Sexism, Gaming, Pax and Fear

Tanglebones wrote:

((non-sexualized hugs to Charlie, the Brennil, KaterinLHC, Momgamer, Yellek, Mystic Violet, Shoptroll, NSMike))

Thank you, all of you, for your brave posts in this thread.

Ditto, and big props and thanks to Duckideva for starting it too.

So I see this. And then I read about Square or EA or THQ not being able to sell games, when this stuff is going to the rest of the world. Image matters. Maybe NRA membership, gun sales, church attendance, and videogame sales are more related than we think?

KingGorilla wrote:

So I see this. And then I read about Square or EA or THQ not being able to sell games, when this stuff is going to the rest of the world. Image matters. Maybe NRA membership, gun sales, church attendance, and videogame sales are more related than we think?

What? That's a lot of random stuff without any explanation of the point you're making.

NSMike wrote:

Also, I'll add that it's more than a little bothersome and telling that so many male forum members are so intent on arguing in this thread, that the women posting here are getting skimmed over.

Respectfully, I don't think the evidence supports this. Like, not at all.

Trachalio wrote:

And don't even get me started on inappropriate comments at work/work functions. When I hear/read about how women are being treated in the tech industry my blood just starts to boil. :(

This is 100% true, every team I've ever been involved with or led has had one or more members afflicted with what I call "manbaby syndrome" - guys who are nice enough, technically proficient, good teammates, but for some reason their emotional growth was stunted at like age 12. I've never worked in the games indistry but I imagine the manbaby ratio must be even higher than tech in general.

Mystic Violet wrote:

You know what? Screw it. Someone get me a chain mail dress. I'm building a Thunderdome.

Get the dress and a ticket to Burning Man. It'll be a lot easier and a lot more fun.

IMAGE(http://silverjacket.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/10/09/thunderdome.jpg)

Mystic Violet wrote:

I can't even begin to explain how many times I've "laughed" things off while at work. The few times I don't laugh things away, they respond back with aggression, sarcasm, disrespect, laughter, defensive questioning, nasty comments under their breath...

Most of the time, it's just not worth it because A) no one else will back you up, B) nothing will come of it and C) you end up with a target on your back. It sucks but what are we suppose to do? Build a Thunderdome?

This is the truth, this and Brennil's post earlier.

See, after Brennil's post, and Duckideva's post in the PyCon thread, and any number of Yellek's, and KaterinLHC's posts in this thread (and any other of the fantastic women who still stick around even in the light of the discussion on this thread), I am of the opinion that if you have a penis and come into this thread and say anything but "I'm sorry, I had no idea it sucked that much for women, and I will do whatever I can from this day forward to make sure I don't make women feel this way," you are not getting it, and need to start learning.

The Mary Sue has a followup article with comments from Robert Khoo on PAX's handling of the situation:
http://www.themarysue.com/pax-tomb-r...

NSMike wrote:

See, after Brennil's post, and Duckideva's post in the PyCon thread, and any number of Yellek's, and KaterinLHC's posts in this thread (and any other of the fantastic women who still stick around even in the light of the discussion on this thread), I am of the opinion that if you have a penis and come into this thread and say anything but "I'm sorry, I had no idea it sucked that much for women, and I will do whatever I can from this day forward to make sure I don't make women feel this way," you are not getting it, and need to start learning.

Personally I prefer reading their posts and if I have an issue with something they said, I question them on it. Just like I would with anyone else who is fully capable of defending their own positions.

NormanTheIntern wrote:
NSMike wrote:

Also, I'll add that it's more than a little bothersome and telling that so many male forum members are so intent on arguing in this thread, that the women posting here are getting skimmed over.

Respectfully, I don't think the evidence supports this. Like, not at all.

At what point do you acknowledge the fact that every single woman who has had the courage to speak up in this thread says, "Don't do this to us, it makes us feel uncomfortable/scared/unsafe"? That our objections have been continually and repeatedly dismissed* as an over-reaction by our fellow male forum members? Heck, you yourself told me in an earlier post that the nature of cosplay is such that you, as a man, feel entitled to express the lust a costume evokes in you to its wearer, because obviously that's what she was hoping for by wearing said 'sexy' clothing? (That argument, by the way, is no different than "if she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn that shirt".)

