The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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dsheinem
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Nerds and Male Privilege

by dsheinem Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:49 am

There's an absolutely fantastic article over on Kotaku right now about male privilege in nerd culture, and even if you hate/don't read Kotaku, you should give it a read:

http://kotaku.com/5868595/nerds-and-male-privilege

I appreciate how it so succinctly and accurately describes a very serious ongoing problem in the culture...one that, more than anything else about games/comics/etc., often makes me hesitant to share my interests with men and women that are not themselves a part of "nerd culture". There's some beautiful stuff in this culture, but there's also a lot of overt and covert sexism (and racism, for that matter).

It is a long article, but it really distills a lot of wisdom and well argued points into a very readable essay. It certainly set the comments section on fire over there, and I am curious what our group here thinks. Do you agree with the author, and see male privilege as a problem in much the same way (as I do), or do you think he's (at least partially) off the mark?
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by Hatta Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:18 am

Yawn. You see the exact same processes at work in every other part of culture. Might as well whine about sports fans and male privilege. If anything, sports are far more sexist than nerd culture, and that doesn't stop them from being mainstream and enjoyed by women as well.

So yeah, business as usual here. Even if this were unusual, I'm not sure why I should care. I don't play games to please women, so why should I care if they're pleased or not? They can have sparkly vampire games if they don't like our games.
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by gtmtnbiker Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:11 am

dsheinem wrote:There's an absolutely fantastic article over on Kotaku right now about male privilege in nerd culture, and even if you hate/don't read Kotaku, you should give it a read:


I saw the article but didn't get a chance to read it because my daughters were trying to read over my shoulder. Didn't think it was good for them to read it along with me. I've been using Zite for the iPad which is really nice. It grabs articles from a bunch of different websites to make it into a magazine. You can tailor it by liking articles/authors/publishers. There are similar apps like Flipboard, Currents.
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by Breetai Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:18 am

Female privilege started to take over male privilege in the 60s in the west. It has now taken over. Male privilege is just a farce now. Yes, of course it exists, but when it comes to real power; legal power, woman have the real power in our society. Male privilege looks real on the frosting, but the cake is hollow.

Woman are oversexed? Guess what, they dress like that anyway. Product of society? Maybe, but it has ALWAYS been like that; for thousands of years. That tells me that it is more an issue of human nature, not just "a product of modern chauvinistic society."
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dsheinem
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by dsheinem Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:21 am

Hatta wrote:Yawn. You see the exact same processes at work in every other part of culture. Might as well whine about sports fans and male privilege. If anything, sports are far more sexist than nerd culture, and that doesn't stop them from being mainstream and enjoyed by women as well.


Certainly one the aspirations of any subculture would be to have a stronger set of core principles than what can be found in culture at large, no? I would think that, given the "outcast" status of many in nerd culture, creating a climate of acceptance and equality should be of the highest priority.

So yeah, business as usual here.


I find it hard to believe you are arguing an acceptance the status quo, given your past posts.

Even if this were unusual, I'm not sure why I should care. I don't play games to please women, so why should I care if they're pleased or not? They can have sparkly vampire games if they don't like our games.


Ah. Your past sentences make much more sense now. :roll:
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dsheinem
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by dsheinem Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:26 am

Breetai wrote:Female privilege started to take over male privilege in the 60s in the west. It has now taken over.


Wait, so women making inroads into higher-level positions = "taken over"?

Male privilege is just a farce now. Yes, of course it exists...


What?

but when it comes to real power; legal power, woman have the real power in our society.


I would disagree that the only "real power" is legal power. That is one avenue where women do have a fairly strong position (at least in cases dealing with domestic issues), but legal power isn't everything, and isn't what the article is talking about.

Male privilege looks real on the frosting, but the cake is hollow.

Woman are oversexed? Guess what, they dress like that anyway. Product of society? Maybe, but it has ALWAYS been like that; for thousands of years. That tells me that it is more an issue of human nature, not just "a product of modern chauvinistic society."


So you're cool with slavery too? How about genocide? How about child prostitution? Clearly these are all fine because they are a long part of human history and thus part of human nature...
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by Flake Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:46 pm

The article was well thought out but there was one thing that kept sticking in my craw.

I felt like it was a criticism of nerd culture instead of an analysis of the people drawn to it who end up acting poorly, as though men who ostracize women are the exclusive domain of the nerd world, which certainly is not the case.

As for the over-sexualization of women, while I can definitely agree that more variety in female characters would be worthwhile and a net-plus for the community, he seemed to largely ignore major gains made in that regard recently. This isn't the 1980's anymore - women as characters have come insanely far, and his point seemed forced, as if to support a supposition that, as I see it, is borderline logical fallacy.

I felt like it was an article looking for a point as opposed to a point that warranted an article.
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Breetai
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by Breetai Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:53 pm

dsheinem wrote:
Breetai wrote:Female privilege started to take over male privilege in the 60s in the west. It has now taken over.


Wait, so women making inroads into higher-level positions = "taken over"?

Male privilege is just a farce now. Yes, of course it exists...


What?

but when it comes to real power; legal power, woman have the real power in our society.


I would disagree that the only "real power" is legal power. That is one avenue where women do have a fairly strong position (at least in cases dealing with domestic issues), but legal power isn't everything, and isn't what the article is talking about.

Male privilege looks real on the frosting, but the cake is hollow.

Woman are oversexed? Guess what, they dress like that anyway. Product of society? Maybe, but it has ALWAYS been like that; for thousands of years. That tells me that it is more an issue of human nature, not just "a product of modern chauvinistic society."


So you're cool with slavery too? How about genocide? How about child prostitution? Clearly these are all fine because they are a long part of human history and thus part of human nature...

Although I wasn't kidding about the legal power thing and there was some truths buried in there, much of my post was... (see the bolded word above).
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dsheinem
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by dsheinem Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:55 pm

Flake wrote:The article was well thought out but there was one thing that kept sticking in my craw.

I felt like it was a criticism of nerd culture instead of an analysis of the people drawn to it who end up acting poorly, as though men who ostracize women are the exclusive domain of the nerd world, which certainly is not the case.


That's a fair critique, but, as I mentioned above, I think the author feels that subcultures can be better than culture at large, which is kind of his point. There's no rule that you have to check your sexism and ostracizing practices at the door when you enter nerd culture (by contrast, the culture gives you many avenues to exercise these traits), and he is arguing there should be.

As for the over-sexualization of women, while I can definitely agree that more variety in female characters would be worthwhile and a net-plus for the community, he seemed to largely ignore major gains made in that regard recently. This isn't the 1980's anymore - women as characters have come insanely far, and his point seemed forced, as if to support a supposition that, as I see it, is borderline logical fallacy.


So just because we've "come insanely far" means we're all good to stop? I also don't know if I agree that we've really come that far. In any case, as I mentioned to a member in PM, the article isn't really about "what do characters in games look like" - that is just a small part of a much bigger argument about how women are viewed and treated in nerd culture as a whole...

So yeah, anyone who plays video games has almost necessarily played games that feature tits-n-ass - it is hard to avoid. Same with folks who read comic books or watch a lot of action/horror/sci-fi films. The problem is that this is not understood by enough men as a serious problem that alienates, undermines, and ultimately excludes women (as a group) from ever participating in the culture on equal footing. It is about power within the culture.
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Re: Nerds and Male Privilege

by Flake Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:01 pm

Dave, I'm going to play devils advocate here and ask a simple question: Are women entitled to a fundamental change in nerd culture so as to accommodate their entry?

Personally, I see something very unfair about that idea.
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