New Book Slams "Toxic Geek Masculinity" In 'The Big Bang Theory'

Authored by Toni Airaksinen via Campus Reform,

Two professors are warning in a new book that TV shows like The Big Bang Theory are emblematic of a worrying trend they call “toxic geek masculinity.” 

The new book Toxic Geek Masculinity in Media: Sexism, Trolling, and Identity Politics was written by Bridget Blodgett, a professor at the University of Maryland, and Anastasia Salter, who teaches classes on digital culture at the University of Central Florida.

Though computer geeks are often depicted as marginalized due to their social exclusion, Blodgett and Salter argue that the opposite is actually true, asserting that geeks are aligned “with a type of toxic straight white masculinity that is rooted deeply in current cultural struggles.”

“Geek masculinity, with its absence of hypermasculine qualities and apparent association with ‘un-masculine’ traits, is often cast in popular culture as a marginalized masculinity,” the professors note, but they make clear that they do not buy this interpretation.

“The dichotomy is false: geek masculinity is not marginalized,” they contend.

“It is instead an inevitable evolution of hegemonic masculinity in a culture where dominance and technical mastery are increasingly interwoven.”

Their book traces a number of TV shows and cultural struggles—including #Gamergate—to illustrate just how this toxic geek masculinity operates, citing The Big Bang Theory as but one example. 

Referencing an episode called “The Contractual Obligation Implementation,” in which three geeky male scientists visit a local high school to tout STEM careers to teens, the professors claim that the storyline is actually an example of “empty feminism” because the plot does not address gender disparities in STEM fields.

“The characters are deeply lacking in self-awareness regarding their roles in a sexist workplace, and this same lack of understanding is constantly played for humor,” Blodgett and Salter write.

Later in the episode, the male scientists bring two female scientists with them to chat with the high-schoolers, but the professors insist that the feminist ethos of these female scientists is actually “undermined” because they wear makeup and dress “ultra-feminine.”

Ultimately, Blodgett and Salter worry that the “the episode’s message about women geeks ends with their reduction to objects for the masculine gaze.”

The book concludes by arguing that toxic geek masculinity is just an inevitable evolution of hegemonic masculinity more generally. 

“Much like the break within the Democratic Party along racial lines in the 1948 election, more traditionally presenting geeks, white, middle-class, educated men are being pulled towards supporting the traditional power structure,” the professors write, asserting that this ultimately reflects an ongoing “cultural shift” whereby “geek masculinity has become part of hegemonic, white, male masculinity.”

Campus Reform reached out to Salter and Blodgett for comment for their new book, but neither responded in time for publication. 


Tallest Skil zanza Mon, 04/02/2018 - 21:30 Permalink

The most popular jewish propaganda on talmudvision is exactly what they want it to be. Why should I care what another jew says about the programming (take a gander at the definition of that word) that other jews create?

In reply to by zanza

Automatic Choke Troy Ounce Mon, 04/02/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

I'm a physicist.   Many people ask me if I watch BBT, as it is about physicists.   Not only do I not watch TV, but I dread seeing a show ..."about physicists", and have actively avoided seeing even one episode.    I can only imagine the awful stereotypes of geeks that it must pander to.   Ugh.  

I've been working in universities and industry as a physicist, with other physicists, for over 35 years, and all I can say is that physicists span the entire range of social skills and personality types as most other occupations.  I can't speak to the particular agenda that the writer of this article is addressing, but it sounds like the show is about as offensive to her for her personal chip-on-shoulder as it is probably to most physicists for idiotic stereotyping.   (they probably get all the physics wrong, too...but i'm only projecting here.)

On the other hand, what do you expect from hollywood?    I expect that red-heads were equally offended by "I Love Lucy" in that day.....

