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Mar 13 2007

A geek’s story

FindX.jpg

According to blamer Metamanda, somebody commenting on a recent thread, perhaps swept up in the frenzy of the moment, typed this:

Is there anything about being a geek that makes a person more attractive?

There were apparently other unfortunate statements, such as “no social skills” and “can’t get dates.”

“Those are low blows,” responds self-identified geek Metamanda, “of exactly the same sort that reactionary men use against feminists.” [Read her entire post here.]

[Because the spinster aunt's eyesight ain't what it used to be, I am unable to locate the comment in which is nestled the anti-geek remarks quoted by Metamanda, but I will proceed on the assumption that it exists.]

This is not really a personal blog, but in the interest of subsequently enbiggening a broader point, I might as well reveal unto you a little something about myself: I am a geek/nerd/spazz. Or, more accurately, I can be said to possess traits in common with other persons so categorized by the cold, cruel world.

For one thing, I am, when observed through the encrapulated lens of patriarchy, funny-looking; I walk with a limp, and sport a pair of 8-inch scars where my tits used to be. I have stringy, greasy hair, zits, glasses, and a Frinkian overbite. I am said to be “bird-like,” probably because of my emaciated physique and prominent honker.

For another thing, I am uncool. I own a visor and a fanny pack. Just the other day I said “nee” several times. I then translated it into Latin and said it again. I possess the DVD boxed set of Star Trek TOS (actually, the one I have is more ‘encapsulated in plastic space-pods’ than ‘boxed’). I look at bugs through microscopes. I have a fascination for a species of amphibian called cricket frogs. I watch those corny “British Comedies” on PBS every Saturday night (I fall asleep before “Monty Python” comes on, but that’s OK; I’ve got that boxed set, too). I would read science fiction all the time if it weren’t, alas, so incompetently written. While still a child, a freak accident with a subset of negative integers left me almost entirely differentiated by derivatives, and thereafter I lost all mathematical ability. I was in denial at first, but if those math teachers told me (n) times, they told me {(n) + 1} times: I was doomed to infinite regress.

The other nerds cast me out. I was a geek without a gang.

Thus, my own “social skills” developed such that I have been variously diagnosed as afflicted with Tourette’s, with extreme eccentricity, with some sort of as-yet-undiscovered high-functioning autism, with charismatic narcissism, and/or with a low-ish high IQ. I have not matured emotionally or intellectually beyond the age of 17 (some experts disagree, and put the figure closer to 14). On an average of twice a week, fair weather or foul, I am compelled to run across the lawn waving my arms as though I intend to take flight, or to take a stroll on tiptoe with my ass sticking way out. I am physically awkward and have been known to tip over without cause, straining the plausibility of Newton’s Third Law. Sometimes I involuntarily utter strings of meaningless syllables ending in “P”: bup bup bup bup pip pip pip pip. I stutter on telephones. Quite often I am incapable of communicating to people behind counters at coffee bars or pharmacies in anything but preverbal grunts or twitters. Sometimes, when I hear myself make a particularly funny noise, I involuntarily collapse into a state of violent merriment or lunacy, perhaps best described as hysterics, that can span half an hour. If this happens while I am driving, look out, Austin!

Thus am I considered odd by most and rude by many. Often I am taken for an imbecile.

Unlike most of the Brotherhood of Man, however, I find many of my aforementioned deviations from the norm to be pretty agreeable, or at least comical. Like, until you’ve tried it, you have no idea how liberating it is to do the butt-walk in the $700 Extra Virgin Olive Oil aisle at Whole Foods. And that episodic convulsive laughter, from which accrues all the benefits of the conventional orgasm without all the inconvenient effluents, stickiness, appliances, legal restrictions and political issues, is fucking awesome.

It is an asset, not to mention a joy and a relief, to be unencumbered by social skills. What are they, after all, but a set of arbitrarily-conceived customs meant to sort people into classes, the more conveniently to be dominated by those whose mastery of the arbitrary customs is superior? I’m sure I need not point out to you, O my fellow blamers, that the stability of patriarchy as a system of social control relies on the mass assimilation of these customs. Customs are the currency of culture; the more you absorb, the greater your rewards. But closer examination reveals them to be nothing but taboos and commandments designed to restrict human conduct to a finite set of ritualized mannerisms constrained by foul ideals of deference, appeasement, and conformity.

“Attractiveness” is one of those mannerisms. You know what? Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on.

So, back to the question posed by Person X, “is there anything about being a geek that makes a person more attractive?”

I am happy to say, no there isn’t, and isn’t that nice.

By the way, using my highly advanced scientific method, I have determined that 73.4% of the readers of this blog are geek/nerd/spazzes. The sci-fi thread of last week has broken all attendance records.

214 comments

3 pings

  1. Hattie

    Wow. When and where can we meet, you lovely thing?

  2. Jodie

    I have a sibling and a child who share a lot of those traits in their own individual and bizarre ways. Gawd, are they ever fun. Me, I’m just a nerd but oh, how I aspire to weirdness.

  3. norbizness

    Now that everybody is skilled in outcast taxonomy, can somebody tell me what I was? If it’s any help, I think the year was 1987.

  4. vera

    Okay, now I *really* love you.

  5. Jezebella

    Norbizness, you were a cute little nerdlet. That picture reminds me of Mark Ruffalo’s child-substitute in “13 Going On 30.”

    Also, I think baseball stat nerdlets probably should have their own name in outcast taxonomy, since they have something in common with sports dudes. Is there such a thing as a sports nerd?

  6. Varnish Eater

    Hott!

  7. rebecca

    I

  8. rebecca

    I heart Twisty so much!!!

  9. GenderBlank

    Twisty, I think you are wrong. Lots of those traits make people more attractive – especially to other people who share the same traits. And even when they don’t! Although I have never done the olive-oil-butt-walk, I admire like hell the people who have. I know we shouldn’t reduce people to this, but nonconformity is, as you say, sexay.

  10. geek/nerd/spazz

    amen, sister

  11. Rainbow Girl

    And this is why I fail to understand why nobody has forged a Nerd-Feminist alliance. That is, a Nerd-Feminist alliance outside of my own home. Or wardrobe.

  12. kcb

    Is there such a thing as a sports nerd?

    You bet there is. They tend to end up producing or anchoring the sports segment on your nightly local newscast. I used to work with some and they are, indeed, a breed apart.

  13. emjaybee

    As a fellow nerd, I send to you a hearty “Oyven-Glaven!” (all the Simpson watching nerds* know what I mean)

    *99.99% of Western nerds, and quite a few non Western ones.

  14. Sniper

    Is there such a thing as a sports nerd?

  15. Pony

    Sniper. Yes, you’re a biathlete?

  16. Puffin

    “Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on.”

    THANK YOU for saying this.

    People aren’t magnets. This whole concept of attractiveness is just another euphemism for “let me objectify and fetishize something superficial about you so I don’t actually have to interact with you as the person you are.”

  17. Sniper

    Ugh. For some reason I lost the rest of my comment, which was:

    1. Keith Olbermann – sports nerd

    2. I’ve never loved Twisty more.

  18. Adam

    Going back a step on subject a little, is there any chance we can salvage the name geek back please? I kind of like the phrase better than nerd for me and mine, and don’t want to be associated with the guys described previously. Here, I’ll even supply a possible new word:

    Leek (from Loser-geek)

    includes not only geek wanna-be’s who are idiots as previously described, but can be used to include other assholes like the leet-speakers and such.

    I’m a pretty open minded, usually intelligent (every one makes dumb mistakes now and again) geek male who genuinely likes women, and uses this website to review my own thoughts and opinions and see where I may have allowed mistakes to enter into how I think.

  19. Shannon

    Well, I’ll be damned. We share enough personality traits / social skills to probably be related somewhere along the line. I’m also quite fond of the pretending-to-fly, the funny-noise-making, the collapsing into hysterics over something minor (marriedtothesea.com, nataliedee.com or Mimi Smartypants will usually do the trick), you name it. Brava, super-Twisty! Hurray for geekdom!

    p.s. it helps to have a SirMixALot-ian butt if you’re going to do the butt walk in the grocery aisle, but hey, you work with what you’ve got.

  20. jami

    your figure there reminds me of this bittersweet funny (by a brilliant she-geek, or at best a lady nerd):
    http://indexed.blogspot.com/2007/01/classless.html

    i’d always thought of geeks as hit and miss like everyone else and nerds as universally good until today, when i sadly recalled that right-wing “think” tanks are manned by nerds.

    ah well, back to evaluating people on a case-by-case basis.

  21. Bird

    I love this thread!

    I’m a nerd for a living; I edit books. Not just any books either——I work in non-fiction, so I get to correct other nerds’ work. Oh, and I do a lot of work on sports books too, so I know the sports nerds very, very well. There are women sports nerds too. One of my favorite authors to work with is a fabulous woman who adores racecars (particularly NASCAR) and poker.

    To add to my nerd cred, I used to own a store that sold roleplaying games (D&D and the like) and tabletop war games. I own polyhedral dice. Fortunately, I do not live in my parents’ basement (and I don’t compulsively put things in mylar bags, either).

    Personally, “nerd” is pretty much at the top of the list of things I want in a partner.

    I do have a question about the word attractive though. Physical attractiveness might not be important, but there has to be some reason to want to be with someone. I’m _______ to intelligent people with a sense of humour. If I don’t use attracted, what word do I put here?

  22. J

    I think the problem with being attractive, or feeling compelled to be attractive, is the whole idea that people can be attractive in the first place. I think that point was made, but I also see an extension of it into what Nietzsche called action and re-action. Those who subscribe to ideas, practice behaviors, that amount to a belief in attractiveness are re-active. They do not believe in themselves, but in the power and efficacy of attractivness. They re-act to the ideological mandates of attractiveness, rather than act themselves.

    In this way, I think there is room for people to be (found) attractive without re-acting to the injunction to be attractive. Anyone could, in theory, find Twisty attractive; they could be attracted to her. The difference here is that no one else can really identify what is attractive about her in quite the same way, because if they do, they are reducing what’s attractive about her to some idea(l) of attractiveness. I even think many people understand this, but for more insidious, you might even say unconscious ideological reasons they fail to act according to how they feel.

  23. Pony

    But some things are worthy of worship maybe even fetishizing. Breathtaking use of language, words. The writer.

    I palpitate. I’m flushed. I’m gone.

    No shit. ;)

  24. Bird

    J: So subjective attraction is okay, but objectification or idealization of a given aspect is not? Just clarifying so I’m clear.

    So, for example, I find my partner’s laugh lines attractive (a subjective evaluation of how they appear to me, largely because they tell me he’s a person who likes to smile/laugh). But defining all men by the aesthetics of their laugh lines, making their appeal a general measure by which all men and all laugh lines must be measured and their attractiveness rated, is the harmful concept.

    If so, I’m completely on board with that definition. I just like to be sure I’m seeing the same connotative meaning in a discussion——as I said above, language is my particular nerd-thing.

  25. ChapstickAddict

    I grew up socially outcast as well, and I wouldn’t trade anything for it, because those experiences have made me the strong, confident woman I am today. I grew to enjoy “nerd” as a term of endearment in my high school days.

    I look a lot different than I did when I was a young nerd, though. I keep my 7th grade photo around, because even though it’s awful, it’s who I still am on the inside. The story behind it is that I had forgotten the day was the makeup day for the yearbook picture (I had worn my glasses in the first picture, and the reflection of the silver umbrella showed up on my lenses, so I had to get another photo). I hadn’t showered in a couple days, so my hair was messy and a little clumpy, and I had worn an old t-shirt, which I had to turn around backwards (there was a silly picture of a duck playing volleyball on the front, and I didn’t want that in the picture, because that apparently would have made me look ridiculous), and I forgot to take off my glasses, so I got the reflection of the flash on my lenses even worse. Plus, I’m totally not photogenic, and the camera got me right as I was saying “cheese,” so I have a weird expression on my face.

    Nowadays, I don’t look like a stereotypical nerd, so I mostly just get labeled as “weird”.

    (I was going to post in the other thread that I am a nerd/geek/dweeb/whatever, and that my boyfriend is too, as well as a beginning blamer. But my day job always gets in the way of time spent lazily surfing the internet.)

  26. jenevieve

    “I was in denial at first, but if those math teachers told me (n) times, they told me {(n) 1} times: I was doomed to infinite regress.”

    Marry me! I’ll make you tacos every day.

  27. Puffin

    “I do have a question about the word attractive though. Physical attractiveness might not be important, but there has to be some reason to want to be with someone. I’m _______ to intelligent people with a sense of humour. If I don’t use attracted, what word do I put here?”

