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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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Men’s Rights Redditors agree: “It was empathy not misogyny that kept women from having careers.”

Girl totally protected from the harsh world of work by nice men.

Girl totally protected from the harsh world of work by nice men.

Once upon a time, you may recall, women were denied the right to vote, couldn’t own property, were prevented from having careers of their own. Well, it turns out that all of these pesky “restrictions” weren’t really restrictions at all! They were protections that men provided women out of the goodness of their hearts. Men protected women from the terrible burdens of voting and property-owning and so forth, because they just cared about women so much.

Or at least that’s what a lot of Men’s Rights Activists seem to think, judging from this highly edifying discussion in the Men’s Rights subreddit.

rogersmith25 325 points 1 day ago  As I read /r/mensrights[1] more and more, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the primary female privilege is empathy.  If a woman or girl is hurt, people care. If women are kidnapped, there is international media attention. If women are killed, their deaths are highlighted. If there is a conflict between a man and a woman, then people will jump in to defend the woman. If women are under-represented in an area, people want to take action to make things "equal".  If a man is hurt, it's funny. If men are kidnapped, we hear silence. If men are killed, their deaths are glossed over. If there is a conflict between a man and a woman, people will attack the man. If men are under-represented in an area, the president will call it a "victory" (as he did regarding the female majority in colleges).  Basically, people are programmed to have more empathy for women than men. 200 years ago, that empathy manifested itself in keeping women safe from harm by having them stay home to raise the family rather than die on battlefields or toil in mines. It was empathy not misogyny that kept women from having careers. Present-day, work is safe in offices, so today we have campaigns for women to earn more money and yet have more "balanced" lives where they can both raise a family and earn an "equal" career and, in other words, "have it all".      permalink     save     report     give gold     reply  [–]sierranevadamike 82 points 23 hours ago  wow... as a history major, I never looked at the "repression" of women throughout history as empathy rather than misogyny. I NEVER considered this option..  blew my mind..  thank youDroppaMaPants 45 points 22 hours ago  Restricting women to vote, hold property, etc. etc. would be a downside to the bad old days - but women always had empathy as a benefit.  Now that the bad old days are behind us, women maintained their old privilege and now hold disproportionate sway over men because of it.

 

It wasn’t just sierranevadamike who was “blown away” by rogersmith25’s comment: the Men’s Rights mods were so impressed that they reposted it and pinned it as the top post in their subreddit.

Apparently every day is “Opposite Day” on the Men’s Rights subreddit.

EDIT: Here, courtesy of Cloudiah, some more pictures of girls and women protected from that big nasty world out there.

 

The Book of Laughter and Castration

Some gals are afraid that people are going to laugh at them.

Actually, some gals are afraid that people are going to laugh at them.

Listening in on conversations amongst Men’s Rights Activists is often like taking a brief journey into an alternate universe, where cats are dogs and water is dry and men are the most oppressed creatures on planet earth.

Over in the Men’s Rights subreddit the other day, some of the regulars seem to have just discovered a famous feminist quotation, a paraphrase of something Margaret Atwood once wrote:

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.

A number of the Men’s Rights Redditors were indignant that anyone could possibly suggest that women have more to fear from men than the other way around. And so, collectively, they came up with a rebuttal of sorts.

OneBigCosmicHorror began by suggesting that the real fear men have of women is much more primal:

OneBigCosmicHorror 17 points 6 days ago  I don't know who first said this, but that person is obviously an idiot. The biggest male fear is not a fear that women will laugh at us. Fear of castration will always be the most primal male-specific fear.

Ah, but isn’t being laughed at basically the same as castration?

indigoanasazi 2 points 6 days ago  Being laughed at is -social- castration.

Indigoanasazi explained:

indigoanasazi 3 points 6 days ago  Well, it's more like...the psychological fear of castration is a fear of loss of social status.  After all, women are afforded social status by default due to their value to society as childbearers.  Men have to compete to gain any status, so when approaching a woman, there is a risk of status loss.  The fear of castration is a metaphor for male status. Men have to fight to be considered men. And it can be lost and taken away by something as trivial as a woman spreading rumors or humiliating you.

