Some What It’s Like to Be a Woman Links

Large H/T to GeekFeminism.org for several of the links.

 

What  it is like to be a woman and a war historian.

What it is like to be a woman and a cartoonist. (NSFW – nudity)

What it is like to be a woman and  a pioneer in the tech industry.

What it is  like to be a woman of color and “the only one in the room.”

What it is  like to be a woman and a game developer receiving online and offline harassment. (NSFW – expletives)

What it is  like to be a woman and sick of “writing about white people.”

What it is  like to be a woman and a superhero.

What it is t like to be a woman and a wizard at Hogwarts.

21 thoughts on “Some What It’s Like to Be a Woman Links

  1. Honestly, it’s a bit sad seeing Zoe Quinn’s loaded,selective exposition of the so-called “Quinnspiracy” in this list.

    The harassment she has actually been a victim of has undoubtedly taken the form it has taken _because_ she’s a woman, so maybe she does deserve on the list.

    The problem is that she fails to mention how, while doing research for her game, she harassed whole fora dedicated to the self-aid of depressed people, actually leading some to suicide. The problem is that she fails to mention that her “private life” that is being aired is how she cheated on her boyfriend with gaming “journalists” that have written positive reviews of her game (which on release what found to be of debatable quality at best), and how this airing is not aimed at harassing her, but is being used as an example of the lack of integrity in game “journalism” (which is why the same game “journalism” has been defending her to extreme points such as claiming that “gaming is dead”). The problem is that she fails to mention how, before the whole thing exploded, she actually _faked_ harassment and “doxxing” to play the victim guard and rally genuinely concerned feminists (plus a load of white knights looking for a cause) to her defense. The problem is that she fails to mention she has used similar tactics to sabotaged initiatives focusing on women in gaming and game development because they would compete with her own. The problem is that her manipulative, egotistical personality is actually _damaging_ to women in gaming and to feminism in general.

    Bringing her forth as an example of how women are harassed (compared to, say, the way _men_ who have taken her defense have been harassed) makes perfect sense. Bringing her forth as an example of the fact that women in gaming are harassed does not, sorry. She’s not being harassed for that. It still doesn’t justify her harassment, but I feel it should be pointed out.

  2. No, it’s not sad at all. Taking issue with her because she’s not a perfect victim is an incredibly sexist thing to do: What does her having cheated have to do with whether she’s being harassed?

    I’ve played depression quest, and it’s a great game that has helped many people–both those who have suffered chronic depression, and those who haven’t. So unless you have counter evidence that it’s “of debatable quality” that isn’t just some people saying, “I thought it was stupid,” that claim doesn’t hold.
    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/08/what-depression-quest-taught-me-about-dealing-with-mental-illness/?comments=1
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/14/mostly-indescribable-depression-quest/
    (Can’t find the blogs where I originally saw people who had gone through depression saying they’ve played it an it was cathartic. Google is now just giving me articles about the controversy. But anyway, I saw those comments. So it has been helpful to some people, and the game never claimed that everyone with depression should play it. You would expect with something like this that a lot of people probably won’t and shouldn’t play it. And that in itself doesn’t take away from the quality of the game.)

    Also, I’ve read a bunch on this story, and I have not seen mention of this harassment by her you’re alluding to, so links would be helpful. If that is true, then their stories deserve to be heard. But regardless, that doesn’t take away from the injustice of people saying horrible things to Quinn, especially because 99% of the people sending her death and rape threats don’t know or care about these people you are alluding to.

    And as for the specific rumor that she slept with someone who wrote a positive review of her game, the reports I’ve seen have pointed out that the chronology doesn’t fit.
    For instance, ” Kotaku investigated, finding no wrongdoing on the part of either its writer (Nathan Grayson) or Quinn,”
    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting
    That rumor is also talked about and shot down here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/22/gaming-misogyny-gets-infinite-lives-zoe-quinn-virtual-rape-and-sexism.html
    Also here from the reviewer himself: https://twitter.com/Vahn16/status/501650041736396801
    And here: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/zoe-quinn-slut-shaming-the-feminist-conspiracy-and-depression-quest which quotes this point:

    “Literally the only thing relevant in any of that is that she had sex with the reviewer, and that’s only relevant if she did so before the review came out. And, even then, I can’t even find his supposed review of the game. I’ve found him pointing out the game existed in a news article, but nothing close to an actual review. So, unless someone can link me his actual review of the game (where I expect to see corruption levels of praise), what we have here is a bunch of people pretending that games media not reporting on a woman’s adultery is evidence of some feminist conspiracy.”

    Now I have been hearing this point a lot, and it’s probably a valid one: “Some argue that the focus on harassment distracts from the real issue, which is that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy.” (Also from Vox.)

    So, Quinn’s experience is a valid experience of the unfair harassment women in gaming receive. She’s a gamer who is being harassed by people in the gaming community. Of course, few people say they’re harassing people *for being* in gaming. I never claimed that was the reason for harassment, either. She is a woman in gaming who’s being harassed with tons of gendered insults and threats. That’s enough to merit her inclusion in my list.

