You should Fucking Care

We will be interrupting your regular program for this emergency broadcast… rant ahead. I repeat, RANT AHEAD.

 

Ahem. So another day in America another few murders by some deranged psychopath right… No sadly. While maybe unhinged this American male went on a rampage killing many because he had been rejected by girls during his youth. Social media sites and comments went nuts of course, some saying another mental health issue, others going for the gun debate and more even pointing out that maybe, just maybe those girls should have sad yes to avoid this mess. Like somehow it’s a girls responsibility to give a bit to every guy that asks just in case they don’t decide to murder them, or people around them.

Ugggh, whatever… moving on. We could see this as a one off in a long line of american idiots but it’s not, it’s part of a larger socio cultural issue of sexism and misogyny. Now while the whole rampage across a campus space isn’t the norm, violence towards women is a daily fact… it’s living. Just taking a snapshot of tumblr or certain trending hashtags and you may get a sense of the issue here. It’s part of daily living and how you experience the world. It’s something most, if not all women are a part of that men will really never see.

I’ve had moments in my life of being extremely scared for my well-being. A drunkard at a house party who wanted to “escort” me to my car after constantly cornering me and babbling on within the house for hours. The only reason I probably got out of that safely is a couple friends taking me to the car. A friend had to stay at her workplace for 2 hours after her shift because this one guy who was leering at her, most of the night was waiting across the road… the entire time. I can go on. It’s stories everyone has at least one of. Thankfully I’ve never been raped, or anyone I personally know but you hear stories, stories that shock you and will stay with you forever.

It’s an ingrained part of the culture in how men feel and act towards women. It’s pervasive and it’s everywhere. The media we consume is a huge part of this issue. It perpetuates certain stereotypes and really shapes the rules, boundaries and customs of a culture. It is what makes the overarching narrative we all live in and which shapes our conciousness and, as much as you might want to bury your head, and dick in the sand to avoid the issue gaming is a part of this. It is another element in how we see, experience and learn the nuances of our culture and the general and popular image within gaming isn’t very good. It’s fucking appalling.

I won’t go into that too much right now but suffice it to say, gaming provides an image of Women being weaker, as objects and honestly not worthy of attention… at least compared to their male counterparts. For many people games aren’t about all these social issues, not about campaigning for better living but more about fun. They say “I don’t care”.. I guess that’s their right to say that, in a way, but what I hear when someone says they don’t care is –

“I don’t care about that Drunk slut that got raped”

“I don’t care about that bitch who got bashed by her boyfriend”

“I don’t care about that young prude who gets murdered by a classmate for daring to say no”

You know what I say to someone who says they don’t care…. Fuck you. No seriously FUCK… YOU.. get some Fucking empathy, talk and fucking listen to your female friends and family members about what experiences they’ve had. Listen to to your fucktard male friends and the shit they say and the rampant bullshit being spouted across the internet and take a moment to yourself and think.. truly think if “I don’t care” is the right response to this. If it is well.. Fuck You.

This is all connected. It’s a part of our society that is perpetuated by the people and the media we consume. We can make a difference and we should be making a difference.

#Rant #Bitchisback #Sexism

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “You should Fucking Care

  1. I applaud you for you honesty and beeing so direct 😉 our society is twistes in all kinds of possible and imagineble ways. We tend to ignore,hide, and just mind our own buisness wich is why we have ended up like we have imo.
    I do know a bit about beeing “the weaker sex” when it comes to brute force and beeing taken advantage of physically so yeah screw those who ignore and screw does who say they don’t care. I do care but try to stay away from these discussions and topics cause they get my emotions boiling, and since real life is packet with this horrible shit, I try to forget it when enjoying my hobby. I am aware that me doing that is a part of the problem, but we still do it to escape ?!

    • That’s me, straight and direct. I’ve had quite a few posts about sexism already but this is the first I got really angry. Dredges up stuff you really don’t want to keep remembering.

      I’m actually quite tall and tough.. I guess. My dad even put me into boxing when I was younger for a few months to learn to be more assertive and be able to protect myself better but it still doesn’t help in many situations.

      And yes we all still need an escape too

      • Not to derail but …boxing 🙂 I was so spot on that day in Path of Exile!!!

        On topic, I’m right there with you. It’s infuriating to talk to people who say they don’t care or who behave like they don’t care.

      • Lol, never had an actual match but just learning about it was good for being more sure in myself.

        Now I do understand why they don’t care but with a wealth of information and experiences around there is only so far ignorance can take you.

  2. I have to say, raising two beautiful (dad’s have to say it) girls sure has put an interesting spin on my view of the world. I’ve always been a rather even keel kind of guy when it comes to this topic but you’d have to be blind not to see the cracks forming. It’s like men, in western culture, are practically given carte-blanche on women. Any women who says yes is a slut, who says no is a bitch.

    As an aside, I’ve been brainwashing my kids to watch Brave rather than typical disney cartoons. It’s the only one I’ve found that has a strong female protagonist who saves the day, and the burly men are rather used for comedic effect. Sounds corny but I think even small changes in what messages they get will pay huge dividends later on.

    • Ahhh yeh, being a father is a huge eye opener.
      Haha brave yeh pretty awesome. It’s just as hard to find books too. Being in childcare I try to find a decent range to read but it’s always really restricted. Animals are often better because you can mix around pro ours without it really matter in too much.

      One thing I did was make a range of felt figures and props for the children. We end up making our own stories which always turn out weird but really enjoyable

      It’s all about play too, encouraging exploration and adventure.

  3. I have read many posts such as this recently that express anger which I think is justified. However this anger needs to be positively channelled into action.

    So I ask the question, how do you make someone care?

    Berating them seldom works. I have mentioned this before in my comments on another blog. When people are confronted by logical facts that show they are some how in the wrong or part of a problem, they tend not to say “bless me, I have been in error. Thanks for the heads up. I shall now make a complete U turn with regard to my personal ideology and moderate my behaviour”. No, they tend to dig their heels in and push back. Your bound to get loads of comments of that nature on this post.

    How do you encourage men (because this is the group that is in question here) to embrace a stance based on empathy? I frankly have no clue how this can be done. You cannot bully people in to such a mindset. Shaming or introducing legislation just pushes the matter below the service. Most companies have equality policies now that all staff have to be seen to support, or else they are out the door. However this does not mean that people believe or support such principles in their hearts. The anonymity of the internet often show us what people truly feel..

    Empathy is something that is learnt at an early age. How do you reprogram a person in there twenties, thirties or forties?

    Can we please move beyond the rage stage of this debate and focus on to the next step. What exactly is going to be done about it?

    • 1) Stand up for it when you see it. Call people out when they say something stupid like that.
      2) Celebrate the games (as we’re gamers) that embrace a more neutral or empowering position. Red in Transition is a good example. More body types in Wildstar. FemShep. Lara Croft. Faith (Mirror’s Edge). Lightning (FF13). Bioshock Infinite. Last of Us.
      3) Remind developers that there are more than sweaty 15 year olds buying games by spending your money judiciously.

      As you say, it isn’t going to be fixed overnight. It’s taken hundreds of years to get here, going to take a fair amount to find some balance. It’s a massive culture change.

    • I am just one lady with no training in social policy or human nature or whatever, but while I feel your questions are really best answered by professionals I do have some ideas.

