ROFLCON: On the Gendernet

Right now, Kyle Macdonald, Joe Mathlete, Ian Spector, Andy Ochiltree, Andrew Baron, and Alex Tew are on stage, talking about making money from the internet. It just opened up to questions. I'm paraphrasing here, but the conversation quickly became about more than money.

From a woman in the audience: I can't help but notice you're all young white males. What do you think about that?

From the panel: A lot of other cultures have better things to do.

From Tron Guy in the crowd: I'm a geek and proud of it damnit. Everyone in this room is. The question of this internet fame skewing toward white males, it's about the fact that geeks are mostly white males. As more women become geeks, we'll see it even out as time goes on.

From the panel: Also, you have to have a stupid idea and jump on it. Women aren't stupid like men are.

From a woman in the crowd: It's not about stupidity. Men are allowed to be funny. Women aren't allowed to be funny like men are in our society.

From a man in the crowd: I love Tina Fey!

What do you think? Is internet fame—or even internet culture itself—more open to men than to women? Is Tron Guy right? Is it changing?



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Tina Fey is a perfect example of a female comedian that's allowed to be geeky - but she's a cultural rarity. At our weekly web meetings or just out to lunch with the IT dept., I am the only female (I can talk Star Wars and Star Trek - so I survive).

Sent by Ann V. | 2:24 PM | 4-25-2008

I was in Cornell College's Chess and Games Club. Tales were told of the rarity of "gamer bait" (female geeks/gamers) and how it started to even out around 2001 and did even out while I was there. Many of the women in Chess and Games were computer science oriented and that was their major. If the female computer geek is alive and well in Iowa, it's alive anywhere. It could be that women feel they have to be serious about comp sci in order to be taken seriously; they'll come around eventually.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 2:51 PM | 4-25-2008

I should mention that C&G isn't a small college club. Something like 10% of the college population was in C&G while I was there.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 3:00 PM | 4-25-2008

I'm a huge female geek, am often the object of "Geek Crushes," and love to joke around, but I'm always worried about being "inappropriate" or attracting unwanted attention. I think that we do censor ourselves more in a male-dominant industry because men often don't find women's humor funny. I'm over-generalizing, but I feel that a woman's humor is often more lighthearted, fun, even "cute" (this is how I would usually describe Tina Fey). I don't think it's any coincidence that most of my guy friends don't think Fey is very funny, while I think she's great and brings something refreshing to often vulgar, needless humor in our culture.

Sent by Jordan Snyder | 9:49 AM | 4-28-2008

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