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Author Topic: Self-image (split from Gay / Gamer)  (Read 19868 times)
M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2002, 07:09:22 PM »

Reverend, is it possible that this phase of in your face with a chip on my shoulder is one expression of a necessary step in a process?

My "geek" background is completely unrelated to gaming or in fact to anything else. It is one of the cruelties of children. I was hospitalized during my preschool years (acute nephritis--you all came very close to not having to listen to me) and so developed neither the knowledge nor the physical prowess necessary to excel in sports. Such skills are (or at least then and there were) the foundation of the valuation of boys among elementary school children; if you weren't good at kickball, dodgeball, Red Rover, duck-duck-goose, and the myriad of other physical/athletic activities, you were on the outside; and being on the outside at that age tended to make you desperate to be on the inside, and so to exhibit rather embarrassing habits (fawning over popular kids, for example). It snowballs; long after everyone has forgotten why you're a geek, you're still the geek. It imprints; even if you move to a new place, your lack of self confidence identifies your status to the new crowd.

My wife thinks that it's all nonsense. She was also teased and picked on (the fat girl syndrome). She says she just picked her friends carefully from among those who didn't share that view. Maybe it's different for girls. I knew boys who would play with me when no one else was around and chase me home if someone showed up. But she also thinks that somewhere in college you get past that point, such that people no longer care, but that the geeks still perceive themselves as such and so spurn the friendships of others. I don't know that I agree; but then, if she's right, I would be exactly the person who wouldn't know it.

What I do know is that I had to go through a few phases. I was never the sort of adamant jerk under discussion here; that is, I never stood up and challenged the world to knock me down. But I went into a rather withdrawn stage in which I didn't really care what the rest of the world thought (coupled with a "one day they'll see that I'm really special and they should have been nice to me"--I often wonder if Bill Gates feels like that). Then it was my future as a famous musician (which obviously didn't happen, as none of you have ever seen my face on an album cover); but more basically it was an effort to come to grips with a phase of "I can be O.K. with myself, even if right now I'm not, regardless of what everyone else thinks, even if I really do care." I don't recommend the passive form of this; it tends toward clinical depression. But it seems to me that the adamant jerk is the aggressive form of this.

I say it is a phase, because it is a necessary step in a process that then moves to "I'm O.K. with myself, and really don't care what everyone else thinks," and hopefully eventually to something beyond that: "I'm O.K. with myself, and hey, it seems like nearly everyone else is, too."

I'm saying that maybe to get to the point where you realize that people don't dislike you you have to get through the place where you like yourself without reference to whether they do.

That's the mistake we make. We predicate our own self image on the attitudes of others, when in fact it may be that others are predicating their attitudes on that self-image. If you are comfortable with yourself, others will be comfortable with you; if you are concerned about what they think to the degree that you can't be happy without their approval, it's unlikely you'll get it, because you're already signalling them that they shouldn't like you.

This is really speculative, maybe; but I think I hear something like this in a lot of the other stories being shared here.

Thoughts?

--M. J. Young
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2002, 07:57:23 PM »

M.J. Young wrote:
Quote
I'm saying that maybe to get to the point where you realize that people don't dislike you you have to get through the place where you like yourself without reference to whether they do.


Well said M.J., well said.

It should also be noted that there are people who will dislike you specifically because you have passed through that stage, they can sense it, and they become jealous in a very unhealthy way because they have yet to reach that point.

-Chris
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #32 on: December 01, 2002, 10:35:48 PM »

Mike,

Clearly you're taking the adversarial position to my own. My only problem with this is I'm not sure exactly what you're being adversarial about?

For example, the "should I have to explain what I'm doing to everyone in a public place" query.
Please, Mike, don't suppose to make me or anyone an advocate of such an obviously absurd "solution." And I know you realize it is absurd, even without mentioning such behavior itself would be typical of the very "asshole Xer" behavior that we're discussing as being baneful.