      Elliot Rodgers happened in large part because he lived (we live) in a culture where misogyny is acceptable.What we, the average person on the street, need to continue to do is make that not acceptable. “Joking” about raping and hurting women because they won’t sleep with you is not acceptable. “Pick Up Artists” literally have television shows where they compete to score “hot babes”, and we need to make that not acceptable. Women are threatened and harassed on the internet merely for existing, and we’re told that it’s just a joke and we should stop being so uptight. That should be unacceptable. Women in the US are having their right to control their bodies taken away in certain states, and that should be unacceptable.

      You say that shaming “just pushes the matter below the service” and I say GOOD. Push it down. Push it down to where we start raising generations of young men and women who grow up thinking this kind of bullshit is not acceptable in a functional society. Because let me tell you as a lady, our current culture does not try to hide its misogyny.

      • I agree that there is very little attempt to hide misogyny these days. In fact I would argue that in some respects attitudes have moved backwards instead of forwards.

        However I am very sceptical about the benefits of pushing a problem below the surface. I like to know if someone is prejudice in some respect. Bigots that are open at least do us the courtesy of nailing their colours to the mast. Pushing a problem below the radar can creates a false sense that you’ve have eliminated it. I consider a closet bigot far more dangerous than an open one. You think you have an ally and then they’ll spectacularly stab you in the back.

        However, let us not be too despondent I believe that each successive generation can broaden their world view and as long as we do our part, as described by Asmiroth and Liore, we can tackle this issue. I just think we need to be realistic about the time frame. Certain social conditioning cannot be undone. But we can out live it.

    • “Realistic about the time frame …” Lots of well-meaning people get trapped into this kind of thinking. Just remember that the only winners in an argument that ends like this are moderates and bigots.

      Would you tell a person who was kidnapped and abused at the age of 15 and wasn’t found until the age of 25 to wait for change? Would you tell a homeless person it’s more realistic that they should go hungry until people with food are willing to share?

      People who speak passionately against abuse and bigotry are not bullies. You should really stop comparing the two and I’ve already explained the problems with that comparison in a previous post. By your definition every civil rights advocate and leader the world has ever seen was/is a bully. The target audience for articles such as this are moderates, not extremists – it’s those who actually come here and read it, thinking it’s about someone other than themselves. It’s those who think there is some even-handed middle ground to achieve between bigots and the oppressed, but that the underprivileged should give more to the struggle than the privileged.

      Many civil rights leaders speak of “moderate whites”, those who call for equality and then back out saying “but not now”. It’s very easy to sit in a position of privilege and talk about “in due time” and “reality”.

      Structural sexism persists because of norms and traditions, not extremists. And no one is more normal than a moderate – they want to follow all the current rules of the system, to seek change WITHIN the bounds of it and they see everyone else as extremists who need to be tamed. They believe that their moderation is the voice of reason, the middle ground, the even temperament that must prevail. The problem is that it HAS prevailed. Being a moderate is about maintaining the status quo, because moderates are comfortable. They have no sense of urgency about nightmares people die from and must live through everyday. Moderates live in a world of many tomorrows. The oppressed do not.

      Trying to deflect any blame on people who take a strong stand against misogyny/bigotry, saying that they are causing bigots to be greater bigots is another fallacy and it’s wrong, even if well-intentioned.

      Since you’re always asking those of us who write about the social challenges we face what solutions we propose, I’m going to do you a favor and tell you the best possible solution. It’s quite good, but it’s very difficult. Yet anyone sincere about social change has to do these things. I hope you follow it and I would love to hear about it in the future to learn how things are going in your part of the world. Keep in mind you may not be able to do every single thing here, but you can see why each plays it’s own role in affecting change.

      Change starts with the man in the mirror and this one isn’t optional – it’s the one step that must be done. You have to stop looking to others to do the work of devising plans and organizing for you, asking people who speak to lead us with a master plan. The real question is: what are YOU doing in your personal circle of influence to affect change? The solution is to talk to the people you know about these problems (family, friends, co-workers), organize with them, and visit your community centers. This requires activism. You have to go out into your community, talk to people, lobby politicians, join in protests, draft proposals, do talks, attend consciousness raising meetings and — most importantly — listen to those most affected, supporting them where THEY require it, NOT where you prefer it. You’ll be strapped for time and some times you’ll have to squeeze 26 hours out of each day to do your part. On misogyny, Asmiroth gives excellent advice above.

      We have to stop looking to those who speak out as responsible for crafting solutions — chances are they are active in their own communities, working directly with people on the very issues they speak about on their blogs. Unless you are in their neighborhood, there’s nothing they can do for you. And naturally, they won’t propose anything, because they are aware that there’s nothing they can do or recommend to you at a distance, except advise you to check your mirror first.

      This is the best thing anyone of us can do. Get involved, from the minutia of checking other dudes to the big tasks of checking yourself. That *is* the solution and those are monumental tasks on their own. If we can’t be bothered to do that, then it will do us no good to continue to ask speakers to do it for us.

      • I did not say that people who speak passionately are bullies. I did not attribute the term to a specific group.

        I am talking about the what happens when well meaning people who are terrified of being perceived as being discriminatory, embark on crusades to try and “help”. Frequently they do more harm than good and often the very group they are advocating, sees them as a problem or more damaging to their cause. It is these such people that will frequently try and brow beat people or belabour a point.

        Also lets address your comment “Trying to deflect any blame on people who take a strong stand against misogyny/bigotry, saying that they are causing bigots to be greater bigots is another fallacy and it’s wrong, even if well-intentioned”.

        Lets eliminate the “trying to deflect blame” part of the statement. I was not doing that. I was stating what I have personally experienced regarding people who are prejudiced being driven underground as the world around them becomes more progressive. As it is something I have seen first hand, I do not deem it a fallacy.

        Once again Doone you make some excellent points but you fail to grasp that activism needs to go hand in glove with diplomacy and tact. People need to be handled.

        As I have said to you before, just being morally right does not mean that people will arbitrarily change their views to accommodate yours. Also you seem to have a binary outlook on some issues. It smacks of “your either your with us, or your part of the problem”. Although it may be logically correct, such a scorched earth view does not win allies and you need to win allies to achieve your goal. You need to get people like me who are only on the fringes of things, to participate in the activism you describe.

      • Can you explain how there can *not* be a binary, Roger? If the problem is the status quo, and you are not actively trying to change the status quo, then you are supporting it. You are part of the problem. This activism isn’t just about convincing people like you or the possible allies you talk about to agree that there is a problem, it is about getting them to DO something about it, to go from (perhaps passively) supporting the status quo to actively trying to change it.

      • “I did not say that people who speak passionately are bullies. I did not attribute the term to a specific group.”

        Using terms like “brow beat”, “berate”, “pushing below” and saying “You cannot bully people in to such a mindset” imply otherwise. You have stated that you feel bigots/well-meaning moderates are being bullied. So maybe clarify who (as in specific groups or people) you are criticizing for bullying. Who is it you think are bullies?

        “I am talking about the what happens when well meaning people who are terrified of being perceived as being discriminatory, embark on crusades to try and “help”. Frequently they do more harm than good and often the very group they are advocating, sees them as a problem or more damaging to their cause. It is these such people that will frequently try and brow beat people or belabour a point.”

        Let’s get out of vagaries because this is getting muddled. Who is brow beating people? Who does more harm than good? And how do your implications here not indict activists for bullying those poor people who are trying to help? I’ll give an example of what I imagine you are talking about, but I’d prefer you clarified.

        Suppose a guy wants to help end misogyny. If his behavior is damaging to the cause and to women, and he gets called out on it, what is the appropriate course of action? Listening and internalizing the fact that it’s not about him. Coming to his defense is also making the issue about said guy. It’s not about him.