At what point are our voices loud enough to be heard by you? At what point do you just stop and say to yourself, "maybe I don't totally get what it feels like, but hey, I don't want to be the asshole who makes the women around me feel uncomfortable or unsafe," and adjust your behavior accordingly?

You might think you're just arguing hypotheticals here, but your hypothetical is my reality. And again, your sexual evaluation of a woman is truly none of her concern. It doesn't matter what she's wearing or not wearing, how pretty she is or isn't. Unless asked, keep your evaluations to yourself. I don't know how else to say it other than that.

*this isn't to ignore the several men who've piped up here to express their support

When I was a teenager, I went to the movies with my dad. I was 17, and it was one of the rare times he was home for an extended period. My dad was a paratrooper and served in special operations, and in my mind, he was the pinnacle of what it meant to be a man. We went to the counter to get popcorn and sodas, and the girl behind the counter was about my age, and I thought she was cute. After we stepped away with our purchases, I thought I saw an opportunity for some masculine bonding with my father, and turned to him, saying, "She's really hot! I think she was flirting with me!"

He stopped, turned to me, and asked, "What's her name?"

I didn't know.

"What school does she go to?"

I didn't know.

"What does she like to do when she's off work?"

I didn't know.

"What does she want to do when she gets out of school?"

I didn't know. At this point, I knew I had said something wrong, but I didn't know what.

My dad quietly explained to me that I had taken a human being and turned her into an object. I made no consideration of who she was as a person. Instead, I looked at her as something put there for my enjoyment. I knew nothing about her, but made an assumption as to her motivations. He didn't yell, and he didn't make a scene. He just quietly pointed out what I had done, and I felt like an ass. (My dad's kind of a badass.)

The fact is, your intent when you approach a woman to talk to her doesn't really matter. If I tell a woman, "You look great!" out of the blue, I'm assuming that she is interested in me evaluating her physical appearance and reporting on my findings. If I tell a woman, "You look sexy!", I'm assuming that she was hoping to evoke a sexual response out of her and I am rewarding her for her efforts. Maybe she is interested in hearing what I think of her appearance. Maybe she thinks I'm ten pounds of sexy in a five pound bag, and wants nothing more in this world than to draw my sexual attention. Assuming that either of those is the case is horrifyingly presumptuous. Assuming anything about a woman you don't know is horrifyingly presumptuous.

If a woman walks by wearing a carefully crafted cosplay outfit, here's what I think is safe to assume. She is passionate about Dr.Who/Mass Effect/Mr.Wizard/etc, so passionate that she worked hard to put together a costume. As such, the acceptable response to that costume is, "Hey, that's an awesome costume!" Not a sexy costume, not that she looks great in said costume. Just that it's a nice costume.

I also really have an issue with the idea that if you find a character sexy, or if a lot of men find a character sexy, or if a character is frequently sexually objectified, then that is the only reason a person can like the character, and if you dress as them then you are looking for sexual comments.

Lara Croft does more than look sexy. She is also an archaeologist, an adventurer, a gunslinger etc. Maybe the woman playing Lara Croft is an archaeology grad student who finds this sort of archaeological-adventurer ideal amusing or cool. You don't know! And if you really want to know a woman's motivation for putting on a costume, you could just ask something like, "Hey, that's a neat costume. Why did you choose that character?" That's a good deal less offensive then assuming it must be sexual.

Indiana Jones is sexy too, I don't see anyone suggesting a man wearing such a costume deserves to be asked about his package size in front of a crowd.

I want to buy trichy's dad a beer.

Related industry business:
http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/28/415...

Tanglebones wrote:

The Mary Sue has a followup article with comments from Robert Khoo on PAX's handling of the situation:
http://www.themarysue.com/pax-tomb-raider-cosplay/

I read Khoo's response and while it's nice as far as it goes (they kicked the asshole "journalist" out of PAX and he's not allowed back), I'm not sure why the offending dickhead and the company he works for aren't being named. I mean, sure, I can understand why the Lara Croft cosplayers wouldn't want to name names, out of fear of internet manbaby* retaliation, but why not PAX staff who were running the show?