In reply to by Troy Ounce

ldd Automatic Choke Mon, 04/02/2018 - 22:18 Permalink

although entertainment can have a negative affect on the general populous, there is nothing wrong with getting a laugh from a show like BBT as long as you accept it as just that - comedy. i would like to think you are smart enough to not get sucked into the black hole of programming or stereotyping. i get a laugh out of the show but do not go out of my way to watch it. everybody needs to be able to laugh at the world around us to vent.

In reply to by Automatic Choke

Big Creek Rising ldd Mon, 04/02/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

The Tyler’s did boost book sales- it’s up to #327,446 on Amazon

I am constantly amazed at the pathetic level of mental masturbation that public university academics engage in with our tax subsidies and inflated tuitions. Since it’s two academic womyn this time I’m sure it cost extra (for batteries)

heres a thought: maybe girls just aren’t that interested in ‘STEM’ subjects. My two daughters have zero interest but are otherwise normal

In reply to by ldd

rrrr NidStyles Tue, 04/03/2018 - 09:41 Permalink

It's characteristic of males that they want to excel. It is characteristic of females that they tend to submit, and they tend to do this in preference to males who excel. This is true of many vertebrate mammals, not just humans. I, for one, do not believe the best qualities of humans are not animal qualities. To me it's clear they all are. This is because all human attributes are animal attributes, even the most highly ethereal and spiritual ones.

In reply to by NidStyles

jeffglobal Pool Shark Tue, 04/03/2018 - 04:04 Permalink

If you think those PhDs are portrayed in any way realistically, you've never been around any.  TBBT, is just a producer's interpretation of how he thinks PhDs think and act.  Not one PhD or MS acted like the guys or girls there, except for Peggy.  There were plenty of Peggies, and on the show, she's (sic) supposibly the "dumb" one.  

That extremely ugly "Neuroscientist" irl is technically NOT a STEM subject, cause memorization is NOT a science, it's history.  Physics and Mathematics, that's STEM.  Everything else is freakin' memorizing a book.  In Physics OR Math, memorizing the book IS THE BEGINNING.  So is chemistry if used to create materials, I'd consider some subspecialties STEM too, but NOTHING that is just memorizing a fk'ing book, like MDs...some of the dumbest ppl I've met...but we have deep learning AI now, so oligarchs don't need scientists anymore do they?

Leave TV/Media to the pedo cannibal satanists and do something with your time worthy of your worth.  Consider everything we have been taught, see and hear is a carefully crafted lie.  Entertainment is the most powerful propaganda because you suspend when ppl told me that 9/11 looked like a movie and I held myself back not beating them to death, because REAL ppl died.  Movies are not reality, no matter how often the rabble conflate the two.  Be better than the average slob, maybe?

In reply to by Pool Shark

techpriest Big Creek Rising Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

If you take away the degree as a gatekeeping measure for success, professors of this type would amount to no significance whatsoever. Having hired and attempted to hire people outside of the degree system there is certainly more risk of a bad hire (hence the reason everyone wants a degree), but I do think that organizations like Praxis and Mission U are going to be the hammer that nails the universities we know them into the casket.

Re: #327,446 on Amazon, even though it shows how laughable they are, professors like this make money by requiring students use this book in the state-mandated diversity classes, and they charge $100 a book which can be paid through student loans. But we're suffering from "too much capitalism" right?

In reply to by Big Creek Rising

TBT or not TBT Automatic Choke Mon, 04/02/2018 - 22:24 Permalink

As Larry Summers explained at Harvard, and got fired for it, the distribution curve of IQs for men is different than that for women, particularly in mathematical and spatial reasoning.   The curve for women is narrower if you will, i.e. the curve for males has much fatter tails.   On both sides .   So there are hugely more men at IQs above 135 let's say, and hugely more men below 80 too, than there are women .    This sort of difference in the fatness of the tails between shows up in most species on most things you can make stats about .   The XY combo experiments much more enthusiastically than the XX combo.   It's science.    Involves math . 

