Feminism/Sexism and Gaming/Geek/Popular culture Catch All

Those Lego videos are crazy good. I'd be interested in seeing if Lego made any kind of response to them. Doubt it.

I also watched this unfold, to my utter disgust, on Twitter and a couple sites I visit. Definitely made me reconsider calling myself a gamer (or at least dropping in from my list of self-identifiers). But, as others have pointed out here, rather than stop calling myself a gamer (which, really, who cares what on calls oneself) it's more important to stand up to the kind of abhorrent behavior on display WRT the Kickstarter and Youtube comments.

Thing is, though, since I've sort of insulated my gamer-self within the GWJ community, I don't really have anyone to stand up to.

Stengah wrote:
Scratched wrote:

With HL2 every character with a few exceptions has some fanatical adoration of Gordon, in the case of the civilians it's due to his great PR efforts after black mesa. Alyx doesn't have that excuse.

Her father's adoration of Gordon seems like a good excuse to me.

He's also killed thousands of Combine soldiers and other nasties by the time Alyx becomes completely infatuated with him. If anyone deserves hero worship in that universe, it'd be Gordon.

Grubber788 wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Scratched wrote:

With HL2 every character with a few exceptions has some fanatical adoration of Gordon, in the case of the civilians it's due to his great PR efforts after black mesa. Alyx doesn't have that excuse.

Her father's adoration of Gordon seems like a good excuse to me.

He's also killed thousands of Combine soldiers and other nasties by the time Alyx becomes completely infatuated with him. If anyone deserves hero worship in that universe, it'd be Gordon.

Plus he stopped an alien invasion of Earth, and freed an entire alien race from slavery. Given all that, a little hero worship doesn't seem out of place. Besides, Alyx is still perfectly happy to send Gordon on ahead to deal with all sorts of awful things while she looks for a safer route. "Headcrab-infested radioactive sewage? Go get 'em, Gordon! I'll just wait here by this locked door until you find a switch or something."

Scratched wrote:

With HL2 every character with a few exceptions has some fanatical adoration of Gordon, in the case of the civilians it's due to his great PR efforts after black mesa. Alyx doesn't have that excuse.

This is true. There are no good characters in HL2. It's only when you get to the episodes that things start to calm down a bit.

Stengah wrote:
Scratched wrote:

With HL2 every character with a few exceptions has some fanatical adoration of Gordon, in the case of the civilians it's due to his great PR efforts after black mesa. Alyx doesn't have that excuse.

Her father's adoration of Gordon seems like a good excuse to me.

I don't think he adores Gordon (now i have to go and replay HL2 again! ) but I think I've side-tracked this thread long enough. Sorry for the derail everyone - get back to the important parts that we're talking about!

Everyone Admires Gordon, the new sitcom....

Yeah, the hysterical reaction to this was sadly surprising, moreso to hear the continual drumbeat of dudes on the internet who apparently think the sexist, homophobic, racist status quo of gaming on the internet is the A-OK normal.

mwdowns wrote:

Thing is, though, since I've sort of insulated my gamer-self within the GWJ community, I don't really have anyone to stand up to. :)

Yeah, sh*t. I've abandoned every other internet douchehole I used to frequent. Isolation makes it hard to be a force for change.

I saw on the Feminist Frequency Twitter feed she's had pornographic pictures and messages posted in her Facebook group, so it's still not over. She's also closed comments on the Kickstarter video on Youtube.

I'm sure every video is going to be comment bombed by the trolls. The non douches amongst us must make sure we speak up when it happens.

I'm going to watch those Lego videos now.

NSFW lyrics and stuff, but seemed relevant

Do I want to read the youtube comments?

Don't ask me. Even with the Comment Snob plugin, I haven't scrolled down to read comments in a long time.

dejanzie wrote:

Do I want to read the youtube comments?

Youtube rule #1: never read the comments.

Okay. I'm going to draw a whole lot of flak for this but here goes....

I honestly think that a significant and vocal minority of the gaming community really does consist of folks who are maladapted for normal human interaction. That's what makes virtual worlds so attractive to them. They can easily escape the logical consequences of acting so asinine in the real, physical world. And the market being the market and being run by corporations that are accountable to their shareholders, corporations pander to those lowest common denominators because they consistently deliver returns on investment.

