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“Elitism:” Now, It Basically Just Means “Not Having Sex With Everybody”

Ladies: Don’t use real names when you write about your bad dates online.

I know! I know! The temptation to write about bad dates: It is IRRESISTIBLE! And that is fine. I myself have fallen prey to the temptation of writing about bad dates. It’s fun, it’s easy, it gets the bad taste out of your mouth. (But not literally, HEYOOO.) Sometimes, it is even instructive. But, for Pete’s sake, people deserve a little bit of grace in this world. Human beings are never more vulnerable and irrational and stupid and undignified than when they are trying to love and/or sex up another human being. If the only thing people knew about you was how you behaved on a bad date, or within a bad relationship, guess what? They would probably think you were a Grade-A Douche, or dork, or loser, or just plain mess. Just like all the douches, dorks, losers, and messes that you’ve dated. So: Disguise the identity of your bad dates, when you write about them on the Internet. They have friends and family and co-workers that they have to face in the morning.

And that’s it. I mean, really: That’s the only widely applicable moral lesson I can come up with, out of Alyssa Bereznak’s “I Dated A Guy Twice And Found Our Lifestyles Incompatible” piece for Gizmodo. She used the guy’s real name; that was wrong; that’s all I got. And that’s because I am not The Internet, Ph.D.

Right now, Bereznak is being called a “predator,” a “gigantic bitch,” an “elitist,” a “soulless harpie,” a “narcissist,” and a “dumb woman,” and that’s just on this one post. What did she do? She led a guy on! She fucked with a guy’s head! She broke a guy’s spirits! She… didn’t go out on a third date with a guy, because she didn’t share his interests. CATASTROPHE! ATROCITY! Alert The Internet, Ph.D!

His interests, for the record, are “Magic: The Gathering,” the card game, and he is not just playing it. He is the World Champion. He plays it regularly, and at tournaments, and he told Alyssa Bereznak that it was the foundation of his whole social life: “I’ve met all my best friends through Magic.” In other words, he is not the sort of guy with whom you can side-step or ignore the whole “Magic: The Gathering” thing. Calling this “unusual” or “weird” is almost beside the point; he is quite literally the only person in the world with this particular investment in the game. In her piece, Bereznak expresses the apparently-shocking sentiment that, given that the dude’s social life is based entirely around Magic, she wishes he had mentioned it before they started dating. It would probably be a good thing for someone who doesn’t care much for “Magic: The Gathering” to be able to avoid the guy, given that she doesn’t want a lifestyle based around lots and lots of “Magic: The Gathering.” Right?

NOT SO FAST THERE! The Internet, Ph.D. has found you guilty of OPPRESSION! That most horrible, socially harmful, Internet-comment-generating of all “oppressions:” Thinking stuff is kind of dorky. It’s awful! It’s mean! It’s unfair! And, worst of all, it results in women thinking they have the right not to sleep with men they find unattractive!

Sorry, friends: People get to find your interests unattractive sometimes. That’s the way it works. Your first dates are always judging you. It is never fair, and sometimes there are sad times. But that is what first dates are for: They are for evaluating the sexiness of others, in a variety of purely subjective ways. For these reasons:

