Re: Pain Isn't Pretty (was: hot babes, etc.)

Sarah Marr (
Tue, 11 Aug 1998 09:13:19 +0100

At 11:50 10/08/98 -0700, Robin Hanson wrote:


>I agree many of the early posters could have been more "civilized",
>but I've actually been more surprised by many of the reactions.

Certainly, this is what caused my reaction to the initial postings in this debate: not the content per se, but the mode of expression chosen (which I selected to interpret at face value, rather than perform a 'benefit of the doubt' analysis, I must confess).


>Yes, this topic may well make the few women on this list feel
>uncomfortable. So let's all try to make it clear: We treasure women,
>and not just or even primarily as potential dates. (And I for one wish
>the female lurkers would speak up more often.)

Speaking up for once (and I should say at this point that my usual lurking is a function of time-constraint rather than apathy), I'm concerned about your use of 'we' in this last paragraph, Robin. Personally, I do feel that the majority of people on this list value women, but I'm not sure that allows the use of the global 'we'. In the spirit of your post, however, I agree that the approach to the minority should be one designed to engender understanding and a positive way forward.

>But let's also remember: male pain is real, and deserves attention, even
>if it isn't articulate pretty or articulate. Let's acknowledge that
>on average male nerds, especially extropian male nerds, are less desired
>by women. Then let's try to understand more about why, and see if we
>can help.

Perhaps a problem to be addressed before considering the real issue here is what we mean by, 'nerd'. I think nerd has connotations of appearance, social skills and psychological make-up, each of which contribute in their own way to the attractiveness, or otherwise, of the 'nerd'; it is also a fairly gender-specific category, which is ex necessite qualified with 'female' when used to describe a woman. I don't recall ever having met a female nerd, and I'm not qualified to talk about the male nerd's attractiveness or otherwise, but perhaps by breaking down the qualities that create the category 'nerd' others may be able to provide some insight in to the problems which they are expressing. And helping others to overcome their own perceived limitations seems to me to be an very Extropian thing to do.