Feminism/Sexism and Gaming/Geek/Popular culture Catch All

EDIT: Blah, let myself get overly wordy. Allow me to condense.

As a sidenote, I think there's a LOT of overlap between "Nice Guys" and people who go after "Fake Geek Girls". It seems to me that the place "Fake Geek Girl" rage comes from is the similar to "Nice Guys". Namely insecurity, bitterness, and f*cked up patriarchal sexual politics.

OH, and BULLYING. Let's not forget the bullying aspect. Because I think it's fair to say that, for a larger-than-anyone-would-like-to-admit amount of geeks, the difference between them and the bullies they hated in school is primarily opportunity, not genuine goodness or moral fortitude.

Yeah, the 'nice guy' thing has come up in the dating thread, but we haven't gone into much detail because not many people there seem to fall into the category.

Nice insights into the phenomenon, Pred. Former 'nice guy' myself. I'm ashamed of some of my behaviour from back then.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
Yeah, the 'nice guy' thing has come up in the dating thread, but we haven't gone into much detail because not many people there seem to fall into the category.

Funny thing is, this sort of conversation about blaming women for one's own failure to be attractive to them is what got one of the dating threads closed down.

Maybe it's just that the time wasn't right for this conversation. I think one of the things that adds to it is one of those positive-yet-harmful stereotypes of women: that they are less 'shallow' which really winds up meaning 'they can't have desires and preferences the way men are allowed to'.

CheezePavilion wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:
Yeah, the 'nice guy' thing has come up in the dating thread, but we haven't gone into much detail because not many people there seem to fall into the category.

Funny thing is, this sort of conversation about blaming women for one's own failure to be attractive to them is what got one of the dating threads closed down.

Maybe it's just that the time wasn't right for this conversation. I think one of the things that adds to it is one of those positive-yet-harmful stereotypes of women: that they are less 'shallow' which really winds up meaning 'they can't have desires and preferences the way men are allowed to'.

It's hard for people to actually process the idea that in reality they're being assholes sometimes instead of the white knight they thought they were. I think, like you said, the time just wasn't right in the other thread.

I'm with Pred, though obviously from the outside perspective: I have sympathy and I don't. Yes, because I know society has changed radically in 50 years and there's uneven distribution of ideas, but also no, because, if I really need to teach you that I'm an individual with agency and I don't need to kiss your ass just for acting civilized, then that is awfully unattractive and you're far too much trouble to date. You went to college, try out some of that fancy critical thinking instead of bitching that all women ever see you as "just a friend".

I have more constructive sympathy as I get older though; I wonder if there's a market for mentoring/rehabbing former "nice" guys?

clover wrote:
I have more constructive sympathy as I get older though; I wonder if there's a market for mentoring/rehabbing former "nice" guys? ;)

Nah, they'll just fall in love with you and wonder why you're being friendly if you're not interested in them. I bet you're dating a jerk too!

[size=6]Sorry Edwin! I don't think you're a jerk![/size]

He's a total jerk. But remember, women only date assholes anyway!

As the jerk that always got the person you* were pining for, all I have to say is that it took me a very, very long time to understand that "jerk" and other such appellations are really relative. And that, male or female, someone who is assertive or confident can easily be thrown into that category. I'm just glad that I'm not a woman, since it's far, far more likely that an assertive woman gets a lot of derision.

(*in the general sense)

Prederick wrote:
Totally Honest Admission: I used a "Nice Guy". You're in your late-teens/early-20's, average looking, really horny, and intensely bitter that you're not getting the girl, or any girl. And I remember having some pretty reprehensible opinions on the sexes that I'm embarrassed by.

The catch to the "Nice Guy" thing really is a kind of self-loathing turned outwards. There can't possibly be that much wrong with you, and all these girls are going out with these assholes! You're not an asshole! You totally treat women well! And if that girl is dumb enough to get abused/assaulted by some frat-bro, well that's her own damn fault for dating assholes.

I think the phenomenon is, in part, down to changing sexual roles. Sex was, for a long time, a male privilege, in that, it was a thing men looked for and got from women. Women gave it out, but weren't to dole it out, if that makes sense.

And things began to change, and women began to seek self-determination in their sexual and romantic lives. That male privilege eroded, and dudes for whom, 60 years ago, doing the bare freaking minimum was enough, were suddenly finding that no, women could decide, for whatever reason, why they wanted a particular partner, just like men always had. Anytime those kind of advantages are eroded, people usually react with anger, vindictiveness and bitterness. And that's the "Nice Guy" thing in a nutshell. Just a f*cking ton of anger, bitterness and jealousy.