        It’s not about these well-meaning people who are running underground.

        “Lets eliminate the “trying to deflect blame” part of the statement. I was not doing that. I was stating what I have personally experienced regarding people who are prejudiced being driven underground as the world around them becomes more progressive. As it is something I have seen first hand, I do not deem it a fallacy.”

        The fallacy is believing these people are being “driven underground”. Yes, that’s a fallacy. A person who goes underground does so by their own choice and motivations. They are not “driven” by someone else, they are not being made into greater bigots by others. This is the fallacy.

        “Once again Doone you make some excellent points but you fail to grasp that activism needs to go hand in glove with diplomacy and tact. People need to be handled.”

        I’ve gone through this with you and shared that I believe “handling” people fundamentally shows disrespect for them and contempt. “Handling” people is manipulating them into things *you* have deemed are correct because you think they are lesser and incapable. Also, who gets to determine what “tact and diplomacy” looks like? Invariably, those with privilege.

        I think you mistake who is targeted by activism. A person who “doubles down” isn’t anyone who was looking for change in the first place. They are not the target audience. Activism is about rallying moderates to action who know better, but who do nothing because they are too sympathetic to the plight of the privileged, being as they are privileged.

        The message is for people who are too comfortable to act – who are more likely to say “wait”. It’s about making them uncomfortable with the current state of affairs by not allowing them to forget how bad things are.

        An example of this: A lot of people mistake the Civil Rights movement as lead by Martin L. King Jr. in the USA back in the 60s as about ending the KKK and curbing extremists. Those peaceful protests, getting beat up in the streets, hosed, dogs chasing them, getting thrown in jail ….all on international TV, all in numbers too huge to ignore …were all targeted at the moderates. The people who were comfortable telling themselves “wait” so long as they were not forced to see the damage racism was doing to peoples’ lives. When confronted with the raw footage and pictures of the unjust treatment of whites against blacks, it was moderates who got off their asses and finally helped draft legislation to end racial discrimination in the law. Nothing would have changed if not for the CRM and that’s because moderates will never get up on their own and do what needs to be done. So the idea that these messages are for extremists and that activists are trying to change minds shows a certain misunderstanding of how change works and who is the target of appeals to change. We’re usually asking moderates to change their behavior, not bigots to change their minds.

    • Personally I don’t think you could change those with such an entrenched view, not from this side anyway. It’s more about trying to motivate those that don’t care into more action. Those that can tell their friends off or provide a better role model.

      And I actually think Rage, along with others is a great way to enact change. It’s an emotion that motivates people, far more than anything else I know of. Every major change in history has been brought along by anger and rage.

      • Also, this is how activism works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3di8Vw15XY

        Every person who stood up for that store clerk was doing something to fight bigotry. There were a range of objections, and all you need to do is pick one of those levels of objection and USE it. Then you need to encourage those around you to use it. You don’t have to do it every time one of those situations arises. It’s hard. Do it whenever you feel strong enough to, and you are being part of the solution. It’s as simple as that.

      • I remember recently Doone you chose to end a discussion stating “you see the world differently”. I will return the compliment.

        I see no point in writing a wall of text to counter your statements because it won’t achieve anything positive. All I can say as I don’t agree with you conclusions and consider you train of thought flawed.

  4. The lack of empathy in general these days surprises me. I’ve heard people making jokes about the abuse of women and while I get that for some people this is their way of dealing with serious issues, I don’t think you’d find it very funny if you’d actually been abused. If I say anything though I’m told that it’s my fault for being too sensitive (a form of victim shaming). The thing is I have been bullied for my gender previously (being told things like ‘don’t worry if you struggle more than the boys’ by my teachers or being compared to Margaret Thatcher) and I have been in a very controlling emotionally abusive relationship. I wasn’t hurt physically and I know many people have been through much worse, but it still heavily knocked my self esteem. I wasn’t allowed to talk to other people and I got told off for doing certain things without permission (like playing games.) It really isn’t a fun experience to go through and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It’s a difficult topic to talk about though because people tend to get a bit defensive and start throwing accusations everywhere such as, ‘well men get abused too’ or ‘women bring it on themselves.’ This is also a really deep topic heavily engrained into our society. I personally just think that anybody, male or female, deserves to feel safe and free from judgement.

    As for games I personally have never had an issue with the imagery used in them (although I tend not to engage with the weaker female characters in preference for the stronger ones.) I understand why some people do have an issue here; male characters are also very stereotypical in how they’re are portrayed but they are designed to be something men aspire to be, whereas most women do not aspire to be damsels in distress. I personally think though that if games are going to be bought into light then so do so many other things like music videos, magazines and even some of the pictures I see just when I’m clothes shopping. It is an issue and can have a negative impact on women (like their self esteem and sex lives), but again like I mentioned before, this is a heavy topic that if we’re not careful could turn into an incredibly long and deep discussion. I really don’t think it can be fixed easily either.

    Very passionate post, it’s nice to know you care about making the world a better place. 😀

    • That’s really sucky, makes things so much harder with learning than should be as well as encouraging self doubt. And ick on that relationship, I’ve been there at one point in time and it leaves you really quite fractured, emotionally.. psychologically. And then of course comes blame from others, about how you let it happen.

      I personally don’t see much of an issue usually too… I’m pretty blase about it and it’s only the really in your face stuff that gets me fired up. Like those god awful Wildstar models. But it is often those little things that you pass by that suddenly stack up until it explodes on the one that you can no longer handle.

    • That image sais it all. I dont dare go out alone after certain hours or if its dark. I never go out alone or take a taxi home alone if i want to go for a drink or whatever. Can hardly go to the toilet alone at a club…
      You allways have to hold ur drink and have a friend beside you. Thats how it is to be a girl. Freedom? Pfft. No wonder we get upset.

    • Le sigh, YEP. Australia has never been that bad but you certainly need to be careful and watch were you are going. Being in a group seems like the main way to manage

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb here.

    1. I realize that abuse/rape/etc does occur. I am not ignorant of misogyny. However, in my small group of people that I interact with, I have never heard of anything like this happening. Men that I know might get mad about not getting laid, but they don’t rape or belittle, nor do they physically harm women. I have never laid hands on a woman, and never will. I couldn’t bring myself to rape someone. In the cases where I have seen/heard about a woman being mistreated by a man, other men stepped in to help. In one case, a friend of mine slipped down the slope towards alcoholism, and as a result started showing patterns of abuse towards women. At one point a group of us put him in his place, and then we cut him out of our social circle.

    2. I have been the victim of both verbal and physical abuse by the hand of a woman. It was only one, and I put up with it for years because I was “in love.” I’m not trying to make this about me, or take away from the negative experiences that women have had, but it goes both ways. Women can be manipulative, hurtful, downright evil towards men. The woman in my experience drove me to a point where I wanted to beat the shit out of her. I never did it. I fancy myself a good person, and one who wouldn’t use my size advantage against a woman. The point being, this outcry that women are the only ones having shitty things happen to them and that EVERY woman has a bad experience is a little bit tiresome. EVERYONE has bad experience with other humans. It’s part of life and how we deal with those things makes us who we are today.

