John Walker's Electronic House

Male Rights Advocates, And Their Efforts To Silence Debate

by on Feb.15, 2013, under Rants

As backlashes go, the so-called MRA (Male Rights Advocates) movement is one of the more peculiar. And one of the more transparent.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has always been a site that has campaigned against what we see as inequality, misrepresentation, or outright misogyny in the games industry. The reason we do this is because we think it’s sad, and we want our chosen hobby to be an inclusive one, not an exclusive one. We don’t like injustice. There’s not really more to it than that.

Of course, this means we are accused of all manner of conspiratorial agenda. But then we are on almost anything we post. Write a positive review and we’ve been bought, write a negative review and we’re “biased” by something or other. Talk about one game and we’re ignoring another game. Write about one topic and we’re ignoring another topic. People approach, well, almost everything in life with their own agendum, and when what they encounter doesn’t reflect it, they perceive this as an attack against them. It’s a silly way of going through life, certainly, but a very common one. As a site that hosts opinions, we naturally encounter this a great deal. A lot of what we see is undisguised, unashamed hatred of women. Nasty, stupid remarks, claims that games are “for guys”, and open fear that their titillation is being taken away from them. Then there are those who have a far more insidious campaign.

What’s interesting about the nature of the MRAs is that they take this behaviour, and whether consciously or not, subvert it. So when they encounter an article describing a negative treatment or depiction of women, they adopt the agenda-driven irrational response: because you have written this you don’t care about men’s issues. Not because they believe that, but rather because it proves the fastest route to diverting attention away from, and derailing discussion of, sexism or misogyny. The real goal, of course, is to prevent the discussion of such matters.

And that makes it fairly sickening. The rhetoric used involves explaining that male suicide rates are five times those of female, that men are twice as likely to get murdered, and that therefore gaming has something something men as heroes. It’s about exploiting the awful deaths of men to distract from an entirely unrelated discussion about women. I’ve yet to see a single coherent link between the horrible statistics, and the campaigning every time a post about matters affecting women appears.

There’s a lot of specific language used in this discussion, every time it arises. The first is to dismiss any argument about the representation of woman as “women being shown as attractive”. This is an attempt to sound as though they are fully in support of women, while demeaning those arguing, to suggest that they are in some way intimidated by female sexuality, and simultaneously in denial of the acceptable normality of a pleasurable female form being something to be appreciated. These straw men put the person arguing against exploitation on the back foot, feeling forced to defend themselves against things they obviously haven’t thought or said, and the discussion is effectively derailed. Gaming promotions overtly alienating to female gamers, and offensive to most gamers, end up buried under the tedious breaking down of the deliberate nonsense thrown on top of it all. And of course the real idiocy of the opening argument gets lost – no one is sensibly complaining about women being shown as attractive. Half-Life’s Alyx is celebrated, Beyond Good & Evil’s Jade is adored, and so on and so on – attractive depictions of interesting women are loved in games, and of course no one is sensibly decrying their inclusion.

A second is to claim that those arguing are proponents of “feminism”. In quotes. In much the same way as the previous Labour government successfully recoded the words “asylum seeker” to be heard as “illegal immigrant”, and how the current Conservative government has recoded “on disability benefits” to mean “scrounging from the state”, the goal of these people is to see “feminism” take back on its connotations of those arguing for inequality against men. They mostly seem to manage to stop themselves short of saying, “angry dykes”, but it and all the other pejoratives are there, implied as heavily as can be. Quotesfeminismquotes is spat, a phrase used to dismiss the vast spread of opinions and discussions, from many decades, as if it’s one mind, one orchestrated campaign against men. It’s such a stupid, lazy and transparently ridiculous parody of a rich and fascinating body of work, and of course at the same time, a convenient way of dismissing the causes that inspire feminism.

Another, and perhaps the most insidious, is the claim that in discussing matters of misogyny and sexism against women, we are deliberately refusing to discuss matters affecting men.