    Lastly, it’s not a harassment victim’s responsibility to provide a balanced overview of the situation–so your criticism that her post was “loaded” and “selective” is already starting you out in victim-blaming territory. The woman and her family are getting threatening phone calls and horrible online abuse; it’s not her duty to ensure that she is making sure she’s taking into account the other side’s point of view. If it’s anyone’s job, it’s ours, the bystanders. So if you really care about balance and having the important issue be heard, show us the links that tell this other side of the story (that aren’t misogynistic rants. Those are going to get deleted). Because a victim of harassment shouldn’t have to act like an objective journalist in order to get the benefit of the doubt when they’re talk about their harassment. That’s a messed up epistemic standard to hold.

  3. I absolutely agree that nothing in the whole “Quinnspiracy“ matter justifies the harassment she’s undergoing. I thought I had made that clear, but in in case it was not, I’ll repeat it here: nothing justifies harassment, ever. Also, my comment was not about her not being the “perfect victim”, whatever that is, but about her presenting an unsubstantiated correlation between two things: her being a “woman in gaming” and her being harassed, and I challenge this not because she’s a woman (your allegation of sexism in my reply), but because I despise those that exploit the abuse they receive to push their agenda, regardless of the gender, race and creed of who does it. A (white, male) colleague of mine once used the death of a friend of his (ran over by a truck) to start on his usual rant about the politicians of our region and the sad state of the roads. I was quick in pointing out how that was a pretty abhorrent thing to do, even though none of the parties involved was a woman.

    Now, Zoe Quinn has a point that she wants to prove (that the gaming community is predominantly white, male and misogynistic), a point I largely agree with, too (I have my doubts on the proportions of the misogynistic, homophobic, racist component, although there’s little doubt that it’s quite vocal, making the rest possibly guilty of non-intervention). However, her use of the harassment she is victim of to hammer that point home is, shall we say, “misplaced”, as the harassment she is a victim of is _not_ the harassment women in gaming undergo.

    But there’s worse: with the bacing of gaming “journalists”, she’s actually using her harassment to divert attention from the matter which _is_ the main topic of the so-called “Quinnspiracy”, i.e. the pathetic state of gaming journalism. Since this whole thing blew up from her (alleged, if you so prefer) exchange of sexual favors for positive reviews (the “cheating“), there’s a perfect excuse for diverting the discussion, thanks also to the abundance of morons on the Internet that would rather focus on that. “See, everybody is talking about my private life to harass me!” Ah, no. Yes, there are plenty of morons that _do_ that, but (at least as far as the gaming community is concerned) it is mostly being used as an example of the lack of integrity in gaming journalism. And by the way, that’s also one of the reasons why you cannot use yourself as an example of the harassment women in gaming are victims of.

    (I’m splitting this reply in more parts since it’s getting longer than I expected, part II follows)

  4. (part II)

    I’ll make a rather extreme example that hopefully will clarify what I mean.

    A woman falsely accuses a man of rape. The allegations are found to be false in court, and the case is dismissed. The woman gets away with not even a fine, the life of the man in the mean time has been destroyed: he has lost his job, and the respect of many of his friends and family. One of the remaining friends, by his own initiative, decides to punish the woman: he stalks her, and one night as she’s walking back home alone, he rapes her, making it a clear point that this is to avenge the accusation of rape that destroyed his friend’s life. (He gets arrested and is found guilty, this is not a crying wolf story).

    Question: would you consider the woman an example of the fact that women cannot safely walk the streets alone at night? I wouldn’t. Yes, she’s a victim of rape. Yes, the perpetrator is a criminal that should be hanged by the balls with barbed wire. Yes, the reason she was raped (instead of, say, beaten to a pulp, which is what would have happened to a man in a similar situation) is because she’s a woman. Yes, there are (and a single one is one too many already) women that get attacked for the simple fact that they’re women walking alone at night. But no, she’s not an example of that. And if, in telling her story, she claimed that to be her case, by omitting the context she’d actually be aware of, she would be lying.

    Now you may be claiming that it’s sexist to point out the context, but in fact I think it’s quite the opposite: the context _does not_ “justify” the rape, but it does explain it, and it explains it quite differently from the “women can’t walk home alone at night” point of view that it would try to force. Trying to reframe the rape that way would be _detrimental_, because it would give leverage for the dismissal of the discussion. And in fact there would be _no need_ to reframe it: the fact itself that women get punished by rape is in itself a strong argument for why we still need feminism; but lying about it is not.

    I hope the parallels with the Zoe Quinn case are obvious. I see a difference in presenting one’s point of view, and intentional lying by omission, particularly when the omitted context is relevant.

