Gene Expression

Hot chicks are different today….

The virginity thread generated a lot of response. The virgin lot of the nerd, ah, so cliche. And yet now I’m having a really weird moment, I’m at the local wine bar and a very attractive hostess1 is recommending books in the science fiction genre to another (far less attractive) hostess. So far I’ve heard Ender’s Game, Hyperion and Snow Crash tossed off as appropriate for a “newbie.” Is this the Twlight Zone??? Am I a freak to think this is freaky? I haven’t had a sip of wine, so it isn’t the alcohol.

Update: She’s reading American Gods I notice (taking a break).

Update II: Smokin’ ScienceBlogger Shelley comments. For the record, the key issue for me was the intersection of science fiction && female physical hotitude.

Update III: On second thought, I think the Princess Bride era Robin Wright Penn is probably a better description of the “Hot Girl.” And another tidbit for those wanting to make this about science & women, I am to understand that this individual (I am a regular) is a history major.

1 – Think Reese Witherspoon’s more attractive brown-haired cousin.

Comments

  1. #1 Lee
    December 12, 2006

    So the obvious question is: If she’s that hot and geek-literate, why the hell are you wasting time describing this on your blog instead of immediately introducing yourself into the conversation?

  2. #2 razib
    December 13, 2006

    1) i did talk to her & her oogly friend for a little while

    2) i gotz me a smokin’ chica thank you very much!!!

  3. #3 chet snicker
    December 13, 2006

    i can confirm #2 :-) you’re a lucky man z….

  4. #4 bioephemera
    December 13, 2006

    Why the heck would it be freaky that an attractive woman reads mainstream sci fi? You think attractiveness is inversely proportional to literacy?

  5. #5 Lee
    December 13, 2006

    what if sci fi is inversely proportional to literacy?
    Grin – I believe I will go hide now.

  6. #6 gc
    December 13, 2006

    You think attractiveness is inversely proportional to literacy?

    Ummmm, yeah, especially in the upper half of the IQ range.

    there is a reason this is a joke (Not work safe):

    http://dannyman.toldme.com/journal/2000/images/openbsd.jpg

  7. #7 chet snicker
    December 13, 2006

    ROFL.

  8. #8 bioephemera
    December 13, 2006

    what if sci fi is inversely proportional to literacy?

    Perhaps generally so! But I doubt that would apply to Neal Stephenson.

    Excuse me now, I have to go practice being illiterate. It’s so much more affordable than a boob job.

  9. #9 Rob Knop
    December 13, 2006

    If she’s that hot and geek-literate, why the hell are you wasting time describing this on your blog instead of immediately introducing yourself into the conversation?

    Naah… the real question is, if she’s geek-literate and potentially an interesting question, why does it matter so much that she’s smokin’ hot? For aesthetic purposes, sure, I can fully understand that. But for somebody to whom you’d want to introduce yourself?

    -Rob

  10. #10 Agnostic
    December 13, 2006

    Could’ve been the offspring of one of those rare matings b/w a geeky engineer type and a trophy wife type, like Miss Universe 2002 (Justine Pasek). Her dad was a Polish software engineer & mom was a Panamanian homemaker. The red-hot former Miss Universe also plans to be an engineer.

  11. #11 razib
    December 13, 2006

    rob,

    you physicists just don’t get it. a biologist would :)

  12. #12 the0ther
    December 13, 2006

    what’s the trend of estrogen levels in women these days? isn’t it the case that testosterone levels in men are dropping on average. for that matter, what’s the trend in testosterone levels in WOMEN. if i understand correctly we share the same set of hormones just in different proportions.

    not only do more women (i speculate) take up previously masculine tastes in lit, they’re also beating the holy hell out of each other. seems like girls are fighting more now than they used to. the stigma for male-behavior in a woman is far less than the stigma attached to female-behavior in men.

    my 2 cents

  13. #13 Jason Malloy
    December 13, 2006

    Wait, women are more religious; doesn’t that count as science fiction?

  14. #14 gorgio
    December 13, 2006

    I wonder what her high school yearbook photo looks like. Maybe she was an ugly growing up. That would explain it. Either that or you’ve wandered into bizarro land.