Oh, you silly ladies with your fears of being killed by men. We men face an even greater peril — the ever-present threat of laugh-castration!

 

 

 

 

“Egalitarian” Redditor explains why protesting Michael Brown’s shooting would be a “gross misuse of the MRM’s relatively meager resources.”

" The MRM aims towards improving the rights of all men, not small subsets of men."

“The MRM aims towards improving the rights of all men, not small subsets of men.”

I suppose none of us should really be shocked that the death of Michael Brown, a black teenager literally shot in the back reportedly shot six times by a white officer, has caused barely a ripple in the world of the Men’s Rightsers — there are only two small threads on the subject on the Men’s Rights subreddit at the moment, and the only active one is filled with a lot of tut-tutting about “violent” protesters. It’s hardly news that MRAs, almost all of them white men, are more interested in lamenting their own imagined oppression than they are in dealing with the real injustices faced by young men of color.

But I have to admit I was a bit surprised by the callous “logic” in the following, currently the top comment in the only thread devoted to Michael Brown’s death in the FeMRAdebates subreddit:

ZorbaTHut Egalitarian [score hidden] 8 hours ago*  Well, first, homicide may be the leading cause of death among young black men, but it's not the leading cause of death among men. It is certainly a concern, but the good news is that there are many organizations already concerned about it. The MRM aims towards improving the rights of all men, not small subsets of men, and spending a bunch of effort on an issue that is already well-covered would be a gross misuse of the MRM's relatively meager resources.  That said, keep in mind why you've heard about this at all. Michael Brown's murder isn't getting airtime because he was male; it's getting airtime because he was black and because he was killed by a white police officer in a massive show of police power. If he was white and homeless you might have heard a bit about it, but it certainly never would have been discussed by the Tumblrsphere. If he was killed by someone who wasn't a police officer, nobody would give a shit, black or white.  The problem isn't that the MRM is ignoring Michael Brown. The problem is that everyone else ignores all the male murder victims who weren't a black person killed by a white man in power. This problem isn't solved by making even more of a media circus around the one-in-hundred-thousand male murder victim that Jezebel decides to bother with.

“Egalitarianism,” you’re doing it wrong.

The FeMRAdebates subreddit is supposed to be a neutral forum for feminists and MRAs to discuss issues, yet somehow manages to be even more cringe-inducing than the Men’s Rights subreddit.

(Thanks to diehtc0ke on Reddit for pointing out this amazing comment.)

Red Pill dude: Women are “barely-sentient organic sex toys,” insufficiently enthusiastic hobbyists.

Why can't women take up interesting hobbies, like men? (Note: this is a real book.)

Why can’t women take up interesting hobbies, like men? (Note: this is a real book.)

 

Now that he’s taken the Red Pill, the Reddittor who calls himself F9R recently announced, he’s “started seeing women as people rather than as magical beautiful goddess creatures.” That’s a good thing, right? Seeing women as actual human beings rather than some imaginary construct?

Well, not so much. Because it turns out that women are just terrible as human beings. No, it’s true! In a rambling comment in the Red Pill subreddit with more than 100 upvotes, F9R reports his scientific findings on the ladies of the world.

Now I’m disillusioned with them because women, for the most part, are boring people. 95% of them spend more time on their appearance than anything else, so as a result they never really have interesting hobbies or develop respectable skill in any particular area. This, in my opinion, could be one of the reasons that women have historically under-performed in almost every activity/industry.

Ah, that explains it! There haven’t been any women presidents, or Popes, or Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because the ladies are spending way too much time fussing with their lipstick and trying to find the exact right shade of eyeshadow.

There haven’t been more women inventors, not because women were denied education for thousands of years or because STEM fields are filled with angry manbabies who cry oppression whenever a woman comes near, but because women don’t have any fascinating, mentally stimulating hobbies like the Red Pillers of the world have. You know, like weight-lifting, or “Game,” or “saying terrible things about women online.”