That said, it seems to me the first step in collectively dealing with something like this is to say, in front of God and everybody, that John Smith of Gamenetters Inc is bad and should feel bad. The dumbass made a statement in a public space with multiple witnesses, so libel or slander shouldn't be a concern, right? Make him own it.

I'm raising a couple of girls that love them some vidya games. The oldest is approaching adolescence much more quickly than I am prepared for, and it alternately frustrates and terrifies me that the culture surrounding gaming is so boorish and cowardly toward women. I can do my best to have them avoid the bro-sphere* generally, but I'd really like to be able to point to someone specific now and then to say, "See that guy over there, John Smith? He's a horrible human being. The people defending him are at worst similarly horrible and at best terrifically misguided. Act accordingly." Examples are useful things.

*Thanks to NormanTheIntern and The Wanderer for these terms, which are awesome and have been added to my personal lexicon

trichy wrote:

baddass dad

*mentally files this away for future use*

Tanglebones wrote:

Related industry business:
http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/28/415...

That's really sad to hear, and not surprised in the least at some of those resignations. Aye, everything's bubbling over this week it seems.

Maybe we need to have a safe space version of this thread, and a...thunderdome(?) version of this thread.

This already is the thunderdome thread.

NSMike wrote:

See, after Brennil's post, and Duckideva's post in the PyCon thread, and any number of Yellek's, and KaterinLHC's posts in this thread (and any other of the fantastic women who still stick around even in the light of the discussion on this thread), I am of the opinion that if you have a penis and come into this thread and say anything but "I'm sorry, I had no idea it sucked that much for women, and I will do whatever I can from this day forward to make sure I don't make women feel this way," you are not getting it, and need to start learning.

There are those of us who are aware of this and are trying to enlighten. Please don't discount our posts or judge us if we don't apologize for idiots others simply because we're male.

EDIT: Sometimes not an idiot. I reworded that.

LouZiffer wrote:
NSMike wrote:

See, after Brennil's post, and Duckideva's post in the PyCon thread, and any number of Yellek's, and KaterinLHC's posts in this thread (and any other of the fantastic women who still stick around even in the light of the discussion on this thread), I am of the opinion that if you have a penis and come into this thread and say anything but "I'm sorry, I had no idea it sucked that much for women, and I will do whatever I can from this day forward to make sure I don't make women feel this way," you are not getting it, and need to start learning.

There are those of us who are aware of this and are trying to enlighten. Please don't discount our posts or judge us if we don't apologize for idiots others simply because we're male.

Lou, I don't think he was aiming that at you or anyone else trying to help enlighten. (Correct me if I'm wrong NSMike)

NormanTheIntern wrote:
NSMike wrote:

See, after Brennil's post, and Duckideva's post in the PyCon thread, and any number of Yellek's, and KaterinLHC's posts in this thread (and any other of the fantastic women who still stick around even in the light of the discussion on this thread), I am of the opinion that if you have a penis and come into this thread and say anything but "I'm sorry, I had no idea it sucked that much for women, and I will do whatever I can from this day forward to make sure I don't make women feel this way," you are not getting it, and need to start learning.

Personally I prefer reading their posts and if I have an issue with something they said, I question them on it. Just like I would with anyone else who is fully capable of defending their own positions.

This is not a difficult concept. I'll give you a multiple choice scenario that should be fairly easy to answer.​

You meet another individual. This person is attractive, and you think so. You are engaging in casual conversation. Assume for this scenario this person is no more than a new acquaintance; they are not a friend (new or long-time), date, significant other, intimate partner, or spouse. An unsolicited comment on that person's appearance with relation to intimate context is appropriate:

​A. When you think they are attractive.
B. Because the clothing they're wearing looks sexy.​
C. Because they are emulating someone who is a sex object in a specific medium.​
D. Because they're acting like they like that kind of attention.​
E. Never.​

Spoiler:

[size=28]THE ANSWER IS F*CKING E[/size]

I've long thought we should use the Barter Town model for our legal code, and all our laws should be easily to chant--Two Men Enter One Man Leaves, Bust a Deal Face the Wheel, and so forth.

Demyx wrote:

I also really have an issue with the idea that if you find a character sexy, or if a lot of men find a character sexy, or if a character is frequently sexually objectified, then that is the only reason a person can like the character,

Werd. The game world seems to have this weird issue with boiling off everything a character actually is and reducing them to only one thing, ignoring often interesting characterization. And invariably, when that character is female, the one thing they get reduced to is a sex object.

