Maybe Guys Are The More Emotional Sex.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So if you’ve been paying attention to Gamergate, it’s been death threats a-plenty for the women in the gaming industry.  But don’t worry, women!  Men are getting death threats, too!
Yesterday, the developer of a game death-threatened Gabe Newell, the founder of the Steam game delivery platform, after the game was released marked as “Early Access” instead as a finalized game.  Steam found out about the Tweets, terminated his account, and the game he’s worked on for a year has currently sold only 12 copies.
And I think this is an example of Guy Culture at work.  Where when a guy gets mad, it’s seen very much as “boys will be boys” and he can scream at whoever he wants because heck, we all know he doesn’t mean it.  You see that kind of repellent work in Scorcese movies – the guy-heaviest of guy films – where men routinely humiliate other men.  (I’m thinking in particular of The Wolf of Wall Street, wherein the salesmen were routinely abused by the charming and competent leads, and the salesmen loved it because these men were rich and smart and hey, you just expect a little creative abuse, amiright?)
So you have these hothouse cultures where competency matters for everything, and tact matters for nothing – well, actually a lack of tact is frequently seen as proof of competency, because who could possibly dress down someone that harshly unless they were really certain?  So you wind up with an atmosphere where intellectual issues are hashed out in screaming matches, and incompetency is met with streams of over-the-top swearing.
What we’re starting to see is that clash of cultures – where programmer dudebros, conditioned by years of condoned hothouse-flower environments where losing your shit is just Part Of The Process, are running into other cultures where threatening to cut someone’s balls off is seen as the cheap intimidation tactic it is.
And what you’ve got is this weird mess.  Because afterwards, you’re going to get some weird mix of “Okay, I probably shouldn’t have done that” followed by “But he should know I wasn’t really going to kill him!”  Yet what you never get to is the truth of “I wasn’t actually going to kill him, but I just wanted to express all my murderous rage without any filters, because a lot of the time threatening people actually works for me.”
We have this idea that women are the crazy emotional ones in this society, led around by their soft estrogen-producing wombs, just crying at the drop of a hat.  And frankly, I’d prefer we didn’t stereotype any gender with the label of “They’re the ones who can’t control themselves,” because frankly I think any sort of lack of control comes down to culture and mental health, not gender.
But what we’ve seen lately are a lot of men who are used to getting their way, and they lose their shit if anything goes wrong.  That’s a culture that’s trained them to be that way.  And so you have a bunch of very machismo men who have translated their bad-boy private outbursts into embarrassing online outbursts, and it does not go over nearly as well online.
They will see this as proof that Men Can’t Be Men!  Whereas I – a man – see that as proof that Some Men Can’t Be Men.  They can only be modified toddlers, screaming the worst things they can think of whenever they don’t get their way.  Worse, there’s whole cultures where that behavior is rewarded, and encouraged, and respected – and seen, internally, as the only real place where smart men can thrive, these constant Darwinistic showdowns where tearing each other apart is the only true way to find optimal solutions.
Nah.  There are other ways of doing things that get you results just as good.  But you don’t get the catharsis of yelling at people.
Maybe it’s time you admitted you value the catharsis over actual results.

1 Comment

  1. Alexis
    Oct 27, 2014

    What’s funny about the toxic male culture you describe, is that it’s way more common than you’d think, even outside the tech world. I saw tons of men behaving like this in the classical music world, for example. Some very prominent violin teachers from schools like Julliard are notoriously evil to their students, screaming, yelling, throwing things, cursing, and of course, delivering a heaping dose of sexual harassment just for the ladies. It’s sad to think that anyone believes that throwing temper tantrums like that is acceptable or effective. Yet, until something really goes wrong and a student sues or gets injured, people look the other way.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Just Exactly How Big IS That Locker Room, Anyway? | wholfe - […] I found this post, which presents a slightly different view of the Locker Room (I particularly like the term…
  2. Friday Links (difficult people edition)! | Font Folly - […] Maybe Guys Are the More Emotional Sex. (thanks to @Sharpclaw for the link!) […]

All Comments Will Be Moderated. Comments From Fake Or Throwaway Accounts Will Never Be approved.