I'm not proud to say I got over it (still getting over it, if I'm honest), because being a decent, compassionate human being isn't something you should be proud to be. But a realization I had, and that I can't quite understand these guys not getting, is this analogy I came up with:

Let's say you have a car. It won't run. You know it's either the sparkplugs or the fuel injectors. So you decide, it must be the fuel injectors. And you try them. Over and over and over and over again. You try thousands of different brands of fuel injectors, you try installing them different ways, you try insulting them before you install them, you try everything, and the car won't start. At some point, don't you need to assume that perhaps, the problem is the sparkplugs?

Well, there's several billion women on this planet, and one of you. If you can't get a date, odds are, it's not an entire gender being stuck-up bitches, it's you being undesirable.

I do and don't have sympathy for "nice guys". I do because I was there once, and I don't because now, looking at it from the outside, I realize how incredibly f*cked-up that mindset is. I don't think it's any surprise that I've seen a lot of "nice guys" who were also MRAs.

Prederick, you make some excellent points but I'd like to make a few counterpoints.

1. It's true that in the past males had more power, but I think you're forgetting that for most of human history dating and marriage were not left up to individuals. The bride and groom were usually set up by their parents for diplomatic/economic reasons. Men still had to jump through a lot of hoops, but that was to impress a potential mate's parents rather than her.

2. I know this forum has a lot of sympathy for all sorts of oppressed minorities, some of which I totally agree with and some of which I don't (aka, see the aggressive panhandling thread). For that reason, I'm not sure why nobody in this thread is at least feeling a little empathy for smart guys who regularly got their teeth kicked for 12 long years. It can take many years to come to grips with that sort of pain, a process that guys in their late teens-are just beginning.

It also seems to me that beating up nerds is a very American phenomenon born of a culture that's overly competitive and anti-intellectual. There are plenty of cultures around the world where the kids with more brains than brawn are celebrated, or at least tolerated.

3. Which brings me to my final point - and this point is directed to all the guys here who are embarrased by our "nice guy" behavior. I think I'm a little qualified to speak to this as I was a "nice guy" in high school who went on to act like the "bad boy" in the military. Bad boys do get more dates, because women in their late teens/early-twenties have their own insecurities and bad boy behavior is often rewarded. Neither behavior makes you a good husband, father or responsible adult. But if you've left all that behind, then don't be too hard on yourself. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

jdzappa wrote:

2. I know this forum has a lot of sympathy for all sorts of oppressed minorities, some of which I totally agree with and some of which I don't (aka, see the aggressive panhandling thread). For that reason, I'm not sure why nobody in this thread is at least feeling a little empathy for smart guys who regularly got their teeth kicked for 12 long years. It can take many years to come to grips with that sort of pain, a process that guys in their late teens-are just beginning.

It also seems to me that beating up nerds is a very American phenomenon born of a culture that's overly competitive and anti-intellectual. There are plenty of cultures around the world where the kids with more brains than brawn are celebrated, or at least tolerated.

You're moving the goalposts a bit here by conflating Nice Guy Syndrome with a bunch of other stuff, including smart guys and nerds. We're specifically talking about people who seem to act as though being a Nice Guy in and of itself should be rewarded with sex -- and also people who self identify as Nice Guys, but are really just misogynist, selfish assholes shifting the blame of failed relationships off themselves. Read #4 on this list to have David Wong explain why that's just an awful way to be.

(actually, every human being should read all six of those. David Wong is freaking brilliant.)


3. Which brings me to my final point - and this point is directed to all the guys here who are embarrased by our "nice guy" behavior. I think I'm a little qualified to speak to this as I was a "nice guy" in high school who went on to act like the "bad boy" in the military. Bad boys do get more dates, because women in their late teens/early-twenties have their own insecurities and bad boy behavior is often rewarded. Neither behavior makes you a good husband, father or responsible adult. But if you've left all that behind, then don't be too hard on yourself. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

I'll ignore the gross generalizations here for a minute (because someone else will get to those, I'm sure), but I just want to re iterate what I said above -- being nice isn't the problem. It's 1) assuming no one else is nice, and 2) assuming being nice is something that should be rewarded with sex, vs what you should be doing anyway.

David Wong, in that link above, wrote:
"What, so you're saying that I can't get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?"