  • I will never date a guy who tells me on the first date that he loves the Renaissance Faire. I think Renaissance Faires are ridiculous. “Let’s go back to the Renaissance, but also it’s not the Renaissance, it’s the Middle Ages! Where, by the way, you would be my legal chattel! Huzzah! M’lady, wilst thou join with me in celebrating the joys of a world without gender equality, widespread literacy, or indoor toilets?” No thanks. This does not mean that nobody should ever date a guy who is really into Renaissance Faires; if you are into that, you could date this imaginary guy, and fall in love, and maybe have one of those Renaissance Faire weddings. There might be archery. I, on the other hand, would only waste his time. It’s a good thing I will never have a second date with your future husband! But,
  • I will also never date a guy who tells me on the first date that he is really into bicycles. Just having a bike would not be a dealbreaker; even being passionate or snobby about bikes might not be a dealbreaker, if I learned about this after a while, and if he understood that his Special Bike Times were for him and him alone. But I have tried to be into the urban-biking thing; I have tried to be into the urban-biking thing specifically to please boyfriends. And in my experience, biking through New York City traffic feels like 45 straight minutes of “I’M GONNA DIE I’M GONNA DIE I’M GONNA DIE,” followed by fatigue and crotch soreness, and at the end of it I am cranky and martyred and I still don’t understand why we couldn’t have taken the goddamn subway. You riding a bike = good for you. Me riding a bike = bad for both of us. So if you spend a lot of time on the first date talking about your fixie, and how much you love your fixie, and how you can’t decide whether to get a new fixie or fix your fixie so you can learn how to fix fixies, I’m going to decide that you probably need a woman who looks at a bicycle and sees “noble, environment-saving warrior steed,” not “messy death on wheels.” Coincidentally,

  • I will never date a guy who tells me on the first date that he is passionately into football, especially not if he has “a team.” It’s a personal thing. I grew up in a football town, known for its borderline-cultlike adoration of our college football team, and I just hated it. I hated the subculture; I hated the obligation to “root” for strangers; I hated attending games; I hated the game itself. Football was boring, it was long, and in our house, we weren’t allowed to watch anything else on Sunday. So I grew up promising myself that one day, when I was grown up, I would never have to watch, discuss, or think about football, ever again. You might be an amazing person, Imaginary Football-Loving Date, and perhaps I would be missing out on a great love by dumping you because you talked about the Colts. (Are the Colts a thing? The Colts are probably a thing.) But also, I would not have to hear you talk about football. For me, this is a fair bargain.

The list goes on. Because I have “preferences.” Which all people have. We could talk about what a total bitch I am for hating nerds. We could also talk about what a bitch I am for hating hipsters, or bros, or environmentalists. Or we could just acknowledge that I don’t hate any of these people, and that I might just find big parts of your lifestyle unappealing. And since the end goal of dating (for me) is to find someone to build and share a life with, I have every right, and every responsibility, to screen out people whose lifestyles I personally wouldn’t enjoy sharing, before things get serious. And other people have the right to do the same. With me, or with anyone else that they date.

When someone has preferences about their partners’ interests, those preferences are not changing because someone else thinks they’re “incorrect,” and yelling about them will not change a goddamn thing. Women, particularly, have to fight for the right to have those preferences, against the constant message that men are entitled to sex and/or love, and should be able to do all the choosing. I learned about the validity of my preferences by acting as if I didn’t have them: Dating the guy who collected swords, dating the guy who drew mandalas and talked about cosmic love, dating the guy who liked techno music, dating the guy who went everywhere on a bicycle. Guess how those relationships ended? Wait: You don’t have to guess. They ended. And a lot of them entailed a lot of time spent feeling guilty for not enjoying myself. Some of those relationships made me less healthy. All of them made me less happy. And, crucially, they also made the men less happy; those guys could have enjoyed their bicycles or musical tastes or New Age beliefs a lot more if I weren’t passive-aggressively rolling my eyes at them throughout. That’s a lot of unhappy people in the world, because I thought “not liking the way a guy chooses to live his life” was not a valid reason for refusing to get involved.

In fact, as far as our culture is concerned, it isn’t a valid reason. We get a lot of sexist narratives about love, but none of them are more pernicious and subtle than this: The Frog Prince story. You could call it “Beauty and the Beast,” too. Or you could call it “Twilight,” or “Knocked Up,” or “Rory Williams Won’t Stop Whining;” it’s always the same story, anyway. Girl meets guy. On the surface, this guy is unappealing! Because he’s a frog! Or he’s not sexually attractive to her, or he treats her badly, or he’s immature, or he’s Rory Williams and he won’t stop whining; all of these are frog-like states, generally considered unkissable. But only a bitch would think that frogs don’t deserve our sweet, sweet kisses, so the woman doesn’t leave. Instead, she looks for the guy’s good qualities. She lowers her standards; she changes her expectations. She gives up on her silly little “ideas” about “attractiveness” or “compatible lifestyles” or “having fun with her partner.” Finally, she loses touch with her own desires to the point that she winds up making out with a fucking frog. At which point he becomes a prince. Or a loving husband, or a responsible person, or a whiny little Roman Centurion; the point is, in these stories, once you give up on wanting things from men, men magically become what you want.