    3. It is true, most of us play video games because we are trying to escape from the bullshit that is life. We deal with social issues every day. We see terrible things on the news/internet. We are treated like shit by people who are supposed to provide a service, even if the only service is customer service. Our fellow man couldn’t be bothered by our well being. When I get home, I want to escape from reality into the worlds of fantasy. My fantasies include beautiful women, violence, progression, etc. Video games provide a means of being able to do the things that you can’t do in real life, without some sort of consequence. There have been many examples of strong female lead/sub characters. There is gay representation in games. It’s a psychological fact that people are attracted to attractive people. This is why women and men in games are portrayed with perfect bodies, while the people playing those games are actually fat and ugly.

    4. If you don’t like a flavor of ice cream, you don’t buy it right? So why do you buy a game knowing beforehand that you don’t like the flavor? If you thought you might like the flavor and it turns out you don’t, wouldn’t you just go buy another flavor and throw away the one you didn’t like? You wouldn’t write the company making the flavor, or go on an all-out crusade about how the flavor is wrong and that company should go out of business would you? Don’t you think all of the people who DO like the flavor would instantly disagree with you, or write off your crusade immediately? When put into a metaphor like this, it sounds pretty silly doesn’t it?

    I think this is why many people don’t get up in arms about these types of social issues. I’m all for women’s rights and gay rights, and hell even animal rights. But I’m not going to go on a crusade to make sure things get done for them. I’m a straight white male and that’s stereotypically the group with the most rights/easiest life, but I’ve been shit on my whole life, and no one is out there clamoring to give me more stuff. Sure, I’m not suffering, but I also don’t have life handed to me on a silver platter. When I see things I like I buy them, if I don’t like something I don’t. When a company starts taking advantage of my wallet, I take my wallet elsewhere. Instead of bitching about a company not following your individual mantra, especially when they have openly said they don’t give a shit about you, perhaps it’s time to move on to something else. It’s likely the people who don’t care or don’t see eye to eye with you won’t follow though, and in the end your crusade has gotten you nowhere.

    • “EVERYONE has bad experience with other humans. It’s part of life and how we deal with those things makes us who we are today.”

      This is a common answer but it is based upon an erroneous comparison.

      I am a white, middle-class, heterosexual male. Within UK demographics, based upon my socio-economic background and racial heritage, I have the one of the most privileged positions within British society. I have never truly felt that I am in a position of disadvantage. I have never faced any tangible discrimination, been marginalised, ignored or judged by society at large.

      If someone or something gives me shit, I fight back through the processes and procedures that are in place, confident that I shall win.

      Despite what many may believe, even in a country such as the UK, women do not enjoy the same advantages as I do. So there is no parity regarding the bad experiences we allegedly share. If someone is rude, patronising, offensive, threatening or whatever, I usually shrug it off. Why? Because I am in a position of greater relative power and any attempts to marginalise me can only be successful if it comes from those who wield greater privilege than me.

      Women are regularly judged, demeaned, prevailed upon and made to feel inadequate and powerless. These things do have a tangible impact upon their lives. Furthermore, society has stacked the proverbial deck against them so they don’t just get to ignore these things and write them off as irrelevant. They do not enjoy the power as men in Western society.

      So I would ask you to consider is it really a level playing field? I think not.

      • I don’t live in the UK. I’m in the US. Things are different, I’m sure. I also live in a different demographic. Riverside county was the poorest county in the entire continental US when the economy crashed in 2009. It’s still pretty bad. Here we don’t worry about if you’re a woman or a man, straight or gay, black or white. Here we’re all the same color: Dirt-fucking-poor.

        This may color my world view differently than yours. You sound like the bourgeoisie in comparison. I was raised that all people deserve respect, and much of my generation has taken to promoting acceptance, diversity and equal rights/treatment.

        Perhaps there is a generational gap. Maybe because people from past generations were raised to treat other human beings like dog-shit just because they were different, this worldview still exists. I don’t think it’s members from older generations that are clamoring for change.

        One way or the other, jumping into socio-economic politics is the problem with making these issues in games bigger than they are. These issues are draining in real life, and we use games as a way to escape from the constant debate. Making games into part of the debate takes away from immersion and could eventually ruin our favorite hobby. Take the lobbyist stances in the real world. Leave me to game as I see fit.

      • I think maybe you missed Rogers point there, Izzy. There is no parity between a white male and any other group. Nowhere in the western world. This has been researched and it’s not something researchers actually dispute (they may disagree on *why*, but it’s quite clear white males receive all of societies promises of freedom and protection while other groups do not).

        It’s easy to reduce this issue down to a personal level and start comparing your scars to those of others, but it’s not an equal comparison at all. I’ve had a hard life too, but I’ll tell you one thing: I grew up in a hispanic/black neighborhood. Being a black bum IS NOT the same as being a white one. Are they both shitty? Yes. I got arrested FAR LESS for sleeping on sidewalks than brown counterparts. I could collect more food any money on the sympathies of passersby while my black/brown counterparts were reported as robbers and rapists DAILY. This was in California, our home state.

        So try to look at the broader consequences of how things are today. No one is trying to take the fact that you’ve struggled and had a hard life away from you. People are just saying that the group you belong to don’t have to suffer the things other groups do.

    • I live in Canada, one of the most socially acceptable places on the planet outside of like denmark/finland. Here’s an interesting stat for you.

      The most frequently cited research on sexual violence was conducted by Statistics Canada in 1992, which involved a national random sample of 12,300 women (Johnson and Sacco, 1995). The research found that over one in three women had experienced a sexual assault and that only 6% of sexual assaults were reported to the police.[60] According to Justice Institute of British Columbia, one out of every 17 women is raped, 62% of rape victims were physically injured, 9% were beaten or disfigured.

      And in the US.
      According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, 1 in 6 U.S. women and 1 in 33 U.S. men has experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime

      So, unless you have no social circle, you know MANY people who have been assaulted/raped and more than likely you also know the person who did it.

      • Statistics are great for proving a point. However I never denied these things happen. Therefore the statistics made your comment long enough for me to lose interest, and I’m NOT DENYING any of these claims. What I was trying to show is that despite the fact that these things happen, shitty things happen to EVERYONE. I may not have been physically assaulted by many women, but I have had more emotional damage done by them than any other group. If we want to be fair, we have to admit that everyone gets shit on in their lives, yet not all of us are making a huge deal about it.

        My social circle is very small. I keep to myself quite a bit. I do not know anyone personally who has been raped or sexually assaulted. Nor do I know anyone who has done the raping/assaulting. But thank you for assuming you know me. These types of things aren’t usually openly broadcast either, so you’re right, I might, but as of right now I can say that I do not.

    • These issues are draining in real life, and we use games as a way to escape from the constant debate.

      Really? Because I can’t escape the “issues”, not when 99% of games are just a reminder that I’m not supposed to be anything but eye candy, that I don’t get to be the hero, that I am just a bunch of organs supporting a pair of breasts. Gay and lesbian people can’t escape the “issues” when 99% of games don’t even have them as existing, much less be in a relationship or have a same-sex love interest like every other game out there. Trans people can’t escape the “issues” by playing games, because in 99% of games they don’t exist or are just a cruel joke.

      This is what privilege means, dude. You get to “escape the issues” by playing games because games are made for straight white dudes. And hey, I bet that’s awesome for you. But it can get a little sucky over time for the rest of us, and I guess it would just be nice if you acknowledged that at all instead of coming into a conversation and telling women that we have nothing to complain about.

      More US women have been killed by their male partners or ex-partners than US soliders died in Iraq and Afghanistan over the same period of time. Over 11,000 women, dude. I’m not saying at all that you are personally responsible, but the least — the absolute least — you can do is not tell us that it’s not a problem, which is pretty much all you’ve said here.