    (end part II, part III follows)

  5. Just to ask a clarifying question re: part II, can you say more as to why you don’t think your example counts as an instance that supports the claim that “women cannot safely walk the streets at night?” I think you would say its because that only shows that “women who make false accusations in court” can’t….but i’d ask, do you think that most people who perpetuate violence against women don’t also have other reasons they’re telling themselves? (She’s a cheating whore, she’s an arrogant bitch, she stole money from me, she talked back to me, etc.)

    I actually think ur example does support the general claim, because almost everyone who harasses, stalks, or assaults women thin they have a good reason for doing so. They sexism is in the premises of their reasons, not in some irrational urge to hurt women for no reason.

  6. (part III)

    Now, to the matter of sources. I hope you don’t mind if I start by asking: what sources would you consider _reliable_ in this matter? Is the ex-boyfriend wall of text (with pictures and videos of the chat logs he uses as documents to prove the abusive nature of his relationship with ZQ, as well as of her cheating) a reliable source? Are the gaming “journals” involved in the scandal a reliable source? Is Reddit? Is KnownYourMeme?

    I mean, when you quote Kotaku saying:

    Kotaku investigated, finding no wrongdoing on the part of either its writer (Nathan Grayson) or Quinn,

    my reaction is: well, duh. Internal police investigation also rarely found any misdemeanor in cases of police abuses. It’s pretty obvious we’re not going to consider the same things as reliable sources. (There’s also to be said that some things I’ve seen “live”, and they were heavily censored moments after, so in some cases I’m simply not able to show sources because I didn’t care enough, at the time, to bother screenshotting the stuff. I never thought I would have needed it, honestly. Although the ridiculously heavy censoring in itself was pretty telling).

    Would you at least agree that the Wikipedia page on the gamergate is reasonably balanced? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy

    I’ll start from the bottom: “The Fine Young Capitalists controversy”. ZQ accused the TFYC game jam of transphobia. What Wikipedia fails to mention is that ZQ had a vested interest in making the TFYC game jam fail, as it was in direct competition with _her own_ “Rebel Jam”. I could provide links to the TFYC take on the thing, but that’s obviously a biased source, so I’ll skip. The fact remains that ZQ intervention sabotage the TFYC game jam, and that she did it by (arguably unsubstantiated) accusations.

    Let’s now back to the top. Wikipedia is a little light on the details, but it’s important to point out that Depression Quest was greenlit after a huge support wave that was triggered by Zoe Quinn denouncing online doxxing and consequent harassing. The quoted source, http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/130525-Depression-Quest-Dev-Faces-Harassment-after-Steam-Submission-Update, points out in the update that:

    This post has been edited to correctly assert that the claims were made by the accuser and have not been confirmed by another party.

    The other side of the story can be found e.g. http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/814/182/d7a.jpg (yes, it’s a screenshot, image boards are extremely volatile) (this, and more about it, can be found at http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/quinnspiracy#wizardchan , which I doubt you’d take as a reliable source).

    Is it possible that Zoe Quinn was (at the time, so we’re talking late 2013, before the whole Quinnspiracy thing exploded) victim of a “chan raid”, “doxxing” and consequent harassment just for putting a game on Greenlight? Yes, it’s possible. Is it credible? I’ll leave that to you.

    Is it possible that Zoe Quinn faked everything in order to garner support for her game? Yes. Is it credible? I’ll leave that to you.

    Of course, the whole thing actually blew up when the ex-boyfriend “aired the dirty laundry” online (can I link the relevant blog without being censored? I don’t know, so I’ll skip). And yes, the author himself points out that part of the mess (particularly the one about the famous “sex vs review” timeline) was due to a typo (March vs May) in the original version of the text. One of the things that is easily overlooked (due to the focus on the cheating) is that the relationship he describes is _abusive_. From his report (substantiated by the logs he presents) ZQ emerges as a manipulative individual with no remorse (cheats, is found out, threatens to kill herself, plays the victim card), although of course his presentation is biased. Honestly, I’m not aware of any comment from ZQ denying or confirming the reality of those logs, but I might have missed it.

    There’s a lot that could be said about the appropriateness of “airing the dirty laundry” like ZQ ex-boyfriend did. Such as: had the roles been reversed, had it been the ex-girlfriend of an Internet personality denouncing the abusive relationship she had just gotted out of, would it be treated differently?

    (getting too long, ending part III here, part IV upcoming)

  7. (part IV. hopefully I’m nearly done)

    Shortly after the ex-bf wall, ZQ denounces hacking attempts, doxxing and harassing from 4chan. Again, “the other side” is that whatever happened was not their own doing: not only the doxxing was bogus (non-existing numbers, numbers not in the general area where ZQ lives, etc), but there were a lot of things hinting at the whole thing not being the “typical” 4chan thing. Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/quinnspiracy#hack (again, probably not credible for you).