Whether or not you (or anyone), specifically, are an "asshole gamer" is really besides the point, and thus whether you are or are not is ultimately moot and the answer to this does not create a non-issue because it is precisely not-the-point. I used you, or your statements rather, specifically the "Whatchagonnadoaboutit?" and associated attitude as an example of the behavior -- as an example.

Perhaps I need to clarify my purpose in the discussion -- that is, what I'm looking to achieve and why I'm participating? I'm not looking specifically for solutions, and my posts aren't meant to engender them; though I admit such might arise from the content or be culled. I'm looking at creating an understanding of the problem, and defining the problem in the first place...solutions can wait, and are IMO premature until we pin down "what's wrong with gamers?"

[tangent]
And I know someone's going to go off on a crusade about that little bit in quotes right there...don't, ok? If you feel the need, just shut-up and figure out what's being discussed in the thread instead of dragging everyone else off willy-nilly into discussions of internal persecution-complexes -- "But we're all gamers! Are you 'better' than us? How can you insult the rest of us?" One: I'm not (insulting gamers, that is). Two: I'm not "a gamer." If you don't know what I mean by the second, you haven't been paying attention to these discussions -- or discussions of stereotyping, et al. Context. Use it.
[end tangent]

As to the absurdity, Mike, I think it's all yours. I say this not to be mean or assinine, but because no one has stated anything similar to what you're suggesting be done...of COURSE what you're suggesting would be absurd, I agree completely that the scenario you outline is such! But it also has nothing to do with any actual suggestions or statements far.

Again: I'm attempting to identify the nature of the specific problem brought up through the correlation of data and comparison of behaviors, to provide insight into the motivations behind such behaviors. Anything beyond that is premature.

Now, I realize you don't think there's a problem and you don't think the hobby is suffering backlash from the type of individual being described. That's all fine, it's your opinion, it's valid and you're welcome to it.

So, in the interests of discussion, what do you make of the folks we're describing?
Have you encountered any? (Many?)
What do you think prompts these behaviors?
Is the self-image of most gamers an impediment?

(Notice I'm not asking "What can be done about them?"...not interested right now)

Or a different approach and a different set of questions: is there a gamer-stereotype that is more-or-less accurate as a general trend which includes behaviors/psychology which meshes with that of individuals in other similar groups? If so, what groups, behaviors and processes do you see in common? Are these behavior-patterns positive or negative, and in what regard?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #33 on: December 01, 2002, 11:07:06 PM »

MJ,

Good question, and it could well be...or it could simply be the culturally-ingrained response to the scenario of persecution? That is, this is how we see people in that situation acting, so we assume that is the correct pattern of behavior in that circumstance, and then when we arrive in that circumstance, we react the way we believe we are supposed to.

I doubt that either way that really makes a difference in this situation, other than being able to identify the problem and the behavior makes it easier to discuss.

For the record, I too was a "geek" before I was "gamer" (reasons: small, non-athletic, socially unsure(clueless)).

But I'm really more interested in this quote: "I don't recommend the passive form of this; it tends toward clinical depression. But it seems to me that the adamant jerk is the aggressive form of this."

You're right...you're completely freaking right. EXACTLY.

To wit, the "asshole Xer" stage doesn't necessarily mean an actual aggressive stance. You can be a passive "asshole Xer" too...in fact, I would posit off-hand (without any actual data) that the passive form is the more common form of the behavior. That is, internalized and expressed through the subtle social channels instead of expressed through the blatant ones (the "in your FACE!" symptomatic responses).

I did not make this description clear in my previous posts, because I wasn't recognizing the distinction myself, so thank you for pointing it out! In fact, where Chris writes about an individual having the reaction of "This is the greatest thing and you're not shit!" I note that such an idea can be wholly internalized, individually or as a group, as a self-rationalization/defense mechanism without ever being verbally stated to a non-member...or stated only under duress/attack.

