Posted by mystakin (100 posts) -

That's right, the Internet is broken. Or perhaps more specifically, the people on the Internet are broken. Recent events have been riddled with negativity, hate speech, and an incredible amount of sexism that I'm just sick of. This post isn’t about whether or not you think women in video games are poorly represented, it’s about how Internet watchdogs don’t like anyone asking questions about the industry they love. The last six months have not only made me ashamed to be a gamer, it's made be ashamed to own an Internet connection. I'm ashamed to know that I love a medium that breeds demons as vile as the ones I've seen over the past few months. It's no wonder news organizations think gaming is rotting our brains.

Mass Effect 3 featured a 'story' difficulty for players uniterested in combat.

Let's start with Jennifer Hepler. A writer in the games industry dared to say that she was more interest in video game stories than gameplay, and the Internet threw a hissy fit. A witch hunt ensued as pitchfork wielding trolls targeted her gender, weight, and competency as a writer in an effort to, I'm not sure, make themselves feel better? The story becomes even muddier as many of the quotes attributed to the poor writer were entirely falsified by the mob itself. The wildfire they started grew hotter via the coals mined by their own efforts. This was a horrible moment in gaming, truly, and I'm disgusted to say it preceded a trend.

Pictured here: sexual harassment

Then we move into the story of Aris Bakhtanians and Miranda Pakozdi. During Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken reality show, Cross Assault, we got a glimpse into the mind of a man unable to understand limits. Aris not only manages to harass fellow teammate Miranda so much she seemingly takes a dive in her match to leave the show, he provides us with some amazing soundbites. Claiming that Street Fighter and sexual harassment are one in the same is true food for thought. While not an example of a mob attack, the event still exemplifies the sexism in our industry and how commonplace it feels to some people. Aris, for all his misguided beliefs about harassment, is obviously not alone.

Whether or not Lollipop Chainsaw is sexist is not the real issue.

Finally, we have the recent attacks on Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women in video games series. This is, perhaps, the most severe of them all. It combines the worst aspects of the Hepler mob attacks with the normalized sexism in the Street Fighter X Tekken story. A blogger with a successful web series about female stereotypes in media decides she wants to do a series about video games. Why? Not because she believes games are evil, but rather she believes they are the future of entertainment. Gaming has a lot of power, and she knows it. Just the mere thought of a woman asking questions about her gender's representation in games sent the Web into a firestorm. So began a maelstrom of disgraceful youtube comments, Wikipedia vandalism, and absolutely ignorant statements on any article that dared to give Anita an outlet for discussion. The whole event felt like trying to take a ball away from a 3-year old to let other kids play with it. It's as if they lack the empathy to respect other people's perspectives. It's time to grow up, Internet, you're not in pampers anymore.

2012 has been a bad year to be a female gamer. Hell, it's been a bad year to be a morally sound gamer. It's been a bad year to associate yourself with the kind of crowd that plays video games. You don’t have to agree with Hepler’s opinion on gameplay, think Aris was out of line, or believe Anita is onto something to understand the real problem here. Whether or not female representation in gaming is good or bad is irrelevant. Our gaming peers, however large or small, have decided that harassment and personal attacks are justifiable when someone questions their industry. If we numb ourselves to the outrage, we’re no better than they are.

#1 Posted by mystakin (100 posts) -

That's right, the Internet is broken. Or perhaps more specifically, the people on the Internet are broken. Recent events have been riddled with negativity, hate speech, and an incredible amount of sexism that I'm just sick of. This post isn’t about whether or not you think women in video games are poorly represented, it’s about how Internet watchdogs don’t like anyone asking questions about the industry they love. The last six months have not only made me ashamed to be a gamer, it's made be ashamed to own an Internet connection. I'm ashamed to know that I love a medium that breeds demons as vile as the ones I've seen over the past few months. It's no wonder news organizations think gaming is rotting our brains.

Mass Effect 3 featured a 'story' difficulty for players uniterested in combat.

Let's start with Jennifer Hepler. A writer in the games industry dared to say that she was more interest in video game stories than gameplay, and the Internet threw a hissy fit. A witch hunt ensued as pitchfork wielding trolls targeted her gender, weight, and competency as a writer in an effort to, I'm not sure, make themselves feel better? The story becomes even muddier as many of the quotes attributed to the poor writer were entirely falsified by the mob itself. The wildfire they started grew hotter via the coals mined by their own efforts. This was a horrible moment in gaming, truly, and I'm disgusted to say it preceded a trend.

