Sexism, Gaming, Pax and Fear

The issue isn't that dressing a certain way might provoke a reaction, it's what kind of reaction is provoked. LarryC, if you were at a nude beach or other place where being naked were acceptable, how would you react if someone walked up and grabbed your junk? You'd put it on display and within reach so that should be an acceptable response, right? Weren't you asking for it? What if people simply made lewd comments? Clearly, the truth is that regardless of how you're dressed, certain behavior towards you is simply inappropriate.

I'm on board with that. In fact, that's why I asked KaterinLHC to elaborate on when expressing unsolicited opinion is acceptable in your culture. Clearly there's some wide disagreement on that score. KaterinLHC says "Never." I like that answer. I love that answer. In my heart of hearts, I want that answer to be true everywhere. But it's not. All are complicit in making the sad reality true. Even me. For not being brave. For not wearing what I want.

Indeed, the reason I can't go out the way I like is people behave towards the stuff I like very negatively. None of my clothes in my wardrobe are for me. I hate them all to varying degrees.

What we have seen so far are only symptoms. Here's more evidence of the disease.

http://trixie360.wordpress.com/2013/...

"I don’t go to GDC anymore, but I confess that when I did, one of my roles there was to get women to attend the party that my employer threw. To try to skew the sausage-fest male female ratio to more attractive (for male developers and publishers) levels. They wanted me to bring hot chicks. Eye candy. So the devs would have something pretty to look at and flirt with. And I did it. Year after year. No, I wasn’t Heidi Fleiss, but I participated in making those women objects.

"Why did I do that? For my personal gain. I liked going to GDC. And if I kept bringing boobs to the party, I kept getting to go.

"Why did I laugh off the upskirt pics, the ‘nice tits, can I touch them’ comments, the random ‘suck my c*ck’ text messages from industry dudes I barely knew? I’m not entirely sure"

If we're talking about culture, LarryC, I'd say our culture is silently consenting to this abhorrent behavior. The goal with raising awareness in general is to change the culture so that the answer is, in fact, never. That's why the difficulty arises in the first place.

duckideva wrote:

I wear a tiara. I mean, not all the time, but randomly; I'll just have Tiara Tuesday, or whatever, and I wear a tiara. Because I have one, and by gods, why not? I wear it to the grocery store, to the bank, whatever I'm doing that day, I just do it with a tiara.

If you are grocery shopping in nothing but a tiara, I'd definitely expect some inappropriate comments.

NSMike wrote:

If we're talking about culture, LarryC, I'd say our culture is silently consenting to this abhorrent behavior. The goal with raising awareness in general is to change the culture so that the answer is, in fact, never. That's why the difficulty arises in the first place.

This. A thousand times this, because I hate seeing my friends objectified, and I'm not a fan of it either.

Nomad wrote:
duckideva wrote:

I wear a tiara. I mean, not all the time, but randomly; I'll just have Tiara Tuesday, or whatever, and I wear a tiara. Because I have one, and by gods, why not? I wear it to the grocery store, to the bank, whatever I'm doing that day, I just do it with a tiara.

If you are grocery shopping in nothing but a tiara, I'd definitely expect some inappropriate comments. :)

Though you meant it in jest, the sad fact of the matter at hand is that even in plain clothes and no tiara the inappropriate comments would not be entirely unexpected in our current culture.

So I woke up this morning and saw this thread which had maybe 15 responses when I last looked at it, now has about 150 responses I needed to read (and I did, each and everyone).

I want to thank Brennil from her post, because every word rang true. I want to thank Mike for bringing that post up again on page 3. And I want to say how awesome it is that the community is able to carry on the conversation in such a civilized manner, it's just so refreshing. Sure we don't all agree, and some posts even give me the heebeejeebies. But still.
Also, Trichy's dad is one awesome dude.

I do think that it's great that we're actually tackling this issue and not just glossing it over. Unfortunately, the road is still a long one, but there's hope to find in the fact that things are actually moving forward.
I've never been to a con, and the fact that I'm a "gamer girl" made me a bit anxious about attending one specifically because it might put me in an uncomfortable situation (even though I don't cosplay). I'm trying to make serious plans for PAX East 2014 and having read the responses of some goodjers, I can now say that those fears have been somewhat assuaged.