Here’s the secret, though, if you are the girl in this particular story: That guy never became a prince. At all. He’s still the same guy; he still possesses all those qualities you initially found unappealing, for all sorts of valid reasons. People don’t go from frog to mammal overnight, and they particularly don’t do so because you ask less of them; you are still making out with a frog, in the long run. The only reason he looks like a prince nowadays is that you lowered your standards to the point that you literally could not tell the difference between frog and mammal. It’s not that you got what you wanted; it’s that you settled for wanting what you got. And that is the precise opposite of a happy ending.

Alyssa Bereznak did not kiss her frog. She did not pretend to find something sexy or impressive, just because the man she dated briefly was into it. For this reason, she is being punished. Women are pitching in; men are pitching in. But it’s all about denying women sexual agency and the right to make their own judgments. Yeah: She laughed, inadvertently, when a guy told her he was the World Champion of playing an obscure game. Because she found it funny. Which she had every right to do. If you’re part of an interest-based subculture that some people find unattractive — which is to say, any interest-based subculture on Earth — then, as someone who is a voluntary part of that subculture, you have choices. You can (a) participate in the sometimes-seen-as-unattractive thing, and deal with the fact that lots of people think it’s unattractive, because it’s very important to you, or (b) spend less time doing the sometimes-unattractive stuff, and cultivate more popular and mainstream interests, to broaden your pool of potential dates. Either choice is fine. Either choice is valid. Each choice has different results. I myself am part of a widely thought to be unsexy interest-based subculture, known as “feminist blogging.” It limits my pool of dates. I accept it. I do it anyway, I’m very up front about that (in the five minutes I had an OK Cupid profile, before I started dating a friend who read my feminist blog, I listed “writing about feminism” as an interest), and I find partners who aren’t repelled by what I do.

What you CANNOT do, however, is participate in a subculture, build a lifestyle around the subculture, become WORLD CHAMPION of the subculture, and then scream bloody murder because someone finds your participation in the subculture unattractive. That’s not you being “bullied;” that’s just you exercising a massive and unrealistic sense of entitlement. And when you shriek that some woman is a “bitch” and a “cunt” and a “narcissist” and a “predator” and whatever else, just because she didn’t want to fuck some dude, just because she detailed her reasons why and didn’t bother to pretend she found the guy’s interests attractive, and just because that makes you worry that there might be people in the world who don’t want to fuck you or who don’t find you attractive (SURPRISE, there are, this is also true for everyone else in existence), well: guess who’s actually the bully in this situation? Guess who’s actually siding with the crowd to try and hurt someone else’s feelings? And guess who’s actually reinforcing oppression by doing so? Hint: It’s not the girl who turned down a date.

Of course, you could also argue that “finding Magic: The Gathering unattractive” is an unattractive quality, if you are a guy who plays a lot of Magic: The Gathering. And that is certainly true. Men have every right not to date people who find their interests weird and unappealing. But if your end goal is to make sure that men who are really into Magic: The Gathering don’t have to go out on dates with women who dislike Magic: The Gathering… well. Don’t look now, but I have some really good news.


  1. Sanoe wrote:

    “@Sanoe, et al:
    But the point of this post is not that people are mean to gamers. I’m sure they are, and that’s awful. We’re talking about how women literally are not allowed to say “No” without provoking a shitstorm of rape threats. Without being called a cunt on the internet for the rest of our lives. The point is that whether you’re a good girl or not, this world simply will not accept a No.”