In fact, the "gamers are smarter than other groups" is one of these very things: it's an "asshole gamer" statement spoken only within gaming circles used to bolster pride in the group and support the contention that, as a member of said group, you're worthwhile whether anyone outside the group can see it or not.

Which leads right back to my problem with "I'm ok, whether or not you agree" sorts of statements...because they're still asshole statements, they're just not aggressive-social statements made to the general public, they're internalized defense mechanisms that seem utterly harmless as self-comforting and logically true, but actually contribute to negative behaviors instead of a more positive behavior where the whole "whether or not you agree" and "I don't care what you think" part is utterly unnecessary...which, I just realized, is exactly what you mean when you talk about arriving at a place "where you like yourself without reference to whether they do."
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2002, 09:26:09 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
So, in the interests of discussion, what do you make of the folks we're describing?


They're just people. Some have problems, yes, but it's not something that one can fix with a simple plea to act differently.

Quote
Have you encountered any? (Many?)


Tons. All the time. They are fairly common. Or, rather, they are each individuals, and I could place them all more or less on some spectrum of geekiness. The ones that I think qualify I think I usually run into each time I go into a game store, or at a Con.

OTOH, it is problematic that these are my judgements. What's the objective criteria for when some sort of action needs to be taken?

Quote
What do you think prompts these behaviors?


Isn't that obvious by now? Low self-esteem.

Quote
Is the self-image of most gamers an impediment?
Impediment to what? Doesn't seem to keep them from gaming? Does it make the public think that we're a weird group? Yes. The public also thinks the same of lawyers (actually they think worse of lawyers).

Quote
(Notice I'm not asking "What can be done about them?"...not interested right now)
But that is what's being asked. If not, then what's this all about? I say there is nothing to be done, and, therefore ask, "Why are we even talking about it?"

Quote
Or a different approach and a different set of questions: is there a gamer-stereotype that is more-or-less accurate as a general trend which includes behaviors/psychology which meshes with that of individuals in other similar groups? If so, what groups, behaviors and processes do you see in common?
And now we're back to the Gay thread. The answer is the same here as it is there. While there may be superficial similarities, the comparison yields little other than to say that each individual must stand up and have some self-respect.

Again, we can shout that from the rooftops, but the issues of "geekiness" obviously go deeper than gaming. At the point at which it becomes "problematic" the only thing I can see  is to cheekily suggest the classic response, "Seek therapy." Other than that, I don't see that there is anything to be done.

I truely feel that if widespread acceptance is what we're after (and we're not even sure that's a goal yet), then solving the "Geeky gamer" image problem has much more to do with what Walt's talking about in the other thread about the perception of obesession. Which we all suffer from.

This has been and continues to be my point. We are all part of the "geeky gamer" image problem. Every one of us. Because, it's not just the fact that some few of us might be socially inept, but because we play RPGs and do other such activities. To the outsider there is little difference between the Trekkie, the Comic's collector, and the gamer.

To whit, I'm watching the new episode of Malcolm in the Middle last night and see a classic exampole of what I'm talking about. The Father wants to buy a Comic for Malcolm. He arrives in the shop only to be told to leave by a retainer-wearing poorly complected asshole clerk who tells him, essentially, that since he doesn't know his comics that he's not worthy. The solution? Get the fat guy who manages the Mother's store. He's an inveterate geek, and should be able to handle it. I was actually able to anticipate the moment when it would happen in the show, but, as he enters the comic shop, the clerk stares in awe, and says, "Wow, that guy's a 45th level Dungeon Master, we're in trouble." There then follows a duel of geeks.

The clincher comes though after the episode where the Father is complimenting him on how he handled himself in the store. Our geek, thus emboldened then says timidly, "You know, there's a convention next weekend..." and is interrupted by the father who responds, "I have a life."