No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they're just being shallow and selfish. I'm asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don't say that you're a nice guy -- that's the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day.

jdzappa wrote:
I'm not sure why nobody in this thread is at least feeling a little empathy for smart guys who regularly got their teeth kicked for 12 long years. It can take many years to come to grips with that sort of pain, a process that guys in their late teens-are just beginning.

It also seems to me that beating up nerds is a very American phenomenon born of a culture that's overly competitive and anti-intellectual. There are plenty of cultures around the world where the kids with more brains than brawn are celebrated, or at least tolerated.

Ah, but you're conflating nice-guyism with just plain being socially awkward, when the former is only one potential outcome of the latter. It's perfectly possible to survive "the awkward nerd years" without convincing yourself that everybody of the opposite gender is the problem.

Nice-guyism implies a certain lack of introspection and objectivity that simply being the wimpy beat-up-nerd kid does not.

I have sympathy for everybody in high school, because man, that place is f'd up.

Seth wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

2. I know this forum has a lot of sympathy for all sorts of oppressed minorities, some of which I totally agree with and some of which I don't (aka, see the aggressive panhandling thread). For that reason, I'm not sure why nobody in this thread is at least feeling a little empathy for smart guys who regularly got their teeth kicked for 12 long years. It can take many years to come to grips with that sort of pain, a process that guys in their late teens-are just beginning.

It also seems to me that beating up nerds is a very American phenomenon born of a culture that's overly competitive and anti-intellectual. There are plenty of cultures around the world where the kids with more brains than brawn are celebrated, or at least tolerated.

You're moving the goalposts a bit here by conflating Nice Guy Syndrome with a bunch of other stuff, including smart guys and nerds. We're specifically talking about people who seem to act as though being a Nice Guy in and of itself should be rewarded with sex -- and also people who self identify as Nice Guys, but are really just misogynist, selfish assholes shifting the blame of failed relationships off themselves. Read #4 on this list to have David Wong explain why that's just an awful way to be.

(actually, every human being should read all six of those. David Wong is freaking brilliant.)


3. Which brings me to my final point - and this point is directed to all the guys here who are embarrased by our "nice guy" behavior. I think I'm a little qualified to speak to this as I was a "nice guy" in high school who went on to act like the "bad boy" in the military. Bad boys do get more dates, because women in their late teens/early-twenties have their own insecurities and bad boy behavior is often rewarded. Neither behavior makes you a good husband, father or responsible adult. But if you've left all that behind, then don't be too hard on yourself. Chalk it up as a learning experience.

I'll ignore the gross generalizations here for a minute (because someone else will get to those, I'm sure), but I just want to re iterate what I said above -- being nice isn't the problem. It's 1) assuming no one else is nice, and 2) assuming being nice is something that should be rewarded with sex, vs what you should be doing anyway.

David Wong, in that link above, wrote:
"What, so you're saying that I can't get girls like that unless I have a nice job and make lots of money?"

No, your brain jumps to that conclusion so you have an excuse to write off everyone who rejects you by thinking that they're just being shallow and selfish. I'm asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? Don't say that you're a nice guy -- that's the bare minimum. Pretty girls have guys being nice to them 36 times a day.

Ok, I realized I may have been a bit of a dirty skimmer as this is the geek sexism thread that we were talking about nice guys who are also nerdy/geeky. And there was a mention a few posts back about how many geeks would also be bullies if they only had the chance, which I also thought was a bit unfair. At any rate I'm sorry for going off topic if we're no longer just focusing on sexism in geek culture.

As to your second point, from my experience "nice guys" go far beyond just holding doors or saying complimentary things to girls. Many will spend a lot of time and money trying to impress a girl they like, which is partly why so many get frustrated when they never get a real date. Now, their strategy is obviously wrong and selfish in nature. But compounding the problem is miscommunication about the nature of a relationship, as well as how some girls feel perfectly ok in using nice guy types.

And I still think that former nice guys need to cut themselves some slack. A lot of girls will wrack up the time they dated the loser in a band as a learning experience, yet it seems in this thread people are beating themselves up for being evil woman hating losers when in reality they were just learning to navigate the dating scene.

I think one of the driving factors behind all of this is just a skewed lack of self reflection.

I've never been one these "nice guys," but one of my best friends from junior high/high school constantly complained about how girls only dated jerks (thanks) until several of us repeatedly pointed out that he might get a date if he showered more than once a week.

