On Geek Privilege

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On Geek Privilege

If I were to start a conversation about "Geek Privilege" the first thing I'd probably want to address is my own growing discomfort with unironically claiming the privilege of using words like "culture" or "community" to draw some kind of parallel between the nerd/fandom pop-ephemera and actual marginalized groups.

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Good piece! I always likeyour pragmatic look on some of these issues.

I also recognize this myself, as in that today's gay culture is indeed gay men culture. Especially in media, an incredible amount of tv shows and movies these days have (I don't wanna say 'token' but it wouldn't be far off) gay men doing gay stuff. Gay women are almost nonexistent and if they do exist they're only there to make out with the girl lead for ratings grabs in sweeps weeks. Or they get pregnant with their best guy friend. It's getting better, but still. Like you said, no 'community' is free of privilige.

Consider and examine our privileges...easy enough. Good advice.

Excellent Article Bob, though I was half expecting you to end with "With great power comes great responsibility." :P

Are people who like Star Trek or superheroes, being oppressed by today's society? No.

Are extremely introverted people with an obsessive degree of niche interests being oppressed by today's society? Well, their life definitely didn't become a cakewalk the moment geek chic came into fashion.

Is it as bad as oppression of homosexuals? From an outside perspective, no. But then again, if you are the kind of obsessive geek whose life entirely revolves around arranging My Little Pony episode in order of quality, or replicated Middle-Earth in Minecraft, while haven't gotten laid in the 25 years of your life so far, I can see why from YOUR PERSPECTIVE harrasment of nerdiness is a more visibe problem than harrasment of sexual identities.

Really now? There's a huge percentage of Geeks that harass and oppress, and not just anecdotal accounts occurring from time to time, but we have a huge percentage of us doing this?

You know, being a part of the "community" or "culture" since I was 5 years old I can't help but feel that such sentiment, including that we can handle not oppressing. Especially with priding intellect and moral self righteousness, I would very much prefer, that we not rely on anecdotal accounts of individuals being like that, as though it is a damned majority of what the "Geek Community/Culture" and especially you not speaking as though that's what we seem to be doing.

Because it's damned wrong.

Good piece.

Now I'm going to hunker down to watch those who miss the point of the piece cry with unironic rage that they are being targeted unfairly.

ultreos2:
Really now? There's a huge percentage of Geeks that harass and oppress, and not just anecdotal accounts occurring from time to time, but we have a huge percentage of us doing this?

You know, being a part of the "community" or "culture" since I was 5 years old I can't help but feel that such sentiment, including that we can handle not oppressing. Especially with priding intellect and moral self righteousness, I would very much prefer, that we not rely on anecdotal accounts of individuals being like that, as though it is a damned majority of what the "Geek Community/Culture" and especially you not speaking as though that's what we seem to be doing.

Because it's damned wrong.

It is problematic regardless of number and while he made an assumption that paints the majority of the community in a bad light, even a drop of poison can kill an elephant so even one bad person can spoil people's perception of the community.

OT. some background before I talk. I am an Autism spectrum asian in Carnegie mellon studying for materials and biomedical engineering double major. I am an anime fan that has been called a "weeb" (not without good reason at times) and also a man who loves transhumanisum and sci-fi (both soft and hard but i'v seen more soft)

I admit to being something similar to the type of person that Bob is talking about. I have always despited a good portions of sports calling them testosterone-fueled battle surrogates and considered it's proponents to be a meatheaded and ignorant of the world (wasn't helped by the fact that one of my school's football players and classmates was a crass man who seems to hold academics in contempt or disgust). While I do try to be respectful to women and others, I also have a disgust to those who hate science or do not care about poltics and the world: I find much of society to be dumb, ignorant, and apathetic.

I am getting a bit better and learning that most are just average people with average problems but I still have a predominant thought of "intelligence over all" . Perhaps it is for the best that we examine our status and behave as such.