I try not to do this too often, but... +1. The debate has gotten heated from time to time, but there's some pure gold in here. I literally lol'ed when I read how Duckideva broke that sexist pig's nose

Thank you all for sharing!

NSMike wrote:

If we're talking about culture, LarryC, I'd say our culture is silently consenting to this abhorrent behavior. The goal with raising awareness in general is to change the culture so that the answer is, in fact, never. That's why the difficulty arises in the first place.

Well, let me ask you this, then. I'm a firm believer that we can only change our own selves, and that's how we change the world. I'm prepared to see and talk to other people as if they were wearing whatever is appropriate for whatever occasion even when they're absolutely not. Are you? Could you talk to someone who was a fashion disaster and not betray a glimmer of a glance of what you think of that person's outfit? Could a naked man or woman walk up to you on the street, ask you for directions, and feel as if you saw nothing out of the ordinary?

This is what you're asking for. It's what I'm hoping for. For dress to not have any public display value except as the wearer explicitly directs, if they're doing some sort of public art display. Are you prepared to do this yourself? How many posters here would?

No, because it has nothing to do with what people are wearing, but with the sort of behavior women put up with no matter what they are wearing.

Costumes are a red herring. The behavior and comments happen to women who are wearing the plainest, most ordinary clothing for the situation.

Eleima wrote:

I do think that it's great that we're actually tackling this issue and not just glossing it over. Unfortunately, the road is still a long one, but there's hope to find in the fact that things are actually moving forward.
I've never been to a con, and the fact that I'm a "gamer girl" made me a bit anxious about attending one specifically because it might put me in an uncomfortable situation (even though I don't cosplay). I'm trying to make serious plans for PAX East 2014 and having read the responses of some goodjers, I can now say that those fears have been somewhat assuaged.

If you do go, hang out with the Goodjer collective if you're otherwise uncomfortable. You'll never go wrong there.

Jokingly wrote:
Spoiler:

Except for Q-Stone if he's there. He gets way too handsy with everybody. He's gender neutral about it though.

I would agree that living a life that demonstrates the change you want to see in others is a good place to start. It doesn't stop there, though. It's important to be vocal and raise awareness. As others have pointed out, the clothing is, in fact, a false lead on what the real problem is. The issue is not what the women are wearing. There are posts in this thread that already relate anecdotes that prove it's not the clothing. And I believe them.

And if the absolute standard you're proposing is whether or not I can present myself as entirely stoically detached from how an individual presents themselves at all times, I think that's a preposterous standard. Of course I can't. Clothing is one of the basic means of expression for people. Would I react to a naked person without noting such an oddity? No, of course not. And neither could you, unless you're proposing that the magical wonderland of the Philippines, as you tend to represent them here, is someplace where that's commonplace enough that you wouldn't, at the very least, betray an involuntary surprised reaction in your facial expressions, whether you say a word about it or not.

But we're not talking about basic human reactions to odd or unexpected situations. We're talking about gender-based, unsolicited sexual remarks or assaults. And let's be clear, some of these are actual assaults. Verbal and physical. As I said above, clothing is one of our basic means of expression. Taking art as another example of expression, the difference is akin to entering an art gallery, looking at a painting and thinking, "This is absolute crap and it offends me that this is art," versus tearing the painting off the wall and ripping the canvas to shreds. That's an imperfect analogy, too, as a painting is passive and inanimate. The artist might care if you do that, but the painting certainly doesn't.

So, let's avoid shifting the issue from the person to the clothing, eh?

LouZiffer wrote:
Eleima wrote:

I do think that it's great that we're actually tackling this issue and not just glossing it over. Unfortunately, the road is still a long one, but there's hope to find in the fact that things are actually moving forward.
I've never been to a con, and the fact that I'm a "gamer girl" made me a bit anxious about attending one specifically because it might put me in an uncomfortable situation (even though I don't cosplay). I'm trying to make serious plans for PAX East 2014 and having read the responses of some goodjers, I can now say that those fears have been somewhat assuaged.

