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Author Topic: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community  (Read 5117 times)

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Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 09:14:40 PM »
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.

Trouble is the question of agreeing or disagreeing with Starfire's claims is incidental to the shadow of author influence.  It doesn't matter if we accept or deny her alien views, that's us approaching her as a character regardless of our own choice on how to judge her.  What matters is how good of a job the author has done to separate authorial intent from natural characterization.  It's the same problem you run into when talking about characters who seem little more than author inserts, characters who feel less real because a cloud hangs over a speech that feels forced from a guiding hand rather than an expression of the character him or herself.

I'm not saying men cannot write women or vis versa.  This happens a lot without much issue.  The problem is that sometimes the author has been unable to convince us of his invisibility.  In comics, this happens when the artist tries to make a point about sexuality without removing any of the markers that make us aware of his presence - camera angles, sexy poses, full page spreads, etc.  If Starfire walks from a small frame to another completely naked and doesn't seem to care about what others are thinking, I can believe her character has a special view of nudity without much doubt.  When she's taking up half or all of the page lying on her stomach, her breasts covered in an erotic pose with her ass poking out just behind her smiling head, then I start doubting this is an alien just telling it like it is and start thinking 'the artist has traced something from a sexy photoshoot and gave something that was completely unrelated to the scene at hand a big focus for some reason other than empowerment and characterization.'

This is the crux behind the complaint of feminists about women and sexuality in comics (and video games and other media).  A powerful woman who does extraordinary things but remains proud, beautiful, and sexually confident would probably go over well with readers both male and female.  Trouble is, they're usually designed and presented with an obvious design theory that their looks have almost little to do with practicality or even their own personality and everything to do with a male artist wanting to draw them that way and male readers wanting to ogle them drawn like that.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2012, 09:21:51 PM »
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. >.>

If you're serious there, I'd ask you to please not put words in my mouth.

There's a difference between "retarded" and "socially retarded" in their commonly used meanings.  "Retarded" is generally either describing someone suffering from severe mental retardation or used as an insult.  "Socially Retarded" is usually used to describe someone who is completely clueless about how to act in 'normal' social settings and situations... something that I believe describes a whole lot of geeks and gamers.  Have you ever been in a crowded comic book shop?  A good chunk of those guys couldn't socialize their way out of a wet paper bag if it didn't involve talking about their characters. 

Also, not once did I say -all- geeks were like that.  That would be generalizing.  In fact, I alluded to the fact that not all geeks are unaware of what kind of behavior is socially inappropriate... but I firmly believe that most of them (that would be over 50%) are clueless to varying degrees.  Remember that the comic book/gaming/sci fi culture has always tended to attract those who are considered outcasts in some way, usually due to poor social or hygienic habits.  This may sound like a bad stereotype and it's true that it's less of a fact now than it was even 10 years ago, but it still holds true even today that many in that particular culture (I'll just call it the Geek World for simplicity) aren't even aware that they've insulted someone or made them uncomfortable.  I don't believe you can blame your average geek for that sort of behavior anywhere near as readily as you could guys from other social cultures (such as frat guys) since the frat guys (for example) are probably a heck of a lot more aware of what they're doing.  I guess what I'm saying is that there are jerks everywhere, but I believe you're less likely to find someone who's truly mean spirited in Geek World, since many geeks have had to deal with persecution themselves from a young age (I was actually hospitalized for 6 months in a psychiatric hospital when I was 13 due to having a mental breakdown from being picked on and bullied for so long).

Offline Vekseid

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 09:32:26 PM »
Something struck me as I was reading the article. Out of Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, I first thought that Poison Ivy in full camel toe mode was the most ridiculous... but she is a legitimate archetype. It's the portrayal of HQ and Catwoman that are a problem. Neither of those women need their sexuality to be dangerous.

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

You can often measure how equal a society is by the amount of skin that women are permitted to show in public. This creates a rather odd situation. It's not just comic and gaming industries that fall victim to the conundrum this presents.


Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 09:48:00 PM »
Here's something interesting I wanted to bring up, since we're talking geekdom and sexuality.  There's an anime created by Gainax, a Japanese animation company famous for its fanservice (and fan trolling), called 'Panty & Stocking' (with Garterbelt).  It's completely unapologetic about what it is.  Completely.

