I was at Readercon last year, but knew nothing of the harassment of Genvieve Valentine until I got home.
Yeah, the thought of that happening made me mad, as it obviously should. No man should reach adulthood and feel that kind of freedom to harass another human being. Social pressure should have been exerted on that individual from the moment he started exhibiting sings of such aggression.
Yeah, the thought of it all made me embarrassed on behalf of my other cock-wielding humans. As it should.
You know what made me feel the most anger and embarrassment, however? Just after the harassment became public knowledge, there were a couple dude-bros — inevitably; dude-bros ruin everything — who opened their goddamn mouths to say something along the lines of, “If only I’d been there, I would’ve done something.”
Yeah? What would you have done? Defended poor, weak little Genevieve?
With all due respect (which isn’t much): Fuck you, you failures at life. Put your dicks back in your pants.
The only time you should be stepping in and helping someone is when their well-being is threatened — when a person is in danger and unable to defend themself. Or when they ask for help. Even then, you’ll probably make the situation worse.
But here’s the important thing: That scenario has nothing to do with the victim’s sex, the assailant’s sex, or — and here’s the kicker — your sex.
Genevieve didn’t need any extra help from the penises; if you paid even the slightest attention to her posts on the incident, you’d know she had plenty of supporters with her — supporters she hardly needed, because she handled herself with strength and aplomb.
I don’t bring this up to go over what has already been gone over, again and again, by others more literate and knowledgeable than I. No, I bring it up because I think such interactions are a good representation of the sophistication of many — far too many — male geeks when confronted with a vagina’d individual:
VAGINA / BUTT / LEGS
GIRL (as their known near-ubiquitously to such men — ahem — boys)
OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN IT’S A GIRL LOOK
IT’S BOOBS AND UNDER THERE THERE’S A
SNATCH AND STARE STARE STARE STARE…
or (if he’s one of those shy Nice Guys)
WILDLY MISOGYNISTIC COMMENT LATER ON WOW FORUM
I’d love, absolutely love, to have a more positive view, but despite any forward momentum gained (and no one will deny that there’s been some), this last year’s been yet another confirmation that male geek “culture” is producing maladjusted individuals at a disappointingly robust rate. I hardly need to provide links; male geeks behaving badly toward female geeks has been all the rage over the interwebs.
It’s disappointing as hell, frankly. It’s one of the few things that makes me want to be part of another scene.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not immune to my culture, geeky or otherwise. I’m not now claiming — nor would I ever claim — that I always act consistently with my stated beliefs. Sometimes, I think sexist thoughts. Disappointingly often, I say things or make assumptions based on these sexist thoughts. It’s an ongoing struggle to unlearn what my culture has told me about the differences between women and men. It’s even harder to let go of the privilege I’ve been born to just because I’ve got a dick and can grow a (neck)beard.
But I keep on with the struggle.
Why? Because I don’t want to view women as less than they are, and — far more importantly — I don’t want women to be held back by my (and my bejohnsoned peers’) prejudice.
If someone as immature, as indoctrinated, as neuronally-slow as me gets this — or, at the very least, sees that the disparity is entirely unjust and harmful and that something should be done about it — why is it so hard for others to make even a rudimentary effort to change their mindsets?
Why do so many refuse to see that there’s a problem at all? Why do so many insist that fandom is diverse and welcoming, when the limits of this claim are so clearly defined? Why must there be all this fucking butthurt when a righteous volley is launched at the walls of the palace of geekdom? Do male geeks not realize that self-criticism is necessary for growth?
But maybe these geeks don’t want to grow up. Maybe it’s more urgent to them that they keep the wiminz out of the borders of their ever shrinking kingdoms than reevaluate their prejudice.
Maybe the right to tell a boob joke without reprisal is just that important to them.
If any of the above seems too harsh to any of you guys reading, then you can kindly pull your scrotum up over your head, click the Exit button, and go back to living blind, calcifying in a room that reeks of sweat, masturbation, Cheetos, and failure.
Real people — no, I won’t say real men — face the charges coming at them. They FIX SHIT.
I’m angry; I think this is clear. The subject enrages me because I fucking love the science fiction, fantasy, and horror folks who have adopted me with open arms. (For years, I was alone in my geekdom, a silent observer. Only in the last three years have a I really come out.) I’m upset because I’m aware that those arms would likely have been a little less open to me if I were a woman (or a person of color, or a non-cisgendered individual, etc.). I’m upset, basically, because there is a situation under our noses that demands action, and so many people are denying it exists.
I’m pissed because I KEEP TALKING and — moreover — feeling largely justified for doing so. It’s easy to feel you have an audience when you’re whole life you’ve been made to feel important because you’re a man, and white, and…
Yeah. It’s all a big unfair mess. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that guys like Scott Lynch speak up against bigots, but for all the attention he’s received you’d think he invented cold fusion. Why aren’t more women being celebrated for knocking in the teeth of gross fanboys?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because the most vocal part of our community is made comfortable by the knowledge that the act of righteousness comes from a verifiably male (and white, and cisgendered) source. This group of geeks gets to pat itself on the back for being so amazingly buttkickingly awesome, all without having to confront the nasty OTHER.
Ah, shit. Whatever. I’m going to wrap this up, because I’ve just reread what I wrote and become disgusted by my overabundance of words and self-righteousness. I won’t erase it, however, because I think it’s just enough to prove my point that male geeks are still doing too much of the talking where women are concerned in this community.Read More...