Category Archives: lexicon

Sex Geeks

ImageLiam Neeson as Dr. Alfred Kinsey, in the film Kinsey. A favorite film of many “sex geeks”, who may use it as a jumping-off point for discussing the impact of the Kinsey Report upon American society… but Kinsey
himself may or may not have been one.

This is one of the most divisive topics among the people I know, which is why I started using the term “Sex Geek” to define a specific set of interests.

A “Sex Geek” is someone who is interested in sexuality, gender roles, and gender relations in a social, anthropological, scientific, political, and/or cultural context.

This does not include an interest in sexual techniques or behavior nor does it say anything about the particular Sex Geek’s relationship to sex positive feminism or anything of the like.

The distinction needs to be made because there is a tendency, I’ve discovered, to confuse sexuality – as an academic, psychological, political, cultural, or scientific “thing” – with eroticism and or sexual behavior. Some people have expressed to me in the past that any discussion of the former is only done by immodest people, or lonely people. There needs to be a term so that the topic can be discussed as a kind of meta-discourse.

Discussing the political ramifications of the Pill, the implications of cosplaying Princess Leia’s slave costume, or the impact of pornography upon society… is not the same as discussing one’s personal behavior.

They are not the same.

They are not the same.

They are not the same.

Also, while “Sex Geekery” is a common discussion in many circles (such as social justice and or feminist circles), it shouldn’t be confused with those. Many, many feminists and social justice enthusiasts are Sex Geeks but not all Sex Geeks are feminists or social justice enthusiasts. Sex Geeks may even be asexual or celibate or have religious vows. They just have an interest in the role of sexuality and gender across many academic and cultural disciplines.

Sex Geeks.

Let the term be known. Let it be known far and wide.

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Introducing the Non-Player Character.

The Non-Player Character, in the world of role playing games, is a character who is controlled by the game master or one or more players for the purposes of furthering the plot, but who is (most often) not portrayed with their own agency.

They are basically a “placeholder” that fits the needs of the other characters, or of the plot.

I’m going to expand the definition a bit, because I think it is a useful metaphor.

Many of us approach the other people in our lives as NPCs.

Here is a rather horrifying and creepy story that I came across, from “Controlling People” by Patricia Evans, that illustrates one such relationship between a “game master” and their “NPC” as it might play out in real life:

The Teddy Illusion

What is fascinating to me about some portrayals in the media of women who are excessively adorable but lack inner life or agency (I’ll elaborate on this later because I have my own interpretation and take on the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” stock character) is how they are basically serving the purpose of being an NPC to the main character and to some degree, the “adorableness” may be perceived via an unreliable narrator who really does not know his love interest’s inner life. He has to idealize her via what little he does know – her various quirks and her music preferences.

You also frequently see this portrayal of the male costar in a “chick flick”; he doesn’t really exist outside of the female character’s mind. In fact, I’d love to see a film that actually played with this concept and subverted it (he in fact DOESN’T exist outside of her mind).

The thing is, we act out these dramas in real life. Many of us never get past seeing other people as NPCs.

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Internet Overgeneralization Syndrome (IOS)

 

That is where you assume that the minority of very loud and vocal people on the Internet speak for everyone (when in fact the most extreme people simply shout the loudest). And you assume that all of the people you see online represent the problems, hopes, needs, and wants of EVERY person you will meet in real life… when in reality, people in internet communities are the outliers of the social bell curve.

Inevitably, you go into Costco and are in total SHOCK that people aren’t trolling each other in the produce section, that everybody isn’t arguing about social justice issues in line at the checkout, and people aren’t jumping in to correct each other because someone is being wrong on the Internet, and most people are not immediately identifiable as anarcho-socialist, genderqueer, burlesque dancing, polyamorous Burning Man trapeze artists and most of these people don’t even know what a meme IS, and not only do they not insist on really skinny partners who seem to do everything perfectly, but… they’re all pretty ordinary and even schlubby themselves.

And you realize, if there’s hope for all of these ordinary people, there’s hope for you.

 

Tribescanning: the Science of Small Talk

Just to get things started off, I thought I’d repost an old blog entry from a previous blog.

Some background with this issue: I’m an introvert and a bit of a geek, so for a long time, I found myself at a loss in many social environments and social situations… I got along perfectly well in geeky/nerdy circles but there was quite discernibly something “out of sync” about the way that I related to non-geeks.

Many of the retroactive observations I made of the geeky world, after I left it, agree with the observations made in the famous (within the geek subculture)  Usenet post about “Fanspeak” which posed the interesting claim that people in fandom communicate differently from the mainstream. One observation I have made is that in geek circles, people tend to jump right to the point of a conversation pretty quickly, without as much of the usual process of “feeling the other person out”. People bring up common interests with the intention of discussing those interests, not merely establishing “oh, we share those interests”.

Here, therefore, is my blog entry “Tribescanning”. Enjoy. Let me know what you think, and I’d especially love it if you’d share your own observations.

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