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Creepy expat: “Properly owned” women appreciate a man’s “pimp hand.”

Western "tourists" in Southeast Asia (Cambodia)

Western “tourists” in Cambodia

Today, a look at an appalling apologia for domestic violence and abuse from everyone’s least favorite creepy expat, the anonymous “game” blogger behind Random Xpat Rantings. Oh, and he also offers a handy rationalization for child abuse as well.

Xsplat, is, by his own description, an expat in his late 40s living in Indonesia and “dating” a teenager considerably less than half his age. Well, not just dating: apparently he feels that he “owns” her.

He starts off his post by arguing that parents have the right to spank their children because the children are, in essence, their property:

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The #FeministsAreUgly hashtag on Twitter confuses and frustrates some of the internet’s most dedicated feminist-haters

Not actual feminist

Not actual feminist

#FeministsAreUgly is confusing a lot of people, misogynists included. The Twitter hashtag – which took off yesterday and is still going strong, if not quite so strong, today – was originally started not by misogynistic trolls but by two feminists, @LilyBolorian and @Cheuya, who intended the hashtag to be a way for feminist women to celebrate their own beauty, whether it conformed to conventional (and generally white-centric) standards or not. As Bolorian put it,

Women responded at once by doing just that, and the hashtag was quickly flooded by feminist selfies. This being the internet, it was also flooded with comments from misogynists and trolls. Given how many of the latter were posted, many feminists on Twitter initially assumed it was just another outburst of internet misogyny; it took a little while before the feminist origins of the hashtag became widely known.

So how did the devoted antifeminists of the manosphere and the Men’s Rights movement react to the hashtag? Some responded with unabashed glee. The regulars on Roosh V’s forum reposted the selfies of some in women posting in the #FeministsAreUgly hashtage, mocking them as fat, lazy “cunts.”

One commenter offered this helpful observation:

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Paul Elam: “If a woman five feet tall and 110 pounds soaking wet hits me, I am going to hit her back.”

Should these books be required reading for MRAs?

Should these books be required reading for MRAs?

Attention tiny ladies! Paul Elam wants you to know that if you attack him, he will totally punch you right back. And not in a satirical way, either. With his actual, non-satirical fists.

A Voice for Men’s maximum leader has long insisted that his notorious “Bash a Violent Bitch Month” post was nothing more than misunderstood “satire.” That is, when he argued that men who are abused by women would be totally justified if they “beat the living shit out of them. I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall,” this was somehow a “Juvenalian” satire of some sort. There’s a famous quote from The Princess Bride that might be appropriate here.

Well, now Mr. Elam has announced to the world that every month is a potential “Bash a Violent Bitch Month” for him. Even if the “Violent Bitch” in question is less than half his size. In a post that he insists is super serious, he writes:

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Are Street Harassers the REAL Victims of Street Harassment? One Men’s Rights Redditor says “yes.”

Not so fantastic, dude.

Not so fantastic, dude.

A new video from Vocativ features a number of young women describing the sexual harassment – from creepy catcalls to actual physical assaults – they and countless other women face on the streets every day; the unsettling video, in which one woman, a former beauty queen, recounts her own sexual assault on the Washington DC metro last year, has been seen more than 2 million times on YouTube in the eight days it’s been up. (I’ve pasted it in at the end of the post.)

Some of these viewers have been Men’s Rights activists, and a lot of them aren’t too happy about it. Not about the street harassment. About the women speaking up against it. Indeed, one new Men’s Rights Redditor by the name of liuetenantwaffleiron was so angered by the video that he sat down and wrote a 700 word rebuttal of sorts – which quickly won him dozens of upvotes from others on the subreddit.

He started off with a story of his heroic efforts to stand up against one of the evil sexy women in the video, and the terrible price he paid for expressing his so brave opinions on the subject on Facebook:

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Alimony laws restrict men’s bodies, Men’s Rights Redditors claim. (Of course they do.)