To be fair, I never once understood the phrase "check your privilege", neither the kind of people its intended for (speaker and target both). Also, Bob, the deplorable behavior you described is not done by true nerds and geeks. They're done by douchebags. WORLD of difference.

Darth_Payn:
Also, Bob, the deplorable behavior you described is not done by true nerds and geeks. They're done by douchebags.

The two are not mutually exclusive. It's tempting to want to denounce the worst parts of a community/movement/whatever as "not true" members, but it's just not true all the time.

Believe me, I should know, I'm a feminist. I radically disagree with the minority who actually do have a problem with men and make the rest of us look bad, but no amount of me saying they're "not real feminists" will make that true.

There's an ugly side to pretty much every community.

By that notion that a drop of poison can kill an elephant, and your point is fair, Murder still happens, what because we haven't stopped it outright, we must tolerate it?

The fact that Oppression and acceptance into the geek and nerd culture is actually a ridiculously uncommon thing does not mean we don't do anything about it.

Think about this for a second. I disagree with Bob's point of view, some may disagree with mine, we still accept that we are all part of this geek and nerd culture. We aren't saying "You aren't in my group!"

This is not a group that oppresses or tries to keep people turned off from the idea, it happens extremely rarely, and when it does happen, and I've seen it first hand at conventions so don't go telling me it doesn't, many of us will all but lynch an offender that we view as having done wrong. We in fact do the opposite of tolerating that kind of crap.

Saying because we haven't stopped it entirely must mean we tolerate it, may as well be damning us eternally. Because circumstances of such occurrence will always take place. We can't stop it entirely, and we won't always see it/won't always stand up when we see it because not all have that courage to do so.

But many of us do.

If we want to talk about poison killing an elephant we can apply that to all of humanity. Quit damning one group because it fits a particular political agenda, when said culture has worked hard to go out of their way to not tolerate that shit.

Look at Bob. Look at his reputation. Does he tolerate it? Has he made efforts to stop it? Or is it because it still happens, he is still tolerant of it because he is in that group.

Much like the Gay community in the opening part of his post. The problem is a problem, yes, but our problem is at a point where we can almost say there will always be a few bad eggs, and we can't stop them all. We have been doing things about this, not just recently, but for decades.

Like I said, if you want to say one bad person can paint the entire community red, your part of the problem. You can say that about all of humanity, and all we can do is what we can, when we can, when it happens. No more no less.

We haven't managed to stop murder since time began, that doesn't mean we as human being are all murderers or tolerant of it. Nor can we always stop it. But we make efforts when and where we can. Which is what this community already does, and acting like we need to improve, when he offered not even a mention of how we improve it suggests we are already at the point where we are doing a lot already.

I can't remember the episode number or season now, but I remember the scene when Steve Urkel stopped being funny to me.

For reasons that I can't remember Steve and Laura had to spend the night together in a hotel with only one bed. Laura made a fuss about sleeping in the same bed as Steve and tried to get him to sleep in the bathtub. In the end Steve gave some speech about how he deserved respect and Laura decided that she'd sleep in the bathtub instead. Steve suggested that they share the bed but that Laura slept under the covers and that she slept over the covers.

It was at that point that I realized how beyond unrealistic the show was. Sure it was always over the top. No way the average father who is also a cop would let some kid burst into his home whenever he wanted without disciplinary action. But the motivations prescribed to Laura for not wanting Steve to share her bed boiled down to her thinking he's gross or whatever. When realistically she would have just been scared of sleeping in the same room with a guy who had been pestering her for years. No one would feel comfortable sharing that sort of space with someone who was obsessed with them.

ultreos2:
By that notion that a drop of poison can kill an elephant, and your point is fair, Murder still happens, what because we haven't stopped it outright, we must tolerate it?

The fact that Oppression and acceptance into the geek and nerd culture is actually a ridiculously uncommon thing does not mean we don't do anything about it.

Think about this for a second. I disagree with Bob's point of view, some may disagree with mine, we still accept that we are all part of this geek and nerd culture. We aren't saying "You aren't in my group!"

