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Game developer Zoe Quinn is the latest target of the Great Internet Lady Harassment Machine

zoequin

Zoe Quinn

Sometimes it seems like the internet, or at least huge portions of it, is essentially a giant harassment machine, directed primarily at women.

This week, the target of the Great Internet Lady Harassment Machine is game developer Zoe Quinn. Quinn, best known as the creator of the text-based Depression Quest, faced down two previous waves of harassment from gamer dudes who were angry about her game, for some gamer-dude reasons I can’t claim to understand, and who grew even angrier after Quinn spoke publicly about being harassed.

Her harassers claimed that she was lying about being harassed previously, and apparently figured there was no better way to prove that she hadn’t been harassed in the first place than by harassing her about her claims of harassment. I’m sorry if that’s confusing, but the “logic” of internet assholes tends to be a bit circular.

The latest wave of harassment is on a whole new level of viciousness. Because this time her haters have what they see as proof that she is indeed the evil [insert favorite anti-woman slur] that they’ve always claimed her to be. Their alleged smoking gun consists of a series of excruciatingly detailed blog posts by a vengeful ex-boyfriend describing how she allegedly cheated on him and lied about it; at roughly 10,000 words in all, not counting all the screenshots of online conversations presented as proof of his claims, his story is nearly the length of a novella.

You might ask: why is any of this any of our business? It’s fucking not. Some have tried to claim this is about “ethics,” accusing Quinn of trading sexual favors for a positive game review. But the journalist she allegedly slept with never actually wrote a review of her game.

Of course this has nothing to do with any real ethical concerns on the part of her attackers. As Quinn has pointed out herself, the people who are gleefully sharing her personal information, posting nude pictures of her, sending her threats, and otherwise trying to destroy her life don’t have any fucking ethics.

No, this is just another excuse to go after an outspoken woman on the internet, and a chance for misogynistic gamer dudes to score a symbolic victory against any and all women who are trying to enter what these guys want to see as a clubhouse where girls aren’t allowed. Anita Sarkeesian has been dealing with the same sort of shit ever since she first set out to examine sexism in the gaming world.

I honestly don’t have the psychic energy to collect together examples of the horrible shit people are saying about her; just type her name into Google along with your favorite anti-woman slur and you’ll have more proof than you need. Or go to Reddit and make your way to any of the numerous subreddits devoted to gaming and/or misogyny, where many people will be thrilled to tell you all about how “the video game industry is being fucked over because of these women.” (Actual quote.)

Quinn has said all I think she needs to say about this in an eloquent blog post of her own. Here’s a portion of it:

I am not going to link to, or address anything having to do with the validity of the specific claims made by an angry ex-boyfriend with an axe to grind and a desire to use 4chan as his own personal army. This is not a “she-said” to his “he-said”. The idea that I am required to debunk a manifesto of my sexual past written by an openly malicious ex-boyfriend in order to continue participating in this industry is horrifying, and I won’t do it. It’s a personal matter that never should have been made public, and I don’t want to delve into personal shit, mine or anyone else’s, while saying that people’s love and sex lives are no one’s business. I’m not going to talk about it. I will never talk about it. It is not your goddamned business.

What I *am* going to say is that the proliferation of nude pictures of me, death threats, vandalization, doxxing of my trans friends for having the audacity to converse with me publicly, harassment of friends and family and my friends’ family in addition to TOTALLY UNRELATED PEOPLE, sending my home address around, rape threats, memes about me being a whore, pressures to kill myself, slurs of every variety, fucking debates over what my genitals smell like, vultures trying to make money off of youtube videos about it, all of these things are inexcusable and will continue to happen to women until this culture changes. I’m certainly not the first. I wish I could be the last.

Because I’ve had a small degree of success in a specific subculture, every aspect of my life is suddenly a matter of public concern. Suddenly it’s acceptable to share pictures of my breasts on social media to threaten and punish me. Suddenly I don’t have any right to privacy or basic dignity. Suddenly I don’t get to live out normal parts of life, like going through a bad and ugly breakup in private. I have forfeited this by being a blip in a small community, while those who delight in assailing me hide behind their keyboards and a culture that permits it, beyond reproach.

My life and my body are not public property. No one’s life and body are public property.

