Culture

Why Men Are More Likely to Be Geeks Than Women

Author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff in an interview about his new graphic novel from D.C./Vertigo, A.D.D.: Adolescent Demo Division, on why the worlds of video games and geek culture are so male-dominated, emphasis mine:

“I think to some extent it’s harder for the forces that be to hypnotize women the same way they hypnotize men,” Rushkoff said. “Women were just as susceptible to the marketing of objects. In the 1950s, when they started marketing to women in America after World War II and trying to increase consumption, that’s when kleptomania was first diagnosed — and it was a women’s disease, because they were so marketed to that they would go in and steal stuff from the department store. I’m not saying women are not programmable and susceptible, they are. But it tended to be more for ‘the real.’ I’m finding, at least, that boys and men are more susceptible to the attraction and hypnosis of ‘the virtual,’ whether it’s pornography or video games or ideas. They seem to be more susceptible to these abstract forms of manipulation. Maybe men are more visual and less tactile; there’s probably some old evolutionary biology reasoning for it. Men were hunting, so they had to stay at a distance; women were gathering, so they had to feel the berries in their hands. Who knows what it is, but it doesn’t seem, for the most part, that these worlds are quite as compelling in the same way to women as they are for men. They are compelling — now, the numbers are changing, and I think the number of women involved in social media is greater than the number of men. As the applications change, certainly the gender biases change as well. But this ADD video phenomenon thing does seem to be more boy than girl.”

This of course has something to do with the angry emails and comments that are still coming in from Star Wars enthusiasts more militant than I who could not stand the fact that Kathy Shaidle does not share our pop culture faith.

And to put it in terms that PJM’s regular readers may recognize: publishing Five Reasons Star Wars Actually Sucks is done for the same reason why Comedy Central should allow South Park to depict the prophet Mohammed. If we can’t laugh at our idolatry then we’re in trouble.

Nobody should be emailing to complain because Kathy wrote a self-evidently hyperbolic sentence like, “Successful, mature men do not play computer games, attend ‘cons,’ and get excited about overrated science fiction movies from the 1970s.”

We all have silly hobbies. It’s very silly how regularly April and I go to DisneyLand and how much we enjoy goofy rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. (Kathy, have any funny mean things to say about DisneyLand obsessives?)

But even sillier than our hobbies is getting emotionally upset when others judge us for them.

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David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media and writes a post each day on news and politics at PJ Tatler and culture and entertainment at PJ Lifestyle. He can be contacted with feedback and story tips at DaveSwindlePJM[@]gmail.com and on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He enforces commenting guidelines on his posts — rude, off topic and ad hominem comments will be deleted.