Because You're EMBARRASSING Me, Man

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 15.678% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So today’s PVP has a strip that makes me wonder whether I was partially responsible for Scott Kurtz’s latest character:
That’s right – it’s the White Knight, Defender Of Women’s Rights!  (And the middle panel is suspiciously similar to my widely-linked coffee essay… though then again, being vexed by guys hitting on girls isn’t exactly a unique idea.)  It’s amusing, and I’m curious to see where (if anywhere) Kurtz goes with it.
But lemme discuss why I’m big on women’s rights.  It’s not because I hope to get laid.  It’s because I think that ultimately, we’re all responsible for our nutballs.
Which is to say that when Muslim terrorists assault an embassy or the Christian right blows up an abortion clinic or a nerd talks about how fake nerds are a matter of great concern or a Texan wants to secede from the Union or furries are dry-humping a stuffed yak down at the mall in front of the kids, it’s generally not the mainstream of that organization talking.  Most Muslims and Christians are peaceful, most nerds and furries are cool, most Texans would rather handle their differences in another way.
But every organization has a few fuckheads who ruin it for everyone.
Now, if you’re a member of that particular club, the problem is that these fuckheads call themselves by your name.  Worse, they’re probably the most visible members of your society.  You can have a million people praying for peace and it’ll never make the nightly news, but one bomb and wham.  That’s all people know you for.  Left unchecked, the nutbags become your PR wing, because the nutbags go out of their way to irritate other people.
And I’m of the opinion that if the only time you meet a [MEMBER_OF_GROUP_X], they’re  fucking with you, it’s not unreasonable to form the opinion that [MEMBERS_OF_GROUP_X] are assholes.
There are those who will cry, “But Ferrett, that’s not fair!  People shouldn’t judge based on their personal experiences!  They should get online and read about [GROUP_X], and get to know the good  members of [GROUP_X], and form their opinions based on what [GROUP_X] says they are!”
To me, that’s a fool’s errand that goes against everything we know of human experiences.  Asking people to not form a negative opinion about your group because people who identify themselves as members of [GROUP_X] keep picking on them is to ignore the fact that [GROUP_X] are going out of their way to make some people’s lives miserable.  It’s a way of saying, “Yeah, maybe you got hurt by these people, but your pain is kind of trivial, isn’t it?”  And frankly, “No, we’re better than that, go read up on our many accomplishments!” is not an approach that’s worked well, ever.
So what do you do?  In many cases, though, you can’t control the nutbags.  While I identify as a geek and a male, I can’t really control what other geeks and/or males do.
But I can talk louder.  So if anyone’s listening, they’ll have a positive voice to associate with my [GROUP_X].  So they know that not all members of [GROUP_X] feel that way.  So they know that people in  [GROUP_X] are actively ashamed at these assholes passing themselves off as us.
I write about women’s rights, but you’ll note most of my essays on women’s rights are an arched eyebrow that says, “Really, guys?  You think this is a valid stratagem?”  Because as a dude, it’s deeply embarrassing to hear the tales of OKCupid from my female friends, and the shared IM messages that go, “ur hot wanna fuk”.  It’s painful for me to see guys whistling at women on the street, as if that approach ever worked.*  It’s a constant facepalm extravaganza, watching nerds slip into the friend zone and try to emerge as a surprise fuck, rather than being honest about their sexual intentions.
I like fucking.  I like getting laid.  I actually get a fair amount of sex.
What often motivates me is not that I need to defend women, but that these guys are so fucking bad at fucking.
Seriously.  It’s not hard to get laid.  I have a gut like a tub of suet, buggly eyes, and a hairline receding so fast you’d think it was France in World War II.  Yet I manage.  Why?  Because I think of women as people, and not as mysterious vending machines for sex.  When I talk to a woman, it’s because I would actually like to get to know her, and not because I’m wondering, “How do I crack this safe?  What act should I put on to woo her?” My conversations arise because I’d still be here chatting with her, even if sex wasn’t a possibility, ever.
And that.  Fucking.  Works.
Not all the time, of course.  Or even a majority of the times.  But there’s a lot of men who would only talk to a girl if he thought there was a chance of sex involved.  They treat 51% of the population like they were some bizarre alien overlords we live underneath the rule of, lashing us with promises of sex instead of whips.  (Or, you know, sometimes both, depending on your kink.)  Without the Cracker Jack prize contained in a girl’s panties, these men would never talk to a woman if they could help it, and it shows in every discussion:  they talk about women like they’re irrational masses of needs that could not be fathomed by rational humans.   They discuss women in alternating tones of fear and worship, needing a virgin to find the whore.  They rob women of their humanity, and leave in place a tainted mystery.
So here I am, with lovers and haters, yelling as loud as I can as a guy, to tell anyone listening that, Hey, those oafs over there?  Not all men are like that.  And maybe some women like the clumsy approach, and see me as the nutbag of mankind.  I’m fine with that.  I can’t stop them, they can’t stop me. I’ll be the turd in their peanut butter.  Because I like women and men, I like people, and I don’t see the value in segregating the two like they’re salt and pepper.
But when I talk about women’s rights, it’s because I’m trying to provide a positive experience to offset the negative nutbag experience.  I want my voice ringing far and loud, saying I am not them.  They wear my name, but don’t think we are all like that.
I’m not trying to defend women.  I’m trying to defend me.
* – Yes, I’m aware that for many it’s a shaming call.  I get that.


  1. Magus of the Moon
    Nov 15, 2012

    Re-reading the comic with the contest of every group has annoying fuck-wads that ruin it for everyone else made it funnier for me.

    • Magus of the Moon
      Nov 15, 2012

      context* don’t know how to edit posts.

  2. Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen
    Nov 15, 2012

    I know (hope?) that the PVP comic was used as a hook for the rest of the essay. But on the off chance it wasn’t, please don’t worry about what Kurtz does or says about you or anyone else. Seriously, the man’s head was irretrievably lost up his backside so very long ago.

  3. ilya
    Nov 16, 2012

    “Because I think of women as people, and not as mysterious vending machines for sex. ”
    This is such a key sentence. Just keep pounding away at it. I’m sure many men (nerds?) still don’t get it. I know for me it was like an epiphany, obvious as it seems now.
    This is why a recent comment on one of your posts saying you should write “The Game” for nerds seems misguided to me. The whole premise of “The Game” IS to treat people like automatons that can be manipulated with certain codes. Nevermind that nerds are people too so why should they need a separate manual?

  4. Alexis
    Nov 27, 2012

    Keep fighting the good fight. As a woman happily married to a nerd who respects me as a human being, I know that sooner or later, ideally sooner, your message will get through. It takes time, but I do think that things will get better.

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