    This is where things blow up completely. On one side, you get ZQ and all those that defend her, whose primary accusation to “the other side” is that they are a bunch of white, heterosexual, misogynistic male gamers. On the other you have the people (male _and_ female) claiming that ZQ is a manipulative egotistic individual, and that those defending her are a bunch of misguided Social Justice Warriors that defend here because “that’s feminism” and don’t even bother looking at the facts. And in the middle you have the morons that actually harass ZQ (_now_), which make for the perfect “useful idiots” (if you’re “on the other side”) to diver the focus from the more serious matters.

    There. I’ve tried documenting (and explaining) my position. I hope that it was done clearly enough to not come through as misogynistic just for not agreeing with ZQ’s presentation of her persecution.

    Now on to the replies.

  8. Just to ask a clarifying question re: part II, can you say more as to why you don’t think your example counts as an instance that supports the claim that “women cannot safely walk the streets at night?” I think you would say its because that only shows that “women who make false accusations in court” can’t….but i’d ask, do you think that most people who perpetuate violence against women don’t also have other reasons they’re telling themselves? (She’s a cheating whore, she’s an arrogant bitch, she stole money from me, she talked back to me, etc.)

    I actually think ur example does support the general claim, because almost everyone who harasses, stalks, or assaults women thin they have a good reason for doing so. The[ir] sexism is in the premises of their reasons, not in some irrational urge to hurt women for no reason.

    You raise an interesting point. First of all, just to clarify, my example was not about “women who make false accusations in court”, or anything specific. Think more along the lines: a woman _intentionally_ wrongs someone (looking for some secondary benefit), and she’s raped in revenge. Can she claim herself as an example of the treatment of women _in the specific circumstances of the rape_ (walking alone at night)? I think not. And that’s the thing I was trying to say: she’s an example of the treatment of women (in general), but trying to focus it to the specific circumstances of the rape is actually counter-indicative. It deters attention from the more general implications.

    Honestly, I’m not really into the whole stalk/harass/assault women thing, so I can’t claim to be an expert on the matter, and while I’m pretty sure that rapist can easily justify their actions to themselves, I wouldn’t be so ready to dismiss the “irrational urge”. Do we have any actual data about the _contexts_ for your typical assault case in specific circumstances? My, shall we say, “gut feeling” is that circumstances and contexts have some kind of relation: for example, I would gather that a woman is more likely to be raped at home by a relative than by a complete stranger, while a woman walking alone at night is, I believe, more likely to be raped by a complete stranger, and due to, shall we say, “serendipitous circumstances” (for lack of a better term) rather than because of some specific plan on the part of the complete stranger. I might be wrong of course, but I wouldn’t mind some actual data about the thing.

    To clarify what I mean by “serendipitous circumstances”, lest I be accused of misogynism, a scenario like the following: a couple of criminals are out hunting for money; they come across a man: they mug and beat him; they come across a woman: the mug and rape her. My feeling is that hat for the woman walking alone at night this kind of scenario is more likely to happen than someone actually planning a revenge rape (with whatever excuse he might think of), except in specific contexts (for example, I would think that a dancer is more likely to be a victim of one of the patrons of the club she dances in).

    All of these things actually become relevant when you’re looking into the statistics of violence on women. Sure you can just plop everything together and come out with “we have to make the streets safer” and “we have to change the overall mentality towards women”, but looking at contextual information is extremely precious for more focused interventions: this area is particularly in need of control; this social context has a higher percentage of cases, etc.

    This is why I think context is important. Without it, there’s a good chance of a completely ineffective intervention (wrong audience, wrong context, wrong everything).

  9. To be clear about the context, it is Quinn (i.e., the woman) who is being harassed. If this story isn’t part of what it’s like to be a woman in her field, why are the men who have equally heavy allegations against them not receiving the same treatment?

  10. Also, just reading through the wikipedia page you linked to–“The controversy came to wider attention due to harassment that indie game developer Zoe Quinn received after an ex-boyfriend posted allegations on his blog in August 2014 concerning her personal life that led others to accuse her of professional impropriety to obtain positive media coverage for her game. Those subsequent allegations were shown to be false. . .”

    And then the reference reads: ” Time: “Despite the fact the journalist in question did not ‘review’ the game and wasn’t found to have allocated it any particular special treatment…”;[7] Washington Post: “The site investigated the alleged ethics breach and concluded there had been no wrongdoing.”;[8] Forbes: “….the initial concerns were quickly proven to be all smoke and no fire…”[1]”

  11. To be clear about the context, it is Quinn (i.e., the woman) who is being harassed. If this story isn’t part of what it’s like to be a woman in her field, why are the men who have equally heavy allegations against them not receiving the same treatment?

