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Point out sexism in video games, get called the c-word. Thanks, gamers!

Many of you are no doubt aware of this already, but I just wanted to highlight a recent appalling example of the rampant misogyny in the gaming community online: the harassment that feminist pop culture analyst and video blogger Anita Sarkeesian has gotten for her Tropes Vs Women Kickstarter project, a video project designed to “explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of female characters in games.”

Her YouTube page has been inundated with comments calling her, among other things, a “Dumb ass nazi [obscene gender-related slur],”  “faggo.. I mean lesbian,” and “the reason why womens are the inferior gender for the whole history of mankind.” IRONY ALERT: while some are calling her a Nazi, or comparing her to the KKK, others are denouncing her as a “bolshevik feminist jewess” and a “fucking ovendodger.”

And still others are defacing her Wikipedia entry with all sorts of vile shit. (Here’s a screenshot.)

Here’s her discussion of the harassment, which includes screenshots of some of the comments.

An Escapist piece on the harassment, which is where I got the quotes above.

A Jezebel piece, “When There’s So Much Bullshit Online, You Forget How to Feel.”

A piece on The Mary Sue, “The All-Too-Familiar Harassment Against Feminist Frequency, and What The Gaming Community Can Do About It”

Kotaku also weighed in, leading one commenter there to note that similarly misogynistic comments appear there all the time.

Meanwhile, over on the Men’s Rights subreddit, temple117 garners 138 net upvotes for a post urging poor oppressed men to “Fight back! Sexism exists for males too, support these men in their expose of gender tropes in video games!”

And, joy of joys, Men’s Rights buffoon Bernard Chapin has weighed in on the controversy as well. After dismissing the harassment — using a “funny” voice, apparently the most powerful weapon in his rhetorical arsenal — he suggests that women complain about video games because games are a male thing, and women are jealous that men are paying attention to something other than them. “Whatever the male is enjoying himself at,” he says, “it diverts him from taking orders; that’s got to be the focus of their ire.” Then he accuses Sarkeesian of being without “honor” because she’s asking for money to fund her project. (Might want to take that critique up with your pal Paul “Donate Today” Elam, dude.) His video is below, if you want to waste your time with it.

But before you get to that, here’s something a bit more encouraging on the gamer misogyny front: Comedian/actress/gamer Aisha Tyler’s take-no-prisoners takedown of the misogynist assholes who attacked her for allegedly ruining an Ubisoft press conference at the recent E3 gaming extravaganza, apparently by being too female or something. Here’s a screenshot of her comments, and a surprisingly un-disgusting Reddit discussion of the controversy.

Here’s Bern:

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Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

I would be interested in an analysis by sensible people of anti-male elements in video games.

Here’s your analysis:
varnothing

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

Bloody hell, I knew that was too cheeky to get away with in HTML.
Here’s your analysis, then:
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Ithiliana
8 years ago

@Hershele: I would be interested in an analysis by sensible people of anti-male elements in video games.

Not sure what you mean by sensible people; I do gender scholarship, and there’s very little there about “anti-male elements” but quite a lot about masculinities (in popular culture generally), with catgories such as hegemonic masculinity, toxic masculinity, etc.

Let me see what I can find out there.

(But basically, I agree with Rutee–if you’re thinking of ant-male elements in the same way that the misogyny and racism operates, that’s a false equivalency).

Ithiliana
8 years ago

Masculinity and video games at .edu sites. This can get you started.

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

“Sensible” in this context includes “not an MRA.”

Obviously I don’t mean systematic misandry (which is why I said “elements”). But the effects of toxic masculinity in games certainly falls into that category. I really meant sensible as opposed to “you have to find systematic misandry whether it’s there or not because parity.”

Ithiliana
8 years ago

Misandry is not a concept in gender studies (that I know of), unless it’s Warren Farrell.

I also disagree that toxic masculinity = misandry. Why don’t you read some of the stuff and think about it.

Rutee Katreya
8 years ago

toxic masculinity is ultimately predicated on dudes being number 1. I don’t see how that can meaningfully be considered ‘anti-male’ so much as gender policing.

Ithiliana
8 years ago

@Rutee: Yep, it’s “toxic” when used by men policing gender against men who do not “fit” the hegemonic masculine ideal. I know MRAs like to think it’s all women forcing men into whatever, and I won’t say it doesn’t happen, but the male policing is a lot more toxic and prevalent.

Ithiliana
8 years ago

AHA! Example of toxic masculinity: MRA dudes using “mangina” and other slurs predicated on calling feminist men “girly” to punish them for not living up to the hegemonic masculine ideal!

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

I didn’t intend to aver that there is misandry (that is, something systemic, like misogyny is). Toxic masculinity is anti-male because it hurts male people because they are male, which is what “anti-male” means.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
8 years ago

There’s a difference between hurting male people because they are male, and hurting male people because they aren’t male in the right way, and I wouldn’t say that the second is strictly “anti-male.”