This is not a group that oppresses or tries to keep people turned off from the idea, it happens extremely rarely, and when it does happen, and I've seen it first hand at conventions so don't go telling me it doesn't, many of us will all but lynch an offender that we view as having done wrong. We in fact do the opposite of tolerating that kind of crap.

Saying because we haven't stopped it entirely must mean we tolerate it, may as well be damning us eternally. Because circumstances of such occurrence will always take place. We can't stop it entirely, and we won't always see it/won't always stand up when we see it because not all have that courage to do so.

But many of us do.

If we want to talk about poison killing an elephant we can apply that to all of humanity. Quit damning one group because it fits a particular political agenda, when said culture has worked hard to go out of their way to not tolerate that shit.

Look at Bob. Look at his reputation. Does he tolerate it? Has he made efforts to stop it? Or is it because it still happens, he is still tolerant of it because he is in that group.

Much like the Gay community in the opening part of his post. The problem is a problem, yes, but our problem is at a point where we can almost say there will always be a few bad eggs, and we can't stop them all. We have been doing things about this, not just recently, but for decades.

Like I said, if you want to say one bad person can paint the entire community red, your part of the problem. You can say that about all of humanity, and all we can do is what we can, when we can, when it happens. No more no less.

We haven't managed to stop murder since time began, that doesn't mean we as human being are all murderers or tolerant of it. Nor can we always stop it. But we make efforts when and where we can. Which is what this community already does, and acting like we need to improve, when he offered not even a mention of how we improve it suggests we are already at the point where we are doing a lot already.

I think there are more than a "few bad eggs" on something like XBox live, for example. There are certainly safe spaces in the gaming community. But it would be naive to think that there aren't any hostile ones either. I guess that's part of the "check your privilege" thing. You can, if you choose (and I do) only visit and post in places that are reasonably well behaved, but you should keep in mind that it skews your perspective.

Still, practical suggestions to make things better can be hard to come by. I can't say that I have any super good advice on the issue.

ultreos2:
We haven't managed to stop murder since time began, that doesn't mean we as human being are all murderers or tolerant of it. Nor can we always stop it. But we make efforts when and where we can. Which is what this community already does, and acting like we need to improve, when he offered not even a mention of how we improve it suggests we are already at the point where we are doing a lot already.

I'm with you on this one. Too much "all or nothing"; "with us or against us" rhetoric flying around. There's only one of me, I have a job, a life, and 24 hours in a day to do it all. I don't have the time to don the proverbial cape and go about righting wrongs like some kind of social vigilante >.> Nobody does. And people trying to guilt other people into agreeing with them just clips my begonias, and I've seen slightly too much of it around, Escapist included.

I don't know, too often this seems to be treated as if there's a "final solution"[1] to this problem of online asshattery.

There is no final solution. There is no cracking the code. There will always be assholes. There will always be assholes. Acknowledging that fact and accepting it as a part of life is not the same as condoning asshole behavior, it is not the same as washing your hands on the whole thing and being defeatist about it. Accepting that there were, are, and always will be assholes does not mean you're just going to let them slide if you run into one, nor does it make you an asshole, nor does it make you support assholes.

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

[1] No, not THAT one. Don't read into it that much, jeez.

Look, Bob. I was never bullied in high-school, I've always had friends and aside from moving into the world of 'adult friends' i.e. people you like to see but can only see occasionally because of work/relationships/home/obligations, I've never really felt that much of an outsider. In fact it's only in the last couple of years it's really really hit me there are people who DON'T share my admittedly middle class set of experiences.

I don't have that idea that i am some-how an outsider. I've always had like-minded people to talk to. These ideas of the "Shared Geek experience", "Persecution mindset" and "Nice guy culture" are pretty alien to me. To put it differently; nerds have always been accepted for a large sub-section of my generation. We didn't feel like nerds because it was never really brought up.