Pictured here: sexual harassment

Then we move into the story of Aris Bakhtanians and Miranda Pakozdi. During Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken reality show, Cross Assault, we got a glimpse into the mind of a man unable to understand limits. Aris not only manages to harass fellow teammate Miranda so much she seemingly takes a dive in her match to leave the show, he provides us with some amazing soundbites. Claiming that Street Fighter and sexual harassment are one in the same is true food for thought. While not an example of a mob attack, the event still exemplifies the sexism in our industry and how commonplace it feels to some people. Aris, for all his misguided beliefs about harassment, is obviously not alone.

Whether or not Lollipop Chainsaw is sexist is not the real issue.

Finally, we have the recent attacks on Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs. Women in video games series. This is, perhaps, the most severe of them all. It combines the worst aspects of the Hepler mob attacks with the normalized sexism in the Street Fighter X Tekken story. A blogger with a successful web series about female stereotypes in media decides she wants to do a series about video games. Why? Not because she believes games are evil, but rather she believes they are the future of entertainment. Gaming has a lot of power, and she knows it. Just the mere thought of a woman asking questions about her gender's representation in games sent the Web into a firestorm. So began a maelstrom of disgraceful youtube comments, Wikipedia vandalism, and absolutely ignorant statements on any article that dared to give Anita an outlet for discussion. The whole event felt like trying to take a ball away from a 3-year old to let other kids play with it. It's as if they lack the empathy to respect other people's perspectives. It's time to grow up, Internet, you're not in pampers anymore.

2012 has been a bad year to be a female gamer. Hell, it's been a bad year to be a morally sound gamer. It's been a bad year to associate yourself with the kind of crowd that plays video games. You don’t have to agree with Hepler’s opinion on gameplay, think Aris was out of line, or believe Anita is onto something to understand the real problem here. Whether or not female representation in gaming is good or bad is irrelevant. Our gaming peers, however large or small, have decided that harassment and personal attacks are justifiable when someone questions their industry. If we numb ourselves to the outrage, we’re no better than they are.

#2 Posted by Animasta (14648 posts) -

good times, good times...

also I think you kinda have to think aris was out of line, because his issue was way worse; you're right on the whole though

#3 Posted by believer258 (11632 posts) -

Well, Aris Bakhtanians was nothing but an asshole. I understand that this is the kind of attitude that you're against, but there's no other way around those comments.

"If you don't like the fighting game community's insults, then leave!" Good sportsmanship doesn't include thoroughly insulting your teammates.

As for Jennifer Hepler, that's also a very unfortunate incident. I don't think that games should have a fast forward button at all, that's pretty much cheating (yep), but the way people reacted to her is, indeed, outrageous. Frankly, this is probably worse that Aris's insults. Those were the speeches of one lowly man, but a whole group of people showed what they really are - childish neckbeards, and unfortunately it painted our entire group as such.

I can't comment much on Anita Sarkeesian because I didn't read anything she wrote, nor did I keep up with the internet on that one.

I feel like this issue is going to hit a head sometime in the next few years and eventually we won't see as many booth babes or women with 3DS's wrapped 'round their waists. God, that very thought is uncomfortable.

#4 Posted by crazyleaves (640 posts) -
@mystakin great post. While I think of all the things you listed are terrible I'm hoping they're just growing pains.
#5 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

For every hate ridden person on the Internet you can find a kind person out there.

Stop being so dramatic people.

Two words: Vocal. Minority.

#6 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

Breaking News: Sexism is bad

#7 Posted by TheHT (10880 posts) -

@mystakin said:

I'm ashamed to know that I love a medium that breeds demons as vile as the ones I've seen over the past few months.

Don't be so naive. There are fuckers everywhere.

#8 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@mystakin: That's not really how the internet works at all. You're reading the small minority of very vocal, basement-dwelling assholes who congregate on message boards and circlejerk each other with similar opinions and end up thinking they have some sort of majority because of all the similar people they run into on said message boards. It's really nothing new to think that people who spend all their free time posting on message boards with other people who also spend all their free time posting on message boards have pretty warped and stunted emotional and social IQs, and these are the people who run around making all these comments and perpetuating these attitudes amongst themselves. Truthfully, plenty more people (enough to make up the vast majority) in the real world have moved on.

Hell, I'll bet you real money that 95% of video game players don't even have a forum account anywhere. And that, right there, is 'nuff said.