    You like being around intelligent people with a sense of humor? You take great joy in the company of intelligent people with a sense of humour? You appreciate the intelligence of people and you also appreciate their senses of humor? These statements indicate some reasons you might want to be with someone. They also better indicate why people actually do want to be with others.

    However, if you are using the concept of ‘attraction’ you’re talking about something different. Attraction implies something innate, something we don’t entirely have control over that, something that quite literally exerts a force upon you that you are compelled to obey. So if you say, “I am attracted to intelligent people,” what are you ACTUALLY saying? Are you saying that when you come into proximity with an intelligent person are you physically drawn closer once you’re in their gravitational field? Are you compelled to follow them around? Do you want to be in contact with them as much as possible? That’s what attraction implies, that you are drawn to this element of a person almost regardless of your will, NOT that this element of a person is simply something that determines whether or not you enjoy their company at times when you are around them.

    That’s why I find the concept so problematic. People are not innately attracted to other people the way magnets are attracted to poles. To think so simplifies the potential reciprocity of human interaction and keeps us from ever relating to one another as equals.

  28. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I was a geek-nerd AND a pompom girl, which I suppose is proof that some things never change. People were so weirded out by me that I had no caste. I was a high school Untouchable!

    After a short stint with the stoners and the theater geeks I dropped out of school, but all worked out OK in the end because the minute I left home I found the neopagans: Dorkitude CUBED!

    I want a YouTube video of Twisty doing the buttwalk.

  29. Amanda Marcotte

    One thought: Laughter is hardly apolitical coming from women. Women laughing amongst themselves is considered as alarming to patriarchs as women orgasming amongst themselves.

  30. Pinko Punko

    Giant Twisty Brain Cloud DID Keep James Tiberius Kirk as a pet, congested anal pore and all. Pinko Brain Cloud is HAPPY.

  31. Bird

    Puffin: Thanks, I’d never really thought of it that way. I now have a picture of me walking around stuck in a large clump with all my friends like a mass of pins on one of those magnetic pincushions.

    Got it. I’ll endeavour to use something less passive-sounding in the future.

    Statement revised to “I like intelligent people who have a good sense of humour.” Or to convey the idea of romantic interest, “When seeking a partner, I look for a person who is intelligent and has a good sense of humour.”

    Or I could just say I prefer a nerdy man who appreciates clever satire but rolls on the floor giggling when I pretend a banana is a telephone and talk in a silly voice.

  32. Pony

    Bird I think 97 per cent of the Blamers ™ are editors.

  33. lawbitch

    Twisty, your quirks are endearing. Most of the posters here, myself included, are quirky nerds who appreciate these qualities.

    These comments were directed to these particular sexist geek posters. I personally didn’t intend to rag on female geeks, whom I consider my sisters in blame.

    Norbizness, you cute nerdlet, I’m in love. Don’t tell Mr. Lawbitch.

  34. Nia

    I checked the Wikipedia entry on Tourette to make sure I knew what Twisty was talking about, and after the definition I jumped to “famous people with Tourette syndrome”. I realised that all the names were male, so I instantly thought “oh, so then this is a condition that affects primarily men, how interesting”. I had to read ten lines or so to remember that “famous people” means “famous men” unless you’re talking about, I don’t know, supermodels or Hollywood stars.

    The moments like that short lapsus, when I forget that there is a patriarchy, are wonderful and liberating, but I hate the crash afterwards.

  35. butter

    “I am a geek/nerd/spazz”
    “I am a nerd/geek/dweeb/whatever”

    I made up this little system to reclaim the labels that once hurt ohnoez! so much:

    A GEEK really gets into DOING or producing something, and a NERD likes THINKING about or consuming something. Like: I am a science fiction nerd, because I read a lot of it, but not a science fiction geek, because I don’t write any.

    (Also a sewing and farming and traveling and language geek, a sociology and photography and fiddle music nerd, a feminism nerd AND geek-but-Doing-Feminism-is-a-whole-nother-discussion, and for now more of a blog nerd than a blog geek. And so on.)

    I reserve dork/spazz/general contempt for those who don’t admit to enthusiasm.

  36. the first born fish

    I’m definitely a geek-spazz hybrid.

    Geek/Blame on.

  37. Ron Sullivan

    I’ve never been able to figure out whether I’m a geek, a nerd, a dweeb, or a spazz. Or a dork. I dunno about Butter’s system; weren’t the original sideshow geeks supposed to be consumers of live chickens’ heads?

    I have committed editing in my time, and will edit for food. Wait, I forget: Does that make me a geek or a nerd? I read science fiction. I write nonfiction. I criticize bad pruning. Is a tree geek a treek? Is a critical geek a creek?

    And wouldn’t a leek be a Welsh geek?

    I want that YouTube of the buttwalk too. One thing I like about getting old is not having to look cool anymore. As for attraction: It’s all done with pheromones. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  38. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    My Bunny just glanced at Twisty’s pythagorean whatchamacallit and screamed FIVE! I’ve spawned another geek.

  39. the first born fish

    Also, I think personalities can definitely be attractive. I am attracted to/drawn to/interested in people who I get along with, which happen to be other geek-spazz hybrids.

    Sexual attraction and social attraction are different. Although sometimes the sexytime happens later, but I’m only interested in women and men with ENORMOUS… minds.

  40. BubbasNightmare

    I have been a lifetime self-confessed nerd. I’ve always seen geeks as not nearly as smart, and much more arrogant, than us nerds.

    I don’t think spontaneously doing the butt-dance qualifies as spazziness–more like a poorly-controlled nerdy enthusiasm.

    “Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on.”

    Preach, Sister, preach!

  41. ramou

    Oh Twisty, you are my hero!

  42. gayle

    “On an average of twice a week, fair weather or foul, I am compelled to run across the lawn waving my arms as though I intend to take flight,”

    That sounds like fun! I think I might try it.

  43. t. comfyshoes

    It’s not orginal at this point to tell you that my already-huge crush on you just assumed mammoth proportions, but it did, so I’m telling you.

    Male geeks and nerds get picked on by “manlier” males. Female geeks and nerds (or, at least, /this/ female nerd/geek) try to become honourary men and then say feminism is unnecessary. We need Morpheus/Twisty to come along and show us what we’re really trapped in. Once we figure it out, we become not just the natural allies of feminists, but feminists ourselves.

  44. Niki

    I passed through my grammar school years with a hand covered in warts and a head covered in long, dark, easily tangled hair. I got called a ‘hag’ on a regular basis. What I wouldn’t have given for the nerd/geek/spaz moniker instead.

    I do agree with ChapstickAddict though, in that it made me a stronger person (those tangles are now beautiful, product-free dreads. Eat that, Pantene Pro-V/Salon Selectives/ad nauseum!).

    Or rather, it brought me to that same point that leaving one’s terrible 20′s brings to the smart girls, namely the wordless gratitude to be (relatively) off the sexAy radar of Ultimate SexAyness. If you’re already fucked, socially speaking, you learn to be your own chief support system quickly and to find your own happiness, independent of the outside universe.

  45. yankee transplant

    good god, Twisty, and here I thought I couldn’t love you more!

  46. metamanda

    Ah, Twisty, back in high school my friends, of which I had maybe a couple, used to make me drink and derive. Or drink and integrate, if we were feeling really dangerous. But I can’t write like you can.

    lawbitch, it’s cool. I understand all the irritation with misogynistic geeks, cuz they do exist, and they do exist in a particular geekly form, and all the complaints on that thread were totally applicable to that particular brand of geek, and yeah I deal with people like that sometimes. Comiccon is full of them (and yeah, I know because I’ve been there). But I do think that social rejection during certain critical periods growing up does makes more geeks/nerds/spazzes reflective about what society at large says about gender and attractiveness, at least at higher rates than many other segments of the population, even as I admit that significant chunks of geekdom never did clue in to how they were being indoctrinated. So I was just really wishing we could all acknowledge that, and I was also irked that “geek” in that thread was often being used to mean “male geek” which is a gender bias that annoys me for obvious reasons. And I’d had a coupla beers on an empty stomach while making dinner.

    At this point, I’d kinda rather not point out the individual comments that set me off, because I don’t want to blame/start a fight with any individual posters that I was really just quoting because they gave me a concrete handle to what I felt was a general tone reiterating through parts of that thread.

    Also, when I brought up attractiveness, I was talking about the subjective experience of attraction to someone (pony’s insightful comment notwithstanding), not “conventional attractiveness”. So I can totally jump on board with “Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on.” The best geeks I know see it for the con job it is and are happier for it.

    (sorry. too long again.)

  47. nolo

    Excellent, excellent post.

  48. J

    “J: So subjective attraction is okay, but objectification or idealization of a given aspect is not? Just clarifying so I’m clear.”

    More or less. The problem I see is that so-called quirkiness is anything but that, and after becoming a pattern among people fuctions effectively along the same lines as more “main=stream” beauty-ideals. If people make, for example, the judgement (actiosn count as much or more than words) that attractiveness is a function of how much you reject (or say you reject) the beauty ideals of the dominant culture, they miss the point.

    The problem with the beauty ideal is not in what it idealizes, which you might also think of in terms of who constructs it, but that it exists period.

  49. miz_geek

    I consider my geekiness to be directly related to my development as a feminist. Has anyone else experienced this?

    When I was growing up I was never interested in most of the traditional girly things and I didn’t have well-developed social skills, but I wasn’t a tomboy, either. I hated sports, and was (and still am) totally uncoordinated. Instead, I was another thing altogether. I was a geek. A brain. A nerd.

    On the one hand, my geekiness helped me realize the stupidity of established gender roles. After all, it was clear that I wasn’t going to fit in them, and yet, here I was, a girl. I think I knew it was hopeless to even try to be like that. Or maybe I was so clueless socially that I didn’t even really realize how I was supposed to be acting.

    But on the other hand, it was a barrier that kept me from identifying with other young women. I didn’t really consider myself “one of them”. Overcoming that distance, realizing that yes, the rest of the world sees me as just another female (and worse, a geeky one), has been a challenge at times.

  50. lawbitch

    “Drink and derive!” ROTFLOL! As a former math teacher, I thank you for thathumor. NERDARAMA!!!

    I was so uncool in high school. Now that I have teenagers, I am so uncool once again. Just ask my kids! ;-)

  51. MoBridges

    The Star Trek TOS dvds’ encapsulating pod is pretty nifty. Is the streamlined design meant to jive with Enterprise decor? Or is the lack of corners just a safety precaution so that the nerdly owner doesn’t poke her eye out while having an involuntary spasm?

  52. ChapstickAddict

    I consider my geekiness to be directly related to my development as a feminist. Has anyone else experienced this?

    I’m right there with you, sister. My feminism blossomed because since I was such a social outcast, I had the freedom to move to my own drum beat. Of course, it made middle school hell, but I can’t imagine what I’d be like without all those prized years of teenage suffering.

  53. Rob

    I don’t really have any business blaming the patriarchy, so I thought I’d just observe it, if no one minds.

    This evening after work it was nice out so I sat outside a little coffee joint in Ohio and read a book. Eventually a young woman showed up with a small child, who took a chair away from my table, and then two more young women (28, maybe) came over and spoke to her for a while.

    Then the first woman left, and all hell broke loose. The two others hung around long enough for a couple of nearby, forty-something men to strike up a conversation with them. As was inevitable, one of the men told one of the women that she should be a stripper. Of course, he didn’t really say that exactly. He said he used to DJ at a strip club and casually mentioned that the women working there would take home “Like, a couple hundred dollars a night,” and then suggested in a way that was meant to be sly but wasn’t that she should be a stripper. She, who turned out to be named Annie, just sort of brushed it off politely, as I have seen happen four billion times in response to the same remarks.

    Annie finally turned and asked me, “Hey, what are you writing? Are you writing about our conversation?” Which, oddly enough, I was not. We shook hands and had a splendid exchange for a little while about art history and the drums, her drums specifically, meaning the drums she plays in her apartment.

    I am in no position to blame the patriarchy, but although I didn’t do it at the time I suggest that if you find myself in a situation like mine or Annie’s, look the man with nothing but bad suggestions in the eyes and repeat as many times as it takes, “Klaatu Varata Nikto.”

    Then again, he’ll probably assault you or something. Never mind.

  54. J

    “Klaatu Varata Nikto.”

    Just make sure you say it right.

  55. Pony

    Damn that Octagalore dude gets around.

    “Klaatu Varata Nikto.”

  56. grace et al

    wow. i’m with pony here.

    been lurking for sometime now. this post brings me to your door and to my knees.

    language is desire.

    swooning.

  57. Spinning Liz

    I’m here strictly for the graphic, myself. Best ever.

  58. KMTberry

    I hate to break in with my penultimate nerdlinesss, but it is “Klaatu Barata Nikto”
    (oh the shame I feel)

  59. Gen

    Thank you, KMTberry! I would’ve if you hadn’t.

