Monday, April 15, 2013

Are geeks simply feminized males?

It is illuminating to peruse this well-known list of the Five Geek Social Fallacies and substitute Girl for Geek:
Within the constellation of allied hobbies and subcultures collectively known as geekdom, one finds many social groups bent under a crushing burden of dysfunction, social drama, and general interpersonal wack-ness. It is my opinion that many of these never-ending crises are sparked off by an assortment of pernicious social fallacies -- ideas about human interaction which spur their holders to do terrible and stupid things to themselves and to each other.

Social fallacies are particularly insidious because they tend to be exaggerated versions of notions that are themselves entirely reasonable and unobjectionable. It's difficult to debunk the pathological fallacy without seeming to argue against its reasonable form; therefore, once it establishes itself, a social fallacy is extremely difficult to dislodge. It's my hope that drawing attention to some of them may be a step in the right direction.

I want to note that I'm not trying to say that every geek subscribes to every one of the fallacies I outline here; every individual subscribes to a different set of ideas, and adheres to any given idea with a different amount of zeal.

In any event, here are five geek social fallacies I've identified.
  1. Ostracizers are evil
  2. Friends accept me as I am
  3. Friendship before all
  4. Friendship is transitive
  5. Friends do everything together
It seems to me that with the exception of number four, which isn't applicable in the romantic sense, these fallacies could not only apply as readily to the female perspective on friends, but on romantic relationships as well.

This tends to offer some support for the idea that gammas are men who, for some reason, have gotten their internal wires crossed and react to both men and women in an essentially female manner.  They're essentially handicapped by socio-sexual retardation. I don't know if it is genetic, the result of one's upbringing, or as is so often the case, some combination therein, but the handicap may help explain the total inability of gammas to understand men who rank higher in the socio-sexual hierarchy and vice-versa.


Josh said...

They're essentially handicapped by socio-sexual retardation.

Great, now you're going to be beset by hordes of gamma geeks citing their IQ scores as proof that they're not retarded. And the rabbits will start screeching "ableist" in your general direction.

realmatt said...

Its bad enough you invent trolls. But anonymously spamming your own blog? Come on, Vox...

Retrenched said...

Most likely, geeks become the way they are due to getting bullied as young boys and, instead of fighting back and defending themselves, they just accept their low place on the male totem pole, becoming gradually more averse to risk and conflict in the process. This happens many years before the boys discover girls -- and by that time, their place in the hierarchy, either high or low, is well established.

realmatt said...

That's what a feminized male is, Retrenched.

To be masculine is to seek danger and meet conflict head on.

Of course this doesn't mean strategy is feminine. Waiting for the best moment to attack is a good idea if diving in head strong is too risky.

But its worth noting that sneakiness is considered feminine and cat-like for a reason.

Nothing is as exhilerating and testosterone boosting as clashing head on.

Cat;rina W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trust said...

I would say yes. As a recovered gamma, I'd say they are definitely feminized. I was taught and medicated my life to this end.

Escaping after 2+ decades of brainwashing was no small feat. But yes, I was definitely very feminine since I was taught some were superior.

realmatt said...

Civilized society demands men curb those impulses but in doing so they eventually become too feminine.

They start to imagine women are sweet little things not realizing they're just reacting to masculine men in a positive natural manner.

Then men forget the truth and become lazy in the comfortable relatively peaceful society.

Every generation must learn what was understood by the one before it. And each generation needs its war. There is no inherited lesson and from the discovery of fire to C++ each child must learn.

MidKnight said...

While I never, ever accepted number one, I nevertheless had many of those traits and a very passive personality - the ultimate "Nice Guy" - due to a combination of systematic and individual bullying. (My dad, some of it, mostly being too smart for my own good to figure out how not to SOUND too smart and arrogant..., and a public school system that real bullies could manipulate into punishing the tormentor).

I worked my way out of it - but it was a slog. And took a loong time to get past the feminist propaganda in the media of what a man should be

The Scolds' Bridle said...

To make a geek, you take a dork and then add some sort of hobby or obsessive pursuit, usually that has a strong social/entertainment aspect to it.

Sublimate out the dorkiness and keep the obsession, and you can create a nerd. Note also that nerdiness can also encompass a wider variety of obsessions.

