Home > 21006870, Burns My Shorts > Sci Fi Guys and Stereotypes, Again

Sci Fi Guys and Stereotypes, Again

So, I have insomnia. I’m catching up on some blog reading. I come across this courtesy of Asymptotia. It’s one of those quizzes; this one is “Which Science Fiction Writer Are you?” It’s fun, it’s harmless, more or less; I came out as

I am:

John Brunner

His best known works are dystopias — vivid realizations of the futures we want to avoid.

Which science fiction writer are you?

More or less appropriate, I’d say.
But what’s really interesting to me is this item in the quiz:

5) Are you a total dork when dealing with the opposite sex?

  • I’m so smooth, I couldn’t possibly be a science fiction writer anyway.
  • I’m happily married, so (thank god) I don’t have to worry much about that sort of thing now.
  • The ladies warn each other to avoid me when I’m drunk.
  • I probably offend a lot more people than I realize I do.
  • I just avoid people as much as possible.
  • I am the opposite sex.

Why does this interest me? Well, first of all, I just love the fact that item 5 is actually for guys. Which leads one to suspect that the whole quiz is really designed for guys. Because only guys read science fiction, right? And, they are dorky, geeky sorts of people who cannot deal with the opposite sex. But, the rest of the quiz makes clear that they are smart.
Say….where have we run into the idea of these kinds of stereotypes before?

Categories: 21006870, Burns My Shorts
  1. January 29, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Well, somebody over at Asymptotia did get James Tiptree, which is the nom de plume of Alice Sheldon…and over on Pharyngula I saw a few who got Le Guin and Octavia Butler. But there are sooooooo many more men on the list. Oh, yeah, a couple people got Ayn Rand. Ayn Rand? Sci fi????? I don’t get it.

  2. January 29, 2007 at 9:57 am

    There are women writers … as others have pointed out. But I think you meant item 3 is for guys (the ladies…) as opposed to item 5 (… people…)

  3. January 29, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    No, I meant item 5, as in question number 5 “Are you a total dork when dealing with the opposite sex?”, which has 6 possible answers to choose from.
    “The opposite sex” is a phrase often used to describe women as a group. Still, they could possibly get away with this one as being for men or women except that answer number three suddenly pops up and makes it clear that “I” in the statements is a male. Then you get to the end with “I am the opposite sex” which supplies the reversal to the preceding statements, which have all been based on stereotypes about nerdy male science fiction readers. The reversal is what supplies the humor in this set of answers.
    If you’re female, you can try to make yourself fit in to the categories designed for males (as Karmen indicates, when she tries to ignore the “ladies” signifier in the comment she feels nonetheless would be applicable for her). But you can’t ignore the fact that in the first five comments, the implicit (and in #3, explicit) speaker is male; in number 6, it’s female.
    Stereotypes…and subtext…but folks, this really isn’t very subtle at all.

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