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Nerds And Male Privilege

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I think that is a good article. I think in most cases when you think of nerd its mostly dominated by males. There are female nerds too. It all depends on your perspective. Like anything it depends on what your topic is. Most topics that aims towards males such as Video Games, Comics etc... will show the opposite sex as exaggerated. The same thing is true to those topics aimed towards females. Perspective is key in the whole genre of nerds. I think for the most part its all due to stereotyping. That is the key. The Nerd Stereotype is more of

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or

dep_5047113-Nerd-girl.jpg

It is like saying all otakus are fat, ugly and smelly. I think you can blame the media for this type of stereotype. In my experience nerds are a mixed breed. Nerds can be anyone it doesn't matter who you are. This kind of stereotyping were seeing here can be shown in the Anime Subculture as well. Perspective is the key as I said before. It all depends on how popular the item you are talking about. With that said I would like to see how the Comic Book fans here on the forums would have to say about this. I know many Girls who like comic books. I think it would be interesting to see their take.

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True perspective is key and from MY perspective, I've come accross a lot more women that will read manga than those that read our regular American comics. As such I find the article lacking because it makes no mention of anime or manga which we all know has a much larger influence now than ever before (especially in the "nerd" realm). To me it would've been more interesting to see it compare how anime and manga appeal to women over the stuff made in America.

Instead the article just talks about all the stuff I already know and the extremely narrow perspective made it suck IMO. Yes, it is true that comics like Batman, Superman, X-Men, etc, largely appeal to male audience and that female characters either aren't as powerful as male characters or just have nothing special about them at all (I know that not all female characters are like that but the fact is that most of them are). Yes, it is also true that many games including any FPS game I've seen (this includes Metroid) are made for and appeal to a male audience.

Is it also true that guys listen to women more often if they're attractive? Well...yes and no. It really depends on a lot of different things IMO. Sure it's true that more attractive women get more guys to pay attention to them, but that doesn't mean that the guys are actually listening to anything they say either. Some guys "listen" and then later remember things like "she made a good point about xyz" and only remember it or consider it because she was attractive. Some guys only remember her figure. Some guys actually listen to the whole thing and remember the conversation over what her figure looks like (I know it sounds rare but there are a lot of straight guys that can do this with very attractive women). As such that part of the article I must dismiss entirely.

As for "male priviledge". Was the auther really a man as they claimed to be or have they been living under a rock for most of their life? Are they not aware that there are now more women in management and executive level management than ever before? Take a hint bub: The current CEO of IBM, a major technology company in a field dominated by men, is a WOMAN. This also happened months BEFORE they wrote the article so they obviously haven't done any good research. If the opinions of women aren't being heard then why are we seeing more and more women in leadership roles? HINT: it's not to fill some meaningless quota so the company can say they support diversity.

It is still a male dominated world and there are still a lot of problems with women getting equal respect in a lot of areas. I'll give it that much, but nerds and geeks are just that. Nerds and Geeks. What ever is changing in society will NOT change them. Sorry, but it ain't gonna happen. They are on the OUTSIDE looking in.

Instead things the things that nerds and geeks do will become mainstream (ex: the Internet used to be only used by nerds and geeks). When it becomes mainstream the nerds and geeks will end up elsewhere while everyone else on equal footing takes over.

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Kenshin, I understand your point, but working in corporate America, I can tell you many companies do work with the quota systems and are constantly filling in positions in order to appear inclusive. Often times the positions filled by women will be lower management positions while the upper management positions are usually filled by men. Just because there are a handful of women climbing the corporate ladder, it is far from being an equal opportunity environment. I have met so many idiot men in high up positions, but I have yet to meet an idiot woman. Not saying men are idiots, saying women have to be better than their male counterparts to make it to the same level.

In regards to magna/anime, I find it similar in many ways to the American cartoons that the authors talks about. Mainstream shows are full of busty women, panty shots and short school girl outfits. I have yet to see the same level of sexualization of male characters in non-hentai.

