Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

What happened? On video games and sexualized violence February 23, 2009

Filed under: feminist philosophy,women in philosophy — jj @ 11:39 pm

Two recent posts on video games and violence – particularly violence toward women in one – sparked discussions that prompted quite similar assessments.

The first came from  Rachel McKinney on Video Games:  the good and the bad

I have been pretty quiet recently, but after reading the comments on this post (and the previous one on Rapelay) I find myself feeling very frustrated, and I think it’s important to vocalize why. Apologies for the directness/aggressiveness of tone here.

A description of the dialectic that seems to be at work:

JJ presents an article to generate critical and reflective discussion about the role that video games might play in leading to or reinforcing violent behavior in men. The immediate response is a cacophony of aggressive skepticism from (male) video game consumers (who don’t usually comment here) offering anecdotal evidence — “Take myself, for example” — that of course video games don’t lead to violence and, silly alarmist, men who are violent are just predisposed to violent video games. JJ then responds by providing more information about the pool of data at issue, and that the researchers took care to control for such pre-existing personality traits, only to be met with more unhelpful skepticism at even the possibility of the truth of such a hypothesis.

This dialectic should be familiar to anyone who has taught feminist criticisms of pornography to straight college-age men. The same dismissive incredulity at the very idea that people might not be in total introspective control of how they perceive and act toward others. The same air of defensiveness at the suggestion that their consumption of culture artifacts might influence how they think and feel about and value human bodies and relationships. The same aggressive skepticism, the same unresponsiveness to methodological nuance in the empirical evidence.

It’s a fucked up aspect of boy culture that conversations meant to generate critical and reflective inquiry into such practices as the sale, use and consumption of these artifacts — video games, pornography — are consistently met with this sort of attitude. I just want to say how much I admire JJ, and all the bloggers here, for their patience and their ability to offer their interlocutors much more charity than they receive from them.

And the second from The Claw on Rapeplay:

So I did a Google search for feminist responses to RapeLay and I came across this discussion thread – what the??? So far on this page, some men are defending video games from supposedly unfair attacks, another man is arguing that the game (once again, named RAPE-Lay) is really more about sex than rape, yet another man is suggesting that perhaps the game is an example of ironic black humor, and yet another person is saying that censorship is bad. THAT is the feminist philosophers thread on RapeLay??

Video games in which the player takes on a male character and rapes women (and yes, I have visited the game website, seen extensive screen shots and read several reviews) are a disturbing and disgusting phenomenon, bottom line. Some of the descriptions of the game here seem to leave out the fact that you, as the protagonist, “deflower” the two young girls, as evidenced by their blood. And you are raping a woman and her two young daughters, using handcuffs or other restraints. The women also cry (and there are nice quivering anime tears), and the final shot of each rape is a naked woman (sometimes on a subway platform or bathroom stall or in a park), covered in semen. Sound consensual, anyone? And what about the function where the protagonist can get his guy friends to help – more consensual fun, huh?

And no, there is no big leap from Grand Theft Auto, which glorifies crime and violence (including violence against women) to rape fantasy games. Our culture is steeped in violence and dehumanizing imagery and storytelling, from movies to television to videogames – look at the recent movement in “horror porn” movies that revel in the idea of kidnapping, torturing and murdering people (especially nubile young women) in vividly graphic ways.

For the men on this thread who are equivocating about whether or not RapeLay is offensive, ironic, more about sex than violence, etc., etc. – as a woman, I can tell you that this kind of game (and its part in a larger cultural movement) makes me feel sick and tells me that I am living in a culture that is hostile to me and fantasizes about assaulting me – that in itself is violating. This kind of game tells me that women are objects to be degraded and hurt for fun, objects worthy of both hostile contempt and destructive lust. Ask yourself honestly, how would you feel if there were a bunch of glorifying castration fantasy games, with big, strong female protagonists wielding knives and reveling in cutting off every phallus they could find (in full-color detail)? What if everywhere you turned, there were billboards advertising movies and other media about the powerlessness and gleeful torture of men? Meanwhile, in real life, what if you feared walking down a dark street alone, or jogging in a park, or finding your car in a deserted parking garage, because of the real threat of sexual assault? Given that we as women live with the real threat of sexual violence every day, how are we supposed to feel cavalier about a game that clearly revels in rape fantasy?

Or, to consider another analogy, would we all be OK with lynching video games, where the objective would be to hunt down young black men in the South, beat them, castrate them, and hang them from trees? Or a gay-bashing game? Or a fun Holocaust game, where the player gets to take on the role of a Nazi, torturing Jews? Despite all the indignant cries over the censoring spirit of “political correctness,” the truth is that each of us does have a point where we say, “That’s not acceptable.” And we should not be shamed by the fear that we are being “politically correct” if we stand up for ourselves. So you may try to tell yourself that a rape video game is “not that bad” or “ironic” or possibly even entertaining in its over-the-top nature – but I can guarantee you: no woman is going to be laughing. C’mon women – stand up for yourselves!!

(Sidebar: Jim, did you ACTUALLY try to soft-pedal the coersive nature of the game by paralleling the “vaginal insert” function with a kid saying, “I want some candy?” Good lord.)

And regarding the question of whether rape fantasy games encourage more incidents of actual rape – it is very clear that violent videogames are part of a desensitized culture that does encourage more actual violence. Did videogames cause the Columbine killings? Of course they were not the sole contributor, and I don’t think any reasonable person is making that argument. But are violent video games part of a larger cultural movement that glorifies guns and dominance and obliterating one’s enemies? Definitely. So whether any one rape that occurs can be directly attributed to the existence of RapeLay, the fact is that there is a prevalence of violence against women in our culture, and RapeLay is a part of that. (If you don’t think we are influenced by imagery and media, then how do you think advertising works? Corporations spend billions of dollars to create little videos and jingles that persuade us to BUY goods.)

I really look forward to a day when there are not assaultive images of women everywhere we turn. I urge a zero-tolerance policy on rape fantasy and other forms of degrading, dehumanizing games and other media. Good for Amazon for finally refusing to sell RapeLay. And by the way – it is NOT censorship to protest and boycott the sale of rape video games; it is collective action and freedom of speech. (People are way too careless in throwing around terms like “censorship” and “political correctness” when they disagree with another point of view.)

So c’mon, peeps – Si se puede! ZERO tolerance.

Rachel made some very kind comments, but in some ways the Claw’s is more telling.  Arguably, feminist thought was overwhelmed by the indirection achieved by some commentators.  The discussion became in some sense about their ideas, and not about the advertisements for rape and violence pervasive in many societies.

Here are two possible reactions to the comments on the comments.  You might think of some others.  let us know what you think.

1.  This blog has hundreds of posts about media and sexualized violence; the point of comments is to engage with commentators.

2.  The comments look just like the  sort of take over that goes on in philosophy all the time, perhaps due to the fact that few men find women’s ideas at all interesting, at least when compared with their own.  AND we let it happen yet again.

