2009 December 14 Monday
Geeks Repel Women From Computer Science

Women don't want to be around beta geeks.

In real estate, it's location, location, location. And when it comes to why girls and women shy away from careers in computer science, a key reason is environment, environment, environment.

The stereotype of computer scientists as nerds who stay up all night coding and have no social life may be driving women away from the field, according to a new study published this month. This stereotype can be brought to mind based only on the appearance of the environment in a classroom or an office.

"When people think of computer science the image that immediately pops into many of their minds is of the computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food," said Sapna Cheryan, a University of Washington assistant professor of psychology and the study's lead author. "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes." Such objects help create what Cheryan calls ambient belonging, or the feeling that you fit or don't fit in somewhere.

Beta behaviors are driving women away from computers. Feminists who insist on equal representation of women in all the professions should promote alpha male training (start with easy changes) for all male computer science students. It is the only solution that might make a difference.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 December 14 09:39 PM  Human Nature Mating

Jensen said at December 14, 2009 10:48 PM:

Yeah just look at James Bowery - he's a progammer/computer nerd.

He didn't get laid until about a year and a half ago at age 55 or something.

coldequation said at December 15, 2009 4:24 AM:

Beta would be a step up for a lot of these guys. Try omega.

Some Wordy Bastard said at December 15, 2009 8:08 AM:

Seems like some academics want to transform Computer Science so it is more welcoming to women.

Unfortunately, like other engineering areas, it take an enormous amount of single mindedness to succeed in the hard end of the computing field and very few women do. Those who do are usually Chinese or Indian or Jewish, in my experience.

Tough titties, really.

Mercer said at December 15, 2009 8:48 AM:

I wonder if there has been a study testing female reaction to an office full of sports memorabilia.

rob said at December 15, 2009 9:15 AM:

This post is such Whiskey bait. Coldequation is right. Whiskey and stereotypical computer nerds are omega. Betas are desirable enough to get monogamous relationships, they're team players, etc.

"I wonder if there has been a study testing female reaction to an office full of sports memorabilia. "

Sports obsessions are often beta/alpah, not omega. Omegas are way too resentful of jocks from back in high school to watch sports.

sestamibi said at December 15, 2009 11:36 AM:

Of course, there are some women who are just as geeky. They mate with these guys and have autistic children.

Speaking from experience.

Luthor Rex said at December 15, 2009 11:47 AM:

"Omegas are way too resentful of jocks from back in high school to watch sports."

Sports are part of the collective delusion of normal people. The ability to move a ball around a field does not make you more of a man. But there are a lot of self-deluded men and women out there who think it is so. If you want to show us how tough you are then do boxing, or one of those extreme cage fighting martial arts flavors out there, or even better yet join the Marines. Let's not pretend for one second that the ability to play a child's game is some display of positive masculine qualities.

People who play sports train for one thing - their sport. They are not training for combat, and if put in an actual combat situation they will not know what to do because of their lack of training. A boxer, an MMA guy, or a Marine have all trained for various levels of man on man conflict. Sure the Marine will do better than the boxer in Iraq, but the boxer will do better than the football player in ANY man on man encounter.

The only thing I am resentful of is a society that rewards betas (sports players) and ignores actual alphas (boxer, Marine, etc.). The matrix still has you.

not anon or anonymous said at December 15, 2009 12:45 PM:

Luthor Rex, I'm all for effective self-defense, but why should our society reward man-on-man conflict any more than it rewards sportsplayers?

rob said at December 15, 2009 1:39 PM:

"The ability to move a ball around a field does not make you more of a man"

Team and throwing sports obviously activate deep psychological mechanisms. Beating someone is great and all, glad you're into it. But wrassling isn't what gets the spear into the mastadon: throwing is. As for man on man combat, for most of human evolution aim has trumped punching. Still does, hence the adage "never bring a knife to a gunfight."

Like not anon, I'm not clear on the inherent value of worshipping people who beat the shit out of other people. Revenge fantasies?

Savant said at December 15, 2009 3:04 PM:

That may be a reason but in my experience, I've been in IT all my life, women are just not good at it, especially the deep technical stuff. Also the few that are tend to be androgenous - apart from one glorious exception in Norway!

thegomezsymbol said at December 15, 2009 3:56 PM:

This is precious, but yet stupid quote mining. Later in the article it says:

"The stereotype is not as alienating to men as women, but it still affects them as well."

