seaslug

Can you tell I never finished college?

Someone posted in their LJ, today, about how, after putting a picture on their Yahoo profile, they started getting hit on in IM by what were apparently horny net geeks.

Now, I know this is rather common behavior by men towards women in both cyberspace and in meatspace. Regardless, it tends to bother me. I feel a sense of disappointment and shame toward my fellow males. I'm not a sociologist or psychologist so I don't know what factors are behind such behavior but I feel certain that there are many. Regarding the cyberspace world; I also don't know if anyone has done or attempted a comprehensive study of why so many men are dicks to women in this particular way. I was speculating idly on whether one gets this behavior more often from men who come from societies that have a strong patriarchal nature (are there societies left that have a less patriarchal nature?), or a repressive and puritanical nature, like maybe many countries in the middle and near east and, quite frankly, this country (sorry, the US). I don't know. That seems simplistic in the extreme and I'm not going to try and dig deeper into it now.

What I am going to dig into a little is boundaries. What these HNGs are doing is violating boundaries. In addition to the bad behavior of many men, I was contemplating societal boundaries today, particularly those societal boundaries that exist on LJ. The boundaries on LJ, I think, reflect the boundaries that exist for human society in general. There are strictly structured boundaries with written rules, such as in many communities geared toward a particular topic. There are also unstructured boundaries with unwritten rules and these are myriad. These tend to focus on particular journals or groups of journals. The unwritten rules of these journals or boundaries are also myriad. The people involved in the societal structure of these journals have banded together for any number of reasons. One journal's society will consist of people of only one age group, or physical neighborhood, or sex. Others will have a diverse collection of age groups, races and sexes with the focus being that they enjoy each other's conversational or posting styles. There are extremes such as societies/boundaries existing strictly in the comment areas of a journal, or journals where a number of readers are focused on a particularly literate or funny journal owner; like fans to a celebrity. Of course, these unstructured boundaries tend to ebb and flow and mix into each other, complicating the rule structure. What's interesting is that some of these people who are part of certain LJ societal structures wouldn't look twice at each other or interact at all in face to face meatspace.

So these HNGs bothering this LJ'er by IM could just have easily done the same thing on her LJ itself. Fortunately she can block them in both her LJ and in her IMs. As I said, though, this bothers me. On a selfish level it bothers me because I think it makes it more difficult for me to navigate through, and integrate into, some of these LJ societal boundaries. Now, I tend to fully fill out profile pages (on a side note I would imagine many women don't in the interest of self preservation). I fully fill out profile pages because I feel dishonest by not doing so. Like I'm trying to hide something. But because of HNGs anybody going to check out my profile might decide they don't want me putting them on my friend's list or even commenting in their journal because I'm a guy and particularly because I'm an older guy, in his 40s. They're automatically creeped out by that. On an aside, I agree with windswept in not at all appreciating the term Friend's List. Sure, people do friend each other because they're friends but I think that's in the minority of instances. In fact, over in the sociology community I've seen people asking what they should do when other's "friend" them or what they should do when they want to "friend" someone else. Should they ask first? Should they not? How do they deal with the guilt when they decide they need to trim their friend's list. On and on. Getting back to the point: I'm a guy who has put people from several societal structures on his flist. I've put every one of them on there because I find the content of their journals entertaining and interesting. Because of the navigating I've been doing, from journal to journal, flowing from flist to flist, I think I've ended up with mostly 20 to 30 something year old women on my flist. This was not by design. I've interacted on some of these journals at a casual level. I've interacted very cautiously because I know some of my fellow males are in there strictly to try and get laid or because they're HNGs like the ones I described at the beginning of my post. In short, I'm trying not to violate boundaries. Alright, I've stepped away from idle speculation and started whining. How do I wrap this up?

I hate idiots who can't respect boundaries or who are too socially inept to understand them. I don't like having to be judged by certain labels because of those idiots. I'm really fascinated by the interactions on LJ. I don't remember what else I was trying to say because Survivor is on. I'd welcome elaborations and comments on LJ societal boundaries.

The end.
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I find this difficult to comment on because I know you in meat and cyber space. I would take offense at someone taking offense to you because I know you're a tremendously polite and decent man - as well as a good friend.

It's true that people interpret flist's differently and, for the most part, I can't be bothered trying to figure that out on any given journal. I just bookmark the ones I enjoy reading and leave it at that, save for a couple.