The Empowered Nerd.

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
They're writing in the 60s, Geto Boys in the early 90s, which I think explains the difference in form - intent is much the same. But Brown Sugar, Under My Thumb etc are grimly misogynist, and obvs racist too in the case of the first.
Under My Thumb is a shitty, shitty song. That's not open to question. At the same time, it's not literally a celebration of rape and murder. FF is talking in very crude terms and his line about "black privilege" is ridiculous, but I get his point when he talks about relativism in this particular context.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
truly remarkable - you seem to be saying that Eminem is only misogynist because he learned it from black rappers? Is that actually what you're saying?
Well hang on, you implied earlier that black rappers only started making misogystic rap music in order to sell it to white audiences!

And while I'm probably the least qualified rap historian on Dissensus, I understand Geto Boys were pretty well established long before anyone had heard of Eminem.
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
Re: Barty

This is an ideal scenario Barty, but admittedly this scenario while not for the goal of coupling, still reads of using a woman for empowerment and assurance of self? I don't mean that in a negative or accusatory way to your intent in describing a way to help or what have you. Just frankly if anyone who does this finds a subject who DOESN'T trust him, no matter the innocence, because of their own personal reactions to strangers starting a conversation, that's going to possibly fuel the sense of rejection.

Mind you my masculinity swings violently between Alpha and Omega (as in, "fucking hell, men ARE trash, this shit is the absolute worst, I don't want anyone to even look at me, woe is me, blah blah blah") so I don't know what works for whomever else. I just have my cynicism.

Now, as for this ugly rap conversation...

Crude misogyny getting attributed to black people is of course nom de rigeur or however you want to call it, and indeed, it becomes a playpen of liberal fantasy when nerds hear rappers get away with that. You can go back to Reynolds' rap-writing in the magazines in the 80s, where he's gleefully fascinated with the misogyny and homophobia of Schoolly D, Beastie Boys or Run-DMC; even the portrayal of Public Enemy as a hyper-right wing fascist group is embarrassing (though reasonable for someone divorced from Black American culture who would mistake 'Pantherist' gestures for militaristic conservatism (not that the scoops of N.O.I. rhetoric behind Chuck & Griff, which is inherently right-wing, didn't help lean things that way)) in how you see this individual playing up the archetypes of 'scary, menacing, tough blackness'.

There is also a fact that when you bring up old shit like The Rolling Stones they themselves are mimicking an exaggerated version of the blues where they feed on the misogyny of their favorite blues singers and camp it up. Rather than simply deny its existence in the source material, or put the blame on the source, I'd say the bigger issue of a Rolling Stones or an Eminem is how they recognize that and seize upon it to further a frame of mind they themselves may not even believe (Well, that's more probable with Mick than Marshall), and put it out into the world for the sake of personage. Which in itself is again, more fantasy of divorced liberal minds playing with stereotypes, justified in the fact that this black art may have similar themes.

The idea of the white audience is legitimate, but the idea that awful tropes were heavily promoted for the interest of white audiences is a fucking myth. Too Short was moving hundreds of thousands of units in the black community for cartoon misogyny, as were Geto Boys before Rick Rubin got to market them in their extremity to a whiter audience... Frankly the idea that 'gangster rap' is a conspiracy of white oppression is horse-shit, and a gesture of copelessness in the face of an overwhelmingly toxic society, usually perpetuated by underground rap fans who have a chip on their shoulder why their seemingly 'more nuanced' (oft sexless) faves hold less commercial esteem than some star. It also further makes these black artists who, say what you will about the moral leanings of their material, are inherently stupid minstrels when in reality the minstrelry nearly always comes best FROM the top-down.

Note that in all three of these points, the problem does return to Fucking Nerds in some way, shape or form.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
So basically, nerds get fairly maligned for constantly insisting that they're unfairly maligned, lol.

As a subculture it does seem to involve a good deal of self-pity, which ends up being self-reinforcing because it's such an unattractive personality trait and is likely to provoke hostility or ridicule from outsiders. It has that in common with emo, I suppose.
yeah, well the point i was trying to make and which the nerd in the article also makes, is that women are oppressed as a class in all kinds of ways which males are not (though looking at male nerds provides some good examples of how the constraints of masculinity are bad for males too). There is not a class of oppressed nerds - indeed nerd culture and identity is pretty mainstream. And of course this thread is all about the 'empowered' nerd anyway.