"Economics nerd"
"Math nerd"

You don't usually hear
"Math geek"
"Physics geek"

So, there is something about a nerd's subject of focus that implies a greater degree of legitimacy or maturity in the subject matter.

Exceptions exist at the point of overlap, of course:
"Star Wars nerd"
"Star Wars geek"

The big difference between the two would probably be the level of vitriol aimed at you for criticizing their favorite Star Wars character, or something.

I have noticed, and Vox may care to elaborate on this, that most people who are actively atheist seem to fit most neatly within the 'geek' part of the taxonomy.

Since nerdiness requires higher levels of factual commitment as opposed to emotional investment, the typical social atheist would not probably feel comfortable acting within the boundaries of nerdy behavior.

Another distinction is that there seems to be a type of flamboyancy to geeky expression; a nerd would have a full website to their avocation that other similarly inclined nerds would read.

A geek will promote their avocation on facebook, with the equivalent glee and lack of social grace of the most egregious of teenage females and their tsunami of duck-lipped photos.

The Scolds' Bridle said...


Lookit meee! I'm an aaathiest, I'm awesome! Lol, you hate the God that doesn't exist as much as I do? Cool, we're BFFs! OMG, Squee!

There is an attention-whoring element to geekiness that appears to be noticeably absent among the true nerds, who often toil away at their obsessions for years, often isolated from anyone else who shares their interest.

Contrast that with many geeks, whose interest almost appears to be situationally convenient. It's like a nightclub for misfits and outcasts.

Daniel said...

I don't know if it is genetic, the result of one's upbringing, or as is so often the case, some combination therein, but the handicap may help explain the total inability of gammas to understand men who rank higher in the socio-sexual hierarchy and vice-versa.

The hierarchy is natural and universal, so it is going to depend heavily upon the caste into which one was born. For X% of natural-born omegas, gamma is an upgrade, after all, so there is some incentive to synthesize gamma behavior if you are otherwise outcast and are willing (for whatever reason) to adapt to the social norms of the hutch.

The question is: what makes a natural-born omega?

A Finnish study of mortality under the age of 34, as related to parental social class is interesting:

Males and females 15-34 whose parents were considered to be of a "manual" class had a significantly different death rate than than those whose parents were of an "upper non-manual" class (Males had it somewhat worse, but that's not the point). While an increase in the disease risk factors was present for those in the lower class, it was small. The lion's share of the difference in higher death rates? Alcohol and violence.

Obviously, socio-economic class is not the same as socio-sexual. However, I don't think it is a terrible stretch to consider that the incidence of depression, suicide, alcoholism and violence tends to go up among different SS populations, based on the perceived values and benefits of being included among them.

So, among those born with the omega "risk factor", you will have a diversity of responses. Accept the fairly lonely status, reject it with an enacted violent fantasy, or upgrade to gamma at the cost of his dignity that no one outside the omega himself even cared about in the first place.

Gammas, after all, promise relative safety in numbers. If the omega is both in the violence risk zone and values personal security, gamma is going to be a logical choice. The social skills necessary to be gamma are arcane and strange to most of the "upper" classes, but they have rhetorical sense that allows for a fantasy of control to be shared, and will seem completely obvious to the omega.

Now, it is no wonder why women in general, with intense needs for security and safety, would have many of the trappings of "geek clustering," as women likely invented such defensive pooling.

Perhaps the male gamma adaptation is a synthetic model of behavior that social-climbing omegas and others who feel exposed but also aspire to success levels they aren't willing to or able to work toward.

It is a place where failure is both held onto, and, at least nominally, accepted.

MidKnight said...

By those definitions Scolds, I'd say far more nerd than geek - but that doesn't change what else I said or that I believe there's a lot of truth to what Vox posted. And given the geeks and nerds I've known, there's always been a degree of "look at me, I want attention too! I deserver it! I'm smart!"

Just by your definiton, nerds are far more likely to go on doing and learning about what they love even if they don't get the attention they think it deserves. I may be leaning on my own experiences too much, but they also have an easier path to growing up, learning social graces (even if it is a mask at times), and striking out to do their own thing because despite whatever degree of "look at me" they might have had, they also had a core of "I don't give a fuck" , and cared less about being liked for speaking/digging into the truth.