Sexuality is one of the most personal, hurtful, and easy things to demonize a woman over, and also has nothing to do with my games. Yet large swaths of the gaming community are either unable or unwilling to separate the two. I’m convinced that my ex chose 4chan as the staging ground for his campaign of harassment and character assassination because he knew this; he knew that someone claiming to be “from the Internet” has shown up at my house once already, and he is counting on the most reviled hubs of our community to live up to their sordid reputations. This is another example of gendered violence, whereby my personal life becomes a means to punish my professional credentials and to try to shame me into giving up my work. I’m still committed to doing my small part to create a world where no woman is at risk of experiencing this.

I don’t have anything to add.

This is a NO TROLLS, NO MRAS thread. Anyone posting any doxxing shit in the comments below, or adding to the harassment against her in any way, will be banned.

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Posted on August 20, 2014, in a new woman to hate, a woman is always to blame, antifeminism, entitled babies, evil sexy ladies, geek girls, girl germs, harassment, men who should not ever be with women ever, misogyny, no games for girls, no girls allowed, no trolls allowed, reddit and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 394 Comments.

  1. Thank you Lee. :)
    Appreciate the timely response.

  2. Is it relevant to the current topic? (I’m so out of date.)

    We’re kind of on summer break; the official topic is just “summer.” But you can always write up a draft and we can save it to post whenever it becomes relevant.

  3. I might give it a shot, then. I kinda need some tasks I can do, since my brain is a pain sometimes.

  4. Hello everyone,

    I am not exactly new to the site but I like lurking and reading David’s take on the MRM and misogyny in general.

    I would love to get in on the WoW guild if that becomes a thing. I never got into raiding as I had a kid when WoW launched and well, being a father and doing my part to take care of my child was far more important than WoW so I quit.

    Now, my kid is grown a bit and has an 8 pm bed time, I would love to try raiding. I didn’t want to deal with the douchecanoe factor though.

    As for Garrosh, I think he is too young, impetous and far too much in love with the warrior culture of the Horde that came through the Dark Portal. Making him Warchief was a mistake. If I had been Thrall, I would have named Cairne Bloodhoof Warchief and sent Garrosh to someplace like Outland where he could have sated his thirst for battle and glory on the Burning Legion.

  5. > Sometimes it seems like the internet, or at least huge portions of it, is essentially a giant harassment machine, directed primarily at women.

    It kind of makes sense, if you devote your every waking hour to finding instances of people being harassing on the Internet, you might believe the internet is a giant harassment machine.

    > Quinn, faced down two previous waves of harassment from gamer dudes who were angry about her game,

    There is a lot of skepticism about this. The proof she presented was, literally, two posts on an obscure anonymous message board. Nothing else whatsoever. She didn’t call the police, she didn’t post further emails etc. She pasted a screenshot of 2 posts from a board dedicated to male virgins, and this is supposed to be a
    ‘wave of harassment.’

  6. > Because this time her haters have what they see as proof that she is indeed the evil [insert favorite anti-woman slur] that they’ve always claimed her to be.

    OK. I think the words you are looking for are ‘manipulative,’ ‘dishonest,’ abusive,’ ‘abusive of power.’

    Oh, wait, these aren’t female specific slurs?

    Then I guess the brouhaha about her isn’t about her gender, but about her actions.

    But wait, that doesn’t fit the narrative here…look, she said herself that this is all just because she’s a woman.

  7. I love how this no trolls thread has been nonstop trolls since it went up.

    Maybe these guys could help us out by creating a metric, a chart perhaps, of exactly how much harassment you must receive and how publicly you must provide proof of said harassment in order to be officially “being harassed,” and exactly what sort of previous behavior or alleged behavior renders said harassment acceptable.

  8. RE: buddhaflow

    Hi! Male survivor of abuse here! How exactly is doxxing her friends and family helping her victim? Also, how many screencaps would make her harassment legit, in her mind?

    And why on earth would the reporter be a part of this, if this is indeed entirely about her abusing someone?