None of this nerd behaviour - whether we're talking about 14 year old boys, computer programmers, mass murderers, twitter trolls, misogynists or whatever - goes against 'traditional' feminist readings of how masculinity works to sustain the patriarchy, which is what the article vimothy posted was saying and which I was objecting to.

Looking back to the start of the thread, 'you' was making some excellent points about male entitlement,;

Most of these (white-men in more affluent countries) people's gripes seems to be that they are not allowed to be automatically dominant, respected and privileged. I think rather than focus on how they are not these things it is better to ask why people still feel they deserve to be these things.
Breivik sees most of the worlds problems as being connected to the demise of the traditional family and the 'feminization of men'. Essentially he wants a older world, I hear.
I do not know for sure how people feel. Let's get this obvious truism out the way. But, look at the cultural materials these people tend to be smothered by. Hollywood depictions of masculinity, sexist gamer culture and phallonarcissistic heavy rock coupled with the ruse of neo-liberal economics implying to them that they are unique individuals with every right to rise to the top and get the girl if only they try hard and listen to their heart. Much narrative is aimed at framing spree-killers as being somehow 'let down' or being 'alienated' but let down from what? What does this line of narrative assume these people are entitled to?
My gripe is that there seems to be a certain empowered nerd gravity that distorts responses that examine the larger social issues. I'm not arguing on the basis of a hierarchy of hardship - I just feel social reflection is skewed by spectacle and privileges the nerd's cry for help.
The dismantling of masculinity since the 80's was a good thing. It is good thing. But I now feel that there is a rampant return of gender binaries - but in much more acute terms. Whereas before each role was diverse (to a point) now each mode is limited. Machismo is about money and muscle...
It is precisely this type of stuff that is the soft propagation of unequal values. As bad as Barbie and Ken, or worse.
'Men' solve problems and succeed by force.
I think these are good ways at looking at the problem - the enforcement of gender binaries is what the patriarchy relies on. Male nerds are not born into oppression. They consume all this stuff which consolidates these ideas and turns them into misogynists. They resent 'alphas' because they want what they have got. If they're not getting laid, they may be failing at so-called 'alpha' masculinity, but its not like they respond by becoming more 'feminine' - they channel their masculine aggression against women, the oppressed class. In terms of gender the nerd phenomenon is totally conservative.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
As a subculture it does seem to involve a good deal of self-pity, which ends up being self-reinforcing because it's such an unattractive personality trait and is likely to provoke hostility or ridicule from outsiders. It has that in common with emo, I suppose.
Self-pity is actually a fairly common masculine trait. As are temper tantrums when you don't get what you feel entitled to as a man (ie; power over women). These misogynist 'beta' nerds are just as masculine as the 'alphas' in their own way, regardless of whether they're getting laid or not, or whether they identify themselves as 'failsons'.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
It's a pretty common human trait, IME. I've known women who could self-pity for England. But I suppose there are certain stereotypically male things to be self-pitying about.
 

Benny B

Well-known member
Sure, but given the patriarchal context, I'm much more sympathetic to female neuroses than men's.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
Re: Barty This is an ideal scenario Barty, but admittedly this scenario while not for the goal of coupling, still reads of using a woman for empowerment and assurance of self? I don't mean that in a negative or accusatory way to your intent in describing a way to help or what have you. Just frankly if anyone who does this finds a subject who DOESN'T trust him, no matter the innocence, because of their own personal reactions to strangers starting a conversation, that's going to possibly fuel the sense of rejection.
First off, thanks for being understanding and not, as you say, negative or accusatory. In terms of gender politics obviously I understand that what I’ve written could be deemed in a negative light. All I would say is that I’d have given similar advice if he had other, non-gender related problem such as a fear of public speaking or a difficulty making friends. In those instances he would also be using people "for empowerment and assurance of self”, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing as long as nobody is harmed by him doing so. In the end it would just be Corpsey making chit chat with someone for a couple of minutes.

In terms of the practicality of my advice, that’s up to Corpsey to decide. People tend to be dismissive of sex, but as Luka says, it really is hugely important. From the little I know of Corpsey he seems like a sweet, interesting, funny guy so it’d be nice for him to overcome any problems he feels he has.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Sure, but given the patriarchal context, I'm much more sympathetic to female neuroses than men's.
This comes around to something I was going to bring up earlier, in the context of that piece you linked to that mentioned the 'difficulty settings' analogy that I think is so badly misplaced.