  60. deciduousfruit

    mmm the butt walk. I always considered it to be a close relation to the toddler run in which you pitch yourself forward and run on your toes with your arms flapping limply at your sides. For the more coordinated there is the inimitable playing of raptor in which you stalk around, index and middle fingers poised to strike, whilst stalking whatever prey happens to be sitting unawares in the nearest armchair. I have to say though, that the one thing GAR-UN-TEED to still produce the helpless crying laughter that seems to have been the one perk bequethed on my outcast teenage self so long ago is http://www.candyboots.com/wwcards.html On the one hand the commentary is spot on, and on the other one can marvel in wonder at the state of feminity 30-odd years ago and what drove women to consider these un-edible abominations better than being a size 10.

  61. Student of worthlessness (amanda)

    No wonder you ‘blame the patriarchy’…eheheh

    You couldn’t get laid in high school.

    Pobresita…..

  62. edith

    Nerds, computers, whatever. Can we go back to talking about shoes?

  63. Arora

    Someone posted this link on the Aspies For Freedom website:

    http://isnt.autistics.org/

  64. al

    It is an asset, not to mention a joy and a relief, to be unencumbered by social skills.

    You can tell a lot about an individual (or a society) based on how it treats its outcasts and the mentally-unique:

    The Value Of Psychotic Experience

    Not about geeks per se, but fascinating article about how other societies look at people unconstrained by social norms.

  65. al

    P.S.-

    Women laughing amongst themselves is considered as alarming to patriarchs as women orgasming amongst themselves.

    Great viusals. ;-)

  66. The Constructivist

    Do a search on “otaku” and “cool” and watch the fun at recent attempts in Japan to get people to change their (highly negative) attitudes toward otaku! (This is partly inspired by people outside Japan rearticulating the term, you know as people in the past did for insults like “Yankee” and “queer.”)

  67. justtesting

    Women laughing amongst themselves is considered as alarming to patriarchs as women orgasming amongst themselves.

    When I first read that line, reading through the comments, I read it as women organising amongst themselves. So my reaction was Yay, way to go! organising and laughing ! This leads to change !

    But, ruefully I realised I’d read it wrong, and instead the comment, to me, illustrates a (generational ? cultural ?) gap.

    Where the scaring of men is not laughing and organising but laughing and orgasming.

  68. justtesting

    Oh yeah and while I’m at it spazz ia a horrible word. It’s like calling someone a ree-tard or crip. Fine for those who actually are, to use the word if they want, everyone else should can it.

  69. Sarah

    “The other nerds cast me out. I was a geek without a gang.”

    Me too. To some extent, I feel I still am, and I wish I could meet like-minded geeky women. There are plenty of geeky men around, but I don’t want to be friends with most of them, as I can’t stand the misogyny and homophobia that comprises most of their ‘humour’, and honestly I just don’t think rape jokes are funny, and am not afraid to say to. And so they don’t tend to want to be friends with the ‘humourless feminist’ either. Being a feminist geek/nerd is lonely…

  70. Narya

    My current blog post has exactly the same comic at the top . . . but I like the elephant one better (I’m saving it for a different post). They were sent to me by a friend who decided that yes, she DID want to be a doctor (which was a challenge to say out loud, for her, thanks to the patriarchy)–and she’s about to graduate.

  71. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I think most people with an IQ over 100 have one form of geek/nerd/spazz or another lurking in their closet. Being comfortable in your own skin consists of setting him/her free, and loneliness be damned. Me, I’m a weather geek. (I like to sing really old songs at inappropriate times and frequently laugh for no apparent reason, but my quirk catalogue pales in comparison with most of yours, which are truly impressive. And I come from a long, long line of oddballs and misfits.)

  72. speedbudget

    But what about us dorks? Is there no place we can go to find acceptance? Who loves us?

  73. Luckynkl

    I don’t really have any business blaming the patriarchy, so I thought I’d just observe it, if no one minds.

    Oh, there’s something new. Men watching women like they’re bugs under a microscope and reporting on it from their zippers. And being women = sex to men, it doesn’t come as any surprise that the only thing that seems to have caught your attention and interest Rob, was how women react sexually to men and their propositions. And of course how you’re oh so special and different from the rest of men and how these could-be strippers were attracted to you!

    So you’re right. You don’t have any business blaming the patriarchy. As for observing it, you are the patriarchy. So pray tell, how does one objectively observe oneself? As you prove, you can’t. Your dick keeps getting in the way.

    Sorry, Rob, but you’re no different than any of those other guys. You, too, objectify and view women from your zipper. What you were observing were the techniques men use to proposition women and watching women’s reaction to these techniques so you could take notes and polish up your own act and have a better success rate with women. And of course you’re here to brag that your technique worked better than all those other guys. But I’m here to tell you, Rob, that guys like you come a dime a dozen. All legends in their own mind and all thinking they’re so much more clever and slicker than the other guy.

    Now tell the truth and shame the devil. You’re not here to observe the patriarchy. You’re here to pick up tips on how to boost your success rate with women, you old dog, you. Because the patriarchs are men, silly. So why would you observe women to learn the nuts and bolts about men and their patriarchy?

    Sorry, Rob, nice try, but no cigar.

  74. Varnish Eater

    miz-geek, yes. I love being a nerd (er, now I do anyway) and I know that it has a lot to do with my acceptance/understanding of feminism, because I am an outsider.

    If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em, right? Because sooner or later you figure out that you’re not missing anything.

  75. justicewalks

    But I’m here to tell you, Rob, that guys like you come a dime a dozen.

    No kidding, although, these days it seems more like a dime a score (pun intended). Where are they all coming from? As of late, it seems all the feminist blogs I read are being overrun with men (of that stripe or other). I used to seek these spaces out as a refuge from the constant barrage of entitled male opinion, but they’re like weeds, entitled male opinions are; you cut one down only to realize you’re standing in a rapidly expanding and encroaching field of them.

  76. Mar Iguana

    A zipper with a view. Heh. Perfect. She’s baaaaack.

  77. J

    “Where the scaring of men is not laughing and organising but laughing and orgasming.”

    Where is the gap? I fail to see one. I think Twisty’s point is that when women show that they can produce happiness and/or pleasure that is not contingent upon men, it is a blow to their awesometacity. In this sense, men across the world and through-out time have, at least some of the time, lashed out at women for being happy for themselves.

    The way you could think about it is that to most men, when a woman or women find happiness in a way that at least seems divorced from the affirmation of patriarchy, it is a sign that they (women) have their own way to bliss. Men are jealous, angry, confused, and frightened by this apparent alternative path women have found (or always had) themselves.

  78. hedonistic

    New word for the Blameopedia: AWESOMETACITY!

    J. is on to something: Men are painfully aware of just how much they need women. PAINFULLY. We hold up their mirrors so that they may see themselves. We bear their children. We do their scut work. We are their receptacles for, well, everything. And women need men for what, exactly?

    *

    *

    (crickets)

    *

    *

    EXACTLY. They need us more than we need them. Men are absolutely terrified that we may someday figure out that we don’t need them at ALL and will expend enormous amounts of energy on psychological, economic and physical warfare to prevent this from happening. Then who will supply the cheap pussy and the free housekeeping? Who will be left to reassure him of his awesometacity?

  79. hedonistic

    Lukynkl, I think any earnest thinking man who takes the time to read the FAQ and the SCUM manifesto, and contribute to the discussion in an earnest (albeit sometimes deluded, poor thing) way should be allowed to use his newfound understanding of the Twistyverse to at least TRY to score smart geek chicks. After all, it’s not as if we can stop ‘em in any case.

    Besides, it’s only fair! To me, I mean: Sometimes I wonder if an earnest thinking man who reads IBTP is the very best a smart, straight feminist could ever hope for, even if he’s a bumbling fool sometimes.

    Oooh, I feel the need to BLAME again. Click!

  80. Pony

    This guy has been in the archives reading Helen Gurley Brown. He’s looking for a woman who gets an education so she can get a higher earning mate. Go you, thinking man. Whenever and wherever you find her, you deserve each other.

  81. Pony

    The blog needs password access. Not only we who are too old for this have had enough, the young ‘uns have reached tilt too Twisty.

  82. J

    “Men are painfully aware of just how much they need women.”

    Right, and I don’t really disagree with the rest of what you said. I think that you, in the eyes of the patriarchy, give women much too much credit.

    Lacan said that “Woman does not exist,” and this is surprisingly a very positive observation, considering what he means is that in the very thinkability of Woman for her own sake is lost to the phallic culture that dominates practically all humanity. In this way, it isn’t that men need women for jouissance (Lacan’s term for supreme enjoyment qua absolute domination and exploitation of reality), but that when women appear to have their own way to it, it feels like they are actually stealing it from the men.

    You say parts of this, but I think that what men need from women (for their jouissance) is not their house-work or their pussy, but the very fact that they bow down. This is not an apres coup or after the fact kind of observation. Rather, for men, woman is the body given to his (though ultimately all of our) fundamental lack (think castration complex). In otherwords, in phallic culture, men come to know women precisely because they don’t know they exist, except as the phallic signifier itself.

  83. Pony

    In a household where the woman does not do the scut work, but hires a Latina or Filipina (or…) to do it, the lady of the house, can pretend they’ve reached some epoc. Because while she’s out excercising her liberation, say, honing her law degree, he, the other partner in the law firm, is in the basement fingering the hired help.

  84. Hawise

    Arora- thanks for that link, it may just get me through some of the neurotypical, patriarchal crap going on at my son’s school right now.

    Attraction happens but it does not eliminate the hard work that makes up a good relationship. I know because I am going on to 27 years in a relationship based on my turning a particular corner in a particular hallway on (depending on my mood at the moment) just the right time.

    And borrowing from the ‘autistics should define autism’ movement, I am neuroatypical and proud and thankful that I am. Define me as you will it doesn’t change a thing about me.

    Finally anything that can get a man to think is a good thing ;)

  85. Kelda

    I’d like to reiterate justtesting’s comment. I’m not sure how many people know this but:
    Spazz = spastic = cerebral palsy
    I’m assuming that people are using it because they don’t know any better (unless of course all commenters who have so far used it do indeed have CP and are in the business of reclaiming the word, but I’m thinking that’s rather unlikely).

    Tourettes, ADHD, Autism and the like are all supposed to be far more prevalent in males than females. But this may be just a matter of patriarchal diagnosis: as in heart attacks, visible symptoms may vary from males to females. For example, if male teen with ADHD smashes up classroom due to inattentiveness and impulsiveness then OMG must do something!; if female teen’s grades drop with the inattentiveness then this is ignored (or indeed if impulsiveness plus lack of forward planning = pregnancy then she’s a sinful whore). A (male) researcher has suggested screening all women with anorexia as a high proportion may have undiagnosed autism. I could go on, but am sure that everyone here is well aware that medicine = patriarchy with needles and drips and stuff.

  86. vera

    MoBridges, your question may have already been answered, but I believe that the Star Trek TOS DVDs are encased in what is supposed to represent a tricorder. A large, plastic, garish tricorder. That’s the belief in our house, anyway. Sometimes we pretend it’s a *real* tricorder, and wave it over the dog, the car, our dinner, and so forth. The case doesn’t emit any sounds of its own, so we have to make the little noises ourselves. (“dee dee dee dee deet!”)

  87. Barbara P

    Wow. You are very cool.

    Admittedly, sometimes I disagree with you. Even then, I still admire your skill at making your point (and would not want to engage in actual debate lest I find myself seriously injured in some way).

    When I agree with you, you’re bone-chillingly awesome.

    The geek thing just adds to the awesomeness. (I’m in the 73.4% category.)

  88. Bird

    It’s incredible how hard it is to get people to understand when you tell them you’re a woman with ADD, or even more shockingly, that you’re a woman with ADD and you function just fine without meds, thank you very much. And don’t even try to claim that it’s not a disability, it’s just different.

    My dad and both my brothers are Aspies, so we’re all a little odd in my family. My baby brother and I like to do the zombie walk in shopping malls as a sort of nerdy commentary on the whole consumer experience (plus it gives us the giggles).

  89. Mandos

    EXACTLY. They need us more than we need them. Men are absolutely terrified that we may someday figure out that we don’t need them at ALL and will expend enormous amounts of energy on psychological, economic and physical warfare to prevent this from happening. Then who will supply the cheap pussy and the free housekeeping? Who will be left to reassure him of his awesometacity?

    Well, assuming that this is true, what’s the answer to these questions, anyway?

  90. cycles

    Klaatu varada nikto – the magic words originally spoken by Patricia Neal’s character in “The Day The Earth Stood Still” to make the giant death-robot stop killing people for the purpose of world peace.