The second alternative is hardly fortunate!!

 Is  the second just me giving into a tendency to assume the blame?  (In this case on behalf of others, perhaps I should be sorry to say.)  Or could we have a problem?  One we should address?

ADDITION:  We have regretfully closed this post to comments.  We are very happy to have visitors from the Philosophers’ Carnival, but somehow trolls are following in their wake, quite like scavenger birds following a fishing boat. 

What philosophy and philosophers have to say about the topics of the posts  linked to above are of interest to many of us.  You are very welcome to comment on those posts, as indeed are other visitors, who may be even more interesting.  Please, however, be aware that we have a policy of discouraging rude or obscene comments.  And yes, that is an inclusive “or”.

 

54 Responses to “What happened? On video games and sexualized violence”

  1. The Claw Says:

    Goooooo, Rachel McKinney! You really hit the nail on the head. Well said!

    JJ – Thank you for your thoughtful response to my post. Based on the thread to which I responded, my overall sense was that several men had essentially highjacked the conversation with a variety of apologist interpretations of RapeLay, and had really gotten away from the point of the matter.

    Certainly politeness is crucial to civilized discourse (especially given how savage and irrational people can act in anonymous cyberspace), but it was my sense that the women on the thread were being pretty accomodating and even at times conciliatory to these particular men, such that the overall tone of the thread was one of questioning whether RapeLay is really all that bad at all.

    I think both men and women have been taught to fear, loathe and shut out female anger, but I don’t think we should be afraid to say that rape video games make us angry. And I don’t think we should be afraid to challenge men who are side-stepping the real issue or taking over the dialogue and making it about how they are misunderstood.

    If we’re honest with ourselves, don’t we as women know what all those sexually violent video games (and other media) are about? And don’t we know how they make us feel? And aren’t they just 100% unacceptable, no matter what? Anyone who equivocates about that is, I think, being dishonest. We know those games are a form of mysoginist aggression toward women, and that’s that.

    Some guy can say, “Rape video games don’t contribute to greater incidents of real rape.” But c’mon. Don’t we all know that rape video games are part of a culture of violence against women? And if they can’t be directly traced as the sole cause of a real rape… that makes them OK? Virtual rape is perfectly OK? And I’m sorry, but only a man would try to negotiate whether or not that game is about rape or just kinky sex – again, as women, we KNOW what that game is, don’t we?

    So in response to your concerns above, JJ – yes, I do think the RapeLay thread became dominated by certain male perspectives and somehow became a defense of video gaming and some notion of “harmless” sex gaming. Of course you want to have an open discussion forum (as long as it is decent and respectful, hopefully), but I hope people will not be afraid to make strong counter-arguments to the apologist comments.

    Thank you again for your thoughts, JJ!

    ~ The Claw

  2. Python Says:

    I don’t see how the commentators in question can be fairly construed as having “dominated” or led into “indirection” the video game threads. Call their opinions unfounded, ignorant, or even retrograde–that doesn’t mean they have conducted themselves in any disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate way. Several people have made long arguments with which The Claw and others disagree; but why is it any more legitimate to suggest that they have somehow overrun this particular discussion (or worse; JJ suggests that they have overwhelmed “feminist thought” itself!) than to say that those who represent opposing views have simply failed to respond, or don’t care to. Is this site really so unused to real contention that any strong disagreement must be interpreted as hostile?

  3. Jender Says:

    I wish I’d managed to get my comment in before Python’s as I was about to demonstrate the existence of strong feminist disagreements on this topic (as on so many others). I thought the discussions were really interesting and thought-provoking, and I found them very valuable. (OK, not every bit of them– but most of them, actually.) So I’m in strong disagreement with my FP colleague JJ, despite being both a woman and a feminist.

    Now a separate thought: did some of the comments arise from a male defensiveness about video games? Maybe– it’s always hard to be sure of this sort of thing. But we would expect that, just as we would expect to get the defensive comments that we do from our female students about e.g. norms of feminine appearance. Does that mean the comments aren’t worthwhile? Absolutely not– even when there is defensiveness about matters closely associated with gender roles, there can still at the same time be insights or challenging and significant objections.

    Anyway, to reiterate: I liked most of those comment threads, and I wouldn’t want to discourage them in the future.

  4. Jender Says:

    I’ll also add that I enjoyed the comments from Rachel and Claw. I think we’ve got an excellent discussion going here, and that their critiques are a part of that excellent discussion. For example: it sounds like Jim gave us only an incomplete description of Rapelay and Claw has demonstrated that. But if it hadn’t been for Jim’s comments, I wouldn’t have known that the game had the women saying ‘yes’, which I find really interesting in something that is billed as a depiction of rape. Another example: Claw’s lynching game analogy is a devastating counter-argument to some of the ones given, but we wouldn’t have seen it if those hadn’t appeared. Another: Rachel has drawn attention to the way that refusals to acknowledge unconscious psychological processes affect the debate. A great point, well worth discussing. And useful to have a nice example of it in the preceding comment threads.

  5. extendedlp Says:

    i agree with jender, i think what’s been going on is quite good. and i don’t think it’s helpful to call irrational nonarguments a ‘male’ phenomenon; some women will give the same sorts of defensive nonsense replies to challenges to “feminine” norms as well. i think the reason it seems so icky in this case is that (a) it’s coming from the socially dominant sex; and (b) it’s in response to a particularly threatening phenomenon. don’t get me wrong: i’ve been *completely* creeped out by some of the comments from men re rapeplay. but in a way i’m glad they’re making them here. there’s at least a chance that they’ll read and take in the replies they get to their comments. and men who have the sorts of views that have been expressed in these posts *need* to hear sound thinking on the matter. no? i think rachel’s and claw’s comments are totally legitimate responses to the comments that have come before them, but i worry they might be short-sighted as meta-replies to the commentary as a whole.

  6. jj Says:

    Considering that I actually put forward questions about a disjunction, I’m surprised to find agreement with the first disjunct to be described as strong disagreement with what I said.

    Since this blog has so often raised questions about what can be seen as a silencing of women in the philosophy profession, I think it’s important to consider whether we – meant generally – are complicit in some aspects of that silencing. Once raised, it becomes a huge worry, at least for me. The fact that it is a huge worry, however, is something I tried to translate into questions, not assertions about what did happen.

  7. Jender Says:

    Sorry, JJ, I may have sounded more combative than I meant to. But I actually am not all that pleased with either disjunct. The first sounds to me like engaging with these comments because it’s our job to engage with them, rather than finding the discussion genuinely valuable. (This may not have been your intent.) I found the discussion genuinely valuable.

  8. jj Says:

    I was raising questions about the disjunction, as I said. I did genuinely mean that the disjuncts were two possible reactions and mentioned that there could be others.

