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

clover wrote:

There are children starving in Asia. Why does this thread even exist?

Seriously tired of this. The "bigger fish to fry" argument seems to come out 10x more often when it's a feminist issue too.

Ugh, why is sexual assault even a feminist issue?

clover wrote:

There are children starving in Asia. Why does this thread even exist?

Cause in Asia, tractors are fueled by Internet rage.

And petrol. I guess mostly petrol.

SixteenBlue wrote:
clover wrote:

There are children starving in Asia. Why does this thread even exist?

Seriously tired of this. The "bigger fish to fry" argument seems to come out 10x more often when it's a feminist issue too.

Probably because people have an easy time minimizing a problem they themselves don't notice or experience. I'd wager there's a fair number of women who don't recognize or notice the problem.

Ugh, why is sexual assault even a feminist issue?

I'd say it counts as "feminist" just because to me that term is a category for issues of equality between the sexes. And in the case of enduring sexual assault (both the assault and the punishment from society for it), women are definitely unequal.

KingGorilla wrote:

No I am pretty sure I get the context. Comic is made (or joke is written), people get mad and hit up e-mails, twitter, someone blogs about it, comic writer or comedian fires back some troll bait, ...profit?

Just don't look.

Why not lay some light and outrage here? Or here?

Don't do that. "Why are you upset about X when Y is a much bigger problem?" is one of the most belittling, dismissive things you can say to someone, up there with "Stop being so emotional". It assumes that the person isn't upset about Y, and it assumes outrage is a zero sum game. If you truly think it isn't worth being upset about, then say so, but don't hide behind "Y is so much worse". Even if that's true, that doesn't mean that no one should talk about X.

This one seems to fit.

IMAGE(http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdlmv85Nfe1ra1h3bo1_1280.png)

Edit: better one

Bloo Driver wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
clover wrote:

There are children starving in Asia. Why does this thread even exist?

Seriously tired of this. The "bigger fish to fry" argument seems to come out 10x more often when it's a feminist issue too.

Probably because people have an easy time minimizing a problem they themselves don't notice or experience. I'd wager there's a fair number of women who don't recognize or notice the problem.

Ugh, why is sexual assault even a feminist issue?

I'd say it counts as "feminist" just because to me that term is a category for issues of equality between the sexes. And in the case of enduring sexual assault (both the assault and the punishment from society for it), women are definitely unequal.

Both fair responses, though very unfortunate. I was being somewhat rhetorical with that question, as I do sadly understand why.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

No I am pretty sure I get the context. Comic is made (or joke is written), people get mad and hit up e-mails, twitter, someone blogs about it, comic writer or comedian fires back some troll bait, ...profit?

Just don't look.

Why not lay some light and outrage here?

Because that comic (and other unfortunate actions taken by PA) help encourage a culture where sexual harassment and rape are trivialized, which leads directly to the very crap that you're linking to.

Both are worthy of outrage. And you know what's great about the internet? Outrage is never in short supply! Thus, we're more than capable, collectively, of heaping scorn upon both of them.

Should women still go to PAX if they do not address the issues of sexual harassment and assault at events and on the floor? Should women play games that do not promote a safe environment, or sanction harrassing behavior? Dragoncon promoters have, in recent years been focusing on allegations of sexual harassment or assault. Maybe go there instead of PAX.

This is the "change the channel" point that gets made a lot. The twitter traffic, links to the site, additional buzz the site gets from the "outrage" helps the alleged offender.

Bloo Driver wrote:
Trachalio wrote:

With this situation, instead of making fun of sexual assault, they could have made fun of the video and still let people know that it's NOT OK to touch people who don't want to be touched. Instead they basically said "go ahead, touch anyone that you think is dressing provocatively. It's obvious they want it". :|

I think it's actually very difficult to logically think that this was the message of the comic. I understand people saying it's offensive to make light of the problem, but anyone who thinks the underlying message is as above is either themselves tone-deaf to satire, or being purposefully obtuse to press a point.

I don't think I'm being obtuse or tone deaf to satire, but I also didn't know about the video until after the comic. So my gut reaction to the strip was "are they seriously making fun of sexual assault at cons?!?"

I haven't had a chance to see the video yet, and I've read a few posts about it being not that well done and a little condescending, but I still think they could have used this as a chance to let people know that sexual assault is not OK, no matter what form it comes in. Instead, without them adding any context to the the strip (and Gabe being a bit of a dick about it on twitter), they're just making people angry at them instead of explaining their side.

"Change the channel" is basically sweeping it under the rug. Issues should be exposed and discussed, not ignored.

Equality and tolerance are not free markets, you can't just support something else and hope an invisible hand will work out all the issues.

Hey, here's a different thing from Dickwolves and whatever:

New UGA research helps explain why girls do better in school.

