Sexism In Gaming: A Response To Gabrielle Toledano

Posted: January 19, 2013 in Political Wrangling
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, a woman by the name of Gabrielle Toledano – evidently a human resources manager for EA games – wrote a rather confusing and deeply problematic op-ed for Forbes outlining why, in her estimation, sexism isn’t responsible for the dearth of women in gaming. To quote her opening remarks:

 It’s easy to blame men for not creating an attractive work environment – but I think that’s a cop-out.  If we want more women to work in games, we have to recognize that the problem isn’t sexism.

…The issue I have is that the video game industry is being painted as more sexist than other male-dominated workforces.  I know sexism exists, but the issue isn’t just in video games.  And it’s not what’s holding us back.

Nonetheless, there are still too few women working in my company, so it’s clear there is an issue to fix. Rather than blame the majority just because they are the majority, I believe the solution starts with us – women.

Which is, frankly, one of the most flippant, useless and blithely ignorant summaries of the problem I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. For one thing, Toledano manages to contradict herself magnificently within the space of three paragraphs: because surely if sexism exists in gaming – which, as she plainly admits, it does – then it must constitute at least a part of the reason why women are so conspicuously absent. Instead of conceding this point even slightly, however, she dismisses it out of hand, and for no better reason than her dislike of the implication that gaming might be more sexist than other industries. This, at least, is a reasonable point: game developers are hardly alone when it comes to dealing with sexism, which problem is self-evidently one that affects the whole of society to varying degrees. But to say – and worse, to say casually – that such sexism as does exist in gaming must necessarily be either benign or irrelevant simply because it exists more prominently elsewhere, or because the extent of the problem is popularly overstated, is as irresponsible as it is inaccurate. This blithe attempt to handwave a serious problem is further compounded by Toledano’s assertion that sexism effectively constitutes “blaming the majority just because they are the majority”, a sentence nobody could write without having first elected to ignore the glaringly obvious: that the majority isn’t being blamed for being the majority, but for maintaining a culture of prejudicial dominance, whether due to ignorance, malice, laziness or a combination of all three. To summarise Toledano’s argument, then: sexism exists in gaming, but doesn’t impact negatively on women, because criticism of the majority is really only resentment of their status as the majority, and therefore disconnected from any rational complaint about their actions.

Right.

What, then, does Toledano see as the root cause of female under-representation in gaming? Her argument comes as a triptych: firstly, that female gamers have failed to identify themselves as such (which is both ludicrous and insulting); secondly, that the industry wants to hire more women (though how this admission constitutes a reason for their absence is anyone’s guess); and thirdly, that there aren’t enough women to hire (which is a partial explanation for her second point, but which nonetheless doesn’t explain why there are fewer female STEM graduates to begin with, which point she glosses over with a simple call for their being more widely encouraged).

Her closing remarks only serve to cement her total misunderstanding of the problem:

If women don’t join this industry because they believe sexism will limit them, they’re missing out.  The sky is the limit when it comes to career opportunities for women (and men) in games. If we want the tide to turn and the ratio of men to women to really change then we need to start making women realize that fact…

Sexism is an unfortunate reality of our times, but as women we must seek the power and ability in ourselves to change the dynamic.  Cast aside the preconceptions, and look for the opportunities and places to make an impact.  And I can tell you firsthand that in the video game industry women are not just welcome, we are necessary and we are equal.

From beginning to end, the piece reads as an oversimplified, insipidly cheerful and woefully pat exhortation for women to simply wade on in – you’ve only yourselves to blame if you don’t! Sexism exists, but you can overcome it with gumption and elbow grease! Follow your hearts, my darlings! Follow your star! Never mind that Toledano offers not one single fact in support of her claim that sexism isn’t so much as a tiny part of the problem despite acknowledging its existence, nor cites any specific policy, testimony or other useful data that might bolster her argument. Neither does she respond to the wealth of evidence and arguments which directly contradict it, despite linking to an article which lays out a detailed opposing case; instead, she leaves it totally unaddressed. Add these deficiencies to the self-contradictory and wholly unsupported nature of her assertions, and it’s hard not to wonder if her belief in the benevolent non-existence/unimportance of sexism as a factor stems entirely from not having experienced it herself, or from believing such sexism as she has experienced to have had no detrimental effect on either her wellbeing or career. That, of course, is only conjecture on my part; but if untrue, the only viable alternative would seem to be that, having suffered sexism in the past but subsequently overcome it, Toledano has elected to use her own success as a yardstick against which to gauge the determination and worthiness of every other woman in her industry, which is hardly reasonable. Whatever the case, the implication is equally unsatisfying: that as sexism hasn’t impeded her, it must therefore be incapable of impeding anyone else.

Allow me, then, to provide the evidence that Toledano does not. In November last year, under the Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy, women employed in gaming collectively shared the myriad instances of sexism they experienced at work in order to highlight the extent of the problem, with multiple accompanying conversations about problems in the industry following soon after. Around the same time, a Penny Arcade report based on actual data showed how the dearth of games starring female protagonists has become a self-fulfilling prophecy: such games, it was found, were given smaller budgets by publishers and marketed far less extensively than their male-lead counterparts, leading to critical neglect and low sales, and therefore contributing to the outdated notion that women don’t play games, and as such aren’t a viable demographic. There’s any number of prominent accounts of women in gaming being dismissed or discriminated against on the basis of gender; this Christmas, headlines were made by the presence of topless women at Gameloft’s holiday party; and though they point more to problems in the culture of game consumption than creation, it would be foolish to view either the infamous Aris Bakhtanians incident or the experiences of Anita Sarkeesian as irrelevant. As for the comparative absence of women in STEM fields, this is hardly a problem without a cause: brogrammer culture, entrenched academic gender bias and subconscious bias in hiring practices, to name just three of the major issues, all affect female participation.

Because what Toledano fails to comprehend is that gaming, like everything else, is an ecosystem – and right now, at every single level of participation, women are feeling the effects of sexism. Female gamers are sexualised, demeaned and assumed to be fakes by their male counterparts; those who go into STEM fields despite this abuse frequently find themselves stifled by the sexist assumptions of professors and fellow students alike; they must then enter an industry whose creative output is overwhelmingly populated with hypersexualised depictions of women and male-dominant narratives, and where the entrenched popularity of these tropes means their own efforts to counteract the prevailing culture will likely put them at odds with not only their colleagues, but also the business models of the companies and projects for which they work; as the #1reasonwhy discussion showed, many will experience sexism in the workplace – hardly surprising, given the academic correlation between the acceptance of misogyny in humour and culture and real-world tolerance for sexism and rape culture – while others will be excluded from it completely. All this being so, therefore, if a single progressive HR manager at a comparatively progressive company looks around and finds, despite her very best intentions that, there are few or no women to hire for a particular position, then the problem is not with women for failing to take advantage of a single company’s benevolent practices, but with the industry as a whole for failing to create a culture in which women are welcome, and where they might therefore be reasonably expected to abound.

In her excellent book Delusions of Gender, Cordelia Fine documents a phenomenon whereby some progressive parents, determined to counteract the sexist influences of prevailing culture, found themselves adopting a ‘biology as fallback’ position when, despite their best efforts at promoting equality, their children still conformed to gender norms. “Believing that they practiced gender-neutral parenting,” Fine writes, “biology was the only remaining explanation.” But as she goes on to point out, the actual explanation is far more complex: not only were such parents still prone to promoting unconsciously absorbed gender roles, but when ranged against the ubiquitous sexism promoted by wider culture, even their best efforts were overwhelmed in the child’s experience – no matter how many pink clothes and dolls a son was bought, if the majority of his peers were playing with trucks and dressing in blue, and if every presentation of normalcy he absorbed through stories, clothing, culture, advertising and other children suggested he should do likewise, then his experiences at home would still read as anomalous. Unable to accept this, however, parents persisted in blaming biology: their failure could only have been predestined, and not the result of wider social and cultural factors beyond their individual control, let alone indicative of a flaw in their methods.

Toledano, it seems to me, is committing a similar fallacy, adopting a fallback belief in female disinterest in order to explain the lack of women in gaming, and thereby discounting the impact of more pervasive and difficult issues, never mind her use of faulty logic. And the thing is, it matters: not just because of her status as a representative of a major gaming company writing in a prominent publication, and not just because it betrays exactly the sort of misunderstanding of sexism that inevitably helps it perpetuate itself; but because she’s created a cop-out piece for sexists and those who doubt their influence to wave about as definitive proof that really, the problem is women themselves – and, more specifically, feminist women, or women who demand change. By claiming to speak definitively on the matter – unveiling the “dirty little secrets” of women in gaming, to use her phrase, as though she’s boldly daring the wrath of some secret feminist conspiracy in order to say openly what sensible women have always known in private, but been too scared to admit in public  – Toledano is using the supposed authority of her gender to claim, on the basis of not a single shred of evidence, that sexism isn’t an obstacle, because look! Here she is, a woman, admitting as much! And if a woman says it, it must be true! Which is, presumably, why she’s felt no need to sully her case by supporting it with facts; because surely, the act of merely presenting it must be evidence enough. Only, no, that’s not how it works. To modify a Biblical phrase, the greatest trick the patriarchy ever pulled was convincing women it didn’t exist – and in Toledano’s case, all too lamentably, it seems to have succeeded.

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Comments
  1. Darth Jader says:

    I am so sick of your fluking Bullsh*t, you are hypocritical, sexist against men (actually sexist, not your ephemeral non-existent sexism you keep ranting about), fascist, control freak swine. You seek to create a society devoid of creativity and run entirely by a PC Bureaucratic dictatorship that tells society how they should think. You think that men and only men are bad people, that women can do no wrong. You live by outdated ideals, and hypocritically claim that a nonexistent word (in the context you were using) was used long before a slang context of a word that describes something that marked our first major milestone to becoming a civilization. Your ideals poison the minds of younger generations and will undoubtededly lead to the collapse of society and the eventual extinction of man/woman kind. You decry the existence of a paranoid and delusional institution that exists only in your mind, then you criticize people for pointing out what it is (trash talk) and for some unfathomable reason try to argue that trash talk (an awesome strategy and productive hobby) should not be allowed, then you proceed to feebly attempt to call me names (tool). Do you honestly feel you are right in any way???? I honestly feel very sympathetic for your parents….what pain they must feel for having a hate filled, ignorant, failure of a daughter who’s borderline mentally retarded…what shame they must feel.

