Sunday, May 17, 2015

For the love of nerds, part 2

In the past, I've argued that we feminists shouldn't focus on misogyny because most guys aren't like that, and because it's better to focus positive attention on the positive than negative attention on the negative (thus increasing its exposure). Sadly, I was smacked in the face with the negative bits wrecking stuff that would otherwise be cool, like atheism -- specifically some "thought leaders" who unfortunately demonstrated that the ability to criticize religion doesn't necessarily imply an ability to think critically about one's own prejudices.

Through that story (and related stuff like GamerGate), I somehow ended up subscribing to We Hunted the Mammoth -- a blog watching (and mocking) the "Men's Rights Activists." It has become the train wreck I can't look away from. This blog is a kind of smorgasbord of schadenfreude because the people being mocked are such incredible villains -- and yet their villainy is its own punishment:

You know how they say "Living well is the best revenge"...? Well, the MRAs are living proof of the converse.

To see what I mean, a new article came up on my reading list (see here) that makes some of the same points I made in "for the love of nerds, part 1":

Back when I couldn’t get laid, I wondered what I needed to do to get laid.

And so, I worked on me. I worked on my education, my personality, my skill set, my career and my body. And guess what happened? SEX! And love and marriage and family and success and all that awesome stuff.

An MRA is a loser who doesn’t look inward on how to improve, but looks outward on whom to blame for sucking, because self-improvement is hard. Also, not having women praise their genitalia the way it happens in porn makes them angry.

The saddest part -- perhaps even sadder than watching them ruin atheism, gaming, and other nerd pursuits -- is the sheer stupidity of this loser-fest. Consider one of the most sad/funny recent episodes of "We Hunted the Mammoth": the vagina bus. The guy is whining about how awful it is that he has to buy a woman dinner (perhaps multiple times) to get laid, and even then she's not required to sleep with him. And in the same post he bemoans how awful it is that women sleep with different partners.

How can someone fail to see the problem with this logic? Does he think that women are non-player-characters that are generated anew each time you fire up your game console?

The most ridiculous logic error comes from the men who interpret their own lack of success as evidence that women shun nice guys and only sleep with assholes. The thing is that if your first instinct is to blame the women for not giving you some rightfully-earned sex, then you're probably not nearly as wonderful to women as you think you are. There may exist women who seek out abusive partners, but if that's really why you struck out with someone, then you should be glad to have been rejected because you don't want to get involved with someone who has profound emotional/psychological problems. And if you think all attractive women pick abusers over good guys, then I can say with a fair degree of confidence that, in reality, you are the problem.

I blogged about one of these guys back in 2009, but the most astonishing example was Elliot Rodger, who decided to kill a bunch of people in order to punish women for wrongly choosing undeserving guys over him. Dude, you are not only a flaming misogynist, but a murderer. If anything, your failure to get a date shows that women aren't too shabby at picking decent guys over horrible guys. Again, this sort of delusion is fed by the evil-for-the-love-of-evil villain trope, that encourages people to see their own interests as obviously pure goodness and their rivals as simply evil.

So we have a bunch of guys whose problem is they can't attract women, and their solution is to gather with a bunch of fellow losers and work themselves into a lather about how horrible women are. Really, I would be hard pressed to come up with a more counter-productive solution if I tried. Well, maybe a murder spree...

Anyway, this interesting article about Arthur Chu hit on one of the reasons why I care so much:

If lonely nerds are to be wooed away from defeatism and rage, he believes, they must be reached with camaraderie as much as reason.

I care about this because the lonely nerd is my favorite type. I want to see him rise to the challenge and succeed. I don't want to see him get sucked into the vortex of his own futile rage and be destroyed by it. I don't want to see him throw his life away because he can't overcome his initial setbacks. 

I want him to succeed because my adorable husband was a super nerd, and now I have two beautiful, brilliant yet somewhat socially-challenged sons. And I want them all to be happy.