    Addition: It might seem as though I employed a rhetorical trick to disguise a position as a question. I assure you that was not going on here. I am not sure what I think about the whole issue, and I’d much prefer to hear what others think.

  9. Monkey Says:

    I’m a feminist and a woman and I posted the item on Rapelay. As I said in the comments over and over again, I genuinely don’t know what to think about the game. My immediate reaction is that it’s abhorrent. But personally I’m not interested in simply expressing outrage at it. I’m interested in trying to work out what our rational reaction to the game should be. Is my immediate reaction of outrage justified? If so, what justifies it? Should the game be banned? If so why? How do issues to do with censorship bear on this matter? I found nearly all the comments on the post instructive. We do well, e.g., to think about whether videogames should be considered differently from films, books, and so on. It is worth knowing about the content of the game, rather than just basing one’s theorising about it on hearsay (and yes, it’s interesting to hear the difference in the descriptions of the game given by different people – that in itself seems telling, although what exactly it tells us is up for debate). It’s worth considering our different reactions to different forms of violence-as-entertainment. I certainly don’t think the thread was hijacked, or feminist views on the topic were silenced.

    I’m also painfully aware of the fact that political discussions of all sorts can be conducted in such a way that those who don’t toe the partyline are shouted down or dismissed. Unsurprising when people care passionately about the issues being discussed. But I don’t want that to be the case on this blog. I want people who have differing views to be able to express them so we can discuss them in civilized debate. This means no kneejerk reactions – either from people reacting to what they see as annoying political correctness, or from feminists reacting to what they see as anti-feminist views. I don’t see making people feel welcome and expressing interest in what they say as overly conciliatory, even if I disagree with what they are saying.

  10. Jessica Says:

    Great discussion, and I really enjoy this blog!

    I just wanted to point out that on my own little blog, my post on rape in romance novels generated most of the same reactions by my regular women readers as your post on violent video games did. It’s not just a guy thing.

    For my part, I am always trying to reconcile my gut feeling that these cultural products do in fact perpetuate a rape culture in the ways you all have suggested, with the fact that rape, and violent crime in general, has steadily declined in the US for the past 30 years.

    Thanks again for your fruitful discussions.

  11. Jender Says:

    JJ- thanks for the clarification. I did take your post to be written out of a sentiment of agreement with the claim that our post was hijacked. (Though I didn’t take you to be employing rhetorical trickery.)

  12. Amalthea Says:

    I’m glad there was a return to this issue. Topic appropriation is, sadly, very common when feminist issues are brought up in a philosophical conversation. I experience this frequently in my university’s philosophy club and it’s always frustrating.

    A recent example:

    Her: Nearly all women in jail are victims of sexual abuse… don’t you think that is linked to the choices they made that lead them to breaking the law?

    Him: Oh, so you want to get rid of all personal responsibility?

    And from there on out there was no relevant discussion because it became a petty squabble…which, I am not proud to say, I caved into due to being very sensitive about sexual abuse. But nonetheless, I think the video game post (and my sad interactions at my philosophy club) highlight the fact that feminist voices DO get quieted consistently and that many of the “louder voices” are rubes of the patriarchy, which they will probably never realize. Kudos to FP for readdressing the video game post.

  13. Amalthea Says:

    Also, @ Jessica:

    Has rape really declined in recent years? I’m not sure I can believe that.. but your blog sounds really, REALLY fascinating and I am going to check it out :)

  14. Monkey Says:

    Amalthea – what is a rube?

  15. jj Says:

    As we think of the issues here, I think we should remember Monkey’s post on Science and Sex. Both that post and my quotes from Scientific America explore the idea that (hetero?) men and women are in general experiencing these things somewhat differently. If there’s anything to that, women’s reactions might only superficially resemble men’s. (I’m thinking here of Jessica’s remarks and Kent’s about Anthony. One would expect women’s and men’s fantasies about rape, for example, to have quite different meaning, as some have argued.)

    Kent, I don’t think that the issue is just whether violent games lead to violence, and in a way that’s part of what’s going on with Science and Sex. The Claw’s point that our environment is full of degrading images of women is important, and the fact that degradings stereotypes of blacks, hispanics and asians are much less acceptable these days than they were seems a good thing. People concerned with implicit bias should worry about the associations that society sets up, whether or not they are acted on overtly and consciously. And that we do pick up such associations is really beyond dispute empirically.

    In this context, the African American Kara Walker’s art is highly puzzling; she portrays white on black rape (both homo and hetero) and black on black as a kind of casual fact, although it’s hard as a white person not to feel some shame, at least for me. Her view, I think, includes the idea that it is very important that everyone ends up complicit.

    We do have two posts on Kara Walker, but my computer is now very reluctant to search for the url’s. Anyone who is interested can find them through a search; the older one is the relevant one.

  16. Rachel Says:

    I agree with “all of the above,” even though that seems somewhat contradictory. I think #1 and #2 could be going on: The comments might be helpful in bringing things up, yet, they might have moved the discussion away from what is important. In the example Amalthea gave, personal responsibility is certainly an issue that plays into the topic (and, thus, we could argue that it’s helpful to bring it up). But why was it brought up then? It’s an evasive tactic: Changing the subject (see the woolly thinking guide, which I find very helpful in identifying logical fallacies).

    To me, this discussion raises some important questions: How can we detect and then prevent such hijacking – whether it is intentional or a reflection of that patriarchal culture we’re trying to critique (which, imo, is what might be going on with men defending video games…). I can see the fallacy when I look at an example. But how do we learn to notice this in the “heat of the moment,” which is necessary to prevent #2 in the future?

  17. Jessica Says:

    Has rape really declined in recent years? I’m not sure I can believe that..

    Yes, an 85% decline in rapes from 1974-2005, with a slight uptick since then, a 65% decline in violent crime over the same period.

    Here’s a link from a 2006 Bureau of Justice report:
    ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/viort.htm

    I’m not by any means arguing that we do not have a significant problem in the US with sexual assault and rape. But I do think that the inverse proportionality of violent crime to violent video game sales has to be accounted for if you want to make the causal argument (however attenuated).

  18. Rachel Says:

    Jessica wrote: “…the inverse proportionality of violent crime to violent video game sales has to be accounted for if you want to make the causal argument.”

    You cannot make any causal arguments based on two data series. Correlation does not say anything about causation…

  19. jj Says:

    Amalthea, I see something else in the distracting comment that I encounter a lot. In addition to distracting, it also demeans the comment. She wasn’t generalizing stupidly like that at all.

    In some debates, the comment might count as constructing a straw ‘man’ or even as just a cheap shot.

    Perhaps we can put our heads together and come up with a standard remark to help get the discussion back on track. Mind you, I find that even my saying, “No, that’s not what I said” is met with such disbelief and then confusion that it has to be said 3 or 4 times before it has constructive effect.