      You are making this totally about yourself and just telling the rest of us to suck it up and get raped and beaten and murdered and marginalized and harassed and pushed down because life sucks all over and you just wanna play a video game, darn it. And I’m sorry, because generally you seem like an okay guy and I’m genuinely sorry you’ve been through some shit in your life, but that is a real jerk thing to do.

      • Apparently my point was not made clear. What I was trying to say is that everyone bitching on the internet changes nothing. What will change something is making these companies know you disagree with their design choices/worldview by taking your money elsewhere. When Blizzard goes bankrupt because the world doesn’t give them any more money, perhaps then will think that they should be more inclusive.

        I am in no way demeaning the struggle of other social groups. I’m saying that my struggles in life are equally a struggle.

        I’m in the group of people that everyone else hates. How do you think that makes me feel? I don’t have the power to change these things. I have empathy for it, but at the same time when I want to just relax and not have to be bothered by anything, gaming is the thing that I do.

        I don’t even play WoW. I’m not supporting their worldview either. How is it that by simply playing games and not having a fit about anything, I’m supporting the rape and abuse of women? That’s a shitty thing to say, and a lot of weight to put on me, considering I had the balls to say anything in the first place.

        Dialogue can fix things. Action can fix things. I could have just sat by the wayside and not gotten involved at all, which is what I originally wanted to do. You’re saying inaction is akin to raping someone. I’ve obviously recognized the issues and am taking a step in the right direction.

        This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing every game that SOMEONE is offended by, or maintain the stand that I want to play video games to escape reality. If we make games completely PC like reality, there’s a good chance games might suck – like reality.

      • I don’t have the power to change these things.

        You do, though! We all do!

        Look, you say above that you don’t know anyone who was raped.. and now you kind of do, at least over the internet. I was 15, he was 26, and he threatened me with physical violence if I didn’t comply. After he told me I should consider myself lucky because I was “too ugly” to get a “real boyfriend”. (I have never ever written about this before anywhere on the internet, but I’m doing it now because I meant what I said about you seeming like a good bloke and I so desperately want us, society, to find a way to understand each other.)

        So how do you, Izlain, make a difference? Well, maybe don’t join in a discussion about women and say that you don’t know any women who have been raped, because the implication is that it doesn’t happen, or it happens rarely. Because there are a lot of us out there who just like me don’t talk about it, and don’t tell anyone, but we are here, and we read.

        I’m not telling you to not play any damn game you want to, my friend. I’m just asking that you accept that there are problems, problems that need changing, and those include misogyny and racism and homophobia and, yes, class/income equality.

      • Well as my opening sentence and no part of my comments denied the existence of these societal issues, there isn’t reason to believe I am denying them. I am sorry that you had that happen to you, and someone who would do that isn’t a man at all. He’s a coward, and he was the one who isn’t getting any girlfriends with that shitty attitude.

        Again, I don’t deny the existence of these issues. I don’t see any games promoting rape either. At least none that I am playing. That’s where we all get away from the point, in that games aren’t overtly promoting the destruction of women or people who are different. Society does though, and some of that might trickle through into our games. I would like to get away from people feeling that way about games. But I’m definitely not thinking about any of this while I play.

      • @ Liore Thank you for your courage in commenting here… I know it’s not something you would want to talk about here, of all places. And holy shit I had to hold back tears at work for quite a while afterwards.. MEGA INTERNET plus cat hugs. I don’t know what else to add here except you have my eternal support for whenever you need.

        the thing is Izzy, no media by itself is creating such a distorted image and narrative no it’s own, they are all interrelated and help to perpetuate it. Each can be part of the problem or be part of the solution. See, I write here about gaming because that’s the medium i enjoy, if it was movies I would have written about that right now.

        The thing is, indifference is part of the problem, it is an acceptance of such actions. whether you agree with us or not is irrelevant there. Now we are not asking you become some crusader for the righteous. claiming off the medium you enjoy as well but maybe, speak up next time in a chat sometime, or voice, or forum when you hear something you don’t agree with. It’s not an every time , fuck that shit ruining your gaming… just occaisionally and keep it in mind…. and thank you for participating in the discussion here. appreciated.

    • Oh Izlain. I’m sorry, but this is going to be harsh.

      First off, you immediately position yourself as part of the problem whenever you utter the phrase “I don’t deny that [rape, sexism, abuse, misogyny, etc] exists, but…” It really doesn’t matter how reasonable you think your points are after that “but”, you have already flagged that you are not an ally, not a part of the solution. This applies to any social issue – racism, homophobia, classism, fatphobia, anything. At best, you are saying that you don’t care enough to do anything, that you just want everyone to leave the world as it is so you can enjoy whatever it is you want to do. At worst you are arguing that there is no problem, or that it’s not up to you to fix it and can everyone please go about fixing it without inconveniencing you along the way.

      So let’s go through your points.
      1. This is a form of the “Not All Men…” defence. It derails the conversation, it is irrelevant and it is a common tactic used by sexists and misogynists. The first thing you can do to help be a part of the solution is to not use this in an argument. Ever. Nobody denies that there will be certain people whose social circle doesn’t include women who have had these sexist or abusive experiences, but those cases are, by all measures, going to be small in number. This is a systemic problem, and your individual examples do not, will not, and cannot ever outweigh the sheer mass of experiences held by women in our society.

      2. I’m sorry that you’ve had abusive experiences. If anything, one would expect that that would make you MORE empathetic to women in general who have had similar experiences. Your lie that the “outcry [is] that women are the only ones having shitty things happen to them” is disappointing, and indicates that you are more interested in shutting women up than being part of the solution.
      You are correct that (pretty much) everyone has bad experiences, however there is one group that doesn’t: middle-class (and richer) white males. You seem to come from a poor background, so you would be aware of the systematic discrimination and struggle that that class faces every day. Homosexual and transsexual people face systematic discrimination and struggle in their own way. People of colour face the same. Fat people face the same. Being asked to support one group in their fight to end that discrimination is not the same as being asked to ignore every other group’s problems. Claiming that there is something wrong about the way society treats you because of one aspect of you is not claiming that society does not also treat someone else wrongly because of a different aspect.
      To be a part of the solution you can stop focusing on yourself UNLESS you have been treated the same way for the same reasons. In your case, don’t make it about yourself unless the conversation is about social welfare or wealth distribution or some other topic about the poor. Or about domestic violence against men. In this case, domestic violence against women is a part of the larger part of the discussion about how society treats women, and domestic violence against men is not relevant to that discussion. When men come in to a discussion about violence against women and try to add the topic of violence against men, that is part of the problem. Don’t do that if you want to be an ally.