A few months later it sort of sunk in and he seemed to do fine after that.

So, girls only date jerks that shower, then?

It was meant as a personal anecdote of someone shifting the blame for a personal failing due to a lack of self reflection and inexperience, a bit more milquetoast than a lot of the subtle sexist overtones of "nice guy" syndrome, but not everyone can be this guy:

IMAGE(http://24.media.tumblr.com/315a9fd3cc6664425da7440864102645/tumblr_mfiknfjGAX1s0cjm8o1_r1_500.png)

edit

ruhk wrote:
:P

It was meant as a personal anecdote of someone shifting the blame for a personal failing due to a lack of self reflection and inexperience, a bit more milquetoast than a lot of the subtle sexist overtones of "nice guy" syndrome, but not everyone can be this guy:

IMAGE(http://24.media.tumblr.com/315a9fd3cc6664425da7440864102645/tumblr_mfiknfjGAX1s0cjm8o1_r1_500.png)

Ok, wow, that's a whole metric butt ton worth of cluelessness and self deception. I've got nothing.

At least he can climb trees.

jdzappa wrote:
ruhk wrote:
:P

It was meant as a personal anecdote of someone shifting the blame for a personal failing due to a lack of self reflection and inexperience, a bit more milquetoast than a lot of the subtle sexist overtones of "nice guy" syndrome, but not everyone can be this guy:

IMAGE(http://24.media.tumblr.com/315a9fd3cc6664425da7440864102645/tumblr_mfiknfjGAX1s0cjm8o1_r1_500.png)

Ok, wow, that's a whole metric butt ton worth of cluelessness and self deception. I've got nothing.

At least he can climb trees.

He's hiding from the feminists. They have cooties.

Yeah just.....

....damn dude.

Edwin wrote:
This seems timely.

http://m.jezebel.com/5838994/a-field...

That article is so depressing. Just some bullet points about why I find this depressing. Those of us over 34 had to navigate a strange world.

- First came the pre-PC world. You probably said lots of really stupid stuff because you didn't know any better. It's what everyone else said and you lived in a world that was unkind and insensitive to women.

- Then came the PC era. Not only did you find out that you'd said some terrible things, but you'd said things you didn't know where terrible and there were "right" and "wrong" things to say.

- In the middle of the PC era you find out that being too PC makes you lame. This is confusing.

- ?

That last part is where you either figure out how to be a whole person and perhaps become the kind of guy worthy of love or it's where you slide into being a "nice guy". Waking up one day to find that Jezebel has categorized you just like you were told not to during the PC era is probably a drag, though.

I guess my point is that I feel bad for "nice guys" to a point. I'm not excusing their bad behavior. But navigating that minefield was really tough. The PC era was really strange and it's left men in a strange place. I think a lot of us have figured out how to be ourselves, be confident and actually be kind and thoughtful. But getting there is a combination of luck and hard work.

This all had to happen. Women got treated really poorly for a long long time. And a lot of what the PC movement was about was slapping guys along side the head and explaining to them that it wasn't necessarily their overt behavior, but rather the entire structure of a society that was male centric and needed to change. And even at that it still hasn't changed enough, arguably. But we've reached a point where apparently we can take a leak all over guys who have bad social skills without explaining what exactly they're doing wrong. This doesn't seem terribly productive nor helpful to society writ-large. And yes, I understand that it's not the job of women or society to educate guys on how to be decent people without being creepy pushovers. But can we at least admit that being male isn't an automatic ticket to the finish line? That navigating the changing social codes isn't easy.

Could someone please start a separate nice guy thread? Doesn't seem relevant here. I'd start one myself but I have no vested interest in the subject.

I think it is related here Amoebic. We are talking about technology, nerdy guys, and how they fit in to the new sexual paradigm. We are also getting into labeling, concept, and usage of terms. I think the disconnect between "Nice Guys" doing e-dating, and their actual attitudes to women is very integral here.

Two predictions: 1) the discussion about Nice Guys will fizzle out in a couple days, to be replaced by something else, or 2) Nice Guy Syndrome will be vehemently defended by people who fit or used to fit the paradigms described above, and then fizzle out in a couple days. I do agree with KG that it's on topic, just pointing out that if it's an issue people don't like, it'll go away soon.