Until the gaming community as a whole gets a lot more vocal about shouting down the idiocy, banning them from our communities, and/or delivering virtual swirlees, this sort of behavior will continue to find fertile ground.

I'm not sure why anyone would give flak for that. I just read through several comments above yours of people saying they're so disgusted with the gamer community that GWJ is the last bastion they frequent.

Paleocon wrote:

Okay. I'm going to draw a whole lot of flak for this but here goes....

I honestly think that a significant and vocal minority of the gaming community really does consist of folks who are maladapted for normal human interaction. That's what makes virtual worlds so attractive to them. They can easily escape the logical consequences of acting so asinine in the real, physical world. And the market being the market and being run by corporations that are accountable to their shareholders, corporations pander to those lowest common denominators because they consistently deliver returns on investment.

Until the gaming community as a whole gets a lot more vocal about shouting down the idiocy, banning them from our communities, and/or delivering virtual swirlees, this sort of behavior will continue to find fertile ground.

I agree with this assessment as someone who generally hates people, and finds an appeal in the virtual world for precisely that reason.

Don't see how you'd draw fire for that here, anyway. Elsewhere, sure. But, well, they don't count.

Seth wrote:

I'm not sure why anyone would give flak for that. I just read through several comments above yours of people saying they're so disgusted with the gamer community that GWJ is the last bastion they frequent.

Certainly it's one of the reasons that I'm here.

I agree with the chorus: I'm not sure why you'd get flak for providing perhaps the only possible explanation for this behavior.

A lot of it is probably that developers tend to be socially maladapted.... it takes such a huge mental investment to become a good programmer that many of these guys (it's almost all guys) never really learn human interaction at a normal level. So their screwed-up attitudes are reflected in the games they create, and then mirrored in the larger communities that form around those games.

It's gotten a little better over the last twenty or twenty-five years, and the general tools and systems have gotten a lot easier, so you don't have to actively destroy and remake your own brain in the same way to be able to write a good game. So I'm hopeful that it will continue to improve.

Malor wrote:

A lot of it is probably that developers tend to be socially maladapted.... it takes such a huge mental investment to become a good programmer that many of these guys (it's almost all guys) never really learn human interaction at a normal level. So their screwed-up attitudes are reflected in the games they create, and then mirrored in the larger communities that form around those games.

It's gotten a little better over the last twenty or twenty-five years, and the general tools and systems have gotten a lot easier, so you don't have to actively destroy and remake your own brain in the same way to be able to write a good game. So I'm hopeful that it will continue to improve.

Well, if you want to push that narrative further, the early programmers tended to be on the extreme edges of society; early game developers even more so. I'm not sure it was the mental investment so much as being into tech before the internet took off generally meant that you weren't socially mainstream, for good or ill. (Which theory covers the fact that you got people at both ends of the social bell curve; Woz and Jobs as it were.) Unfortunately, just because someone is a misfit on one axis doesn't mean that they'll get along with misfits on other axes.

Though if you look at the early history of games (and programming) there were actually a lot of women involved.

Yeah Paleo, I think you're 100% correct, I'm not going to give you any flak.

There were lots of women in early programming. At first, programming was thought of as 'a woman's job', like typing. And women did extremely well at it. It wasn't until IBM deliberately masculinized the field that we ended up with the mess we have now.

Gender roles in all of society are in fairly major flux, part of why you're seeing the conservative War on Women, trying to force them back into old, broken molds. And it's no real surprise that gaming is being touched by that conflict, too. Women have been held as subservient and inferior for a long time in this country. It's maybe a little more obvious in video games than most places, but in many ways, it's easier to deal with, there -- the misogyny there is so blatant and easy to point at. At least it's, you know, honest, instead of being subtle, hard to discern, and even harder to fight.

I mean, yeah, it's very nasty, but at least it's easy to see.

Malor wrote:

There were lots of women in early programming. At first, programming was thought of as 'a woman's job', like typing. And women did extremely well at it. It wasn't until IBM deliberately masculinized the field that we ended up with the mess we have now.