#9 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Boys club? People won't shut up about feminism. You know who this shit is sexist against as well? The fucking guys it is trying to sell to who the majority of don't find it interesting or appealing at all, much like the stupid commercials with the guys suffering through listening to their lady friends. It's not sexism, it's stupidity, and yes it needs to stop, but for the most part it DOESN'T exist. A few games from the east are gross with it, but rarely are worth putting up with anyway. In the meantime we have interesting and cool female characters in games like Gears and Tomb Raider (who's a fucking bad ass and not a sexy tit monster so don't fucking start with it. Oh boo hoo she's supposed to seems fragile to begin with. You know who else would be? Any non-military/survival expert, that's who! And it could be a real interesting story arch (something video games rarely understand this day and age).

Gamers are sexist because idiot frat boys and idiot competitive gamers are douche bags, period. It's not just gamers, those fuckers are everywhere, and they are a really small minority.

#10 Posted by Giantstalker (1532 posts) -

All the whiners, malcontents, and complainers will hopefully die down as fast as they cropped up. I can only hope that in a couple months we'll be back to business as usual, or at the very least, moved onto a less annoying fad.

#11 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4594 posts) -

@Giantstalker: It's already dying down right now. The 24 hours news cycle tends to bury these kinds of controversies. Just look at how little backlash Aris took, or how after about a week, the whole Hamburger Hepler (that name is funny) just died out overnight. Pretty soon nobody will care and the pundits - sorry, hard to call them journalists - will go back to regurgitating press releases and offering half-baked philosophical soundbites in 140 characters or less. Don't worry dude, it's already happening.

Online
#12 Posted by mystakin (100 posts) -

You're absolutely right, but the problem is, I don't believe there's a strong fight against the vocal minority. Like it or not, when people who aren't part of our culture see news articles like the ones I mentioned, they think less of gamers as a whole. It makes me embarrassed to tell people I meet that I have a passion for video games. I don't want to be associated with those kinds of people, but the reality of it is, I am.

As I stated in my post, this isn't about sexism. It's about a subset of our culture making us all look amoral while the sensible people are too busy bickering about what is and isn't sexism.

#13 Posted by Gaff (1650 posts) -

@mystakin: My pet theory is that the information overload of the internet encourages an extreme form of tribalism. Can't find someone to talk to, make sense of this chaos together, validate your hobbies? Here you go, a forum, newsgroup, etc of people who tangentially share your interests. And because it's one of the few "friendly" places you have, every slight against that group will be a personal attack on yourself.

Then again, what do I know about academics.

#14 Posted by DaveC524 (86 posts) -

Women are fundamentally different from men. Men have higher amounts of natural testosterone, which, on average, produces males which are more muscular and athletic in nature. Women, on the other hand, lack this, and instead have copious amounts of natural estrogen which, throughout puberty, allow young girls to prepare bodily for child-rearing. Also, women's bodies are far better at storing body fat, and quite literally, have thinner skin which bruises easier. Now, as to how testosterone and estrogen alter the minds of males of females, that might be slightly debatable. Is it "sexist" to point out basic biological differences? I don't believe it is at all, yet rabid feminists tend to scream "facist" at any acknowledgement of males and females being different in any way despite mountains of either scientific evidence or just plain common sense pointing to the contrary.

At the end of the day, find me two of the world's best female basketball players and have them play a 2v1 pickup match against Lebron James. I would bet my entire life savings that Mr. James would decimate the two females easily.

#15 Posted by NMC2008 (1231 posts) -

*sigh*

Like the cleaning of a house, it never ends.

#16 Posted by Salarn (463 posts) -
#17 Edited by Chop (1994 posts) -

Loud assholes continue to be loud assholes.

#18 Posted by Jimbo (9772 posts) -
@DaveC524 said:

Women are fundamentally different from men. Men have higher amounts of natural testosterone, which, on average, produces males which are more muscular and athletic in nature. Women, on the other hand, lack this, and instead have copious amounts of natural estrogen which, throughout puberty, allow young girls to prepare bodily for child-rearing. Also, women's bodies are far better at storing body fat, and quite literally, have thinner skin which bruises easier. Now, as to how testosterone and estrogen alter the minds of males of females, that might be slightly debatable. Is it "sexist" to point out basic biological differences? I don't believe it is at all, yet rabid feminists tend to scream "facist" at any acknowledgement of males and females being different in any way despite mountains of either scientific evidence or just plain common sense pointing to the contrary.

At the end of the day, find me two of the world's best female basketball players and have them play a 2v1 pickup match against Lebron James. I would bet my entire life savings that Mr. James would decimate the two females easily.