That seems to be a fundamental thing with the "gammas" - they may be "smart" and clever and all - but the cold and uncomfortable hard truth (and Vox delivers it very hard) is less important than being part of a group or liked. And perhaps they're too damn insecure to accept differences in others because accepting "different may be right" means that they themselves are actually wrong.

Greg said...

I'd say there is a difference between geeks and girls. Perhaps because all geeks have been social outcasts at some point and most girls have experienced being the center of attention.

The linked article expands on these points. Take point #1 - ostracizers are evil. The article explains how geeks rarely exclude someone (even when it makes a lot of sense), because they recall how hurtful being excluded was to them in school. I think that with girls, "Ostracizers are evil" is accepted when they consider themselves as the ostracized. But not necessarily when they are doing the ostracizing.

The Scolds' Bridle said...

Some have other definitions:

Daniel said...

I think that with girls, "Ostracizers are evil" is accepted when they consider themselves as the ostracized. But not necessarily when they are doing the ostracizing.

This isn't correct. Not only do geeks engage in multiple forms of ostracism (thus the screeching rejection of racists, homophobes, and any other Star Trek fan who prefers the original series to Next Gen, or whathaveyou), but ostracising girl groups are unlikely to view themselves as ostracisers.

"Reject you before you reject me" is seen throughout girl-world, and is implemented with slightly more self-consciousness, in geek kingdom.

In other words, it is not ostracism in fact that is evil to either group, but rejectors (or perceived rejectors) of a girl's/geek's in-group that are considered to be "ostracizers." In other words, if you don't like Dr. Who, the Star Trek fan will consider you to be a man with opinions, while the Dr. Who fan will consider you an ostracizer.

Make fun, for example, of a wealthy championship dance team, and you will hear the same comments about how "People who judge people are evil. I, like, hate them!" that you would from geeks at a D&D convention. The subtle thing is that the group with the hurt feelings is actually exercising ostracism by declaring the outlier to be the ostracist.

Girls and geeks have learned the arts of language management for their benefit.

After all, if "ostracizers" are so evil to all of geekdom, why are there so few right-wing authors in science fiction? Maybe those bastards simply hate technology and can't write anyhow...

GF Dad said...

Back in the mid to late 80s and early 90s, I noticed the behaviors listed in Baptist single and college age Sunday School groups. The girls/women and the high estrogen guys could talk for hours about the importanceof friendship, the need to be open to everyone and exclude no one regardless of the ridiculous lengths you had the go to not exclude anyone. This was done to the point of making it impossible to do anything with the group because everyone's various schedules had to be considered during the planning stages. If a group of friends got together apart from the group, they would be talked for being clique-ish. But the key here is that 99% of the time, it was the gammas and the women initiating this crap.

Jack Amok said...

It's testosterone. Has to be. That's the magic elixir. I assume some environmental factor - diet most likely - provides an insufficient T spike during one of the periods of brain growth.

I blame soy-based formula for the increase in numbers. Feeding infant boys synthetic estrogen can't possibly be a good idea.

GF Dad said...

Soy is part of the problem. For some it's gluten and others, I think it might be carbs in general. That's why a paleo diet seems to bring some guys up a notch or two in the hierarchy.

Res Ipsa said...

"I don't know if it is genetic, the result of one's upbringing, or as is so often the case, some combination therein"

Considering that there seems to be an increasing amount of them, I can only wonder if this is a result of the feminization of our culture.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vox, this is off topic, but I think you predicted this a while ago:

Honestly never thought I'd see a feminist pro-polygamy stance in a major media outlet.

I imagined women might choose de-facto polygamy over marrying down, but that they'd keep it quiet...

Natalie said...

So are sigmas typically nerds, or are they a subset of geeks who really don't give a damn? Because from what I've read of sigmas they often seem to have geeky/nerdy traits insofar as they can be very interested in somewhat arcane or technical fields and are more likely to bring those topics into conversation quickly as opposed to making small talk.

Cail Corishev said...

#1: School. I was plenty boy at home, roaming around in the woods, fishing, falling off of buildings, etc. But I was also born with a sensitive, thoughtful, quiet side too. School discouraged the former and nurtured the latter by outlawing the boyish stuff and presenting feminine qualities as superior, so I grew in those. When the adults weren't watching, boys with less of a natural sensitive side reverted quickly to Huck Finn mode, so I didn't feel comfortable with them in that sensitized environment (as I would have if we'd been out in the woods), so I didn't enjoy competitive sports and the like until high school.