    Well, for starters she isn’t the only one being harassed “in her field”. Nathan Grayson has been harassed too, although he’s not doing a campaign over it. Maybe the most notable _male_ example is probably Phil Fish: he has been harassed in the past (before the whole Quinnspiracy thing), and he has been harassed again when he has taken Quinn’s side. There’s also been plenty of harassment against those on (or allegedly on) the _other_ side (e.g. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/09/23/How-sloppy-biased-video-games-reporting-almost-destroyed-a-CEO/ ).Yes, the harassment takes different forms, and that’s one of the things that I tried (apparently unsuccessfully) to point out in my comments: Quinn is an excellent example of _how_ women are harassed (compared to the way _men_ are harassed). _But_ contextualizing her harassment in terms of “what it’s like to be a woman in her field” is providing, IMO, the wrong context, because the ongoing harassment is not due to her being a woman gamer, but due to her (and her supporters) using her harassment to push a very specific agenda.

    Basically, there are two ways to see at what’s happening. In one case, which is the view Quinn and her defenders are pushing, she is an example of how the gaming community is predominantly a white, male, heterosexual, racist, _misogynistic_ community that harasses women (and transpeople and homosexuals and other races, but her focus is —obviously— women), and that the harassment she is a victim of has “roped well-meaning people who cared about ethics and transparency into a pre-existing hate mob.” (her words)

    The other perspective goes like this: people who cared about ethics and transparency pointed out how (the original presentation of) the “aired dirty laundry” of her ex-boyfriend showed the famous allegations of sexual corruption; as it happens, morons (and there are aplenty in all communities) have also come out of the woodwork and started harassing Quinn (as well as the other involved parties). The allegations were later found to be unfounded (the ex-boyfriend himself has taken care to clarify the timeline of what he has proof of), but this has not stopped any of the ongoing controversy, and Quinn h and her supporters have been hammering on the harassment she received to accuse anyone challenging her exposition of misogynism and anti-feminism.

    The difference between the two perspectives is not trivial.

    Quinn is making use of the contextualization she presents to push her agenda (that gamers are predominantly a misogynistic hate mob) and to deflect attention from the other aspects that have emerged, namely her abusive, manipulative personality, her previous faking of harassment, and the way she has actually acted against the interests of women in gaming (see e.g. the TFYC game jam controversy), while accusing _anyone_ (not just the harassers) challenging her contextualization of being sexist, misogynistic and anti-feminist; this despite the fact that most of the #GamerGate and #NotYourShield material is actually neither. Sure, you can find plenty of examples that _are_, but singling them out as the _main_ content of the debate is dishonest.

  12. To clarify: would you consider Phil Fish’s experience an example of “what it’s like to be a man in his field”? Would you consider Wardell’s case an example of “what it’s like to be a man in his field”? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t because they are _not_. They are not typical situations. The same holds for Zoe Quinn.

  13. “would you consider Phil Fish’s experience an example of “what it’s like to be a man in his field”” Yes, in that, if you stick up for a women who is being harassed, your chances of being harassed will go up.

    “Quinn and her supporters have been hammering on the harassment she received.” If it gets tot he point where your parents started receiving phonecalls where people said their daughter was a whore, I think it’s pretty justified for you to “hammer on the harassment ” you’re receiving. Are you saying that if you were receiving that level of harassment, you wouldn’t be freaking out and yelling to the rooftops about it?

    You say this context isn’t typical, but this is pretty similar to the harassment that Sarkesian is facing (people claim she’s manipulative; that she’s painting all gamers with too wide a brush in order to push her agenda, etc.) Okay, so that’s two examples. How many do we need before this becomes typical?

    Also, there’s something to take note of concerning the first perspective you describe. You write, “the gaming community is predominantly a white, male, heterosexual, racist, _misogynistic_ community that harasses women (and transpeople and homosexuals and other races,” I believe that is true of the gaming community, and I believe that is true of our wider society. People are murdered for being trans or queer or a woman who X [see list of excuses above]. So when a gamer yells slurs in the middle of a battle/match/raid, that’s not because gamers are particularly vile. That’s because our society has vile hierarchies that we’re all caught up in–and gaming culture (and many of its subcultures) implicitly and explicitly support these hierarchies and their enforcement through its particular mechanisms, like being able to throw slurs at people without consequence on Xbox live, or in a chatroom, or in a private message.

    I think it’s odd that you write at the end of the second perspective, “Quinn and her supporters have been hammering on the harassment she received” as if that’s unjustified, but I mean, the harassment is still coming, even though she’s been cleared of charges. It’s utterly appropriate for her to focus on that.

    Your main beef with her hammering on harassment seems to be your belief that she is using the harassment as an excuse, “to accuse anyone challenging her exposition of misogynism and anti-feminism.” I think it’s telling that you seem more bothered by the thought that a woman, who is in fact being horrendously harassed, might wrongfully accuse someone of misogyny, than you are that a bunch of people in a community that I presume you care about are inflicting horrible harassment. Those two are no where near close in terms of severity or urgency.

    And again, even if she’s the horrible person you say she is (I am skeptical) why do you care more about a single terrible person than you about whole patterns of misogyny, racism, and harassment? Or do you think her behavior is part of a larger pattern of manipulative people pushing a feminist agenda to the point of making wrong accusations about innocent people? If the problematic patterns we’re debating are misogynistic harassment vs manipulative feminists, the latter has nothing on the former in terms of correlation, frequency or scale.

