Gender Specificity and the Internet

For some reason I noticed a series of items today concerning male-female differences on the Internet. Enjoy.

Ryan at Mad Art Lab (hobbies include fencing, armor smithing, and D&D) has spent a lot of time thinking about female-specific armor. This post is the happy result: Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits. It includes the following image of a breast(s)plate made by Ryan himself:

Ryan writes:

Note also that it seems almost perfectly designed to guide sword points and arrows into her heart. They still have to penetrate the armor but, honestly, that’s a design flaw. However, it looks good and makes her feel sexy and badass at the same time. That’s important too.

Author Seth Mnookin (whose name I can’t pronounce, but fortunately I don’t have to read this post out loud), in an otherwise interesting and lies.com-linkworthy piece at PLoS Blogs (Context and corrections in writing about autism and vaccines: A case study in misleading your readers), quotes from this fun correction that ran recently in the New York Times:

An article on Monday about Jack Robison and Kirsten Lindsmith, two college students with Asperger syndrome who are navigating the perils of an intimate relationship, misidentified the character from the animated children’s TV show “My Little Pony” that Ms. Lindsmith said she visualized to cheer herself up. It is Twilight Sparkle, the nerdy intellectual, not Fluttershy, the kind animal lover.

This reminded me of “bronies”, whom I learned about some time ago from my Internet-meme-obsessed 14-year-old son, but whom I’d never googled before. Shortly thereafter I was reading this fun piece by Katie Notopolous on Gawker: Hasbro Crushes Dreams of Grown Men Who Love My Little Pony. Notopolous observes:

If you think bronyism sounds like something only a serious pervert living in his mother’s basement would be into, you’re only about 30% correct. To address your immediate question: it’s not ironic. It’s nerdy guys who genuinely enjoy an animated series about ponies. The show has a legitimate appeal to older audiences — high production values, snappy dialog, and a heartwarming message. But the online fan culture of bronies grew out of 4chan, so they have a computer nerd vestigial tail of Mountain Dew, anime appreciation, chronic virginity, and cyberbullying.

The mention of cyberbullying brings me to the last item in today’s round-up of gender-themed links: Rebecca Watson (who is awesome, btw) on how reddit makes her hate atheists. In particular, Watson dissects how the reaction to a 15-year-old girl posting this photo of a book her “super-religious mother” got her for Christmas made her hate them:

Happy New Year, dudes and dudettes (and redditors and bronies and conspiracists). See you in 2012!

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