Rebellion against mainstream norms is one of the values of the geek community. Examples include geek rejection of business dress and geek rejection of mainstream social codes in favour of more direct forms of address. This kind of rebellion is sometimes used as a justification for sexist behavior on the basis that feminism or women's sensibilities in general are an oppressive mainstream norm. This is related to the excuse of being funny when sexist: suppression of humour to the lowest common denominator (ie, everyone finds it funny, no one is hurt) is perceived as a mainstream value.

Geek feminists argue otherwise, that sexist behaviour in the geek community is a (sometimes but not always more blatant) geek borrowing of existing and persistent mainstream norms. The notion of rebelling against mainstream is otherwise sometimes problematic for women, as due to Social expectations women are often seen by both others and themselves as an involuntary and inevitable representative of mainstream repression rather than geek freedom.

Further reading

  • Sexism and group formation by Dorothea Salo: "A woman can be an honorary guy, sure, with all the perquisites and privileges pertaining to that status—as long as she never lets anything disturb the guy façade. It’s good to be an honorary guy, don’t get me wrong. Guys are fun to be around. Guys know stuff. Guys help out other guys. Guys trust other guys. And in my experience, they don’t treat honorary guys any differently from how they treat regular guys. It’s really great to be an honorary guy. The only problem is that part of the way that guys distinguish themselves from not-guys is by contrasting themselves with women."
  • FLOSSPOLS key findings: "F/LOSS communities actively perpetuate a ‘hacker’ ethic, which situates itself outside the ‘mainstream’ sociality, but equates women with that mainstream. Women are treated as either alien Other or (in online contexts) are assumed to be male and thus made invisible. Women are seen as innately more able to organise, communicate and negotiate among F/LOSS projects as well as with the outside world. Thereby they become carriers of sociality that is seen in a contrast to the 'technical' realm ascribed to men."
  • "The Whiteness of Nerds" by Mary Bucholtz (PDF link): 'Anthropological research has shown that identities that are “not white enough” may be racially marked. Yet marking may also be the result of being “too white.” California high school students who embrace one such white identity, nerds, employ a superstandard language variety to reject the youth culture norm of coolness. These practices also ideologically position nerds as hyperwhite by distancing them from the African American underpinnings of European American youth culture.' Bucholtz suggests that geek identity is simultaneously rebellious against youth culture's social norms, and reinforcing of adult culture's social norms.

See also

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