  20. stoat Says:

    haven’t been active in the discussion on these issues, but have enjoyed reading a lot – prompted much pondering on my part.
    thanks!

  21. jj Says:

    About rates increase/decrease in rape: even the justice department sees faults with the 2006 report. The Human Rights Watch takes the more reliable 2005 and 2007 reports to show a ‘soaring’ increase in violence towards women in the US.

  22. Richard Says:

    Arguably, feminist thought was overwhelmed by the indirection achieved by some commentators. The discussion became in some sense about their ideas, and not about the advertisements for rape and violence pervasive in many societies.

    I think this is unfortunately worded (“their ideas”), as it implicitly suggests that the commentators were behaving in a self-centered manner, when (at least in case of the RapeLay thread — I haven’t read the other examples) it should have been clear that most were offering good-faith contributions to the discussion.

    It would be fairer (and much less offensive) to say that “the discussion became in some sense about more general ideas, and not [just] about the advertisements for rape and violence pervasive in many societies.”

    Of course, whether this is a problem or not depends on what the author of the post was hoping for in the discussion. In this particular case, the post author was very welcoming of such philosophical discussion (thanks Monkey!), so it seems an unhappy turn of events for others to then come along and accuse us of (“arguably”) hijacking her thread with “indirection”.

    In general, there seems to be some tension on this blog between the contributors whose interests are solely political/ideological, and those who are also interested in more open-ended philosophical discussion, consideration of alternative viewpoints and good-faith criticism, etc. I guess that’s for you guys to work out amongst yourselves. But for what it’s worth, I hope that in future I can continue to engage in critical discussions here — at least with those contributors who welcome it — without being made to feel so unwelcome by the others.

  23. jj Says:

    This was going to go as a reply to Richard’s earlier comment; let me for now just say this:
    Richard, I’m not sure we can decide about who went wrong, if anyone did, unless we have some idea of what went wrong, if anything did.
    One problem one might have in understanding is that one might not understand how the discussion was not feminist, and how the comments often involved perspectives that might be considered as at odds with feminist theory. So read, The Claw’s reaction might be like that of a Marxist who comes onto a Marxist site looking for a Marxist assessment of Obama and finds all these capitalists are providing comments and the Marxists are principally working hard to critique the capitalists remarks on capitalistic grounds. Yikes, one might well say.

    Well, were there perspectives displayed that are pretty at odds with at least much in feminist thought? Well, perhaps. Feminist thought tends strongly to look at social features that undermine women’s abilities, respect, rights, etc. On this understanding, the variable fault you found in rapelay – that it depends on the individual user – is about as opposed to feminism as some capitalism is to some marxism. Here’s what you say:

    Overall, then, I think it really depends on the precise details of the psychologies of the individuals in question. Some kinds of in-game actions (e.g. rape vs. causing floods) are perhaps more likely to be “performed” from vicious character, and so we will be quicker to condemn them. But we shouldn’t be too hasty in making assumptions about others’ motivations, since there’s not necessarily anything repugnant going on here.

    The Claw’s comment about other kinds of replaying of violence toward groups of oppressed and injured people is addressed exactly to this sort of thing.

    I am puzzled by why I or someone else didn’t say anything. Perhaps for myself it is due to the fact that I am so used to the utter absence of feminist thought in official philosophical discussions that I still sometimes automatically accept the kinds of individualistic framing that analytic philosophy gives so often to its questions. I have to ask myself “Look, what do I really think here.”

    From the perspective of the Marxist who is trying to think through something, a capitalist framing of the discussion in terms of profit motives might seem like indirection, though clearly the capitalist may have no such intent. Similarly, a group of comments many or most of which are utterly innocent of feminist theory can seem less than happy. Still, again speaking for myself, I’m perfectly capable of dealing with that, and so accept some responsibility for what did go wrong, if anything did. (And that is a rhetorical device.)

  24. jj Says:

    Let me add that it’s taken me some time to think something did go wrong. I am wondering why, for example, it has taken me so long to realize that all our discussion of implicit bias is highly relevant, since we are looking at what has got to be a biasing factor in ‘our’ society. I mean if we know anything, we do know the brain is Humean enough to repeat for itself the conjunctions it observes. (I am a little indebted here to wonderful work by Read Montague at Baylor College of Medicine, which has withstood extensive peer review, but Hume wasn’t and it is really common sense.) Maybe it is just that the question was so complex.

  25. Rachel McKinney Says:

    This is all very complicated and delicate, and I want to acknowledge that it is also emotionally difficult terrain to navigate insofar as it brings up a lot about the dynamics of the field of philosophy in general and the “place” of feminist philosophy within it, etc. However, a few things:

    (i) My intention in posting my original comment was not to shut down dialog, though I suppose this might have occurred anyway as a result. My intention was to draw attention to the problematic aspects of the general tone of the dialog, and to provide reasons for thinking that this sort of tone really isn’t as isolated as it appears (it’s not just one blog post, it’s not just one classroom discussion, etc).

    (ii) The audience of this blog is, we might say, “highly disjunctive.” By which I mean: it’s not just feminist philosophers who read Feminist Philosophers, but feminists who aren’t philosophers, philosophers who aren’t feminists, non-philosopher non-feminists, philosophers who are feminists but don’t “do” feminist philosophy, etc. Moderating discussions among all these different people is incredibly tough, and I think the bloggers here do a superlative job conducting themselves with the professionalism and charity that they do.

    (iii) I don’t see the occasional “calling bullshit” comment (which is how I’d classify my and The Claw’s comments) as a call for anti-intellectualism. I’m not more interested in “political/ideological contributions” than “considerations of open-ended philosophical discussion, consideration of alternative viewpoints and good-faith criticism, etc.” Like many of the people here, the reason I WENT INTO philosophy is to engage in open-ended philosophical discussions and good-faith criticism. So of course I don’t see the two as opposed motivations or interests.

    However.

    I do think that there ought to be conversational priorities in particular conversations that occur in particular spaces. And when it came to these particular conversations — about simulated violence (against women) in video games — in this particular space — the FP blog — I will admit to becoming very frustrated that the tone of the comments had taken a turn for the defensive, the skeptical and the subject-changing. This turn resulted in a conversation that really seemed to be largely missing the point. This is not an isolated thing within philosophy, and you know what? I’ll say it: that shit is fucked up.

    But I don’t want to be too negative on this note. So I’ll end with what might be a productive thought experiment. Imagine a situation in which the same post was made on a blog with a different title, aimed at a different discipline. Would this conversation have run the same if it had appeared on a Feminist Anthropologists blog? A Feminist Geographers blog? A Feminist Social Psychologists blog? A Feminist Linguists blog? Would there have been the same dynamic? Would there have been the same skepticism and the same defensiveness? If not, why not? What are the mechanisms driving it? How can we understand the discipline-specificity of such a conversational phenomenon better?

  26. Richard Says:

    I should clarify that in talking about the diversity between various contributors’ “interests”, I meant specifically with regard to this particular space.