    Get your sexist filth off the internet

    Foz’s Note: I’ve allowed this comment through only because the sheet ignorant vitriol of it helps to prove my point, and because the abuse is levelled at me rather than another commenter. However, the poster has now been blocked, and may feel free to simmer in his own misogynistic fury in the sure and certain knowledge that I give no fucks whatsoever about his opinion.

    • JC Denton EnDaFresh says:

      Just wanna reply to the comment above.
      Holy cow, just wow. I want to say from personal experience as a grognard of the early 1990s, the generation that INVENTED online gaming and trash talking in Quake, Doom, and its ilk.
      Listen kid (assuming you’re an immature piece of shit), when you make such a stupid comment you make shit harder for everyone regardless of gender.

      Back in my day, our FPS games were truly FPS games and we didn’t have no stupid ‘hide like a bitch behind a wall and recover’ mechanic in games where it doesn’t make sense (Halo has a regenerating shield, not regenerating health, and makes sense within the gaming context).
      We had health packs and you had to actually explore the labyrinthine maps and find them and the keys for doors (Red/Blue keys of course).
      We had rooms where HOLY SHIT mobs would pop out in front and behind and they would RIP YOU A NEW ASSHOLE unless you moved out of the way fast enough. Our average run speed was a fucking jetting sprint compared to the grandma-level walking you do in modern military shooters. We rocket jumped, grenade-jumped, bunny-hopped, and made our own WADs of glorious spunk to share with the world at large. All for free, no fucking DLC no bullshit. Back in the 90s.

      The fuck do kids have today? Paying $15 for 3-4 maps. Really? Paying $30 for fucking DLC ‘season passes’ with less content than any good expansion pack in the days of yore? Enjoy trying to input a fucking alphanumeric serial key with that console gamepad of yours, kid.

      Just fuck you. We invented trashtalking and good gameplay in REAL FPS games (Painkiller, Serious Sam series being newish ones). We also invented ‘gg’ and ‘qq mo4r’. GG was ‘good game’ and you still see that being used even today in CounterStrike for PC and Unreal ’99. The QQ Moar thing was because in Warcraft 2 (B.net edition) if you hit Alt-Q-Q then it is kinda like Alt-F4 and you immediately rage-quit out of the game.

    • Name says:

      “and may feel free to simmer in his own misogynistic fury…”

      How was that comment misogynistic in any way? Just curious.

  2. Willow Wood says:

    Well, your post is sufficiently angry. I am angry. And upset. And downright disheartened by someone in her position providing something for sexists to lean on. I think you’ve said pretty much everything. I’m so glad you wrote this in response. I hope it is read by many.

  3. Colin Caret says:

    Thanks for the useful commentary, that article annoyed the crap out of me.

  4. guga912 says:

    Well you do know that there is no fallacy in her saying that there is sexism in the industry, but it’s not the main reason why there fewer females then males. And I agree with her totally, because you have to understand that discrimination will never totally disappear because there will always be people who can only find joy by putting other people down thus making them fell better about themselves, but do you really think that sad people is a bigger reason for females not being in the gaming industry is a bigger reason then the actual amount of female programmers and software designers? While we do need to fight against discrimination I do believe that this woman is absolutely right and once more females study CS there will be more females in the gaming industry. And while I am not sure of what you do for a living I am pretty sure you are not a CS major, and that the reason that you are not one is not sexism but the fact that you are not/were not interested in studying CS. And if you are one I doubt you had a problem finding a well paid position if you are any good. But I was only talking about the people working in IT. On the problems on how women are show in media and games I have no real opinion, but I do know that no-one is stooping you from writing great literature with women show as you fell they should be shown.

    • fozmeadows says:

      She doesn’t say sexism isn’t the main reason why women are absent; she says it’s not a reason at all, which is quite different. I agree that once there are more women in CS and STEM, ther will be more women in gaming, but like Toledano,you seem unwilling to entertain the evidence that sexism offputs women from those professions, too – all you’ve done there is push the onus for change back a level, not disproved its necessity. You’re correct in saying I have no interest in CS, but seem to be implying that the reason has to do with my gender, or my perceptions of the industry, rather than the fact that I have other interests; which, of course,is perfectly allowable. The issue isn’t about the abstention of women like me, but rather the treatment of those who wish to enter the field – and whatever the freedoms I have as an author to write women as I please, that state of affairs is hardly comparable to that of women in gaming, as where they must create as part of a team, a company and a business, I can write wholly for myself, and need only find a single crucial person or two who are willing to take on my work. Neither do I have to write within existing franchises, or create new ones to the specifications of others; and whereas gaming is still perceived to be a male-dominated market, my own area is very much known to have a female audience. So, yeah. Important distinctions matter!

    • jennygadget says:

      “And while I am not sure of what you do for a living I am pretty sure you are not a CS major,”

      I majored in physics.

      I guess the fact that I decided to not go into that field and instead opted for one that is less known for being an old boys club means I wasn’t any good at it?

      Quick! Someone tell my alma mater! They may want to retroactively take away my diploma. Or, at least, the strike off the cum laude that’s on it.

      • guga912 says:

        jennygadget your reply is just crazy. First of I am terribly sorry you gave up on your dream of becoming a software engineer because you ware scared of a few bad apples who don’t know what being a normal human being means. But what I was trying to say is that If she was into IT and had majored SC and had been any good at it, she would have found out that there are no bad hiring practices in IT, and that while yes you might run into the occasional dick coworker, she would be doing great. And I am not even going into the rest of your comment because as I said it’s just plain fucking wrong. All in all maybe next time think of the possibility that it is possible to have a different opinion than you without being a sexist pig.

        • jennygadget says:

          Once upon a time there was a thread at slashdot in which the readers there made fun of the idea of recruiting girls and women for STEM majors and careers.

          (I was recruited by my alma mater because I was a girl who showed aptitude for science. I would not have majored in physics if I had been discouraged by “a few bad apples” rather than encouraged by the professors and fellow students there. Not because I was incapable of doing the science, but because I would not have believed I could do it. Few bad apples or not, it has been scientifically proven that hearing “girls suck at math” over and over actually harms girl’s and women’s ability to perform math, and their confidence in their ability to do the math and science.)

          Topics brought up included the idea of Hello Kitties on lab coats. Which the slashdotters thought up and proceeded to mock.

          (The computer I was reading this thread on had a Strawberry Shortcake sticker on it.)

          When I ranted about it at the time, this is what I said:

          “I do not work for little more than minimum wage in the kid’s section of a large bookstore because I am “naturally” better at dealing with kids or because I cannot cut it – tech wise – in a technical field. I work where I do mainly because books, unlike science, have never ceased to be safe, and I’ve always been on the nervous and shy side. While I do not blame sexism alone for constricting my choices, my logical brain cannot but boggle at the audacity of men who cry “cooties!” at the mere mention of anything not hypermasculine and then turn around and say that I’m not competitive enough….

          Although, I must ask, what is so frightening or wrong about femininity in science and tech?…does that revoke my nerd status somehow? Is it so preposterous to want to be feminine and still expect to be taken seriously?

          I am where I am and I do what I do in large part because being a women in physics, statistics, and computer science often requires that one be either a bit heroic – or one of the guys. I wish I could be the former, but I must admit I am quite often a coward, and I have absolutely no desire to be the latter.

          Life is not binary. Sexism may not be the only thing responsible for my exodus from physics, but neither can it be fully absolved of culpability.”

          For the record, I am about to get my masters degree in Library and Information Science. Which has, in my case, included taking several programming/computer science/database classes. I love those classes and did very well in them. I shudder to think of what it might have been like to try and take them with guys like you. Even the few times I had to essentially argue “no, really, I know what the fuck I am talking about AND HERE ARE THE LINKS THAT PROVE IT” was frustrating and tiring enough as it was.

          microaggressions are real people. that shit wears you down.

          (also, I’m amused that you seem to think I’m arguing with you for your benefit rather than for the benefit of everyone else)

  5. Caitlin says:

    This post is excellent. I’m so frustrated by women these days who actively refuse to admit that something is messed up with the way genders interact, or who willfully misrepresent feminism as something “bad” that they’re not part of. Toledano seems to be one of those women.

  6. Anthony says:

    I worked at EA last year. I can say that the women at our studio were treated like gold. They were also the majority of the managers on the game we were working on. You see considering the engineers were all men and although I see no reason why women would not pursue the art side of games, the artists were mostly all men too. So in order to say that x amount of women worked on the project, almost all of the directors were female. Directors, have neither talent in art or engineering and are responsible for the scheduling of the work. However, not knowing what the jobs of the people they were managing entails, they were essentially messengers going around asking the workers how long this or that would take and chasing down inter-team dependencies. A much more effective manager would be an engineer that the company paid for an MBA degree in management. Most of the female directors don’t even play games. Still, they were the highest paid and will get their names at the top of the credit list. Despite all that, I never witnessed any harassment or sexism against the women. The environment was generally gender-agnostic. Unless the author of this post worked in the industry I don’t see how she can make any claims about sexism in the game industry. Rather, I would trust the words of a woman who actually does work in the industry like the VP she just tore down. Of course you can say that my studio is an unusual case. And you can also say that the small number women who claimed they were the victims of sexism are the unusual case. Neither my experience or the experience of those women are enough to make broad descriptions of the industry. And you mention Anita Sarkeesian without knowing what a fraud she is. Like how she censors all the comments on here youtube channel. Oh wait, she did not for the kickstarter video on her channel. Of course, she knew the flaming she would get from gamers and leveraged that to gain sympathy (and $150,000). Of course once the kickstarter ended she immediately closed all comments on her youtube channel again. Clearly anyone who does not have an agenda like the author of this post sees her as a manipulative opportunist. All so she can make videos about how women are portrayed in games. Yet no one objects to the way men are portrayed in games. Or movies for that matter. At least the cultural expectations for women are attainable under the laws of the physics. With enough exercise or plastic surgery it is possible for women to be what they think men want. But men? How did Edward come into Bella’s life. By stopping a speeding car with one arm. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that. No surgery or steroid can make any man on the planet compete with that. Oh and Edward is also eternally young. Yeah, that is attainable. What about Avengers. How am I supposed to compete with the Norse god of thunder. No surgery can make me a god. But men don’t complain about these things. In fact it is the opposite. Men come out of the theater saying, “Huh, Thor’s cool”. The author of this post further exhibits misandry by only pointing out the abuse of female gamers. I can’t count the number of times I was called a fag in an online game. It implies the same thing that women who are sexually harassed online implies. A penis inserted in one’s orifice. Actually it is worse for men. It is culturally acceptable for a woman to have a penis inserted into her. It is not for men. No one with even rudimentary scientific training can deny that all of western civilization is entirely for the benefit of women. Why are the majority of welfare recipients female while the majority of homeless men. The author talks about notions like raising children in a gender neutral way yet she likely only believes that when it is convenient. Does she believe in gender neutrality when it come down to child custody. Clearly the courts do not. No, feminists want state funded welfare for all women and survival of the fittest for all men. Such is evident by their naked hostility towards beta males.

