Nov 28, 2007

[The Silent Acceptance is Part of the Problem]

If you haven't yet read this essay, do it now. All of it. It's equally applicable to the gaming community and the normalized bullying and disrespect of women in it:.

"You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do.
...‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…

I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates womento the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
 And that guy? Thought you were on his side.
[B]ecause the really bad guys don’t pop out of thin air as fully formed misogynists. They need encouragement and reinforcement in order to completely miss the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them. Subtle sexism gives them that. Keeping your mouth shut about overt sexism gives them that. Not really listening to the women you love, let alone women you don’t even know–thereby being one more guy sending a message to women that we’re only worth listening to on men’s terms–gives them that. Telling yourself and anyone who will listen that that’s just the way it is, and people need to quit whining gives them that. How can they clue into the fact that there’s something deeply fucking wrong with them when so many guys are acting just like they do in public, or at least never calling them out?
And that goes double on the internet. It’s all well and good to advocate for ignoring trolls, except for the part where they don’t go away. They replicate like fucking Gremlins, and not a few of them are nakedly hostile toward women just for being women. And whenever a woman says, Hey, anyone else notice how trolls especially go after women and say some shockingly hateful shit, apparently just because we’re women? tons of good men come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey, trolls do this to everyone, not just women!” and “Maybe they just don’t like what those particular women were saying!” and “The reason you’re not taken seriously is that you insist on playing the victim!” and “I’m not a dick, so this hurts my feelings!” Not nearly as many say, “Yeah, wow, good point.”

Kate has summed it all up perfectly, exactly why this behavior really does matter and should be taken seriously.

This is worth standing up against, even if you lose you 'honorary one-of-the-guys' badge, and get called a oversensitive bitch or whatever other flak comes your way for standing up against this shit. I tolerated it myself for years -- I wanted to be liked by all the other guys. I didn't want to be one of 'those other' girls, the one with 'no sense of humor' -- that would make me into an outsider, and my gender already made me a minority as is.

But I could only swallow it back for so long before I drew the line and said "Not anymore." We have to stand up and let them all know that this is not okay. I refuse to subject myself to harmful, hateful messages about my gender whenever I want to be immersed in the gaming community. I refuse to let it stay as the normal tone in the gaming communities I'm a part of. I refuse to allow people to teach young boys and girls who come into gaming and join our online communities and guilds, that saying things like this is normal, funny(and true!), and should be accepted without complaint as par for the course; as the price of entry into this hobby.

I refuse to let it continue to be brushed aside as a 'non issue'.
Because it is an issue.


Game Dame said...

Oh my god, you are a GODDESS and my new hero. Seriously. I've been reading your blog for about a month now. In fact, I've been trying to figure out how to say on my own blog exactly what you just posted. You've stunned me with your eloquence, logic, and good humor. I've linked to your site on my blogroll. I aspire to writing the kinds of thought-provoking articles that you've been writing. Thanks for speaking up for us women gamers & game developers.

Pai said...

It was more that Kate wrote so eloquently in a way that got me all fired up, by hitting all the points I feel are so important, yet so often seem difficult to get some people to understand.

I try to write this blog from the point of view of someone trying to get these basic ideas and values expressed to people who may have never have given them thought before.

Thanks for the kind words. =)

Link said...

This post hits like a hammer. But you're right.

Alec Bings said...

Thanks for this post. Coincidentally, I just posted a personal reaction to a particular sexist fiasco on my own blog, because it is indeed our duty (men, women, everyone) to speak out against this sort of thing.

Doing so is not comfortable. It does carry some social risk. And many of us who are offended by the apparently endemic hate that infects our culture are also the sort who avoid confrontation.

But we have to do it anyway, whatever the risk, however uncomfortable we'll be.

Aspendawn said...

Really great article and a subject that often gets ignored. It's something I rarely had to deal with in the early MMO years. But as the player base expands and gets younger, you see more and more of it.

And often when someone speaks up on behalf of a female, it's another female. The guys just remain silent.