Maybe it's more of an extension of not having the same cultural touch-stones as the US does (or as horrible state school system). There is a very British tradition of eccentricity and the lording of the maverick that dates back to the Victorians. Maybe it's also a extension of the traditional class system where a good education and intelligence were seen as evidence of being of higher status or that technically minded people have been lauded as an extension of British greatness for decades.

Hell the 1980s saw a massive boom in the bedroom coder and cheap personal, programmable computers. Even at that time being 15 and coding a videogame was actually something pretty cool to do. British culture just isn't as afraid of intelligence as classic American culture was.

First: the reason geek movies are getting more attention is because they started to pander to mainstream audiences (Star Trek's more flashy and less sciency Reboot's, Avengers big name pretty boy actors) not because geeks have suddenly "taken over" Hollywood. Star Trek/Wars actually started out as blockbuster entertainment, they were never even niche to begin with

Second: there is no such thing as geek "culture" or "community". Preferring certain niche entertainments makes me about as much part of a geek community as smoking cigars and doing lots of blow would make me a Wall Street businessman.

The XBox community is a community of MILLIONS with probably a few thousand, and I am being generous here, major harassers. Yes it sucks because you're on voice chat, anonymity will do that kind of thing.

XBox has allowed you to report users now, taking steps, and I've sat in on a few of those things by the way, a ton of people were trying to tell the pervasive harassers off, but that doesn't matter right? Not good enough right? Because we haven't completely stopped it we are obviously complacent.

I in fact knew someone would bring up XBox, and you know what? We this culture don't tolerate it there either. We can't always stop it, but don't you go telling me we tolerate it.

All we can do is what we're doing. And condemning us because we aren't doing as much as your self righteous perceived idea of what we have to do to make it right in your eyes, is going to make me tell people like Bob exactly that.

We're doing what we can, quit telling me I need to do so damn much, when I can only be in so many places ay a time. If he's so certain he has a fix I'd love to hear his damn solutions and he can put it forward to the worst offending sectors of this community.

Until he does however this whole I condone it bull because I'm part of this community makes him a toxic aspect of this community just as much. He alienates his own community telling them they are as much the monster as the few bad eggs, and that crap needs to stop.

I think the biggest problem here is also the biggest thing nerds have going for them right now and that is that nerd culture is becoming kind of mainstream. It's like this, I own a spider-man t-shirt I bought in maybe 8th or 9th grade, when I wore it back then someone actually said to me "what are you some kind of comic book fag?" among other things. then the movies came out now suddenly everybody loved the t-shirt and had some of their own. now i'm a grown up and I could give a shit about that kind of thing anymore but at the time I was really pissed off, I wasn't a huge spider-man fan but I read the comics and knew the character and now suddenly everyone was wearing one, I even had one person use it to start a conversation about how awesome toby McGuire is. Some of us still have that ugly duckling syndrome and just don't know how to NOT be part of a niche interest group. but yeah absolutely since they started making comic book... everything, movies, video games, novels, super bowl ads? I mean it's weird to watch something you got picked on for be ok to enjoy in public but that's a personal issue and we're going to have to get over that, my guess is it's going to take another generation, maybe two, before nerds just put everything behind us and grow up.

as far as the women thing goes, I think the golden rule should always apply. and the golden rule is don't be a douchebag. I mean there is what's ok and what's not ok, doesn't matter if your at a convention talking to a hired model or just screwing around with friends playing d$d. don't be a douchebag always applies. but the issue with women in gaming stems from a bigger issue in general of "hot chicks don't dance." there is a perception in America mostly that if a woman is too attractive she won't put forth any effort unless she absolutely has to. As men it's hard to shake that stereotype because if you've ever dated you've met probably more than a few women who fit that description. it's not unique to geek culture and hell pop culture puts it forward pretty strongly too, kim Kardashian, parris Hilton, megan fox, I mean it's littered with people who have no perceived value other than their supposed hotness. I personally think all three are ass ugly but that's me. regardless of the level of accuracy every guy has a story of being burned by some hot chick and sometimes they can't let go of that.

ultimately I suppose these are actually kind of good problems to have because it does mean nerd culture is merging with pop culture, there's some friction that is just inevitable and dealing with it now is better than dealing with it later. being the better man is all good in theory but I keep coming back to that scene in the worlds end where the chubby guy beats his high school bully up with a tree branch. "it's not worth it.", "YES IT F!@#!ING IS!!!!!!!" you can't expect everyone to be the bigger man.