    • Andrea Harris says:

      Trust the VP of the company that’s been criticized. Trust. The VP. Of the company that’s been criticized. Sorry, no matter how many times I say that phrase, it just doesn’t make any sense.

      I need more wine.

      (Bonus “misandry.” Really, someone needs to come up with a drinking game… Wait, I like my liver. Never mind.)

      • Anthony says:

        Thanks for the fact based rebuttal, Andrea. You are a shining example of women’s capacity to reason. I suppose you will prove the next great mathematical theorem by simply stating, “It ‘feels’ right”.

        • jennygadget says:

          This coming from the guy who brings Twilight into the conversation. Because that’s relevant.

          Also, as someone who has been a manager, all you have demonstrated is that you know shit about how to do it well.

          And! as a bonus!:

          http://xkcd.com/385/

          • Anthony says:

            Actually, Twilight is relevant considering its popularity among tween girls. The portrayal of men in those movies shapes these girls’ expectations of men. Oh what, it doesn’t. Then could you also say that the hyper-sexualized portrayal of women in media does not shape men’s expectations of women.

            • jennygadget says:

              I missed the part where teen girls are the leaders of the tech industry and the legal profession.

              • Anthony says:

                I think if you followed my train of thought, while I did go off on a tangent, you would see how my example applied. The author mentioned Anita Sarkeesian as a victim of sexist gaming culture so I believe that entitled me to critique the author’s position regarding said feminist.
                Author mentioned A. Sarkeesian…A Sarkeesian makes videos about how women are portrayed in media…I offer a counter-argument on how men are portrayed in the media. You see that. It is called a train of thought. Nifty, huh.

                • jennygadget says:

                  A train of thought? possibly. A well reasoned argument? Not so much.

                  If it had been, you would have realized that I have already given you a rebuttal to the idea that singling out the one bit of media for teen girls that you are vaguely familiar with is in any way comparable to Sarkeesian critiquing a wide array of media that is consumed by culture at large, including people who actually have power and influence to wield.

                  But please, do go on about how men and boys are portrayed in Taylor Swift songs, The Hunger Games, Teen Beat, and Tamora Pierce’s novels. I’m sure it will entertain me, if nothing else.

        • Thanks for your gender-essentialist hackery, Anthony. You’re a shining example of a misogynist’s capacity to reason. I suppose you will prove the next great gender relational theorem by simply stating, “I ‘feel’ oppressed”.

        • Also, you’ll note that you, the super-completely-not-sexist guy, is the one bringing up the gender-essentialist argument (women have no capacity for reason) but no one’s even implying that men do not have a capacity to reason.

          So, y’know. MISANDRY or something?

        • Andrea Harris says:

          Dude, I’m pretty sure that a “fact-based rebuttal” would sail right over your dense little skull, even if it was possible to do a point-by-point takedown of a puddle of vomit. I will say this, though: paragraph breaks — look into using them in the future. Just a little bit of FYI to show you that I Care.

    • claritybell says:

      I’m sure women receiving online rape threats take comfort in the fact it is culturally acceptable.

      • Anthony says:

        I would imagine they feel the same as men who are threatened with violence online. Actually, I would argue that the men have more to fear as there have been cases where the aggressor tracked down the victim and actually committed the violence. Oh but you disagree. It is so much worse when a woman is threatened, isn’t it? Because men are not actually human beings that have the same fears and sensibilities and deserve the same safe environment that women do.

      • Blue says:

        as a man on the internet, I too get rape threats. I have yet to be raped though. Maybe the rape threats aren’t so much gendered, as much as just the run of the mill anonymous insults.

        One time, a guy told me he wanted to gouge out my eyes and skull fuck me. To me, that sounds horrible, luckily it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, in my 20 years of online gaming, I have received thousands of threats / insults, yet none of it has happened.

        • fozmeadows says:

          I’m going to reply to this with something I said in an older post on rape culture in gaming:

          Culture is what informs our actions; it is not the actions themselves – which means that rape culture is perhaps best understood as the presence of an ongoing sexual threat. If someone wielding a gun threatens to shoot me unless I comply with their orders, I’m supremely unlikely to challenge them: they don’t have to shoot me in order to change my behaviour. In that sense, it doesn’t matter if they really planned to shoot me, or if the gun was even loaded. The point – the effect – is power and coercion, and only someone who was completely callous, stupid, oblivious or a combination of all three would argue that the threat of being shot – and the subsequent change to my behaviour – was meaningless unless I actually was shot. Similarly, if I’m threatened with rape and violence and silenced with gendered, sexualised slurs every time I disagree with male gamers on the internet, it doesn’t matter if they really plan to rape me, or if they’re even capable of doing so: as with the gun, the point – the effect – is power and coercion, and the logic which underlies their choice of threat. What they want is to shut me up by reminding me that rape happens, that it could and should happen to me because of what I’ve said. And when that is your go-to means of silencing women in a context where men are the majority, where the female form is routinely shown in attitudes of hypersexualisation, sexualised violence and submission, and where men are in majority control of that setting? That is rape culture.

          • Anthony says:

            Good point. I largely don’t play online anymore due to how toxic the environment is. But when I did I always enjoyed playing with and against women. It is unfortunate that the normal guys have to miss out on the opportunity to socialize with other women because women are reluctant to go online.

    • Can we just not with the whole “beta males” thing, guy?

      Like, I’m sure the rest of your comment– which is very long and does not display in any way how portrayals of men being awesome and great and worthy of emulation and aspiration is equal to how portrayals of women are based around making guys like you and me want to have sex with them and how OMG a woman had some critiques to lay about video game culture and wasn’t interested in being harassed by people like you is totally the same as censorship and all that–sounds revolutionary to you, but it’s just not very well written and reads like a disjointed list of talking points by people who will do anything to admit that there is a problem with the status quo and that, yes, that problem tends to be men and that maybe us guys (not alphas or betas or zetas or thetas or whatever nonsense you put in your head to create an identity out of not being surrounded by disposable women) could make the smallest, tiniest changes to the way we view our fellow human beings to make the world less awful for them because, I don’t know, America or something. And then for you to say that the cultural acceptability of a woman having a penis inside her set in a really disingenuous way against the way people act with revulsion at two men having penetrative penis-inclusive sex is really low, dude. Women having a penis inside them is so culturally adored that if it’s forced on her (and before you start the “oops, I’m an accidental rapist, how was I supposed to know she didn’t want to have sex with me?” argument, stop. It’s stupid and means that you think that you’re a rapist and that I am, too, and I really resent that), she still gets called a slut because somehow she should’ve stopped it with her magic vagina. And this on top of how, most of the time, the reason there’s a cultural taboo against two men having penetrative penis-inclusive sex is that it makes the man… more like a woman and we can’t have that, can we. The whole line of reasoning is, at best, specious and at worst disingenuous and you know it.

      Just.

      Could you not? You’re really making me sad. The thought of someone building an identity around being a “beta male”, whatever that means, is really depressing. I’m not saying your life is showers of money and success–clearly you’re having a rough time of it–but if all you’re doing is just digging yourself into this myopic little cult of self-loathing (why can’t I be an alpha, why wasn’t I born special like them with amazing female-attracting hormones?) and loathing of others (fucking alpha males and all the females who like them), maybe you should… I don’t know.

      Do ANYTHING else?

      Anything at all?

      Because this thing you’re doing here isn’t improving your life. And if you aren’t willing to take on the issues presented in an intellectually honest way, you’re really doing yourself no favours.

      We all (well, maybe not really “we all” but a lot of people) want to see the whole idea that the ideal humans/the only humans who count should be rich straight white Christian fully-abled cisgendered men taken down. The idea that a culture working so hard to promote them is actually working for anyone else is, again, disingenuous and makes you look like something of a jerk (old arguments are still good: how many women presidents? how do single mothers tend to fare in the labor market after their divorce? if everyone’s trying to make women the ideal, why is there so much rape or rape at all?).

      Just… come on, man. You’re clearly smarter than the arguments you’re making. They aren’t worthy of you, your time, this wonderful blog which is one of my favourites or anyone or anything else.

      • Anthony says:

        “does not display in any way how portrayals of men being awesome and great and worthy of emulation and aspiration is equal to how portrayals of women are based around making guys like you and me want to have sex with them”
        -The portrayals of men and women in society are based exactly on what nature and evolution intended for us. Women, who are historically intrinsically valuable due to the limited ability to use their womb, have never needed to show ambition or utility. All females had the opportunity to reproduce. What they were limited in is resources for their children. Hence, men. Men, who are intrinsically disposable, and have been treated as such throughout history up to and including today, needed to differentiate themselves by acquiring power, status, and resources, in order to maximize the number of female partners he is offered. This dynamic, which exists in all mammals, is the heart of the portrayals of men and women. And before you say, “But, we are humans and not animals”…stop… Historically, the Age of Reason in Europe has long since been debunked which was followed by the Age of Romanticisim. Or at the very latest, since Freud published his first works. Your position is outdated by over a century. At the heart of our brains is the ancient lizard brain that has the final say on everything we do. If you think you are above that, then I suggest you try to hold your breath while forcibly submerged under water. All drowning cases have water in their lungs. Despite the higher brain functions saying, “If I breathe now, water will fill my lungs”, the lizard brain eventually takes control and says, “BREATHE!!!!”.

        “OMG a woman had some critiques to lay about video game culture and wasn’t interested in being harassed by people like you is totally the same as censorship and all that ”

        -I did not harass her. Never did I post hate comments on any of her channels. You assume too much. What I did was post a valid critique of her methods. Is that okay with you, or are only feminists and manginas allowed to make critiques. Anyways, these 2 videos articulate the valid criticism of Anita far better than I can.

        “not alphas or betas or zetas or thetas or whatever nonsense you put in your head to create an identity out of not being surrounded by disposable women)”

        “The thought of someone building an identity around being a “beta male”, whatever that means, is really depressing. I’m not saying your life is showers of money and success–clearly you’re having a rough time of it–but if all you’re doing is just digging yourself into this myopic little cult of self-loathing (why can’t I be an alpha, why wasn’t I born special like them with amazing female-attracting hormones?) and loathing of others (fucking alpha males and all the females who like them), maybe you should… I don’t know.”