This is by far the most moronic argument, and yet the one that is made the most frequently. Because of course it’s the one that allows them to bring in their statistics. That done, the person who wrote about, say, the depiction of women as sex objects in a game has now become someone who doesn’t care that men kill themselves and get murdered. It’s so preposterous, and so demoralisingly tiresome. But remarkably, it’s not an argument that’s only implied, but rather frequently explicitly stated. It’s described as “taking sides”, as “polarising”, as “tipping the balance against men”. It’s a fallacy so obvious that I end up wondering whether being driven to point it out is only part of the attempt to derail. Explaining to someone why stopping a girl from falling in a river doesn’t mean you don’t care when boys fall in rivers is too painful. Let alone explaining that preventing a girl from falling in a river is not an attack on boys, nor a cause of more boys falling into rivers.

But perhaps most peculiar of all is the disproportionate nature of the response. Because, oddly enough, no one’s been arguing that the depiction of women in games is causing anyone to commit suicide. That wasn’t ever what the argument was about. It was always about the tastelessness of using women as sex objects to sell games, and the sadness that women can’t find themselves sensibly portrayed in the games they play. It’s alienating, and being alienated from a broad swathe of culture sucks. There’s no need for it, it could improve, so we and others campaign for it to do so. We certainly don’t think we’re saving women’s lives! (I quite understand that the pressure for women to appear a certain way, as depicted throughout all media and advertising, can put an enormous and serious pressure on women, and gaming I’m sure is playing a part in that.)

.

I’m genuinely fascinated by the arguments made by these advocates. Whether or not they’re made simply to further a misogynistic goal of stifling all debate that might reduce the inherent male privilege, they’re still made, and it would be very interesting to learn if there were any truth behind their claims that the depiction of men in games is harmful to men. The privilege matter does rather rear its head here. Women are most frequently portrayed as helpless and in need of male rescue, or as sex objects, tits on legs for the titillation of the male player. Men, meanwhile, are invariably portrayed as strong, capable and heroic, independent and sexually powerful. At first glance, you can perhaps see why one sex might have more to be concerned about than the other. Oh boo hoo, you got portrayed as being strong and successful again. But the argument loosely made by the MRA is that this depiction causes men to feel insecure, falling short of this ideal. Men who are not strong and successful, who aren’t sexually dominating, who aren’t heroic, are argued to be left feeling of less worth by this depiction.

It doesn’t sit true with me. But I haven’t seen any evidence supporting these claims, and I’d be fascinated to. I know that anecdotally I’ve never felt threatened by the stupid beefcake men so many games want me to be. I certainly do feel unrepresented as a person by gaming, but then so do I by film, TV and advertising. There are very few fat hairy men in anything other than roles as losers and loser friends of the star. Although I’d say this is as nothing when compared to the roles given to fat, possibly hairy, women in film and TV. When “Ugly Betty” starred the very attractive America Ferrera with a brace on, you know you’ve got a media incapable of coping with even showing an overweight or less attractive woman, while similar men at least get their supporting positions.

I’ve liked games where the male star isn’t a steroid-infused pile of guns, although more often when a sole man is depicted, it’s in the first-person, and thus really could look like anything you want. Anything but a woman, that is. And it’s because of overwhelming disparity like this that I find the proposed argument so very thin and difficult to engage with. I am going to try, I am going to research, and I plan to speak to experts who could tell me more. I’m very happy to be proven wrong, because if there’s something I can be doing in my rather trivial position is a games critic to prevent the suicides of young men, I will leap on it.

.

However, I think were there even to be some truth behind the claims, it would more likely be coincidental to these people’s goals, rather than a confirmation of them. The clear aim is the derailment of any discussion of women and gaming, rather than a pragmatic approach to encouraging the contemporaneous discussion of men and gaming. Merely discussion the issues relevant to women is received as an affront to their so-called cause, which is of course so utterly illogical as to all-too-easily demonstrate their genuine motivations. It’s the protection of a very beneficial privilege, one that’s immediately threatened when the male dominance of gaming is challenged.