So a little nature, heavily skewed by nurture. I'll also second the influence of soy, gluten, and other neolithic foods, both as food for the child and for the mother. Soy especially does goofy stuff to the hormones of both men and women. Gluten is a common cause of depression, and it's not hard to see how mild depression in a man could lead to a general lack of conviction, ambition, fortitude, and other manly qualities.

VD said...

So are sigmas typically nerds, or are they a subset of geeks who really don't give a damn?

To the extent they would be one or the other, they'd have to be nerds. They don't belong in geek circles anymore than they do in jock circles. They just go where they want, when they want.

On a given Friday night in high school, I might be at the cool people's party, playing D&D with my best friend and his geek friends, out on a date, or playing Ultima on my Apple //e. It depended on what I felt like; even in college I would blow off frat parties to pay computer games from time to time.

Stickwick said...

School discouraged the former and nurtured the latter by outlawing the boyish stuff and presenting feminine qualities as superior, so I grew in those.

It's quite interesting to see how boys react in different ways to the attempts to feminize and subjugate their masculinity. Husband went in the exact opposite direction. From the time he was in kindergarten, he resisted every attempt to indoctrinate and subjugate. And if you think American schools are bad, Finnish schools in the '70s and '80s were already much further along the path of feminist indoctrination.

Here is Husband's third grade class photo. You can see the hostility in his body language, the cold fury in his eyes. Everything about him says, "Indoctrinate THIS."

Some dude said...

Being a geek/rabbit who would like to escape his nightmare, I saw that ever single fallacy you wrote is something I believe in. In all truthfulness, I simply dont understand why they are false.

I believe you that they are false, because I can look at outcomes, what I feel is one thing, but how does it relate to the result?

So my question: could someone elaborate a little on WHY those are fallacies?

tz said...

Ostracizers are evil
One Ostrasize fits all. And all have fits when ostracized.
Friends accept me as I am
And don't try to change or make improvements, they should be glad to contribute to my cannibalism habit.
Friendship before all
Including before common sense or self-preservation. Though it is meaningless if all the others are qualifiers, so they have no actual friends. If some ideal situation, then this would apply?
Friendship is transitive
Tell that to Facebook. Somehow the idea of a beta in a manage-a-trois with two women doesn't work (unless the idea is to stress test the load bearing capacity of the bed but would still be rare). Can something which is not reflexive be transitive? Or maybe they meant transient (double entendre intended).
Friends do everything together
Accommodate communal commodes?

However soaking one's head in sand might improve things. Ostracism is evil but it can be in one of two ways. The more fun way is to try to get the warren to eject one rabbit. All rabbits have some nonconformist thought, but don't realize it. Pointing it out to the warren (with historic evidence) results in much hopping about. The other is to note the warren is itself outside reality, so the whole rabbit collective is off, yet smart enough to realize the observation is true. That is intolerable. They all hop higher in unison (blowing off the top of the warren at times).

Natalie said...


Thanks for the clarification. I'm mostly curious because the alpha/sigma distinctions explain a fair bit about my husband. Once he started reading about attraction and sharing what he read it was like a light bulb went on for both of us insofar as explaining why him being "annoying" or "arrogant" while we were dating actually worked so well in his favor, and what I've been learning about Sigmas explains more of his social interactions/inclinations. It's not as though he's straight up alpha/sigma (if so he'd be out of my league for sure), but those terms have helped me understand those aspects of his personality.

Sensei said...

I had a somewhat similar experience growing up to what MidKnight related: being too smart for my own good and the resulting marginalization (being smart as a kid was even less cool in 90's grade school culture than now, if that's possible), plus never being taught a shred of reality about girls.

My geek friends and I more or less resigned ourselves to the fact that girls were incomprehensible, liked jerks and guys with money, and we might as well major on our majors (enjoying learning and socializing with other similarly intelligent people). With regards to women, we just hoped we got lucky enough someday for an attractive one to mysteriously be drawn to us, or else (even luckier) finding a geek-type girl who was also attractive.

I always viewed geekdom as a phase, though, a subculture one might (involuntarily, as I thought at the time) be part of as late as graduating college perhaps, but being left mostly behind with a career and marriage.

Humorous to look back on what we all thought was the obvious truth and realize we were nearly totally ignorant of so much.

ioweenie said...

