We Need Speak Up and Knock This Bullshit Down

Feminist Pop Culture Writer Leaves Home After Twitter Threats.

Read through the vilely expressed threats of extreme violence she received…because she criticized how women were portrayed in video games. It’s insane.

And it’s not the first time this has happened to a woman in gaming.

And while these may be extreme examples of the misogyny in the geek community at the moment, they’re outliers that are not far flung.

About six years ago, when arguing on a message board over a comic book writer, I got this posted in the thread at me by a younger, male fan:

meh.ro336

In the 15 years I had been on the internet at that time, it was the worst expression of rage and sexism I had personally encountered. It was the worst outburst from anyone on the internet I had encountered (…up until the point when it was shown to me in a celebrity fan base that women could not only be equally immature and nasty, they could take it off the net into real life. But this is about the geek community.) In my lifetime of being in the geek community, I had never experienced or seen anything like that. I assumed this person was just mentally or emotionally “off” and walked away.

I did not realize he was a precursor.

This is not the normal type or amount of shit people give each other online, in geek communities or gaming. This is not women acting like “precious little snowflakes.” This is a problem that will escalate until someone gets physically hurt.

To all the little pinheaded douchey twerps who think this is appropriate or funny: If you can’t elucidate a cogent argument against an opposing point of view, you do not deserve the any of the titles of  “Geek” or “Nerd” or “Intelligent” or “Pubescent/Post Pubescent.”  I have gone toe to toe with white supremacists that didn’t even go down the road of screaming foul epithets and making physical threats, let alone such vile physical threats. You jerkwads are worse-behaved than a pack of racist skinheads. 

Think about that.

It’s not hard to have an online discussion with people who do not agree with you. Start with “I do not agree with your position because of reasons Thus, This and That.” Having provable facts to back up your assertions are awesome, having citations are great too.  They will argue, so will you. Realize that most arguments about art are about subjective opinions which sometimes can be equally valid depending on point of view. If you are open to it, you might actually learn something. You do not have to change your opinion, only listen to theirs and try to see it the way they see it. A closed mind is a dead mind.

And realize when to LET IT THE FUCK GO.

And BTW, fuckwits, responding to accusations of misogyny by threatening to rape the women who made them doesn’t exactly refute the point, y’know?

I hope you know, because your intelligence would be subhuman if you did not.

And the instant you attack the person rather than the argument (otherwise known as an ad hominem), you lost. Game over, you just stated your argument has no support and you’re desperate. When encountering an opposing point of view, if your first instinct to spew forth crude insults and physical threats at your opponents, you are a dumb as bag of week-old manure and you are a screaming, poo-flinging toddler who needs to stay out of public, including the internet, until you can act like a human being. I don’t care if she cherry picks or got her facts wrong, threatening to rape her, do horrific violence to her and kill her family is NOT an appropriate response. It NEVER is when discussing differing opinions about a topic. It doesn’t matter if the opposition is represented by a woman or not. They are not less valid, deserving of less respect, because of their gender.

You however, are less valid because of your shitty behavior. I imagine some of you are also screaming hypocrites because you are bullied in real life and you are now bullying others online where you never have to face them. Newsflash: You’re a coward, people are not punching bags. Get some therapy or get lost.

Yes, I want you to get the fuck out of my subculture. At the moment, you are bunch of worthless little pricks who are an embarrassment to our community who drive people away, people far more fun and intelligent than you are. You are embarrassing us in front of the rest of the world. So if you can’t deal with people with some basic human civility, you need to GTFO.

And those that know these particular assholes or assholes like them need to tell them that is not cool and if necessary, ostracize them. This is not acceptable and as long as the members of the society around them give tacit approval by silence, it’s going to go on. And if you need more motivation than simple human decency, it’s going to continue to color people’s perception of you too.  (And a clue? “But *I* don’t do that” is not standing up to them, it’s not stopping them. That’s just whining because you belong to a community that allows this shit to happen.)

P.S. This was an interesting article on the dominant attitudes plaguing the video-gaming community at the moment.

Though my favorite was this comment in the discussion queue.

These individuals men women bring on much of the abuse themselves due to their actions and attitudes
do I hate them? no, are they great individuals we should look up to? Heck no
These individuals are deceivers, they live for it, its what they do best- well its what they DID best
As well, weren’t the Zoe nudes commercial nudes? sooo not so much her nudes anymore, may as well say the internet owned those nudes, she put them out there via her own free will- a mistake perhaps but hers to deal with.

Straight out of the manual on how to be an abusive spouse: “If you hit her, she brought it on herself.”