I also disagree that nerds and geeks will always be outsides. If anything, nerd culture is becoming cool. There are TV shows targeted to this audience, the nerdy look is considered hot, people who were afraid to acknowledge their nerdy interests are openly engaging in them, and there are even people trying to act nerdy (when they know nothing about nerd culture) just to look cool or fit in. Not saying its the new cool movement, but society is a lot more accepting than they used to be. All the internet and computer people I know are still very nerdy. Its not that mainstream is pushing the nerds out, its that its becoming mainstream to be nerdy.

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Kenshin, I understand your point, but working in corporate America, I can tell you many companies do work with the quota systems and are constantly filling in positions in order to appear inclusive. Often times the positions filled by women will be lower management positions while the upper management positions are usually filled by men. Just because there are a handful of women climbing the corporate ladder, it is far from being an equal opportunity environment. I have met so many idiot men in high up positions, but I have yet to meet an idiot woman. Not saying men are idiots, saying women have to be better than their male counterparts to make it to the same level.

I agree that many companies have not yet become as "enlightened" as others and that there are many corporate executives that more out of touch with reality than even some politicians. However, sometimes companies also just don't have qualified women to take those positions as well. As smart as I know women are (I've seen them solve many problems quickly that have had men stumped for months), they are all different with different job skills. I know I wouldn't want to see a woman in management that can't add 2+2 anymore than I'd want to see man that can't add in management.

There's also the fact that not all women actually WANT all the jobs that men do as well and that too sometimes makes it hard to gauge how that particular industry stands for accepting women into it.

However, I do believe that there has been tremendous progress in this area and no matter how hard some people fight it they are going to loose. Sure change isn't happening as often as some people would like, but it is already something that's not going be stopped so I find it completely irrational to just focus on the one small area and forget about the big picture and how much progress has already been made.

It'll probably take another 5 generations or so before it finally gets put to rest IMO but it will eventually come to pass.

In regards to magna/anime, I find it similar in many ways to the American cartoons that the authors talks about. Mainstream shows are full of busty women, panty shots and short school girl outfits. I have yet to see the same level of sexualization of male characters in non-hentai.

Then why do I know more women that like anime/manga than American comics and cartoons? Though that's just my perspective from what I've come accross others will have seen different things.

There are tons of series out there that don't over-sexualize female characters and there are plenty of series that are about women in leadership roles and saving and/or protecting the useless/dumb guys.

Given that anime has proven time and time again that it will go literally anywhere, IMO there aren't that many over-sexualized male characters simply because there's no market for it and they really don't have much to work with either. It's normal for "good looking" guys to be seen in only a pair boxers or even something as small as a spedo at a beach. Even if they make it look like they're hiding some as big as a baseball bat, nobody (on both sexes) really gets turned on about it either. Most women I know don't care or just don't want to know while some men may at most just get amuzed by it.

At most all they can really do is give them more muscles, fancy hair, and put them in a role that makes them look good.

I also disagree that nerds and geeks will always be outsides. If anything, nerd culture is becoming cool. There are TV shows targeted to this audience, the nerdy look is considered hot, people who were afraid to acknowledge their nerdy interests are openly engaging in them, and there are even people trying to act nerdy (when they know nothing about nerd culture) just to look cool or fit in. Not saying its the new cool movement, but society is a lot more accepting than they used to be. All the internet and computer people I know are still very nerdy. Its not that mainstream is pushing the nerds out, its that its becoming mainstream to be nerdy.

I see where you're comming from, but most nerds I know really don't care what the mainstream does and they don't care about "fitting in". When the rest of the world wants to come into "their realm", many are just like "what ever" and others see it as a real chore because now they're dealing with people that actually want to be sociable with them about it. It has happened before and it will happen again, but nerds are still there on the outside with little to no social skills.

For example, video games. It used to be that only nerds played video games because you needed a computer that was not very common back then or an early console that was mostly limited to pong. Then the Atari consoles came out and slowly started to change things and then the NES came out and then the industry really started to go mainstream. When this happened the nerds typically did one of three things.

