To my sometime daughter? Really?

September 21, 2011

Hat tip to Blag Hag for this long, rambling post about gamer geek guys and feminism. Until the last section I was certain this letter “to my someday daughter” by Geordie Tait was all a satire:

I know you might want to follow in my footsteps and have a career in gaming. After all, I’m a sedentary guy, and you’re going to have every opportunity to get interested in games and gadgets as you get older.

OK, so he’s going to use satire to make the point that men and women have generally different interests and goals in life, right? He rambles incessantly about the Gizmodo intern who blogged about her date with the Magic champion, then goes on to conclude this:

Resist the belief that you know everything about the issue already. Feminism is an actual field of study. As with any field of study, it should be entered with an absence of preconceptions. If a woman has strong feelings about women’s issues, it doesn’t mean she spends all of her time sharpening her castration tools. Talk to women about what’s important to them. As you learn more, you’ll understand more, in the same way that a budding engineer might gradually grow to understand a complex blueprint. If your first instinct when you hear the word “feminist” is to say “those man-haters want equality, but they still want me to pay for everything, hurf durf!” then you currently have as accurate an understanding of feminism as a confectioner would have of a Titan II missile schematic. You know those congressmen who say that Grand Theft Auto IV is a “crime simulator” that is “training new felons?” That’s you, and feminism.

At this point I’m stating to think he might actually be serious. The problem is that talking to women about what’s important to them isn’t the same as talking to an engineer about blueprints. In the latter case you will gain a better understanding of the blueprints. In the first case you will end up more confused then you were when you started. That’s because women talk in order to feel connected with people, not to convey information. It’s a horrible mistake for a man to listen to a woman talk about her problems and then try to fix them. That’s you, and divorce.

Now the self-hatred expressed in Tait’s letter is appropriate: spending your life playing a game, unless you’re going to achieve fame and/or financial success from it, is a mistake. But as a man, it’s your own damn mistake and you don’t need to accept shame from any woman who tries to ladle it over you. Suck it up, put the cards away, and do something to be a success in life. Otherwise you’ll end up marrying that one geek girl who thinks you’re the best she can do because she’s the only girl who’s ever been nice to you.

Jen the Blag Hag, a self-described liberal, geeky, nerdy, scientific, perverted feminist atheist, says she prefers to date geek guys who are “kind, thoughtful, and – dare I say it? – feminists.” Note the plural: “guys.” That’s what you have to look forward to as a male feminist: sharing the attention of a smart, mildly attractive blogger with her other guys.

The underlying presumption of Tait’s letter, that his daughter is basically a female son, is the most destructive plank of feminism and is why we have a society full of confused men and women. By all means, don’t barricade the door to a girl with the ability and desire to become the next Einstein, Jobs, or Spielberg. But treat the normal ones like girls.

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