I’m upset at culture.
Let me rephrase that. I am *furious* at culture. I am pissed off that I can’t go play, that it has so much to do with gender roles, and so little to do with the actual people involved.
First, let me set the stage: most of my interactions are within geek subculture. There are certainly some appalling gender ratios in most geek space, with “Sausage Fest” being a common term. That’s fine. I get along better with people who have been socialized to be outspoken, physical, and crass – ie, more masculine than feminine types. And I’ve talked before about constructing Safe Space. And long ago (so long ago it was on LiveJournal) about being a being in a woman’s body who also happens to be precocious, comfortable in sexuality, and tactile – and the assumptions that go along with that (that assumption being that I Want To Bone You — I don’t). But it’s come up again – the falsely inverse-d relationship between sexuality and respect. Something I said in a recent interview (published soonish, methinks):
I think it’s totally appropriate to find intelligent people attractive, and that the best potential dates ARE your equals. The issue is that there’s this separation of sexualization and respect. They should be completely independent OR have positive correlation, but instead they seem to have a negative correlation in our culture. IE, if someone finds me hot, they are also likely to care less about listening to my ideas. For me, it boils down to consent. If I consent to being hit on by someone I am also attracted to, that’s awesome. If someone continues to hit on my after I have made it clear I’m not interested (either in them, in dating within that social group, or in dating in general), then it’s *not* cool.
What brings this up is being a “free agent” in my social groups has meant that some people have turned their focus on me. And while I’m flattered by the attention, it kind of sucks socially. The attracted people who don’t know me well either discount my ideas in lieu of trying to get into pants, or the idealization of physicality trumps the interest in ideas. Those who know me AND like those ideas tend to play a game, knowingly or not, about declaring intellectual territory via sexual or romantic advances on me. And those who actually like me and my ideas and who don’t play those games I STILL can’t associate with because the social response has to do with the first two sets of people (see me with partner, either discount any brainmeats I have or assume I’m at play in a game).
Respect for people while sexualizing them is only difficult because our culture makes it so. Beauty vs Brains is, clearly, a false dichotomy. But it’s one we still have to deal with while we murderize it. And I have no idea how to live my life in a way that tears down those stigmas while not being (non-consensually) objectified.
Monkeys piss me off. Maybe I shouldn’t listen to Sex At Dawn as I do my dishes and walk around Seattle. Gah!
What I can do right now is work on having more women in geek space. I feel like brute-forcing the problem, to say it in a very awful way. Care to join me?