Femme Geeks and Geek Society: WTF Dudes?

Nothing to Prove

Having grown up a geek, daughter of geeks, in the 1970’s and 80’s, I recognized I was a minority. When I walked into cons of my own free will instead of being dragged there by a BF, I was a social unicorn. However, the reaction I got was always positive. Granted, some of them were hitting on me, but when that did not pan out, I did not receive the dismissals of my geekness that femme-geeks are now. When people on comic book message boards found out I was a woman, I was not attacked for it or my validity of fandom questioned. All the women I knew in the fandoms at the time had similar experiences. We got hit on a lot, but no one was dismissing us as fans or being nasty to us just for being women. I was only on the receiving end of misogynist comments once, but that was post 2000 from someone significantly younger than I that could not hold the debate to the topic at hand. (Grant Morrison’s X-Men run sucked, end of.)

So what happened?

I think part of it is the older geek community feeling a bit threatened by the massive influx of new members, especially women, over the last 15 years. Magna, anime, shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and video games were already bringing more people, especially more women, into the fold in the late 1990’s, but LOTR and comic book films blew it wide open. They made geekdom socially acceptable to the general public, which is a wonderful thing. Never in the U.S. have we had so much media to choose from to sate our geek-desires. Never has we had such a large community to share our joy. Even comic books, once the red-headed step child of the SciFi community, are getting the respect they deserve.

But it’s also *so* socially acceptable it has become “fashionable” and the terms “geek” and “nerd” have become trendy and overused. Seriously, just liking Apple products and wearing glasses does not make you a geek. It’s like wearing punk clothing and not knowing who Black Flag is. Come back to me when you can hold an informed conversation one whether Star Wars qualifies as SciFi or Fantasy. Go on now. Shoo.

So I think some of it is the same pattern seen from any established group dealing with new fans. The accusations of “poser!” always abound. There are posers, there always are in social movements that have become fashionable. But more often the accusation is thrown at new fans by insecure old timers, afraid of losing “their” fandom. So are these misogynist attacks because women are the group that has grown the most noticeably over the last 15 years? I think that is a factor, but I think a bigger factor is a reflection of a greater anger toward woman in our society, especially from the younger generation.

Many of us remember (and loved) the “Grrl Power” of the 1990’s, where books like Faludi’s Backlash created an entire pro-women dialog. Just think, all these characters were on TV at the same time!

Imagescullydaria-and-janeBuffyKiraJaneway

(C.J. Craig of the West Wing *almost* overlaps as well, but not quite. Still, I gotta give her some love.)

CJ Criag

It was awesome to be a girl! Unfortunately, some of that came at men’s expense as they tried to redefine their roles and their masculinity in a world where the pendulum had swung away from them. (And I admit, it can’t have been easy on them.)

Now thing to remember is that entertainment industry is controlled by older people dictating to younger people what they are going to watch. In the 2000’s, the media launched a very deliberate counter attack: The glorification the bimbo. Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, The Girls Next Door, Jessica Simpson. The media told girls and boys that women were supposed to be unintelligent, mean-spirited, opportunistic, trashy, promiscuous (and not in an “sex positive empowerment” sort of way, in a “I measure my self esteem by how many boys want to fuck me” sort of way) and generally worthless human beings to be used as sexual objects or trophies. Certainly not to be respected. (And the possible effect that has had on the openess and acceptability of rape culture is another important discussion entirely.)  I think the younger male geeks drank that in during their formative years and now, with the help of anonymity on the internet and general angst and rage, they make women the targets of some seriously hateful shit on the assumption that women are unintelligent, mean-spirited, trashy, etc.

It’s complete bull shit.

The thing is, femme geeks can complain about this all day, but the kids making these attacks are so misogynist, they just dismiss it as female whining. So we have to combat it with a two pronged attack. Sadly, for a while at least, girls will have to keep proving their geek cred. It sucks, but there it is. When you can name all the classes of the Earth Alliance cruisers or discuss Moorecock’s issue with Tolkien, they will start to have a real conversation with you. In a real conversation with you, they might get the idea that femme geeks in general are “real geeks” who have a lot of offer.  Unfortunately, for femme gamers, beating their ass in CoD just pisses them off more and they get more abusive. Second wing: The people who really need to step in are the older geeks who will put their foot down and tell these douchey little twerps this is not acceptable behavior in our community. For some reason, until just recently their voices have been pretty silent on the kind of abuse out there. Older geeks grew up on the receiving end of bullying, so they tend to not bully others (at least that has been my experience) and they should not accept when others are being bullied.