The gist of it is that I think feminism would have far more success convincing a great number of men, and no small number of women, if some of its most vocal proponents stopped talking about 'male privilege' like it's this universal, absolute thing that gives all men an inbuilt advantage over all women in all possible respects. No doubt you're rolling your eyes and thinking "Oh come on, of course it's not meant to imply that", but it's very often used in a way that implies exactly that.

Now if you take the position that neuroses are the product of structural oppression, it's worth remarking on that depression and other kinds of mental illness, severe behavioural disorders, heart disease, substance abuse/addiction and suicide are all more prevalent among men than among women (by a factor of more than 3:1 for suicide, in this country). There's another big divergence here between traditional macho values, which would brush all this off with a smirk and a remark about wimps and pussies, and the kind of internet-enable misogyny discussed in this thread, which comes from young men who are justifiably concerned about these issues - perhaps suffering from some of them personally - but who then wrongly identify feminism, or women in general, as the root cause. And while I've read some great stuff that goes into detail about how these specific problems for the most part also come from patriarchal values - for instance, the idea that it's 'gay' to talk about feelings, fuelling the epidemic of mental health problems among teenage boys and young men - I've found many other instances where even trying to bring this up triggers a barrage of simply hilarious "WOT ABOUT TEH MENZ?!?!?!?" type responses. Whereas I'm inclined to say that, well actually, with suicide the leading cause of death among men under 45, "What about men?" is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. It just needs to be wrested back from the so-called MRAs who are only making things worse both for women and for themselves.
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
funnily enough this is one of those rare occasions on which I'm broadly in agreement with tea, to the extent I was thinking about this very subject yesterday.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
Huh, well there's a thing! Good. I'll be interested to see what Benny makes of it.
 
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Benny B

Well-known member
funnily enough this is one of those rare occasions on which I'm broadly in agreement with tea, to the extent I was thinking about this very subject yesterday.
which part? that was such a typical mr tea post
 

Benny B

Well-known member
The gist of it is that I think feminism would have far more success convincing a great number of men, and no small number of women, if some of its most vocal proponents stopped talking about 'male privilege' like it's this universal, absolute thing that gives all men an inbuilt advantage over all women in all possible respects. No doubt you're rolling your eyes and thinking "Oh come on, of course it's not meant to imply that", but it very often is used in a way that implies exactly that.
Well, no its not really meant to imply that. At least, not the way you put it.

Male privilege is a universal thing in all societies across the world however. Yes, of course gender intersects with economic class, race and so on, and it becomes incredibly complex to pick apart and see the nuances (which is what feminist studies of intersectionality do). But there is no society where women overall are not subordinate to men in terms of political power as a sex class, which affects every part of our culture and lives , public and private. As far as I know, pretty much every society in the world is patriarchal. The world is run by men.

If you're having a hard time understanding this, maybe its useful to compare it with that other great system of oppression, racism. A non-white man in the US can be relatively wealthy, middle-class and yet still be oppressed and discriminated against in other ways that aren't economic because the system is racist. Racism subsumes economic class differences, and so does gender on an arguably even more fundamental level.

And if you went up to a critical race theorist with a 'what about the whites?', 'why are you centring non-whites all the time?' jive I'd imagine you'd get pretty short shrift too. And so it goes with feminists.

Anyway, I think you're in danger of contributing to the demonisation of feminists here by misrepresenting their position (who are these 'most vocal proponents' you're talking about anyway?). My understanding is that gender critical feminists do not regard male privilege as an 'inbuilt advantage' anyway. On the contrary, they analyse how society imposes these roles and behaviours upon them. This is actually being very generous to men (much more so than vimothy's 'violence is a part of man' doom anyway!), leaving open the possibility and hope that men can work on unlearning these socialised behaviours.

Feminism is a woman-centred movement by definition. It is never gonna be easy on men. One thing maybe men should do is learn to take criticism better, and take responsibility for doing a bit of self-examination instead of sitting back and waiting to be 'convinced' by feminists.

Now if you take the position that neuroses are the product of structural oppression, it's worth remarking on that depression and other kinds of mental illness, severe behavioural disorders, heart disease, substance abuse/addiction and suicide are all more prevalent among men than among women (by a factor of more than 3:1 for suicide, in this country).
Of course its worth remarking on and feminists do so. Obviously feminism is more female-centred but there is plenty of stuff to be found about how masculinity is damaging to men too, if you do your reading. Again, I don't think you're being fair.

There's another big divergence here between traditional macho values, which would brush all this off with a smirk and a remark about wimps and pussies, and the kind of internet-enable misogyny discussed in this thread, which comes from young men who are justifiably concerned about these issues but wrongly identify feminism, or women in general, as the root cause. And while I've read some great stuff that goes into detail about how these specific problems for the most part also come from patriarchal values - for instance, the idea that it's 'gay' to talk about feelings, fuelling the epidemic of mental health problems among teenage boys and young men -
I'm with you on this, but then...

I've found many other instances where even trying to bring this up triggers a barrage of simply hilarious "WOT ABOUT TEH MENZ?!?!?!?" type responses. Whereas I'm inclined to say that, well actually, with suicide the leading cause of death among men under 45, "What about men?" is a perfectly reasonable question to ask.
Haha, well what I see happen A LOT more often is guys bringing this question up in conversations with feminists in terribly clumsy, inappropriate, often patronising ways (if not actual out and out MRA misogynist types) and then they wonder why they get laughed at and derided. Whether you deserved it or not, if a woman has laughed at you for saying 'what about men?' and you don't think that's fair, I'd suggest just taking it on the chin or maybe avoid getting into these types of conversations in the first place, find someone else to talk to it about.

Maybe men need to be asking each other 'what about men?' first before getting sniffy that a woman hasn't given them the time of day for whatever reason. Many women are understandably very angry and the last thing they want to hear is 'what about the men' when they've heard it a millions times before, used against them. Believe me, I've read a lot of these sorts of exchanges on the net and its almost always just some sexist, whinging man-baby berating a woman.

It just needs to be wrested back from the so-called MRAs who are only making things worse both for women and for themselves.
Yeah, I mean it is essentially a good question, don't get me wrong. And feminists do have a lot more sympathy for men's problems than you might think, even radical feminists, and are more than willing to have these conversations about men. Its just that it tends to get asked with the wrong intentions.
 

sadmanbarty

Well-known member
If my sister's anything to go by, in recent years (maybe for even longer) feminists have emphasised that gender roles are harmful to both men and women (though of course there shouldn't be any false equivalence, women are by far the biggest losers).

The racial comparison is an interesting one, though I imagine white men feel far more constrained by, and anxious to fulfil, the roll of being 'a man' then they are of being white. I can't imagine there's anyone worries that they're not white enough, whereas I'm sure there are millions of men worried that they're not 'manly' enough.
 

vimothy

yurp
If you're having a hard time understanding this, maybe its useful to compare it with that other great system of oppression, racism.
Question for you, Benny: What effect dominates, in your view: sex, class, race, something else...?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
But there is no society where women overall are not subordinate to men in terms of political power as a sex class
Even Rwanda, where nearly 2/3 of MPs are women?

The world is run by men.
The world is run by ELITE men. In Britain, yes, most MPs are men, but most men are not MPs. Most homeless people are men, too, and there are a damn sight more homeless people than there are MPs. Men may occupy most of the positions at the top of society but they also occupy most of the positions at the very bottom, and there's a lot more room at the bottom than at the top.

If you're having a hard time understanding this, maybe its useful to compare it with that other great system of oppression, racism. A non-white man in the US can be relatively wealthy, middle-class and yet still be oppressed and discriminated against in other ways that aren't economic because the system is racist. Racism subsumes economic class differences, and so does gender on an arguably even more fundamental level.
Interesting you should bring up race. Did you know that white boys from poor families in the UK do less well at school, and are less likely to go to university, than kids from any other demographic? How does these kids' whiteness and maleness benefit them with regard to education and employment? Part of the problem is that, as is so often the case with committed identitarians, you're downplaying or ignoring altogether the issue of wealth and class. The strata of class of this country have become so immutable and impenetrable that when well-meaning liberal white guys write articles about privilege for broadsheet papers and blogs, of course they're going to focus on gender, culture and race, because they find it easier to imagine an alternative self who's black, Muslim and female (because they know people who answer this description) than one who's uneducated and poor. They pull out statistics on the number of female professors or black QCs because those are the crucial issues affecting the class they belong to. And of course they ARE extremely important, but they're a lot less immediately important to the great majority of people, who have zero chance of becoming a professor or a QC, regardless of their sex or skin colour.

(who are these 'most vocal proponents' you're talking about anyway?).
Well this Scalzi chap, for one. God knows how many bloggers and opinionators. It's not at all far from opinions you can read in the Guardian, Indy and HuffPo on any day of the week. And your good self, of course.

Haha, well what I see happen A LOT more often is guys bringing this question up in conversations with feminists in terribly clumsy, inappropriate, often patronising ways (if not actual out and out MRA misogynist types) and then they wonder why they get laughed at and derided. Whether you deserved it or not, if a woman has laughed at you for saying 'what about men?' and you don't think that's fair, I'd suggest just taking it on the chin or maybe avoid getting into these types of conversations in the first place, find someone else to talk to it about.
It's a response I've had when I've mentioned some of the issues I've gone into here in the most reasoned, non-inflammatory way possible. When I've responded to assertions that are just flat out, demonstrably untrue. Exactly as you do when you disagree vehemently with something someone has said or typed - right?

Maybe men need to be asking each other 'what about men?' first before getting sniffy that a woman hasn't given them the time of day for whatever reason. Many women are understandably very angry and the last thing they want to hear is 'what about the men' when they've heard it a millions times before, used against them. Believe me, I've read a lot of these sorts of exchanges on the net and its almost always just some sexist, whinging man-baby berating a woman.
I'm wondering what form "men asking each other 'what about men'" could take that you'd approve of. I can imagine anything other than "We're all terrible people, let's try and be less sexist and hopefully the world will gradually get better" would be interpreted as 'whining man-babies'.

There have been attempts to set up Men's Societies in UK universities in order to offer some support to the huge numbers of young men suffering various kinds of anxiety, depression, poor self-image, self-destructive behaviour and suicide ideation. With appropriate leadership, they could be a great way to promote progressive and constructive conversations about all sorts of things that young men think about, including, it need hardly be said, women. But the idea was instantly shot down in flames by existing Women's Societies on the grounds that they'd simply fill up with "MRAs". It's like, well if that's the prevailing attitude, then of course they would! If there is an automatic hostility to any men's space, then where such spaces do exist, such as online, they will inevitably end up as cesspits of misogyny.

This kind of extremely aggressive zero-sum-game feminism only 'opposes' the pustulant dwellers of 4chan in the same sense that Islam4UK 'opposes' the EDL. In reality, each feeds off the other. I disagree with vimothy on his fundamentally pessimistic view of human (and male) nature, but he's dead right about activists of the far right and far left being each other's mirror image.

Yeah, I mean it is essentially a good question, don't get me wrong. And feminists do have a lot more sympathy for men's problems than you might think, even radical feminists, and are more than willing to have these conversations about men. Its just that it tends to get asked with the wrong intentions.
OK, well that's good, I mean it shows the situation is not totally hopeless, at least. It's just that I'd thought I'd proofed myself against possible misunderstanding by going out of my way to explain where the ultimate cause of these problems lies - even if I think some strains of feminist discourse are in all likelihood making things worse.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
If my sister's anything to go by, in recent years (maybe for even longer) feminists have emphasised that gender roles are harmful to both men and women (though of course there shouldn't be any false equivalence, women are by far the biggest losers).
I should reiterate that I've read a lot of good stuff that acknowledges this aspect.

(But I want to point out again that the relative advantages and disadvantages of being male or female are so hugely contingent on wealth, class and culture that trying to take any sort of overall view is going to be impossibly subjective. I mean, how do you weigh up the relatively small gap in school achievement between middle-class boys and girls against the chasmic difference in achievement between white boys and girls from the poorest backgrounds, against the shocking incarceration rate for young black men, against FGM, arranged marriages and 'honour' violence in some south Asian communities?)

The racial comparison is an interesting one, though I imagine white men feel far more constrained by, and anxious to fulfil, the roll of being 'a man' then they are of being white. I can't imagine there's anyone worries that they're not white enough, whereas I'm sure there are millions of men worried that they're not 'manly' enough.
If anything, there's a complex of inadequacies that connects being insufficiently manly with being too white.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
The gender gap in school achievement favours girls, and has done for the last twenty years, incidentally.
Er, I know - that's what I've been getting at these last several posts. Or maybe you were clarifying for Benny's benefit, I dunno.
 
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