  15. #15 John Emerson
    December 14, 2006

    When I was working at a medical school, there were lots and lots of hot med students. There weren’t girly and submissive, however.

  16. #16 Sandra Porter
    December 14, 2006

    I think many hot chicks (smart or otherwise) don’t talk about science fiction in public because of the stereotype that guys who are into science fiction are like the comic book salesman in the Simpsons.

    So not interesting.

  17. #17 Christopher Gwyn
    December 14, 2006

    The whole thing is very odd. Every woman Scienceblogger who has a picture up is ‘smokin hot’. Razib’s corrolation has less factual support for it than suggesting that because the women Sciencebloggers are ‘teh hot’ most ‘hot’ women are interested in science…

  18. #18 steve
    December 14, 2006

    hey man! get a picture for us! I wanna see pictures! hahah

  19. #19 Vitis01
    December 14, 2006

    You are a painful reminder Razib that “nerdiness” and science fiction have a poor correlation with intelligence and basically no impact on social enlightenment. You, you shallow objectifying prick, are the reason I can’t help but feel apologetic whenever I approach a member of the opposite sex.

  20. #20 razib
    December 14, 2006

    You, you shallow objectifying prick, are the reason I can’t help but feel apologetic whenever I approach a member of the opposite sex.

    huh? you should be a little more self-absorbed then :) you don’t know me.

  21. #21 razib
    December 14, 2006

    You are a painful reminder Razib that “nerdiness” and science fiction have a poor correlation with intelligence and basically no impact on social enlightenment.

    oh, and this is empirically false. see dimensions of science fiction by william s. bainbridge. he has survey data which shows that science fiction readers are a) very liberal and b) very educated.

  22. #22 Vitis01
    December 14, 2006

    True I don’t know you, but by the empirical evidence you have left about yourself in this blog I would have to guess that you are a statistical outlier as far as Bainbridge’s study is concerned.

  23. #23 razib
    December 14, 2006

    True I don’t know you, but by the empirical evidence you have left about yourself in this blog I would have to guess that you are a statistical outlier as far as Bainbridge’s study is concerned.

    you’re generalizing about my character from a little data using a stereotype as a theoretical framework. that’s fine….

  24. #24 Vitis01
    December 14, 2006

    Perhaps… it would be nice to know that you aren’t the shallow chauvinist that you seem to be here, but this will probably be my first and last visit here.

    That last post is golden though. Shaking your finger at me for generalizing about your character (as opposed to a whole gender’s) from a little data using a stereotype as a theoretical framework is pure ironic genius.

  25. #25 razib
    December 14, 2006

    thanks.

  26. #26 Rob Knop
    December 14, 2006

    Ah, yes, science fiction readers are smarter than the average population. That old canard.

    Well, readers are more literate than the average population, because there are illiterate people out there who don’t read because… they can’t.

    I’ve heard it said that roleplaying gamers are also smarter than the average population.

    I suspect that knitters sit around and talk about how they are smarter (or, perhaps “better” in whatever quality they value most) than the average population.

    When somebody who is a member of says that is on average smarter than the general population, one should responde with extreme skepticism.

    -Rob

  27. #27 Tyler DiPietro
    December 14, 2006

    Wow, it looks like while I was gone, Razib became the secular equivalent of the anti-Christ. Perhaps they should invent a term like “Internet Hour” as an analogue to “New York Minute”.

  28. #28 razib
    December 14, 2006

    …but she is beautiful….

  29. #29 Tyler DiPietro
    December 14, 2006

    “…but she is beautiful….”

    Good! Perhaps she harbors less of a penchant for castrating any male who says something mildly politically incorrect.

    Otherwise you will likely submitting your genitalia up front so it can be carried around all the more easily.

  30. #30 razib
    December 14, 2006

    for the record, it isn’t like i was hooting hhhawwwtttt!!! at her. i’m just a regular dude who shows up when i work late and want to chill :-)

  31. #31 Jason Malloy
    December 14, 2006

    I’m very confused. Is it somehow immoral to point out that females and/or attractive people and/or __________ are underrepresented or overrepresented in anything?