Ithiliana
8 years ago

@Kirbywarp: Yep, the second might be more racist, or homophobic, i.e. “anti-males who do not fit the hegemonic ideal.” And it’s worth noting that a lot of that discourse frames men who do not fit the ideal as somehow “feminine” aka lesser aka irrational aka all the other slurs we see from the MRAs.

MorkaisChosen
MorkaisChosen
8 years ago

May I propose that we clarify Anti-Male to have been intended to mean Bad For Some Men And A Result Of Their Maleness?

Ithiliana
8 years ago

@Morkai: I’m not sure that’s very clear, and I’m still not sure Hershele wants to give up his false equivalency.

“Bad for some men” (which ones)? and “A Result of their Maleness”–what does this even mean? For one thing, I’m talking masculinity (which does not require maleness), and maleness is not inherently masculine; for another, is the problem (bad for some men) caused by their (some men’s) maleness? Or by the “maleness” of other men? Or what?

MorkaisChosen
MorkaisChosen
8 years ago

‘K, my attempt is faily.

Think I’ll flounce this thread for now.

Hershele Ostropoler
8 years ago

I’m not sure that what I mean to say is what I’m saying, but I can’t think of a way to explain it without using the same words I already used. If I think of one, I will.

ithiliana
8 years ago

I think the issue for me is context: that is, the anti-woman and misogynistic stereotypes of women (often connected to racist and classist stereotypes) in popular culture exist in a context in which the majority of producers of content are straight white males, and the majority of major figures in the texts are straight white males, and the perceived/courted/valued audience are…straight white males.

To talk about problematic constructions of masculinity in that context as if there is an equivalence to the misogny against women (i.e. as if “misandry” was a thing) causes me to drag my feet and start muttering. An analysis of masculinities in a text has to contextualize the constructed roles and incorporate privilege (just as an analysis of whiteness, which includes white women, has to do the same).

And that work is being done, and has been done for some decades.

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

You bring this on yourselves, each and everyone of you. Men are getting tired of being kicked around by feminists and their white knight enforcers and this is their way of fighting back. Things are going to just get worse for women. Not that I care of course, but things will get worse.

ShadetheDruid
ShadetheDruid
8 years ago

If you don’t care, why are you here telling us this? Mystery of the day, folks!

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

Thanks for the update, Mike.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Calling random women c*nts on the internet – the best way of fighting “oppression” ever.

Sorka
Sorka
8 years ago

Mike: Oh no! How awful! Because it’s not as if women have *ever* had to tolerate anything like this before, is it? The end is surely nigh.

Cliff Pervocracy
8 years ago

The problem with “if you make trouble we’ll punish you” threats is that y’all forgot to NOT punish us when we weren’t making trouble.

Ithiliana
8 years ago

@Cliff: +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

Do you really believe these men are so pissed off just because women are only asking for equal rights? Actually, don’t answer that, I already know the answer. Keep up the good work, girls and manginas, you’ll just carry on creating more of these guys.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

MIke, do you think asking null-questions so you can pretend to a lordly level of being above it all is actually going to persuade people?

No, probably not. It’s just a way to tell us how stupid you think we are; without having to substantiate the claim. Got it.

If, however, you should actually be interested in trying to engage in conversation (not this drive-by mal mot), feel free to explain just what it is that is “creating more of these guys”.

Guys your tone implies aren’t all that savory.

Tell us, please, what it is (that isn’t asking for something less exclusionary and marginalising) we are doing to create the sort of asshole you are, in a left-handed manner, defending.

BlackBloc (@XBlackBlocX)

Do you really believe these men are so pissed off just because women are only asking for equal rights?

Yes and no. They are pissed off because women are asking them to relinquish privileges, which is part and parcel of requesting equal rights. But the men are not pissed off about the equal rights, they’re pissed about loss of privileges.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Keep up the good work, girls and manginas, you’ll just carry on creating more of these guys.

Will do. While we are giving advice, try not to hurt people.

thebionicmommy
thebionicmommy
8 years ago

You bring this on yourselves, each and everyone of you. Men are getting tired of being kicked around by feminists and their white knight enforcers and this is their way of fighting back. Things are going to just get worse for women. Not that I care of course, but things will get worse.

I see. Feminists are provoking the MRA’s into abusing women on the Internet. That right there is why the MRM is known as the abusers’ lobby.

pecunium
pecunium
8 years ago

You bring this on yourselves, each and everyone of you. Men are getting tired of being kicked around by feminists and their white knight enforcers and this is their way of fighting back. Things are going to just get worse for women. Not that I care of course, but things will get worse.

You do care. You care that feminists aren’t letting the issues drop. You don’t care if women/feminists get hurt, but you do care that the supremacy of men re re-instated.

We care that it doesn’t. One of us is losing. Right now, it’s male supremacy, and I’m fine with that.

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[…] bullshit” (written so many times, it’s difficult to find a starting place to cite, but try here, and here, and here) to their beloved games. Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian emerged as part of this […]

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