The main characters are two fallen angels who go around wrecking havoc in their quest to purge their city of demons and ghosts so they can earn their way back into heaven.  They're also completely shameless hedonists and proud of who and what they are.  One is a man-hunting sex queen that seemingly embodies everything the word slut implies.  The other is a pretentious narcissist and sexual deviant that craves nothing but sweets and frilly things above all else.  In their crude adventures they regularly flaunt their bodies and bed hundreds of men all the while posing for the camera in risque angles and softcore pornographic scenes.  Their transformation sequence before they fight is in fact a highly detailed pole dance where they strip off their underwear which doubles as transforming weapons.

An example episode:
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Episode 9 Eng subs HD part 1/3

Now, the show makes no apologies for any of this.  In the above episode in just under 20 seconds it nonchalantly references the audience as male when talking about why they're keeping the narration short (so we can get to the scenes with beach girls in bikinis).  At first glance it should be a feminist nightmare.


Yet the show's fanbase in Japan is overwhelmingly female.  And in the State's it seems balanced between male and female viewers.  What to make of this? 

I believe it's related to my above comments of authorship.  Panty and Stocking are unabashedly sexy characters designed to appeal to men.  Yet, despite this, we're given no reason to doubt their actions are anything but self-serving.  In most geek media involving female characters, sexuality is always defined in relation to the major male characters.  Catwoman is made sexy not so much for her own desire to be a sexy thief that flips around in sexy poses while whipping people, but because her sexiness is something to be managed and fought over by the Batman.  Panty and Stocking meanwhile act for no one but themselves (to a fault).  All the men they bed are nobodies, background characters you forget even exist in the next minute.  They're sexually intimidating even, which perhaps explains the smaller than expected male audience in Japan.  Plenty of female heroines in anime are sexually aggressive but usually in relation to their role as object for the male hero.  Panty and Stocking are not like that at all in contrast.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 10:10:35 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.

As a female that ‘gets off’ on guns (well weapons of any kind), tanks, motorcycles and muscle cars, I can attest to the rather prevalent mentality that I am not ‘feminine’. I come across to two extremes constantly - either I am not ‘feminine’ (aka one of the guys) or I’m looked at as tits and ass. Those with both mentalities show confusion when I do not live up to what they think. (Oh god, you actually like chic flicks? You mean you do know about guns and can shoot?!)

Hell, I work now for a racing parts company and I deal with this mentality all day when guys call in to buy parts. ‘Oh darlin’ get me a guy on the phone so I can figure out what I need for my 350 big block.’ Never mind the fact that I do know about headers, cams, rocker arms and air flows.

Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2012, 10:56:57 PM »
Just to try it, I typed 'women race car drivers' into Google.

3 out of the top 5 results are basically 'sexiest woman in racing' listings, with the outliers being a Wikipedia page on Danica Patrick and a tame SI listing of accomplished woman racers.

A search for 'women comic book characters' is pretty similar, though at least the top result is a Wikipedia page instead of a sexiest ranking.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2012, 11:41:00 PM »
We as a species are obsessed with Sex.  That's pretty much how it is.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2012, 01:02:30 AM »
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.

Point being, she was written that way on purpose. She's 100% fanservice from the word go. It is, as you point out, a core aspect of the character. How does that make it better rather than worse?

Unrelated: man, work really has a way of slowing down one's ability to respond to these conversations in an expedient fashion. x.x


If you're serious there, I'd ask you to please not put words in my mouth.

There's a difference between "retarded" and "socially retarded" in their commonly used meanings.  "Retarded" is generally either describing someone suffering from severe mental retardation or used as an insult.  "Socially Retarded" is usually used to describe someone who is completely clueless about how to act in 'normal' social settings and situations.

Also, not once did I say -all- geeks were like that.  That would be generalizing.  In fact, I alluded to the fact that not all geeks are unaware of what kind of behavior is socially inappropriate... but I firmly believe that most of them (that would be over 50%) are clueless to varying degrees.

I didn't put anything in your mouth. Let's recap, shall we?

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.

Quote from: Shjade
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.

