Voices of Women Silenced By Internet Trolls

As common users of the internet know well, every once in a while there is a picture, gif or video that shakes up the online world. Sometimes it’s light-hearted, like a grumpy cat or success kid meme. Other times, things get serious. Two such examples are the videos by Anita Sarkeesian on female tropes in video games and the street harassment video, featuring actress Shoshana Roberts. Honestly, I was excited when these videos made heads turn. Finally, we can have this very necessary discussion on sexism in our culture. Finally, women can feel welcome to share their experiences and join a public discussion on how they are made to feel on a daily basis. Perhaps most important, finally women can be threatened with rape and murder when they dare to speak their minds.

Wait, what?

Chapter TK - women's voiced are being silenced online by internet trolls

I’ll put all the cards on the table right now. I don’t necessarily agree with Anna in every video she creates. She makes good points, but I also feel there are aspects of video game culture she neglects to mention. When it comes to the street harassment video, I’m much more supportive, though I admit many of the comments she gets are hard to define as harassment out of context. Trust me, “hey beautiful” can be flattering or creepy depending on how, when and where it is said.

Despite all that, these videos make it glaringly obvious how big of a problem sexism is in our country and across the world. Perhaps America enjoys more gender equality than other nations in the world, but clearly we are far away from regarding each other as equals. Just look at the comments.

As far as I’m concerned, these videos could be 100% false and contrived and the comments on the videos would still display a clear sexism problem. Discussing the message of these videos, and even being a little insulting, is just fine. “I think you’re a lying jerk and I completely disagree with your message. I don’t think that video shows harassment and I think the other video is cherry-picking video games to make a point.”

GREAT! Let’s have a discussion!

“You’re a b**ch. I am going to rape and murder you. If you come speak at my college, I will shoot up the school!”

Um…………… no. A comment such as the one above does not want to have a discussion. It aims to shut it down. It makes people afraid to so much as mention these issues, let alone discuss them in the open. These threat effectively shut down the discussion. While I’m sure there are threats made toward people who speak out on a number of issues, this one sticks out because the loudest voices are the voices trying to shut down the discussion.

It makes me sad as I type on the internet, because I have thought twice about typing this article. When I came up with this idea, I was a little more afraid than when I wrote the post on why my religious ideas cause me to support homosexual marriage. Writing my Tuesday post on rape made me afraid as well, but this topic is a whole new thing.

Obviously, I’m writing about it so I won’t be silenced. Still, that doesn’t stop an internet troll from trying to threaten me. I’ve seen women severely harassed online for so much as mentioning these discussions. Little do those people know, as they vehemently claim there is no sexism, these videos are stupid and those women should die, that they are the acting proof of sexism in the world.

Maybe I’m too much of an optimist. Maybe I expect too much out of the internet. I know there are women with far more problems than cat calling across the world. To think their issues are being ignored because these videos became popular would be incorrect. However, our culture is not perfect. It will never improve and may even regress if we don’t keep having good discussions about who we want to be.

Is that street harassment video full of crazy, horrible, threatening street harassment? That depends on who you are. Every girl has had a guy say to them “hey there, girl” in a way that made them uncomfortable. Intuition goes a long way. One of the commenters on my blog Tuesday mentioned many rape victims had a suspicion about the perpetrator before they were attacked.  The one comment that actually makes me angry is the guy who snaps back “hey, someone’s acknowledging you for being beautiful, you should say thank you more.”

Hey, maybe I’m having a bad day and your comment, good intentioned or otherwise, didn’t help. Maybe I’m in a hurry and didn’t hear you. Maybe your a stranger who I have an uncomfortable feeling about, so I don’t feel like engaging you.

Maybe these videos are more important than we think. Rape most commonly happens during the day, near the victims home and without drugs. What if telling women to ignore these – let’s call them microagressions – is telling them to ignore their intuition. What if women who have a bad feeling about men who speak this way to them have a good reason for feeling that way? What if boys who play video games are more sexist than other men? What if they are more likely to harass women?

Worst of all, what if we never have the answers to those questions because people (i.e. internet trolls) try to silence women starting the discussion every chance they get?

Have you seen the harassment video or some of the video game videos by Anita Sarkeesian? What do you think about the comments these women have gotten? Do you agree or disagree with their messages? How do you think these videos and their comments reflect on sexism, or lack there of, in our culture?


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60 thoughts on “Voices of Women Silenced By Internet Trolls”

  1. I’ll provide some male perspective here. I speak only for myself, I’m not attached to any outcome, other than I want to see less suffering and detachment.

    First of all, I don’t believe this is the work of mature men. We all grow older, but not all of us grow up. Which applies to women as much as men, however men are oftentimes defined by their attraction/repulsion to women. The power that a woman has over a man is incredible and that powerlessness often results is a cause of resentment.

    Going back to that immaturity, think about how a small child reacts when you take something they’re attached to. Coat that with slurs designed to provoke a reaction and you’re witnessing a tantrum, albeit one that is designed to avenge the perceived threat to their autonomy.

    That said, it’s important to remember that these are tiny groups who are responsible for a large amount of the discourse, when in truth, the majority of us are reasonable and kind. They are not representative of men, mature or otherwise. It’s a digital treehouse with N0 G1Rl5 ALL0W3D carved into the wood for some of them. Some people define themselves by such conflicts, sadly.

    In terms of online bullying, I think that’s a big topic, I might blog about it, but I try to keep my politics like my penis, in that I don’t keep getting it out in public and waving it around, thinking that any attention is good attention.

    1. Well said, Gamergate though a serious issue, is still a small one. Those who make those threats are a small group of indeed, immature individuals who don’t know what they are complaining about.

      I agree with the post as well that Anita isn’t the authority in gaming, though with valid points, she nitpicks her argument to satisfy her claims.

      But still, with individuals who do make those immature threats should face the consequence of destroying another person’s peace of mind.

      1. GamerGate is so odd to me. I had someone on her a bit ago saying it’s not about sexism and is about journalistic integrity in gaming media. I just don’t know…. I don’t see a lot of positives. But then, when the mass media gets a hold on a gaming story, I rarely see it painted in a positive light.

        1. I like to think of it as a little bit of both. Game journalist are like any other journalist, that they have the ability to control the idea of masses. It just so happened that the issue at hand was about sexism. You get a gamer girl getting harassed who fights back and a story (in turn clicks and views follow). Its been years, and with the rise of female gamers, this sort of issue from a paradigm shift is expected.

    2. I have heard men complain, saying they are tired of being treated like rapist or enemies by women just because they are a man. I can totally see that, but I think that problem is twofold. Ironically, that’s also something that comes out of patriarchy. Patriarchy tells us men are strong, they are the hunters. Women are caring, they are the prey. Girls are taught to fear boys from the very beginning and boys are taught to ‘go get ’em.’ There’s a whole system that starts from when we are very long that leaves us with our impressions of gender. I’d love to see more men speak up for women online. And when I say speak up, I don’t mean fight her fight for her. I mean that the voices that lash back and say, “How ignorant. You can disagree without being sexist!” should be of all genders. But then, maybe there are plenty of voices, male and female alike, speaking loudly against such comments. They just don’t make a good story for the media.

  2. There has actually been a lot of very reasonable responses to Anita Sarkeesian’s video series, which have unfortunately been overshadowed by trolls. I actually aggregated a few of the responses I found particularly interesting a little over a year ago (can be found here: https://cirsova.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/a-counterpoint-to-tropes-vs-women/).

    Some of the comments about Anita have been gross and reprehensible, but likewise, many things which Anita and her partner John McIntosh (who is the write of Feminist Frequency) have said are pretty gross and reprehensible as well.

    It’s hard to say that Anita has been silenced, in light of the massive access to media platforms she’s been given where her views can be uncritically made public. The women on the internet who ARE being silenced are the ones who disagree with her and do so on an intellectual rather than visceral level; because of trolls and allegations of harassment, women who disagree with Anita Sarkeesian or her premise are accused of any number of things, from being sock-puppets to being MRAs to having “internalized misogyny”.

    Feminist game journalist Liana Kerzner described this: “The video game industry’s embrace of Anita Sarkeesian is giving me friggin flashbacks to high school. I’m the wrong kind of girl. Seriously, all of you who are defending Anita and insulting those who disagree with her, you are causing harm to other women in gaming. The human wall that’s formed around Anita is sending the message that there’s a certain type of woman the video game industry will accept. I am not that type of woman. So I feel completely rejected by the industry I love because i am being denied my right to dissent. So all you so called Feminists in video games? Think about what you’re doing and think about the consequences. Anita is not the only voice. I now feel unwanted by gaming. Not because of a consumer revolt. Because of the clear bias among professionals toward a certain type of girl. Gamergate did not do this, games industry. You did. Anita is your prom queen. At her whim, you stuffed me in a locker.”

    1. I do think that Anita is being used, to some existent, as a tool to silence women. It’s odd, because she dosen’t seem to put herself in a position where she speaks for all women of the gaming world, so why should people assume she does. I see her videos and I have two thoughts. 1) I’m happy we’re finally talking about this and 2) I don’t think this problem is as widespread as you think because I’ve played a ton of games and have friends who have played a ton of games. None of us have seen that! Video games are like books. You can’t say they are all one thing or another. Some are going to be 50 Shades of Grey, some are going to be War and Peace and some are going to fall in between. I feel like it’s hard to make an overarching comment about the whole video game industry with her arguments. Instead, I would argue what type of person is attracted to these types of games vs the other. Do the games reflect a person’s views and opinions or not?

      In either case, I read that Antia was going to speak at some college but then canceled because a student threatened to shoot up the room she would be speaking in if she carried on with the event. She had to take that seriously and cancel the event. That act was meant for no other reason than to silence her. Anyone can disagree, but it takes something more to want to shut them up like that.

      I saw a story about a celebrity (I forget her name, but she was the love interest in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog). She came out and said nothing more than she was afraid to say anything one way or the other. That’s it. That’s all the article said. Not 24 hours later her personal information was shared on the internet.

      I think we are in this odd paradox where these videos are said to speak for all women, and then all women are silenced. It’s like the internet is saying. “Okay, we have your opinion her in this video, woman, now be quite. We want to hear no more.”

      That’s the most disappointing thing. Here we’ve had the opportunity to have a real discussion and, one way or another, that discussion is being silenced.

      1. Honestly, one of the biggest legitimate questions that I’ve never seen answered for the Tropes Vs. Women project is “Where did the money go?” Originally, the goal was $6000 for a full series of educational videos that could be used in a classroom as part of a curriculum. She raised over 26 times the amount of money she initially asked for, but only created two complete videos (the project stated that each trope would be a video, so one must simply assume that she broke what she DID do into parts) out of a projected dozen.

        One of the things I noticed about Anita’s second set of videos was the exclusive use of M rated games to illustrate just how gross and bad and sexist games are.

        I’d think that a series meant for use in the classroom would not focus so heavily on Adult Only content, displaying material that could be considered pornographic that was clearly never meant for children in the first place. It would be akin to showing clips from various R and X-rated movies to kids to illustrate how all cinema is terrible and degrading to women.

        Lastly, and I’m being kind of mean here, it is funny to watch John McIntosh, the writer for FemFreq, mansplain what Feminism really is to women on twitter who disagree with him.

        1. I heard about that, but haven’t heard much about videos for the classroom, yet. She could probably make the argument she faced threats to her life if she made the videos or something so she decided not to. I’m not really sure.

          I feel like making a claim about any tropes in video games is like doing so for movies or books. You really can’t make a generality. You mention proving women are degraded in cinema. While it’s hard to make a generalization on that, there is the Bechdel test. To me, that’s what you have to do with video games. Say a game is not degrading to women if it has A, B and C. Any game that does not pass has offensive images. Tada.

          I’ve never been a huge follower of FemFreq so I don’t know much about what John says on there. I will say that it’s frustrating that, when a feminist disagrees with another feminist, someone inevitably claims feminism is dying. It’s like two feminist can’t disagree without people thinking the whole movement is flawed.

          1. The problem with the Bechdel Test is that people forget that the Bechdel Test started as a joke about how such a test doesn’t really work. The example from the comic strip, Alien, is used because it was a poor example (the character points out how “men” and “alien” was essentially an interchangeable noun that allowed the movie to pass the test).

            Also, you have a LOT of grey area. I’ve seen a lot of women hold up Bayonetta as a sex-positive female empowerment figure (pointing out that she was designed by a woman) while at the same time the character gets lots of flak from sex-negative feminists and dudes who are trying to impress sex-negative feminist ladies. It’s kind of like a modern inversion of how 2nd wave feminists loved the crap out of Wonder Woman, even though she was created by a creepy bigamist dude with a bondage fetish. So, unfortunately “does this degrade women” is not always an easy Y/N checklist to follow.

    1. I don’t doubt that many people have tried to silence others for different reasons, but these particular attacks are unique as they are aimed at gender. Which isn’t to say that other kinds of violent threats aren’t problematic. They are. But the threats thrown at these women are aimed, not at their opinion or argument, but at their gender. That is the problem here.

      1. I guess my problem is that it is problematic when anybody tries to shut somebody up, regardless of the reason. It is just as wrong somebody to post a threat in comments directed at me because he is a rabid right winger and I am a liberal as it is to post a similar threat against somebody because they are a woman. True story — on a local news site, a commenter threatened me, a number of times in a number of ways, simply because I didn’t agree with his rabid, homophobe views.

        Why am I persisting with this? Because I believe that one of the fundamental problems facing our society is the prevalence of people who want to focus on single issues rather than problems as a whole. So, when you say, it’s a problem that there is gender-based harassment on-line, I’m gonna respond with … there is unacceptable harassment on-line. None of it is acceptable. We should be talking about that and not just the gender-based version.

        This is, by the way, becoming a major issue for me across many blogs and websites. I am pretty much fed up with the single issue take on matters that affect us all.

        1. I can see that. I feel that way about rape. Rape is an issue for all genders. It happens to all genders. Now, it may happen to one gender more than the other, and one gender may be the criminal more often than the other. Still, the underlying issues that cause rape are the same regardless of gender. We, in fact, hurt the fight to end rape by assuming what happened based on gender.

          I tend to look at issues for their reasons. Most rape does not have a gender-based reason. Almost always, it is about power, not about sexual attraction. Now, if women were raped for one reason and men for another, then it would be a different story. You couldn’t deal with rape the same way for each gender. They would be two different issues.

          So, I would say, if the reason behind people being threatened online in order to silence them is always the same, then it is one issue. However, if some people are silenced because of their gender and nothing more, that’s a different issue, with a different solution, than someone being silenced for a belief or idea.

          All this is to say, I don’t know if there are different reasons. I don’t know that harssment online happens to many people for many reasons and it is always wrong. The only reason I separate this particular discussion out is because it appears the women are being attacked for being women. I have nothing to back this opinion up, but I think this kind of harassment is different from being harassed for your political opinion or beliefs. It’s different than being harassed by a high school bully. It’s different than being harassed for your interests. These are all very much real problems, but if – hypothetically – they are all instigated for different reasons, then I think they have different solutions. That is why I have separated this issue out. Because it is my opinion that if we tried to attack harassment as one we would be ineffective.

          But again, this is my opinion and I totally see your point. Regardless, I think we can both agree that making violent threats toward another online for anything reason is always wrong.

  3. i believe the street harassment is also a cultural difference…in many countries my daughter and i experience no street harassment…current country we are living in has construction workers who harass…i told one man he was not allowed to talk to my 14 year old daughter…this particular culture of men sees no issues with harassing women…

    to those of the men who say it is only a SMALL portion making threats…when this small portion of men rapes or threatens to kill your mother sister wife or daughter then come back here and tell us all about this fucking small group…

    that’s like saying i only have a few lice…not bad heh?

    men worry about “not getting what they want” bhahahahahahahahahahah….not much to worry about there…women worry about rape and murder…

    our society is totally numbed to violence towards women due to its prevalence in the news and in media…similar to the way americans are becoming totally numbed to mass shootings…

    GREAT WRITE>>>>>>>TK

    BE BRAVE and compose what you want and post xoxo

    p.s. i was stalked for two years online and this person was caught by the FBI and is currently in prison…that was back in 2008…the FBI came all the way to our home in 2011 in Beijing China…to issue us our victim’s rights notice…

    cheers and ooo la la~

    1. Whoa. I’m sorry to hear you were stalked. That sucks. Whenever I write something like this, I always get men who say that this kind of harassment happened to them (and it very well could have) and that not all men are like that. Well, if they aren’t then the good guys need to start speaking up. When that construction worker starts harassing women, his male coworkers need to tell him that behavior is not okay. When your friend starts talking about that ‘skank’ at the bar, you need to speak up and say, “She might sleep with a lot of guys, but that’s no reason to insult her.”

      Behavior like this should not be accepted in any context. Ever.

  4. Do you really think this is an issue of men versus women and sexism? Because in my experience some of the most vicious types of internet harassment have actually come from other women. I have seen men too, threatened with murder, with making sure they loose their jobs, with the promise of false allegations, with threats to report them child protective service and make sure they never see their children again. Some really atrocious stuff coming at them from both men and women.

    1. I’m sure there are many serious threats made against all genders online. That is wrong in all cases. The threats women have faced due to these videos or what they have said to these videos are unique in that they relate specifically to their gender. That does not make other threats of violence less than anything, but they are different than the threats these women have faced.

  5. so…yes the issue is sexism that TK is speaking about…what you are bringing up is a totally different issue…divorce and custody is a different topic than women being afraid to post their views online due to threats of violence.

    these people have posted women’s private home addresses and they have been threatened with rape and murder…

    i’ve been a recipient of threats of this nature…it was most unsettling…my husband and i worked very hard with the police and fbi for about 2 years until the stalker was caught…

    if we talk about civil rights and a white person says~ but i have issues also…that is a different discussion…when there is a history of discrimination against a group of people often the more dominant group will say but i suffer to…although there is not the same type of history of discrimination against the more dominant group…this is done to discount the group that is discriminated against…

    1. Absolutely! You make a great analogy with race. To say that white people don’t have problems would be untrue, but there are issues of a serious nature that are specific to non-white people. It dosen’t negate the problems of white people, it’s just a completely different issue.

  6. 67 and not a gamer, but really interested in this world, I have read of this a great deal. I have several former students who are part of the gaming community, young men and a few young women. Interestingly, the views you express are pretty much your own. I also believe it is important that men and women of all generations know of this. I don’t really attribute these horrible online assaults to anti-feminism itself. At first, feminists were said to hate men. No. I have two sons and two daughters who have had the same opportunities, thankfully. Not always true, but I believe most men have grown to understand, especially those raised by parents of Xers and millennials. I think most of this is generated by misogyniists who have been unsuccessful in finding healthy relationships. Tragic that they turn unhappiness outward rather than focusing inward. They are aberrant. btw I’m glad you made your valid points about rape reality. I actually just published recently two posts, one a poem, since I’m a poet, on my site about writing about rape. The incident I write of is real. Unlike most of my other poetry posts, there was not one single response. I don’t know what that says about rape, but it says something.

    1. I’m not really sure what you mean by most of this being generated by misogynists. Certainly lack of a relationship isn’t enough cause for a whole group of people to lash out. And there are plenty of people who are happily single. It seems to me the people who are lashing out the most are people who are lashing out in the hopes of silencing any discussion from happening. Because there is a discussion to be had. The world isn’t perfect and equality, while technically there civilly, has not yet been achieved socially.

      1. I get it, and I thank you for this explanation. I commented as I did because some young women and young men who are former students and gamers and I have had the discussion about hostility toward and sexualization of women in the gaming community and about their desire to solve this problem. The words are theirs, not mine. I realize that this is just their one perspective. Also, Time magazine and the NY Times have addressed this over the last few months. So it is probably inappropriate for me to involve myself in a discussion and let you all discuss these issues. Perhaps my student/friends will be able to have that larger conversation with people outside their own circle of gamers…btw, it didn’t even occur to me that this was about relationship statuses! I wish you all the best. Thank you for your help.
        Sally

        1. I think ‘misogynist’ is a harsh word, especially since it often describes a transient set of attitudes rather than a person’s core beliefs. I think I understood what you meant about a lack of a healthy relationship contributing to expressions of sexism though. The human mind’s greatest talent is fooling itself, and transference of energies & frustrations is rampant.

  7. I applaud you for being brave enough to broach this topic. I hope you’re spared from the same type of abuse that has been flying around lately.

    I’ve been so upset about all of this horrible internet garbage that’s been going on that I actually wrote a blog post about it a while back, although it wasn’t specifically about the harassment of women. I actually focused a little more on Phil Fish & Notch’s exits from the gaming industry, but I do feel that women are targeted much more often and much more quickly than men are.

    When Felicia Day (AKA a super nice and awesome person) posted about feeling excluded by the industry she once felt brought her and other people together, a full hour didn’t even have to pass before someone found and posted all of her personal information publicly.

    The post wasn’t an indictment of gamers, it wasn’t an indictment of men, it was just a person posting about her feelings who also happened to be female.

    It’s super gross. I can’t stand it. I also can’t stand the people who refuse to believe that sexism is involved in the first place, when it is very clear that there is. I mean, hell, this whole gamergate sh*tstorm started because some jerk decided that Zoe Quinns personal life was something he needed to “warn” people about with a wordpress blog. As if who she sleeps with makes her a bad person, and as if her being a bad person was at all relevant to the quality of her games. Follow that up with the belief that games writers refusing to let people post disgusting, misogynistic posts about her “sluttiness” was somehow wrong.

    And the people who throw their hats in with gamergate, but aren’t doing any harassing… I feel like they’re still in the wrong, because they’re giving those reprehensible human beings a platform to stand on. They’re giving those terrible people a cause to fight for, and it’s disgusting. Not to mention the fact that you can talk about ethics in games journalism without attaching yourself to a movement that essentially started because a jerk ex-boyfriend called his ex-girlfriend a slut on the internet.

    Blech. This whole thing makes me so completely sick. I cannot stand seeing people get harassed, and I can’t stand people justifying the harassment, or incessantly whining about how people think they are misogynists while doing literally nothing that would indicate otherwise.

    If you respond to this comment, TK, I’ll respond back, but I don’t really want to get into an discussion about this with anyone else. I’ve had enough “discussions” about this topic already and they always end with me wanting to slit my wrists for one reason or another. Just a heads up to anyone who responds to this besides TK, I’m not going to reply back. You’ll be screaming into a void.

    1. It’s things like what happened with Felicia Day that expose this as more about gender than anyone else. A guy could have said “I don’t like what’s happening and I don’t want to say what my opinion is” and nothing would have happened. Felicia says this and people act to get to her before she can say more. Sure, it was just one person. Just one person who wanted to make sure she didn’t say any more, but that’s enough to prove that gender equality is not yet a reality in our society. The videos may not prove that, but the reaction and comments sure do.

      The relationship thing has been a thread in our culture for a long time. I saw on the news a while back with Hilary Clinton’s daughter had a child that they were wondering, “Can Hilary be a good president AND grandmother?” Um… did anyone ever ask if any other presidential candidate EVER could be a good father or grandfather while acting as president? NO! That is a gender based attack. A woman who sleeps around, even if she cheats on her partner, is no better or worse than a man who does the same.

      The misogynists thing gets to me. I’m sorry, but it’s not misogynist to desire to be treated as a equal. it’s not misogynist to expect men to have rep-sect for women, ex or otherwise.

      That all said, I know very little about what started this issue. Frankly, I don’t care. As a female nerd, I fear for younger female nerds. I fear they will be afraid to enjoy what they love. The gaming industry has matured and I like to think it has matured to the point where we can have serious discussions without resorting to threats.

      1. I hope that one day, we can just leave the sexists behind. Like, one day, they’ll still exist, but everyone will just look at them as terrible and pathetic.

        I mean, most people look at them as terrible and pathetic, but there’s still a large enough crowd who sees nothing wrong with rampant sexism who actively wants the industry to reject women; these people who have this awful “boy’s club” mentality about their hobby while simultaneously complaining about how there are “no gamer girls” (a fallacy) and insisting that they’re nice guys and that girls only date assholes (which is also a fallacy.)

        These people are ignorant in the extreme, and one day, I think society will be able to leave them behind, and not consider what they have to say relevant anymore.

        1. I think sexism and racism share something similar today. The people who most adamantly claim neither exist anymore tend to be the ones who actually are sexist and racist.

          My father is a perfect example. It is painful for me to listen to him sometimes because he will say things that are so clearly racist and in the next sentence claim racism no longer exist in America. People honestly don’t think they are racist or sexist.

          Of course, we are all a little racist and sexist. We all make suppositions we know we shouldn’t. We have to own up to that as individuals in order to be more open, accepting and loving people. Those who can’t admit that about themselves… well, they just continue as they are, unchanging.

  8. I totally see the harassment here! There were a couple I thought, well maybe they were innocent comments, but I think it’s as you say, depending on the context of the compliment or greeting. As a girl, you know that a “compliment” from another girl, depending on the context isn’t actually compliment at all. And lord that is creepy!!! The guy following her for all that time! Yikes! That is why I carry mace in my purse.

    1. I think it takes on a different context when you’re alone, too. For example, when I’m waking around with my boyfriend, I might get looks from guys who are clearly checking me out. They don’t oogle at me, though. They don’t cat call me or try to touch me. They don’t even try to start friendly conversation (which might be okay depending on the context). They don’t do this because I have a person who happens to have a penis on my arm. BUT, if I were to walk around by myself, without my boyfriend, suddenly, the looks become stares and the cat calling starts. I think that makes a big deal, too. Guys don’t realize it because they don’t see that. If she would have made that same walk with her boyfriend, I bet more than half those guys would have just passed her by. Knowing that, you start to suspect those comments. You can almost feel targeted because you’re alone and you know if you weren’t alone, those comments would be different.

      1. I think that is totally true. Doesn’t it also imply that in some way men will “respect” a woman if she is in “possession” of another male. Even then it’s more out of respect for the man not the woman. You don’t do that to another guy’s girl or whatever. Still implies that we are things to be owned and controlled. That also explains why we experience that disrespectful and harassive behavior.

        1. I think that gets kinda blurry depending on the context though. Men & women are often heard describing themselves as ‘taken’ or ‘spoken for’. This can at times simply make things easier than having to express disinterest or even reject someone, so people learn to enjoy saying it.. Possibly.

          Then again, there are those who will go for it even if you have a ring on your finger, so long as you’re alone. Who can really blame them though? There are men very close to me in healthy long term relationships, even marriages, in which, at the time of initial courtship, their partner was technically seeing another man.

          Its a really tough, multifaceted issue. While it’s nice to see healthy, long-term monogamous relationships, as individuals our perspective on what exactly denotes ‘healthy’ is very limited. I also feel, and this is just me and probably a minority or other people (at least for the time being), that we are apes, but far too many people seem to persist in wanting to believe us swans.

          1. It is a blurry topic and can get very confusing. So given the context, if someone told me I was beautiful I would more than likely take it as a compliment rather than a pass at me or an attempt to “pick me up”; however, given a completely different circumstance it could be considered an insult. So, you get into those grey areas with that type of situation. Was it a true sincere compliment or was there more to it than that?
            Yes, there are those people that will dismiss the fact that you are wearing a ring. It’s not just men, women do it too. BUT women, on the receiving end, I believe get it to a degree way worse and on a completely different level. Even if you were to identify yourself as “taken” or “owned” even then if you lack a ring you’re “fair game”. It doesn’t seem to matter. We’re female and we’re not theirs so the attempts proceed. Again this also has the underling notion that women are property to be owned. No one says it, it’s simply implied and applied.
            About the ape thing. Don’t we share 99% of our DNA with them? I’m sure apes and swans are socially accepted differently. Swans are probably seen as more angelic, where as apes are more earthly? I don’t know if that’s the right word choice, but I hope I got my point across.

            1. I get your meaning. Males haven’t historically been regarded as property, except perhaps as that of their parents’. Recently an internet rabbit trail lead me to reading Judges 19, and holy shit did Hebrew society regard women as worthless, or at least worth less than men. I think just about every society did, though.

              The swan comment was meant to contrast us against the image of a perfectly monogamous species that ONLY encounters problems with monogamy after nesting failure. I could be wrong, but I often feel like most of our attitudes & culture have developed alongside and in tandem with every other sociopolitical development, and in such scattered society like we have here in America, the idea of that one person who can provide a reliable source of emotional & sexual gratification becomes a lot more attractive, so the whole culture’s kind of more relationship-y, which just provides fertile substrate for old habits to continue to root.

              I feel like I’ve gotten so offtrack. No wonder I had to sleep on this comment. Postin’ anyway…

              1. There are some ancient societies that were very matriarchal. I wish I still have my anthropology book, lol. I think it worked so well for them because it was the social view that women were the stronger sex because of the biological fact that they create life and thus were held to a status closer to godliness. Cultures like that are totally worth exploring, I think.

                Yeah, “scattered” is a spot on description. Happy Holidays to you!!

                Michelle

                1. In the event that one must exist (which I don’t necessarily believe), matriarchy always made more sense to me for various reasons. Different parts of the world “progressed” at different rates (many human beings still live in the stone age), and if I’m not mistaken, many anthropologists think Hebrew culture wasn’t always so patriarchal. There are accounts in the Bible of the Asherim being torn down at Yahweh’s behest. (The Asherim were totemic poles or trees in honor of Asherah, the Canaanite mother goddess.)

                  Regarding radically different modern cultures and the differences in gender dynamics we display, there’s a great documentary on Netflix, not an hour long, called Pururambo. It’s about one of the many tribes in New Guinea, and while their dynamics are naturally far from perfect, there are some interesting observations made about gender & intimacy in their culture. This isn’t the main angle of the film by any means, but in any case it’s REALLY good and I recommend everyone watch it!

                  I should probably go interact with family now though so merry Christmas!

                  1. That does sound like an interesting watch. I’ll add it to my que 😉 I can’t say I have any knowledge of biblical history, but if such a society did exist there must be some literature on it. It’s an interesting idea in any case I think.
                    I hope you had a great holiday!

          2. I don’t think the approach is always the problem, though. Sure, a person (regardless of gender) who is alone is a bit less intimidating to strike up a conversation with. BUT, when that person expresses disinterest in communicating with you, or if you ask them out and they say no, that’s it. End of story. The problem starts when no isn’t good enough but “I have a boyfriend” is. A person should be able to just say no.

            Now, that said, there is some societal things that set us up. A friend of mine when on a date with a guy with whom she felt no connection to. He asked her out on a second date and she declined. He has been messaging her non-stop and even changed his number to keep contacting her. That’s crazy but taken as normal. If a girl were to put forth that much effort, she’d be called a crazy woman, but he gets away with it.

            The thing is, though, a lot of people think guys are supposed to chase and that women are supposed to say no. A woman who says yes too fast is branded as easy or a slut. None of that is okay, but since it is the world we live in, we are set up to behave this way.

            I don’t think people notice, and that’s part of the problem. I don’t think most guys pursue a woman until she tells them she has a boyfriend because they think they are respecting a man more than her. I think we’re just used to the world working that way.

            1. I’m so glad you said that because I didn’t think of it when I wrote that comment but I do notice! In fact, recently a friend of mine asked a single girl we know out, or rather if she wanted to go get food sometime or something (conveniently not calling it a date so he could convince himself his intentions were somehow ‘pure’, maybe that’s him being naturally forward while not feeling like it’s acceptable to be forward), and after she declined he later vented to me his frustrations and I ended up telling him that it’s really none of a person’s business why they get turned down. That person could be taken, they could simply not be looking to date and they get the feeling you are, it could simply be a bad time for any number of reasons! Or maybe they’re just not into you.. still not your fucking business!

              Another friend posted on Twitter about how he was frustrated that a girl got all shy & awkward when he asked her to coffee. He said something to the effect of “it’s not like I was asking her to marry me!” I almost commented, but decided not to. I felt again like this was a guy pretending that certain things don’t have the implications that he knows they do. It’s like, dude, you approached her and asked her on a date. That’s what you did, even if you didn’t say the word.

              The only time I ever sort of asked a girl out was two and a half years ago and I pulled the same shit! She was avoidant, but I wasn’t mad though. I was understanding enough to just tell myself that maybe she’d be down for it layer in the year or something, and in any case I only did it because I was told by a friend that she said she had a crush on me, and I found out later she only didn’t want to pursue anything because she found out that a good mutual friend of ours had had a crush on me for a long time! Yet still, even KNOWING that she had a crush on me, I still couldn’t bring myself to just say ‘date’, and that’s most definitely what I wanted to so at the time.

              This is why I have largely avoided the whole world of dating and sex all my life. I’ve felt for so long that we’ve just been trained for thousands of years to be dishonest with ourselves and each other regarding this stuff. I’ve always felt offput because girls seem to be incapable of being real with me, but I’ve realized that it’s because we can’t be real with them either! They’re expecting me to act like a guy, and I just don’t. I’m not effeminate either, I’ve just never felt at all comfortable with this bullshit! At least by this point I’ve decided that I really don’t want to date at this stage in my life anyway. I think accepting that and truly realizing that I don’t need to prove anything to myself or anyone else in this respect is mainly what has allowed me to finally overcome more than a decade of clinical depression, which I’m purrrdy sure had something to so with this gender environment.

              1. Some of us may not be meant to have a partner in life. That dosen’t have to be sad or lonely. It’s just that people are different.

                I don’t think all people play the games. If you try, you’ll find yourself a woman who dosen’t expect you to follow some stereotype. But again, if that’s not something you feel like pursuing right now, who cares? We all do what makes us happy.

                Personally, I’d never put up for any of that crap. If you want to tell me. If you don’t, tell me. If you leave me guessing, I’m gone. I don’t have time to play a game.

                1. It isn’t totally one-sided though. There are all kinds of subtle ways in which each sex makes the other feel as though they HAVE to play games. I did read a study though that said that generally, women (it may have just been American women) are less covert about their attraction than men are. I think most of or can be chalked up culturally instilled insecurity. Women are more so made to feel insecure about their looks, men, about their “dignity”, whatever that really is. That’s probably why men these days, considering everyone seems to be getting progressively more insecure in this culture, feel the need to be so coy and covert, because being forward and honest makes one feel like you’re putting your dignity on the line. Of only were had a culture that taught people to have genuine self-respect and to not judge their own and others’ work by these things. Is amazing when you realize that getting turned down means nothing! :/

                2. It isn’t totally one-sided though. There are all kinds of subtle ways in which each sex makes the other feel as though they HAVE to play games. I did read a study though that said that generally, women (it may have just been American women) are less covert about their attraction than men are. I think most of it can be chalked up to culturally instilled insecurity. Women are more so made to feel insecure about their looks, men, about their “dignity”, whatever that really is. That’s probably why men these days, considering everyone seems to be getting progressively more insecure in this culture, feel the need to be so coy and covert, because being forward and honest makes one feel like you’re putting your dignity on the line. Of only we had a culture that taught people to have genuine self-respect and to not judge their own and others’ worth by these things. It’s amazing when you realize that getting turned down means nothing! :/

  9. I went and watched the first, like, 8 minutes of the gamer video and, while I’m not familiar with that lady and I’m sure some of the criticisms against her are well-founded, I have always had an issue with the design of female video game characters. I never really paid attention to Peach as Super Mario Bros is completely about the gameplay anyway, I’ve always felt Zelda actually had a lot of depth & dignity to her character for anyone willing to actually read into it, but what I could never abide (and I’m amazed how many guys don’t care in the slightest), is the hyper-sexualization of so many female characters. When I first saw the Brawl model for Zero Suit Samus I was like “Oh come on!” I am not supposed to look at this character who I’ve saved countless worlds with and have to wonder whether to be intimidated or turned on! (Then again.. I would totally be Samus’ damsel-in-distress on some forsaken alien world… Hah.)

    Regarding the other video, there are many good points being made by both sides. Ultimately I have to conclude that, despite her tight, look-at-my-ass jeans, she shouldn’t have to deal with all that. Men need to be more sensible and realize they aren’t entitled to a response, a thank you, or anything for that matter. Also, most of them are just too stubborn & thick to admit to themselves that they’re just saying “I’d like to put my penis in you” in nicer terms, and women know it.