    Twilight Zone indeed.

  32. #32 Jon H
    December 14, 2006

    “You think attractiveness is inversely proportional to literacy?”

    Perhaps attractiveness is inversely proportional to the interest in letting one’s dork flag fly so publicly.

    Theory: SF discussion is a geek socialization tool. Very attractive people, especially women, get plenty of attention already, mostly from non-geeks, and talking about geeky matters would not be a good conversational gambit with most of their conversational partners. So most of the time it won’t come up.

    On the other hand, if you’re a geek, and you’re pretty sure the other person is a geek, nerd talk is an instant connection point.

    But if a geek encounters a person with unknown geek status (attractive or not), the geek is unlikely to launch into smalltalk about Deep Space 9 or Terry Pratchett.

    Oh, also, this should be obvious: Plenty of hot people were dorky nerdy adolescents and teens.

  33. #33 Zuska
    December 15, 2006

    razib, I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly stupid and offensive this post is. You are displaying all the qualities of a moron, and this really disappoints me. I have been forced to declare on my blog that you have your head up your ass. http://scienceblogs.com/thusspakezuska/2006/12/razib_head_up_his_ass_on_women.php

  34. #34 razib
    December 15, 2006

    heh. hey orzel, you got nothing on me!

  35. #35 Daniel Morgan
    December 15, 2006

    Jeez you got slammed for making an observation that probably 99% of males would agree with — that the hottest women tend not to like SciFi. So what?

    The hottest men probably don’t like Harlequinn Romance novels.

    Big deal. The sexes have differences in preferences and tastes, ON AVERAGE. No one claims that things become logical impossibilities just because they are not generally observed (the fallacy of hasty generalization — or elimination by induction).

  36. #36 gc
    December 15, 2006

    Mandatory Onion Links:

    Woman At Farscape Convention Has Dangerously Inflated Self-Image
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30564

    Plan To Get Laid At DragonCon 2001 Fails
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28254

    You are displaying all the qualities of a moron

    Get a clue, Zuska — it’s funny because it’s true. Hot women generally don’t play D&D, they don’t go to Star Trek conventions, and they aren’t into sci-fi. Obviously, most men who do these things aren’t particularly good looking either. MIT is not the model institute of technology.

    Christ — are you really contesting that women are less interested in SF than geeky men? Is it really necessary to hit you with statistic after statistic to that effect? You want the data flood? You want marketing reports, surveys, books, and papers written about the underrepresentation of women in SF? We’re fully capable of bringing it.

    I’m not sure it would be of use anyway. Ideologues must compartmentalize your intellectual lives, because in other contexts I’m sure you’d be quick to nod about the underrepresentation of women in *science*.

  37. #37 gc
    December 15, 2006

    When somebody who is a member of says that is on average smarter than the general population, one should responde with extreme skepticism.

    No one is smarter…no one is dumber…we are all equal…we are all individuals…hmmm, I have the perfect Christmas gift for you:

    http://www.thepeoplescube.com/red/viewtopic.php?t=64

    Seriously, do you REALLY think that all generalization are prima facie invalid? Wanna bet that the conditional probability of being a nuclear physicist or computer scientist is considerably higher for sci-fi fans than for knitters?

    Let’s make this empirical. Let’s actually take a look at some surveys of SF demographics. Before we do, though, why don’t you make some predictions about what those surveys will show? Might be a good thing to actually be *right* about reality before condemning someone who’s got just a tad more in the “observational acumen” department than you do.

  38. #38 gc
    December 15, 2006

    this will probably be my first and last visit here.

    Vitis01, we will miss your penetrating intellect and brilliant commentary. Head back to PC Myers’ pad, there’s a good dog.

  39. #39 gc
    December 15, 2006

    From PC Myers’ pad:

    Commenter #1: There is no difference in appearance between people who go into science or engineering than those who don’t. There are very few truly unattractive people…most people are good looking.

    Commenter #2: Seanly, I agree, most people are attractive!