Yes, of course men experience certain inequality. But I somehow doubt that videogames have much to do with the bias against fathers in divorce cases, nor the lack of understanding of the severity and frequency of male rape. And I’m pretty damned sure than my posting pointing out that a game or advertising campaign is dripping in misogyny isn’t really doing any further harm to anything else.

(PS. The post that kicked things off this time was this one, my mocking the more ridiculous and ugly misogynists who’ve mimicked the language of the MRA-types, crying “MISANDRY!” on the day they learned the word as if gaming has turned against them, while demanding that games aren’t for women and something about sandwiches. Quite why so many people have volunteered themselves to be the targets of this mockery has bemused me – you’d perhaps assume they’d consider such wretches to be antithetical to their cause, rather than, er, themselves.)

:

26 Comments for this entry

  • Percinho

    “the bias against mothers in divorce cases”

    Can you give me a bit more info on this as I’m not aware of it.

  • John Walker

    Good grief, I’m tired. I meant “fathers”.

  • Ian (another one)

    Having finally resorted to using the ‘ignore posts by this user’ option on RPS several times this morning, I’m not surprised to see this.

    I would like to think that these people are actually arguing their case from a position of good faith, but the incessant, tone-deaf way in which they come crashing in every time you post just makes me think they’re all just a bunch of whiny, petulant man-children with way too many issues about women.

    I’ve also long wondered exactly what ‘activism’ these people do, aside from clogging up comment threads. I mean, I’m sure statistically that some of these people must volunteer for the Samaritans, or work on Mens’ Health helplines or help out at the Terrence Higgins Trust, or donate regularly to mental-health charities…

  • Jay Griffin

    There does seem to be an increasingly obvious desperation in their attempts to derail. Note also the recently popular tactic of claiming RPS has been “corrupted” by some feminist agenda and wishing for the good old days, which is just out-and-out bullshit. The site has never been shy of giving an opinion on these matters, it’s only the reaction that has become more pronounced.

    I do think a considerable portion of this is down to ignorance. Some of the things I thought as a frustrated (relatively well-off, sheltered) kid growing up were genuinely stupid, and I’m honestly glad I didn’t have a public outlet to serve as testament to that idiocy until I got a little more perspective on life. When you’re an angry teenager feeling like the whole world is against you, it doesn’t take much pushing to start off on one. This whole mess reeks of some genuinely unpleasant people taking advantage of that sense of injustice by channelling it into furthering their own nasty agenda.

    It’s the kind of thing people do grow out of, but there’s never going to be a shortage of new recruits. And of course, there always needs to be people on the other side to challenge those assumptions and avoid such attitudes becoming entrenched. Which is why what you do is so important (not least because, despite protestations to the contrary, it’s vanishingly rare in most other games media).

  • Percinho

    Good grief, I’m tired. I meant “fathers”.

    ah, well that makes a lot more sense! :-)

  • Percinho

    Feel free to delete my comments on this.

  • Geoff 'Shivoa' Birch

    Kids will often be selfish, young kids can’t even work delayed gratification despite understanding the rules of a game where restraining themselves now will be in their best interest. It took me many years to have any real idea of how society worked and how I thought it should work.

    As no one needs to prove their age before commenting online then I do think that’s the vast majority of the issue, what will later be cringe-inducing expressions of childish ideas that the poster will grow out of. I’m sure there are plenty of examples of posts many of us made when younger (at least for those of us under 35 who were young enough to stand a good chance of being very foolish in the mid 90s) that are the opposite of our current views. Maybe there are some elder ringleaders who enjoy directing the herd and coming up with outlandish ‘logic’ to feed to the echo chamber of their groups but I don’t think they’re the majority.

  • John Walker

    I think the assumption that these people are all teenagers is both a touch insulting to teenagers, and I’m afraid rather inaccurate.

  • Elderman

    I appreciate how clearly you understand these posters. It certainly helps the rest of us (well, speaking for myself it helps me) see through them as well.

  • Elderman

    Your post also makes me think that maybe the best way to respond to these guys for us posters on RPS would be to simply talk more about gaming that’s good for women. Let them shot themselves silly. I haven’t been doing that.