Do you have a source on this? I would be very interested in learning more.

Malor wrote:

Women have been held as subservient and inferior for a long time in Judeo-Christian culture.

FTFY.

Paleocon wrote:

I honestly think that a significant and vocal minority of the gaming community really does consist of folks who are maladapted for normal human interaction. That's what makes virtual worlds so attractive to them. They can easily escape the logical consequences of acting so asinine in the real, physical world. And the market being the market and being run by corporations that are accountable to their shareholders, corporations pander to those lowest common denominators because they consistently deliver returns on investment.

I don't disagree, but I wonder whether those people are more prevalent in online communities, or if they're just more visible. It certainly seems like there's plenty of misogynistic douchebags at most bars, for starters.

FeralMonkey wrote:

NSFW lyrics and stuff, but seemed relevant

That's the best thing on the internet ever.

dejanzie wrote:

Do you have a source on this? I would be very interested in learning more.

How Computer Geeks Replaced Computer Girls.

So I read a summary of a poster on 4chan's /v/ about this. While 4chan does indeed create this sort of angry and vitrol, it also quite often raises good points despite it at times.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/xxNIY.png)

Actually... Whoever put this together is pretty correct. This woman is pretty ingenious and is playing the media and donors like a fiddle. She's making a "name" for herself, making a for-profit enterprise with charity money to a "charity" that isn't going to change anything. Pretty smart.

A commentator on the image summed it up better than I could:

Honestly, I think the importance of the issue is relatively minor in contrast to who we elect as the representative of that issue. I am not sure a reactionary youtube vlogger with a penchant for exacerbating issues for attention is going to be the best candidate we could have supported to impartially discuss the issue at any considerable length.

I am betting early, she'll use that support to pick herself up a few consoles on the cheap, pick the most damning examples of sexism she can find, make a couple 10 minute videos that never actually address the issue, but demonize male influence on gaming (in a hobby that's, oddly enough, traditionally one in which men are the primary audience) and then call it a day, as she kicks back enjoying the glow of her hundred grand pay day, and advertising revenue.

Of course, that isn't to say that I don't see a fundamental inequity that exists at the heart of this male dominated field, I do, and I believe as a progressive community we can and should be dealing with these issues. However, I don't believe there is any solution to be found in this campaign.

Actually, Stephen, I don't think there's a good point anywhere in that screed. It is an absolutely perfect example of the unrelenting hostility toward women in gaming culture. Let's go through it, shall we?

(oh, in case that image gets pulled or goes away, which I think it may, I mirrored it here. I'll inline it later if necessary, should that version disappear. )

Okay, so first he states some facts, to try to look reasonable. She makes videos. Note that he's careful to point out that she "frames it from a feminist perspective", so he's already starting the digs right away. A feminist perspective is different than usual. It's not the normal way of looking at things, it's strange and scary. Talking about how women are portrayed in gaming is pushing an agenda. And he can't even get to the bottom of the second paragraph without starting the insinuations:

"When these videos are complete, she will make a considerable amount of money from them through ad revenue. Donators will not see a red cent."

So he goes straight for calling her unscrupulous. Why, she's stealing from you! And everyone. Oh, she's such a slime. She's asking for money to make videos, and then she'll profit from the videos, without giving the money back.

But that not how Kickstarter works. You don't normally get a share. This is patronage. If you donate to a theater to help fund art, they don't cut you a check at the end of the season. It's a donation, not a transaction. And if you donate enough, well, she'll send you some stuff, just like NPR does.

I coughed up $120 to my local NPR station, in exchange for which I got a $15 umbrella. I do not expect a profit-sharing check, too. Only an insane person would demand one.

Ok, so then this writer admits, hey, some bad stuff happened. This is the Internet, what the f*ck do you expect, moron? Obviously, this is all Anita's fault, because she didn't immediately suppress all evidence that the Internet is a horrible place.

This is so completely, utterly, absolutely brain dead. She didn't hide evidence of how horribly misogynistic the Internet is, so it's all her fault.