  91. lawbitch

    Hey, Pony, easy with the lawbitch bashing! Oh, never mind. I’m not practicing at the moment, and there’s no hired help to finger. You’ve summed up nicely why I’m at home with my kids right now. I’m going to make my triumphant return some day…

  92. Twisty

    Just stopping by to make the obvious point that “attraction” is not the same as “attractiveness.”

  93. Pony

    Apologies lawbitch. I’ve uh…done some laundry in my time.

  94. Pony

    “It’s incredible how hard it is to get people to understand when you tell them you’re a woman with ADD, or even more shockingly, that you’re a woman with ADD and you function just fine without meds, thank you very much. And don’t even try to claim that it’s not a disability, it’s just different.”

    The last sentence there? I’m not quite understanding you. Are you saying ADD is *not* a disability, or is.

    I think it’s a creation of pharmaceutical companies. Not the actual way you (and half my family including me) are, just that it’s not a disability. It’s an asset. I tell you I strut it.

  95. lawbitch

    No offense taken. I needed to be with my kids.

    You aren’t far off. I think that I was 1 of 2 attorneys *not* having an affair at my first law firm. Wives would call routinely to check up on their husbands, knowing that they might be having extracurricular sex.

    I think that my hubby and I are the most well-adjusted lawyer couple that I know. Not the most wealthy, but happier than most. And the kids aren’t in rehab. LOL!

  96. Hawise

    Very true, Twisty, I know that I have an attraction to my now-husband and after 27 years I still have no clue as to why, just some vague ideas. I do know that it is not something that can be bought at a store or involves surgery or is found in magazine cover art. I’m glad that he and I based our relationship on attraction instead of attractiveness, but then we are both geeks.

  97. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    “Attractiveness” is less easily defined than “attraction”, which is, after all, a trick of chemistry. I agree with the person who said it’s all done with pheromones.

    “Attractiveness” can be achieved in a bazillion different ways. Wit, humor, and a certain facility with words are attractive, no matter how awkward or unpretty a person feels. Lack of pretension is attractive, and I can think of few things less pretentious than doing the butt-walk down the $700 olive oil aisle.

    What’s deemed attractive varies insanely from person to person. Everyone cultivates their qualities according to who/what they wish to attract. And hey, the superficial shit’s going to wear off (or the world’s going to knock it off) in a hurry anyway.

  98. Bird

    The last sentence there? I’m not quite understanding you. Are you saying ADD is *not* a disability, or is.

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I firmly believe that it is *not* a disability. I was trying to say that it’s hard to get a lot of people to understand that. I personally think that my ADD is a gift—one that brings its own particular set of challenges when it comes to relating to the “normal” folks out there, but a gift nonetheless.

    I also find I have to explain that I’m ADD, not ADHD (no hyperactive component for me), and that there is a difference.

    I think it’s a creation of pharmaceutical companies. Not the actual way you (and half my family including me) are, just that it’s not a disability. It’s an asset. I tell you I strut it.

    Thankfully, my mother told the school system that they were putting her daughter on ritalin over her dead body. Later, I was tested for the gifted and talented program and put into an accelerated program.

    Funny, most of the behavioural problems disappeared once I was in an environment that provided sufficient challenges and was flexible enough to accommodate my particular learning style.

  99. Kwillz

    5cm.

  100. Patti

    Are you KIDDING? I am now totally in love with you.

  101. BubbasNightmare

    Kelda:
    “am sure that everyone here is well aware that medicine = patriarchy with needles and drips and stuff.”

    No. I’m not aware of that. I understand that many doctors and medical organizations have overabundances of patriarchal horsecrap in their beings, but I find many, many times:

    medicine = ‘life worth living’.

    I suspect Twisty might agree that, in her case,

    medicine = ‘life’

  102. acm

    When I was growing up I was never interested in most of the traditional girly things and I didn’t have well-developed social skills, but I wasn’t a tomboy, either. I hated sports, and was (and still am) totally uncoordinated. Instead, I was another thing altogether. I was a geek. A brain. A nerd.

    funny. I was all those things, but actually also socially ept (at least, functionally so, and really so where adults were concerned), which elicited a different kind of impatience — like, I should know enough to be able to conform to expectations, since I was smart and ept. (the idea that I might have rationally rejected the arbitrariness of the conventions being beamed at me was significantly more than most were willing to concede. or know what to do with.)

    so many ways of not fitting into the box. why do so many care about the damned box??

  103. Hawise

    So many care about the box because they believe that that is all that they have.

  104. cypress

    Twisty – you are so funny! How I wish I’d had the presence of mind to respond to at least one geometry puzzle, in 1963-64, with your solution to finding x! Who would I have become?

  105. 100 Words

    You can write, though, and not just programme code …

  106. RadFemHedonist

    Yeah, I think that I’m losing the ability to be embarrassed, I am of course overjoyed by this, I sort of realized that people who laugh at you or mock you for enjoying yourself aren’t worth your time, or to be more specific that that’s what social conventions are about like so much of the patriarchy, limiting people’s enjoyment to what ever pseudo-enjoyment can be gained from parroting whatever they’ve decided is the norm, so you actually gain a sense of worth(supposedly, more like a sense of worthlessness) from fitting in with them and their crap. I’m glad I’ve realized this at 17 (18 now) and not much later (though one second of free existence is preferable to none) I am going to seriously think about what I want to do and what I’ve been stopped from doing by social convention. Enjoying my life and ending violations of the rights of born homosapiens everywhere (and other mammals, birds, other animals) are my two goals so I am going to start doing whatever I want at college and everywhere else too (while still paying attention to lessons). I’m an aspie too, BTW, and a big Monty Python fan, I also love A Bit of Fry and Laurie and I am the other anime watcher and manga reader of this board (hi Silence :), I actually want to become an animator, because
    A) I love drawing
    B) I want to make radical feminist anime influenced stuff to combat the misogyny that I see and because it’s how everything should be

    I think that’s a good enough starting explanation of my habits (I don’t really like labels like geek) so I’m going to change topic slightly: The word spazz is offensive, much like the word retarded, please do not use it.

    I do have ADHD also, I’ve actually found ritalin very helpful, it really works and doesn’t change my personality, it’s very over-diagnosed in America though.

    “Observe, that 3 year old cannot sit through Seven Samurai, they are jumping about.”

    “Observe, that child has a bad diet and religious nuts for parents, they are badly behaved and inattentive in the infantilizing and authoritarian school system.”

    “This child must have ADD/ADHD, give them pills and ignore the actual problem(s).”

    Sorry, my dialogues are rather less than astounding.

    “The problem with the beauty ideal is not in what it idealizes, which you might also think of in terms of who constructs it, but that it exists period.”

    Precisely, there should be no beauty ideal, why should people’s looks matter at all, I like/want to sleep with consenting age peers who share my ideals, looks mean nothing.

    Also I love the stickiness :)
    (sorry I’ve only bothered to learn one smiley, you’ll be seeing a lot of colons and end brackets).

  107. BubbasNightmare

    RadFemHedonist:
    “they are badly behaved and inattentive in the infantilizing and authoritarian school system.”

    “This child must have ADD/ADHD, give them pills and ignore the actual problem(s).”

    As a parent whose son endured the process described above, allow me to precisionize the dialog:

    ‘The child doesn’t pay attention as desired.’ (Unspoken: I lack the time/interest/patience/brains to do anything about it.)

    ‘Dose him or he’s out.’

    I dutifully did so. The next year’s teacher, cognizant of the situation and having had a child with the same issues, asked that he be taken off the ritalin. He did fine.

    So, yes, school are enmeshed not only in patriarchy but (with a few exceptions) bad teachers. This is news?

  108. Bird

    Some of us are still learning to not fit in the box and be okay with that. Hanging around feminist blogs and such has done a lot to open my eyes to just how many definitions and limits are imposed on us and what bullshit they really are.

    I’m trying really hard to not worry so much about other people’s opinions and remember that the only people who need to like me are my circle of friends, family and family-of-choice both.

    Finding out that there’s life outside the box is pretty damn cool, I have to say.

  109. Hawise

    Not only is there life outside the box but there is legroom.

  110. Pony

    Hawise that’s superb.

  111. Artemis

    For me, the most wonderful thing about Twisty’s litany of all the things that make her her Twisty self is that those things (and taking a stand to claim those things) haven’t been crushed out of her by all the forces in life that do the pulverization of who we are: school, workplaces, family, hidebound institutions of all kinds, ennui, heartbreak, cynicism, betrayal, fear, all and sundry kicks to the teeth (courtesy of the patriarchy) while we were busy being ourselves.

    Standing with myself, claiming and reclaiming my right to be whomever I am – it’s a lifetime of work. Might as well have fun doing it, eh?

  112. Twisty

    I find it necessary to clarify: I have not ever been officially diagnosed with Asperger’s or any of the other “disorders” I mentioned in the thread. I mention those things to you because they have been mentioned to me over the years as a means of explaining my otherwise inexplicable behavior.

    I just did the butt-walk at Neiman-Marcus. Why? Who knows?

  113. Kenny

    Fannypacks are great (even terrific), looking at bugs under a microscope is charming, if not extraordinarily commendable. But let’s not forget, since the topic is near at hand: science is worse than religion–more patriarchal, more powerful, less forgiving.

  114. saltyC

    RadFemHedonsit, I’m an animator.

    Hi.

  115. Twisty

    Science isn’t more patriarchal; the Science Industrial Complex is.

  116. Bird

    You need a “why” to butt-walk at Neiman-Marcus? I’ve never been there—my travels in the US having never led me to shopping at such places, but it seems like the sort of place that just screams for some good, disruptive silliness.

    My friends and I once got kicked out of a high-end downtown shopping mall for playing Mission: Impossible and hiding behind the planters. We have also been known to do the walk from the opening sequence of the Monkees while singing the Imperial March from Star Wars.

    Hawise: I like that line. Makes me want to stick it to my filing cabinet.

  117. norbizness

    We have a Neiman-Marcus? Is it on Pedernales by 7th Street?

  118. saltyC

    I agree with Kenny. Look at how they gave the Nobel Prize to two boys who broke into a woman’s lab to steal her data. Entitlement?

  119. Rob

    I never meant to suggest that I’m better than other men, or unique, or anything. I’m not. I only wrote what I wrote because I worry that if I tell that story anywhere else I’ll get the response, “Wait, so what’s wrong with a girl making some money?”

    I am sorry to have trespassed here, especially with something that’s pretty lame anyway.

  120. Pony

    Scientist speaks out against HPV vaccine which she developed:

    http://tinyurl.com/2z8nx5

    Last modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:04 AM EDT

    Researcher blasts HPV marketing

    BY CINDY BEVINGTON
    cindyb@kpcnews.net

    Diane M. Harper, a lead researcher in the development of the humanpapilloma virus vaccine, says giving the drug to 11-year-old girls “is a great big public health experiment.” (Photo contributed)
    LEBANON, N.H. — A lead researcher who spent 20 years developing the vaccine for humanpapilloma virus says the HPV vaccine is not for younger girls, and that it is “silly” for states to be mandating it for them.

    Not only that, she says it’s not been tested for effectiveness in younger girls, and administering the vaccine to girls as young as 9 may not even protect them at all. And, in the worst-case scenario, instead of serving to reduce the numbers of cervical cancers within 25 years, such a vaccination crusade actually could cause the numbers to go up.

    “Giving it to 11-year-olds is a great big public health experiment,” said Diane M. Harper, who is a scientist, physician, professor and the director of the Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Research Group at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.

    “It is silly to mandate vaccination of 11- to 12-year-old girls There also is not enough evidence gathered on side effects to know that safety is not an issue.”

    Internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field, Harper has been studying HPV and a possible vaccine for several of the more than 100 strains of HPV for 20 years – most of her adult life.

    All of her trials have been with subjects ages 15 to 25. In her own practice, Harper believes the ideal way of administering the new vaccine is to offer it to women ages 18 and up. At the time of their first inoculation, they should be tested for the presence of HPV in their system.

    If the test comes back negative, then schedule the follow-up series of the three-part shots. But if it comes back positive?

    “Then we don’t know squat, because medically we don’t know how to respond to that,” Harper said.

    Harper is an independent researcher whose vaccine work is funded through Dartmouth in part by both Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline, which means she is an employee of the university, not the drug companies. Merck’s vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four strains of HPV, two of which cause genital warts, Nos. 6 and 11. The other two, HPV 16 and 18, are cancer-causing viruses.

    Merck’s vaccine was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration, and recommended in June for females ages 9 to 26 by the Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

    Glaxo has stated publicly that its vaccine, Cervarix, which protects against the two cancer-causing strains, should be on the market by 2008.

