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October 15 2012

Gawker's Violentacrez expose and how Buffy predicted geek misogyny. Great article from Alyssa Rosenberg about how Buffy season 6 predicted a lot of the misogyny we see online today.

When you add in Topher, Billy, and quite possibly Knox, Joss has a real thing for sociopathic geeks. I've long thought he's sending a warning to his own fan base, or at least the male half: "Guys, I'm glad you love my show, but don't be like this, okay?"
The misogyny that we see today is more of an open wound than it was before social networking became mainstream, when it was more like a bruise. One is more obvious than the other, but both are injuries.

The internet has enabled real misogynists to express themselves in a way that is liberating for them. They frequently have such difficulty keeping it in check in real life that the internet becomes their haven to just open the valve. This is why reddit and other internet forums have become so full of hatred.

Nichelle Nichols has a story that, back in the day when racism was open and rampant, a scary Caucasian man with tattoos joined her signing line at a convention. Her security was nervous, but when he approached her, he told her that he had been a neo Nazi and that watching her Star Trek made him realize he was wrong about his beliefs. People who hate others can change but it's a deep-burning hatred that is hard to quell.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2012-10-15 17:03 ]
Buffy didn't predict but rather reflected online misogyny. There was plenty of it going on before season 6 aired. To credit Buffy in such a way does diminish the argument. Though good analysis of The Trio.
Interesting article, but I think it's somewhat tangential to this story. Trolls and ideological free speech people are a different animal. Most trolls I've ever met have the same thing in common, they're trying to rile people up. Both misogyny and racism are easy ways to do it but it's a bit like thinking a politician believes everything he says at every fundraiser he goes to. They don't.

As for reddit and comment boards. That is actually every comment board. It is very easy to verbally gore someone else's ox when you don't have to see their expression. It just is.

To the article, I've always felt the trio represented a simplified version of it. Both Warren and Andrew were uninteresting and paper-thin in that sense. One was frankly a psychopath and the other was so sycophantic that it didn't really matter what "ist" they were. Jonathan was compelling in that at least it shows some level of underlying trauma and social isolation that his motives and complete bafflement make sense. He's what I would think most men who come to mysogyny actually are: not hating women in their mind, but practicing it in reality as a mechanism to address some other pain.

Look at it this way: Andrew gets taken in by the Scoobies after he's murdered someone and his life changes. Jonathan, known by the Scoobies for three years is left alone and he hasn't really hurt anyone is left alone to isolation. In that isolation, he finds Warren. I don't know if it was intentional (I doubt it, I think they just liked the character of Andrew) but it was in some ways a great demonstration of the capricious nature of life in general. Not everyone gets what they need, when they need it. The Trio is a result, not a cause.
Good assessment, azzers. I've often felt that if Jonathan had been adopted by the Scoobies things would have gone rather better for all concerned. Alas, he wasn't funny enough.

Skytteflickan88, I realized later that my phrasing would be confusing... I meant Billy AKA Dr. Horrible, not Billy AKA Rape Monster. The latter Billy was not obviously geeky and way more obviously misogynist; the former, however, is a stalker before he's a supervillain.
This article bothered me because, like Simon said and someone tweeted, misogyny has a long history and geeks have never been innocent. Buffy just highlighted the problem in many populations, it

[ edited by hann23 on 2012-10-15 18:13 ]
Internet misogyny arose in quite in an different way in the Buffy fandom. Back in the day, female fans ran the place and to a large extent they still do. The top fan fics writers, site owners, spoiler junkies, fan artists and other BNFs were predominantly female. It was, to a large extent, a matriarchal fandom.

Now when some male fans from other shows came into the Buffy fandom, this female dominated environment proved to be a huge shock to them. And every so often there was a huge uproar from men who can't handle the fact that (i) female fans would not necessarily agree with them and (ii) female fans ran the show.
Honestly, since I got here post-Buffy and pre-Dollhouse, it's hard for me to comment. But I can say I have been on boards that were predominantly matriarchal in nature and just like boards that are patriarchal, it's a mixed bag. Some are very pleasant, others... 'eh... I find what both actually have in common is that they both shout down dissenting voices with the same ferocity if no one on the majority side acts to regulate it.