    Wow. You might think “The People’s Cube” is a joke, but reality is beyond parody. We are living in the age of Harrison Bergeron.

    “We are all equal, we are all equal”…except for those idiot sexists with their “head up their asses”…you know, the ones who believe in discredited pseudosciences like biology, genetics, and statistics.

  40. #40 razib
    December 15, 2006

    to reiterate, this female was not ‘attractive.’ we’re talking preternaturally beautiful. a 9ish. a top 2%er.

  41. #41 Rich
    December 15, 2006

    Maybe next time you see her you should summarise these threads and ask her opinion. That would certainly be interesting. Be sure to report back to us!

  42. #42 Nicole
    December 15, 2006

    I totally agree with this observation, and it works both ways. Almost all male sci-fi aficionados are ugly. Very rare to find a good-looking one. I keep looking though.

  43. #43 MJ Memphis
    December 15, 2006

    “Get a clue, Zuska — it’s funny because it’s true. Hot women generally don’t play D&D, they don’t go to Star Trek conventions, and they aren’t into sci-fi.”

    One data point I would add, though- I have noticed (through friends, it is not a hobby of my own) that there seem to be a lot of very attractive women involved in Live-Action RPGs (the White Wolf games in particular). Perhaps because it is more akin to theater than a bunch of guys in pizza-stained t-shirts throwing dice?

  44. #44 gc
    December 15, 2006

    a lot of very attractive women involved in Live-Action RPGs (the White Wolf games in particular).

    Photographic evidence is demanded! :)

    …seriously though, I’m skeptical.

  45. #45 Agnostic
    December 15, 2006

    Re: LARPs, I think MJ Memphis means there are “a lot of very attractive women” there compared to the expectation from other sci-fi nerd hobbies… maybe 1 of every 10,000 LARPers is a hot chick compared to 1 of every 10,000,000 D&Ders.

  46. #46 JYB
    December 15, 2006

    Leave Razib alone. As many people have stated before, he never said that there aren’t any attractive women that like SF. He’s not a sexist pig. Women in general are shorter than men. I’m always surprised to see a woman who’s taller than me. That doesn’t make me sexist, just aware of the norm.

  47. #47 JYB
    December 15, 2006

    Also I’d like to add that most people are generally unattractive. Most people are not good looking and I definitely disagree with the PZ poster. Don’t even get me started on what I think of the intelligence of the general population.

  48. #48 LauraJMixon
    December 16, 2006

    6% of the general readership of fiction is SF, 52% of the science fiction readership is women, and Razib, you have swallowed a stereotype whole.

  49. #49 razib
    December 16, 2006

    cite for the numbers?

  50. #50 NL
    December 16, 2006

    52%? Cite please.

  51. #51 Rich
    December 16, 2006

    Laura, that only goes to support a point I’ve made elsewhere but that I’ll make again. By your figures, 3% of the readership of fiction is made up of female sf-fans. I don’t know what percentage of the populations reads for pleasure at all, but let’s assume around a third. (Which seems to be about the fraction of people in my department of generally intelligent and well educated people who do.) That reduces us to around 1% of the general population being female sf fans. If Razib finds one in ten people in the general population physically attractive (he’ll have to provide a better estimate himself!) and these factors are uncorrelated then around one in a thousand people are attractive-to-Razib female sf fans. He’d have to visit a lot of wine bars before visiting one with such a person working in it. Furthermore, the vast majority of social interactions don’t include revealing that one is an sf fan, so even if he was in the right bar with the right person working there he probably still wouldn’t know it. So it’s quite a rare event that he’s reporting on, regardless of the relative attractiveness (or otherwise) of sf fans and all the other many things that people are talking about.

  52. #52 razib
    December 16, 2006

    f Razib finds one in ten people in the general population physically attractive

    she was one out of 50. not physically attractive. hot.

    in any case, i’ve tried to do the bayesian argument. no avail.

  53. #53 Rich
    December 16, 2006

    Well, it seems to have met with more success in the Livejournal incarnation of my weblog. Anecdotally, I’ve also had several other friends who are both female and sf fans agree entirely with my analysis in private conversations that I won’t quote here, and nobody has substantially disagreed.