Jasper van Heycop:
First: the reason geek movies are getting more attention is because they started to pander to mainstream audiences (Star Trek's more flashy and less sciency Reboot's, Avengers big name pretty boy actors) not because geeks have suddenly "taken over" Hollywood. Star Trek/Wars actually started out as blockbuster entertainment, they were never even niche to begin with

Second: there is no such thing as geek "culture" or "community". Preferring certain niche entertainments makes me about as much part of a geek community as smoking cigars and doing lots of blow would make me a Wall Street businessman.

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

I can respect where Bob is coming from, wanting to eliminate douchbagary is a noble goal but the simple truth of the matter is that there never was a geek culture.

Sure, micro-cultures existed across many geographic areas but they were usually small only consisting of tens of individuals.

It isn't like Black culture in America where it can be traced to a a unifying event. Rather, geek culture is just a made up thing by marketing people.

It's kind of why I never really bought the movement we had not too long ago about how people weren't REAL geeks unless they had had to suffer for their geekdom. I mean, for the love of God, get over yourself.

Vegosiux:

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

Can't we do both? Can't we call out assholes and make it clear to the harassed that they are welcome?

erttheking:

Vegosiux:

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

Can't we do both? Can't we call out assholes and make it clear to the harassed that they are welcome?

We already freaking do! Seriously, even in games of LoL people tell people they are in the wrong for giving a player shit.

So how much should we call out assholes to make you happy until we hit your asshole calling out quota? When we already try to make the harassed welcome? What's your end goal? How can I make you happy when I already do what you think we should?

Truly I am legitimately curious.

ultreos2:

erttheking:

Vegosiux:

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

Can't we do both? Can't we call out assholes and make it clear to the harassed that they are welcome?

We already freaking do! Seriously, even in games of LoL people tell people they are in the wrong for giving a player shit.

So how much should we call out assholes to make you happy until we hit your asshole calling out quota? When we already try to make the harassed welcome? What's your end goal? How can I make you happy when I already do what you think we should?

Truly I am legitimately curious.

Well...you already do make me happy. I wasn't talking about you because you weren't the one who said he preferred to ignore assholes and focus on making people feel welcome. Seriously, not quite sure where you were coming from there.

erttheking:

Vegosiux:

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

Can't we do both? Can't we call out assholes and make it clear to the harassed that they are welcome?

Indeed we can. But I invest significantly more effort into the latter. Doesn't mean I'm not doing the former at all. Only that my efforts there usually stop at "Seriously, tone it down", reporting the asshat and/or initiating a vote-kick.

Vegosiux:

erttheking:

Vegosiux:

I personally prefer not to focus as much on the asshole as I do on making those that are being harassed know that they're perfectly welcome, and ignore Tim, he's a jerk, want to go kill some orcs instead?

Can't we do both? Can't we call out assholes and make it clear to the harassed that they are welcome?

Indeed we can. But I invest significantly more effort into the latter. Doesn't mean I'm not doing the former at all. Only that my efforts there usually stop at "Seriously, tone it down", reporting the asshat and/or initiating a vote-kick.

Well then, it seems like we have a plan. Your wording was just a little misleading is all.