An evil meme that oppresses male bodies

An evil meme that oppresses male bodies

So over in the Men’s Rights subreddit, some of the regulars have declared war on the meme above, attempting to “rebut” it by pointing out the many ways in which men’s bodies are regulated by the state.

Trouble is, they don’t seem to quite grasp what it means to have one’s body regulated by the state.

Their examples of laws regulating men’s bodies include conscription (which does not actually exist in the United States), sodomy laws (which, where they still exist, are no longer enforced), men not having their condoms paid for by insurance, and assorted laws that apply to both men and women, including “every time a man is precluded from smoking marijuana, taking ecstasy, or injecting himself with anabolic steroids for bodybuilding purposes.”

My favorite example, cited by numerous commenters, is alimony.

How exactly is alimony a restriction on men’s bodies? Well, according to the Men’s Rightsers, it’s a restriction on

ghebert001 6 points 18 hours ago (?|?)  The body which produces the labor that earns the money.      permalink     save     parent     report     give gold     reply  [–]S31556926 4 points 18 hours ago (?|?)  "You would've worked anyway." as if that makes forced labor without compensation somehow acceptable. Or that the coercive effects are somehow dismissible.      permalink     save     parent     report     give gold     reply  [–]ghebert001 1 point 7 hours ago (?|?)  Exactly, maybe the guy wants to work a low effort job because he just wants to earn enough money to live a simple life but now he's forced to work 2 or more grueling, high-stress jobs because apparently Muffin is entitled to "the lifestyle that has become accustomed to".

 

One commenter spelled out the, er, “logic” in more detail:

DulcineaIsAWhore 5 points 18 hours ago* (?|?)  In some cases, if a man refuses to work to earn money to pay child support or alimony, they'll throw him in jail.  So it's basically forced labor.  And at any rate, salary, almost always, is the product of an individual's bodily labor. Pretty much the same thing.

Never mind that alimony, which is rarely awarded, can also go to men. And never mind that by this logic, every single law that’s ever been passed, including laws against embezzlement and jaywalking, could be considered a restriction on someone’s body. Hell, by this standard, parking tickets are an assault on your body because you have to earn the money to pay them.

Then there’s one dude who contends that women’s

“reproductive rights…” have never been limited. They can fuck out an endless supply of babies without a single hindrance. Hell, men are obligated to pay for each and every one of them.

Huh. So women “fuck out babies” with no help from anyone else?

I’m thinking that this fellow might need a refresher course in basic human biology

Also, I’m pretty sure that women as well as men are obligated to shell out money to provide for their own children. I don’t see a lot of young mothers getting showered with free food and diapers when they go to the grocery store.

To their credit, the regulars in Men’s Rights didn’t reward this last fellow with any upvotes.

Interestingly, none of the commenters bothered to track down the source of the claim in the meme. It’s not hard to find. It came from a report by the Guttmacher Institute documenting the number of bills regulating “reproductive health and rights” that were introduced in state legislatures in the first quarter of 2013.  That’s right: there were 694 — not 624 — bills introduced in the first quarter of 2013 alone; 93 of them passed.

By the end of the year, as the Guttmacher Institute noted in a later report:

39 states enacted 141 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Half of these new provisions, 70 in 22 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. …

This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).

This legislative onslaught has dramatically changed the landscape for women needing abortion. … In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights …  27 states fell into this category by 2013. … The proportion of women living in restrictive states went from 31% to 56% … .

While the overwhelming majority of these new laws restricted reproductive health and rights, there were a few states that bucked the trends:

In sharp contrast to this barrage of abortion restrictions, a handful of states adopted measures designed to expand access to reproductive health services. Most notably, California enacted the first new state law in more than seven years designed to expand access to abortion, and five states adopted measures to expand access to comprehensive sex education, facilitate access to emergency contraception for women who have been sexually assaulted and enable patients’ partners to obtain STI treatment.

You can read the details here. Somehow I doubt that any Men’s Rights Redditors ever will.

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