The counter-examples are obvious: the teaching field is full of women because all alpha males are there, right? Civil, naval and aerospace engineering have fewer geeks/nerds than computer science, yet about the same proportion of women. I won't speculate why (genetic predisposition, a preference to communicate with others rather than tinker with toys, pick your own), but technical fields in general get less attention from women than the fields of humanities.

Randall Parker said at December 15, 2009 8:42 PM:

My reaction to all physical games and video games is what a waste of time.

However, games serve the purpose of demonstrating to women which men have great genes. The funny thing is that so many men watch sports. Yet it is the women who want to know which guys are best for sex.


Women go into or stay out of fields for a number of reasons. Lots of women teach kids because they like kids. Women like fields that involve working with people. Yes, guys like things, women like people. But I think women are also repelled from fields that have the types of men they aren't attracted to.

I wrote the post because I found the report funny and, yes, Game as taught by the better Pick-Up Artists would change the lives of male computer programmers and also reduce the female repulsion from the field. Not saying Game in the hands of undergrad C.S. major guys would pull lots of women into the field. But I bet it'd make a difference.

Wolf-Dog said at December 16, 2009 7:38 AM:

Once again, in leading top 10 universities, the C.S. majors do NOT look like fat nerds, many of the nerds in top schools have a lot of extracurricular activities, they are very literate in all areas, and they are also very athletic. This is because their I.Q. is so high that they do not have to work so hard like the nerds who can barely survive in less selective universities. Thus the C.S. nerds in top schools would indeed be very attractive to women, since they are not only successful intellectually, but also financially and socially.

not anon or anonymous said at December 16, 2009 1:31 PM:

Wolf-Dog, interesting. Do CS majors in leading top 10 universities have better gender balance than lower-quality schools?

Keep in mind that while the standards at a top-10 university will be high, CS may still be at a disadvantage compared to other fields such as business, finance or med. Also, the geeky stereotype probably impacts the CS field as a whole, not individual CS departments.

Randall, yes, Game is definitely making a difference--many if not most pick up gurus are former geeks.

Wolf-Dog said at December 16, 2009 4:10 PM:

Only in the United States the Geeks have low status. In most other countries, including Europe, Russia, China, Japan, etc, Geeks are revered. Separately, in UK and Israel, the socialized system is such that doctors have much lower salaries than engineers.

Also, in many cases top Geeks make more money than the average doctor, and I am not just talking about the founders of Google, the people who went to the top 10 CS departments have very good prospects especially if they have done research at the graduate level.

Business is a different area. MOST people with an MBA do not make much more money than engineers, especially in the current environment.

Finance: These days finance is much more scientific and mathematical. In the past, if you have an undergraduate degree in history, you could be a broker, but these days the brokers are no longer needed in the traditional way, instead there are quantitative fund managers who have very scientific training.

rob said at December 16, 2009 5:11 PM:

In a decent eng. school, I have been surprised how un-nerdy most people are, especially the undergrads. I'm easily the geekiest in one of the req.masters courses, at the most socially maladjusted. I thought it was because CS pulled in der ubernerds, but maybe biomed isn't as geeky as mechE or EE.

not anon or anonymous said at December 16, 2009 6:24 PM:

Only in the United States the Geeks have low status.

The article implies that Geeks' low status is due to their weird and alienating sub-culture. Do European or Asian geeks surround themselves with junk food and sci-fi posters? Do they have coding all-nighters at work?

My guess is that they don't, simply because Europe and Asia have a rigid and paternalistic attitude towards employment and business. European and Asian engineers may be trading off an innovative and productive business environment in favor of some dubious gains on the social status front.

Advocatus Diaboli said at December 16, 2009 7:33 PM:

My second post in a series..

Escorts are a better deal than ‘real’ women- II


Genious said at November 3, 2010 3:21 PM:

This is rubbish...its only in these "western" societies that intellect doesn't equal status, I guess a real man builds bed headboards for a living, lol. Whatever.

TheCoolerGeek said at November 17, 2011 5:18 PM:

Gotta say I'm not too sure about that, I'm a geek myself and I don't have that problem. Then again I don't sit on my geek chic loveseat all day playing Xbox 360 all day, I take care of my self. Its 2011 baby, geeks have the greatest grasp on the information trade thus making us VERY cool (and chicks dig cool :)

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