Funny thing, fights about someone's privilege come from similar privileged perspectives. Urkel demonstrates this. Yes, he could be stalkerish most of the time, but rarely skeevy, and usually in a way that done differently would be romantic. But because he didn't look a certain way and his serenades came less from smooth jazz than a nasily voice and an accordion Laura wouldn't look at him long enough to realize they probably wouldn't have been compatible anyway, unless she needed science homework done. Commentary that attractive people get the breaks is nothing new, and wasn't at the time, but you can see how whatever privilege Urkel might have had, Laura had the same, and it reflects a society that claims to want one thing, but always seems to choose things on more shallow criteria like looks and charisma.

Such as it is with "geek culture". I've been down this before, and I'm not sure why I'm trying again, but yes, we were destined for conflict when one group of people wanted into another group of people that were at best very introverted and anti-social, and at worst, afraid the bullies had found them and it would be back to the same bullying in high school, and get surprised when friction starts. Had it been approached with a sense of humility things might have gone differently, but instead the group that hadn't been judged poorly for their looks or hobbies found the place that dared to look down of them, and couldn't take it.

It quickly developed into "geek privilege" because (in my theory at least) to do otherwise might involve seeing this culture as people that didn't actually owe you anything. That they had no obligation to shift their values now that you're here so you don't feel bad. That if you actually wanted change for you benefit, you have to give them a reason to want it as well. Sadly, I don't get a lot of impression that "old guard geeks" for lack of a better term are seen as people so much as obstructions by people not used to not getting their way. People that want others to think how they are treating them, but show little concern for feeling back. People that want more attention from the market, but don't feel obligated to buy things that fit their wants unless "perfect." People that didn't want to be looked down on for being casual, looking at the hardcore as something distasteful. Call out geek privilege all you want. I'm not sure the other side is any less feeling like they should always get their way.

Great article.

I got to say, as I was reading, and you were talking about what geek and jock culture meant, I couldn't help but think about what those actually included. Mostly, when people define somebody as a geek, it seems more often to be that "they like science fiction, comic books, and videogames" rather than "they value intelligence, education, and science". So I started thinking of other sub-cultures that are often defined not by their values but by what activities it includes, things like sports culture, automobile culture, etc, and I noticed something that while not completely unique to geek culture, was that geek culture included things like literature and gaming which offer people different perspectives. Thats not to say there's nothing of value from other cultures - I sure wish that the sportmanship of athletic culture, which while not universal, was as pervasive as it is in athletic sports in eSports and casual competitive gaming, where trashtalk and attacking others is overwhelmingly defended as a legitimate tactic and part of the "culture" of the competition.

Without trying to delegitimize other sub-cultures, there's no perspective into the lives of others really gained through being big into automobilia, yet with geek culture, we can through reading comics or playing games that give us serious insight into the lives of others, and while everybody can experience that, its part of the core of geek culture - its an everyday activity. Now I can't answer the chicken-and-egg question of whether open-minded and intelligent people tend to be attracted to geek culture because it enables those things, or whether people tend to become more intelligent and open-minded of others because of their experiences in literature gaming that is at the core of geek culture. My guess is that its a mix of both, and that the culture grew so big due to like-minded people creating content for themselves. All of this in consideration, I don't think its much to ask that self-proclaimed geeks be more minddful of their allowances, not just as geeks, but all other allowances.

Anyways, the article got me thinking about what made geek culture unique from others, so tose last few paragraphs are what I thought up of it.

Priviledge is something that, by definition, we do not earn. Choosing to participate in a culture does not make you more privileged. There's no such thing as geek privilege aside from the fact that participants in the subculture are more likely to be privileged in other ways.

Another piece aimed at guilting his audience. I'm not sure whether to cry or laugh, but the insights Bob chooses to share with us seem to be increasingly negative. Maybe he has an issue.

When did it become necessary to all line up on the "suffering" scale in order to appear human or sympathetic?
Everyone has their own personal hell they've gone through, everyone. Dismissing people because they haven't had it as bad as you, is a horrible way to treat people and pretending to be smarter than them is ultimately self defeating.

Do we really need to dissasemble our race, hobby or gender in order to feel okay with who we are?

