In pushback and misandry, I promised to post something important and useful to guys fighting misogyny. This is your turn.

Men who try to push women out of fandoms, and out of computers, out of sciences, out of wherever; when they get misogynistic in front of you – what do they want to see happen?

Well, they want the woman to be angry, or upset, or embarrassed. That’s the goal. They want to express dominance or power, and the woman to go away. They get off on that.

But that’s only half of it.

They’re looking for your endorsement – the male endorsement – just as much. They’re excluding the designated “other,” and a big reason they’re trying to do that is to improve their group bond with you. They want confirmation and endorsement.

And it can be really hard to step up and say, “Hey, don’t be a misogynist asshole.” I get that. Most geek guys are pretty introverted and it’s hard to be the one “starting something.” As a result, much of this goes unchallenged.

But you know what it’s not so hard to do?

Frown.

Don’t laugh, even nervously; don’t smile; don’t make a pleasant face; don’t look away; don’t ignore it.

Just frown. Deny them the endorsement they seek.

That’s all. Frown, and frown clearly, and where they can see it. Make a negative expression. Not sarcastic; not even pained; no laughing, even if you intend it as mocking: it calls for a plain, old, extremely unambiguous, frown. You don’t even have to make eye contact if you don’t want to.

Frown.

Frowning denies the group bond affirmation they’re seeking. The reward is reduced – or, hopefully, outright missing. It may even make them feel bad, thanks to mirror neurons.

And the best part? They can’t even complain about it, because if they do…

…then they’re the ones “starting something.” And that gives you the advantage in whatever happens next.

It’s a small thing, but it’s a meaningful thing. I didn’t invent this; I got it from Stetson Kennedy. But I can’t use it, at least, not here; it’s the kind of thing that only people seen as in-group can do, because upset from the people they’re assaulting are the point. They want that.

But, just as much, they want that confirmation – even the neutrality which counts as acceptance – from you, and anyone else they see as a peer. They want bond confirmation from “people,” who matter, as opposed to “others,” whose anger or hurt they seek.

At very least, deny them that confirmation.

Frown.
 
 
This post is part of a series on sexism in racism in geek culture. Master post here.


ETA: Hello, Thomas Sanders and communistbakery.com followers! Nice to meet you!

Aside from all my politics posts, I’m a geek musician, and my band just released our new neo-Celtic fantasy novel soundtrack album. You can play it with the gadget in the upper left or select individual tracks on Bandcamp.

Welcome!