    And again, I was only talking about the Rapelay thread, not the other examples. (I argued in that thread that TheClaw’s accusations, in particular, really were anti-intellectual, but I won’t repeat myself here.) I don’t know about the other examples, but I don’t think it’s remotely fair to call these particular comments “defensive, skeptical and subject-changing”. Especially since you are thereby overriding the post author’s own view (see comment #9 above) of the discussion’s “point”.

    Again, the bloggers here clearly have differing opinions when it comes to what sorts of discussions they’d like to see in this space (and, in particular, how open they are to broadly philosophical input from non-feminists). One possible solution is to try to respect each blogger’s own “conversational priorities”. Another possible solution, I suppose, is for one group to insist that there’s something “wrong” with the discussions that the others are having, and drive away their interlocutors.

  27. Rachel Says:

    If the post(s) had been posted to another feminist blog, I would suspect that there would have been the same dynamic, the same skepticism and the same defensiveness. I don’t think that the reaction had much to do with philosophy. It had everything to do with feminist thought/theory (or lack of it, rather).

    I agree with you, JJ, that implicit bias is highly relevant in this discussion because I think that’s one of the dynamics that’s playing out with video games. Violence, including violence against women, is normalized, which implicitly affects how we view what is acceptable behavior and what is not. I suspect that one reason that the evidence hasn’t shown a clear link between video violence and open violence is that there is no clear link. The dynamics are much more subtle than that (and thus more dangerous, imo).

    And I am wondering if similar biases are affecting our discussion and our reaction to comments (something along the lines of internalized oppression). Maybe devaluing women’s experiences, even if they are our own. Maybe shrinking away from the call for scientific evidence because only if we can clearly show that A causes B can we say that A is wrong; or so we think.

  28. lga Says:

    As an aside… some of the commenters are careful to express concerns specifically about “violent games,” but others are making negative comments about video games without any such qualification. It may be that they’re doing so as convenient shorthand for video games that are violent or otherwise problematic, but I think some of the respondents may in turn be having a knee-jerk reaction to what may look to them like a condemnation of all video games or an unwillingness to discriminate among types of games. As someone who loves some video games, can’t stand others, and is indifferent to many more, I find myself having an adversarial reaction to that kind of phrasing. I have to keep reminding myself to treat it as if it were that kind of shorthand reference, because when it comes to the violent games, I otherwise agree with most of the sentiments these commenters are expressing. It wouldn’t surprise me if this kind of response to phrasing could be behind some of the tone of some of the othe comments.

  29. Jender Says:

    There are two kinds of “something went wrong” claims. One is that something was wrong with the comments that appeared– and, with the exception of some obvious cases, I disagree strongly with that. The other is what something went wrong because nobody mentioned some stuff that should have been mentioned– e.g. implicit bias. I’m more sympathetic to that. On the other hand, we’ve all got busy lives and can’t manage to put in every relevant comment on every blog post. But I don’t think any hijacking went on, or that anything got away from “the purpose” of the blog.– I think we have a variety of interests as feminist philosophers– some will like the discussions on one post or the discussions and some will like those on another. And that’s fine and to be expected.

  30. Monkey Says:

    I haven’t read Videogames: the Good and the Bad. But I have kept a close eye on the discussion of Rapelay, so you can read my comments here as pertaining to that. I am finding the discussion on this thread increasingly frustrating. Here is what I take (some) people to have said or implied:
    1) The discussion of Rapelay was hijacked, i.e., it was steered away from feminist concerns towards some other concerns.
    2) It was hijacked by men offering apologist accounts of Rapelay.
    3) The feminists who participated in the discussion did not respond as they should have done, e.g., they were too conciliatory, they did not offer feminist rebuttals, etc..
    4) A possible reason for 3) is that those feminists have internalized oppression.

    In connection with 1), I would like to know what constitutes feminist concerns in the context of Rapelay? In other words, what would a feminist discussion of the game look like? By suggesting that the thread was hijacked, people have implied that issues of the differences (or otherwise) between different media, concerns about censorship and free speech, questions about how entertainment does or does not impact on real life engagement with other people are simply not the sort of things feminists should be concerned with. I’d like to know why not? I’d also like to know whence comes the assumption that all feminists should have the same perspective. But this relates to 3) and 4), so I’ll return to this in a minute.

    In connection with 2) – as some of the folks above have pointed out – the men who made contributions to the thread were not defending Rapelay, nor offering apologist interpretations of it. As far as one can ever tell in these matters, they offered good faith contributions to the discussion. Yes, perhaps the tone of some of these could have been read as defensiveness. But here’s a few thoughts – (i) being defensive about x is different from defending x; (ii) the fact that someone is defensive about x doesn’t mean that what they have to say is automatically wrong, or not worth thinking about; and (iii) even if they had been actually defending Rapelay, I don’t see why this would have been a problem, given that the purpose of the thread was to have a discussion about what the morally correct response to the game should be.

    In connection with 3), I’m fed up, quite frankly, with the assumption that if one is a feminist, then one must espouse certain viewpoints. Is there a position to which one must be committed in order to be a feminist? I suppose one must think that there are gendered injustices, and in many cases, the people who are unjustly treated on the basis of gender are female. There’s probably some other equally general claims one must accept to be a feminist, e.g., that rape is wrong. But when it comes down to the details, there is no one position that is the proper feminist position. A quick look at what is generally accepted as being the feminist literature shows that in fact there are a vast number of views on all topics which count as feminists. As Jender has pointed out a few times in this discussion, FEMINISTS DON’T ALL THINK ALIKE. 3) seems to be based on the view that feminists should all think the same thing. They don’t. Given this fact, I don’t see why feminists didn’t respond correctly in the Rapelay discussion.

    And that brings me to 4). This is a nifty move often pulled out of the bag when someone who calls themself a feminist puts forward a view which other feminists disagree with. In essence, it boils down to ‘You don’t agree with us because you’ve been influenced by the patriarchy’. This is then used as a means of dismissing that person’s view. Once again, I’m going to state that I don’t think this is a straightforward issue. There are cases where at least prima facie we might want to say that someone has internalized oppression, and this is why they think as they do. But nevertheless, it should be pointed out – in case it’s not already obvious – exactly how selfserving this move is. THE proper feminist view on x is identified with a particular view. Any dissenters are then dismissed as not proper feminists with the justification that they don’t hold the proper feminist view due to the influence of the patriarchy. This is a form of silencing. Since a common theme in feminist discourse is the silencing of feminist views, I suggest that feminists be wary of pulling this move.