Edwin wrote:
This seems timely.

http://m.jezebel.com/5838994/a-field...

hahaha. Oh my. Way to describe almost my entire late high school / early college failings, Erin Gloria Ryan. As a friend mentioned in passing the other day, almost all of these have in common the assumption that women are things/property/goals, and not people. In that vein, this conversation is very closely related to the privilege straight males enjoy.

Edit:

DSGamer wrote:
ut we've reached a point where apparently we can take a leak all over guys who have bad social skills without explaining what exactly they're doing wrong. This doesn't seem terribly productive nor helpful to society writ-large. And yes, I understand that it's not the job of women or society to educate guys on how to be decent people without being creepy pushovers. But can we at least admit that being male isn't an automatic ticket to the finish line? That navigating the changing social codes isn't easy.

I agree that shaming without educating is probably not a great way of fixing any issues -- although we could discuss whether fixing the problem is the intent of the web site where we're getting these pictures. That said, I think the education these young men need is really, really simple: women are people, not holes to be pursued for the sole purpose of filling them.

Thing is, young men don't really like hearing that. I know I didn't when I was 16-22. Coincidentally, it took a women for whom I pined in that Nice Guy way calling me a moron to begin the educating.

Wouldn't young men view women as people if they simply interacted with a lot of young women regularly in their formative years in a positive and egalitarian environment?

The book is a bit old now. But Real Boys is a fantastic piece on adolescent males. It cites a study (old I know, but the abstract is good)of parents on why they sent sons and daughters to co-ed, single sex schools. 60-65 percent of parents said that they would or did send their daughters to single sex schools to remove their girls from the bad effects of adolescent boys, that removing males allowed the daughters to thrive. A similar percentage of those sending sons to co-ed schools cited the benefits and calming effects girls have on males.

There is some new interest into single sex education, and its effect on perpetuating arbitrary gender distinctions among boys and girls, men and women. In particular is how it reinforces many negative views and roles among the sexes. And oddly enough, when citing sexual distraction among a reason to go single sex, parents never dream that their kids might be gay.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141692...

LarryC wrote:
Wouldn't young men view women as people if they simply interacted with a lot of young women regularly in their formative years in a positive and egalitarian environment?

Would certainly be nice. Instead, we have high school.

It seems obvious to me that boys who turn into men without any contact with women would not know how to relate to them or act around them once they're grown, simply by dint of lack of experience. Practice makes perfect. Do we need a study to tell us that? If you never have any exposure to playing basketball, the smart money says you're going to suck hard.

Demosthenes:

Seems like a problem with the high school in particular. Where I studied, two of our best DMs were girls, and the D&D group I generally played with was about 40% female. I loved playing volleyball with the girls.

LarryC wrote:
It seems obvious to me that boys who turn into men without any contact with women would not know how to relate to them or act around them once they're grown, simply by dint of lack of experience. Practice makes perfect. Do we need a study to tell us that? If you never have any exposure to playing basketball, the smart money says you're going to suck hard.

Demosthenes:

Seems like a problem with the high school in particular. Where I studied, two of our best DMs were girls, and the D&D group I generally played with was about 40% female. I loved playing volleyball with the girls.

It does, really. It's a demographics thing per area, but I'd say being in a high school that included two female DMs and a large enough selection of ladies that liked D&D to be almost half your group would put your experience on the outliers of the bell curve, sadly. At least that most guys in that particular social group are likely to experience anyway. Speaks to an interesting social group, at the very least that I wish I had had in high school.

Then again, my dating life was mostly trying to make sense of female behaviors that I was not meant to make sense of ("You're controlling the way I dress", which was one time where I asked her to wear something I especially liked on my birthday) until I met my wife where things clicked pretty easily. Heck, she's trying to create a campaign to DM for her D&D group right now.

LarryC wrote:
Wouldn't young men view women as people if they simply interacted with a lot of young women regularly in their formative years in a positive and egalitarian environment?

Unfortunately as a society we seem incapable of providing such environments for our children. This is also how you could fix, say, racism, homophobia, etc.

gore wrote:
LarryC wrote:
Wouldn't young men view women as people if they simply interacted with a lot of young women regularly in their formative years in a positive and egalitarian environment?

Unfortunately as a society we seem incapable of providing such environments for our children. This is also how you could fix, say, racism, homophobia, etc.

Yup. Recognizing something as a problem is the first step in fixing it. With large conservative evangelical/religious populations, an environment that breeds homophobia may actually be considered a good thing to some. The same could be said of gender labels for similar groups where men want to maintain the status quo of a few decades ago.