    Lastly, the fact that you insist on attributing political zealotry to her–while she is currently facing a huge dose of misogynistic harassment–makes her situation all too typical of what it’s like to be a woman in gaming, and on the internet. But honestly, even if she was the only person in gaming to ever experience this level of harassment (I wish), her experience would still be an important marker of what it’s like to be a woman in gaming. It’s not that every single experience someone lists under a “What it’s like” tag is taken to be something that most women have experienced themselves. It’s taken to be significant and noteworthy. Quinn’s experience of harassment is significant and noteworthy. If you browse through the original “What it’s like to be a woman in philosophy” blog, you’ll see that sometimes people post stories that are positive, or where they’re not sure if what happened to them was because of their gender. (Yay attributional ambiguity.) All those stories are meant to paint a picture when taken together.

    Quinn’s experience is part of the picture of what it’s like to be a woman in gaming.

  14. “Your main beef with her hammering on harassment seems to be your belief that she is using the harassment as an excuse, “to accuse anyone challenging her exposition of misogynism and anti-feminism.” I think it’s telling that you seem more bothered by the thought that a woman, who is in fact being horrendously harassed, might wrongfully accuse someone of misogyny, than you are that a bunch of people in a community that I presume you care about are inflicting horrible harassment. Those two are no where near close in terms of severity or urgency.”

    I have a hard time believing that, having read what he wrote, you believe he is more bothered in the way you’ve described. You must be implying something that I’m not picking up on. Could you explain yourself here?

  15. That assessment is coming from the fact that Oblomov’s extensive comments have been in the vein of, “Yes yes, the harassment is terrible, BUT she’s also terrible, unethical person because X, so she’s not an example of how women are unfairly harassed in gaming.”

    I see where you’re pushing though and you’re probably right that it’s uncharitable to say that Oblomoc therefore explicitly thinks the latter concern is worse than the former.

    So I’ll retract that assessment and replace it with,

    “I think it’s telling that, in the midst of all this unethical harassment that is a clear and steady pattern in gaming (though I hope on the decline), you’re still particularly bothered by the thought that a woman might be acting unethically while she is facing such harassment. That is such a relatively minor moral issue–and one that I think it’s unfair and callous to harp in this context.”

  16. “would you consider Phil Fish’s experience an example of “what it’s like to be a man in his field”” Yes, in that, if you stick up for a wom[a]n who is being harassed, your chances of being harassed will go up.

    I’m noticing that you felt the need to add “if you stick up for a wom[a]n who is being harrased” to contextualize Phil Fish harassment. Yet, if it was truly a “what it’s like to be a man in his field” that clarification wouldn’t be needed? Why did you feel the need to add that context? Phil Fish has been harassed in the past, without any connection whatsoever to the gender-related (or other similar) issues. In fact, if we have to go by articles such as http://www.polygon.com/2013/8/15/4622252/plague-of-game-dev-harassment-erodes-industry-spurs-support-groups (notice the date: 2013; this is one year before the whole Quinnspiracy thing), it would actually seem that Fish’s experience _is_ an example of “what it’s like to be in his field” without any gendering qualification simply because game devs are being harassed _everywhere_ regardless of gender or, say, any similar issues (say, LGBT). Maybe, just maybe, the harassment “in this field” has nothing to do with feminism “in the strict sense” (for lack of a better expression to indicate women and women supporters being target _particularly_ worse , and it has “just” to do with civility in general? It would seem that doing _anything_ that “surprises” gamers to receive death threats (and, if you’re woman, undoubtedly, rape threats: I hope I’ve made it quite clear that Quinn is an excellent example of how harassment takes different _forms_ for women and men).

    This is why I think the context is very important. It tells very different stories. If you take Phi Fish’s harassment that led him to leave Polytron as “that’s what happens when you stand up for a woman”, saying that your chances of being harassed go up in that case, you’re saying that his situation is actual _atypical_ for (male) game devs, and you’re making it a feminist issue. On the other hand, if we look at the more general (and historical) context given e.g. by the polygon 2013 article I linked above, we see that his situation would actually be pretty typical, because _whatever a game dev does, regardless of gender or issues they take stance on_, they are going to be harassed. It removes feminism completely out of the question.

    What about Wardell case then, which you skipped? He was accused of rape, cleared of all charges, got the story picked up _after the fact_ by a (female) journalist at Kotaku (rings any bell?), this got picked up by a (male) opinion editor at Polygon (eh) and received a lot of attentions on PA, leading to a wave of online harassment directed at Wardell —for accusation he had been cleared of _years_ ago— that almost had him lose his job, doxxing and (reportedly) bullying for Wardell’s son. How do we contextualize this in “their field”, which is still gaming? Is this a feminist issue? Is this typical for the gaming industry? Atypical? The Kotaku reporter identifies as a feminist; the Polygon opinion editor is always extremely supportive of the feminism cause in the gaming industry; Quinn herself has badmouthed Wardell: what would _you_ think of someone relying on this case to claim that feminists are an angry mob that are destroying the gaming industry by steamrolling everyone that doesn’t fanatically adhere to their view? Honestly, _I_ would say that anyone doing that would be painting feminism with too wide a brush. I’m sure you can see the parallels (with roles reversed).