Just treat people the way you want to be treated.
Since my advice is the focus of all human life, I've hereby solved the inequalities of society single-handedly.

Beating yourself over the good things you have in life doesn't help you, if you have an inkling of sympathy for others.

I find a lot of this particular blog a bit off pace, to be honest. At the end of the day, power and privilege is not ever afforded to individuals within a culture, only groups within a culture. What happens in the group environment (which universally tends toward extremes) is that the primary members of those groups (ie. nerds and geeks are, by and large, white male individuals, at least at first this was the primary group) become the stereotype that the group identifies with. So of course you see the group as a whole finding that as the archetype and anything that does not fit into that archetype is up for criticism of some sort. People will always identify with a given set of individuals who are the primary and most powerful members of a group.

Also, love how racism makes it's way into the conversation. Racism is definitely a thing that happens and in some areas it's rampant and in some places it's non-existent. That is the world we live in, it's definitely terrible. But... I have noticed that things identified as racism are not always actually racism. There is such a thing as implicit egotism. I have met maybe 2 non-white people (I'm from NJ, we are super diverse here) in my life that fit into the whole nerd/geek "culture" (used very loosely). I can't blame any non-white for not wanting to be a member of that group as there exists an environment that they may not be comfortable in due to implicit egotism. It's one of those things that are ingrained into our very biology and the fact that people are pack animals. My point in this that bringing up "white male" as being a primary group identifier and by extension one of the problems with the "culture" because it's obviously racist is probably not the case in most instances.

Let's talk about sexism. Sexism is an issue. But it typically is not an issue with a lot of people. A minority of members of any groups that are male-centric will be truly sexist, heinous, deserving to punched in the gut, sexist. The issue is that stupid people are not afraid to give their stupid opinion. And they are stupidly proud of it on many occasions. Because some idiots cat call cosplayers doesn't not make the entire group of people who identify with them actually sexist. I have seen very few occasions where that happens and the surrounding audience is not generally disgusted by the display. I bring this up simply because small numbers of individuals cannot be controlled by anyone unless they are doing something illegal. Cat calling a girl or make rude comments is not illegal or punishable by any means other than social outcasting. That leads to them forming an even smaller more extreme group, unfortunately.

Lets discuss sex as a prize. Sex will always be a prize because of biology. The human brain may say, "I'm getting laid! WOO HOO!" The Biology sees it as a way showing worthiness to spread genetic material. No matter how much more "advanced" we are as a species or society or social group... we will always be slave to Biology. And yes, this is completely independent of the knowledge that you may be using contraception, it's deeper than that. Reproduction using genetic material is how all biological life on Earth does it, humans cannot be an exception to that rule (it's impossible as it turns out).

That said, my belief is that most individual men do not see sex this way. If we did we could not have female friends. We could not work next to women without having some sort of contempt towards them or seeing them as inferior in some way.. yet everyone I work with is fine with the women we work next too. My boss is a woman and we have nothing but respect for her. I am in a wonderful relationship. My friends are married to wonderful women who we all respect and love. My point is simply that sex as a prize, while it does exist, is not indicative of a social problem that any but a small minority of men suffer from. Also, in the interest of equality, sex as a prize tends to be a two way street. I have known women in the past who saw sex as a prize. But just like the men with this issue are not in my social circles, neither are the women.

TL;DR - The issues tend to be due to overall group mentality. Some people are terrible that are completely guilty of the things stated in this opinion piece. But most people do not. Groups will always tend towards extremes, leading to group fracturing into smaller groups. As an example, I love videogames (clearly, I'm here aren't I?), but that is the sole thing I have in common with many who come to this site. We have that in common, we can talk about that, everyone is happy. But moral opinion pieces such as this just rub me the wrong way. We should all try to fix a problem when we see it, the issue is that I mostly don't see the problem that is discussed here. At any Comicon I have been to, I have never seen any cosplayer objectified as a sex prize. I have never seen any individual excommunicated or looked down on because they don't fit the rest of the groups race/sex/ethnic background. The issue for me is that Bob loves to say, "Look at what this group does... you are part of the group? Look at what you are doing!" Only, I don't identify with any group in particular so much as a group identifies with me. I don't like video games and comic books because the group likes it, I just like them. They aren't perfect, like anything with immense growth potential, they have a lot of problems and things to figure out.