    Although, one argument from the other side I find both compelling & revealing is this: As long as the overarching gender dynamic dictates that at least 9 times out of 10, the male should approach the female, males are gonna be approaching. This attitude reveals a hidden indignance in the hearts of many men (myself included) who feel that it’s actually extremely sexist to assume that just because we’re born with penises, we should be the one’s to approach most of the time. Forget any now largely dated issue of one-sided financial support, the mere fact that we’re basically expected to feign confidence and initiate everything is enough to make a lot of men feel very angry. I think a lot of men feel that many women, at least subconsciously, fall back on the fact that they were born with wombs and will always be the more valuable sex, so they shouldn’t have to meet us halfway if they don’t feel like it. Many men, of course, enable this. Think of the American archetype of the dope of a husband who feels lucky just to have found a woman gracious enough to marry him. It’s ubiquitous, and most of us are NOT self-loathing dopes, but we DO feel devalued just as women do. I actually believe that deep down, most men are more insecure than most women. (Which is why they seem to more desperately cling to their gender role, as well as more vehemently enforce it upon each other.) Women simply have the development of their self-esteem systematically retarded by a sexist media culture.

    “It’s always darkest before the dawn. ” I think the gender dynamic is currently imploding, and it’s about damn time.

    1. There is a worse video by Anita, and I mean worse not in that she made worse points. It’s on violence against women and it’s full of women screaming for their lives, begging not to be beat, raped or murdered. Rape gives me the chills and I just couldn’t finish it. That was the first video that made me sit back and think, “wait, I’ve played dozens of games and never experienced something like THAT. What’s the game here? Certainly I play many popular games, and none are like this”

      There are aspects of social patriarchy that negatively effect men. I hate it when someone says, “It’s misogynist to always make the man ask the women out. It’s misogynist to assume men are animals.” No, it’s not. It’s patriarchy. Patriarchy says men should be the decision makers, the instigators and the aggressors. Patriarchy says men should hide their emotions and never cry. Never show weakness.

      I have a theory that gender equality has moved beyond biology. Penis or vagina, it dosen’t matter, you are equal. Where we are unequal is when we compare masculinity to femininity. To be masculine is to be better than those who are feminine. the new fight is for there to be equality between masculine and feminine traits. Then, the person doing the asking out – something seen as masculine – will be equal to the one being asked – something seen as feminine. Then, we will move beyond this idea that “men are animals.” No one is an animal unless they act like one and acting like an animal – with no care for the feelings of others, is wrong regardless of gender.

      At least, that is my theory. Gender are equal, by masculinity and femininity are not.

      1. What you were talking about in your second paragraph is misandry, but I know what you meant. Is all patriarchy. That’s the dominant societal structural trait, and it’s micro-enforced by each one of us, whether in a passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive manner. In order to maintain it, it’s simply more necessary to control the male or ‘masculine’ gender, and simpler is easier. I sometimes facetiously wonder why Freud never came up with ‘womb-envy’ as a possible explanation for the inflated male need for dominance. (Assertiveness & action-taking being dominant behaviors.) 😉

        1. I have heard the argument made that male dominate societies originated because of some kind of ‘womb-envy.’ I have seen any real study on it, though. It’s an interesting idea.

      2. Yes, this point exactly! As I mentioned in my comment above, while I hate to join the whole “She’s cherrypicking!” refrain, it’s worth noting that for that second trope, she exclusively used scenes from maybe half a dozen M+ rated titles.

        1. It’s so stupid. Using only M+ rated games, you can only make a statement about M+ rated games, not the whole library of video games.

  10. sexism isn’t cool from either side. however, it is more visible as to women especially in the physical sense. but it’s in other areas too. sexism as to men usually comes from women in verbal attacks. it’s not as noticeable because society accepts the idea that man can handle any thing that is thrown at him. there are a lot of barriers out there and it’s due to the people that are less bright.

    this was a good read TK. internet bullies can be kids, but a lot of times it’s adults that never grew up from school. it’s no wonder this country has the issues it does.

    1. As I said to Descent, there are issues where men face negativity due to gender. I don’t think it’s some kind of reverse sexism, though. I think it’s the same thing as what effects women. In our society, the genders are technically equal. What is not equal are the qualities of masculinity and femininity. To be mainline is to be better than one who is feminine. So, a man who is attacked, and expected to “man up” and take it is not so much an attack at his gender as a attack on what is perceived to be a feminine quality. To need saving, to cry or to be hurt is still something we tend to think of with feminine qualities (i.e. damsel in distress). To me, this is the new direction in the fight for gender equality. Now, we need to make masculinity equal to femininity. We need to acknowledge that crying does not make a person better or worse than the person who talked back, that the stay-at-home parent can be just as successful as the CEO – all regardless of their gender.

  11. I totally agree that nobody should try and silence someone just because such discussions make them comfortable. It is sad to hear and know that giving a voice to issues of crucial importance is such a lonely walk… Why are people so threatened by the idea of a discussion? I mean until and unless we start acknowledging and discussing such issues how we can even understand all aspects of the issues let alone resolve it…

    It is very brave of you to raise this and issues you have been raising in previous posts. We need more people like you who would raise voice and create platforms where people can share their different opinions and make an effort to understand what others are saying.

    Thank you very much for taking this step in bringing this issue to light. We need to talk about them more often and without shunning them out of mainstream platforms.

    1. Sometimes I wonder if mainstream platforms are the problem, especially when it comes to discussion on things the mass media thinks in childish. Video games, comics, anime, cosplay. All these things are seen as childish by the mainstream, so rarely does the public give such things real thought. They simply make a statement. “video games cause murder.” “Gamers are sexist.” That dosen’t help.

      Maybe, before we can have this discussion, we need to convince people outside these areas to consider them as hobbies deserving of respect.

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