      3. As Liore has said, marginalised groups don’t always, or often, get that escape from reality when they enter the world of gaming. By “many” examples of positive female, gay, racial representation in games, you can only mean in comparison to the past. All media has a long way to go to achieve true-to-life representation, and that real-life representation is nowhere near acceptable! Compared to, say, tv or movies, gaming is still behind in its representation of these groups. As every other gaming critic of Sarkeesian’s Tropes Vs Women in Videogames series has argued, you can amass a list of games and characters that don’t fit the mould of what she is criticising. That’s great, but it’s not a rebuttal, because the whole point is that these issues, this lack of representation, is systemic. Those examples you can list are DWARFED by the number of games that are problematic.
      For some people, escapism might be indulging in a world where everyone is perfect and attractive, including the character being played. I would imagine that for a lot of people in marginalised groups, the fantasy they want to indulge in is a world where people like them exist, are a normal part of society, and are not included as mere tokens, cruel jokes or objects of ridicule. Those kinds of worlds are few and far between in today’s gaming products, and THAT is a problem when the people who want them are an increasing percentage of the gaming population, yet they are being ignored by the industry.
      A lot of men, and you seem to be doing this here, hold to a zero-sum fallacy whereby if developers start responding to these pleas/demands/pushes for greater representation of women, then either a) you’ll stop getting any games that cater to *your* fantasies; b) you’ll be forced to play these more inclusive games; and/or c) your favourite games will be twisted into something unrecognisable and all joy you used to get from them will be stripped away. The first seems to be most common, and it’s laughable – there is room enough for a good variety of games to be made that cater to everyone. The only reason to object to a more equal inclusion of marginalised groups in current games (like MMOs) or the removal of harmful practices like armour differentials between genders (“slut” plate for women, normal, functional plate for men), is because you (general you) are a bigot.

      4. You’re right, when put into a metaphor like that, it does sound pretty silly, because metaphors like that ARE silly. Media is not even remotely comparable to icecream. Just, no. Here’s the thing: it’s rare that one rejects a piece of media wholesale. The flash “game” that some fuckwit made where you beat up Anita Sarkeesian is an instance where a lot of people would reject the whole thing. But in games, it is usually only one or two aspects that is problematic to someone, whether it be the plot devices, the costuming, the writing, the gender of the characters, or specific actions one can do in game (like beating up hookers in GTA). Oftentimes each individual problem is not difficult to deal with in isolation, but when a game has several, then it becomes more difficult to overlook each one. The existence of these problems does not mean that (say) women can’t or don’t enjoy the overall game. The key is to be aware of how you can be a fan of problematic things. This article explains it: http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/

      Finally, your last paragraph really says it all. “I’m all for women’s rights and gay rights, and hell even animal rights. But I’m not going to go on a crusade to make sure things get done for them.” And this is why you are part of the problem. As Doone said, “Structural sexism persists because of norms and traditions, not extremists. And no one is more normal than a moderate…” You are a moderate. Liore mentioned that you seem to be a nice guy, and I agree. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t a part of the problem, if you persist in trying to maintain the status quo.
      If you aren’t going to help get things done for [women’s rights], why not? Because it’s a women’s issue? Well guess what. It’s actually a men’s issue. Men are the people we are trying to change. Men are the ones with the power, the privilege. Change cannot happen without the help of men, i.e. without men changing, being convinced to change. I’ve linked a video presentation above in my reply to Roger Edwards that explains it better than I can here.

      Again, I’m sorry about the harshness of this, and I hope you understand that this is not a personal attack on you, but I felt that explaining why your post was problematic was important.

      • No harm no foul. I was heated yesterday, and made hasty remarks. Some of that will forever stain people’s impression of me. I’ve done research and have a follow up post planned for my blog. I’m not promising activism, but I’m trying to see from others’ points of view. I’m trying not to see it all from my narrow worldview.

        In typical man fashion, I was raised to not bitch about my problems. I don’t usually bitch about my problems on a public forum, and as such I was attacking those that do, in essence belittling their experiences. That was not my intention, and I apologize. I have a post forthcoming on my blog.

  6. Pingback: Social Issues in Games | Me Vs. Myself and I
  7. I love this and thank you for saying it so bluntly, as I myself lack the courage to do the same. I’m a feminist and I constantly try to show others in polite ways how certain video games are sexist and how that hurts both men and women (mostly women, but sometimes both). I’m a critical fan of a lot of things. I may like a game for it’s gameplay or narrative but still think that the one female side character that had next to nothing on and was only used for a sex scene with the male lead was completely unnecessary and the use of her in that way was misogynistic. People get mad at me though, saying I shouldn’t be pointing it out because “no one cares, it’s just a fucking game” and I’m told to “stop being a bitch and get over it”. It’s as if some folks don’t want to take the time to see these flaws and work against them and that makes me angry, since if we all just worked together I think games would not only be better as a whole, but the community would be better.

    When people say they don’t care I often wonder why? Why don’t they care when this is hurting a large group of people, their friends and family included? Why is it so wrong to propose that changes be made for the sake of equality? Most of all I question why they are so against fairness; why do they dislike me and my gender so much and why is it ok for this behavior to continue while I get harassed for simply wanting to not be treated like a doormat?

    And that is just video games… The real world is much more frightening. I read a blog post the other day about that young woman who committed suicide after people found out that she had made a pornographic video and harassed her for it. It also paralleled the shooting of those people in Santa Barbara because a man was upset about being rejected by women. The post pointed out that it’s not damned if you do, damned if you don’t when it comes to sex anymore; It’s dead if you do and dead if you don’t. The worst part was the comments that people on the web have been making about these two incidents; “That slut deserved to die, glad she offed herself” or “Those prude bitches should have just put out, that guy was good looking and had money. It’s their fault he went on a killing spree.” It’s like we can’t have sex because if we do that makes us a slut who deserves to die but if we say no to sex we are prudes who didn’t put out and deserved to die. There’s no winning and we are constantly shamed for our actions while men are exonerated for theirs.

    I could go on forever but all in all, the misogyny in this society and culture we live in is becoming increasingly disturbing. Sometimes I envy those who are ignorant on the subject because it must be nice to never realize what horrors are taking place on a daily basis due to gender and sexuality. On the other hand, I love that I stay informed and fight for equality. I feel like a resistance fighter, I may just have my computer and my words as tools but I plan to make a difference in one way or another because I want to have children one day and I do not want them to grow up in this society.

    • haha thanks.. funny thing is, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a feminist but I probably am in practice. I don’t actually agree with a lot of feminist theory, it tends to miss a lot of the larger societal context in it’s analysis. I’m just for equality, but even then I know I fail in areas.. ehh.. rambled on there.
      That definitely sucks when that happens, like, it’s not an issue to them so why should it be an issue to everyone. I think we’ve all hit that from time to time. I think it’s important to still say but going through that every time is emotional draining. Pick battles where and when you can really, like this.. full of FEMININE RAAAAAAAAAGGGGE and in the morning wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake.

      I think A lot of people don’t want to see critiques against the medium, and take the I don’t care approach is because they don’t want to see things change for the worst. Like the experiences they have would be worse if there were any changes to it and an added sense of Diversity. Others lash out because they are so sure this will happen if given the chance.

      I miss my ignorance a little too. Odd duck and all but it still seemed easier, the more you look the more you see.. and the more you feel.
      It does indeed feel which ever way you go your screwed. I get so angry regarding the narratives surrounding those events. Especially the media when they go on a slut shaming spree or mourn the loss of a young boys future. it’s disgusting. The one comment that stuck with me in one of these events is how, “in the defence of rape saying you couldn’t control your urges is a valid defence, in anything else we call that a confession”..

      I’m glad I have a long term partner here, my hubby of 7 years so I’m kinda out of that scene but, I of course still here stories from friends and colleagues.
      Thanks for the comment

  8. Firstly, Liore, I hope you sent that asshole to jail.

    Linking the issues to games is problematic, as that would mean video games might actually increase violence etc. Still, the best way to be heard is to petition game designers directly OR make a successful game of your own. Might be worth putting a post up what that would actually be?

    Personally the first step I would take is to remove all (not have any) open PvP because that’s as close to rape as you can get in game. Threatening or performing violence (real or virtual) to people (especially real players) who don’t want to do what you want shouldn’t be ok in any medium, real or otherwise.