    Right, I agree with that. A person can date or not date whomever they desire. The majority of the backlash to Bereznak’s piece is that she’s a woman who didn’t find a guy attractive and dared to say that she wasn’t interested in him. Alternatively, men are allowed to go on at length about how a woman is undesirable/not worthy of his time because of her looks, personality, interests, lifestyle, etc.

    I recall an episode of one of a reality TV show where a group of women lined up and men tossed eggs on the back of the one they found most unattractive. There an attitude that only men get to define desirability or express that a man or woman is unsuitable.

    That said, if someone suggests my personal experiences are bullshit, I think it’s fair to respond to that. There’s nothing incompatible with the notion that geek culture is sexist and nerds can be bullies online, and the notion that being a nerdy adult means that other adults sometimes mock or belittle you.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 12:44 am | Permalink
  2. Adam wrote:

    Agreed; there is no comparison and I probably missed those comments when I was skimming earlier. I certainly wasn’t comparing “nerd” (it’s a really broad term anyway, when you think about the wealth of things in the universe there are to be nerdy about) to any of the groups you mentioned.

    I suppose I am just averse to social snottiness as it does cause many people emotional distress (although, as you mentioned, not to have rights taken away or be murdered) and was just wondering if we can’t condemn both of these hurtful acts, while recognizing that one problem is really just social and the other is social, much more institutionalized, AND entrenched in our legal system to disadvantage people.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 12:59 am | Permalink
  3. Mike wrote:

    I wonder if it’s easier to switch to discussing the content of Bereznak’s post than the horrible responses because we don’t have to see those responses. I know I personally didn’t bother with the comments on Gawker, because I knew they’d be the usual awful, hateful Internet slime you always see… and here, it was so easy to read through all the comments because that stuff is just… invisible.

    Because I don’t see the work Sady is putting in moderating, and I don’t have to read the stuff she’s reading.

    I almost feel like even though I went and read the original article, I didn’t read it properly. I didn’t go to the comments. I didn’t force myself to actually look at what was being said, and actually engaged with it the way I would if someone IRL had said. Since people are saying it, and I guess dismissing it as “just Internet bs, whatevs” minimizes what it feels like to actually be targeted by that shit.

    Maybe it’s just easier to take issue with a single person than the horde…

    It’s like the moderation hurts the point, because we get to talk inside a bubble. But without the bubble, there could be no discussion.

    Anyway. Thanks for the discussion, made me think.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 4:28 am | Permalink
  4. samanthab wrote:

    Sanoe, your personal experiences are a lot narrower than you seem to think, however, and have left you ignorant to the experiences of others. You’re assuming that people don’t just plain get crap on the based of people’s superficial, malice-filled impressions. When I was younger I got crap for being too sexy; sorority members get crap for being stupid regardless of whether they are; I get constant crap for being too “girly” when it’s just what I fucking am and always have been. There are shitloads of people out there who prop themselves up by putting down others. That shit ain’t unique to your experiences, and it’s pretty ignorant and callous of you to assume otherwise.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  5. Knightgee wrote:

    I certainly do remember all the nonsense nerdy people got. Heck, I even remember when everyone thought D&D players were satanic cultists looking to sacrifice babies or something because some news report said so. But I also remember it ending. The media moved on to another sensationalized target.High school ended. People stopped caring about that stuff beyond making some stupid joke and going about their business.

    But homophobia, sexism, racism, albeism, Christian Supremacy et al? I don’t ever remember a time when those things were out of style. When those things didn’t have effects on your life. I’m more worried that admitting I was an officer in my schools Rainbow Alliance will cost me a job than whether or not future employers ever find out I used to play D&D will.

    That’s not to say there aren’t uncalled for social stigmas and stereotypes or bullying that takes place. I would never undersell just how really damaging any type of bullying can be, but that’s the case with a lot of people, not just geeks.

    Everyone has to deal with pre-concieved notions. Being ridiculed is never any fun, especially in ways that remind you of all the crap you endured when you were younger. But it’s not the same as being oppressed.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  6. alula_auburn wrote:

    I went back and read my first comment, and I feel bad that I felt compelled to “soften” my remark even to a limited extent by saying the article was in “poor taste.”