    As the director of an international clinical trial for these vaccines, and as author of lead articles about the vaccines’ effectiveness, Harper has been quoted widely as saying this vaccine could have enormous potential to eradicate the great majority of cervical cancers.

    Not tested on young girls

    Picking up on this, but before the trials were even completed, major news media and women’s advocacy groups began trumpeting the vaccine as an answer to cancer of the cervix.

    Once it was approved by the FDA and ACIP, Women In Government (WIG), a non-profit organization comprised of female state and federal legislators, began championing Merck’s vaccine in their home states, with many of the ladies introducing legislation that would mandate the vaccine for 11- and 12-year-olds.

    In Indiana, Sen. Connie Lawson, R-Danville, introduced such a bill in this year’s General Assembly, but in the face of strong opposition, it was reduced to an education/information-only bill that requires data collection on any Hoosier girls who do get the vaccine. The bill is now awaiting a hearing in the Indiana House.

    So far at least 26 states are reported to be considering some form of legislation requiring the new vaccine for younger girls. In February, Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry bypassed his legislature and mandated it for all 11- and 12-year-old girls in his state. Monday, The Associated Press reported that New Mexico’s governor, Democratic presidential contender Bill Richardson, is set to sign a bill requiring sixth grade girls in his state to get the vaccine.

    The idea is to inoculate them before they become sexually active, since HPV can be spread through sexual intercourse.

    But that idea, no matter how good the intentions behind it, is not the right thinking, Harper said. The zealousness to inoculate all these younger girls may very well backfire at the very time they need protection most, she said.

    “This vaccine should not be mandated for 11-year-old girls,” she reiterated. “It’s not been tested in little girls for efficacy. At 11, these girls don’t get cervical cancer – they won’t know for 25 years if they will get cervical cancer.

    “Also, the public needs to know that with vaccinated women and women who still get Pap smears (which test for abnormal cells that can lead to cancer), some of them will still get cervical cancer.”

    The reason, she said, is because the vaccine does not protect against all HPV viruses that cause cancer – it’s only effective against two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

    For months, Harper said, she’s been trying to convince major television and print media to listen to her and tell the facts about the usefulness and effectiveness of this vaccine.

    “But no one will print it,” she said.

    The rest of the story

    According to Harper, the facts about the HPV vaccine are:

    • It is not a cancer vaccine or cure. It is a prophylactic – preventative – vaccine for a virus that can cause cancer. “Merck has proven it has zero percent effectiveness for curing cancer,” Harper said. “But it is a very, very good vaccine that prevents types of HPV responsible for half of the high-grade cervical lesions that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. For the U.S. what that means is the vaccine will prevent about half of high-grade precursors of cancer but half will still occur, so hundreds of thousands of women who are vaccinated with Gardasil and get yearly Pap testing will still get a high-grade dysplasia (cell abnormality).”

    • It is not 100 percent effective against all HPVs. It is 100 percent effective against two types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.

    • The vaccine only works if the woman/girl does not have a current vaccine type related infection (in other words, the vaccine only works when the woman/girl does not have HPV 6, 11, 16 or 18 – the viruses that Gardasil targets when she receives her first vaccine shot).

    • The vaccine doesn’t care if the girl/woman has been sexually active, Harper said. “HPV is a skin-to-skin infection. Although the only way to get cervical dysplasia is through an HPV infection, and HPV is most often associated with sexual activity, HPV is not just spread through sex. We have multiple papers where that’s documented. We know that 3-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and women who have never had sex have been found to be positive for the cancer-causing HPV types.”

    • Therefore, for example, if a girl is positive for HPV 16 when she is inoculated with the vaccine at any age, she will not be protected against it later, Harper said. “That means it’s a failure and those people are at risk for getting the HPV 16 and 18 cancers later.”

    • The only way to test for the presence of HPV is through a vaginal swab – which is inappropriate for young girls, she said.

    • So what happens if the girls are vaccinated anyway, not knowing whether they were carrying the virus at the time of their inoculation? “They will not be protected if they were positive for the virus at the time they are vaccinated,” Harper said.

    • That is why it is important to note that the vaccine has not been tested for efficacy (effectiveness) in younger girls, she said. Instead, the effectiveness was “bridged” from the older girls to the younger ones – meaning that Merck assumed that because it proved effective in the older girls, it also would be effective in the younger ones. The actual tests on the younger girls, ages 9 to 15, were only for safety and immune response, Harper said, and then only as a shot by itself, or in combination with only one other vaccine, Hepatitis B. It has not been tested in conjunction with any other shots a girl receives at about age 11, Harper said.

    • So far more than 40 cases of Guillian-Barre syndrome – a dangerous immune disorder that causes tingling, numbness and even paralysis of the muscles have been reported in girls who have received the HPV vaccine in combination with the meningitis vaccine. Scientists already know that sometimes a vaccine can trigger the syndrome in a subject. “With the HPV vaccine, it is a small number but higher than is expected, and we don’t know if it’s the combination of the two, or the meningitis alone,” Harper said.

    • In the end, inoculating young girls may backfire because it will give them a false sense of protection. And, for both young girls and women, because the vaccine’s purpose has been so misinterpreted – and mis-marketed – Harper feels that too many girls and women who have had the vaccine will develop a false sense of security, believing they are immune to cancer when they are not, and failing to continue with their annual Pap exams, are crucial to diagnosing dysplasia before it can develop into cancer.

    Keep getting pap smears

    The message to consumers, Harper said, is don’t stop getting Pap smears just because you’ve gotten the HPV vaccine.

    “This vaccine is good, and it will save a huge number of lives around the world,” Harper said. “But an important point is that, if women get the vaccine and then not get their Pap smears, or decide to get them infrequently, what will happen in the U.S. is that we will have an increase in cervical cancer, because the Pap screening does a very good job.

    “That’s my main diatribe. We don’t need mandatory vaccinations for little girls. What we do need to ask, though, is how long does it last, and when do you need a booster?”

    Message for governors

    For the governors of the states in this country, Harper has another message. One has to do with the fact that vaccinating little girls now is not going to protect them later. Since it can take a decade or more to even manifest itself as dysplasia, the HPVs against which this vaccine works may infect a little girl at the age she needs the vaccine most – meaning she will have to have a booster at the right point in time or she will not be protected. And, remember, it won’t work at all if she was positive for the virus when she was inoculated in the first place.

    Merck knows this, Harper said. “To mandate now is simply to Merck’s benefit, and only to Merck’s benefit,” she said.

    Merck was required to put together a database on the efficacy in children before Gardasil was approved, Harper said. But instead, the company put together four study sites that “are not necessarily representative, and may not even have enough numbers to determine what they need to know.”

    Since she doesn’t personally have access to the money Merck and GlaxoSmithKline pay for her HPV vaccine research, Harper doesn’t know exactly how much either has paid Dartmouth for her work.

    The trials are expensive, between $4,000 and $5,000 for each patient, she said. With over 100 patients in her study, some big bucks could be in the balance, should Merck or Glaxo become upset with her for making these comments.

    Why, then, would she risk speaking out like this – at a time when her words very well could influence legislation across the country, and prompt legislators to drop the mandates? Isn’t she afraid of losing her funding?

    “I want to be able to sleep with myself when I go to bed at night,” Harper said. “My concern is still, let’s get women’s health better. It is still a good vaccine. But let’s be honest. Don’t over-promise.”

  121. Hawise

    Science is only as patriarchal as the people who use/abuse it.

    Fanny packs leave your hands free for more useful purposes.

    I like the Pink Panther walk when I am feeling moody in public places; sometimes the AW bear walk.

    Bird, I’m thinking of cross stitching it to something ;)

  122. Pony

    Here’s the pull quote I would have used:

    “For months, Harper (the scientist who developed the HPV vaccine) said, she’s been trying to convince major television and print media to listen to her and tell the facts about the usefulness and effectiveness of this vaccine.

    “But no one will print it,” she said.”

  123. Joanna

    According to the “Nerd? Geek? or Dork? test, I am a
    Pure Nerd
    86 % Nerd, 26% Geek, 8% Dork
    For The Record:

  124. Bird

    Hawise: I swear, you need to put that line on a t-shirt or something.

  125. lawbitch

    Twisty did the butt walk at NeedlessMarkup and I missed it??? I miss everything! *pout*

    “Not only is there life outside the box but there is legroom.”

    Now there’s a quotable thought.

  126. Hawise

    Bird- you are free to put that line on anything you wish- blanket permission. The last t-shirt I did was “Whatte am ich, liver y-chopped?” which I stole (with permission) from Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog (really funny if you like reading Middle English). You can get iron transfers for both light and dark t-shirts. Customize to your heart’s content, that is what living outside the box is for.

  127. J

    “Science isn’t more patriarchal; the Science Industrial Complex is.”

    I don’t know about this one, Twisty. I see science as, popularly at least, believing in itself in the very exact same way as patriarchy. Of course, if you’re talking about science as a method and not a form of knowledge, then that’s something different.

    The third essay of Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals, “What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals?,” raises valuable questions about what is at stake in any claim to truth. I think most crucial one regards the very value of truth itself. If science believes in itself only insofar as it believes in its truth, than you have a system that categorically refuses falsification, which is by no accident ironic considering Popper’s arguments about falsification. I see patriarchy (ideology in any guise) as having the same function. It is a system of ideas that exists for its own sake, as an ends in itself, rather than as a means to all sorts of ends.

  128. Pony

    I couldn’t agree with you more J. And I imagine, by now, the scientist in the story I posted upthread would agree with us.

  129. miscellanneous

    My lateness to the party is the sign of my geeky social (in)abilities. I am delighted there are so many of you out there, as long as we never have to meet across a table (unless it’s over tacos).

  130. Nymphalidae

    I look at bugs through microscopes too! In fact, I currently have 189 families of insects in my collection.

  131. smmo

    ” ‘Science isn’t more patriarchal; the Science Industrial Complex is.’

    I don’t know about this one, Twisty. I see science as, popularly at least, believing in itself in the very exact same way as patriarchy. ”

    True true, J., but the same could really be said for the truth and beauty crowd too. I say that as a member of The Truth and Beauty crowd, and as someone who once got in a screaming argument at a party when this person said liberal arts was for dummies. Clearly this person had never read Milton. Clearly we were all drunk.

    But if it comes down to a science vs. religion fight, I’m with you scientists.

  132. lawbitch

    On the issue of credibility, I believe the scientists instead of the politicians–except for the scientists purchased by corporations.

  133. No Sharp Edges

    But science requires evidence, generally in the form of replicable experimentation (i.e., the scientific method), in order for something to be considered fact, and even then it’s usually labeled “theory” rather than fact, and must be reconsidered if substantial evidence to the contrary is found. I haven’t seen much of that in religion.

    Also, I don’t see where in that article Harper “speaks out against” the HPV vaccine. She certainly does speak out against the misrepresentation of its efficacy and purpose, but to me, that’s analogous to the difference between science and the Science-Industrial Complex, as stated by TF above. (I figure she’ll let me know if I’m wrong about that.)

  134. mearl

    Argh….I ain’t got no credentials. I’m not into anime or science or Star Trek but I’ve got ADD and I like to climb trees and pretend I’m a sea lion, can I join the geek thread?

  135. nabil

    you sound hot.

    btw, i recommend the anthologies of tiptree award-winning science fiction, given for work that most expands & explores gender

    xxxooo

    nabil

  136. thebewilderness

    Happy Pi Day.

  137. Older

    Oh, Twisty! we’re all geeks here. You so hafta visit us when you pass through Oregon. Cause we want to hug you, and we’ll never get to Texas. You sound just like us, only, of course, different.

  138. Silence

    Hello, RadFemHedonist. I salute my fellow anime-watcher. Now, if only we can convert some of the people here. Anime is, after all, a disease that should be spread about. I’ve converted my mother to watching it. By the by, there is a feminist anime that I recommend called Revolutionary Girl Utena. It’s thirty-nine episodes long, so make sure you have the time if you want to dive into it.

    I’ve already mentioned on another thread that I don’t like the words nerd and geek. I still don’t. I don’t like the way they sound. I don’t like the fact that they are, in essence, pejorative, and I don’t like that they are in some ways an attempt by society at large to shove you back into the box by giving you a convenient label.

    But I know everyone here means the words with affection and respect, so what the hell; I’ll allow them. In those terms, yes, I am a full-blown nerd and geek. I make dolls of characters from movies, books and anime for a living — how geeky is that? I just spent three days making a Buckbeak from the Harry Potter books. Turned out pretty awesome too. I think I might win the prize, except, alas, eleven years of martial arts training has given me a sense of coordination. You should see the looks you get when you suddenly decide to do tai chi in public, however.