    • Personally PvP fills me with a great sense of self agency, one of the only gaming avenues that does such a thing. but yeh, I have no answer to that. I think it can be a great social tool, one that helps and mobilises people and I can see how it is used to commit such things.. hmmm

    • The thing is, games DO actually increase violence, misogyny, etc, because all mass media has some influence on society. Violence is less a problem because society still (barely, I sometimes wonder) deems it unacceptable in everyday life. Except for domestic violence, which seems to be an odd duck in that respect. But sexism is alive and well in everyday life, and mass media serves to reinforce this. When you see/do violence in media, you’ve (usually) been conditioned to reject it as acceptable, so you have that pushback from your subconscious. You can easily separate it from the real world and recognise it as an anomaly. When you see sexism/misogyny in media and you’ve been conditioned to see it as normal, as most of us have been, then it reinforces the normality of it and being told that it is wrong is the anomaly. Games play a role in this normalisation of sexism because they are part of mass media.

  9. “When people say they don’t care I often wonder why?”

    This is a good question. I have pondered this over the years. I don’t think there is a single answers. I believe that people’s indifference can be attributed to a lot of factors.

    Here are just a few that spring to mind. Cultural conditioning, being born into a position of advantage, religion, malice, protecting there own interest, using divide and conquer as a political tool. I could go on

    However the one that is the most worrying is the attitude “I don’t care because it doesn’t have anything to do with me”. Good people flirt with this notion regularly and it’s very difficult to tackle. If something doesn’t directly impact upon your life, why bother yourself over it?

    Doone has clearly listed what can be done with regard to activism. It is far harder to try and encourage people to care.

    • it definitely is extremely hard to get people to care when it doesn’t overtly impact them. Of course it covertly does, it shapes much of the interactions we have but there’s nothing shocking. The perils of indifference, a great speech by a great man seems rather apt in all these circumstances.

      There are definitely many factors there and I have no answer about how to mobilise that, how to enact change. If I did I probably wouldn’t just be ranting on a blog in some darkened alley of the internet. It’s something that needs to be felt and experienced first to understand, how do you present that message

    • I think the issue is largely out-of-sight, out-of-mind. The world is an incredibly depressing place when you start to really look at it–including our games. Racism, homophobia, economic disparity, sexism, violence, resource shortages, hunger, the list goes on. So for folks who want games to be their escapism, they’ve chosen that part of their life to be willfully blind so they can have one thing that isn’t depressing.

      Unfortunately not all of us see it that way, so when we raise our voices in opposition, saying, “Look at this!” They feel their idyllic playtime has been violated and attacked, hence the rabid, “I don’t care!” reaction. Which is hilarious in retrospect because having to tell people you don’t care by posting comments and tweets says you really do care in one fashion or another.

      It’d be nice if we all could have that idyllic playtime, but that’s unfortunately not the case. As long as moderates view games as their bastion of ignorance where they can shut off their brains, we may have a difficult time getting them to think otherwise besides just not being quiet until they understand that some of us cannot/will not be purposefully blind to the issue, because it IS affecting our enjoyment of a medium that’s supposed to be about play.

    • But there’s no mechanism for “caring” in our society. There’s a mechanism for acquisition and advancement and a social pecking order and who gets access to huge amounts of make-believe money so they can own the company and make more money. “Caring” doesn’t enhance us except holistically, and as someone who spent a lot of time as an activist in my younger days, I’ll say that it causes anger, resentment and despair in many people after awhile because you see that our society (our Capitalist, oligarchical society) “doesn’t care” because it doesn’t. Whatever people want, they’ll make it. If everyone wants Feminist games, they’ll make Feminist games. If people want Goat Simulator, they’ll make it.

      And so by the time I’ve hit 30 I’m too busy trying not to fall beneath the gears of everyone else trying to get their neck above water. Our system discourages activism by providing no systemic benefit. If activism reaches a place where it DOES have power, it’s soon subsumed by larger political entities and then employed as a political/fundraising tool which then has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

      Honestly, the answer is to remove oneself from that awfulness and find communities, persons and worlds where you fit, not just settling where you think you should fit. For example, the general chat in RIFT I found to be far worse than usual. Ironically, the chat in EVE is usually very friendly excepting those who are trying to scam/steal/cheat and then it isn’t bigotry. TSW has probably the MOST mature and adult community out there, so if you’re looking for a game that lacks the childish shock-value of calling people every name under the sun I couldn’t suggest better. Find the community that works for you, and you’ll be surprised when that community keeps growing and growing.

      • This. So much this. “Caring” in the modern UK is very much a tool rather than something that occurs naturally, for many people.

        I’ve been round the block as far as “being involved”. In my twenties I was a participant in the trade union movement. In my thirties I was politically active. In my early forties I did some personal mentoring. All of which achieved some good but many ideas got hijacked, subverted or simply lost in the overriding process.

        I’m not saying don’t get involved. Do what you can, where you can. Just be realistic about things. Once you’ve paid your dues and done what you can, feel free to then dial it back and pick your fights.

        Beware the zealots and those who are blindly idealistic. Causes sometimes need to “throw someone under the bus”.

  10. The “Elliot Rodgers happened because of misogyny” is one of those lines of reasoning that needs to be expanded because it’s only true if you want to exclude the whole picture. In fact, I’d argue that this is a lot less to do with hating women than it was about a misanthropic, maladjusted potentially psychopathic individual who 1) was never provided firm and proper medical care (as in, everyone ignored or downplayed it until people died) and 2) who had easy access to firearms and who had bought into the myth of American individualism.

    With a lot of pain I’ve been slowly reading and watching the words of this monster. This is an individual who held seething HATRED for a wide swath of society which was categorized by social convention. We’re making a lot out of what he says about women, but less about what he says concerning everyone else. His fantasies were violent and often took on a script of self-aggrandizement and power-fantasy. His target was EVERYONE who had what it was that he didn’t (happiness and arguably a clean mental state). He speaks about targeting “Alpha Males” and “Couples” in addition to “Women”. There’s a lot of racism in there that is casually thrown about.

    This is anger, frustration and rage in the hands of an individual who lacks the ability to healthily deal with such emotions. These actions were horrific and terrifying, but it’s doing a huge disservice to the entirety of U.S. culture (and worldwide to a less extent) when we’re focusing on part of the issue. In fact, the huge focus on the popular issue of misogyny just creates a confirmation-bias where outspoken voices immediately jumped on this tragedy as a means to advance a political agenda. We just have more trouble seeing such because objectivity of that kind is next to impossible when you’re discussing a deeply emotionally-charged and personally-driving issue.

    Then again, my Anarchism is personal and communal. I’m probably further to the left than anyone else in this thread, and it’s amazing how many issues that seem progressive and liberal have been reframed and refocused as “social issues [that benefit owners and bosses]”. The video game industry, as a whole, doesn’t care about anything besides selling games (let’s exclude the non-powerful companies who have little ability to set industry standards). This isn’t an argument of “it’s okay because…” but that we’re demanding and asking for things that simply don’t line up anywhere with how a company like, say, EA operates.

    Why? because every company out there is rushing to finish their “female protagonist” games because they see a market demand that has been propped up on the shoulders of a movement that is quite popular with the under-35 crowd (who also happen to be a big demo for gaming). We’ll get more half-finished crap and bad writing and more worthless “quick buck” AAA games. We’ll get Assassin’s Creed 14 with the main character skinned as a woman. We’ll see Call of Duty 32 where the writers were brought in a month before the game enters testing to try to manufacture some story that works with the designed levels.