    @Justin–maybe I’m just not aggressive (?) enough of a person to fully understand, but I really don’t get the idea that the need to go and yell “NOT ME!” is a totally natural and understandable response to anything critical about your subgroup, and I certainly don’t understand the argument (which you aren’t making, but definitely exists), that an initial emotional response like that makes it understandable to throw all principles of decency out the window. The idea that is obvious or “natural” to respond that way, and the implication that people writing critical things should either expect it or soft-pedal and bury themselves in disclaimers really bothers me. I hate to risk any more conflation of “nerd oppression” and real oppressions, but, well, I’m white, and straight, and grew up with wealthy parents, and still feel some affinity for my liberal Protestant (UCC) upbringing. But I do not feel the need to be “defensive” when people are critical of those categories of people; I do not demand a page of disclaimers to assure myself that they don’t mean me, and I certainly do not accept that casual or broad language on their part gives me or anyone the right to derail and shout their original point down.

    I’m not trying to imply you do or have done those things; just that the comment you made is part of the mindset that does permit that behavior, and I think the instinct you mentioned is definitely worthy of critique (which you are doing.)

    @SamanthaB, yes. I have definite nerdy/geeky interests, and any teasing I’ve gotten is minimally different from general conformity norms (and way less than I’ve gotten for being a feminist.) And I’ve gotten even worse behavior from some (mostly male) geeks for spending my free time writing general fiction and majoring in English (because words are stupid and meaningless compared to computers), and not “admitting” that SF/F is flatout superior to “boring” literary fiction.

    Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink
  7. Alex Cranz wrote:

    I will never see the Frog Prince the same way again. And I just realized the recent adaptation deftly avoided this issue by having her prostitute her lips for a restaurant. CLEVER DISNEY.

    The backlash for that article has been kind of ridiculous. I loved the article and thought it was fun and she made sense. As a lady of a certain age I saw a LOT of geeky dudes in high school invest their time in Magic instead of ladies. I get where she’s coming from.

    But two questions. Why did the article appear on Gizmodo? The ties to the tech world seemed tenuous at best.

    And why did she feel the need to name the guy and include pictures? That just struck me as unethical.

    It seems like it would have found a much better home at Jezebel which has broader interests. If it had appeared there sans the guy’s name the feedback would have been DRASTICALLY different.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 3:00 am | Permalink
  8. Zircon wrote:

    Re: “Join a different subculture”– Wouldn’t this be comparable to the examples you gave of dating people whose interests are incompatible with yours? If I leave my subculture and start going to football game nights instead of board game nights, I’m inserting myself into an entire social circle whose interests I don’t share. A big part of your point, in this post, is that we have a right to our preferences- specifically, our preferences regarding who we want to have relationships with. I think that’s as valid for friendships as it is for romantic attachments.

    As a queer female feminist nerd, I’ve felt both attacked and erased by some of the things you and others here have said about nerds, just as I felt insulted by Alyssa’s post. Nerds are not a monolith, but you’ve been writing about us as though the virulently misogynist subset attacking Alyssa- and you- is representative. It’s not. But the marginalization and stereotyping of nerds as pathetic predators dissuades more diverse folks from becoming part of nerd communities and also helps create a culture of angry nerd defensiveness. In that way, it’s part of the problem. I’m not the only feminist nerd who’s felt alienated by what looks like an anti-nerd streak on Tiger Beatdown recently, but I suspect most of us respond by getting sad and going away- something we’re often very familiar with- leaving you with commentary from the minority who get violently angry and attack instead.