        Again, you assume too much. Considering I am in the top 10% of earners in this country, and that I am constantly being headhunted by companies, and that I have a very healthy opinion of myself, and that I have no interest in surrounding myself with “disposable” women knowing that to marry a woman is to commit financial suicide, you really should not make assumptions about what my life is like. Could it be that you are guilty of stereotyping those that criticize feminism, assuming they must be self-loathing misogynists rather than actually having valid well articulated points to make. And remember, men are the disposable ones. If you don’t think their are valid criticisms to make about feminism just read some of the quotes made by prominent feminists. Like how one says, women should constitutionally be made first class citizens or how a man accused of rape or abuse should be assumed guilty unless he can prove his innocence rather than the burden of proof falling on the state. This, considering that over 60% of rape and abuse accusations are false.

        • “-The portrayals of men and women in society are based exactly on what nature and evolution intended for us.”

          First: Evolution doesn’t intend a thing. It’s a natural process which proceeds on a basis of functionality and adaptability in a certain environment. This is why in some non-primate species, you have male lions who just laze about all day worrying about little more than fighting off other males than anything else while the female lions run out and do the hard work of bringing in the food the pride requires.

          Second: If that assertion was true (which I am a long way from allowing), then why would society need to work so hard at pushing people–not one or the other gender–into the roles proscribed us?

          Third: If you’re nothing more than your lizard brain and I’m nothing more than my lizard brain then is this a pissing contest where rational argument has no place? Because then your entire line of argument is called into question ’cause you could just be trying to fight dirty with emotionally manipulative reframings of long-standing arguments and/or socially accepted/acceptable narratives to suit your own ends with the intent of silencing other outside input because your own brain (like everyone’s) is not subject to any rationality or need more complex than eat/sleep/fight/fuck. If you’re asserting than the entirety of human culture and achievement is devoid of meaning greater than each individual’s desire to eat/sleep/fight/fuck, I fear I must disagree in the extreme.

          Further, are you asserting that there’s nothing more to human psychology than Freud? That his assertions are proof (not a theory, not a workable model, not the beginning of a still-evolving field of psychology but full-on irrefutable, written-in-stone immutable be-all/end-all proof) that there’s nothing more than our lizard brains?

          ‘Cause while I am happy to agree that Eros/Thanatos have a lot of effect on us… there’s a lot more to us. Humans ARE animals but animals have more needs than the basic mechanicals (caloric intake, reproduction, etc) and so do we. A human deprived of human society from a young age will generally not fare well inside of human society, even if its baseline lizard brain self-preservatory needs are satisfied. The lizard brain keeps us alive but it’s our evolved human brain that lets us be fulfilled.

          My counteroffer is that if you think you’re above the need for non-lizard brain fulfilment, toss everything out of your life that sits above the physiological and, heck, let’s be nice, safety needs parts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and then tell me how perfectly evolutionarily situated you are to function in the society in which you currently reside.

          Further still, your assertion (which, again, I find specious at best) that the media we take in is based on this apparently evolutionarily driven set of hard-and-fast universal roles which satisfy our lizard brains somehow because lizard brains are all about entertainment (maybe that’s it responding to Eros or something?), that doesn’t explain why women should largely be passive objects to be acted upon as victims or accessories or walking incubators while men should have agency and power and have the opportunity to be heroes, villians or sacrifices. Or why women would WANT to be portrayed as having the capacity for heroism as, if I follow your train of thought, that would be entirely maladaptive as that would make women, like men, disposable.

          If the whole ‘hero’ thing is so derided and so valueless, why do so many people want in on that shit? If the whole ‘not having to be disposable’ thing is so desirable, why don’t more people in general do that shit?

          And if all of this is dictated by our lizard brains, by evolution and our nature, why are there so many people whose sense of self-worth and self-preservation hinge on acting against that nature? A nature should be a thing we’re compelled or at least happy to follow.

          “-I did not harass her. Never did I post hate comments on any of her channels. You assume too much. What I did was post a valid critique of her methods. Is that okay with you, or are only feminists and manginas allowed to make critiques.”

          First: Mangina. Really?

          Second: My assertion was not that you did a thing but that people who purport to share your perspective have done so. You do not say that you find such a thing to be undesirable or bad, only that you have not personally done it.

          Third: You don’t get to call your critique “valid”. That’d be like me calling my chicken scratch here “revolutionary” or Zach Snyder calling himself a “visionary”. You made a critique and that’s fine. You’re allowed.

          And not allowed, mind, by my power as a feminist mangina beta zeta alpha and omega from the fourteenth plane of G’rz’r’ath’s evil feminist mangina hivemind but because, shit, it’s the internet and I can’t stop you and don’t feel like trying. I can, however, say that I do not think your critique is valid nor of any worth whatsoever, much in the same way that you can say that Anita’s critique of the pervasive sexism inside video game culture (a critique I do find valid which points to the problems of the concept of validity and even of critique as they’re really very subjective concepts and depend heavily on each viewer’s experience and worldview) was not valid and/or worthless.

          “Again, you assume too much. Considering I am in the top 10% of earners in this country, and that I am constantly being headhunted by companies, and that I have a very healthy opinion of myself, and that I have no interest in surrounding myself with “disposable” women knowing that to marry a woman is to commit financial suicide, you really should not make assumptions about what my life is like. ”

          Fair cop. I don’t know you. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know your life. Maybe it’s unfair of me to make assumptions about you.

          But I infer (and, like validity, inference is based largely on subjective experience) quite a bit.

          For instance, people who have healthy opinions of themselves tend not to build self-esteem upon their contempt for others (such as women in general, feminists and, he added with a snicker, manginas). Any given person’s status as a high-wealth earner doesn’t mean they’re happy or fulfilled and being headhunted doesn’t mean that they’re a person who’s seen as anything but a method through which other, richer, people can make money.

          Someone showing so bleak (holy SHIT so bleak) a view of marriage as financial suicide (can someone in the top 10% of earners be said to be capable of financial suicide in a divorce? Even with alimony and losing half in a divorce–which could be negotiated away with a prenuptual agreement–losing half of the top 10%’s kind of money could hardly be called suicide as it’s more than a great many will see in their entire lives. Financial inconvenience, at best) absent consideration of the potential for emotional fulfillment with another person–man or woman–would paint that person as lonely and unhappy, indeed.

          I do applaud your implicit agreement that women are not, at the moment, first class citizens as men are and while I don’t think a constitutional amendment would do much to change that among people who feel a certain right to treat other people badly, at least it would be a recognition that at some point, at least, something was very wrong indeed.

          I do not applaud, however, the assertion that over 60% of rape and abuse allegations are false.

          First because that’s laughably untrue. The FBI tends to posit that the rate of unfounded (not false, just unfounded) rape accusations tend to be about 8% of reported rapes and even that assumes that every rape is reported. The percentage you’re citing is either pulled out of your ass or an inversion of a study with small sample sizes and poor controls (109 cases over 9 years as a representative sample? Get outta town) which said that 40% of allegations of forcible rape were false.

          And even if it WERE true, which I’m a long way from allowing, does that mean that it’s up to the police to not investigate certain crimes because they happen to certain categories of person? Are you saying that police should just ignore such accusations? Because the penalties, both legal and social, for someone making such a false report tend to be such that it’s not worth it for the person in question.

        • alephz says:

          “-The portrayals of men and women in society are based exactly on what nature and evolution intended for us.”

          First: Evolution doesn’t intend a thing. It’s a natural process which proceeds on a basis of functionality and adaptability in a certain environment. This is why in some non-primate species, you have male lions who just laze about all day worrying about little more than fighting off other males than anything else while the female lions run out and do the hard work of bringing in the food the pride requires.

          Second: If that assertion was true (which I am a long way from allowing), then why would society need to work so hard at pushing people–not one or the other gender–into the roles proscribed us?

          Third: If you’re nothing more than your lizard brain and I’m nothing more than my lizard brain then is this a pissing contest where rational argument has no place? Because then your entire line of argument is called into question ’cause you could just be trying to fight dirty with emotionally manipulative reframings of long-standing arguments and/or socially accepted/acceptable narratives to suit your own ends with the intent of silencing other outside input because your own brain (like everyone’s) is not subject to any rationality or need more complex than eat/sleep/fight/fuck. If you’re asserting than the entirety of human culture and achievement is devoid of meaning greater than each individual’s desire to eat/sleep/fight/fuck, I fear I must disagree in the extreme.

          Further, are you asserting that there’s nothing more to human psychology than Freud? That his assertions are proof (not a theory, not a workable model, not the beginning of a still-evolving field of psychology but full-on irrefutable, written-in-stone immutable be-all/end-all proof) that there’s nothing more than our lizard brains? A guy who’s entire life’s work stood upon the shoulders of the Age of Reason and, really, every poetic, academic and generally cultural change ever on Earth is the one who proves that everything in human culture before and after him was a lie?

          ‘Cause while I am happy to agree that Eros/Thanatos have a lot of effect on us… there’s a lot more to us. Humans ARE animals but animals have more needs than the basic mechanicals (caloric intake, reproduction, etc) and so do we. A human deprived of human society from a young age will generally not fare well inside of human society, even if its baseline lizard brain self-preservatory needs are satisfied. The lizard brain keeps us alive but it’s our evolved human brain that lets us be fulfilled.

          My counteroffer is that if you think you’re above the need for non-lizard brain fulfilment, toss everything out of your life that sits above the physiological and, heck, let’s be nice, safety needs parts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and then tell me how perfectly evolutionarily situated you are to function in the society in which you currently reside.

          Further still, your assertion (which, again, I find specious at best) that the media we take in is based on this apparently evolutionarily driven set of hard-and-fast universal roles which satisfy our lizard brains somehow because lizard brains are all about entertainment (maybe that’s it responding to Eros or something?), that doesn’t explain why women should largely be passive objects to be acted upon as victims or accessories or walking incubators while men should have agency and power and have the opportunity to be heroes, villians or sacrifices. Or why women would WANT to be portrayed as having the capacity for heroism as, if I follow your train of thought, that would be entirely maladaptive as that would make women, like men, disposable.

          If the whole ‘hero’ thing is so derided and so valueless, why do so many people want in on that shit? If the whole ‘not having to be disposable’ thing is so desirable, why don’t more people in general do that shit?