Closer to the topic at hand...I don't have much to say because that sort of behavior is indefensible.

Since "enlighten" is an adjective that can be applied to either side of the arguments here, albeit entirely incorrectly for one side, let's say it was not directed at those male posters who have not tried to justify a position that allows them to treat another human being poorly because they can't or won't make an effort to adjust their perspective to have some basic empathy for the women in our society.

KaterinLHC wrote:

At what point do you acknowledge the fact that every single woman who has had the courage to speak up in this thread says, "Don't do this to us, it makes us feel uncomfortable/scared/unsafe"? That our objections have been continually and repeatedly dismissed* as an over-reaction by our fellow male forum members?

I went out of my way to acknowledge that several times in my frist three posts. I'll cite what I said:

NormanTheIntern wrote:

What the journo said was over the line, the other anecdotes expressed were even worse

again, the specific examples she provided were 100% wrong

With respect to the things that were said to these girls - agreed. (Again, what was said was 100% wrong)

no one "deserves" a comment like the ones that were said

KaterinLHC wrote:

Heck, you yourself told me in an earlier post that the nature of cosplay is such that you, as a man, feel entitled to express the lust a costume evokes in you to its wearer, because obviously that's what she was hoping for by wearing said 'sexy' clothing?

That's a misrepresentation of my position - I said that the audience should be able to express emotions invoked by an artist since that's kind of the point of art. Audience and artist both gender neutral.

(That argument, by the way, is no different than "if she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn that shirt".)

Stop. Just stop. I made it exceedingly clear that the cosplay thing did not excuse the crude comments, and since I apparently have to spell it out, the arguments are completely different because one of them involves rape. Painting everyone who doesn't totally agree with you with a broad sexism brush and ignoring the points actually being made is one thing, but attempting to insinuate that I'd be okay with rape is totally over the line - you know nothing about me.

NSMike wrote:

Since "enlighten" is an adjective that can be applied to either side of the arguments here, albeit entirely incorrectly for one side, let's say it was not directed at those male posters who have not tried to justify a position that allows them to treat another human being poorly because they can't or won't make an effort to adjust their perspective.

Understood, NSMike. I didn't intend to water down your point, which is well put IMO. Just thought it might need to be clarified a bit. There is plenty more that can be said on this particular subject and it's an ongoing problem in society, so I'd hate for anyone to feel squelched if they have something to say.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Stop. Just stop.

Well, now. That just sort of makes my point for me, doesn't it?

That's a misrepresentation of my position - I said that the audience should be able to express emotions invoked by an artist since that's kind of the point of art. Audience and artist both gender neutral.

No, you argued that your lust -- that is, your sexual response -- was an emotion you should be allowed to express. But "I think you're attractive" is not an emotion. Lust is not an emotion. It is a function of biology.

So instead of trying to shut down the conversation ("stop, just stop"), and telling me how out of line I am and how wounded your pride is by me expressing my own discomfort ("attempting to insinuate that I'd be okay with rape is totally over the line - you know nothing about me."), maybe, just maybe, you should re-evaluate what you've said and whether it effectively communicated what you intended it to. Take a closer look at what you're saying and how your own position of privilege is baked into it, and consider how you've made the women around you feel (or at least just this one woman).

The proper response to "you've hurt my feelings", especially when you sit in a position of privilege compared to the other person, is not "but your offense hurts my feelings more".

NormanTheIntern wrote:
(That argument, by the way, is no different than "if she didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have worn that shirt".)

Stop. Just stop. I made it exceedingly clear that the cosplay thing did not excuse the crude comments, and since I apparently have to spell it out, the arguments are completely different because one of them involves rape. Painting everyone who doesn't totally agree with you with a broad sexism brush and ignoring the points actually being made is one thing, but attempting to insinuate that I'd be okay with rape is totally over the line - you know nothing about me.

But in the abstract it is fairly close to "Because of X visual queue which an entity interprets as sexualized, said entity's unwarranted sexual advance (verbal, physical) is warranted."

It's not saying that you by defending that position support rape. It is saying that your defense of that position relies on a very similar argument, which could therefore call into question your defense of said position.

