Noah (angelbob) wrote,

theferrett recently made a post entitled the Open-Source Boob Project, which detailed a lovely dynamic among good friends which would absolutely not scale to larger (or less mutually known) groups. It's acquired a lot of commentary, both good and bad. In discussing casual sexual touch, it manages to anger a vast number of people. That's not all that surprising. In one of its many echoed replies, springheel_jack writes that male geeks have a tendency to be socially immature and repeat the mistakes of society at large by having not learned the basics in their youth. He suggests that this explains the sci-fi con as a setting for the Open Source Boob Project, and talks about the factors in male, heterosexual geeks that he thinks explain the problems. Since he claims only to speak for male, heterosexual geeks, there are some excellent replies from female geeks on their own reactions:

frippy writes:

Just a thought about the difference between men and women in geek scenes: I'm mostly going on the basis of inspirational teen romps of the 80s and 90s, but geek boy romances (including those in anime) typically wind up with geek boy getting hot chic while remaining as geeky as ever. The geek boy narrative often achives completion by having the hot girl accept him as a sexual being (also, for good measure, geek boy may symbolically emasculate a rival hot but very stupid boy).

On the other hand, any film in which a young female protagonist is a book-burrowing, bespectacled, orthodontic-hardware-sporting nerd must have a transformation in which Nerdy Beast awakens as a Sexual Beauty, which is by nature a positive and necessary change. A geek girl narratives requires that she must accept herself as a sexual being before she has a chance with any hot (but not stupid) boys. I mean, intelligence is fine, but you're not complete until everyone realizes you are sexy, too.

I know this is a mean-spirited generalization about con geeks, but how many gropees were dressed in sexy costumes and how many gropers were slobs with greasy ponytails?

sabotabby replies:

I think that's a huge part of it. I mean, I'm seeing men—good feminists and feminist allies whom I respect—asking: "Wait, how is any woman cool with this?"

And so you have to look at the development of female geeks, who not only have the same not-conventionally attractive, socially confused, and isolated early conditioning as male geeks, but the added stigma of not having their intelligence recognized, encouraged, or appreciated. And being told that their only worth is their sexuality, and clearly they FAIL at that.

You end up with a lot of touch-starved women. You end up with women who think, "I'm sick of being only appreciated in virtual spheres for my intelligence, but still not treated as being as intelligent as men, and I'm sick of being told I'm worthless because I'm not drop-dead gorgeous. If I can't be loved, I want to at least be desired."

Powerful things both. And sparkymonster finally nails what has bothered *me* most about the backlash to all of this, and what I think is getting lost in the shuffle:

I do believe that learning how to give and receive different kinds of touch is important and can be healing. I think more people should get massages (professional and otherwise). I also think before you can give and receive touch, you need to learn how to set boundaries. Part of setting physical boundaries includes having a solid sense of self.

Giving and receiving touch in a place where people's boundaries are respected, where consent is asked for, where declining touch is acceptable (and not taken as a personal slight), and where there are a variety of different bodies is amazing. It's really fantastic. It's also difficult to set up, is not something everyone is ever going to want (which is totally fine), and is prone to abuse. Also, unless you do it in a private closed space, it is going to anger/upset/disturb people. And my right to get multi person massage or have an orgy, does not trump someone else's right to not have to deal with it.

Bingo. Just utterly right. And yes, it's angering/upsetting/disturbing people, which doesn't make it a bad thing. *That* is what I haven't been able to articulate about all this.

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