Xkcd webcomic on online sexism


Today on the brilliant nerdy webcomic xkcd: a trenchant and very funny commentary on online sexism, especially as practiced in the techier corners of the net. Link

See also:
Cory Doctorow cosplayers at the XKCD picnic
Geeky comic strip uses Cory as the punchline
Geeky comic about chess and roller-coasters
Xkcd fans bring chess-sets on roller-coasters
Nerd humor about Katamari Damacy
Bloggin' 'bout my generation
Pi joke
Funny map of online communities in the style of a D&D map
Sarcastic comic about computational linguistics (and emo kids)
Where LOLCats come from
Ironic Internet malapropism grid

12

  1. I love xkcd, but this one would have been better if “Joanna” were the one busting down the door, rather than some guy doing it for her. It wouldn’t have hurt to put the woman in charge.

  2. @Joe
    “..this one would have been better if “Joanna” were the one busting down the door..”

    I disagree: If ‘Joanna’ appeared in the first frame, the guy at the pc would have hit on her right away, resulting in instant EMP’ing (I hope :o).

    Then he would have missed the speech from the guy with the hat, and thus 80% of the punchline (being an asshole AFTER being warned).

    No, once again, Xkcd is just like it should be :o)

    /Rob

  3. Joe @5:

    The guy in the hat has appeared before, using a similar style of argument, and this is one reason why it’s funny to use him again:

    http://www.xkcd.com/169/

    Also, XKCD is written by a man named Randall, so having a man deliver the comic’s message makes the message stronger. The implication is that the hat-wearer speaks for Randall. He may even be Randall.

    By contrast, if the door had been broken down by a team of female Klingons, it would certainly have been funny, but it would have diluted the message, because the author himself would be hidden behind several additional layers of fictional character.

  4. I think Black Hat Guy is suppose to represent an uninhibited Randall. His methods are occasionaly questionable, but the motivations are pure.

    But I second Ethan’s comment. Not only are there the appologists, but also some hand wringing about how to talk to a female member of a CompSci course. Jeeze, and stop me if I’m going out on a limb here, but perhaps, treat her like a person?

  5. It’s ironic. I’m a “nerdy girl” and I’ve been irritated and insulted by persistant stereotypes and objectification of women in the comics. I took it out of my RSS feed after comic #317 ( http://www.xkcd.com/317/ ). I don’t think you should be giving the guy kudos for sensitivity here, his other comics have had a distinct lack thereof.

    I doubt it’s intentional on his part, but as Neal Stephenson observed in Snow Crash one of the most frustrating type of sexism is that practiced “by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.”

  6. @ Rob

    “I disagree: If ‘Joanna’ appeared in the first frame, the guy at the pc would have hit on her right away, resulting in instant EMP’ing (I hope :o).
    Then he would have missed the speech from the guy with the hat, and thus 80% of the punchline (being an asshole AFTER being warned)”

    Joanna could have easily given the speech herself, even in response to the guy hitting on her. I find it odd that you can’t imagine a world rob in which Joanna could talk for her self. Or maybe even do something that doesn’t involve violence.

    @ MechRobotFish

    “The guy in the hat has appeared before, using a similar style of argument, and this is one reason why it’s funny to use him again:

    http://www.xkcd.com/169/

    Just because someone wore a hat before does not make it funny for them to be issuing an army of women orders. Your logic seems such that wearing a hat and utilizing similar styles of arguments removes all responsibility for the content of that argument. All I can hope is that George Bush doesn’t start wearing a hat when you watch him give speeches.

    “Also, XKCD is written by a man named Randall, so having a man deliver the comic’s message makes the message stronger. The implication is that the hat-wearer speaks for Randall. He may even be Randall.

    By contrast, if the door had been broken down by a team of female Klingons, it would certainly have been funny, but it would have diluted the message, because the author himself would be hidden behind several additional layers of fictional character.”

    Your argument here seems to be that the avatar of an individual need to posses the same physical characteristics of that person (in this case, male genitalia) in order for the message to be clear. This line of reasoning seems incontestably with the plethora of gender/identity bending not only on the internet but in real life.

    You present many claims about how its a stronger message but you provide no warrant or example of why fictional characters make messages less real than non fictional ones. do you think Kurt Vonnegut’s opinions are truly limited to what the character of himself in his books present? Do you get nothing out of the other characters he writes?

    I usually like XKCD but this one was pretty lame. I saw the message as “Jenna, do as I say, especially if it involves militarism, and I swear you will be liberated from patriarchy”.

    Sounds like the best plan yet. Lets sign up all women in the country for the military so men can tell them to go liberate women in Afghanistan…oh…wait…

  7. @madprime: too bad you are missing amusement in that, cause it sure is funny. just because we are smart feminists we have to lose our senses of humor…like mom jokes! always funny!

    @everyone else: you think about it too much. it’s a clever, funny webcomic…spending lots of time contemplating its meaning is relatively pointless.

Comments are closed.