduce shopkeepers or shopkeeper's wives/daughters to get what he wanted, generally for free, not just some measly discount. Basically a homme fatale.

Anyway, the point of what I'm saying is that it isn't quite black and white.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2012, 08:54:25 PM »
Problem is we know there is an artist behind Starfire, which makes seeing her neutrally impossible because so many cues are present to think 'this is just an excuse to draw her overly sexy.'  It feels empty.  Sure, if she was a real woman that did these things she'd be considered pretty empowered.  But as it is these very claims she makes seem just as (or more) plausible that they're artist justifications.

This disconnects us from the story, and we can't think of her as a character because of it.  She feels fake because, in the back of our minds, there's the presence of the author/artist which makes us think of her like a puppet justifying titillation behind a guise of 'female empowerment.'

Here's a simple way to settle this: can you point to some of the things which the character has done which seem completely unrealistic from the perspective of an alien (or whatever she is)?  Especially if you can directly contradict her actions with other things she's said or done, other than in the context of learning or making concessions.

This should reasonably allow some discussion of whether she's badly written or if it's an inability to properly sustain the fourth wall.

I'll certainly agree that some things can quickly pierce belief, such as horrendous acting or contradictions, but I don't agree that anyone writing should cause the feeling of being a puppet.  This would imply that one gender should not write for another, with which I heartily disagree.

I do have to say, far and away the worst sexual harasser I have ever seen in a campaign was a woman. Whenever she played a man she played him as the sort who would do exactly this sort of thing, and insist that's how 'all men are'.

Been there.  I hope you either said something or walked.



Now, when I was much younger, I attempted to do a particular minority group as an NPC for a game I was running (I'm not going to say which one because I don't really remember which) and ended up just playing straight to stereotype because I didn't know any better.  My friends got upset and called me out on it, and they were right to do so.

If people are doing these things, it's possible that they honestly don't know any better, and someone needs to put a hand on their shoulder and explain politely.  I think that the best way to combat ignorance is with honest and gentle but firm explanation.  The "Ask a Liege" thread displays this admirably.

People who are still problematic after that probably just don't want to learn.  I think they'll show themselves to be the vast minority.