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Johnny-Come-Lately: Famous Dudes and Sexism

July 1, 2012 by Miss Lemonade

My silence screams ‘ha ha!’/And you call us wrong either way/It ‘just so happens’ to us everyday.  - Le Tigre

Look, I’m sick of your shit. I don’t care if you’re famous and “erudite” arbitors of geek culture. I don’t care how many hits your articles or comics get, how many people know your name or laugh at your jokes. You have a big fucking problem right now and that problem is shitty behaviour. You’re all up in arms right now because someone called Felicia Day a “booth babe” but you conveniently forget that there are other, more famous Destructoid writers going around harassing women on Twitter and calling them “feminazi c*nts.”

I see you, Wil Wheaton, who’s mad his friend got shit on and while I don’t want anyone to get harassed, much less Felicia Day, the idea that you’re just noticing and caring about gaming culture being shitty to women NOW? There’s been tons of other less-famous women who’ve been harassed before and no one gives a shit about them. Gaming and nerd culture turning on women didn’t start with Anita Sarkeesian (though that was horrible), and it definitely didn’t even start with the fucking Dickwolves debacle either. It’s always been there and the fact that nerd guys are shuffling uncomfortably and being angry about it now because it involves someone they care about finally makes me feel sick. Where were you guys when Penny Arcade was being shitty for the umpteenth time; what about what THOSE guys? They’ve been just as instrumental in being shitheads as a couple of Destructoid writers.

If you really want nerd culture to change, you guys have to start being better people. You – the content creators, the talking heads and the guys who have thousands of followers on Twitter. Don’t sit around and huffily shake your fist at a culture you helped create by not giving a shit about this until now. Get rid of sexist language out of your peers, quash your fans going out and attacking objects of your criticism “for you” and definitely stop grandstanding and using  typically masculine arm-flailing when people say mean things about your women friends. Guess what, men have been saying mean things about any woman that dares to exist on the Internet and they aren’t all Felicia Day. There are a lot of non-successful, non-famous women that have to deal with this crap on the regular. Women you don’t have a close personal connection with need protection too.

Protection from whom? Protection from Jim Sterling, Penny Arcade as much as a bunch of grognard nerd-types attacking via blog comments or @ replies. This is the shit palace you guys built by not smacking your bros for the awful things they say or joke about in a very real, public setting as much as not putting a muzzle on your fans. You’re mad about nerd culture attacking women? Why don’t you actually DO something about it? Women-bashing is everywhere, especially in nerd culture and none of you are doing a lick of work to help get rid of it. I’ve seen more responsible editorial staffs on blogs with a third of your budgets and twice as many women contributors. I’ve read tons of webcomics that don’t hinge on rape jokes or sexism to get their point across. I’ve seen tons of talking heads that don’t make shitty jokes with their male friends on Twitter.

This shit doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen because men are threatened by a famous woman. It is because they’re allowed to be shitbags to women for whatever reason they choose. It is because they see us as outsiders, stealing their precious video games and rape jokes, they see us as less. That’s why the insults come out, that is why attack campaigns come out for their amusement, that’s why people are allowed to use anonymity to constantly shit on blogs like this one. It doesn’t help that a lot of them are famous, are well-known and possibly make video games.

Sexism is coursing through your veins and now that you’ve all become “aware” of it in your precious nerd culture, take the power and privilege you have with all your fancy, angry words and put your vast empires where your mouth is. Realize how hard it is? Now you’ll realize what us nerd women have had to deal with for so long now. It’s not easy. And no one is going to pat you on the back for treating women with respect and watching what you say. This is baseline, basic human stuff here. Caring about others and how you present yourself professionally and publicly requires a much higher regard for your audience than talking amongst friends and you guys, those with so much much pull and reach need to fucking realize that for a second. You have the most responsibility to do the right thing and you need to not run around hoping people praise you for it. You should do it because it is the right thing to do.

If you got huffy and defensive reading any of this, then you still have a long way to go. Maybe you’ll realize what you need to do now though.

 


18 Comments »

  1. Piss Wizard says:

    This is a v v good article.

  2. Ridley says:

    I spend a lot of time online. Two groups I participate in online include gaming/geek culture and hockey fan culture.

    I wonder what your average male nerd thinks of how hockey fans – ostensibly the jocks who kicked their asses in high school – are light years more progressive than gamers. I can openly participate as a woman on hockey boards without wading through rape jokes, slimy come-ons and sexist dismissiveness. They not only don’t toss “gay” around as an insult, they by and large support the anti-homophobia You Can Play Project.

    Gamers? I couldn’t wait for Blizzard to release 1.0.3, and disable auto-join for general chat. Gamers are like construction workers used to be when you walked past a worksite.