If you do go, hang out with the Goodjer collective if you're otherwise uncomfortable. You'll never go wrong there.

Just look for the flag (or hastily assembled sign) in Tabletop!

Re: Clothing. A friend of mine wears hijab. Not like a full burka, but very modest, with a headscarf, and covered arms, etc. One day, I asked if I could borrow an outfit and go out with her, because I wanted to see what it was like, in the buckle of redneck bible belt, to be a muslim. The sh*t I heard in full hijab was WAY, WAY, WAY worse than anything I've ever heard. The sh*t my friend hears every single day from men in ties, men in tshirts, men in general, is terrifying.

The amount of skin your clothes show does not impact how you are treated. In fact, it seems like the women who hide the most are the ones who get the really angry reactions; like "How dare you hide yourself from me, you don't have that right. I am allowed to see you, take off your clothes, bitch." (Nobody actually used those words, but that was absolutely the vibe I got.)

The problem that we're dancing around is that women are not seen as full autonomous agents in our culture. The prevailing mindset promotes the idea that women are objects, and not entities.

That reminds me of why I don't play female characters on multiplayer games.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

That reminds me of why I don't play female characters on multiplayer games.

I exclusively play female characters. You tend to get treated nicer. I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time. Also in WoW, the female undead models were just super grotesque.

And then in other situations, like rolling for some item, I got called a stupid bitch.

I do not get the Mass Effect stats, just because Jennifer Hale just has such a bad ass voice. but only a fifth of people played Fem-Shep.

KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

I will play female characters in most games EXCEPT MMOs for exactly the harassment reason. Well, that and playing a female character on a RP server as a male is... strange.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

first, not all reactions to art are appropriate or valid to begin with.

Agreed, yes - a good example if an inappropriate response is what the journalist said.

But additionally, what you're talking about is not even reacting to the art, it's reacting to the person wearing it. And yes, there is a distinction.

Sometimes there is, sometimes not, depending on the medium. Does a poet's looks or body have any bearing on her work? Nope. But we're basically talking about performance art here, where the artist becomes part of the work, and thus becomes (to a certain extent) open to critique. Same would be true for other art forms like dancing.

But cosplay is more than just clothing - it's hair, makeup, etc - the artist is essentially becoming or interpreting the character here. In the cosplay episode of A Life Well Wasted, one of the girls being interviewed said her top advice was to pick a character that compliments your body type. I'm not sure that artificially defining "art" or "emotion" to make cosplay an edge case makes sense here.

duckideva wrote:

Re: Clothing. A friend of mine wears hijab. Not like a full burka, but very modest, with a headscarf, and covered arms, etc. One day, I asked if I could borrow an outfit and go out with her, because I wanted to see what it was like, in the buckle of redneck bible belt, to be a muslim. The sh*t I heard in full hijab was WAY, WAY, WAY worse than anything I've ever heard. The sh*t my friend hears every single day from men in ties, men in tshirts, men in general, is terrifying.

The amount of skin your clothes show does not impact how you are treated. In fact, it seems like the women who hide the most are the ones who get the really angry reactions; like "How dare you hide yourself from me, you don't have that right. I am allowed to see you, take off your clothes, bitch." (Nobody actually used those words, but that was absolutely the vibe I got.)

The problem that we're dancing around is that women are not seen as full autonomous agents in our culture. The prevailing mindset promotes the idea that women are objects, and not entities.

If any single group of women in the world can be shown as an example of how far away we are from equality, it is Muslim women.

It's definitely a male-oriented solution to put women out of sight, out of mind in Muslim culture. However, as wrong as I personally believe it to be in my heart, it speaks to what lengths a people will go to in order to attempt a resolution of the "some men are beasts" problem. I feel for the immense pain that Muslim women are going through both in largely non-Muslim and majority Muslim societies alike. In places where Muslim women have a much greater chance at equality (in the US for example) and choose to wear traditional garb for spiritual reasons, the actions of the ignorant are a constant source of suffering for them. In places where Muslim women are gaining a toehold on equality (such as in India) the stories are so horrifying I must admit that I don't have the stomach to elaborate on them here. Needless to say I think we've all heard some of them.

clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

It is also a perpetuation and exaggeration of the stereotypes and expectations male gamers have of their female counterparts. This is a bad reason to use a female avatar.