Some dude. I'll take a crack at why these are fallacies.

1) Ostracizers are evil. Being excluded is rarely life-threatening, let alone harmful, therefore, the one who does so is not evil. Being excluded might cause momentary discomfort, but rarely irreparable harm. Further, ostracizing someone who does do harm may be helpful, even self-preserving.

2) Friends accept me as I am. "As I am" is relative - and in the case of women in particular - subject to change moment by moment. Further, and most obviously, we very well might do self-destructive or annoying things. Accepting a self-destructive behavior in a friend is harmful to the friend, sometimes called enabling. And in practical terms, none of us are likable at all times; to except someone to accept us when we behave badly and or hurt them is to be unrealistic, immature, self-absorbed, and abusive of others.

3) Friendship before all. Obligations and responsibilities, self-health/well-being, service to others/community all come before friendship. If one is not taking care of one's basic needs responsibly and honestly, one is most likely taking advantage of others. One who appeals to friendship is often using others and not reciprocating.

4) Friendship is transitive. Don't know what this means.

5) Friends do everything together. Not everyone could possible want or be able to do everything at the same time. For everyone to do everything at the same time would require coercion. Friendship is a voluntary association of people. If it's not voluntary, it's not friendship. Mature people don't require group participation for validation and are also able to walk away from group activity when they just don't feel the hell like participating. Mutual respect accommodates dissension.

Josh said...

4) Friendship is transitive. Don't know what this means.

It means all my friends should all be friends with each other!

Some dude said...

Ah. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

There's definitely something to this. I mean, you see "geeks" talking about shit like My Little Pony... or the absolute worst ones, who discuss transsexual Star Trek furry shit. Yeah, the internal wires are crossed someplace.

The fuckers were probably raised by single mothers, and/or saturated with feminist, solipsistic bullshit since they could crawl, so female-like behavior is expected of them. You look at geek cons and such, and you see female-pattern behavior everywhere. It's a shame, because there's nothing inherently wrong with Science Fiction, or Anime as a technical media for telling a story, or the various technologies many geeks have interests in. Some folks I know with a strong geek bent could have been skilled programmers or engineers, and be making piles of money. But they chose to dress up as a cartoon character and discuss memes all day instead. It's such a waste of material.

So the Gammas just disappoint me. They had potential, and they squandered it. The Geek Gammas can't even use the excuse of stupidity to escape blame for it.

Anonymous said...

But at the same is not high testosterone required for high intelligence?

I see some kind of manliness in nerds, at least in the intellectual part. Many like to deal with truths all day, looking at data, facts, objective data, creating new knowledge, this is a very manly way of thinking and which is hard to see in women. It would be what is called a "magician" male archetype.

It is true that often nerds are lost in the social aspect and neglect, don't care or don't become aware until later in life (as my case) of social hierarchies and how it is related to female attraction.

paulmurray said...

Enjoy your divorces, guys.

A Man For All Seasons said...

High testosterone is not needed for high intelligence. I have tested 99.8 percentile on all kinds of things, and I am able to create complex distributed software systems, but I have always been very low testosterone. I was a high omega low gamma until I discovered the red pill. All of the sudden, I feel like I have permission to act masculine, and I realize the masculine tendencies were always in the background, but they never came to the forefront naturally until I took the red pill.
I've been lifting weights and eating paleo, and I can feel the increase in my testosterone. I think it's the higher testosterone that makes me suddenly feel how it would be to act more masculine.
Looking back, it's clear that much of my behavior growing up, and as a young man, were all characteristic of low T. Yet no one from my high school would deny I was the smartest one within a couple of classes above me and below (high school classes of around 120 meant we all knew each other, at least by acquaintance and reputation)

Anonymous said...

It does seem like there is in fact at least some correlation between very high technical ability in engineering and software and male-to-female transexualism.

So yes, at least some geeks are feminised males.
This may well be an increasing trend due to enviromental estrogen mimics etc.

Anonymous said...

In the current mandroshere sense (not the Brave New World sense) can someone explain the difference between Betas, Gamma, and Deltas?

Jack Amok said...

can someone explain the difference between Betas, Gamma, and Deltas?

Along the bar to the right, up near the top, click on the link that says The Hierarchy. That gives Vox's description of the categories.

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