  9. But wait, that doesn’t fit the narrative here…look, she said herself that this is all just because she’s a woman.

    Well, when was the last time you heard about male game developers using sex to further their career? Nobody would make a story out of that. But oh, if it’s a *woman*… (which is not to say I buy into this storyline, but even if it *were* correct, for the sake of argument…)

    It kind of makes sense, if you devote your every waking hour to finding instances of people being harassing on the Internet, you might believe the internet is a giant harassment machine.

    You’re willfully blind. This site alone has enough stories of women being harassed on the internet. It is clear that women have a far higher risk of that happening to tham than men, and the harassment against them almost always *is* gendered.

  10. Then I guess the brouhaha about her isn’t about her gender, but about her actions.

    Except that all the talk about “her actions” is hearsay, and it all revolves around her having sex. And not a peep about the guys she allegedly did all that alleged “abusive” sex stuff with.

    Yeah, tell me that isn’t gendered.

  11. It kind of makes sense, if you devote your every waking hour to finding instances of people being harassing on the Internet, you might believe the internet is a giant harassment machine.

    You’re willfully blind. This site alone has enough stories of women being harassed on the internet. It is clear that women have a far higher risk of that happening to tham than men, and the harassment against them almost always *is* gendered.

    No, no, you see, you’re only subject to confirmation bias if you think something is happening and you see it everywhere. If you think something isn’t happening and you see it nowhere, that’s just a sober reflection of reality.

  12. Mod cleanup, aisle three!

  13. Buddhaflow, take it elsewhere. Banned.

  14. I’ve been pretty lucky and mostly escaped harassment so far. It might be because I have a gender neutral nym and don’t ever use a pic of myself as an avatar. I did once get an abusive pm on Westeros.org though. I dared to tell a male commenter that being a woman, I have more experience with street harassment and more authority to speak of it than, who thought making lewd jokes to strange women onthe street was funny. Luckily the mod on duty banned his sorry ass within minutes of reporting him.

    Even just that one instance was quite jarring. I can’t imagine experiencing it constantly. I hate that I feared he would follow the link on my profile to my blog and I hate that I had to consider myself lucky that he didn’t.

    Anyone who brushes off harassment can roll down an endless hill of legos as far as I’m concerned.

  15. I love that Quinn is being accused of falsifying some of the harassment against her, but the ex’s blog is taken as gospel truth and couldn’t be fake.

    It’s quite baffling. Moreso when certain people, like two acquaintances on Facebook, hop aboard the manufactured outrage bandwagon and acted like Quinn’s alleged dalliances was a “corruption” of the game industry…even though they haven’t given a shit previously. One of them doesn’t even fucking play them – but still felt opinionated enough to act like he knew what he was fucking talking about.

    The pretense on “stopping corruption” is paper thin when they’ve only shown outrage due to gossip over a woman’s sex life and never towards the number of questionable decisions by developers and publishers when it comes to exploiting their consumer base. They continually grasp at straws and get trapped into conspiracy theorist logic by claiming those harassed “made it up” (as if I haven’t heard that a million fucking times before) and that it was all for some kind of personal gain…to put a game out for free on Steam.

    Oh yeah, and “photographic evidence”? Are they aware there’s image editing programs that many people are proficient in? That doctoring images, even chat logs, is even easier than it was before? Given the source, who isn’t to say he did that? He already put a lot of effort into making an entire blog about his girlfriend (because that’s a totally healthy way to handle a break-up) that was published a mere week ago, and we’re just suppose to believe him for…reasons?

    Sorry if I don’t buy it being a big deal nor waste my energy on something that may not even be true…

  16. RE: saintnick86

    Yup. There’s that famous iphone convo generator.

    Also uh. Just saying, most of the abuse vics I know actively avoid openly declaring their perp unless legally or socially forced to. They don’t make blogs devoted to getting friends and family doxxed.

  17. Gah, going through the comments under Amanda’s piece. I LOL’d at this protip from an MRA:

    Zoe Quinn slept with a man who would later become her boss. That means she used her body to further a career.

    Yes because we women are all endowed with psychic skills so we only sleep with people who will be promoted down track and then promote us.

    Fuck this is stupid, even for them.

  18. Also uh. Just saying, most of the abuse vics I know actively avoid openly declaring their perp unless legally or socially forced to.

    That’s what comicbook artist Tess Fowler did when it first came to sharing her experience being sexually harassed by Brian Wood.