    You see, the AAA video game industry has a real big problem with writing. Explosions and expensive CG? they’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cement a game around narrative and story? well, words don’t sell. The video games industry has less of a problem with women, and a lot more of a problem with depth of ANY sort. For every The Longest Journey or Walking Dead we have multitudes of dudebro shooters. Why? Well, the rah! rah! shooter both sells better and requires less time, energy and expense. This is the issue. The AAA industry can’t seem to write a damn shopping list without giving it power armor and a chainsaw-gun in place of actual character.

    And all the thought-provoking, issues-exploring games have been almost all indies. That’s because an indie studio can make it on something like good writing. Consider this: that “good writing at the core” in any game is a pretty niche collection of titles. Hell, Ragnar “Best Writer in the Biz” Tornquist couldn’t even get Funcom to publish his next Longest Journey game despite the fact that TLJ is a blockbuster franchise in story and adventure circles. Still way too niche.

    I’ve seen awful behavior online my whole life. I’ve come to hardly ever joining general chat in MMOs and sticking to my own communities. I can’t help but think that the constructive action is to organize, play games and sustain a community that works for you.

    You won’t find me on Xbox Live because that place is a cesspool. After the age of about 22 or so it got harder and harder to feel like being called every bad name in the book is somehow a social experience I desire. Honestly, there’s nothing to really be done to eliminate awfulness online, but we can use the tools and good old human ingenuity to make sure that we’re playing with the people we want to play with and not those who disrupt our fun. It’s amazing, but I’m with Roger here in that you have to do something with that anger and frustration. Part of it is writing this post. Another may be to, off the top of my head, organize TF2 nights on servers where you can have strict courtesy rules with on-the-ball admins. Hell, I’d pay for access to such a server. I’m also rather made uncomfortable by universal standards of behavior as I believe in the right of others to find happiness even if that happiness isn’t my idea of “the good”. You can make a moral argument all you like, but at the end of the day social change occurs slowly and not via anger or aggressive tactics. I can’t find the link (but I’ll try to dig it up if someone wants it) but the massive swing in terms of LGB rights (specific letters there) over the last 10 years was found to be mostly passive things: that people who were against gay marriage weren’t converted by protests and messages about what awful people they are, but by the fact that they began to actually get to know people who were LGB and humanity took over from there. It’s more difficult over the internet, but even the difference between 2004 and 2014 is amazing in terms of awareness and general support. Frankly, I firmly stand behind the “we’re all the same” mentality in that we’re all just looking to carve out our own little places for our friends and family. We have different standards and cultures which inform us and give us context. If you’re not actively doing harm, then I can’t in good mind support adverse action (however, existing policies on harassment, spamming, etc., should be sufficient if there’s actual disruption). I absolutely can’t get behind punishing people for wrong-thinking or wrong-speech, but I will wholeheartedly support action against toxic individuals who are actually acting in a toxic way and not just saying the wrong thing. Not exactly a fine line, either.

    But that’s why we form guilds and cliques and post on message boards and read blogs– generally because they’re comfortable places for us to be. We need to keep banding together and treating each other how we want to be treated. That’s how bubbles expand and become larger social changes. The polarization in these discussions and especially the knee-jerk reaction to blame everything on misogyny is perpetuating these issues because nothing is actually being fixed. We’ll keep getting poor characters and plots that have more holes than a cheese grater and it will be awful anyway even if all the outward facing veneer seems fine.

    In the end, none of this matters if the community insists on being a monolith (fragments are better for all of us) or if devs refuse to actually pay writers to write the sorts of stories we want with the depth of character that goes beyond trope and easily-written cliche.

    • So I tried to avoid commenting on this; but I recently posted a reply to Murfs blog and wandered over here because you are twinsies.

      I hope you, unlike me, realized there were two ongoing arguments circling the internets. I had no idea that #yesallwomen was a thing until a day after I made my post about why I don’t care.

      I see the subject of my post and the subject of yours as two different entities.

      Your post seems more about the #yesallwomen subject matter surrounding the debate of misogyny in the world (rape and murder of women included).

      Mine is more about the frustration with people; any one at all; trying to place their socio-political views onto my favorite hobby; gaming.

      To be clear; I fully support the former cause. The later, however, I view as a literal shitstorm of discussion I don’t want in my hobby. I want developers to feel fully free to develop the game THEY want to make. I want them to feel creative in how they approach their intellectual property. I don’t want them hamstrung before they get started by any number of political interest groups trying to forward an agenda via the medium I love most in this world; video games.

      My post was more a declaration of lets let the developers decide. I want better games.

      Some see these issues as intertwined. I do not. Unfortunately I came across as a giant asshole because I was saying get your political views out of my games at the same time #yesallwomen was going on. So apparently I support the rape of women in video games by association (yes I got that email). Hopefully that explains my point of view better. I felt your subject was directed specifically my way; hence this reply.

      • I know at first it seems like they are not connected. Games are about having fun, and escape and somewhere most people, including myself don’t want to think about that shit. It’s depressing.

        To be honest as well I don’t want to see that future either. Yes I kind of enjoyed gone home, and games like it but not every game has to cram a social message down. what would be good is just interweaving this stuff into it without changing the core experience. Does that girl really need melon Tits for one, or lingerie as regular attire. How about a few more important female leads in our games. Looking at last of us to how this is done just so well, it doesn’t break the story at all, or I think fun but it does make them so much more enjoyable to a lot more people while also supporting change.

        Change globally, and throughout every supporting structure at once and from a single aim would be impossible. It’s changes to the smaller elements that grow and contribute.

        And I don’t doubt you had responses like that because in the end, we see it as extremely connected. It’s another part of the problem. Saying I don’t care there isn’t exactly saying you don’t care about rape, or course most guys are going to be sympathetic there but it is saying you don’t care about the mechanisms that both encourage rape and the subsequent slit shaming, as well as a culture of fear around it.

        Also, while I won’t deny my post was a little furled by your own the anger itself wasn’t directed towards you.. Just a larger system wherein issues are ignored.

        Thanks for your response

      • Scree, you weren’t alone in the confusion, my original post had the same sentiments as yours, my arguing that fact here opened my eyes to the sexism argument, and I now see how they both relate to each other. Hence my secondary post.

        J3w3l, I loved the Last of Us. Every damn bit of it. I would gladly play games just like it, over and over again. Side note- the women of Uncharted (also a Naughty Dog IP) were very strong characters, and not unrealistically shaped or clothed. If that’s all the women of the world want, I’m cool with that.

      • well not all haha, playing such people more often would be awesome too. And you know, maybe WE could get the guy .. giggity. but yes, having that would go an enormous way

        Of course we aren’t wanting to get rid of boobs either and sometimes it’s actually rather awesome and liberating to play a sexy character

      • I dont think some of you realize what awful company you stand in when you stay things like “i’m all for social justice, but not in my backyard!” I’m not attacking you guys, but I’m always a little blown away to hear people say this. I think it happens because we are taught to compartmentalize things, that some things are separate and exceptional. Pure.

        Nothing is separate. Every game has the political views and social experiences of its designer in them.

  11. Pingback: Foot in Mouth | Me Vs. Myself and I
  12. Pingback: Social Aptitudes and Outlets | Leo's Life
  13. Pingback: Reports From the Field » A bad thing happened this weekend

Comments are closed.