Strangely, most male/female ruckuses I've seen online like that started the same way. Usually some histrionic guy would start craziness for whatever reason. The female members would react, often slinging mud that would invariably cause collateral damage to the guys on the board who didn't have anything to do with it. Usually it's a very superficial generalization. Then THEY get involved because they actually were being insulted at that point. It's a fascinating thing to watch but rather sad in that it tends to fracture groups quite effectively.
Very interesting thoughts all around. But I do wonder why the fact that what Jonathan did might be brainwashing was brought up, which would mean he was a rapist. I don't think it was clear, but everyone did seem a bit too in love with him. Did he just create a world where he was different, or one where other people were also a bit different?
@ Skytteflickan88: The latter. We see early in the episode that Buffy is very literally less talented than she was. As well as less sure of herself and her capabilities. So while "The Twins" may have just been attracted to a superstar Jonathan, they may also have been mentallly manipulated in other ways. Though frankly, It would still fall under some kind of sexual assault, IMO. Jonathan presented himself as one person (a person that they consented to sleep with) and then revealed himself to be someone else.
I need to rewatch Superstar.
I came late to the Whedonverse, and I think I joined Whedonesque in 2005. I've always thought that more men commented on this site than women. Is that not true? Isn't Carolyn the only female mod?

It seems so strange, post-Seed, that the Slayers aren't using their skills to make homes and streets safer for women.
I've always thought that more men commented on this site than women. Is that not true? Isn't Carolyn the only female mod?

Caroline, who owns the site, and me.

Simon's more knowledgeable about the demographics than I am, but from what I remember from past stats he's linked to, the site skews female in terms of readership. Of course as the article suggests, that may be changing as Joss makes blockbuster superhero movies with mainstream appeal.

I don't think Buffy predicted geek misogyny, either. The stuff they were exploring with the nerds was a very rich mine of existing awfulness.
Interesting artical. Like many here I don't necessary agree with it, I think monogamy on the internet (and sadly in geekdom) has been around a lot longer than that.
@ Skytteflickan88
To way in on the "did Jonathan commit rape in the episode Superstar" debate, I'm going to have to come down on the side of "no".
I don't think what he did was ethical but he created a world were he was someone else, he was someone everybody loved and wanted to be with, he wasn't lyng, in that world he was that person.
Going by the infinite parallel universes theory, were there is a universe for every possibility. He merely went into a universe where people loved him and some of those people consented to have sex with him.
Much like Cordelia the world made in The Wish.
But it's definitely an icky issue and one I can understand someone coming down on the other side of.
Some of Warren's plans in season 6 would definitely be classed as rape though, no debate there.
As a follow-up today, news is reporting that the man who posts as violentacruz was fired from his job after being outed by this report.

Given some of the subreddit sites he was involved with, I find it hard to sympathize with him; a site such as r/picsofdeadkids sounds beyond horrible. And he creates sites where people upvoted crap such as underage teens in various stages of undress. This is just scary.

kzap- did you mean "misogyny" instead of "monogamy" above? I sincerely hope monogamy-whether on the internet or not- has been around a while! :-)
I find it hard to sympathize with him as well. As the Gawker expose said, where is the line between the man and the monster? How can he say such things and not feel wrong about them? They're not meaningless, and it takes a certain kind of person to not understand their power.
Haha, so I did that will learn me for commenting on Whedonesque in a lecture :P
My tutors would be disappointed, not because I wasn't listening (I'm on a TV Production Course so this site could be called 'research') but for my lack of proof reading.
@the ninja report
Good point. I know many people in real life who troll online (I wouldn't exactly call them 'friends') who would argue it's just words, they're just basic sounds which we to communicate or a series of pixels on a screen which make symbols from which we derive meaning. They'd argue you can choose to get offended by these things but they mean nothing and that you should judge others by their actions not how you interpret the sounds they make (or the letters they type).
I completely disagree and I'm pretty sure most of the these people are sociopaths anyway (so I suppose it's not their fault they're incapable of feeling) but that is their argument: They're not offended by words so you shouldn't be either and if you choose to be offended it's your own fault.

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