    (I have to get ready for work, I’ll reply to the rest later)

  17. (back, sorry for the delay)

    Also, there’s something to take note of concerning the first perspective you describe. You write, “the gaming community is predominantly a white, male, heterosexual, racist, _misogynistic_ community that harasses women (and transpeople and homosexuals and other races,” I believe that is true of the gaming community, and I believe that is true of our wider society. People are murdered for being trans or queer or a woman who X [see list of excuses above]. So when a gamer yells slurs in the middle of a battle/match/raid, that’s not because gamers are particularly vile. That’s because our society has vile hierarchies that we’re all caught up in–and gaming culture (and many of its subcultures) implicitly and explicitly support these hierarchies and their enforcement through its particular mechanisms, like being able to throw slurs at people without consequence on Xbox live, or in a chatroom, or in a private message.

    First of all, a note: the statement about the nature and composition of the gaming community was more a description of the gaming community the way Quinn and her supporters are presenting it. I agree “at large”, but I disagree, shall we say, on the proportions. For example, the majority of gamers are male, but the disparity between male and female gamers is not as large as it’s often painted to be (off the top of my head I remember statistics reporting it at being way over 40% female, with obvious fluctuations by genre). (Honestly I have no knowledge on statistics about the other aspects, such as race or sexual preferences).

    I also agree that the gaming community (like many other communities) reflects society as a whole in many if not all of its respects, and this includes the misogynia, homophobia, transphobia etc. And actually because of this _and_ my personal experience, I do not think that said community is “an angry mob”.

    I’ll talk about society first, with the disclaimer that I’m not from the USA, nor have I lived for extended period of times in the USA (although I’m rather current on USA society —hard not to be, the world is pretty “USA dominated”), so you might find my presentation different from your perception also because of this.

    I’m pretty aware of the misogynia, homophobia, racism, transphobia, etc in society as a whole. I also think that this is _mostly_ (in the sense: for most misogynist/homophobic/racist/etc) an inherited, unconscious psychological bias rather than actual characteristics of the individual: they are not even aware that the kind of education and environment they’ve grown up in has made them into that —and this is something you notice easily when calling them out on it (more on this later). And of course, this kind of inherited bias then acts as an “enabler” (not sure I can find a better word) for the _actual_ misogynist/homophobic/racist/etc and (more importantly) for violent behavior (verbal and physical harassment, assault etc).

    A couple of remarks. First, I think the distinction between “actual“ misogynists and “implicit bias” misogynist is rather important: you can actually “get rid” of the latter, while you cannot actually “get rid” of the former. I might be pessimist, but I think you will always have misogynist, homophobic, racist people, just like you will always have aggressive, violent people. But you can actually call out “implicit bias” people on their behavior or their attitude, and make them realize that they are expressing misogynistic, racist, homophobic traits: habits die hard, but you can actually work on that.

    Second remark: _paranoia does not solve the problem, it makes it worse_.

    First of all, it doesn’t solve the problem because it just adds another layer of bias on top of the existing ones, without actually removing the existing one, and you’ll get _both_ biases, leading to some grotesque hypocrisies.

    Take the case of paedophilia for example. Has the present-day paranoia (“every stranger, if male, is a paedophile” —for obvious, and pretty sexist, reasons, women “can’t” be paedophiles in this simplified world view—) made the world actually safer for kids? Or has it just made it _impossible_ to talk about the issue, find actual solutions, _and_ made life worse for most males (which are, in fact, not paedophiles)?

    Does painting all men as misogynistic and sexists make the world safer for women? No, but it _does_ make it less safe for men (women feeling entitled to harass men, people giving the worst possible name to social justice warriors by randomly beating the crap out men which are having an altercation with a woman, and so on).

    Anecdote: a few years ago, me and some friends of mine were driving back from a tango night, we came across an obvious altercation on the side of the road between a man and a woman. So we stop the car, get close enough to calm them down, and since it was obvious she needed a lift home and he was not exactly the most appropriate person (given the vehement discussion they were having a moment before, and the obviously unsolved issues) we gave her a lift home (rather: close enough, since obviously she didn’t give us her exact address).

    This happened the way it happened because “we” were two men and two women. Had we been only men, things would have probably went differently:

    * in a sane world, it wouldn’t have changed anything, because accepting a lift from one or more strangers _shouldn’t_ be something you have to worry about, regardless of the gender of the lifter and of the lifted;
    * in a society like ours, she would have probably thanked us for defusing the situation, and taken a taxi;
    * in a society like ours, but paranoid about misogynism and sexism, we might have been the kind of people that give a bad name to social justice warriors, we might have beaten the crap out of the man (because, “obviously”, he was harassing the woman) (and yes, this kind of thing actually happens, already).

    (Actually, scratch the thing about giving a bad name to social justice _warriors_: if you think social justice is achieved with violence, fuck you.) (Note: impersonal you. Stupid english language)

    (getting long, splitting into two parts)

  18. (part two, see above for part one)

    Paranoia gives way to the most vile of people to exploit it without fear of retribution. It allows women to allege sexual harassment to exact revenge on men, it allows them to feign harassment to garner support and attention.

    And all of this takes us to the second way paranoia doesn’t fix the problem, but makes things worse: a lot of efforts are wasted in _defending against the paranoia_ rather than actually trying and solve the issue. And this is bad not just because it wastes time and resources that would be better spent in fixing the issue, but more importantly because it actually gives leverage to the actual sexist/homophobic/racist/etc, it gives them opportunities in keeping the statu quo or make things worse. And to close the deal, this makes it very easy (particularly for the paranoid) to shut off anything dissent, any challenge, and especially the defense against the paranoia, by labeling it as sexist/homophobic/racist/etc. Ultimately, paranoia triggers a vicious circles that makes it _absolutely impossible_ to actually fix the issue, by providing infinite leverage and opportunities to those wanting to keep the statu quo or make things worse. And anyone who goes around classifying entire communities as misogynistic hate mobs, and shutting down all dissent by classifying it as misogynistic and anti-feminist is doing just that: triggering paranoia.

    And the thing is, one don’t need to be paranoid about an issue to facilitate the spreading of the paranoia. One doesn’t even need to be _interested_ in the issue: one just needs to be interested in _manipulating_ the issue, and spread the paranoia as a tool to advance one’s own career, to garner support and approval, and generally pursue their own interest without any care for the actual issue.

    Now, in case this isn’t obvious, I think that Quinn and her supporters are doing _exactly_ this. The way she tried to shut down the TFYC game jam would be enough to show what kind of person she is, and it has absolutely _nothing_ to do with the harassment she’s a victim of (seriously, what would be train of thought? “I’m receiving death threads, my parents are getting calls in the middle of the night to tell them that I’m a whore, _so_ I will try to shut down a game jam for women that just happens to compete with mine” WTF?)

    Now, to answer your (amended) perplexities.

    When I talk about the hammering, I’m not trying to imply that the harassment isn’t ongoing (and yes, I’m aware of the fact that there are people claiming that her harassment is fake or at least not as extensive as she claims it to be, given her track record of feigning harassment and false flag attacks). Maybe hammering is not the correct word in this case (I’m not a native English speaker, and I accept suggestions): what I’m trying to remark is that they are intentionally insisting on it to pursue their paranoid agenda (which, as I mentioned, is in a pretty vile thing to do, in my book: both the agenda, and leveraging her harassment to pursue it).

    And to remark it: _Absolutely nothing_ in what I’ve said is aimed at justifying her harassment, or the gravity of it. _Absolutely nothing_ in what I’ve said is aimed at diminishing the importance of it. I _do_ aim at showing why, _in my opinion_, this has much more to do with her character and personality than her being involved in gaming. She also has glasses, piercings and tinted hair. I don’t think her harassment could get classified as “what it’s like to be a woman with glasses, piercings and tinted hair”, either. It doesn’t make her less of a victim. It doesn’t make it less of an feminist issue (in fact, if anything, it makes it _twice_ so, in my opinion). It just doesn’t make it about women in gaming.

    Maybe I can make that clear with a different metaphor. A woman and a man are in abusive relationship, where _she_ is the abusive one, say, with a passive-aggressive manipulative behavior. At some point, the man snaps, possibly on something absolutely trivial, and beats the woman to a pulp. Does the situation justify the violence? I don’t think so. Does it explain it? I would say it does. Would you take _this_ as an example of “women subject to domestic violence”? I wouldn’t. Now assume that the woman self-identifies as feminist, and goes around campaigning against domestic violence using her beating as an example, and you should have a pretty decent idea of what I think is wrong with making Quinn an example of “what it’s like to be a woman in gaming”.

  19. Oh, and for the record, I wish to thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to debate the thing. I was actually made aware of the whole Quinnspiracy thing when I witnessed _live_ the ridiculous amount of censorship that goes on online whenever anything related to the topic is raised, be it with the excuse of privacy or of concerns about potential further harassment, and effectively preventing _any_ kind of discussion when it happens. This is what led me to research the subject, look for the sources on both sides, and ultimately evaluating the credibility of both. Finding that there are still relevant places where it can be discussed civilly even with the due disagreement was a real pleasure. Cheers and carry on, and sorry for always being so verbose (especially since I’m apparently verbose on the wrong things, since I try to expound on certain aspects because I think it makes it clearer where I’m coming from, and sometimes it ends up backfiring by making it look like I care more about those aspects than the more important points).

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