    She didn’t bring up his name until several of Wood’s supporters starting claiming (much like here with Quinn) that she “made it up” to just ruin his reputation (since all women must be vindictive for absolutely no reason or something). ‘Cause, hey a self-professed “male feminist” writer couldn’t possibly ever do something like that – especially when he’s so popular!

    …Right…? Oh wait, no. Sexual harassment at comicbook conventions do happen and acting like every claim of it is fabricated is tunnel vision writ large.

  19. Oh christ, so glad David banned the buddha troll. The Slut shaming Zoe has had to endure is fucking absurd. Also, ever notice how assholes always preface their stupid comments with, “…just saying.”
    Hey, shitlords, your behavior is fucking deplorable. That buddha troll who tried to pretend that Zoe’s harassers are gender blind — dude, stop lying to yourself.

  20. Broken Butterfly

    It’s things like this that make me afraid every time I read them.

    I’ve wanted to work in the field of games ever since I was a little girl – ever since my Dad would get out his old SNES and play Super Mario Brothers 3 with me, and it was only reinforced when he’d set up the PS1 in my room whenever I was sick and play games for me to watch. It’s just… been a dream I’ve had since forever, to be able to make something so cool like that, something that might – hey! – bring a family or a couple of people who mean something to each other together.

    But then I see shit like this and I get terrified, I lose the desire or inspiration to work because… well, THIS. People who’d chew me up just because I happy to have tits.

    People like that really make me sick… and they honestly make me ashamed to call myself a gamer, just because of what most gamers DO.

  21. emilygoddess - MOD

    Yes because we women are all endowed with psychic skills so we only sleep with people who will be promoted down track and then promote us.

    I still want to know why offering promotions/hiring to get laid is just fine, but trading sex for promotions/hiring is terrible and corrupt. (Just kidding. I already know why.)

  22. Just commenting quickly to say that I would definitely be up for joining a Mammotheer WoW guild. I’m still a bit of a newbie but I learn quickly, and I do have one fully level, reasonably-geared character. :) I am on EU servers, so I don’t know if it would be possible to link up with the guild, but I will jump in if I can!

  23. Generally I am not a fan of “reverse the genders” hypotheticals, but in this situation, imagine if a women wrote a bunch of blog posts about how her boyfriend, a game developer who had released a FREE GAME, had cheated on her and generally been kind of a shit to her, and listed the names of the people he’d supposedly cheated with. Would anyone care?

    YES. They would be furious that some chick had aired her dirty laundry in an attempt to smear a good-hearted gamer who maybe had some personal problems. And SHE might be subjected to an Internet harassment campaign. They would be furious that she had tried to damage his career. Just like a women to try and bring down a good man because of her petty personal complaints, amirite?

    The situation is gendered. It couldn’t be any clearer.

  24. Much like a couple of other posters, I too would be very interested in a Mammotheer WoW guild, or a gaming group in general actually. I’ve been reading the blog and lurking here for a while now and most of you seem pretty neat.

  25. Thus Spake ZaraMia Jessica:

    Much like a couple of other posters, I too would be very interested in a Mammotheer WoW guild, or a gaming group in general actually. I’ve been reading the blog and lurking here for a while now and most of you seem pretty neat.

    For anybody who missed it… :)

    http://steamcommunity.com/groups/WHTM

  26. Solomon Alupon

    Link.

    lot of horrible shit going on in this particular comment thread, would be nice to have more people there to drown out the manosphere bullshit.

  27. Solomon Alupon

    Herp, I thought that would link to the comment, not embed video. Anyone know how to fix that?

  28. @Solomon: YouTube comments don’t work that way, they’re a cesspit. Don’t read them.

  29. cassandrakitty

    Yeah, that’s kind of like suggesting that someone attempt to hold back the tide with a pair of boxing gloves and a chirpy attitude.

  30. Solomon Alupon

    yeah, I quickly came to that impression and left it. I still think it’s worth it to leave the ocassional dissenting opinion, in the hopes that people won’t think that /everyone/ is that way.

  31. I report them for harassment/hate speech/bullying/whatever relevant category they fit into.

  32. Oh, and then I block their G+ account so I never have to see another word from them.

  33. You are compulsive liars.

    What’s this? Yet another smear piece.