1. They embraced the idea that video games were mainstream, made friends over it, went along with the new direction the industry was taking, and ultimaely stopped being nerds all together as their friends got them involved in more mainstream things like watching sports, going to parties, doing things outside, etc. Basically becoming "humanized" and "normal".

2. They continued to avoid "the masses" and continued playing on as they saw fit reguardless of what the latest trend was. Ex avoiding things like new controller designs that were too "stupid" to them, only playing games for older systems (vintage gaming), and avoiding any new game that changed what added to or changed the formula they like (like avoiding 3D platformers in favor of 2D platformers).

3. They considered the industry to have gone to hell and went and did something else where they didn't have to deal with "the incredible stupidity".

I expect it will be the same with comics and anime for many of the nerds.

Wikipedia somes it up pretty well for me:

Stereotypical nerd qualities have evolved in recent years, going from awkwardness and social ostracism to an allegedly more widespread acceptance and sometimes even celebration of their differences. This is largely attributable to the rise of the computer industry, which has allowed many "nerdy" people (most notably Bill Gates) to accumulate large fortunes and the success of nerd interests (e.g. superhero movies) becoming popular culture hits.[32] Some measure of nerdiness is allegedly considered desirable, as, to some, it suggests a person who is intelligent, respectful, interesting, and able to earn a large salary. Such views have arguably effected a waning emphasis on the social awkwardness of nerds, with more attention placed on their intelligence and academic enthusiasm.[33] However, although the idea of nerds is popular, those adopting the characteristics of nerds are not actually nerds by definition. One cannot be an authentic nerd by imitation alone; a nerd is an outsider and someone who is unable or unwilling to follow trends. Popular culture is borrowing the concept and image of nerds in order to stand out as individuals.[34]

And that is why I don't see nerds ever becoming mainstream (IMO of course). They either want be on the outside or they are unable to fit in even after making an effort.

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I agree that anime is much more progressive with the issues of gender and sexuality than western shows are, but there is still a bias towards gender steriotyping with most male shows being action oriented and female shows being drama oriented. Nothing near what American cartoons are, but its not totally neurtral in nature.

I see where you're comming from, but most nerds I know really don't care what the mainstream does and they don't care about "fitting in". When the rest of the world wants to come into "their realm", many are just like "what ever" and others see it as a real chore because now they're dealing with people that actually want to be sociable with them about it. It has happened before and it will happen again, but nerds are still there on the outside with little to no social skills.

I disagree with this definition of the nerd. Yes, its true that nerds usually don't fit into the mainstream culture, but I think its a stereotype to say they have no social skills. Its just that their social skills don't jive with most people. Nerds have been socializing with other nerds, hooking up and having kids. They obviously aren't that socially inept. And now, with the proliferation of non-face-to-face interactions such as facebook, they are able to socialize even with the "cool" people whom a decade ago would never have given them a second thought. I've never seen lack of social skills to be a prerequisite to nerdhood.

Just the fact that most of us on this forum would probably identify as nerds, and with pride, but we seem to be interacting pretty well on this forum says something. I look at some of my nerdy friends, and myself, and we have all hooked up with pretty "normal" folks. We function pretty well in mainstream culture, but we are also able to maintain our interests that seem pretty nerdy to most people. Its just becoming more acceptable. When I talk about the latest anime I am watching, most people at work don't have a clue what I am talking about. But that doesn't make me an outcaste. And when they talk endlessly about the next Housewives reality show, I want to roll my eyes up. But we are able to be friends. I think, as a society, we are just becoming more open minded and accepting of different people.

Not saying everybody is cool with everything, but I feel we are a long way from what it used to be like when I was a kid in highschool. Yeah, nerdy kids are still getting bullied in school, but a lot more people are willing to stand up for their nerdy friends and it makes them that much cooler for being willing to do that.

BTW, love the discussion we are having.

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