    I think the problem with the strictly Bayesian argument rather than the argument from independent distributions is that it instantly invites discussions of things like “the probability that someone is hot given an interest in sf” and “the probability that someone has an interest in sf given that they’re hot”, which tend to rapidly turn into people entirely missing each others’ points, especially when viewed through the lens of wider ideological positions.

  54. #54 razib
    December 16, 2006

    Anecdotally, I’ve also had several other friends who are both female and sf fans agree entirely with my analysis in private conversations that I won’t quote here, and nobody has substantially disagreed.

    back up, what kind of misogynopia do you live in where it is OK to say that women are dumb & ugly?

    nice blog btw. you can see my interview of warren treadgold here.

  55. #55 Rich
    December 16, 2006

    That’s an interesting link. Thanks. And thank you for your kind words about my weblog (link to “real” incarnation!).

    I know that your other comment was flippant but I’m going to give a serious answer anyway because I’m nothing if not contrary. I live in the kind of “misogynopia” in which it’s generally acknowledged that pairs of people find each other attractive to varying degrees. You’ll note that I’ve been trying hard to say things like “A finds B attractive” rather than the more absolute “B is attractive”, except when that becomes clumsy and I slip into the latter form as a shorthand. (I’m also trying to remain as gender-neutral as possible, which is why I’ve been using the rather bland “attractive” rather than more evocative terms.) I also don’t think it’s controversial that people variously consider each other more or less intelligent, whether or not an objective standard exists. (See also my very short and plotless story “Strange Attractions“.)

    Finally, I think there’s a difference between talking about such things in an abstract general way and pointing out that I think that person C is ugly or D is stupid or E is both, which strikes me as somewhat rude.

  56. #56 Agnostic
    December 16, 2006

    I found the cite that Laura must’ve stumbled on: http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2780

    There’s actually no cite. The article just says “A 2000 survey found that…” I mean, no author, title, nothing. The article linked to above is from a progressive periodical, obviously sex difference denying. I promise more numbers later on, but here are two worth considering:
    http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/aaslpubsandjournals/slmrb/slmrcontents/volume62003/readingpreferences.htm
    http://bloggasm.com/mapping-the-diversity-of-the-blogosphere-a-bloggasm-case-study

  57. #57 Luke Lea
    December 16, 2006

    Attractive to whom? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most guys, as a matter of fact, like mates who art a tad less smart than they are. It doesn’t matter why. Ergo, highly intelligent women are less attractive to the majority of guys. Q.E.D.

  58. #58 keil
    December 16, 2006

    Ha, Good luck there Razib! Don’t let the jealous cacophony of lonely homunculi stop you from your virtuous human pursuits.

    Also, here is the TRUE gender reversed counterpart to this instance, a nerdy guy can’t be truly masculine in popular stereotype. To me it’s funny that women try to claim any moral high ground here. Do you girls imagine a buff and leaderly mathematician or firefighter?

    Learn to accept reality you angry razib haters! Get over yourselves and live. It doesn’t bother me that many of the women that hit on me(yes, that’s how I roll oftentimes) aren’t expecting much intelligence, it’s more of a pleasant surprise for them!

  59. #59 Richard Sharpe
    December 16, 2006

    Science Fiction is such a broad category … It would be truly interesting to break down readership by sub-genres and sex.

  60. #60 Tyler DiPietro
    December 17, 2006

    Also, here is the TRUE gender reversed counterpart to this instance, a nerdy guy can’t be truly masculine in popular stereotype. To me it’s funny that women try to claim any moral high ground here. Do you girls imagine a buff and leaderly mathematician or firefighter?

    I imagine a frequent female response will be that they do not objectify men with their looks as men do with women (*snort*) and only care about personality (*snicker* [but not Chet]) and that therefore women can rightfully their perpetual victim status with regard to the White Male Patriarchy, the shadowy organization that is apparently at least partially composed of non-White bloggers who manage to perpetuate the idea that women are unintelligent in one paragraph blog posts that never mention intelligence.