    I’m sorry people were mean to Wil Wheaton’s friend, but it’s rich to have someone who’s publicly friends with Gabe and Tycho cry about misogyny in geek culture. Who’s sticking up for the rest of us, who aren’t friends with celebrities?

  3. I appreciate most of the sentiment here, but some of the instructions baffle me. ‘Quash your fans going out and attacking objects of your criticism “for you”’? How is a public figure supposed to control what his fans do? And what is the ‘typically masculine arm-flailing’ that I’m supposed to avoid? Is there a suitable feminine way to tell a sexist jerk to STFU? If so, I don’t know what it is, nor would it necessarily sound like me if I used it.

    I understand your anger at some men being late to clue in, but now that they’re on board you do the cause no favors by hassling them for doing it wrong. Without whites on his side Martin Luther King would have got nowhere. He didn’t succeed by beating up those who joined his movement late.

    • 1.) Public figures have some level of power over what their fans do by not inciting people to action with inflammatory anger about stuff or even outright encouraging them to do so by being attacking people themselves. Telling your fans to rein it in when you realize they are doing it, etc. No one can control what someone does but as a public figure you do have some level of responsibility to act responsibly and communicate that responsibility to your fans.

      2.) Masculine arm-flailing means getting mad re: sexism and misogynistic discourse in a way that is couched less in that a woman is being attacked in a sexist way and coming at those who are criticising her in an overly protective way. It usually misses WHY men would be harassing a woman and instead talks about these men being “virgins” or “jealous of her success” or all the kinds of things men societally think men should value and not that men have the ultimate cultural power to harass women because they are seen as lesser individuals. When I say “masculine” I am referring to typical expected patriarchal forms of communication from a man in response to a sexist problem. It’s not meant to be a “masculine vs. feminine.”

      3.) If men are bothered by a woman’s anger about their late-game action in a typically aggressive, masculine fashion that does not actually address sexism, then they really aren’t that concerned with sexism or feminism in general. The idea that we “need” men in order to properly combat sexism rather than men cleaning up their privileged bullshit is so hilarious; it’s pretty horrible to say things like how MLK needed whites to push the Civil Rights movement when whites were the aggressors of racism and hate crimes against black people up until that point.

  4. Cygnia says:

    A-bloody-[MEEP]ing-men.

  5. Eleri Hamilton says:

    The way public figures control what their followers do is by modeling appropriate behavior, calling out offenders, and making it clear that they won’t put up with that BS in their space.

    The suitable feminine way to tell a sexist jerk to STFU is to say “You’re being a sexist jerk, STFU.”

  6. James T. Russels says:

    Soooo, you’re getting angry that a few gamers, whose whole culture is essentially based around brotherhood formed from being social ostracized by most people (including most women), said some mean things on the internet about celebrities you like who also happen to play video games. Minor celebrities, I might add, who don’t really give a shit about the average female gamer like you.

    You’re getting your feathers ruffled over someone calling someone else names over the internet.

    I don’t think the problem is the male gamers being sexist. I think the problem is that you feminazis have your gstrings all tangled up in your collective cooters. Either that, or the vibrate settings on your controllers just isn’t enough to get your smelly muffs off anymore and you’re just projecting the blame onto a faceless scapegoat. Certainly doesn’t sound like a certain German dictator. What was his name again? (FEAR THE MALE GAMER, FOR HE IS THE BRINGER OF BAD FEELS! ABHOR THE MALE GAMER, FOR HE INSULTS WITHOUT PREJUDICE! DESTROY THE MALE GAMER, FOR HE HAS A PENIS AND IS HENCE TO BLAME!)

    You all act like some big, scary, male rapist-gamer (because all male gamers might as well be rapists, considering the noise you all are making about this) is lurking over your shoulders, forcibly shoving your face into the throbbing, cold screen while yelling, “Read it! Read it or I’ll cut you, bitch!” You idiots live in the information age, an infinite future where a world of new and amazing things are just one button away. And you squander it to bitch about somebody getting their feelings hurt. I’ve seen fifth-graders in DotA2 behave with more maturity to criticism than you bunch of bra burners.

    Here’s an OUTRAGEOUS idea for you dykes: Next time you see something you don’t like on the internet, go to a different page (or unfollow their Twitter, etc.) Fact of the matter is, trash talk is part of gaming culture. When you have a group of people who get together over a competitive event, insults are going to fly, whether that competition is in CoD or Monopoly or Texas Hold ‘Em. People sling all types of racial epithets online, but you don’t see African-Americans or Hispanics damn near starting a race war over it. They shrug their shoulders and move on because, surprise surprise, it’s just a fucking game.