In reply to by Automatic Choke

gregga777 TBT or not TBT Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:19 Permalink

I've had female electrical engineers working for me in the Aerospace Industry. A few were actually pretty competent, but the majority weren't even close to being competent. I had one who didn't even understand 1st degree algebraic equations. How she got a BS EE degree is beyond me. Unless it was competence at enforcing politically correct speech. Some were really fanatical about PC speech enforcement. 

In reply to by TBT or not TBT

Katos Automatic Choke Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:52 Permalink

THE BBT is a comedy television show ( which is very well written and very funny) ! Any idea that it actually has anything to say about the universe and physics is only to get a laugh! Anyone who' actually taking this show seriously IS and imbecile! No one on this show knows shit about psychics or the universe, but they have astounding comedic timing!!

In reply to by Automatic Choke

Lore Automatic Choke Tue, 04/03/2018 - 01:12 Permalink

I tried watching the show a little while ago, as I gather that it's one of the most popular things on Prime Time -- award-winning (!) -- and so figured that I should have a clue. It's so stupid, I had to turn it off. 

But more importantly, in the context of this article, I'm puzzled by what the author calls "geek masculinity." I see nothing masculine about any male character in the show. They're strangely lacking in normal secondary sexual characteristics, all built like flabby stick men, effeminate and silly. The main character in particular strikes me as a closet homo.

The psychology of the show eludes me generally. There is nothing admirable or enriching. There are no role models, only mockery of adult behavior by children who never grew up. It's weird, surreal, and irritating. Teletubbies was less disturbing. 

In reply to by Automatic Choke

effendi Automatic Choke Tue, 04/03/2018 - 02:11 Permalink

BBT actually shows a sound understanding of physics. David Saltzberg (Ph.D in Physics) checks every script and attends the tapings. As for being sexist white stereotyping that only shows women scientists as wearing make up... ha, Sheldon was asexual (and played by a queer actor) and now dates a neuroscientist (Amy) who doesn't wear feminine make up or clothes , Raj isn't white, Howard is a Jew. Howards wife (Bernadette)has higher qualifications and makes more money than him.

The only dumb characters on the show have been male (like Zack, a beefcake boyfriend of Penny).

In reply to by Automatic Choke

J S Bach Tallest Skil Mon, 04/02/2018 - 21:41 Permalink

The bottom line is: if you're a man, you know what it means to BE a man. If you're a woman, you know what it means to BE a woman.  When you sit back and really think about the absurdities of our times, it become apparent that there is an (((element))) amongst us which is adamantly pursuing an undermining path to the destruction of this natural understanding.  So, be aware and question everything (((they))) throw at your common sensors.

In reply to by Tallest Skil

Disgruntled Goat J S Bach Mon, 04/02/2018 - 21:52 Permalink

They seek no less than the downfall of Western Civilization through Islamization and the of destruction of Traditional Christian Values, to be accomplished through the celebration of every abnormality that is the antithesis of Christianity. Christianity is so intertwined with Western culture that to destroy it, you destroy the foundation of the other. The result is one vast impoverished multicultural underclass led by a handful of elites.

In reply to by J S Bach

J S Bach Disgruntled Goat Mon, 04/02/2018 - 22:29 Permalink

Don't blame "Islamization".  That culture and religion is what it is.  If you want to find blame for the unnatural malaise which afflicts the West... there is only (((one))) culprit.  (((They))) know what is right and wrong... natural and unnatural.  And (((they)) purposely steer the goy sheep to the unnatural so that (((their))) hegemony reigns supreme.  Let no one convince you otherwise.  THIS -- is the truth.

In reply to by Disgruntled Goat

mkkby J S Bach Mon, 04/02/2018 - 23:15 Permalink

Love the hypocrisy of the libtard left.  It's okay for them to stereotype "geeks", but not okay for women to wear makeup or feminine clothes.

These lesbian feminist *professors* sound like the misogynists to me .  They want to decide how other women should dress and act.  BTW, I hate the show and could only stand it for a few minutes.  The so-called masculine geeks were so annoyingly feminine, it totally comes off as another hollywood show about gays.

In reply to by J S Bach