NSMike wrote:
clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

It is also a perpetuation and exaggeration of the stereotypes and expectations male gamers have of their female counterparts. This is a bad reason to use a female avatar.

If they are hard up for some Zombie loving we have to go deeper. I did not have a jaw. My hip bones were exposed, not like Tara Reed, like a dog bone. I was not some Blood Elf tart shaking my money makers on a mailbox.

KingGorilla wrote:
NSMike wrote:
clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

It is also a perpetuation and exaggeration of the stereotypes and expectations male gamers have of their female counterparts. This is a bad reason to use a female avatar.

If they are hard up for some Zombie loving we have to go deeper. I did not have a jaw. My hip bones were exposed, not like Tara Reed, like a dog bone. I was not some Blood Elf tart shaking my money makers on a mailbox.

We've already established that it doesn't matter what you're wearing.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Does a poet's looks or body have any bearing on her work? Nope.

I hesitate to say this is always the case, even if I can't present an example right now.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

But we're basically talking about performance art here, where the artist becomes part of the work, and thus becomes (to a certain extent) open to critique. Same would be true for other art forms like dancing.

Nope. The conversation is clearly about how women should be treated as people. As has been pointed out, multiple times, the clothing is a red herring. The cosplay is a context.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

But cosplay is more than just clothing - it's hair, makeup, etc - the artist is essentially becoming or interpreting the character here. In the cosplay episode of A Life Well Wasted, one of the girls being interviewed said her top advice was to pick a character that compliments your body type. I'm not sure that artificially defining "art" or "emotion" to make cosplay an edge case makes sense here.

Once again, nope. It's not about the cosplay, it's about the woman. Try separating the two. Yes, cosplay is a bit of art, even perhaps a performance piece. I'm not sure where inappropriate sexual comments suddenly become ok in this particular kind of performance piece, or any, for that matter.

clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:
NSMike wrote:
clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

It is also a perpetuation and exaggeration of the stereotypes and expectations male gamers have of their female counterparts. This is a bad reason to use a female avatar.

If they are hard up for some Zombie loving we have to go deeper. I did not have a jaw. My hip bones were exposed, not like Tara Reed, like a dog bone. I was not some Blood Elf tart shaking my money makers on a mailbox.

We've already established that it doesn't matter what you're wearing. ;)

Also we have stated that prejudice against people with work in the sex industry is wrong. So Mike should be less of a preachy prude about my e-hoing.

clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:
NSMike wrote:
clover wrote:
KingGorilla wrote:

I played females in wow, blew kisses, and I got free stuff all the time.

Well sure, if you're out there tarting it up. That means the stuff wasn't entirely free, silly.

It is also a perpetuation and exaggeration of the stereotypes and expectations male gamers have of their female counterparts. This is a bad reason to use a female avatar.

If they are hard up for some Zombie loving we have to go deeper. I did not have a jaw. My hip bones were exposed, not like Tara Reed, like a dog bone. I was not some Blood Elf tart shaking my money makers on a mailbox.

We've already established that it doesn't matter what you're wearing. ;)

You're winking, but if we examine it more closely, is it really about the avatar, or who someone thinks is behind it?

Exactly. See momgamer's Totoro suit anecdote.

NSMike wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Does a poet's looks or body have any bearing on her work? Nope.

I hesitate to say this is always the case, even if I can't present an example right now.

At a reading. If you are at a poet's reading, they are there, making themselves the medium in a way, and if your response is "Man, what a hottie," you're not responding to their work.

I don't think it's any sort of edge-casing to say this Art Reaction idea is no refuge, because it's not.

When I had a female avatar in an MMO, any benefit of being given tributes was far outweighed by the weird, weird, weird behavior. And I don't think I had it all that bad.

SpacePPoliceman, I actually meant I couldn't think of a poet.