What the fuck are you even talking about?
#19 Posted by DaveC524 (86 posts) -

@Chop said:

Loud assholes continue to be loud assholes.

Pretty much, this.

#20 Posted by Kidavenger (3509 posts) -

@mystakin said:

Let's start with Jennifer Hepler.

Let's not, fuck her and fuck you for bringing her up again, just let it die.

#21 Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie (1225 posts) -

The more threads about this so-called misogynistic game culture that I see pop up, the less I care. Try being black, jewish, or gay in <insert literally any fucking FPS multiplayer lobby> without experiencing something racist, anti-semetic, or homophobic. Good luck with that. Sexism is no more or less an issue than those are and certainly victims of sexism are no worse treated. The difference these days is that the rest of we minorities are whining less about it.

#22 Posted by stubbleman (306 posts) -

While we're getting all riled up, I would like to point out that people like you come in here, thinking that you're going to take the "silent majority" and make it into a vocal majority. But instead, all you ever end up doing is making a similarly loud and equally obnoxious minority of people who's sole purpose in life seems to be getting back at these other people. If you don't like sexism, then don't be sexist. If, for some reason, you expect your words to be able to somehow, magically change the minds of a relatively small group of sexists who just happen to like some of the same video games as you, then you are bitterly mistaken. Save your sermons for your circle of friends, because all you're doing here is preaching to the converted or pissing in the wind. I know that sounded rude. I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just saying is all.

#23 Edited by mystakin (100 posts) -

As I said in my post, this is not about the differences between men and women or either genders' misrepresentation in the media. This is about a growing trend of attacks on people who criticize the industry, especially women.

Thank you for the comment. I heard about the Felicia Day stuff but had not looked into it. The parallels between her situation and all these events are pretty unsettling. As she says in her blog, it's the comments from the sensible people that help push out the negativity.

As for Tentacle Bento, I remember seeing this project at some point pre-funding. I'm a little shocked it made its goal, honestly. Am I right in assuming Kickstarter shut it down?

I don't remember any news stories in 2012 about black, jewishm or gay critics of the industry being harassed by internet mobs. Perhaps that's because there's not enough of them in the industry, which is another problem, but we shouldn't turn a blind eye to harassment when it does happen. If these events were tied to any other group I would have the same response.

I'm not trying to change minds, here, I'm pointing to a disturbing trend in 2012 so far. If we want to be taken seriously as a culture, we can't let these kinds of mobs be the primary voice of our group.

#24 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

Sexism!!!

#25 Posted by EXTomar (4496 posts) -

I don't see it as a men vs women thing as much as a general shift to be more confrontational regardless of topic. Look at how Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3 went where it seems that less and less people are unwilling to say "I have my stance but I also see why the other side is upset".

#26 Posted by Anwar (845 posts) -

Recent events have been riddled with negativity, hate speech, and an incredible amount of sexism that I'm just sick of.

Welcome to the internet, this is happening since the start of the internet, I'm not saying people should accept this kind of behaviour and not try to keep racists/ignorant people/dumbasses from doing that, but how the fuck are regular people supposed to stop that? I think that something really fucked up needs to happen until a big change will happen. I hope that something like that isn't necessary, but I don't know, man.

#27 Posted by Salarn (463 posts) -
#28 Posted by JordanK85 (140 posts) -

To me this is a simple question of maturity or, more precisely, the lack of it. Sexism is no more a problem in internet game culture than any other form of bigotry; it just happens to be the topic du jour. The statistic stating that the average gamer is now in their upper 20's is bandied around quite a bit to prove that games are no longer for children but in this case the more relevant statistic is the average age of gamers that post regularly on the internet. As far as I know, this statistic has never been calculated but anecdotally most people who are in their upper 20's and above are much too busy with full-time jobs and families to spend much time reading about games, let alone make posts about games. This necessarily drives the average down significantly from college age at best to sophomore in high school at worst. Add in anonymity and the thoughtless, impulse-driven motivation to "express one's self", encouraged by the non-existence of a barrier to entry of internet posting itself, and you have a recipe for stupidity and callousness to run rampant.

However, the true question isn't about whether this cesspool exists but about whether it's harmful enough to merit action. My take is that gaming media should stop popularizing the poorly considered opinions of people are ostensibly idiots and instead focus on the ideas of intelligent people who are intent on making games better. Don't give a stage to those who don't belong there. Don't lend credibility to their "sound and fury."