The belief is that since I like these things, I am part of that group, and I am guilty of what the overall group is doing. Only, I'm technically part of many groups (like everyone). I prioritize fitness and health in my life. I will universally skip playing games in favor of going to the gym. I am working on my deadlift and am almost at the 500 lbs mark. Does that make me "meat head"? I would say yes, or at very least a "bro", which is universally despised by geek/nerd "culture" despite the similarities. But then my second biggest priority in life as an adult male is education. I read books almost exclusively about science, I subscribe to both Scientific American and their Mind publication. I read books on psychology, physics, biology, geology... you name it. So I must fit back into the "nerd/geek" culture, only the overlap with other groups that they are definitively against is ridiculous. And in all of this I manage to not be racist, sexist, over privileged, or even disagreeable with the people I put myself around.

Edit: Bad rant, sorry. I didn't know I put so much, I'm that guy this time around I guess.

I feel that geek culture and the overarching nerd collective is nothing but the usual tribal bullshit. There are some effect from the intellectual roots, but it all goes out of the window as soon as a favourable position (that has become "they way it should be" over time) is contested.

As always, be very, very, very careful about rocking the boat. This one in particular.

I don't know if I can take someone seriously when they are inspired by a column that conjures up a concept like Gay Male Privilege. I mean, are you out of your mind?

People are products of their histories and their social needs. I mean, I'm no expert, but my guess is that gay guys are probably a little bit annoyed at straight women in their bars because the gay guys are not at the bar to meet female friends, and those ladies are taking up space that could be taken up by attractive men. I mean, who feels privileged in that case? The gay guys, or the women who want to show up and be welcomed anywhere and everywhere?

And part of enjoying the geek stuff has always been that it was not mainstream. If you knew someone who was in to JRPGs or comic books when I was in high school, you probably had a lot more in common than just a love for the same media.

I'm not too in to sports, but I hear people talking about fans who just come around when a team is winning. Those people don't necessarily have a love for the team itself, but for winning, so they jump on the bandwagon, which really annoys the fans who were following the team when they were losing.

So I guess maybe the next article should be about Seahawk fan privilege. Maybe the author who inspired this article can write about privilege in some other historically oppressed group next time. How about North Korean Peasant privilege? Those guys don't let anyone from the outside see their pictures of Kim Jong Il (What a bunch of privileged misogynists!)

Well, this whole "privilege" thing is meaningless to begin with, in that it's not possible to ascertain any individual or individual situation by. Each and every individual would at various times and places hold contextual advantages in some regards, while being disadvantaged in others. To know(/speculate) that members of some group have(n't got) some sort of "privilege" tell us nothing on their individual circumstances; which furthermore change between the situations they seek out or find themselves in.

This is called "reality", and whilst one may whine all one wants about some people preferring to share their candy only with other people than oneself, such does not really entitle one to be fed their candy.

Anyway, if you're part of some nerdy community dedicated to breed centipedes with more legs, then chances are your subculture is pretty powerless and without mainstream representation. Is it unfair that centibreed culture is absent representation?

Of course not; as with all other subcultures, it's of interest to no one but the participants in it. Most problems come from when mainstream society do pay attention, like major media channels discovering GTA, or multiple government's unwholesome obsession with persecuting men who kiss other men.

Bit confused over this.

Is this about privilege people who happen to be geeks have, or about privilege people have from being geeks?

The first is fairly obviously an issue, same as Gay Male Privilege (which is just male privilege which male gay people have). Very basic intersectionality there.

The latter...not seeing it.

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