  139. MzNicky

    Pony: Thank you for posting this story and its link. I’ve got into more than a few discussions with people over whether Merk, et al. are too aggressively pursuing mandatory inoculations, or whether reluctance to vaccinate girls is due to godbaggery (i.e., not wanting to give young women “permission” to be “promiscuous”; apparently, goes the argument, having been freed from the fear of acquiring cervical cancer by having sex, the entirety of America’s female youth would subsequently run amok, and we can’t have that praise Jeezus, or some such crappola).

    I compile and edit an online daily news digest for a national professional journalism organization. This story will be today’s lineup.

  140. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Standing with myself, claiming and reclaiming my right to be whomever I am – it’s a lifetime of work. Might as well have fun doing it, eh?

    Artemis — yea, verily! If it’s not fun, I don’t see much point to it.

  141. Tigs

    The problem of science might be well understood through Adorno & Horkheimer, i.e. the goals of science need to be redeemed at its inception because the project of science was tainted from the start.
    Modern method is clearly a very specific claim to truth, and one that is constructed pretty well for finding some important things out. However, it is equally good at isolating that knowledge and making it the property of specific elites (white, rich patriarchs), and therefore ready to be used as those elites deem appropriate. I think it is an important feminist question to figure out how can the laudable goals of science be redeemed while at the same time destroying the patriarchal structures that provide the foundation for modern science.

    Also, I really need to do some extraneous blaming:
    Has anyone seen the show “Surviving Motherhood” on TLC? The intro was great! It is a show modeled on women’s consciousness raising groups! But so very depressing, the only woman who raises any sort of feminist critique is the emotionally wild one who is destroying her children’s perception of their father. Also, at one point in the episode I watched she blames feminism for not succeeding and thereby making women as bound as they ever were because now women HAVE to get a job. The other women are just normal bougie women who are concerned about daycare and sex and don’t even think to critique their authoritarian husbands who want them to stay home with the kids.
    This is the exemplar of feminist reification. Looks like feminism, sounds like feminism, actively reproduces patriarchy.

  142. saltyC

    Mearl,

    Sea Lions don’t climb trees.

    Just FYI.

  143. Bird

    saltyC: I’m glad I’m not the only one who read Mearl’s sentence that way! Then I got the giggles at the idea of a sea lion in a tree and almost spat my protein shake thingy all over someone’s manuscript.

    Mearl, if you like to climb trees and to pretend you are a sea lion, whether on separate occasions or as part of a joint sea lion–tree exercise, you’re nerdy enough for me.

    Now I know I’m really a nerd because I’m wondering if my n-dash will show up properly when I hit the blame button.

  144. Bird

    No, it didn’t work. Sigh. Please imagine an n-dash in place of the hyphen in sea lion-tree exercise. Or don’t. But I will.

  145. winna

    “We have multiple papers where that’s documented. We know that 3-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and women who have never had sex have been found to be positive for the cancer-causing HPV types.”

    Yeah, they used to think the same thing about syphilis. I’ve read documentation from Parlimentary investigative committees in the Edwardian era which consisted in large part of ‘these young children are catching syphilis from dirty sheets!’

    Child abuse is never mentioned.

  146. Barbara P

    Well, since the topic of anime came up, I’d really like to recommend “The Twelve Kingdoms”.

  147. octopod

    acm: Goddamn ditto. That’s it exactly. I explained the female experience of this to my boyfriend, who is basically me with slightly different life experiences, and it made him go “OHHhhhhh” ’cause he hadn’t known that pressure to conform was stronger on women. To be fair, it wouldn’t have occurred to me either until I specifically asked some guys how it had been for them and compared, after getting a tipoff from this blog that it was possibly the case.

  148. mearl

    Saltyc: In Canada they do!

  149. mearl

    Kiddin. Hee hee hee.

  150. Twisty

    “you sound hot”

    I am hot. At least some of the time. Menopause, you know. Whew. What did women do before there were coolers full of crushed ice next to their desks?

  151. J

    “I think it is an important feminist question to figure out how can the laudable goals of science be redeemed while at the same time destroying the patriarchal structures that provide the foundation for modern science.”

    What are the laudable goals of science? My point was that as fantasies about how the world, that exist to “prove” that there is, in fact, a way that the world really works, science and patriarchy one in the same– and there is no extract one from the other. The larger problem of both is not that they exist, but that they are not transparent, or we don’t see them that way, and we commit in our very every day activity atrocities (against others and ourselves) in the name of the truth upon which either system is based– though namely for the very sake of truth itself.

  152. hedonistic

    Shush, J !!! Do you want the terrorists to win?

  153. HenryHiggins

    You are one heck of a great writer, ’cause you’re one heck of an honest human being. No wonder the smart people come to listen to you. Go Twisty! You made my day today, not gonna say why, but you probably changed my life. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m an out-and-out patriarchalist, and you didn’t change that. But when you line me up with the others, I’ll feel nothing but dying admiration for you. You’ve got enough fans already, but you just got one more.

  154. hedonistic

    Oh, forgot to add: Snark!

  155. Twisty

    You guys are overthinking this. If a thing enbiggens the human spirit, call it art or science or LSD or whatever you want, it’s OK by me (a human). Do not ask me to define “human spirit” either; you know what I mean. Patriarchy, I suppose I need not mention, ensmallens the human spirit.

    The infinite cosmos, of course, is entirely indifferent to either the enbiggening or the ensmallening of the human spirit.

  156. Bird

    Mearl: Not in my part of Canada, but then I live in Redneckia, also known as Alberta. Sorry ’bout that whole Stephen Harper thing, by the way.

  157. Pony

    MzNicky

    Ok I;ve just had my pupils dilated so it’ s going to be worse than the usual bad: but there are other store=ies I’ve posted on this topic at Women’s Space, Sparkle Matrix is featuring it today, and I do something similar to what you do.

    May I e-kail you?

  158. Pony

    **Blamers please please read my post up thread with the courageous HPV vaccine “whistleblower” telling the TRUTH about this vaccine, which she has been thwarted in telling until this newspaper took it on.

    POny

    Mz Nicky

    Here’s another story on the HPV vaccine. I note it’s a surprise to one and all (duh) that the HP virus is more prevalent in men.

    Study’s surprising finding: HPV seems to be more prevalent in men
    By Sherri Ackerman
    MEDIA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE
    Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    TAMPA – HPV in women is in the national spotlight, with a new vaccine for girls touted to prevent cervical cancer from the virus.

    But inside H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, scientists are uncovering other links to HPV that pose health threats for men.

    When Himan Joshi, 19, a freshman at the University of South Florida, agreed to participate in a Moffitt study on the human papillomavirus, he never thought about what it would mean for him to have HPV.

    “I know it occurs in women,” Joshi said, two months after learning that he tested negative.

    Certain strains of HPV put men at risk for developing penile and anal cancers, said Anna Giuliano, a Moffitt scientist who has studied the virus for nearly 20 years.

    Giuliano is leading three studies on HPV – the first, a vaccine trial for men that started in 2004 examining 1,000 men each in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

    Another, called the HIM study, looks at the rate of infection and offers surprising preliminary findings: HPV appears to be more prevalent in men.

    “We don’t know what is feeding into this high prevalence,” Giuliano said.

    So far, her research has shown that men 18 to 19 have the lowest rate of infection – “They tend to chase partners two to three years younger,” Giuliano said. Men 30 to 34 have the highest rate.

    Her third study, which just started, will focus on the rate of transmission between heterosexual couples. She wants to try and determine if the rate of transmission differs from men to women, and women to men. This could help officials determine the cost effectiveness of vaccinating males.

    A report published last Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a 26.8 percent prevalence of HPV in women.

    Giuliano’s preliminary research on men shows a prevalence rate of 59.4 percent. “It’s twice as high for men than women,” she said.

    So why do we care?

    “That number is really important in determining a cost-effective analysis for vaccine use worldwide,” Giuliano said. “What are the best strategies? Should men be included in the vaccine?”

    Her studies on men are among four taking place worldwide – Hawaii and Seattle are looking at college-age men; Denmark is conducting a study similar to Moffitt’s.

    Currently, Merck & Co. has gotten the green light to offer Gardasil for girls 11 and 12 years old – typically before they are sexually active. There is also a push to offer the vaccine for boys.

    About 9,600 women develop cervical cancer each year, Giuliano said. There are about 10,000 cases a year of HPV-related cancer for men.

    {the rest is public relations crap and contradicted by the lead researcher in article in my previous post.}

    http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/
    Satellite?pagename=Common/MGArticle/
    PrintVersion&c=MGArticle&cid=1149193540437

  159. RadFemHedonist

    I’m a science supporter, I fail to see anything problematic except when people commit the naturalistic fallacy, does the “we can do without this body part let us remove it from children” bullshit that is violative of bodily integrity rights (and the general invasive medicine thing – I’m still reeling from learning of the husband stitch), starts with the evo-psych crap or builds weapons.

    As for the anime thing I own and love Utena, though I dislike the Freudianism and angst, if they’d all go off and masturbate (I give that advice to everyone, yes, but that’s because it’s good advice) they would have dropped about half the story, the other half would still be an interesting TV series, also get rid of that sin rubbish. It’s a pretty fantastic story though, I love the theatrics (if you made Muse’s music into TV it would be like this) and the art design (it’s the best art deco since BTAS). It is a favourite of mine (my ultimate favourite being Cowboy Bebop, if could hack like Ed I’d put a super ultra special sexy awesome – note this is a reference to something silly and amusing on the internet, I couldn’t give a crap about any of those things – smiley here ala the ones featured in the series)

    I also own all of the Twelve Kingdoms and have watched the second half (the US company I ordered it from had a mix-up and I figured I’d get the same idea of whether I liked it enough to buy the other half as if I’d got the first half first), it’s very good and the world building is satisfying, I thought I’d throw up when someone said they’d have extra children for a friend though. As I said good, nice animation too.

    Oh, my other more-feminist-than-is-generally-seen anime nomination would be Kiki’s Delivery Service, let down only by Kiki’s lack of hedonism (doesn’t read, doesn’t seem to get much enjoyment out of eating, doesn’t have much awareness of her own body) honestly the witch thing lets the whole film down by distracting from the real joys of day-to-day life. It’s still great though.

  160. Twisty

    As nice as it is to hear about cancer-causing viruses and anime, perhaps someone could enlighten me as to how they relate to the theme of the post? Which theme may be summarized as “Social Skills Are Tools of the Patriarchy”?

  161. hedonistic

    Perhaps it’s to prove your point? Dorks lack social skillz? Blogular Rules of Etiquette are Tools of the Patriarchy, so why stay on topic?

    Kidding, kidding.

  162. Pony

    Happy to oblige Twisty. This is a geek who went on to be the leader researcher in the development of Gardasil. This is an example of how FEMALE geeks are treated, even when they

    1. own their own research lab

    2. develope what the rest of science geekdom hails as the next coming

    3. speaks out against it ie) whistleblower INTEGRITY that I happen to think science needs a lot more of, and which I also happen to think is why we should encourage more GEEK FEMALES.

    Ok?

  163. Pony

    NO one in the media would listen to this woman because MERCK fucking owns them. She persisted to tell us this vaccine is NOT SAFE FOR LITTLE GIRLS.

    Merck will now likely drop all funding for her lab.

    So she’s going to be ignored here too? I think she should be canonized.

  164. J

    “If a thing enbiggens the human spirit, call it art or science or LSD or whatever you want, it’s OK by me (a human). Do not ask me to define ‘human spirit’ either; you know what I mean”

    I really don’t think you can let yourself off the hook so easily. Of course you have to define, or at least elaborate, what you mean by “human spirit.” As I see it, part of what gives rise to patriarchy, part of what makes it possible at any rate, is this belief that something about us is really the same– i.e. in its various forms sometimes called “the human spirit.” This sense of the human spirit, I imagine, is genuine, but not because its human as much as it is spirit.

    I think patriarchy functions on the logic that there can be some thing or things that really are good and happy for everyone. When they aren’t, patriarchy either covers it up, adjusts itself, or flat-out destroys all dissenters. As I’ve seen it, it starts with the first step, rarely considers the second, and often goes straight to the third. This is not just to say that a dissenter is a person, but a thought that embodies the realization that things actually don’t work, that there is some inconsistancy to our experience.

    In its history, then, have arisen a “plague of fantasies,” to borrow from the title of a Slavoj Zizek book. Among these fantasies, or illusions as Nietzsche has called them, is science as much as religion. The specific illusoriness of science is that it functions largely under the assumption that what it yields is truth. This corresponds to the notion of a human spirit, in that what science assumes in order to make it true is that universalizing function of its truth.