    This is such a messy ramble. I have a lot of feelings around this. I want to be part of these conversations. I don’t feel welcome or accepted. I don’t know what to do about that.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 3:05 am | Permalink
  9. Sady wrote:

    @Zircon: Actually, before Friday of this week, I had zero feelings about the subculture, other than finding a lot of the forms of entertainment/engagement weird, and not wanting to do them myself. But, I mean, how do you want me to pretend that I feel here? At what point am I allowed to factor in the teenage girl who’s written 10 posts on Tumblr, this week alone, about what a terrible person I am for not liking Doctor Who enough? The group of college students who accused me of hating rape victims and/or said they wanted to punch me because I didn’t like a Zach Snyder movie? The teenage girl who flipped out and accused us of “polluting” the Doctor Who hashtag by allowing criticism of Rory to surface on it? Alyssa Rosenberg’s need to write an indignant post every time I don’t like Harry Potter enough, or paraphrase her liberal dude friends like Spencer Ackerman without acknowledging that in her post? The commenters who compared “not finding nerds sexy” to the Holocaust? The misogynist trolls? The administrator of the Westeros forums who found the time to call feminism “pathetic” when she was not busy administrating her on-line text-based fantasy fanfic role-playing game? The guy who’s left 15 deleted comments about “reverse sexism,” all under the name “Samwise Gamgee?”

    I tried to be the bigger person here, and smile politely, and say “oh, that’s interesting” when someone brings up their fanfic in the comments, and be nice to the people who are actually in my life who have these interests, and all it got me was people screaming at me when I had an opinion of my own about it all. So: At what point, I am saying, does someone have the right to have negative feelings about a subculture based on interactions with the subculture? Or is the martyr complex so far gone that any criticism at all makes you a “Mean Girl,” no matter what levels of harassment, abuse, and just plain unpleasantness the subculture has inflicted on you?

    Like I said: People make jokes about hipsters, too. They adjust their scarves, pull up their skinny jeans, and go on with life. There’s a lot I dislike about that subculture, too, but at least those folks take it for granted that they’re awesome, and learn to blow off anyone who says they’re not. I admire that. I also admire that they can laugh at themselves. I wish to God online nerd-dom had a bit of this going on.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  10. Justin wrote:


    Now that you’ve mentioned it, it does kind of seem enabling doesn’t it? I’m not a very aggressive person either. When I said “It’s natural”, I’m kind of saying it from experience observing instead of empathy. There’s just so many baffling reasons people have gotten pissed at me before that I guess my attitude has shifted into the passive, “Whatver”. This “Whatever” attitude might be a problem too, but, it’s an attitude I think born of the exhaustion of irrationality. But I think I’m getting abstract and off-topic.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  11. tenar wrote:

    @Sady: As a feminist, I certainly don’t just accept anti-feminist jokes as my lot in life and refrain from complaining about them on the internet. Why should other subcultures reject mockery less?

    Also, it seems like a bunch of us here are queer feminist geeks who hate the misogynistic nerdrage mob as much as you do, and we prefer not being erased.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
  12. Sady wrote:

    @tenar: Probably because feminists are concerned with gender equality, and anti-feminism is troubling because it rejects and polices gender equality.

    If you want to have socially undesirable hobbies, define yourself around them, enter a subculture that defines itself around social undesirability, whatever: Great. Fine. None of my business. If you have socially undesirable hobbies, define yourself around the socially undesirable hobbies, enter a subculture that defines itself around social undesirability, and are then SHOCKED about being seen as socially undesirable — which is something you made several conscious decisions about, probably with the full knowledge that these chosen traits were seen as socially undesirable in the first place — I have every right to find that a bit silly. I have a problem with people being mocked for things they can’t control — body type, gender, sexuality, race — not for things they’ve chosen. People want to tell me I spend too much time engaging with the feminism thing? Whoopdefuckingdoo, I don’t have to hang out with those people. Although I might want to. Because, at this point, I’m starting to think that they might be correct.