Ouch. Message? If you are into comics or D&D or anything of that nature, you must be like the fat inept store manager. You must have no life. They could pick on anyone this way. In fact this character has never been portrayed to my knowledge as being a gamer before. It's just that when they need someone to fit the role for the plot, who do they turn to? Is it a cool character? No, it has to be the guy most likely to be obsessed.

OK, that's long winded. But the point is that it's the activities that lead to the view of us as obsessed. Not anti-social behavior of any particular sort. We suffer from guilt by association.  

And that's not going to change until the opinion of the activity changes.

Mike
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2002, 02:00:38 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
They're just people. Some have problems, yes, but it's not something that one can fix with a simple plea to act differently.
...
But that is what's being asked. If not, then what's this all about? I say there is nothing to be done, and, therefore ask, "Why are we even talking about it?"

Understanding is a goal in and of itself.
I realize you're wrestling with that, and thus most of your response is colored by answers of what is, ultimately, your own question. So, no, Mike, that is not what is being asked; it is, however, what you are asking. You're looking for the "meaning" of the discussion where I am not.

Though I'll try, I don't know how well such a discussion is going to go. If you're intent on answering your own question about the question rather than dealing just with the question by itself, you second-guess me and add a second layer of discussion to the existing discussion. Due this, we could easily end up talking at cross-purposes, with you looking for an answer to one question and I looking for the answer to another.

Quote
OTOH, it is problematic that these are my judgements. What's the objective criteria for when some sort of action needs to be taken?

We're moving into your territory for the moment...and my personal answer is, "I don't know." The problem here for me is that what needs to be done depends on if anything needs to be done at all, if anything would work and so forth. This is a whole other discussion entirely...and we haven't even scratched the surface of it yet.

Can you do anything? followed by Should you do anything? and If so, what?  As well as the looming question of Why should you do anything?

However, you have already repeatedly provided your answer to these questions, so why are you asking now? (Considering you know I'm not interested in exploring that issue at the immediate moment)

Quote
Isn't that obvious by now? Low self-esteem.

The answer you give is the obvious one, yes, but despite summarizing the issue neatly, it doesn't provide much of an actual answer to me. There's more to the issue than the simple answer of internal perception of self, methinks...or perhaps there isn't, but that simplicity is done a disservice by buzzword answers.

What causes the low self-esteem? How is it expressed? What about the answer actually provides a resolution to the issues brought up?

Quote
Impediment to what? Doesn't seem to keep them from gaming? Does it make the public think that we're a weird group? Yes. The public also thinks the same of lawyers (actually they think worse of lawyers).

Interesting.

How many lawyers do you know who can't get work because they're lawyers? Or fear reprisals or ostracization at work or in public because they're lawyers? I don't see the comparison at all.

Lawyers are disliked, yes, but they aren't considered social outcasts, geeks, freaks or societal pimples...your mother would be proud if you married a lawyer, but she'd be confused if you married a gamer, since the "social role" has nothing to "offer" and she might even see it as a detriment...in fact, the social role isn't even comparable, so comparing the two is a mistake on that count.

ie: Compare "I married a doctor/teacher/writer." to "I married a bridge-player/model-train hobbyist/bird watcher." The former and the latter aren't even in the same social category, nor, I suggest are being a barrister and being a gamer.

And yes, I'm aware the same could be argued for being gay and being a gamer...I think there are different reasons for the comparisons in these two instances, however. Frex, what can we learn about ourselves as gamers by studying the social behavior of lawyers?

The question about "impediment"...well, I was asking you, that's why I left it deliberately open. I'm asking the simple questions for in-depth commentary and thought -- not snap, pat-answers.

Quote
And now we're back to the Gay thread.

Well, we never really left it IMO; it holds central supporting data...not because of the fact that gaming is being compared to being gay or anything else. That's the non-issue that seems like the issue.

But, this doesn't really answer the question.

Quote
The answer is the same here as it is there. While there may be superficial similarities, the comparison yields little other than to say that each individual must stand up and have some self-respect.