          And if all of this is dictated by our lizard brains, by evolution and our nature, why are there so many people whose sense of self-worth and self-preservation hinge on acting against that nature? A nature should be a thing we’re compelled or at least happy to follow.

          “-I did not harass her. Never did I post hate comments on any of her channels. You assume too much. What I did was post a valid critique of her methods. Is that okay with you, or are only feminists and manginas allowed to make critiques.”

          First: Mangina. Really?

          Second: My assertion was not that you did a thing but that people who purport to share your perspective have done so. You do not say that you find such a thing to be undesirable or bad, only that you have not personally done it.

          Third: You don’t get to call your critique “valid”. That’d be like me calling my chicken scratch here “revolutionary” or Zach Snyder calling himself a “visionary”. You made a critique and that’s fine. You’re allowed.

          And not allowed, mind, by my power as a feminist mangina beta zeta alpha and omega from the fourteenth plane of G’rz’r’ath’s evil feminist mangina hivemind but because, shit, it’s the internet and I can’t stop you and don’t feel like trying. I can, however, say that I do not think your critique is valid nor of any worth whatsoever, much in the same way that you can say that Anita’s critique of the pervasive sexism inside video game culture (a critique I do find valid which points to the problems of the concept of validity and even of critique as they’re really very subjective concepts and depend heavily on each viewer’s experience and worldview) was not valid and/or worthless.

          “Again, you assume too much. Considering I am in the top 10% of earners in this country, and that I am constantly being headhunted by companies, and that I have a very healthy opinion of myself, and that I have no interest in surrounding myself with “disposable” women knowing that to marry a woman is to commit financial suicide, you really should not make assumptions about what my life is like. ”

          Fair cop. I don’t know you. I don’t know who you are and I don’t know your life. Maybe it’s unfair of me to make assumptions about you.

          But I infer (and, like validity, inference is based largely on subjective experience) quite a bit.

          For instance, people who have healthy opinions of themselves tend not to build self-esteem upon their contempt for others (such as women in general, feminists and, he added with a snicker, manginas). Any given person’s status as a high-wealth earner doesn’t mean they’re happy or fulfilled and being headhunted doesn’t mean that they’re a person who’s seen as anything but a method through which other, richer, people can make money.

          Someone showing so bleak (holy SHIT so bleak) a view of marriage as financial suicide (can someone in the top 10% of earners be said to be capable of financial suicide in a divorce? Even with alimony and losing half in a divorce–which could be negotiated away with a prenuptual agreement–losing half of the top 10%’s kind of money could hardly be called suicide as it’s more than a great many will see in their entire lives. Financial inconvenience, at best) absent consideration of the potential for emotional fulfillment with another person–man or woman–would paint that person as lonely and unhappy, indeed.

          I do applaud your implicit agreement that women are not, at the moment, first class citizens as men are and while I don’t think a constitutional amendment would do much to change that among people who feel a certain right to treat other people badly, at least it would be a recognition that at some point, at least, something was very wrong indeed.

          I do not applaud, however, the assertion that over 60% of rape and abuse allegations are false.

          First because that’s laughably untrue. The FBI tends to posit that the rate of unfounded (not false, just unfounded) rape accusations tend to be about 8% of reported rapes and even that assumes that every rape is reported. The percentage you’re citing is either pulled out of your ass or an inversion of a study with small sample sizes and poor controls (109 cases over 9 years as a representative sample? Get outta town) which said that 40% of allegations of forcible rape were false.

          And even if it WERE true, which I’m a long way from allowing, does that mean that it’s up to the police to not investigate certain crimes because they happen to certain categories of person? Are you saying that police should just ignore such accusations? Because the penalties, both legal and social, for someone making such a false report tend to be such that it’s not worth it for the person in question.

        • Foxessa says:

          -The portrayals of men and women in society are based exactly on what nature and evolution intended for us. Women, who are historically intrinsically valuable due to the limited ability to use their womb, have never needed to show ambition or utility. All females had the opportunity to reproduce. What they were limited in is resources for their children.

          This just may be the most incredibly stupid and historically, biologically and anthropologically thing ever to be written on the internets.

          If it were true the human race wouldn’t even be here.

          Learn things and grow up, you!

    • fozmeadows says:

      Here are the points I’d specifically like to respond to:

      Your comment: “So in order to say that x amount of women worked on the project, almost all of the directors were female. Directors, have neither talent in art or engineering and are responsible for the scheduling of the work. However, not knowing what the jobs of the people they were managing entails… Most of the female directors don’t even play games. Still, they were the highest paid and will get their names at the top of the credit list.”

      My response: You’re saying the female directors were only hired to fill a diversity quota for the project; that they were talentless, didn’t know how to do their jobs, didn’t understand gaming or the industry, and received undue credit. Which… look, there’s no tactful way of saying this: basically, you’ve assumed the women were unqualified because they were women – or rather, because you feel their gender was a factor in their hiring (though unless you were privy to the hiring process, I don’t see how you can fairly make that claim) – and have chosen to resent them accordingly, which smacks strongly of unconscious sexism; particularly as none of your criticisms about directors generally seem to apply equally to the male directors.

      Your comment: “And you mention Anita Sarkeesian without knowing what a fraud she is. Like how she censors all the comments on here youtube channel. Oh wait, she did not for the kickstarter video on her channel. Of course, she knew the flaming she would get from gamers and leveraged that to gain sympathy (and $150,000). Of course once the kickstarter ended she immediately closed all comments on her youtube channel again.”

      My response: Why is it fraudulent or problematic to censor abusive comments on one’s private blog or channel? I’ve received threats of rape and violence on this blog; why shouldn’t I block their senders, when such threats add nothing to the discussion and only serve to make the space an unsafe, uncomfortable place for other people to be in? Your claims about Sarkeesian’s motives seem predicated on the idea that censoring abuse is fundamentally an act of deception; and worse, that the abuse she received was somehow normal, proportionate, understandable: you’re saying that she knew she’d receive rape threats en masse, have her Wikipedia page vandalised with pornography, and be bombarded with a coordinated abuse campaign that included the creation of a game where people could literally beat her up, so that a photo of her face resembled that of a domestic violence victim – you’re saying that violent, sexualised, coordinated misogyny was a predictable response to her Kickstarter proposal, but that she deserves more censure than her attackers because, having been brave enough to confront them publicly, in the face of serious threats of violence, she received monetary support from people who rightly thought her treatment was disgusting? You seem to think that closing comments on a YouTube channel is a worse crime than threatening someone with rape, which – again – is unpardonably sexist. You say in another comment that you have a sister: if she received abuse on the scale that Sarkeesian did in response for her work in tech and was brave enough to talk about it publicly, would you think she was leveraging the situation for sympathy and gain? Whatever you think of Sarkeesian’s videos, any defence of her attackers or condemnation of her response to them cannot help but be deeply, awfully sexist.

      Your comment: “At least the cultural expectations for women are attainable under the laws of the physics. With enough exercise or plastic surgery it is possible for women to be what they think men want. But men? How did Edward come into Bella’s life. By stopping a speeding car with one arm. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that. No surgery or steroid can make any man on the planet compete with that. Oh and Edward is also eternally young. Yeah, that is attainable. What about Avengers. How am I supposed to compete with the Norse god of thunder. No surgery can make me a god.”

      My response: I don’t even know where to begin with this. Firstly, if plastic surgery is required in order for women to meet the cultural expectations of men, then clearly, those expectations are neither healthy nor based in reality – you’re essentially arguing that women are in a position of privilege because we can get breast implants to look like Lara Croft, but you can’t get a god upgrade to act like Thor. Never mind the fact that myriad female characters in comics and games are drawn to anatomically impossible specifications, making their looks unattainable even with surgery – what you’ve done here is made the physical bodies of female characters equivalent to the mythical backstories of male characters. I can no more be a universe-saving warrior like FemShep or a magic-wielding sorceress like Rinoa than you can be a thunder-god or a vampire – all are equally unrealistic, regardless of gender. So saying women are better off than men because, with surgery, we could look like video-game characters, while offering no acknowledgement of how fucked-up it is that anyone would expect us to do that, or count us as unattractive if we didn’t, or of any of the myriad issues of hypersexualisation surrounding the portrayal of women in gaming? That is problematic.

      Your comment: “The author of this post further exhibits misandry by only pointing out the abuse of female gamers. I can’t count the number of times I was called a fag in an online game. It implies the same thing that women who are sexually harassed online implies. A penis inserted in one’s orifice. Actually it is worse for men. It is culturally acceptable for a woman to have a penis inserted into her. It is not for men.”

      My response: Firstly, it’s not misandry to point out the existence of sexism. Secondly, though, and far more importantly: when you’re called a fag online, that’s homophobia. The insult might be directed at you but its status as an insult is predicated on the assumption that you, as a straight man, don’t want to be thought of as gay, because gay men are worse than straight men: that’s the logic. Under this system, straightness and manliness are positive attributes: you can’t insult a straight man by referencing his gender or orientation, and so the only way to attack him is to deny his straightness and manliness. Thus, while meant to make you feel injured, such insults are predominantly attacks on other people; because the moment you think, “I don’t want to be called a fag! That’s bad!”, you’ve essentially agreed that being gay is undesirable; that the accusation of gayness is legitimately insulting. When I’m called a bitch, a slut or a whore online, however, my gender, my sexuality and my person are being attacked specifically because I’m a woman. If someone calls you a bitch, they’re trying to insult you by saying you’re like a woman; because to them, being female is an insult. That’s the crucial difference.

      Your comment: “No one with even rudimentary scientific training can deny that all of western civilization is entirely for the benefit of women. Why are the majority of welfare recipients female while the majority of homeless men. The author talks about notions like raising children in a gender neutral way yet she likely only believes that when it is convenient. Does she believe in gender neutrality when it come down to child custody. Clearly the courts do not. No, feminists want state funded welfare for all women and survival of the fittest for all men. Such is evident by their naked hostility towards beta males.”

      My response: The idea that all of western civilisation is entirely for the benefit of women is ludicrous. I mean, I actually cannot respond to this sentence rationally, because it’s not a rational argument. I could cite you statistics about how the gender wage gap is skewed in favour of men over women; I could point out the under-representation of women in positions of power, the dearth of female world leaders, CEOs and so on; I could point to rafts of recent legislation in multiple countries designed to restrict women’s biological and reproductive rights, such as the recent criminialisation of miscarriage in Utah; I could do any number of things. But ultimately, I don’t think it would help – which is why I’ll leave it here.