So yes, you called them actually retarded, and I did not claim you were labeling all geeks as such, only most of them, which you politely confirmed in your post quoted above. That part where you say "but I firmly believe that most of them (that would be over 50%) are clueless to varying degrees?" Unless you have evidence to support that number, yeah, that's still generalizing the majority, which is exactly what I said you were doing. Glad we could clear that up.

If you don't want people to question you about saying ridiculously hypocritical things, you could, y'know, not say them. Just a thought. >.>
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 01:13:28 AM by Shjade »

Offline Samael

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2012, 01:54:11 AM »
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.

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but in the New DCU she's the ultimate bimbo.
She only remembers guys by having sex with them, or something.
There was a HUGE blowout about this a few months ago.

EDIT:
Ah, yeah
http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/21/dc-firestar-sex/
http://badassdigest.com/2011/10/02/the-devins-advocate-dcs-sleazy-new-52-and-the-rape-of-starfire/
Quote
But what Scott Lobdell has done is to turn her from a character into a jerk-off object. See, Starfire has no long term memory. While she used to be with Dick Grayson in this New 52 universe she can't remember him. Or any of her past lovers. And what's more, she has a hard time telling humans apart. Since she can't tell humans apart, she's happy to have sex with whatever human is closest to her at the moment.


Not much of a feministic thing here.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 01:57:50 AM by Samael »

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2012, 01:59:39 AM »
Honestly I wasn't even going to bring that up. Too easy. Low-hanging fruit and all that. (That and people sorta overreacted. Sure it was bad, but "the rape of Starfire?" Like she had such a deep character before?)

Offline Samael

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2012, 02:05:04 AM »
Some people may disagree with that, Shjade.
Hell, even Jim Shooter ripped into that book. (long time editor, writer, guy in charge of marvel comics for a time, and so on)

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2012, 02:15:02 AM »
Okay, okay, I'm probably being too harsh on pre-New 52 Starfire's depth of character, and they do basically turn her into a superpowered sex doll for most intents and purposes. I never really found her all that compelling or interesting before, but at least she was somebody.

Offline vin26m


Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2012, 10:11:04 AM »
Point being, she was written that way on purpose. She's 100% fanservice from the word go. It is, as you point out, a core aspect of the character. How does that make it better rather than worse?

Unrelated: man, work really has a way of slowing down one's ability to respond to these conversations in an expedient fashion. x.x


I didn't put anything in your mouth. Let's recap, shall we?

So yes, you called them actually retarded, and I did not claim you were labeling all geeks as such, only most of them, which you politely confirmed in your post quoted above. That part where you say "but I firmly believe that most of them (that would be over 50%) are clueless to varying degrees?" Unless you have evidence to support that number, yeah, that's still generalizing the majority, which is exactly what I said you were doing. Glad we could clear that up.

If you don't want people to question you about saying ridiculously hypocritical things, you could, y'know, not say them. Just a thought. >.>

Or you could, y'know, try being civil. 

I'm done arguing with you, since it's obvious you have absolutely nothing productive to say.  I believe you are completely and utterly wrong about pretty much everything you just said, but if you'd like to go around thinking you're in the right there, go right ahead, chief.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 10:40:54 AM by LunarSage »

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2012, 10:59:06 AM »
I thought I was contributing to the conversation, but okay, I guess pointing out problems in argumentation isn't civil or productive anymore. Consider me updated.

Offline LunarSageTopic starter

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2012, 11:03:02 AM »
*Just shakes his head*

I'm going to bow out of this discussion (and in fact this whole section of E) before I give myself an ulcer and/or say something that will get me banned.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2012, 12:27:29 PM »
Okay, okay, I'm probably being too harsh on pre-New 52 Starfire's depth of character, and they do basically turn her into a superpowered sex doll for most intents and purposes. I never really found her all that compelling or interesting before, but at least she was somebody.

I'm remembering her years before pre-52, and the newest Titan comic, where she was bunking with Animal Man's family.  And if they turned her into a true airhead, then consider me severely annoyed.