    If we can’t acknowledge that subcultures encourage standards of behavior and thinking, as well as standards of dress and taste, well: Sure. On those terms, we can’t say that online fandom encourages inferiority complexes and aggressive, abusive behavior, from women and men, misogynists and feminists alike. But I don’t accept those terms. It’s my experience that it does encourage those elements. That is based on history, and on the fact that even #MooreandMe has never inspired the level of personal attacks and derailing that not being in love with nerd subculture has done. We can talk about rape, disability, socialism, race, elections, whatever; nothing that any of us says will ever inspire more personal, abusive rage than the statement “I don’t like Harry Potter.” I’m currently dealing with the fact that our Internet is broken (and dealing with suspicions that this might have something to do with the fact that we got linked by some notoriously aggressive forums), having to spend the vast majority of my now very-limited work day engaging with and screening commenters as politely as I can manage, taking care of my emotional well-being as well as I can possibly manage given that I’m in an abusive situation that has sustained itself for over a week, and having my work life and personal life deeply compromised, because I said what?

    I said that when you criticize sci-fi and fantasy, fans tend to overreact in an abusive manner.

    I’m still waiting for the part where someone proves me wrong.

    So your erasure of my personal experience is really galling. I’ve tried to be a tolerant adult, here, and not get into any arguments with vulnerable people, and remind people that I am not saying they HAVE to change their subcultures, and I’ve tried to maintain that tone even when my primary experience of “fandom” happens when people are calling me “the worst person on the Internet” for not loving Rory. My patience has been severely tested, and I’ve fucked up by engaging while angry in the past. I own that. My tone is especially sharp because I’m angry now, and I wish I weren’t; I own that, too. But at this point, people keep insisting that I engage with them, and “anger” is the only mode I actually do have. I am no longer able to give people a pass for derailing or attacking because “they don’t know better” or “they’ve had hard lives,” because I no longer believe that empathy will be justified. And I’m really wondering where you think my personal rights, boundaries, and preferences become an acceptable topic for conversation on my own blog. I’m seeing a re-iteration, in these comments, of the exact same problem that I talked about in the original post. That women aren’t allowed to have preferences or opinions about subcultures that are popular on the Internet.

    And when I become your target, and you have a bigger problem with me not liking your subculture — after repeated negative, aggressive, abusive interactions, not initiated by me, not all from men, and some from self-defined “feminists” — than you do with that subculture’s habitual abuse of anyone and everyone who DARES to judge it, and you insist on “erasing” my own negative interactions, or justifying them, I have every right to roll my eyes when you talk about being “erased.” If I wanted to literally erase your comment, I’d have that option. Yet here you are. Talking. Talking about you, and about your personal feelings, and not about the sexism which is the topic of this post. As I’ve repeatedly requested that commenters refrain from doing.

    I’m unclear why I’m supposed to be warm and welcoming to everyone, no matter what, when the commenters here have trouble treating me with even basic respect.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  13. Lynne wrote:

    I finally went and read the original article after seeing the first few comments here (still haven’t read all the comments but have skimmed and wow, getting interesting).

    Anyway, I read the post and I was amazed at how innocuous it seemed. Tongue-in-cheek, sometimes, and light. Making fun of her own reaction to Magic as much as to the guy’s obsession with Magic. That’s how it struck me, and if it had appeared in my daily newspaper, I think it would have been taken the way I took it. Maybe the setting contributed to the provocation?

    I, too, thought she could have left out the guy’s name, but apparently he has no problem with the article himself—he tweeted as much.

    There seems quite a vicious backlash against this woman and honestly, backlash is so much more often vicious against women than men.

    Off to read some more comments.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  14. tenar wrote:

    Hey, Sady, I love your blog and you personally and I don’t mean to erase your experiences at all. You get a lot of flack from internet assholes for daring to say true things about media nerds love, and I really appreciate that you keep saying true things anyway. And you are also totes entitled to like or dislike who you want, and I would have run *screaming* from the amount of verbal abuse you take in the average week. Your anger is justified. I’m sorry I came across as part of the storm of criticism.

    I don’t see the fact that an identity was chosen as a valid basis for stigmatizing it, though. I do believe in *avoiding*- and not dating- people for having interests you think are dumb. I only believe in stigmatizing people for bad things they personally did or endorsed.

    But honestly I’m posting a second time because I felt bad adding to your stress. You rock, and whatever you need to do to deal with the hatedom is what you need to do.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Permalink