So I'm a little confused by this one - apparently teachers give girls higher marks than boys in subjective tests they administer themselves, but the data on standardized tests don't reflect this and girls do worse than boys on those things. Of course, women are now more likely to go on to succeed in college than men generally.

The data show, for the first time, that gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls. In every subject area, boys are represented in grade distributions below where their test scores would predict.

The authors attribute this misalignment to what they called non-cognitive skills, or "how well each child was engaged in the classroom, how often the child externalized or internalized problems, how often the child lost control and how well the child developed interpersonal skills." They even report evidence of a grade bonus for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts.

SixteenBlue wrote:

Both fair responses, though very unfortunate. I was being somewhat rhetorical with that question, as I do sadly understand why.

Yeah, sorry. Those were clearly obvious answers.

WAIT, SOMEONE IS ASKING WHY HOT DOG BUNS COME IN A CERTAIN NUMBER PER PACK. CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, AWAAAAYYYY....

Trachalio wrote:

I haven't had a chance to see the video yet, and I've read a few posts about it being not that well done and a little condescending, but I still think they could have used this as a chance to let people know that sexual assault is not OK, no matter what form it comes in. Instead, without them adding any context to the the strip (and Gabe being a bit of a dick about it on twitter), they're just making people angry at them instead of explaining their side.

To be fair, you're the one who hasn't viewed the video and are then getting upset that others aren't using proper context. That sounds meaner in text than I mean it, but I hope you get my point. I believe the satirical nature of it is somewhat obvious, but I'm not saying it's inoffensive. My point was just that the conclusion of "they all secretly want it, have fun!" as the comic's message was a little unfair.

Bloo Driver wrote:

To be fair, you're the one who hasn't viewed the video and are then getting upset that others aren't using proper context. That sounds meaner in text than I mean it, but I hope you get my point. I believe the satirical nature of it is somewhat obvious, but I'm not saying it's inoffensive. My point was just that the conclusion of "they all secretly want it, have fun!" as the comic's message was a little unfair.

Not mean at all, and you are completely correct too (and why I thought it was important to mention it ;)) I could completely change my opinion of the strip after seeing the video; context is king/queen after all

Garden Ninja wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

No I am pretty sure I get the context. Comic is made (or joke is written), people get mad and hit up e-mails, twitter, someone blogs about it, comic writer or comedian fires back some troll bait, ...profit?

Just don't look.

Why not lay some light and outrage here? Or here?

Don't do that. "Why are you upset about X when Y is a much bigger problem?" is one of the most belittling, dismissive things you can say to someone, up there with "Stop being so emotional". It assumes that the person isn't upset about Y, and it assumes outrage is a zero sum game. If you truly think it isn't worth being upset about, then say so, but don't hide behind "Y is so much worse". Even if that's true, that doesn't mean that no one should talk about X.

People can get mad or outraged at whatever they like. And I can feel that they are blowing matters out of proportion, I have that right as a human being. I got really made when Mitt Romney misstated Jefferson quotes, no one else seemed to notice and asked me to calm down. I do not see the value in twitter responses, blog posts, face book comments in getting Penny Arcade or PAX to change what is a real or perceived environment of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and misogyny. I think we have done a good job in the last couple of years turning a lense onto these behaviors with online games, at conventions. The page needs to be turned on action, and supporting those groups that are taking proactive steps at correcting this.

gore wrote:

Hey, here's a different thing from Dickwolves and whatever:

New UGA research helps explain why girls do better in school.

So I'm a little confused by this one - apparently teachers give girls higher marks than boys in subjective tests they administer themselves, but the data on standardized tests don't reflect this and girls do worse than boys on those things. Of course, women are now more likely to go on to succeed in college than men generally.

The data show, for the first time, that gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls. In every subject area, boys are represented in grade distributions below where their test scores would predict.

The authors attribute this misalignment to what they called non-cognitive skills, or "how well each child was engaged in the classroom, how often the child externalized or internalized problems, how often the child lost control and how well the child developed interpersonal skills." They even report evidence of a grade bonus for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts.

That's pretty intuitive too. Girls are more socialized to respect authority, to be seen and not heard, to be polite and not question adults, to be pleasantly sociable, to be "proper", etc. These are all behaviors that are rewarded in a typical school setting due to one teacher having to manage 20-30 kids. It's no surprise that girls will be perceived as better students, and here comes the data accordingly.

clover wrote:
gore wrote:

Hey, here's a different thing from Dickwolves and whatever:

New UGA research helps explain why girls do better in school.

So I'm a little confused by this one - apparently teachers give girls higher marks than boys in subjective tests they administer themselves, but the data on standardized tests don't reflect this and girls do worse than boys on those things. Of course, women are now more likely to go on to succeed in college than men generally.