And then we get right back into the issue of being an "asshole Xer."

Define "self-respect," define "standing up," explain the proper and improper methods of having the former and doing the latter, look at the typical individual who hasn't participated in this discussion...will they even realize the differences? Not likely.

I think that's why this topic keeps going...the obvious answer isn't much of an answer, because it doesn't provide any real commentary, understanding and (for you) definitely no resolution.

Quote
I truely feel that if widespread acceptance is what we're after (and we're not even sure that's a goal yet)

Agreed.

Quote
but because we play RPGs and do other such activities. To the outsider there is little difference between the Trekkie, the Comic's collector, and the gamer.
...
OK, that's long winded. But the point is that it's the activities that lead to the view of us as obsessed. Not anti-social behavior of any particular sort. We suffer from guilt by association.

That's interesting, since my experience has been entirely different, and (in fact) I argued the opposite...that geekiness does not come by association, given that two individuals involved in the hobby -- one who is not a geek and one who is -- each will remain on their respective "sides" regardless of whether or not their hobby is known to the public. Ref. my high school group, consisting of both popular kids and geeks.

That is, a "not-geek" will not magically become "a geek" if he reveals he plays RPGs, and an already-geek will become neither more cool nor more geeky by association. Thus I think the association you're positing is backwards. It is not gaming which makes one a geek, nor is it the reverse. One is a geek or is not a geek regardless of whether they game or not.

The episode of Malcom you reference supports this, IMO...the geek character was already established as a geek before it was revealed he played D&D. The character wasn't a geek because he played D&D, he played D&D because he was a geek.

I think perhaps gamers have the perception of association wrong...that gaming does not make you into a geek and that it is not a geeky passtime. In fact, I will go as far as to openly disagree with your statements about "all of us geeks" and "those geeks too normal for the rest of us geeks" and such, precisely equating all gamers to geeks is, IMO, false.

In fact, in my view, such a position supports the false gamer vs. non-gamer dichotomy as well as the perception of gaming as geeky. After all, think about it: you believe it is -- you've said as much through comparison, particularly with the "normal geeks" statement...all gamers are geeks -- so how will anyone not-a-gamer ever disassociate the same?

Subtle and insidious the perception is!

In light of this, how do the activities of "standing up" and "having self-respect" sound? Suddenly a lot more deep and murky than they appear at first glance, since their very basis is unsound without a thorough internal check of the individual's own unconscious perceptions.
(and once again, I'm not advocating a hit-squad going around preaching this to the masses)

This is exactly what you stated about no-one admiting they're an "asshole Xer"...no one does because no one thinks they are...even if they examine the issue, they may not realize it because their fundamental truths remain unquestioned and only the outside effects/symptoms are examined.

So, I believe what I'm going on about is that a fundamental alteration in the very culture of gaming has to take place...

Quote
And that's not going to change until the opinion of the activity changes.

I quite honestly disagree, because the opinion of the hobby will never actually change.
What do I mean by that? Well...ask yourself, if there is nothing to be done, and we're status-quo OK, then how does one even begin to change the opinion of the activity or why would one want to? You see and state the problem clearly, yet argue that it doesn't exist.

IMO, it is the opinion of the public about the people who game that has to changed, not the activity.

...and thus the people who game have to change.

Quite a quandary from where I'm sitting.

So, no, we're not all geeks. We aren't geeks because we game, and we don't game because we're geeks.
Geek solidarity...well, I have to disagree with you, Mike, on your assumption that certain geeks are put out by other geeks...because the ones being put out don't actually identify with being geeks.

Nor, I think, should they.

Right back to gamer solidarity: "We play together because we're gamers." is the same thing as "Gamers stick together, we're all geeks." This is wrong, backwards.

I'm not sure if we two can go anywhere from here, since we obviously have fundamental differences in opinion of the underlying issues.
Anyone else?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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