    “Sometimes it seems like the internet, or at least huge portions of it, is essentially a giant harassment machine, directed primarily at women.”

    That’s because sites like this aggressively pursue that narrative.
    Even a proven terrible person doing terrible things can only be a victim, if they happen to be female. No crime or misdeed is great enough to warrant calling out a female on bad behavior.
    How utterly misogynistic of me to even suggest that females are even capable of hurting others! Perish the thought!

    “If misogynist, homophobic, racist, and transphobic language goes unpunished, it doesn’t take long before it’s seen as normative and acceptable.”

    You mean like how misandry is completely accepable and always encouraged?
    A guy getting harassed doesn’t warrant a reaction because nobody cares about guys.
    They just gotta suck it up and “be a man”.

    But if a guy does anything that happens to be newsworthy, well screw his private life – let’s all stick it to him so hard that his career and life are destroyed!
    He deserves it! Cuz he’s a man!

    Remember the kid that drowned because men were too afraid to help her for fear of being lynched as a pedophile? Or the fathers and grandfathers who were arrested for being seen with their kids or grandkids?

    Welcome to the West, AKA Male-Persecution-Lands.
    Being born male in the West automatically makes you a convicted serial sex criminal.
    Congratulations!

  34. It’s amazing how these bros’ complaints are completely disjointed from anything anyone actually thinks or says..

  35. Even a proven terrible person doing terrible things can only be a victim, if they happen to be female. No crime or misdeed is great enough to warrant calling out a female on bad behavior.
    How utterly misogynistic of me to even suggest that females are even capable of hurting others! Perish the thought!

    What does this have to do with the harassment directed at Quinn? Or is this just a non-sequitor launch into your pet rant?

    You mean like how misandry is completely accepable and always encouraged?
    A guy getting harassed doesn’t warrant a reaction because nobody cares about guys.
    They just gotta suck it up and “be a man”.

    Yeah, no. That’s actually patriarchy-enforced gender roles that feminism is fighting against.

    Remember the kid that drowned because men were too afraid to help her for fear of being lynched as a pedophile? Or the fathers and grandfathers who were arrested for being seen with their kids or grandkids?

    Nope, don’t remember that. Do you have a citation?

    Being born male in the West automatically makes you a convicted serial sex criminal.

    No, it really doesn’t. Words mean things. Like, “convicted” means you been charged, tried, found guilty. There’s a whole, fairly time-consuming and expensive process involved.

  36. Even a proven terrible person doing terrible things can only be a victim, if they happen to be female.

    Terrible things, like having sex with someone.

  37. What’s this? Yet another smear piece.

    “Sometimes it seems like the internet, or at least huge portions of it, is essentially a giant harassment machine, directed primarily at women.”

    That’s because sites like this aggressively pursue that narrative.

    WOW IT MUST BE TERRIBLE HAVING PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET AGGRESSIVELY SPREADING LIES ABOUT YOU

  38. Pedophiles aren’t literal lynched in “west AKA male persecution lands.” If you were using the word in a figurative way as I suspect you were, fuck you. Appropriating the one of the worst manifestations of racism the US has ever seen to complain about having to treat women in the gaming industry as humans makes you pretty much the worst.

  39. I thought about replying to You are compulsive liars., but then I noticed that they refer to women as “females” and to men as “guys”, and immediately lost all interest.

  40. Thus Spake ZaraAnarchonist:

    I thought about replying to You are compulsive liars., but then I noticed that they refer to women as “females” and to men as “guys”, and immediately lost all interest.

    Snrk. MRAs kinda remind me of Ferengi when they use the “Ffeeemale”.

  41. Wow. “You are compulsive liars” post reads like someone took all the MRA talking points, put them in a blender and poured the resulting concoction out over this thread.

  42. @PocketNerd

    I’ve mentioned this on another thread, but there’s a browser plugin on Zoe Quinn’s website that automatically adds Ferengi heads around the word “females”. It makes reading screeds like that way more entertaining.

    Link here:

    http://www.beesgo.biz/chrome.html

    There’s also a plugin that changes the word “gamers” to “you little shits”

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