      This has been a long response. I debated even bothering to make it, given your closing remarks, as they seem to suggest that anything I said would be disregarded because of my gender. But you responded civilly to Fiver, which gave me hope that you might listen, and so I made an effort. I’ve been as courteous, calm and rational as I can, under the circumstances. Let’s see where the effort gets me.

      • Anthony says:

        ” You’re saying the female directors were only hired to fill a diversity quota for the project; that they were talentless, didn’t know how to do their jobs, didn’t understand gaming or the industry, and received undue credit.”

        Yes, I am afraid that was exactly why they were hired. If at most half the managers are women then I would not find anything unusual. When all the managers are women then there is cause to be alarmed. I would not even be alarmed if this happened in another industry since men have long had monopolies in management and it would be only fair if the situation is reversed at many companies. But for an industry where the majority of workers are men (which is why I used the words ‘at most half’), that the top 20 applicants for a managerial role were all women is highly improbable. That is just assuming men and women are equally capable (which they are).

        “My response: I don’t even know where to begin with this. Firstly, if plastic surgery is required in order for women to meet the cultural expectations of men, then clearly, those expectations are neither healthy nor based in reality – you’re essentially arguing that women are in a position of privilege because we can get breast implants to look like Lara Croft……..we could look like video-game characters, while offering no acknowledgement of how fucked-up it is that anyone would expect us to do that, or count us as unattractive if we didn’t, or of any of the myriad issues of hypersexualisation surrounding the portrayal of women in gaming? That is problematic.”

        True. I will concede you your very well articulated counter-point. My mistake. I will add that I do not approve of breast implants or any sort of plastic surgery, I also don’t agree with HYPER-sexualization of women in games. Stress the word hyper. I find myself uncomfortable playing certain games, particularly some that come out of Japan with anime style seemingly underaged tits on a stick female characters. Though I don’t think all sexualization should be removed from gaming. Humanity needs to accept that there is an intrinsic bias of men to sexualize females. It is simply the nature of things.

        ” Firstly, it’s not misandry to point out the existence of sexism. Secondly, though, and far more importantly: when you’re called a fag online, that’s homophobia. The insult might be directed at you but its status as an insult is predicated on the assumption that you, as a straight man, don’t want to be thought of as gay, because gay men are worse than straight men: that’s the logic…”

        Another excellent point. I admit you have permanently changed my views on the subject.

        “The idea that all of western civilisation is entirely for the benefit of women is ludicrous. I mean, I actually cannot respond to this sentence rationally, because it’s not a rational argument. I……”

        I am afraid that is the way society is trending. All I can say is wait…say 20 years…and then ask me who is the oppressed class? I would also ask you to be me more thorough in researching studies regarding the wage gap. While you likely believe what feminists tout, that women make $0.65 on the dollar to men, those studies are far from statistically sound. The main reason for that $0.35 gap is that women choose to go into fields that are less lucrative like public service. Men also take bigger risks and hence strike it big more often whereas women tend to prefer safe stable jobs. Another difference is that the men who enjoyed careers when men worked and women stayed home are still in the workforce. What’s more, being the most senior people at companies they enjoy the highest salaries. So when studies like the ones feminists tout say that a female scientist makes less money than a male one, those studies do not factor in years of experience. The only way to accurately measure gender wage gap is to look at the same profession with the same number years of experience. In the study I read it was found that women make $0.98 on the dollar to men. Another study in Britain actually concluded that women make $1.02 on the dollar to men. The gender wage gap, like many of the supposed sexist disadvantages of women, are more or less fictitious. And if a double standard does exist there is usually an equally prejudiced one for men. The male version of objectification is their treatment throughout history as beasts of burden.

        • fozmeadows says:

          Thank you for listening to my arguments, and for taking them under advisement. I still disagree with you on other points, but as those would involve a longer discussion unrelated to gaming – and as this would seem to be an amicable note on which to step back – I’ll refrain from further comment, and instead feel content that we’ve reached at least some agreement.

        • Foxessa says:

          Perhaps you’d like to have a conversation with a woman such as, o, I don’t know, Harriet Tubman or the women who pulled carts of coal in the English coal mines, or the women hitched to a plow about being a beast of burden.

          Learn history, learn all kinds of things, and grow up!

  7. Andrea Harris says:

    Anything that contains the phrase “the sky’s the limit” is an immediate sign to me that it contains absolutely nothing of substance and is basically shilling for whatever corporation or other group the person writing it belongs to. The sad thing is so deep does the corporate drone-speak go in our culture that she no doubt thought she was being sincere, heartfelt, and demonstrated that she Really Cares About Her Fellow Women when she wrote that.

  8. guga912 says:

    What i wanted to say exactly what you said, that the only reason you are not in the IT industry, is that you are not interested in it, and not because you are a woman, but because you like other things. So what I am saying is that when it comes to the choice of ones profession, gender and sexism for that mater, is not the reason you chose something other then CS, and I have never met a women who has told me that she did not pursue her dream of becoming a programmer because she was afraid to be discriminated against. Few men chose to study CS and even fewer women do, but once they are there they are in fact equal in skill. And writing does very well compare to programming, if you are excellent at writing code, you can do magnificent things alone or with a friend so there is nothing but statistics and time stooping two female game developers makings a great indie title. But again I am only talking about succeeding as a professional in the industry, not taking into account the problems that exist in the gaming community and the kind of marketing we get. At the end what i wanted to say is that although I do not work for a gaming company but just in IT, I believe sexism is a non-issue when it comes to hiring people, and promoting the people who work hard and deserve to get ahead, because it i just plain wrong and bad for business . But then again I come from a country whose most popular president ever was female. And I highly doubt EA has turned down a highly qualified female, just because they only want it to be a boys club.

    • ERose says:

      Clearly, you have no idea how early the discrimination starts or how it works. Tech is a culture, and even if you aren’t in it as a kid, the adults you influence you sure are.
      I was really good at computers when I was younger. But every single adult encouraged me in other skills and only pointed me to the opportunities to learn and grow in other areas. I doubt they did it from some conspiracy to get me out of engineering or CS, but I do think it never even occurred to them that the little girl who loved tools and machines should be shown new ways to use them and encouraged to explore the possibilities of her interests. It’s a culture thing – little boys build things and should be encouraged to do so. Little girls build things in their tomboy phase and they’ll grow out of it.

      By the time I was old enough to see about getting more serious about looking into CS as a field, I was clearly no longer welcome. I hadn’t been to the countless computer camps and I didn’t play in the same gaming groups as my male counterparts and so I’d suddenly become just a poser girl, although I was still pretty good and still legitimately interested.
      With men I hadn’t been friends with it was even worse, and it seemed like a no-brainer that I’d choose something I was also interested in where I didn’t face all the vitiriol, trivialization and downright nastiness of trying to be the one woman in a very insular and entitled group of men. I even had a professor at a college I visited tell me he would be doing me a disservice if he didn’t warn me his classes were a bit beyond the Sailor Moon crowd. I did not, by the way, watch Sailor Moon nor imply that I did.

      So I did give up any thoughts I had about CS – and I had given serious thought to majoring in it and becoming a games designer when I was in that part of my life. It was never an all-consuming passion, but I think it’s hard for someone who automatically fits into a culture to understand how much work it takes to get through that kind of bullshit. And all that work has to be done before we can even begin to deal with the actual work and its natural frustrations. I never wanted to be in a field where I would have to divert energy from the job to trying to deflect or fight that shit.

  9. jennygadget says:

    Foz, as always, this post rocks.

    I think my favorite part may be “Which is, presumably, why she’s felt no need to sully her case by supporting it with facts,” but it’s all pretty awesome.

  10. Fiver says:

    It’s awesome to know that all the guys here think that sexism is a non-issue.

    As it was, I was a math major in college, who took extensive CS coursework. I was interested in going into gaming–so much so that I went to the Game Developer’s Convention. When I arrived, and registered, the person registering me did a double take and asked me if I was there with my boyfriend — and then when I said no, said, “Because, you know, I wasn’t, like, expecting people with breasts.”

    While I was there, men touched me without my consent, joked that I could get whatever I wanted as a game developer because I was a girl, talked about my boobs (which frankly are not all that big). Things that were irrelevant: Getting the best grades in my CS classes, a major in applied math, programming experience, the games that I enjoyed playing. I think they all thought they were “encouraging” me by telling me how awesome it was that girls could be, like, sexy, and how they thought intelligent girls were sexy, and how much they liked sexy girls, but I really wanted to talk about games.

    I walked away from it convinced that if I went into gaming, I would spend the rest of my life with people who did not respect my personal space and who thought I was put there to be their hot geek girlfriend. After about a day, I retreated to my hotel room and huddled in a little ball. That’s how bad it was.

    Instead, I went to graduate school in a hard (in fact, a theoretical) science. I’ve spent time in areas that are heavily male dominated where the sexism has been minimal. (I’m not saying there was no sexism–just that I didn’t experience it.) I have nothing but good things to say about the community of theoretical physicists/chemists/etc. working in complexity theory, even though there are more dudes than girls. I’m sure we could talk about the instances of sexism that crop up there–and the pipeline problems that contribute to them–but I did not then, and do not know, think that the people in that field were a huge problem. They made me feel truly welcomed–that is, they treated me like my contributions could be made with my mind rather than my vagina.

    My experience with the gaming world was so extraordinarily hostile that it took me 24 hours to walk away.

    I’ve been in a LOT of male-dominated environments in my life, and I don’t think that “male-dominated” is code for “all the people in the industry are sexist pigs”–not by any stretch of the imagination. But I can put the male-dominated environments I’ve been in on a rank-ordered list from most sexist to least sexist, and gaming is pretty much near the top of that list.

    I’m not trying to say that all men in that industry are sexist pigs–I’m sure there are many who are not. But you know, guys? If you think that the blatant sexism is nonexistent? I’m pretty sure you’re one of the pigs.