The data show, for the first time, that gender disparities in teacher grades start early and uniformly favor girls. In every subject area, boys are represented in grade distributions below where their test scores would predict.

The authors attribute this misalignment to what they called non-cognitive skills, or "how well each child was engaged in the classroom, how often the child externalized or internalized problems, how often the child lost control and how well the child developed interpersonal skills." They even report evidence of a grade bonus for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts.

That's pretty intuitive too. Girls are more socialized to respect authority, to be seen and not heard, to be polite and not question adults, to be "proper", etc. These are all behaviors that are rewarded in a typical school setting due to one teacher having to manage 20-30 kids. It's no surprise that girls will be perceived as better students, and here comes the data accordingly.

I'm a little surprised it doesn't lead to actually better standardized test scores. A lot of those traits will accidentally result in more learning (i.e. studying more, always doing homework, etc).

SixteenBlue wrote:

I'm a little surprised it doesn't lead to actually better standardized test scores. A lot of those traits will accidentally result in more learning (i.e. studying more, always doing homework, etc).

Maybe it tracks back to the test score gap with language and math/science scores? Or if you're trained to focus more of your attention on the behavioral/social aspects you're not directing as much energy toward the content. That's probably its own thread, now that I think about it.

I am wondering if it is also reflexive of the gender gap between primary, secondary, and post secondary educators? Standardized tests like the SAT, ACT are designed by college professors, which tend to be weighted more with males, while educators in grade schools, middle schools, tend to be weighted much more highly with female educators.

There was a similar issue with standardized tests and racial bias given how overwhelmingly caucasian college educators tend to be.

Personally I find the PA stuff to be hilarious simply because their message board is moderated with a somewhat heavy hand against language that might be considered sexist.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Personally I find the PA stuff to be hilarious simply because their message board is moderated with a somewhat heavy hand against language that might be considered sexist.

Ya know, that might add another level to this situation then. Not being part of that community, I found it offensive. But if I was a part of that community, and know that they're always on the lookout for sexist language, I would probably find the strip funnier (and probably understand what it's making fun of).

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Personally I find the PA stuff to be hilarious simply because their message board is moderated with a somewhat heavy hand against language that might be considered sexist.

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication. And those sorts of people can sometimes be the most difficult to deal with, because they think of themselves as progressive and therefore it's "okay" for them to make this sort of joke because "everyone" knows that "obviously" they don't mean it "like that".

The problem is, with their huge presence in the video game world, this sort of thing offers encouragement to people who engage in much more serious misogynist behavior. The PA guys see overreaction to "just a joke"; the women protesting this comment see, "I know you probably don't want to encourage sexual harassment at PAX but some of your fans seriously don't know better and yes, you ARE encouraging them."

I've said it before, and i'll say it again. The major difference between the PA guys and the "bullies" they hated so much in High School is purely opportunity.

Prederick wrote:

I've said it before, and i'll say it again. The major difference between the PA guys and the "bullies" they hated so much in High School is purely opportunity.

A platform is a tantalizing moral dilemma.

Demyx wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Personally I find the PA stuff to be hilarious simply because their message board is moderated with a somewhat heavy hand against language that might be considered sexist.

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication. And those sorts of people can sometimes be the most difficult to deal with, because they think of themselves as progressive and therefore it's "okay" for them to make this sort of joke because "everyone" knows that "obviously" they don't mean it "like that".

The problem is, with their huge presence in the video game world, this sort of thing offers encouragement to people who engage in much more serious misogynist behavior. The PA guys see overreaction to "just a joke"; the women protesting this comment see, "I know you probably don't want to encourage sexual harassment at PAX but some of your fans seriously don't know better and yes, you ARE encouraging them."

Agreed. If it were just the first two panels and pointing out there were female creepers as well, I doubt there'd be much of a controversy. Hell, Bloo Driver probably experienced that firsthand with his Captain Hammer cosplay last year. The third panel veers into "I'm a guy, and I'd love to be 'harassed' by women!" territory.

I don't think there was any bad intent, but PA just do not do well with criticism.

Demyx wrote:

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication.

The "fact"? Are we really 100% sure of that? Is the "No Booth Babes" policy in place to make women more comfortable or is it in place because they want PAX to be Only About Games (because booth babes are Marketing Bullsh*t)?

OzymandiasAV wrote:
Demyx wrote:

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication.

The "fact"? Are we really 100% sure of that? Is the "No Booth Babes" policy in place to make women more comfortable or is it in place because they want PAX to be Only About Games (because booth babes are Marketing Bullsh*t)?