*EDIT*
Apostrophe.

Brennil wrote:

Know what my automatic, instinctual response is when I'm in a group of guys and someone makes a sexist comment? To laugh. Or smile. Not because I think it's funny or acceptable or because it doesn't make me feel like sh*t (it does) but because it also makes me feel unsafe. And I, as a woman, have been socialized that the appropriate response to feeling unsafe is to try to placate the person who is making me feel that way.

By "unsafe" I don't mean to say that I think this dude who just made a comment about someone's tits is about to rape me. But there's a real possibility that if I call attention to the fact that he's making me uncomfortable, there's going to be a confrontation and he's going to direct that hostility and aggression my way, because he has already demonstrated that he doesn't really see me as a person. This has happened to me and it is horrible. And there are very few situations in which I have ever felt that the company I am in would be wholeheartedly supportive of me. And, guys, I'm not just talking about at a con, where one is surrounded by strangers. This has happened to me in family gatherings, at parties full of people that I know and like, in workplaces.

Every single time someone says something that actively hurts me as a woman, I do a risk evaluation of the situation, a calculation of "how sh*tty do I feel letting this go" v.s. "do I have the emotional fortitude to weather the sh*tstorm I may call up by saying something." Every time.

So don't assume that because a woman laughed at whatever microaggression happened to fly at her head in any given moment that it was okay, or that she found it funny or acceptable.

Yeah, unless I'm just in a "f*ck the world, let's throw down" mood (which, the closer I get to menopause, happens more often than idiots around me would like...), as a rule, I treat overt sexism like I treat overt racism, which is to not really acknowledge it. And like Brenni, it's because I don't want to be the receiver of the significant personal attack which follows objecting to those comments.

That said; when I get fed up, I react poorly. True story; I was at a ComicCon, standing there talking to ImportantWriter, when some mouthbreathing moron to whom I had been introduced once before, came up behind me, but his arms around me, reached up and grabbed my boobs and said "Honk!" and laughed uproariously. Before the sound of the gasps of people around me could be heard; I'd pivoted and thrown a punch as hard as I possibly could, straight into his nose. It broke. He fell down. I felt good about that. I still feel good about that. I only wish I'd followed it up with a quick kick to the vulnerables.

My sister, who was my cohort in crime at the publishing company also had someone call her hotel room at a Con to tell her they were coming up to put babies in her belly. It was probably the same guy as the OP link; just 20 years later, saying the same bullsh*t.

I will be the first to admit that when I was young and fit and my knees could handle it; I wore sky high heels and tight skirts and low cut blouses. I have a Chuck Jones original sketch, where he has Bug saying "Thanks for the mammaries," (which I realize sounds super sexist, and is in it's own way, but it was a private joke from an sweet, darling, dirty old man.) , but part of the joke was that I was born with boobs that cast a shadow, and I never dressed to hide them...because how the hell could I? It's like hiding Kilimanjaro; it's just not going to work.

But see, here's the thing; If I dress sexy, I'm doing it for me. If I want to feel a certain way, I have wardrobe choices that engender that feeling. But if I'm wearing my sexiest gear; I'm looking like Scorpio incarnate, a devil in a diamante tiara...that still doesn't give someone else the right to make their experience of looking at me, part of my experience of being me. I'm not dressing for the viewer; I don't really give a rat's ass about the viewer. I'm dressing for me.

I don't cosplay; because I don't care enough about any specific fictional realm, and I can't sew very well. But I have seen some astonishing costumes on both men and women. Never once has it occurred to me to comment on the state of my own genitalia when discussing how cool I think their costume is. Why some guys can't seem to grasp that we, as women, don't need/want to know how we impact your state of arousal. Don't care. Doesn't matter. Kinda icky. Stop it. Just because I have big boobs and wear cashmere, doesn't give men the right to touch me, to tell me how "hard" my cleavage makes it for them to do anything but stare, or to make any number of the other boob jokes I was tired of by the time I was 13.

(For those of you who don't view women as "use-cases", we thank you, appreciate you, and wish there were lots and lots more of you.)

duckideva wrote:

(For those of you who don't view women as "use-cases", we thank you, appreciate you, and wish there were lots and lots more of you.)

But we can still look discretely, right?