A Rant on Feminism – and why we need it

A fantastic post on the problems women face in todays world, and why men need to be paying attention to them.

Sarcastica

The comments toward women in the comment sections on Facebook of that catcall video and the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi really make me feel sick to my stomach. They are mostly by men, and almost all of them are insulting the women and threatening them while trying to deny that we have a problem with how women are treated in today’s society.

Don’t believe me? Spend 10 minutes reading the comment section and ask yourself….is there really not a problem with violence towards women?

This is why we STILL NEED feminism. And feminism is not the problem. The problem is how defensive and aggressive men get when women speak up. Again, open your eyes and look around.

Let me ask you…is it okay for 3 men to follow me around a bar, ignore me when I blantantly say that I am uninterested? Is it okay for them to follow me…

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My very cool week

So this week has been a great week for small reasons but sometimes I just need to grab the small things.

IGN have been previewing the Halo: The Master Chief Collection and this week released footage of the remastered cut scenes done by Blur, as well as Halo 4 running at 1080p and silky smooth 60 frames per second. This is a collection of games that I’ve booked a week off work to play. On top of that, Marvel released a new teaser trailer for Avengers: Age Of Ultron. The 8 year old in me is running around going “this is so much awesome!”

Then on Friday night I got to see Michael Flatley’s new Lord of the Dance show with Sarah, which included an appearance by him at the end, but the highlight was to see my favorite dance being performed live! I just love the sound of rhythmic tap.

Speaking of tap, tap dancing lessons are progressing nicely as we learn a little sequence that we will be performing in March next year, but it all started on Monday when I went to martial arts training. There is a grading today but I informed my instructor that I would not be going. Long story short, I am not mentally or physically able to cope with the demands of a grading at the moment. Going into Mondays lesson knowing that seemed to take so much pressure off, so much so  that I enjoyed the lesson more than I have previously. My enthusiasm returned and as a result, I seemed to put in more effort. This doesn’t hide the fact that I have a lot of work ahead of me to get back into a position to be able to grade, but I just felt good and it went from there.

In my mind, I can already hear the naysayers; “It’s just a game” and the Christian version; “you shouldn’t take joy in worldly possessions but joy in the spirit”. My response to them is I don’t care. This time of the year I need things I can grab onto to pull myself through the day. My inner 8 year old geek has had one of his best weeks ever. These may have come all at once but it’s been a very cool week.

It’s the little things that add up and make the difference.

Stopping GamerGate will change nothing

GamerGate, for those unaware, is effectively the umbrella term given to a number of aspects of video game culture: sexism and misogyny in the community, for one, as well as questions about journalistic ethics – particularly conflicts of interest between video game journalists and developers whose seeds lie in the fact that the first video-game publications were products of the gaming companies themselves [1]. The problem is, none of this is unique to the gaming community.

From Caroline Criado-Perez receiving a deluge of rape and death threats over her campaign for women to appear on the bank note, Andy Murray being targeted with comments the police described as vile, disgusting and distasteful comments because he voiced an opinion, to Ben Flower receiving death threats for punching another player during a rugby league match; the behavior being seen by the gaming community is all over the internet. I have my own issues with the gaming community. I was subjected to such horrendous abuse that I stopped playing online and now I will only play if I can mute all the other players. Like pretty much anyone who launches such attacks, they think they have their own “justification”:

It’s trash talk, I do it with my friends all the time, it’s part of the game.

Well yes it certainly is trash but I’m not their friend, I’m a complete stranger and no it certainly isn’t “part of the game”. It’s something that seems to have developed over time and is now ingrained in the culture and accepted. This is not unique to gaming as I said, anytime this kind of abuse appears on the internet, many people just say “oh it’s the internet”or “well they did this so this is acceptable”. I sometimes think the internet was an experiment, to see what would happen if you created a free-for-all space, free from consequences and ability to be anonymous. I think we now have our answer. It seems virtually inconceivable that we would say these types of things to peoples faces.

Reading comments on the internet forums regarding these issues, the gaming community is basically in denial.  There have been comments of “saying death threats is bad is obvious so it doesn’t need saying”. Well clearly some people haven’t gotten the memo; and I’m not going to get started on those saying those saying they’ve been threatened are doing do for publicity. You’re not going to solve a problem if you don’t believe one exists. The thing is, there are some genuine concerns regarding journalism and the way women are portrayed in games and the gaming industry as a whole. Like every other community though, those with the most extreme views get all the attention. When was the last time you saw a story about people with moderate views combating this kind of behavior get attention? You usually find those sorts of stories in the “and finally….” section of the news. Herein lies another problem that goes beyond gaming.

Whilst we continue to provide excuses for this behavior nothing will change. Because the problem goes beyond gaming, focusing solely on it will be like trying to take down a brick house with a toothpick; and nothing will change. If we’re serious about combating sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia and any other ill of society, we need to go far far deeper than one hashtag.

 

References:

[1] http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/10/14/another-game-developer-flees-her-home-following-gamergate-death-threats/