  31. jj Says:

    I think there are very different ways of thinking about what’s involved in the presence or absence of feminist thought. Here are two that come to mind:

    1. Feminists have a doctrine, they think they ought to use it all the time.

    2. Feminists have spent decades developing nuanced critiques that genuinely expand both the critical techniques and the theoretically relevant alternatives to be discussed on extremely important issues. Lots of important issues are genuinely illuminated by these ideas, and their absence can mean that the more foundational issues are not well addressed. The critiques and issues have deep connections, I think, with a number of other movements which some philosophers think are genuinely adding to, and opening up, recent philosophy. E.g., the empirical turn in some philosophy of mind.

    I’m thinking of the second alternative; the first hadn’t occurred to me, but I suspect an interpretation based on (1) or something fairly like it is behind Richard’s comment and perhaps others.

    I like Jender’s comment about busy lives and no doubt there are many factors that operate in any discussion.

    Addition: Having finally worked through Monkey’s long comment, I think I should say that it too appears to treat feminist theory as a set of theses, albeit disjunctive, since feminists do not all think alike. That makes it seem as though I was promoting (1) above, that there is a feminist theory and we should use it all the time.

    That’s not my view of feminism theory at all.

    I am quite taken about by remarks about feminists silencing women, which, if they are supposed to be relevant to this discussion, do seem to be pointed at my comments. I’m not sure why my concern that we might have been messing up a discussion should be so polarizing. I read comments to partner jj who remarked, “Well, someone was having a bad day.” I put that explanation along side jender’s “we have busy lives,” as very much preferable to Freudian ones.

  32. Amalthea Says:

    Interesting. With all due respect to the insights of others, I think we’re still missing the point.

    In regards to #3, there is at least one accepted premise in all feminist theory: that patriarchy exists. (What that means exactly, of course, is where the debate occurs.) Part of this conceptual claim is that by definition it is harmful to women. While certainly there could have been sensitive, thoughtful discussions breaking down the RapeLay issue from various feminist viewpoints (my fallbacks are the Marxist, Liberal and Radical fem theories which I think do a good job of getting the point across that there are a variety of approaches to fem theory) from the ground on up – I think this is dubious at best! Are we really willing to put the onus on feminists, in a blog titled Feminist Philosophers, to make those connections?

    For the record, I don’t think anyone is really at fault or that anything tragic happened with the original video game post. But what DID happen there is a common tendency in academics, larger philosophy, social movements and so forth. Which is to say distracting/potentially demeaning responses to feminist issues. So, in light of that issue, I thought the readdressing of the post was very considerate.

    Further more, why does a feminist need to provide any kind of argument connecting the word rape to patriarchal tendencies? What is more patriarchal than the sexualization of violence against women? Certainly that is one of the most fundamental, basic problems with the patriarchy, period.

  33. Paul Lowe Says:

    I can’t believe there is a game called rapelay, its offensive to any woman who has been raped, and degrades women who havent been. The whole thing is sick and going to create danger and pain for women. Don’t they have agencies that prevent this kind of abuse from reaching the shelves in the first place, wheres the standards, are women just objects for men to violate, is this the third world or the developed world. I personally feel all rapist should have the death sentence, just to be sure. I think the whole education system is wrong, its a heirarchy of discrimination to keep people under the thumb, so, theres enough male testosterone to go and kill the enemies we create with capitilism…theres to much power and control on a small peice of natural rock with an unnatural appetite for violence. Survival of the fittest what a con, nothings evoved yet, theres no civlization yet, its all a con, a system envisaged to dominate when domination is beyond comprehension, the social pecking order of discrimination and greed, wheres the love…gone with the wind, like most of the brains watching the degregation of everything natural, there supposed to be associated with…curtains for everyone at this rate, hope the metor is 2012 wipes out all the morons and just leaves the good, but, then again there only morons because they conform to the dictatorship, one day people will wake and realize there is no democracy, just an illusion, designed to keep them sweet. God I really need a way out, goodluck

  34. Jessica Says:

    Jessica wrote: “…the inverse proportionality of violent crime to violent video game sales has to be accounted for if you want to make the causal argument.”

    You cannot make any causal arguments based on two data series. Correlation does not say anything about causation…

    I do know the difference between correlation and causation. I thought *you* were making a causal argument about video gaming and violence against women, which is why I used the word “you” in the quoted statement. Sorry.

    I wasn’t making any causal argument, or even correlative. I certainly wasn’t claiming that the increase in violent video gaming had *caused* the rape rape to decline (which it did, until the last two or three years). I meant only to say that the fact that video games got more violent and more widely played during the same period when sexual crime and violent crime declined steeply (mid 1970s to mid 00s — I did recognize the uptick in the past few years in my original claim. The Human Rights Watch press release is about that 2 year uptick), should be investigated by anyone who wants to claim that violent video games are bad for women because of the connection they have to violence against them (however that connection is cashed out). I’m not a sociologist or a criminologist, btw, but it just makes sense to me that this would have to be accounted for.

    And yes, there are and have always been problems gathering statistics about violence against women, especially sexual violence, but those problems have remained constant and do not explain away the decline. I don’t know what feminist criminologists have to say about the numbers, but again, I am merely suggesting the decline gets taken into account (it could be, for example, that the decline would have been even *steeper* over that 30 year period if it hadn’t been for violent video games being introduced and widely played). I have no idea how exactly to do this. I’m just saying the question should be asked.

  35. Monkey Says:

    JJ – My comments about silencing weren’t particularly directed at what you’ve said. Neither was I reading you as promoting (1). Let me try to explain my point of view. This is only about Rapelay not Vid Games.
    I expressed a view in the discussion I had started which was ‘I don’t know what to think about these issues and I’m interested in trying to thrash out a position. People then joined in suggesting relevant factors to think about. I periodically said I was finding the discussion interesting.
    A comment was posting saying the discussion had been hijacked by non-feminists. That comment was then put forward in a separate post as worthy of discussion. Even though this was raised as a question, the fact that it was done in a separate post felt to me like some kind of endorsement of that view, over mine and the view of the other contributors – which was that our discussion was relevant and on-track. What you effectively did with this post is hold up my discussion and say, ‘Is this really how a feminist discussion should be conducted?’ Or at least that’s how it seemed to me. That’s quite a lot different from discussing that issue on the thread where the discussion was taking place. I understand this wasn’t necessarily your intention, but it is how I read it, and I think others may have done so too. Several people then commented agreeing that the discussion had been hijacked by non-feminists – the clear implication is that my concerns don’t count as feminist concerns, and the contributions of the people I was talking to were inappropriate, distracting, etc. Comment 27 in this thread then suggested pretty clearly that part of the reason for this distracting, unfruitful discussion we were having could be internalized oppression. The implication here is also pretty clear – I conducted the
    discussion as I did because I have internalized oppression. My concerns can therefore be dismissed as not properly feminist or authentic. That is what I was referring to as silencing.

    I realise this response sounds annoyed. But I admit I am upset by this. Even though I don’t suppose this description of things is what you intended, this is how they came across.

