If you’re a regular reader of my column, you’ll have noticed that interspersed amongst the dating tips, I take the occasional moment to deal with issues that arrise in the geek community… after all, if you’re going to be knee-deep in nerd, it’s good to take a look around and assess how things stand. Unfortunately, geek culture has a woman problem.
For all the progress that we like to believe we’ve made, geekdom still has a schizoid relationship with women. On the one hand, most geeks would agree that a greater female involvement in the geek community is inherently a good thing… but on the other, geeks seem to be damned determine to make a community – whose population is practically defined by being bullied and ostracized – as unwelcoming to women as possible. Women are welcome in the geek community – but only in a specific role. Be attractive – but not too attractive, it makes the geekboys suspicious. Be prepared to justify your geekiness, because if you don’t reach a specific level of knowledge or experience, you are clearly not a real geek. Acknowledge that you are of a lesser standing than guys and that considerations for you as a member of the audience is secondary to men; geek hobbies are, after all “guy things”. Don’t presume to point out that that the portrayal of women in comics and games might be a little sexist, nor should you dare presume to discuss the subject authoritatively or seek to change the status quo.
And most of all… don’t commit the ultimate sin of gaming online while a woman.
Whenever the topic of harassment comes up in gaming culture, it’s almost immediately dismissed as “not a problem”. After all – so goes the legend – the online gaming world is a meritocracy; your level of respect from your fellow players is directly correlated to your skill level. Yes, there’s a lot of smack-talking and people running their mouths, but when you’re choosing to stand in the middle of the monkey cage, you have no right to complain when shit gets hurled at you.
Doesn’t matter who you are, man or woman, everybody gets treated the same. If women can’t hack it the way dudes can, well maybe they shouldn’t be taking part, right bro? Right. Brofist.
Yeah. Not so much.