    In that way, I don’t think it helps to think of things in terms of some human spirity. That follows the same life-denying logic of morality. The more ethical, self-consistent way to think of what enbiggens us or ensmallens us is to reject the notion that what really and truly makes someone else happy and free is what will or could make you really and truly happy and free. Saying that science or art (which I think is a category or thing of an ENTIRELY different sort) or family or the nation is good because it enbiggens the human spirit doesn’t get away from the fact that patriarchy ensmallens the individual spirit because it is arguing the same thing.

  165. Twisty

    Lighten up, Pony. You’ve submitted, in their entirety, two articles that have nothing to do with the post. Efforts to subvert the mainstream media are always appreciated, so the articles will stay, but I remind all and sundry that, regardless of an unrelated topic’s objective blamatorial merit, this is my personal blog, not a message board.

  166. Twisty

    J: OK, fine, but you know this already: the human spirit is that set of chemical reactions in the brain (or wherever; I’m no physiologist) that, when enbiggened by such stimuli as speaking out against oppression, or watching ants carry stuff into holes in the ground, or coming up with a catchy hook for a pop song, produces a profound sense of not wanting to shoot oneself in the head with a revolver.

  167. Pony

    She’s a geek.

  168. Pony

    Bang.

  169. Bird

    Twisty, that’s about the best description of happy that I’ve ever read.

  170. RadFemHedonist

    Sorry for the OTT stuff, I agree with you that conformity to arbitrary social convention stinks, but can’t think of much to say other than “don’t conform to said conventions if you’d rather do something else.” Does anyone here have anywhere they discuss anime related stuff? I’d love to discuss it with feminists.

    Once again, sorry Twisty, your post was brilliant (they always are) and I’d like to be able to contribute more to this discussion.

  171. Midgetqueen

    *cheers*

    I love geeks absolutely and irrevocably, and I loved you anyway for being snappy and hilarious and brilliant, and now I love you even more for geeking out. Bring on the D&D, sci-fi movies and uninhibited social ineptitude!

    Damn, I’m grinning so hard now. Thanks.

  172. medrecgal

    Been reading your blog for several months now, and I have to say, this post about geekiness really struck a chord for me! I was the kid all the way through school who was known as “that weirdo who knows all sorts of strange medical stuff”. I loved my microscope, had some interesting times with chemistry sets, and Gray’s Anatomy was one of the many textbooks I read for “fun” when not studying for school. (I was reading texts intended for physicians when I was all of 8 years old.) Teachers liked me, peers didn’t (for the most part)…but if they ever needed help with their biology homework or their health class assignments, I was the first one they asked.

    But…they thought that I, as a young girl who wanted nothing more than to become some kind of surgeon, was totally weird, strange, socially inept, and someone to stay clear of unless I could help with the homework. At least in college my “geekiness” was appreciated by most of my fellow students. I wound up in a medical records curriculum, and the profs from courses in Anatomy & Physiology didn’t know what to make of my vast span of knowledge. I guess I’d be classified as a “medical geek”.

    Your comments about enjoying British comedies also hit home…I discovered Monty Python while in college & have since acquired a few of the movies. Watching them beats the heck out of trying to fit into social situations where I obviously don’t belong. I would also describe myself as “unencumbered by social skills”; I never understood (and still don’t) much of the inanity the comprises the “rules” of patriarchy…which is why I love your blog!

  173. J

    “the human spirit is that set of chemical reactions in the brain (or wherever; I’m no physiologist) that, when enbiggened by such stimuli [...] produces a profound sense of not wanting to shoot oneself in the head with a revolver.”

    I would want to latch onto that “profound sense” aspect, because the way, most everyone not only wants to but actually does shoot themselves with a revolver. By this I mean in all imaginable senses, but most frequently and especially in the spiritual sense. When we follow social customs BECAUSE they are social customs, whether they restrict or encourage our behavior, we shoot ourselves in the head. This is first and last venom of patriarchy, because NO ONE who drinks it is immune.

    The problem we, who are not totally in the dark, face is distinguishing between what pretends to be profound and what actually is, and drop bricks on the former whenever we can. You call it blaming; I see it as the only ethical way of life today.

  174. ceezee

    I hope I’m not too late to ask this, as this thread has somewhat cooled and the comment was posted about a page and a half ago, but I had a question on the concept of women’s laughter and orgasms being threatening to men.

    Don’t get me wrong, I get the theory: if women can get pleasure that men don’t give them, the patriarchy is threatened. (Right?) My question is: Who had what experience that led to anyone even noticing or identifying this phenomenon? How does the threatened patriarchy respond so that laughing women know they are being threatening somehow?

    That question was hard to phrase, so I hope it’s clear enough.

    Also, “Fuck attractiveness and the establishmentarian horse it rode in on” is my new personal motto. Danke.

  175. Hawise

    Ceezee- watch how fast a guy hits the remote if you laugh at a ‘they consider it’ inappropriate point in one of their shows. Suddenly that show is ‘stupid’ and why did ‘you’ ever want to watch it in the first place. Try laughing at an outfit that they seem to think that you would look good in and see how fast they walk off in a huff. Does anyone not get the Sally and Harry restaurant scene?
    These are fairly mild reactions on the scale of fitting into social customs and the reactions to non-conformity.

  176. Mar Iguana

    “Who had what experience that led to anyone even noticing or identifying this phenomenon? How does the threatened patriarchy respond so that laughing women know they are being threatening somehow?” ceezee

    One night, along about ’67-’68, something shifted. Before, if a bunch of us women were sitting at a table in a club out for a night of dancing and a boy walked up, all talk stopped and total attention was focused on him. After that night, he was ignored, conversation and laughter continued. They not only walked off in a huff, each and every one of them, in their own very small ways, became a member (pun intended) of The Backlash, which has brought us to the brink of annihilation..

    Women fear men will kill them. Men fear women will laugh at them. Mainly because deep down inside, each and every one of them know they are ridiculous poseurs in the brain-dead cult of masculinity. They fear women laughing amongst themselves because they may be ridiculing boys, horror of horrors, blowing their covers.

    I’ve found it especially effective to point while laughing. Heh.

  177. J

    “Who had what experience that led to anyone even noticing or identifying this phenomenon? How does the threatened patriarchy respond so that laughing women know they are being threatening somehow?”

    Often enough, by simply not laughing. I have experienced it myself, and am often enough aware of it to not let it fuel any actions. It is a kind of wall into which you walk, like your whole day was going great and then… this. You see other people happy, and for a reason that is beyond reason feel upset, disturbed.

    Honestly though, I don’t think it happens exclusively along a men-women line. Groups of ALL KINDS, men and women alike, I have noticed, will behave this way with percieved outsiders. This is part of why I am persuaded by Slavoj Zizek’s work with ideology, out of which comes this notion that ideology is a kind of pre-cognitive structuring agent for our experiences. This would explain why, despite the fact we for all we know, we know that other people laughing or being happy is not really because it is somehow at our expense, the disturbed feelings come from beyond reason. You know “they know exactly what they are doing, but they still do it.”

  178. blondie

    I’m such a nerd that, even though I abandoned math after high school, I not only know what x = in the above diagram, I know the name of the theorem by which you determine the answer. I also like Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit (the original version), but think the Wheel of Fortune is for losers.

    In terms of attractions in nerdville, a college friend and I decided that you know you mesh with someone when you are weird in the same way. E.g., she and her boyfriend liked the same goofy cooking show. Hubbie and I like to laugh more than just about anything. Plus, he thinks he’s smarter, but that’s only because he scored higher than me on an I.Q. test, which was totally invalid because it was given by the Church of Scientology in Hollywood, CA, which, by the way, did not try to convert either of us (hey!), and, yes, we are the sort of people who go to Hollywood Blvd. and end up taking I.Q. tests at the Church of Scientology on the corner. Besides, no one with any sense would actually believe in the scores of I.Q. tests proffered by the Church of Scientology in Hollywood, CA. So, he knows I’m smarter. He just refuses to admit it.

  179. Bird

    I had a boyfriend once who didn’t talk to me for about 24 hours after I laughed at the final facedown scene in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, one of his favourite movies. That scene just struck me as the ultimate in silly male posturing, and I got an uncontrollable fit of the giggles, and when I tried to explain it, he went away and pouted.

    It’s a rare man who can handle you laughing at his stuff. It’s an ever rarer one who can handle you laughing when he doesn’t get the joke or when he walks into the room and you and your best female friend are cackling like a pair of old hens (my best friend and I do this a lot) and he has no idea why.

  180. blondie

    I’m not really as arrogant as I come across (ha! as if), but if you can stand another me-ism — my husband’s family had the charming habit that when you come home at the end of the day, you should have a story, preferably funny, to share. This often results in the telling of stories that aren’t really stories at all. Sort of a downside. But as long as you share a story, in good faith (that means “no puns, unless they’re really good”), you are virtually guaranteed a laugh. There is, however, a quid pro quo element to the laughter. If you deny a laugh, one will be denied you. Quid pro quo.

  181. J

    “It’s a rare man who can handle you laughing at his stuff”

    True. I don’t think this is the most interesting laughing-situation we’ve been talking about though. I think there is a much more interesting dynamic when women or anyone is laughing with men or anyone else, and for the latter those same feelings of unease arise. I think it affects people as if you were stealing something from them.

  182. Mar Iguana

    J, which part of “Women fear men will kill them. Men fear women will laugh at them,” don’t you get?

  183. Bird

    For a refreshing moment of laughing at men, mine was practicing his concrete block break for taekwondo this morning with no clothes on, and I was laughing at the way his boy-parts were flopping about in the process. He had a good laugh too and promised to put some pants on for the promotion test.

    Every once in a while, they *can* laugh at themselves. It is rare, though. Most men would be livid if you laughed at them like that. And I bet he wouldn’t feel nearly so amused if I told that story to his guy friends.

  184. S-kat

    Geek me: Yesterday I went to see a SXSW free show. Sat alone at the bar, bopping to the music while reading my book, The Female Man.
    Thanks sci fi thread for the recommendation!

  185. J

    “J, which part of ‘Women fear men will kill them. Men fear women will laugh at them,’ don’t you get?”

    I get every bit of it. I think it is just as threatening that women laugh despite and not in spite of men. I think it is more often the case that women get flack from men/patriarchy for this seemingly innocuous act of enjoyment, because in the eyes of the patriarchy it is about as perverse as they come.

    I think that men have and will kill women because women show that they can enjoy themselves with apparently no regard to the ideological justifications that make up the enjoyment of men. In other words, when women demonstrate that they can be happy without patriarchy, they contradict the patriarchal assumption that patriarchy is the ONLY way to happiness. Thus contradicted, patriarchy does what any self-respecting ideology would do: cover up, fill in, explain away, or out-and-out destroy that which contradicts it.

  186. ceezee

    I think I’m following, and I understand that men get pissy when you laugh at things they enjoy. But I’m the same way. I feel like this is more of a “people in general thing” than a “man thing.” I’m not saying it’s not true, I just don’t feel like that’s all.

    I had a thought that I’d like to toss into the mix. I’ve been laughing a lot different since I started patriarchy blaming and saw myself as a human adult than some inferior or incomplete version of a man. The biggest difference is that I laugh a lot louder now. It makes me self-concious half of the time, because I feel like I’m making too much noise, and perhaps I should constrain myself to a nice lady-like giggle, and I was wondering if maybe that was part of the reason. A good solid oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-pee-myself laugh is Not Ladylike.

    Oh and: I’ve found it especially effective to point while laughing. I just had a nice patriarchy-threatening laugh in the cafe here.

  187. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Ceezee, loud and clear! I’ve been saying HAH! A lot. I’m too chicken to point, though. Someday, perhaps.

  188. Mar Iguana

    J, explain to me the difference between “despite” and “in spite of,” please. Seems to me your comments make differentiations that are as fine as frog hair and about as actual.

  189. Hawise

    Just laugh, start giggling, build to a chortle and next thing you know you have a nice cleansing guffaw going and you realize that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, you feel great. You reorganize all those nasty stress hormones and you clear your mind and exercise several major muscle groups. Plus if you time it right you confuse the beejeesus out of any number of total strangers.
    I usually avoid the pointing except at particularly egregious types but i like to do a little jig periodically ;)

  190. J

    Mar Iguana, after looking into it, I guess I have had an understanding of those two phrases not with the standard interpretation. So, I’m sorry if that produced confusion about what I meant. What I mean when I distinguish the two is that in one case, what I was saying is “despite,” laughing is not meant to be at the expense of anyone. In the other case, what I call “in spite,” which is actually a correct usage of the phrase, laughing is done with intent of affecting (negatively) someone else.

    What I am saying is that I see it more often the case that women get flack for simply enjoying themselves, when it is not necessarily at the expsense of anyone else, much less men. This is to say that, yes, women laugh at men and it is threatening to them, but this is not as common as women simply laughing, enjoying themselves, and this threatening the enjoyment of men.

  191. Mar Iguana

    Oh, I don’t know about that, J. Woman laugh their assess off at men. A lot. Even women who wouldn’t identify with feminism at all. What’s a woman to do when constantly being fed straight lines by pontificating, inflated egos on the hoof?

    Can’t count how many times a boss cock has struted through an office (or wherever) and cockadoodled forth then, as soon as he leaves, the women all look at each other and just bust up. It’s critical medicine when you have no other recourse, no power over your situation.

    Women’s laughter is annoying to the boys because they have to go to all that trouble of doing the mental check whenever they hear it to determine if they’re the butt of the joke. Women know how dangerous their ridicule of a boy can be so, much of it goes on right under the boys’ noses and they miss the postures, the looks, the tone of voice of a woman laughing at them. But, the other women in the vicinity get it.

    I don’t think you do get the ramifications of boys fearing women’s laughter as much as women fear boys’ murderous violence. Doesn’t really equate, does it? Now, you tell me who’s the delusional half of the human race.

  192. MzNicky

    A little late, but had to include the following link. The story’s about a 17-year-old girl who recently won a $100,000 science-fair prize.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17611465/

    Glad I didn’t mention upthread that I won a 2nd-place prize in the 8th grade science fair for my “development of the chicken in the egg” project. I even had four chicks that hatched. They were so cute.

    Norbizness: Eat it. As will I. Not the chickens, I’m vegetarian.

  193. J

    “Women’s laughter is annoying to the boys because they have to go to all that trouble of doing the mental check whenever they hear it to determine if they’re the butt of the joke. “

    Yes. Women do laugh at men, and yes this is threatening. I’m interested in why exactly. At any rate, what seems to go on more of the time, is that men get upset with women just for laughing, not because they think they’re being laughed at.

    What you have to consider is that if men generally don’t value women as human beings, men don’t give a shit why women are laughing. If it is clear that women are enjoying themselves within and according to the confines of patriarchy, then it doesn’t matter; that justifies it no matter what it is. What is more threatening is when women seem to be enjoying themselves outside of Patriarchy. Even then, it’s not the content of this enjoyment that matters. What matters is that women (at least seem to) demonstrate a route to enjoyment that undermines the fundamental assumption of patriarchal enjoyment: that patriarchal enjoyment is all there is. This women’s enjoyment doesn’t have to, in its content, have anything to do with male enjoyment. It is the very fact that there is an other kind of enjoyment that is disturbing.

  194. Twisty

    Let’s say Random Average Dude is sauntering along and some women are laughing. He’s not going to think “fuck those bitches for enjoying themselves outside of patriarchy.” One or more of the following three contingencies will obtain:

    1. He will size them up to assess their degree of conformity to the beauty standard.
    2. If they are old or ugly or otherwise unfuckable, he will continue along as before, because such women are beneath his notice.
    3. If they are hotties, or he perceives them otherwise to have higher social status than he does, he will assume they are laughing at him.

  195. jami

    laughing females must be punished. when i was riding public transit last month, a couple of very made-up teenage girls got on and sat near me. they were having a grand, giggly time, and the make-up was doing the trick, as every man looked twice. surroundings assessed, i returned my attention to my geeky podcast.

    then a young man with eyes cast down and shoulders hunched boarded the streetcar, and sat with great intensity directly in front of the girls, who continued chatting and laughing. this might go badly, i thought, and returned to my geeky podcast.

    “fucking whores!” jolted me back to reality, while mr. intensity stormed to the other end of the streetcar. for all i know, they were talking shit about him or discussing the tricks they’d turned at the shopping mall. but from the shocked looks on their little young faces, i think they weren’t. i shook my head and smiled ruefully and tried to non-verbally communicate their blamelessness. in retrospect, i wish i’d been crystal clear by twirling my finger around my ear and pointing to indicate his insanity.

  196. Pony

    He probably was mentally ill. Not to discredit your concern. Public transit is pretty much the only way for the great unwashed to get around. It always was that, much more than just the cool environmental option. Recently saw two dumpster divers on a bus each with six ultra large garbage bags stuffed with empties. Reeked to high heaven, them and their cargo. They are allowed, in fact, the city gives them free passes. They and their bottles are allowed, just like anyone is with groceries or babies in strollers or urban commuters with bikes.

  197. J

    “Let’s say Random Average Dude is sauntering along and some women are laughing. He’s not going to think ‘fuck those bitches for enjoying themselves outside of patriarchy.’

    Oh, I am sure he will, or at any rate it will upset him. What he then does to deal with how upset this makes him feel, whether he is really conscious if it or not, is one of your following three situations:

    “1. He will size them up to assess their degree of conformity to the beauty standard.
    2. If they are old or ugly or otherwise unfuckable, he will continue along as before, because such women are beneath his notice.
    3. If they are hotties, or he perceives them otherwise to have higher social status than he does, he will assume they are laughing at him.”

    He does this to cover up the truth of his conscious or unconscious distress, which is that these women are subjects like him, real human-frickin’-beings, and their apparent enjoyment (outside of patriarchy) undermines the possibility of his (patriarchal) enjoyment, since his enjoyment is predicated on a principle of (impossible) absolute domination and control. I might add that in the case of situation 3, especially in other times and places, this felt social status is not of the women, who has no social status like men, but of whatever man assumed in control of her. When this couldn’t be assumed, I am sure that violence would be an acceptable reaction as well.

    Different people for different reasons will have different ways of covering up the distress they feel when their ideological enjoyment is threatened by its own impossibility being made obvious in the enjoyment of another. What remains consistent is that what threatens people is not a paticular content of alien enjoyment, much less if we think we’re it, but the enjoyment itself, because that enjoyment is supported by a fantasy of domination and control.

  198. Inverarity

    “Let’s say Random Average Dude is sauntering along and some women are laughing. He’s not going to think ‘fuck those bitches for enjoying themselves outside of patriarchy.’

    Oh, I am sure he will, or at any rate it will upset him. What he then does to deal with how upset this makes him feel, whether he is really conscious if it or not, is one of your following three situations:

    I think Twisty’s interpretation was more accurate. Unconsciously or consciously, most of us (men) aren’t actively and continuously engaged in woman-hating and fear of women enjoying themselves outside of patriarchy. We are conditioned, as women are, to enforce patriarchal expectations, which means yes, women laughing generates uneasiness and a suspicion that they are laughing at us. But the uneasiness is because it strikes at our insecurities (rooted in all those patriarchal norms), not because most of us are malevolent despisers of women who dare to laugh.

    I guess that’s not really so different from your thesis; I just think you’re proposing a higher level of awareness and malice on the part of men than is generally true.

  199. Twisty

    What I’m sayin is, nobody thinks anybody’s doing anything “outside of patriarchy,” because it is not recognized that anything outside of patriarchy even exists.

  200. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    If Patriarchy is all about heirarchies and status, then the daily struggles of Average Dude involve:

    a) identifying his place in the pecking order
    b) doing what he can to bringing himself “up” a few notches
    c) avoiding those things that bring him “down”
    d) putting other men “down” in order to bring himself “up”

    For the first time in ages I’m sitting here all smug, pleased that I was not born a man! What a DRAG!!! Can you imagine what life would be if your status defined your womanliness? EW! We’re womanly just by walking out the damn door!

    Women aren’t allowed to play this game. Women are tools: We telegraph men’s status, we prop it up, we raise it, and/or we bring it down. Consequently it’s entirely possible that even unfuckable woman have the power to bring men down with their laughter, because the point is not necessarily to fuck all women (watch an insecure man lose his shit over being ignored by an unfuckable server in a restaruant), but to use them to influence his status.

    Imagine a Cailleach-Beare hag pointing her gnarly finger and laughing hysterically at a bunch of young upstart dudes enjoing their martini lunches on a sunny afternoon. Actually I kind of like the visual: The guys are freaking out.

  201. J

    “I guess that’s not really so different from your thesis; I just think you’re proposing a higher level of awareness and malice on the part of men than is generally true.”

    You’re right, I’m not. The uneasiness is not (necessarily) an explicit kind of cognitive dissonace, as much as one that occurs in what Freud identified as the unconscious. It rests on this notion that ideology is not something that clouds our otherwise clear view of things, but that makes any particular view possible in the first place. In this sense, no one really, like you suggest, takes the truth of their dis-ease so seriously that they think of it in explicit terms. Rather, they experience a nontheless disturbing feeling that compels them to act in any of those ways Twisty or I have mentioned.

    It is kind of hard to lay out that distinction, because it is a purely topological explanation. With the kind of lived experience I thought we were talking about, that distinction is there but not visable in the way that feeling like women are laughing at you.

  202. J

    “What I’m sayin is, nobody thinks anybody’s doing anything “outside of patriarchy,” because it is not recognized that anything outside of patriarchy even exists”

    Precisely. What is recognized, what is felt is the giant hole in patriarchy that non-patriarchal enjoyment represents. Accepting that hole would mean absolutely accepting that patriarchy is inconsistent and not the everything we’re brought to feel it is. That “everything we feel it is” bit is also part of, if not simply how (all of our) enjoyment is constituted in patriarchy, which means that giving up the “everything” means giving up enjoyment (as we know it) as well. This is the perceived threat, I argue, that prompts men and women to lash out in the name of patriarchy against men and women who in one way or another make it– in this case by enjoying themselves in a way not consistuted by patriarchy.

  203. thebewilderness

    J,
    I think you are talking about the resentment men express when women do not stop whatever they are doing and pay men the attention they consider their due. Women who continue to laugh ant talk among themselves are offensive to men because they are either laughing at, or ignoring the men. Neither of these behaviors are acceptable within the patriarchial matrix.

  204. phio gistic

    I saw the story MzNicky mentioned about the high schooler that won the big prize. I saw it on slashdot, so it took about 6 posts before some guy had expressed the desire to date her, another posted her picture and said she wasn’t hot enough, and three more chimed in to say she couldn’t possibly have done the research herself. I don’t know why I used to think geek males were any better than any other kind. Some are mostly harmless, some are not.
    http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/16/1429209

  205. Mandos

    Slashdot is bad for your brain.

  206. Inverarity

    Like someone else pointed out, geeks tend to be “beta” males, which means they are very likely to resent women because of their lack of success in attracting them. Lack of female attention generates bitterness. Sometimes intense bitterness. Not universally true, of course, but on Slashdot you’re seeing what happens when the worst of the breed doesn’t have to wear their masks.

  207. phio gistic

    When’s the male development going to get out of “beta” and into a stable version? That’s what I want to know.

  208. tigtog

    Way Upthread:

    Does anyone here have anywhere they discuss anime related stuff? I’d love to discuss it with feminists.

    I think you might find some crossover at these two, and definitely some other bloggers there will be into anime:

    Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) (everyone should read the feminism FAQ for fanbois there anyway)

    Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction & Fantasy Fans

    I only lurk at both, because I already procrastinate too much at blogs!

  209. Bird

    phio gistic: My monitor does not like ginger tea very much. Thanks for the laugh!

  210. wordnerd44

    Why, it’s even in my name!

  211. Scratchy888

    How does the threatened patriarchy respond so that laughing women know they are being threatening somehow?

    The patriarchy responds by persecution, but without stating why it is persecuting. It responds with victimisation of the laughers, in such as way that those victimised for laughing are forced to do a total conscience examination in order to attempt to figure out how and where they went wrong in their overall social conduct. Finally, despite relentless self-examination, the victim is likely to come up empty handed, having concluded that there was nothing logically wrong with her behaviour. Alas, this is the most unfortunate conclusion for the victim, since, not having any clear idea on how she infringed upon proper social values to the degree of warranting the punishment that was dealt out to her, AND not wanting to err in such a way as to invite another dolting out of the same punishment, she is likely to curtail her behaviour in total.

  212. RadFemHedonist

    Thanks for the links everyone.

  213. subgrrl8

    Another high school untouchable here.

    My particular quirks include: Punctuating statements with song (I have a verse for every occasion!); knowing way too much about art history and having a head for trivia (I like Trivial Pursuit!); a propensity for extremely short hair (since elementary school); a love of languages (I know 3 foreign ones!); pattern seeking; and a propensity for spouting random clay recipes.

    I also happen to: Dance whenever and whereever I feel like; sing to myself when out in public; drive with a racer flare; wear clothing considered “too tight” by members of the patriarchy (That girl in the low riders and tank top with her belly rolls showing? That’s me!); happen to speak my mind; watch an amazing amount of movies (I’m a film nerd too).

    Let it stand that I not only heartily approve of all the weirdnesses and differences of my friends and colleagues, I actively disapprove of conformity and consumerism! Go weird. We should have our own cheer squad. Srsly.

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