  36. jj Says:

    Monkey, I raised a question about the discussion on my post and on your post. In fact, I took two assertions that there were problems and tried to turn them into questions. (Let me add that they could have been discussed separately, but what was remarkable was that they were on different posts. Since lots of us were involved in both sets of discussion, I didn’t realize you would see it in these hierarchical terms. If I weren’t so angry, no doubt I would genuinely feel pretty bad about that.)

    The fact that you could not take what I said literally seems to me astonishing. This is philosophy, where we struggle and struggle to get our words down as we mean them. I tried to ask for alternatives; I suggested this might just be me willing to take the blame if anyone raised objections. Of course, the POSSIBILITY that we might have let the discussion be taken over by people with quite different agendas was very vivid in my mind. How could it not be?

    I attempted to open up the possibility of putting the feminist critical eye on our discussion. Clearly that does not work, and that was interpreted in pretty bad terms. I think there is a history to the interpretation, one I started to worry about weeks ago. There are signs of polarization before, and I’ve felt uneasy for some time.

    In general, when one person ends up seen as the bad person attacking the good people unjustly and unfairly, you really do need to ask yourself whether something else might actually be going on. Groups attacks are very destructive of a community.

    That is not to say that I didn’t make a bad mistake. Clearly, I did. That I then became the community’s outsider should cause those seeing it that way to go in for their own critical self-reflection. “That’s how a read it” names the problem, and does not justify anything here.

  37. jj Says:

    Let me add: I have no idea that discussions were somehow the property of the person doing the post. If I am remembering correctly, Jender’s taken over and tried to redirect discussion on posts of mine (aka told us to stop arguing) and I mistakenly generalized to a view about shared reponsibility.

    I think the blog should clear this up.

  38. jj Says:

    finally, because I might seem just to be interested in self-justification, let me repeat something I said to Jender offline. I do take responsibility for this trend on the blog and am thinking what to do about it.

  39. Jender Says:

    It’s clear to me that we’re all well-intentioned here, and nobody is wanting to do any suppressing of anyone’s viewpoint– but now both JJ and Monkey feel that their viewpoints have been branded as somehow inappropriate for the blog. I’m sure this is not what either of you intended, and it’s certainly not what I intended in any of my interventions here. So my suggestion is that we simply put this all down to a misunderstanding and move on from it. Is that alright with you two?

  40. Jender Says:

    I think we all need to bear in mind how easy it is to feel stifled, and also how easy it is to inadvertantly say thing that have stifling effects.

  41. Jender Says:

    And of course which stifling we’re most sensitive to is heavily dependent on which we experience most in our lives. Monkey and I have a lot of recent experience with our views being dismissed by feminists as not really feminist. It sounds like Rachel and Claw have more experience with their views being dismissed *for* being feminist.

  42. Paul Lowe Says:

    My views whilst off the subject in total, with reference to the game called rapelay, which, my mind as difficulty in understanding the entertainment value of, is specifically with reference to this form of media and not the general use of games intended to pacify violent tendancy by projecting the nature of males and females onto non sentient form of illusion.

    However since the discussion between two entirley different catogories of media have been linked together, confusion between the intended outcome of results surgesting anything significant are questionable and decietful to an authentic unbiased awnser.

    The future of war, in which, human catogorization becomes alien to the concept of human itself, where intelligence is the control of machines to inflict death, dominating superior capability in destroying human bodies, therefore, the use of such training in my mind is dualistic as method of training and selecting the best operators of death, from the imposed condition in society and not the natural condition.

    Since society is all about control and domination of human beings into a conditioned reality outside the context of natural ownership and association within the world in which we all live. In the liberation of black workers on plantations the social controllers of integrity, accomodated popular opinion to authentic credibility of the significance and understanding of being human, but, what actually took place was the expansion of the concept, from being relative to a minority to encompassing the majority, since there was after all plenty of fat on the land, born out by the condition and status in which human civilization as adapted to its own conditioned impedance. Every nation is a slave plantation playing survival of the fittest with all the other slave plantations, who, are milked and conditioned by the heirarcy of death. In education, the system is manipulated to procure the right candidates for the necessary functions the machine utilizes to satisfy its appitie for oppression, There are stages and levels of knowledge and wisdom, either forcably fed or nurtured, depending on status, postcode and means. To satisfy the requirement of war of the worlds and survivalof the fittest, which, on a biological level are the same common children all over the planet, we impede stimulation and access to nurture and development in the lower sector of social harmony in order to procure, the little Johnies who like to get up, have breakfast and go and kill something, the surplus population is wood for the factories. The top of the tree with its vast scale of pay inflation, benifits and life style, is corrupted by its own divine perfection in being the best (the best what is unclear) in contrast to the basic wage at the bottom of the tree, that amounts to slavery and the pollution at the top of the tree washes its way down the heirarcy polluting and infecting the condition, which, is unnatural at the bottom of the tree, where, the masses remain imprisoned.
    Hence the use of a game to satisfy the illusion of justice is just a method of maintaining the illusion of order, which, is represent by the legal system, which, is just a system to maintain the illusion of sinners it generates to satisfy its foundation in religious perception and do-gooding.

    Rapelay, if it was going to be assesed for authentic relativity with regard to cause and effect, can only be assesed independently and not lumped into some illusion with the utilization of war games. Is rape gender pacific, no rape is not gender pacific, rape is control and domination, in the unnatural conditon of social degeneration and is therefore natural within that condition in its unnatural manifestion as a state of authentic cause and effect, since respect in a system based on animal instincts with the illusion of human intentions is just a load of ……., to maintain the integrity of capitilist heritage and control.
    Lets have an example…female in her normal life, trying to get by as an hotel receptionist, drives home after work one night and breaks down in a country lane. Luckly a nice man driving a mercades, whos a millionaire, stops and offers her a life home. Instead of taking her home he takes her on a severn hour rape tour of different statley homes and gardens, in which he breaks her face in four place, rips the hair out of her scalp and leaves her for dead in true samaritan style. Several years on the victim as still not recovered, the result of which is her life fell apart, she ended up inthe gutter and became a prostitute to feed a drug habit as a form of escape from post traumtic stress. Wealth as nothing to do with rape, power and domination are the poisen, generated, by the power and domination throughout the nature of ape life. So as for video games influencing behavior it really depends on which part of the pyramid you want to look at, since whilst in the west, such, games are a way of life, the third worldis without the luxuary of such consumerism, so the ability to hide the problem here is not the reality there.
    Case 2, Washington DC, USA…girl born into a religious community with warped sense of values calling themselves christian, girl abused as child develops multipal personality disorder, growing up is said to have no soul, hence God don’t see her, hence mother sells her to men of the church as a prostitute, as a young woman, shes saddled to the a local who wants boys, and is beaten and broken on a regular occasion by her meat brusing buthcher of a husband, shes 48 now and still trapped in the prision of life. They don’t use video games in upstanding bible belt territory, its a sin.
    So in terms of assesment, we are really looking at the urban jungle in which the majority of prisoners are bound to the machine and encourged to be survivors in the eugenic imposed ganglands of Darwin culture.
    So authentic game credentials, shall we have a game for peadophilles, no doubt there already is one to go with the rapelay, which is not a deterant and like controling violence in war games but an endorsement that women are afterall just a game to be abused and not respected, which is a shame given every living soul is concieved by a woman in nature and then abused on planet uncivillized. Sorry thats my view.