How the hell are you able to read that and nod your head? By that logic, if they actually HAD showed up and raped her, as they promised, she should just shut up about that too, because showing evidence of the crime IS the crime.

She's talking about how women are perceived and treated in gaming, and then the Internet shows up and treats her like sh*t for doing so, and somehow, in this writer's head, it becomes her fault because she didn't press delete. Well, I'm here to tell you, there is no delete button in her brain. She had to read all that stuff herself, like it or not. Even if she had deleted, the Internet would still be wrong to treat her that way. She did exactly what she should have done: left it up so we can all see it.

And then he's off scorning the people that hated his opinion enough to give her more money as an apology for what an asshole he is.

And then on top of that, he actually starts rules lawyering about what Kickstarter should be used for. This guy is a dick. There are tons of projects exactly like hers, but somehow, talking about how women are perceived in gaming becomes "funding an awareness campaign" in his head.

Besides, the terms of service are between her and Kickstarter.

Here's what's really going on: he doesn't like her opinion. He wants her silenced. And he's willing to do whatever he can to shut her the hell up.

Malor wrote:

What ethics? WTF are you even talking about?

She's not doing anything wrong. Not even a little bit. She's not hiding anything, the terms of the deal are up front for everyone to see. There's no deception, no fraud, no force.

And it's only 'an awareness campaign', as opposed to discussion and analysis, if you want to shut her up. It takes massive disrespect, and a firm belief that she's wrong, to be able to hold the opinion that detailed discussions of actual video games is doesn't qualify as analysis.

If you can't fundamentally believe that she's capable of cogent, insightful analysis, then you're part of the problem.

The ethics come in to "My stretch goal, my dream funding is $24,000."

To continue accepting people's money beyond that, for a nebulous end that is now no longer related to the video series, which are completely funded by now is unethical.

To take $125k beyond that -- five times the asked for amount -- becomes unethical.

Let's be honest also -- the fact this is a revenue-supported, for-profit business isn't exactly spelled out on the kickstarter project page.

But to question these business practices, well, clearly, that can only be the hatred of women. Only Malor knows the darkness in the heart's of men! Attempt to shame and intimidate dissenting voices. ... Wait, this sounds familiar.

Hey Malor! This man hates women! Go get 'im, boy.

I guess I'm just a misogynist for thinking ethics applies to both men and women.

Sorry Malor. I don't realize the errors of my ways! Your argument basically boils down to "SHUT UP. SHE'S A WOMAN. DON'T QUESTION IT."

The project sought $6000. That's what it's goal/aim was for. I could see "Well, with some extra money, I could probably add these few things I'd been thinking of..."

But when it approaches 25,000% more than the project asked for, I honestly do not believe this will be money a creator could even conceive of having used. It's at a point where (If there was even accountability for this project, and there's not) backers would worry about gross amounts of waste. And without accountability? Well...

Worry about people profiting from Kickstarter this way did NOT start with this project. Since Schafer's Double Fine project, people have been mumbling "When are people really going to get ripped off by a Kickstarter?" But this is the first one where the defense is "You're a terrible person! You hate women! SOCIAL JUSTICE SQUAD, ACTIVATE!"

Telling folks you want to murder them and rape 'em? Yeah, we all agree that's wrong. But to get all "How dare you disagree with this?! You're a goddamn bigot." to any voice which dissents? Well... That seems pretty 'silencing' too. You seem fine with that, though. You seem like a free speech advocate. People are free to say anything you agree with.

So because people are very supportive of this project and gave her a crapton of money, it becomes unethical on her part??

I am not sure that makes *any* sort of sense at all.

What ethics? WTF are you even talking about?

She's not doing anything wrong. Not even a little bit. She's not hiding anything, the terms of the deal are up front for everyone to see. There's no deception, no fraud, no force.

And it's only 'an awareness campaign', as opposed to discussion and analysis, if you want to shut her up. It takes massive disrespect, and a firm belief that she's wrong, to be able to hold the opinion that detailed discussions of actual video games doesn't qualify as analysis.

If you can't fundamentally believe that she's capable of cogent, insightful analysis, then you're part of the problem.