    But somebody gets called a “booth babe,” and you women get all up in a tear over it. No wonder nobody wants you to play video games with your gender. You’re all so infantile and irrational that any form of honest competition is near impossible. (PROTIP: If you’ve ever won an online game while playing against guys, it’s because they let you win.) We offered you a level playing field, and now you’re crying because we played with you like you were one of the boys and got your knee scraped.

    Women like you give REAL gamer girls a bad name. You’re exactly the type to go into any multiplayer game and immediately start flaunting your gender off for everyone to hear. “Oh, hai everyone, I’m a GURL gamer. But that doesn’t mean we can date lol.” “Yes, I’m a GURL gamer. Yes, I play CoD, MW3, etc.” “Hai guise, GURL gamer here. Everyone pay attention to me because I have boobies!” If we cared about gender, we wouldn’t play online games with preset avatars. All you’re doing by going through this display is just telling everyone around just how much of an insufferable bitch you are in real life.

    tl;dr Either learn to play with the big boys like the rest of us, or STFU and gb2 kitchen.

    • thesearesongs says:

      lol someone’s maaaaaaad

    • You are just ADORABLE!

    • “You’re all so infantile and irrational that any form of honest competition is near impossible. ”

      LOL pot, kettle, etc.

    • Heliotrope says:

      “Whose whole culture is essentially based around brotherhood formed from being social ostracized by most people (including most women), ”

      Hmm yes I wonder why people think gamers and gaming “culture” is shit

      Also for someone calling women hysterical you sure are flipping your shit over this. Hey, why not just move on and not say anything if you feel that’s the best thing to do?

    • Cirrhosis says:

      Dude. How did any of what you said there seem acceptable in any way? I’m serious here. I’m having trouble fathoming how you managed to type all of that out and then still believe that what you were saying was anything other than an expression of deep seated bitterness and contempt for people who are angry that they have been treated unfairly.

      You seem to feel like the content of the article was leveled directly at you as an attack. You then proceed to accuse Miss Lemonade of “getting [her] feathers ruffled over someone calling someone else names over the internet” while you react to the entire post as though it were a condemnation of everything that you hold dear in this world.

      What followed was some of the most shockingly aggressive infantile tantrum throwing I’ve seen in some time. This sort of behavior would be unacceptable out of a toddler. Not only did you immediately establish a flimsy straw-man to hurl your malcontent toward, the vast majority of your statements fail to even address the issues in the original post. Instead, you appear to be attacking the entire spectrum of non-male, non-white people out of sheer spite and hatred.

      tl;dr What the fuck is wrong with you, seek therapy.

      • Cygnia says:

        I’m assuming the dudebro misogynerd thinks he’s being an oh-so witty troll in the dungeon intentionally to rile VL and the rest of us. It’s just to make up for the fact he can’t take a shower without an utter sense of self-loathing.

    • Rain says:

      I have to laugh at the fact that it took two whole days for someone to completely miss the point and prove the OP’s. I have to wonder if there is some kind of basic script that they work from to attempt to derail arguments, like what they give telemarketers, but for sexists. “Here are the basic points you must make, but feel free to use your own language to make it more natural.” I seriously don’t have to do more then glance over it to fill in my sexism bingo card.

  7. Dave Smith says:

    Testosterone is a failing paradigm: women are overwhelmingly supplanting men in education at every level, in a world that increasingly demands education. Until the anthropogenic climate change bill comes due, the need for decisiveness and aggression over brains is just a poor strategy most of the time, especially in complex situations that often require careful social stewardship. An overstatement, with considerable individual variance challenging it, but the idea that testosterone is not the best strategy for dealing with anything that requires substantial nuance in fairly uncontroversial.

    Gaming communities function partially as testosterone reservations, places to be stupidly aggressive, hierarchical, and secure success within a simplified context. Many gamers have additionally failed at life more broadly, as the offensive poster more or less concedes, which amplifies there reservation function. The gross sexism, the resistance to female inclusion, is not surprising — the offensive poster’s response is essentially a last stand, and when you read it with this eye, it reads as a last stand, a final gasp of a failed paradigm that I think its participants sense is failed, much like themselves in many cases.

    As much as their behavior can be sickening, viewed in this context, I tend to oscillate more between contempt and pity.

  8. Pai says:

    Good to see I’m not the only one who reacted with exasperation at how all of a sudden, when a popular Geek-dreamgirl persona actress gets the same sort of crap girl geeks have to put up with regularly for decades, all the guys who before keep telling us to STFU and stop ‘hallucinating sexism in nerd culture’ became !OUTRAGED!
    It’s be nice if the male side of the geek community was capable of giving as much of a damn when it’s about a woman they don’t have private wank-fantasies about.

    The cognitive dissonance is so incredibly annoying.

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