  43. jj Says:

    Jender, I don’t think that is really enough. An assumption of general cooperativeness and good will has really failed. There wasn’t even the will to act as though it were true, and in fact we’ve shared with hundreds of readers that we think it is false.

    Whew! We really have to decide whether we can treat each other like that. Since, as it seems, it will happen that some of us feel another person has erred against the assumption of good will, etc, we need to agree on what to do that will nuture and not destroy the blog.

    I also personally think there is an imbalance on the blog that can make disagreements very difficult. You and I, for example, contrast quite starkly in whom we know and who is likely to be influenced some by our judgment. I don’t know if your negative judgments strike your present and former students as strongly as, say, Philippa’s did us when we were her students, and I hope not. I have to say that a judgment from her to the effect that she totally disagreed with someone had quite an effect on how we viewed the likelihood of that person being right. It was low. I can’t remember if we were under the illusion of forming our own judgments, but just about no one really manages that fully in any case.

    And we really need to decide what the relationship is between a poster and the discussion on that post. Is the person really responsible for it? If so, then perhaps we should have guidelines of some sort both for contributing and for commenting later on the discussion. For example, are positive comments about a discussion allowed, but negative ones not?

    I would vote for not holding a person responsible for the discussio, btw.

  44. stoat Says:

    I haven’t contributed to this discussion a great deal, but have been reading first with interest and then with some dismay that things have become a bit difficult. I am somewhat surprised that either Monkey or JJ might see there to be a lack of good will. Here’s how it looked (looks) to me:

    JJ raised a question about the shape of a discussion. Monkey felt upset at what she felt was implied – not solely by the question, but by that in conjunction with some of the comments, from others, in that thread. Monkey expressed upset, acknowledging that any such intention was not being attributed to JJ. JJ then expressed the view that such upset was not justified given what was actually written, and felt upset at being taken in that way.

    It seems to me that both Monkey and JJ may legitimately feel as they do (I can (try to) put myself in both shoes, and imagine feeling similarly), and that is consistent with neither being involved in any expression of any less than good will.

    Rather, I think this shows us how difficult it can sometimes be discussing sensitive issues in such a forum, especially when we don’t have the usual helpful indicators such as tone of voice, facial expressions, to help us to interpret the words of others.
    (it also means that clarificatory or placatory words are not always immediately on hand, so we have time to go away and seethe (ok, maybe that’s just me…)!)

    I think part of what makes this forum so fruitful is that we don’t always agree. In a way, I think it testament to the goodwill that in the often crazy blogosphere, this blog is such a haven for constructive discussion, and has persisted to be so for what is now a rather long time! It would be a shame to lose any aspect of that.

    I think the format we’ve worked with has worked for so long, we should stick with the open, shared responsibility posting. I hope others find it possible to continue with fruitful discussion… :)

  45. jj Says:

    Stoat, M said it wasn’t necess. my intention, but that’s how she read it.

    That is different.

  46. jj Says:

    I could add that M said she thought others saw it the way she did, which I do not doubt for a minute. But that leaves me with the fact that some group of people saw me as attempting something which hardly is consistent with the idea that we’re acting with cooperation and good will. Oddly, it wasn’t even consistent with what I said. What?!?!

    You might try this: imagine that being quite distracted, you put a dent in someone’s car as you are leaving a meeting. Then imagine that not only does the owner feel you were getting at him, but others think he is right.

    I don’t think I have either the strength or the interest to continue this.

  47. lga Says:

    I’d like to echo part of what Stoat said, the part about this blog being a haven for constructive discussion. It is unfortunately really rare in online communities with anonymous posting that there should be a norm of expecting good will in discussions, and the fact that it is expected here is one of the things that makes this community so attractive to me. I really value reading what both JJ and Monkey have to say, and the other bloggers as well of course. I hope that soon the current situation will be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and that everyone who feels hurt by the discussion can feel heard and respected. Please know that we feel badly that the two of you feel badly.

  48. Paul Lowe Says:

    I appologise if I offended anyone, or made a mistake on how your supposed to talk about these things, I just followed a link and I didn’t know such games existed before I read this blog so I’m just really shocked it does. I have another blog at this address http://objector.gaia.com/blog
    if theres anything you can use, which, is just free thinking about global abuse and the need for change. Anyway I appologise if I said things wrong…thank you

  49. jj Says:

    Paul Lowe, There is absolutely no need for you to apologize. I doubt anyone is offended by anything you have said; instead other quite different issues are occupying the blog right now.

  50. Paul Lowe Says:

    Thanks JJ, I didn’t want to disturb any good work people share in justice of democracy in respect.

  51. Jender Says:

    JJ, I want to give a huge and heartfelt public apology. I misinterpreted your post, then wrote an ill-thought out comment which gave an impression that I never intended: that I attributed ill-will to you. That was never the case: I simply thought (wrongly) that we were strongly disagreeing. I’ve been blogging in haste lately– too much haste, which has led to careless writing. In the future, I need to find the time to write more carefully or simply not blog. I am deeply sorry for all of this.

  52. hippocampa Says:

    And we all lived happily ever after :)
    I greatly enjoy this blog and I would like to thank all the avid posters for making this interesting, even if you sometimes write in haste, and I am glad about the civil way in which things were expressed (but I am Dutch, and we are generally a bit more blunt, so it might come across differently to others).
    I wonder whether this was quite a feminine way of dealing with things. It sort of seems it is, and although I noticed a kind of replacement embarassment about it, I then realised… darn, this is a good way to get over differences, and yes, it is a feminine way, but why on earth should I be embarassed about that?
    And so being shocked at my own intrinsic biases.

    The abstraction of the notion of this post still interests me though: the “hijacking” of feminist discussions. Hijacking is not the right word I guess, because you can’t unintentionally hijack, I suppose, but I do think it often happens that when you try to focus on the feminist side of things, people get uncomfortable (if that is it) and sidle away from the issue.
    Some others have expressed that they have this experience, I wonder how common it is.

  53. jj Says:

    Thanks for your kind and generous comment, Jender. I’m also really sorry about the conflict resulting from my post, for which I certainly feel considerable responsibility. Since poor Monkey felt targeted, hugs should be extended to include her.

  54. [...] Continuing the pattern of sex-related controversy, there is an extended, fascinating discussion of sexual violence against women in video games at Feminist Philosophers in (5) On video games and sexualized violence. [...]


Comments are closed.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,555 other followers