    • Anthony says:

      Fiver, I think it is awesome you achieved success in a male-dominated field. I for one love it when women pursue technical fields. I am also saddened by your experience with people in the gaming industry. I appreciate your well thought out and articulate response and it has made me think twice. Maybe there are a disproportionate amount of jerks in the gaming industry. That they would fondle you is completely outrageous. I can’t wrap my head around it. It is just something I can never imagine myself doing. I’ve never even approached a woman on the streets because I don’t want to accost her. I had always assumed that most men, especially those from stable families, are well adjusted law-abiding and courteous individuals and that a small percentage of the male population are committing the majority of the sexist acts against women. That an entire room full of game developers would all disrespect you like that is alarming. All I can say from my experience at a game studio is that gender was a non-issue. The same goes from the other CS related jobs I’ve held at other tech companies as well as the women in my CS program at university. But then there is my sister who is an electrical engineer and the best her company has who is constantly harassed by the male engineers. I would love to see an unbiased statistical study that says just what percentage of men in technical fields are like that. Certainly, not all of them.
      The one thing I would suggest to you is that you don’t have to work at a studio to be in the game industry. I left my high paying job to make my own games and I am loving the creative freedom I am enjoying. All you really need is a fast computer and an internet connection and you can make an iPhone game. You don’t even have to quit your job to do it but do it on your spare time. It is a golden opportunity of someone being able to make a game that women can enjoy that does not have to be about shooting people in the face.

      • Fiver says:

        “That an entire room full of game developers would all disrespect you like that is alarming.”

        I didn’t say it was the entire room. It doesn’t have to be an entire room full of people touching me without my consent for me to be an assault. It needs to be a small number of people who do the touching–and everyone else looking away, pretending they’re not seeing it. You can feel assaulted when it’s just one person, if nobody ever steps in, if people think they’re seeing something normal.

        That’s why your insistence that nothing is wrong–in the face of actual people reporting otherwise–is so infuriating to me. Because your indifference, your insistence that this doesn’t happen, perpetuates the problem.

        I have never said, and will never say, that ALL the men in a field are poison. But what you have to understand is that you only need a small percentage of people who are allowed to continue to make the field virtually impossible to navigate without needing therapy at every step of the way.

        “I for one love it when women pursue technical fields.”

        Thanks for letting me know that my vagina is allowed on your playing field! I feel better all ready.

        “The one thing I would suggest to you is that you don’t have to work at a studio to be in the game industry.”

        Oh, awesome! See, girls, there’s no sexism in the game industry. All you have to do is work by yourself and never communicate with anyone publicly, and you’ll never experience any sexism. THERE I FIXED IT FOR YOU.

        I’m sorry I’m being so sarcastic in response, but this is mansplanation at its finest–trying to explain to a bunch of girls who have experienced actual sexism that what they experienced didn’t really happen.

        Gluh.

        • jennygadget says:

          “I didn’t say it was the entire room. It doesn’t have to be an entire room…”

          As friends were pointing out on twitter, the people that are trying to pretend that it’s just “a few bad apples” are missing the point of that saying.

          And, as I said earlier, the part that drives me batty is how often people pretend such clear harassment towards women does not exist and/or should not matter to women who really love the field! but yet even the slightest hint of anything that threatens the idea of masculine as the default has them acting as if it’s just too much to ask men to overcome that.

          The discussion above regarding managers is a good example, I’m guessing that the women in those positions were chosen for them not because they were “quota” hirings, but rather because the women that were hired for the company tended to be pigeon-holed as managers due to our perceptions of each gender’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the differing degrees to which we are willing to hold men and women accountable for how good they are at dealing with people, and how that affects people’s skillsets.

          Unlike Anthony’s certainty that every single one of these women knew nothing, the fact that this happens quite frequently in male dominated fields has been established by others.

          • Anthony says:

            I just want to add one thing because my intentions were misinterpreted. It was my fault because I did not word it correctly or should not have included certain parts at all. I did not mean that the directors were clueless because they were women. Rather, I think most directors, men included, are clueless. Game teams are also composed of producers. In the last project I worked all the producers were men while the directors were women. I thought the producers were equally useless. It is a personal frustration of mine of how the managers (producers and directors) handled projects at EA. When I typed what I originally typed I allowed my personal frustrations on directors and producers, which was irrelevant to the theme and content of this blog, to come through. I see now that given the topic of this post, my words could be interpreted no other way other than that I think the directors were useless because they were women. I’ve watched television news pieces where they detailed studies that show women make better managers than men. And though I never read the study myself I would imagine it is true given the usually higher emotional intelligence of women.

            The other thing I would add is that I was not “pretending” that sexism in the game industry never happens. If you read my last response to Fiver I clearly did not know. A burglar, when conversing with other people, probably is always thinking to himself while conversing, “This person is trying to rip me off or steal from me, I know it”, whether that suspicion is unfounded or not. I on the other don’t think that while I am talking to people because I don’t steal myself. Maybe I am just too trusting and other people are more wary. I don’t go around harassing the women I work with or fondling them. So I generally don’t walk around with the concept of sexism against women in the back of my mind. So I don’t suspect other men to be guilty of it. And I said I never witnessed such acts as Fiver described. Now I think it probably did happen at my last studio but I was oblivious to it. Again, it is hard to spot something you are not looking for. I am aware of the problem now though.

            • jennygadget says:

              “The other thing I would add is that I was not “pretending” that sexism in the game industry never happens. If you read my last response to Fiver I clearly did not know.”

              Are you an adult? An expert on workplace discrimination? Yes and no? Then how about next time that people start talking about something you are not an expert on you act like a fucking grown-up and shut the fuck up and LISTEN to people that know more than about the topic before you start assuming conclusions and then stating them as facts.

              • Anthony says:

                Expert on workplace discrimination? No. But i have worked in the industry for nearly a decade and at several publishers. So that qualifies me to make a statement about the industry. I doubt you are either an expert or a member of the industry. So maybe you should shut the fuck up.

                • jennygadget says:

                  I note you only think I should shut the fuck up. And fail to notice the other part of my advice – that of LISTENing to people who know more than you (which I never said in this case included me) BEFORE you speak. Not to never say anything about the topic ever.

                  But I’m sure that was all an accident, and it’s just a coincidence that you sound like every other asshole telling a woman to shut up when you disagree with her. Especially when the topic of conversation is sexism.

        • Anthony says:

          Out of respect for fozmeadows I seriously considered not responding to this post as she gave herself and me an opportunity to “step back” and part amicably. But I have to admit I must respond.

          “I didn’t say it was the entire room. It doesn’t have to be an entire room full of people touching me without my consent for me to be an assault. It needs to be a small number of people who do the touching–and everyone else looking away, pretending they’re not seeing it. You can feel assaulted when it’s just one person, if nobody ever steps in, if people think they’re seeing something normal.”

          Sorry, I misread your original text as the entire room mistreated you. But I would like to say that I doubt all the men who stood by thought it was normal. I for one would not approve of it or think it was normal. Clearly I think, incorrectly I guess, that the norm is that women are accepted in the game industry having told you that I never saw a woman being mistreated at the studio I worked at. I now think that though I would never dream of doing that to a woman and assume most men think like me and that I never witnessed such an act, I am now starting to think that such acts have and do happen at the studio I worked at. If I ever witness such an act my jaw would literally drop to the floor. But I wonder if I too would have looked the other way. There could be many reasons why the men looked the other way. I once lived in a city where people queue for the bus rather than amass around the door. Yet there were always people that skipped the line, Most people, including myself say nothing.

          “Thanks for letting me know that my vagina is allowed on your playing field! I feel better all ready.”

          I am sorry if my comment offended you but I think you are reading too much into it. I would see no reason to say that I love seeing women pursue medical degrees. Medical schools which are 50/50 and have been for some time now do not need the male practitioners encouraging women to enter the field. The computer industry, which is male dominated does require everyone in the field to encourage and welcome women into the profession. My comment was simply meant as encouragement for women to pursue software and other STEM fields. I did not make the computer industry this way and don’t see how you interpreted my comment to mean that the playing field is mine and that I am allowing you entry.

          “Oh, awesome! See, girls, there’s no sexism in the game industry. All you have to do is work by yourself and never communicate with anyone publicly, and you’ll never experience any sexism. THERE I FIXED IT FOR YOU.”

          Again I think you are being too harsh on me. You said in your original post
          “I walked away from it convinced that if I went into gaming, I would spend the rest of my life with people who did not respect my personal space and who thought I was put there to be their hot geek girlfriend.”
          YOU decided that you did not want to go directly into such a work environment, My suggestion to you was adapted to your decision. Had you said something like, “I am considering taking a job at a game studio but from the way I was treated I am on the fence on whether I should pursue such a career”, then I definitely would have suggested something along the lines of, “Screw those sexist losers. You go right ahead and follow your dreams”. I was merely suggesting that if you have a passion for games and game development but are dead set against joining an institutional studio that there are still avenues available for you to pursue your interests.

          And is working on your own game so bad. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook started with just a few programmers working out of their basement or garage. And if you think that opportunity is passed look at a recent example like Notch and his game Minecraft. It was initially programmed by him alone. Now, 15 million copies later, he employs people to work on his games. I wonder if you understand just how much power people like you and me possess. Software engineering, unlike most professions, can potentially make a millionaire out of any practitioner. If a person wanted to open up a retail store, they would need significant capital investment to buy stock. Often people mortgage their homes to take the risk. A programmer can literally pull a billion dollars out of thin air with a minuscule amount of capital needed. Hence, she risks nothing. So again, I would consider giving a personal game project a try. If you hit it big you can then hire people to work for you and then you can have your inter-personal communication with other people. Not to mention how much good you could do for the industry as a whole. I would imagine if half the game companies were owned by women then the shit you described would simply not be acceptable.

          The last thing I would say is how much participating in this thread has opened my eyes. I did not dream that the problem was so severe. But reading about your experience and the woman below really made me cry. Literally…I teared up. I can’t express how much sorrow I feel for women that must endure such abuse. I can promise you that now that I am prepared for such an occurrence as you experienced, I will definitely not look the other way if I ever witness such an event. Perhaps it will encourage other men who also find such behavior objectionable to act as well.

          Again, I am deeply sorry that I offended you. I do think you were a little harsh on me considering I had well-meaning intentions.

          • Anthony, I have read this entire thread and your response is astonishing. I especially wanted to commend you on this thought of yours; “ I can promise you that now that I am prepared for such an occurrence as you experienced, I will definitely not look the other way if I ever witness such an event. Perhaps it will encourage other men who also find such behavior objectionable to act as well. “

            That is an unusual– and wonderful conclusion for a man to come to, and personally, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it. because what MOST men say at this point, if they come to it, is this; “Well! I am now a feminist! Step aside, little lady, I will tell you how feminism should be done!”

            That being said, there are games being developed by women. The problem is not so much in the development, although there is the problem of sexism being such a factor amongst the developers and the people who are available to work, still that canbe overcome by din’t of applying mush more effort than any guy has to provide.

