There's a good article up over at Shameless Magazine that explores misogyny in geek culture. The basic thesis is that geeks feel that women and pop culture are taking away geek culture. It's summed up in a later adumbration.
1. Straight White Dudes, we are not here to steal geek culture away from you - we’re here to help make it MORE AWESOME.
2. Excluding people just because they’re not geeky enough, or bullying them because they’re female is just as bad as the isolation and bullying you may have experienced while growing up. If, as a geeky teenager, you hated and resented the kids who picked on you, why the hell would you turn around and do it to someone else?I think that the author is missing the wellspring of the behavior and the reason why her arguments will fall upon deaf ears. Namely, geek culture has never been about acceptance, and it is not surprising that geeks have turned around and behaved identically to ways in which they themselves were treated. It's like the Pilgrims coming to America to escape religious persecution, when in fact they were coming to America so they could be free to be the ones doing the persecuting.
While geek culture has many elements, one of its unifiers was exclusion from popular culture. They were rejected, so they created a culture that was purposely separate. It was not a culture that was defined internally, but also externally. Geek culture requires something separate from it for it to be geek culture. If it becomes integrated into the wider culture, it loses one of its original bricks and is thus no longer geeky. This connotation is built into the very history of the word.
Similarly, geek culture was defined by rejection by women. The point of it was to happily accept that rejection and create a society where part of its very make-up was a lack of women. Geeks have been resistant to accepting pop culture and women because part of geek culture is not having these things.
Let's face it. Many of the people in geek culture are not attractive and have few social graces. It hurts to be that way. It hurts to be rejected sexually. When one's life is heavily influenced by sexual rejection, a safe haven will be sought. And once found, that safe haven only remains safe when the object of rejection, be it pop culture or sexuality, is specifically left out.
It doesn't matter if women entering geek culture are as "geeky" as the men already there. Their not being there is the point. They could never make the culture "more awesome." And when one considers the perspective of those within the sub-culture, this makes sense.
While this is a sympathetic viewpoint, it does not absolve them. Perhaps my own experience with the sting of rejection makes me appreciate their views more than some others. I have never been an object of desire and that sucks. Losing myself in a fantasy world always felt great.
Moreover, this doesn't absolve the community of its racism and homophobia, although I think that these elements are something much more easily expunged. I think that it has more to do with the fact that middle-to-upper class culture in America is dominated by white, cis-gendered people. the biases of that socio-economic group will obviously rub off on any fantasy worlds created by it. Since geek culture was not created by people who had previously been rejected by homosexuals and people of other races, accepting these people will be something that will happen quickly. Accepting them will not undermine a tenet of geekdom.
Does that mean that traditional geekdom will not transform? Of course not. Traditional geek areas like science fiction, fantasy, and games will expand into the general culture, and the language is what will fade. Just as art and filmmaking are no longer the domain of those who lived on the outskirts of polite society, we will stop calling fantasy, science, and games "geeky." The label will die.
Perhaps that's the ultimate point that people should be making: geek culture as it was once known is dying. Science fiction, Dungeons & Dragons, comic books, video games, and fantasy are in the mainstream. I don't begrudge these men for wanting to have something into which they can escape, and specifically something that is theirs, separate from the broader culture. But they must realize that the world of traditional sci-fi, fantasy, and games is no longer that world.