First, full disclosure. I am geek. However, I am not very good at it. My friend @Liamstliam calls me “the least geeky geek he knows.” I don’t go to cons. I don’t like them. (I did go to WorldCon when it was in Boston, and while it was fun, it was not the $200 worth of fun the membership cost.) I don’t LARP (but do not preclude the possibility in the future, I’m a little busy right now. Forexample, right now I am avoiding my admin law reading), I don’t game, I don’t play video games (expensive, y’all), I don’t read that much hard scifi (prefer fantasy), I shower regularly, and I do my best to follow social graces (except when I don’t care).

What I do is historical re-enactment (I’m taking Law of the Ancient World because I love Roman history and it’ll translate into classes in the SCA realm), I read a LOT, I review romance novels, I like watching genre TV and movies, I am conversant in Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and Buckaroo Bonzai, I’m working on my second advanced degree, and I listen to Made of Fail, a geektastic podcast.

(If you’re wondering what the fuck-all this has to do with Little Red Riding Hood, hold your horses, we will get there.)

Two episodes ago on Made of Fail, the subject was “building the greater geek community.” Find other geeks, and you will see that you are not alone in loving Farscape, or being able to quote Buffy from start to finish. You can find people with similar interests, and some of them will become friends, and Wil Wheaton will lead us all into a era of hope and prosperity (I may have made that last bit up).

Last episode, some dingbat wrote in saying (and this is so paraphrased), “First, you can’t make a greater geek community because not everyone will like eachother and THAT IS BAD. So don’t try. Also, geek guys can’t even behaving themselves around eachother, and if you add women in to the mix, it will explode in MOAR ANARCHY, and that’s even worse and dangerous for the women. So Geek guys and geek girls should keep totally separate.”

First Dayna ripped him a new one- just because the ideal of a great geek community is just that, an ideal, doesn’t mean we should TRY to make friends and find other people who share our interests (and the fact that there are people who believe that if we can’t all get along then we shouldn’t ever try is another issue- see The Five Geek Social Falicies for more on THAT) . And then she laid into him on the “for the safety of the womens” argument, which is, as you know, crap.

It is also really fucking old.

Today on Twitter, Jake Adelstein (he wrote Tokyo Vice about his experiences working as a reporter in Japan, and the Japanese organized crime families. It’s REALLY good, and I highly recommend it) mused about the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and that it makes no damn sense. Which it kind of doesn’t. Because you have this kid, sipping through the woods, and this wolf shows up and is like “Where you are going?” and she tells him she’s going to Grandmother’s house, and he hops over to Grandmother’s house to lie in wait for the kid, rather than just eating the kid right then and there.

I pointed out that the original(ish) version was a metaphor for rape and forced seduction- the well-bred girl is lured into a house with a strange and evil man-thing, convinced to take off her clothes and throw them into the fire, and get into bed, when she is raped and then eaten. In Perrault’s version, the wolf wins. No one comes to save her. In some of the early oral traditions, she saves herself, if there’s any . It isn’t until the Brothers Grimm that the archetypical male savior comes along and saves both girl and grandmother.

(If, by any chance, anyone doing a google search on Little Red Riding Hood for the purposes of a research paper comes across this post, for fuck’s sake do your own research. This is cribbed heavily from Wikipedia and very much paraphrased, and very much a perfunctory blurb.)

Anyway, in his author notes, Perrault says the moral of Little Red Riding Hood is this:

From this story one learns that children, especially young lasses, pretty, courteous and well-bred, do very wrong to listen to strangers, And it is not an unheard thing if the Wolf is thereby provided with his dinner. I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition — neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!

Or: Young ladies shouldn’t go where there might be danger, because they cannot recognize danger. Not all men (wolves) are dangerous, but the ones that are a very bad.

Or: Geek girl should not go into where there are stupid, uncouth geek guys because the geek guys just can’t control themselves.

(See? Told you there was a point.)

So instead of a) teaching girls that danger exists and b) how to recognize it, and c) how to deal with it, we should instead not teach them anything, but keep them locked up and away from danger, is that it? Because if we teach them about the wider world, then they might (GASP) do things that are not on the list of “Approved Things For Young Ladies To Do” and they might Go Out and Have Fun and maybe even (HORRORS) Embrace Their Sexuality and then chaos reigns, cats and dogs sleeping together, rivers flowing backwards…

Or, to bring it back to the idiot who either is so concerned for the safety of women geeks that he thinks they should be segregated, geek men are so unsocialized that they can’t help but make things unsafe for women. Also crap. I don’t believe that’s true, that men have no control over their actions. Have there been cases when geekdom has been unsafe for women? Oh yes. But I don’t blame that on the culture of geekdom, I blame that on the rape culture in which we all exist, and I blame that on the individual men involved.

But I think that Moron’s view of “we must be separate for the safety of the women” isn’t based on anyone’s actual safety. I suspect he just hates women and doesn’t want us in his geekdom.

And that’s just too damn bad for him.

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