            The problem comes in marketing. That’s where a company needs moeny these days, and that’s where the sexist belief that ‘women don’t buy games and don’t game’ kicks a developer in the butt.

            Just thought I would throw that into the mix.

  11. slhuang says:

    This post is brilliant. Thank you.

    I’m a STEM person (mathematics, thought I’ve done a ton of CS along with it). I went to MIT and most of my friends are, obviously, also in STEM fields.

    Most, if not all, of my female friends have faced systemically sexist environments at one time or another in their professional careers. For some, it got so bad that they switched their professional focus (as Fiver said, some fields are better than others). I’ve been party to a lot of conversations about such sexism, and for other commenters here to posit that it doesn’t exist is simply baffling, especially in light of your exceptionally well-cited post.

    I read somewhere — I couldn’t find the citation with a quick search, but I’ll try to look when I have more time — that the percentage of women who work in gaming is much, much lower than the percentage of women who work in CS. Anecdotally, I know just as many female gamers as I know male ones, so I find it unlikely this is a matter of interest; instead, it strikes me that there is something very, very wrong with the gaming industry, much more wrong than in other male-dominated fields. And then I read stories like Fiver’s (horrific, by the way, I’m so glad you found a different field you enjoy!), as well as a growing number of other ones I’ve seen online (by the second paragraph in your post I was already thinking of #1reasonwhy), and I just start getting mad.

    Toledano’s article makes me furious. Like you said, it matters — it pushes social consciousness backward, reassures the people who like to claim this type of institutional sexism doesn’t exist. I also find it suspect that she’s writing this as a human resources manager, because in my experience there can be a strong disconnect between what HR people know and what the employees are actually experiencing. She’s using her gender to leverage authority, but she’s not a female *engineer!* She’s doing the “us” and “we women” thing, but it’s disingenuous, because she’s not on an engineering career track, isn’t having to face the same issues, and isn’t going to know about the discrimination female engineers face unless they tell her — and with her attitude, why would they? In fact, she talks like she’s one of the gals, but her bias is in the other direction, because as an HR person, if she can establish that there Is No Problem, she doesn’t have to deal with it, whereas otherwise, she *does.*

    And that means there’s something even worse about this, because she’s essentially saying, “All those MANY, MANY women who have talked about their experiences with sexism in the gaming industry to the wider world? They’re wrong,” but she’s saying it as an *HR manager,* which, if this is how she handles the individual people who come to her office with similar problems, makes me terrified for the people under her purview. Any HR manager who will willfully dismiss a problem a large number of people are talking about in an industry she helps oversee is not only a terrible HR manager, but, as someone who is in a position to actively contribute to the sexism female engineers face by pretending it doesn’t exist, a HUGE part of the problem.

  12. nikki says:

    I’m highly baffled by a lot of those comments. Hell, even going into a female-dominated field is difficult enough. I get to watch men get paid more while in the minority, and I still get to have my abilities questioned by people both in and out of the field. While working in a girls-only school, I had a lot of women questioning my gender (because “being a tomboy” is bad) and my so-called inability to relate to other young women (because I’m more interested in gaming and sci-fi than I am in fashion and “hot actors” — their words, not mine). As a result, I’ve had others say that I’ll “only fit in at boys’ schools.” I mean, it’s the women there (not all of them) who are trying to shove me neatly into what they define as being female.

    Just with that in mind, I find it hard to believe that anyone — male or female — would say there is no sexism in heavily male-dominated fields.

    I’m also confused by the fact that “women choosing to go into low wage fields” is somehow the reasoning for that $0.35 gap in the above comment. It’s not. Check out the wages in teaching, which is generally considered a low-salary field. Men (who are the minority) more often than not get paid more than women (who are the majority). That wage gap isn’t done cross-field. The statistics would have no meaning if they were comparing a woman who was a social worker to a man who was an engineer; it has meaning because they’re comparing income within the same field/profession. So it’s an engineer who is a woman vs. an engineer who is a man; it’s a teacher who is a woman vs. a teacher who is a man.

  13. Selena says:

    To Anthony and all those who are going back and forth about the wage gap, I thought I would just throw in this little gem.

    This is a Yale conducted study that proves gender discrimination *does* affect hiring practices as well as salaries.

    They controlled for every variable. They literally took the same exact resume and simply changed the name, nothing else. The resume with a female name was rated as less competent, and therefore deserving less pay.

    There were no other factors. Only. Gender. Everything else was exactly. the. same.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/unofficial-prognosis/2012/09/23/study-shows-gender-bias-in-science-is-real-heres-why-it-matters/

    • fozmeadows says:

      It’s also important to note that the wage gap is even worse when looked at along racial lines: white women earn more than black and Latina women, and so on.

  14. Vivi says:

    Here in Germany, I’ve met women in academia (natural sciences) who are like that – who had to fight tooth and nails for their spot at the top, and then turn around to expect the same from younger generations of women, or else they don’t ‘measure up’. Who, when their field finally becomes more open to girls look around the 80% female undergrad class and say “Are there no guys studying this anymore?” in a tone as if this transition into a ‘pink collar’ discipline somehow makes it less worthy and themselves less accomplished as a scientists.

    This is why I actually prefer the sometimes patronizing male professors. The few female professors of that generation just make me sad.

    And then I silently sing Alannis Morissette’s “Sister Blister” to myself and hope that it will get better when more of the female undergrads actually make it to the higher ranks. Not that it is very likely. There may be only very few male students in my field (molecular biology and microbiology), but it there’s still a glass ceiling with regards to actually getting hired as a lecturer and research scientist at a public university.

    • Sam says:

      Germany has a long proud tradition of education through terror to produce exceptional people. At what point can you differentiate between the experience of german women and the experience of german men in that regard?

      I should specify that Germany is not unique in that way.

      Ultimately, this question was discussed more explicitly in the Civil Rights movement in post-civil war USA. Whether it is better to form your own culture through a struggle to achieve recognition and a determination to be taken at face value (and treated well) or if it is better to struggle in silence and gain respect through exceptionalism. From what I can tell, African Americans have had to do both, as well as be somewhat militant in order to get as far as they have, and I think it must be the case that any oppressed people must use all the tools at their disposal, all the time, in order to regain peerage.

      My mother seems very much a woman of this type; she was a jock in school, and she became a manager in software. Now she runs her own business–the first and sometimes only employee of which is my dad. She has always wanted to mix with other women and make friends, but has a tough time with it, because her attitude can be somewhat hard. My respect for women stems from her example, but is simultaneously somewhat undercut by her toughness and resilience. I’m used to a mother who doesn’t get easily upset or discouraged. But that should not be the standard required to receive respect.

      This blog post and the article to which is responds go together. I imagine it is a couplet that will be repeated indefinitely until it is no longer needed.

      • Stardust says:

        Okay, as a German – and thus not a native English speaker – what does your first paragraph mean? The “education through terror” part specifically. Does that mean people were educated even in times of terror or does that mean the education was full of terror (meaning intimidating to students or whatever)? If it’s the latter, I’d love to know where you got that idea because I certainly haven’t experienced any of it, neither has anyone I’ve ever heard say anything about the German education system (except maybe Nena. Yeah, she would be the only one I can think of.). But really, can someone maybe paraphrase?

  15. [...] zombie moyen en manque de vie, les grandeurs et décadences des salles d’arcade américaine, les réactions aux commentaires de Gabrielle Toledano sur le sexisme dans l’industrie du jeu vidéo (voir précédemment) ou encore les [...]

  16. Foxessa says:

    Another huge factor in recognizing how sexism operates when it comes to pay scales, look at what’s happened with both the legal and medical professions since women entered these fields in large numbers: both have become deeply devalued, to the point many law school graduates who have passed the bar cannot find a position in a law firm. Hospitals and other medical institutions keep looking for ways to sluff off medical actions and decisions that used to be only in the power of M.D.s to nurses and even non-medical people.

    The same thing has happened hugely even in fields that were traditionally low-paying women’s work, i.e. the professional librarian. But there’s also an inverse, which is with digitization, and then the dotcom bust, a lot of men fleeing that bust moved into librarianship — and suddenly their pay went up, and women, even women who had been there already, their positions were downgraded, while those the men filled were upgraded — and the men get paid more.

    I will confess I’m still utterly boggled how ANYBODY, not just a man, could say that women never were beasts of burden. In what kind of bubble without women does such a person live? Has he never even seen a woman who is eight months pregnant? Has he never seen a woman with a child under four? Has he never even seen pictures of women all over the world hauling water manually, fuel, like burdens of wood, on their backs and heads — while also carrying a child? The child on their back while they do agricultural work? The pit women down in the coal mines, pulling coal carts on their hands and knees WHILE PREGNANT? How can anybody say anything that ignorant about women — even women who living today all over the world?

    • That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

      Sojourner Truth, 1851

  17. [...] Sexism In Gaming: A Response To Gabrielle Toledano: “[W]hat Toledano fails to comprehend is that gaming, like everything else, is an ecosystem – and right now, at every single level of participation, women are feeling the effects of sexism.” [...]

  18. KENNINGTON says:

    Women sure do like to complain.

  19. [...] To add to that, a pure and simple providence seems to be that there aren’t women in overmuch positions attachment the concoct leads that were featured, so that’s why it happened. That’s highly respectable the reality, excellent John Doe said, moment ignoring why trappings following that chance in the premier area and what it has to do from gender. [...]

  20. [...] To add to that, a common perception seems to be that there aren’t women in high positions like the project leads that were featured, so that’s why it happened. That’s just the reality, some people said, while ignoring why things like that happen in the first place and what it has to do with gender. [...]

  21. [...] To add to that, a common perception seems to be that there aren’t women in high positions like the project leads that were featured, so that’s why it happened. That’s just the reality, some people said, while ignoring why things like that happen in the first place and what it has to do with gender. [...]

  22. Hugo says:

    Nice answer back in return of this difficulty with firm arguments and explaining the whole thing on the
    topic of that.

  23. […] Sexism in Gaming – A Response to Gabrielle Toledano, 19 January […]

  24. […] Foz Meadows analyzes sexism in gaming (contains many, many useful links on the subject) […]

  25. […] Just ask anyone who’s ever been a woman, a person of color, or LGBTQ in fandom, at cons, in gaming, in comics, at the movies, or any other kind of geeky, nerdy […]

  26. […] zombie moyen en manque de vie, les grandeurs et décadences des salles d’arcade américaine, les réactions aux commentaires de Gabrielle Toledano sur le sexisme dans l’industrie du jeu vidéo (voir précédemment) ou encore les […]

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