Monday, 20 July 2009

Nerds leave Fortress of Solitude for Playboy Mansion

My recent lack of posting is due to going to Latitude Festival over the weekend. Which was terribly lovely. But I got back to an emailed link to this story from Double X on the biography of Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin.

Apparently, their lack of ability in the getting-laid department inspired the origins of Facebook and their (unofficial) biography seems to chart their success through the anonymous women they shagged.

I've blogged before about nerd sexism (here and here), but I do have sympathy with the article's assertion that "sexism 2.0 is uglier than its early versions". Call it pop-psychology, but the misogyny within the geek-tech community seems to be driven by former rejection. Girls wouldn't kiss the geeks at school and now that they're billionaires they will wreak their revenge on women by objectifying them and spending their time developing rape-simulation games (great article on rape in games here).

This isn't a new form of sexism however, its the same-old same-old reaction by some to women not being constantly sexually available to men. As one male friend suggested to me; "Well, if those teenage girls would just snog the geeky boys at school..." Forgetting that a) teenage boys are repulsive and b) girls really shouldn't have to put out just so that boys don't go on to 'rape' female characters in Second Life.

Rather than male techies having a long hard look at themselves and seeing how they may be contributing to oppressive practices, they bemoan the fact that the banning of Rapelay has led to a decline of "erotic games".

Although this might all stem from the same sexism that pervades our society, what makes it worse is that the men involved are often anti-authority, leftish, progressives (I have a link for this, bear with me). As I've said before - we expect more from you, don't let the abused become the abuser. Plus the undermining of women in tech, whether web company founders or a faceless Victoria Secret model, seems to come at a confluence of a sustained backlash to the feminist analysis of objectification and a desensitisation to sexual violence against women (in society at large as well as in games).

Nerdy men need to be aspiring to more than the Playboy Mansion. You're not going to find a Starbuck there.

Thanks to Liz. And sorry I've been a bit too techie recently. Will get back to health and medicine.

No comments: