2 years ago5,000+ Views

Are nerd spaces hostile to LGBT+ and female fans?

I don't want to give anecdotal evidence, because one person's experience isn't going to be the experience everyone has, but I will say that I personally have avoided a lot of 'nerd' spaces because it didn't seem like there was any institutional support for people who were on the receiving end of any kind of abusive behavior. And since so much of 'nerd' culture is based on this idea that we are outsiders, or that we're a family brought together by our niche interests, it does really disappoint me to hear that someone in the community has experienced harassment.
So instead of anecdotes, here's some of what the above Youtuber is talking about:

This... doesn't feel isolated.

It feels a lot more like the culture (and the conventions/institutions that help sustain it) has a serious problem. Do you feel like the suggestions Justin Denis made were helpful? Do you think there's more that we can do as a community to stop these things from happening?
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@KyleBerke I think you made a lot of good points. I want to say that censoring or altering pre-existing characters or media is not the way to go. Not because I don't want to see change, but by altering those works, people are basically trying to ignore that they happened. That is not going to help. They need to acknowledge the faults in that work and by leaving those unaltered it shows the growth of the mediums and steps being taken to aim for the better standard. Altering or censoring the last just tries to cover it up and actually causes more harm by not acknowledging it. We do need to push for better more accurate representation in our mediums and I think in several cases the fans have spearheaded big changes on that front. But that is the core problem, the fans and the community dictate how the culture develops and what changes. Not only do we need to push for future changes we need to point out the past and current problem still present. When a gate-keepers is doing their thing or a fellow nerd is getting harassed, it's up to us to stop it and fight against it.
You both bring up some really interesting points! Thank you @KyleBerke @OctoberHymns There was an article recently written by a guy who used to be like the ones were talking about (Found it! and he talked about how a lot of the things that he felt he was angry about were things that happened in his head. His fear of being rejected, his feeling that he was bad for being a man... none of those things were actually tangible or even based in reality. But they still made him very cruel and aggressive and hateful. I think perhaps I was too limiting in my question, because now that I think about it this isn't just limited to nerd culture (though I think nerd culture does come with its own baggage and specificities), I think it's probably also true of athletic culture, or academic culture. I wonder if maybe due to things like gamergate the people like this in nerd culture were just making more noise?
@shannonl5 Yeah I think these problems abound in many different places, which can be very frustrating. I think one of the more recent problems is that many feminists have decided to take more confrontational approaches to the issue, which then results in a lot more vitriol than necessary. Sometimes it feels like people have forgotten how to be civil. Thankfully I haven't seen much of that here on vingle, but on Twitter or elsewhere people on both sides can be downright nasty. I love you all for making this a place where everyone can safely voice their opinion without resorting to ad hominem attacks or insults. It's really important that we continue to talk about the issues that we as a society face.
Gamergate definitely drew a lot of load voices to the front. But it's issues on both extremes. Guys not wanting change and the scenarios played out in their head but also some of females arguing that games are sexist for vapid reasons. It seems like one side likes to cause trouble for the other and both jump on the defensive really quickly. With defensive becomes stubborn. Are some games downright sexist, yes. Are all? No. Can a female character be badass and sexy? Yes. Do male characters get sexualized too? Yes, but in different ways for different reasons. Gamergate (at least the portions I heard while trying to avoid the idiocy) questioned a lot and in completely unhealthy ways and ended up not even being recognized for what it tried to fix to begin with. I say it's up to us to change the landscape of our cultures but we all need to be able to actually discuss things instead of immediately taking sides and treating everything as and "us vs them" situation. These issues are certainly not limited to nerds and any incident like Gamergate will flood news feed with the extremists who like to be loud because being louder makes you right. It's not a quick nor easy fix. It will take a lot of work unfortunately. And traditionalists need to accept that change will happen with or without their approval. Newcomers sadly are going to have to face growing pains and opposition. And both groups need to find a middle ground otherwise we just split down the middle and alienate people we'd otherwise call friends.
@KyleBerke it is fascinating little toxicity I've seen in Vingle communities. I know Vingle is small, and let's face it Facebook will just be king of social media. But it gives me hope. Even if the mainstream is flooded with the negative, little havens sprouting up could be the balance that promotes the change.