Offline Major Major

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2012, 05:14:04 PM »
Hmmn.... speaking of Koriand'r... Now, I'm nowhere near as big a comic book geek as my friend Jason is, but he once told me that part of Starfire's powers (I think he said that it was either the flight part of her powers, or the energy bolts) comes from absorbing solar radiation, and that was in part why she wore skimpy clothing, to absorb as much sunlight as she could feasibly get. Is that still part of her character, anyone know?

Offline Sabre

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2012, 05:21:50 PM »
Sounds like Superman and his yellow sunlight powerups.

Except he's covered up.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2012, 06:17:42 PM »
And if they turned her into a true airhead, then consider me severely annoyed.
I wouldn't say airhead so much as just...well, a slut.

She was "sexually uninhibited" before. Now she just sorta rides whoever happens to be a viable mounting candidate at the moment when she feels like it. At least that's the vibe. Could look at it as some sort of "I do what I want" empowerment, but since what she "wants" appears to be "show off to a reading audience she doesn't know exists," well...yeah.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2012, 06:34:18 PM by Shjade »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2012, 06:28:46 PM »

Hmmn.... speaking of Koriand'r... Now, I'm nowhere near as big a comic book geek as my friend Jason is, but he once told me that part of Starfire's powers (I think he said that it was either the flight part of her powers, or the energy bolts) comes from absorbing solar radiation, and that was in part why she wore skimpy clothing, to absorb as much sunlight as she could feasibly get. Is that still part of her character, anyone know?
This is correct.  She was experimented on, along with her sister, which granted those abilities.

I wouldn't say airhead so much as just...well, a slut.

She was "sexually uninhibited" before. Now she just sorta rides whoever happens to be a viable mounting candidate at the moment when she feels like it. At least that's the vibe.

And no longer remembers names? She's an air headed bimbo.  I am still annoyed.

Offline Shjade

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2012, 06:34:50 PM »
Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is with the memory thing. Something about not remembering humans because they all look the same to her or something.

Offline Evrem

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2012, 11:51:16 AM »
’ Never mind the fact that I do know about headers, cams, rocker arms and air flows.

If I called your shop looking for parts, I would want to talk to you EVERY time!

I agree with the article completely. Most of my exes that I have taken into my local gaming store have enjoyed the experience, even the part when the hush passes slowly over the store while everyone realizes there is a girl on-deck. Normally the geeks recover after a few seconds and go on about their business. Most of them are afraid of talking to girls anyway. lol

There are a few video games that I have returned or not played because of how all the women were portrayed. I'm sorry, not every chick needs to be scantily clad and full of sexual innuendo. Maybe it is because I am more attracted to intelligence than I am a huge rack, but I find the games that portray all women in a sexual way typically lack gameplay or content. There are a few exceptions, like the Arkham series. I honestly could see no other way to portray Harley. She is that type of character. Catwoman can also be kinda lumped in to that. In all honesty, this may just be from years and years of maintaining the status quo. There are many other games that just sell the sex. I find it childish, and I, at times, am insulted by it. Don't doll up a bad game with sex to try and get my money.

Geek girls are hot, not because of their perfect 10 bodies, big racks, or skimpy clothes, but because they are one of us. They are the girls that will get your Star Wars references. She's going to understand your time at the comic/gaming store. Hell, she might be there rubbing elbows with you over the new releases. She gets the fact (and yes, it is fact) that cartoons are GOOD for you. Geek girls are hot because they are geeks! Talk nerdy to me baby!

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2012, 12:32:46 PM »
I always had fun with smart ass geeks talking to a few of my techs, one of them looking like she was 14 out of uniform (till she started swearing like a sailor anyway), and one of the funniest days off I had was watching her school some TV guy about flat screens while picking up one for our chief. She brought the van and I was there to help load (free lunch is free lunch). One the way back, she confessed that she enjoyed baiting them.

Of course, she was one of our best techs. Last I heard she was up for chief as an aircrewmen which for a first cycle is scarey.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Interesting Article on How Women are Treated in the Geek Community
« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2012, 01:28:59 PM »
Has anyone else seen Starfire's home planet? it's not a planet full of uber-sexy nudeish amazons, they are alien, and moreover her father is one scary, hairy, "AGH MAH EYES" slightly overweight guy in a loincloth and cape who excudes the aura of "touch mah girl I break your legs, an maybe I eat them after."