Yes. I do know that the point of the Booth Babes policy is to make women more comfortable for a fact. This has been stated in my presence multiple times by the people who made the policy.

momgamer wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:
Demyx wrote:

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication.

The "fact"? Are we really 100% sure of that? Is the "No Booth Babes" policy in place to make women more comfortable or is it in place because they want PAX to be Only About Games (because booth babes are Marketing Bullsh*t)?

Yes. I do know that the point of the Booth Babes policy is to make women more comfortable for a fact. This has been stated in my presence multiple times by the people who made the policy.

That is a very welcome clarification - thank you.

Demyx wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Personally I find the PA stuff to be hilarious simply because their message board is moderated with a somewhat heavy hand against language that might be considered sexist.

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication. And those sorts of people can sometimes be the most difficult to deal with, because they think of themselves as progressive and therefore it's "okay" for them to make this sort of joke because "everyone" knows that "obviously" they don't mean it "like that".

I think that happens a lot where people who consider themselves 'progressive' begin to trust their own instincts too much. Especially because I'm not sure how 'progressive' a lot of progressive people are. Banning booth babes sounds progressive. What if it's just someone being a prude using 'progressiveness' as a flag of convenience? What if it's something actually anti-feminist, like negative opinions about the women themselves as opposed to a truly progressive stance on the issue?

It's not like feminism hasn't wound up in that place before.

OzymandiasAV wrote:
momgamer wrote:
OzymandiasAV wrote:
Demyx wrote:

I think it's likely that the PA guys are mostly well-meaning but with some serious blind spots that they refuse to correct. The fact that they're willing to ban "booth babes" from PAX to make women more comfortable, but then come out with stuff like this, seems like a pretty clear indication.

The "fact"? Are we really 100% sure of that? Is the "No Booth Babes" policy in place to make women more comfortable or is it in place because they want PAX to be Only About Games (because booth babes are Marketing Bullsh*t)?

Yes. I do know that the point of the Booth Babes policy is to make women more comfortable for a fact. This has been stated in my presence multiple times by the people who made the policy.

That is a very welcome clarification - thank you.

It's not a problem. I was actually glad you brought that up. And I'm going to apologize for any possible misinterpretation of tone on the rest of this post. It's not aimed at you Ozzy, but this post makes a good handle for it.

Part of the problem I have with these issues is the way "what they say" gets conflated with everything about PAX. What they say in the comic is not reflected in the actions or feelings of the people who work for the event. For good or ill -- we don't get to help make the good jokes, either. There are many people who work very hard to make PAX a safe place for the attendees, and we make improvements every year.

Those two issues laid out in this post above are cases in point.

That Enforcer who was complained about was preying on his fellow Enforcers - not attendees. There are over a thousand volunteer Enforcers on the regular rolls, and no matter how carefully you screen, how do you catch something like that? Companies that can do full background checks and have the full force of employment law can't stop this perfectly, either. I can say that now he is now very firmly an EX-enforcer, and the processes and procedures for reporting issues like that which upon investigation were found to have weak spots have had a major overhaul to keep stuff like that from getting to that point ever again. I am also sad to say that those new procedures have already been fire-tested and have been found to work much better. And if they need it, we'll continue to improve them.

That issue with the Minecraft party, for example, didn't happen at PAX - it happened at a Mojang hosted event out at a bar. We're also working on better systems for reporting issues like that on-site, but where does our responsibility end? We can vet Enforcers, staff, and everyone else for days. But we can't vet everyone who goes to a bar in the greater Seattle area, or the staff a bar puts on to support a high volume event (like the security person who didn't actually help her when she reported the incident).

I didn't find that comic funny, even though I knew the context of the video, and the horrific one it's a response to. The context was way too divorced for the actual meaning to be clear and this issue just too touchy for that sort of treatment. I don't blame people for being upset by it. But it is heartbreaking to me when all the effort we spend trying to lead towards a better environment gets blown out of the water by this sort of misunderstanding.

PAX as an event is fun, the legions of people who run it are overwhelmingly cool. It's unfortunate that the ship is headed by a couple dudes I would rather not financially support at this point, but the machinery behind them is still not at fault so I try to make my peace with it by (legally) freeloading off the event and encouraging people to come for the weekend even if they're not going to buy a pass and attend with a capital "A".

clover wrote:

PAX as an event is fun, the legions of people who run it are overwhelmingly cool. It's unfortunate that the ship is headed by a couple dudes I would rather not financially support at this point, but the machinery behind them is still not at fault so I try to make my peace with it by (legally) freeloading off the event and encouraging people to come for the weekend even if they're not going to buy a pass and attend with a capital "A".

This. Unfortunately, it's not in a city where I can freeload, so I'm feeling that I'd rather stay home, or attend a different con. I'm very sorry that these guys keep making the rest of you look bad by association.