    It must be great living in a world where everything is a civil rights struggle.

  61. #61 afm
    December 19, 2006

    huh, The only comment about these women were if they were hot or less hot and exactly what type of hot they were. Then ASTONISHMENT they would be interested in science fiction. Women and Smart Men come in and raise an eyebrow at the way you seem to thing hot = not interesting but really important and then a lot more comments about hot chicks and stupid feminists who just don’t get that 6000 years of patriarchy doesn’t mean anything is still going on! Obviously women have it made in gravy and this guy is just a normal fine person. Gah!

    huh…wonder why there’s been a virgin topic around here.

  62. #62 alex
    December 20, 2006

    >>Update: She’s reading American Gods I notice (taking a break).

    That actually makes sense.

  63. #63 Orkney
    December 20, 2006

    I used to play in chess tournaments a lot, and can verify that the few women who tend to show up at these things in the US are safely in the bottom half of the hotness scale. Same with the men, in fact.

    In Europe it’s less true. Imagine sitting across the board from this for five hours and trying to focus on pawn structure:

    http://www.euwe.nl/Caissa18.jpg

  64. #64 Wade
    December 20, 2006

    I’m responsible for the sci-fi/comics/RPGs section at the bookstore where I work, and I can only wish there were attractive women shopping there. Aside from one woman last week who was looking for a Brian Jacques novel, I don’t remember any.

    There may be other explanations for that, however. For one thing, the aisles are really narrow; the so-called butt-brush factor might discourage browsing. The sort of slovenly or semi-autistic types you often find in the sci-fi section may put off female shoppers, too. Also, women may just feel self-conscious about being seen there, and so prefer to do their buying on the Internet. I don’t know.

  65. #65 Teresa Nielsen Hayden
    January 3, 2007

    (Removes glasses, pinches bridge of nose, shakes head…)

  66. #66 Roman Werpachowski
    January 5, 2007

    “In Europe it’s less true. Imagine sitting across the board from this for five hours and trying to focus on pawn structure:

    http://www.euwe.nl/Caissa18.jpg

    In Europe, “this” is not a hot chick.

  67. #67 razib
    January 5, 2007

    roman, wtf!?!

  68. #68 Roman Werpachowski
    January 6, 2007

    We Europeans set the bar higher, razib ;-)

  69. #69 Jason Malloy
    January 6, 2007

    Well that explains your goddamn birthrates.

  70. #70 Roman Werpachowski
    January 7, 2007

    “Well that explains your goddamn birthrates.”

    No, it doesn’t. European chicks are simply hotter, so we *can* set the bar higher ;-)

  71. #71 Mickle
    January 9, 2007

    “Is this the Twlight Zone??? Am I a freak to think this is freaky?”

    No.

    Yes.

    Any more questions?

  72. #72 omni
    January 10, 2007

    Any more questions?

    How fugly are you exactly?

  73. #73 Mickle
    January 10, 2007

    extremely

    obviously

  74. #74 anna
    January 15, 2007

    Science Fiction is such a broad category … It would be truly interesting to break down readership by sub-genres and sex.

    Right. Because of course only REAL MEN can enter the Holy of Holies that is hardcore scifi. Women are biologically barred from access to true sciencefictional sensawunda (just as they can’t be the Kwisatz Haderach).

  75. #75 Eric
    January 28, 2008

    I went to Baylor University, where hot women abound. I dated most of them. The SINGLE most beautiful woman I ever dated, Isabel, a 5’10″ slender half-spanish half-italian goddess, was a total geek! She was a forensics major, into anime, star trek, buffy, extreme elimination challenge, japanese weapons (throwing stars were a “romantic” gift), and all kinds of other geeky stuff.

    She was smart, funny, loyal, knew EVERYONE, and was in general a blast to be around. She could talk both football and Star Trek.

    She had a great bod, hips, curves, well-built, could dance her ass off, and was the deepest kiss, wildest night, most incredible lay, and best fun I ever had.

    Get with the program kids. Geeky stuff isn’t geeky if your personality is great. It’s just smart. That goes for men and women both.