  • Jay Griffin

    @John: I don’t think anyone’s arguing that kids are entirely responsible, but I think those with more adolescent views are one of the larger, more addressable parts of the problem.

    A lot of the reaction seems to have an underlying theme of people scared that their toys are going to be taken away, that there’s somehow no middle ground and that change can only be some form of destructive censorship. The reaction against women can at times feel like almost a side effect of that, that they’re lashing out against feminists because they see them as the bringers of this change rather than their being specifically pro-women.

    The problem with that is that it offers a fertile breeding ground for the stronger, genuinely misogynistic elements. They’re seen as sharing a common enemy, and of course are more than happy to offer their own toxic attitudes and arguments that bleed through into the movement as a whole, gradually making them seem less and less like fringe extremists to others in their group.

    Those people likely aren’t going to respond to debate and are only too eager to play the martyr. However I do think a lot of men in this movement are scared people reacting in the most direct way they can think of, and will come around with time. Or at least I hope so.

    If nothing else, the increasing strength and veracity of the reaction means you must be doing something right.

  • Daniel Camozzato

    Hello, John. I’m Kamos from the RPS comments. I was one of the people there talking about male suicide and psychological abuse – things that I’ll readily admit I’m most unqualified to talk about (I’m no psychologist or sociologist). I do so as a complete layman, out of my own personal experiences, and not because I have hard data linking suicide and games. You’re in your right to be pissed about so-called MRA advocates.

    However I’d ask that you don’t dismiss the subject, even if you dismiss the people talking about it. Sexism has two sides and, while women arguably have it worse, it is something that also affects men.

    I’d like to apologize if I’ve made it seem like I, personally, was trying to derail your attempt to address the important topic that is misogyny in the games industry. I applaud you for tackling this controversial subject – it is quite obvious that you do so while subjecting yourself to a lot of crap from people that “don’t see the problem”.

  • Daniel Camozzato

    (Oops! I meant “admittedly”, not “arguably”. Sorry, english isn’t my first language.)

  • mister k

    I think the point about teenagers is not untrue. As a teenager while I had certain left wing views, I did think rather poorly of feminists (and vegetarians). I now am a vegetarian, and consider myself a feminist as much as any man can be.

    I think some of these arguments do stem from ignorance, but of course one can be an ignorant teenager or an ignorant 40 year old without too much difficulty. The latter is just a bit less defensible.

  • Jeff C

    By the way, on the whole “bias against fathers in divorce court” thing:

    There is no bias against either gender in divorce court. While most custody cases _do_ go to the mother, that is because the mother more often requests custody. If you control for this factor, it’s about 50/50.

  • Greg Cole

    I believe it is worth restating the positive effects of RPS’s posting on feminism. The consistent and mature reporting on the site about the treatment of women in gaming has had a strong effect on me. My opinion changed from apathetic indifference, to an interest in womens’ treatment in and around gaming, to wholeheartedly supporting those who wish to improve inclusion within the gaming space. I recall this change occurring over 1 – 2 years and while I didn’t post attacking any of RPS’s articles, if I had they would have been dismissive.

    I use myself as an example here because I cannot be the only one to have had RPS be a key element in the changing of their views.

    In short; John, keep up the good work. Your writing is an inspiration to many and makes our (gaming, and wider) world more interesting and enjoyable. And it does make a difference.

  • Jambe

    A good rant, John.

    Gender equality isn’t a zero-sum game; gains for women don’t intrinsically result in losses for men (and even if they did, it could still be ethically positive to seek such changes).

    I agree that these reactionary types aren’t all teenagers. I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t mostly teenagers! I have unfortunately encountered many 20- and 30-something MRA-type asshats.

    I have some concerns about male representation in media (e.g. beefcake being equated with stupidity) but those issues pale in comparison to the problems with female representation. It’s not merely that cheesecake imagery abounds and is associated with stupidity, but that for hundreds of years in western culture men have been depicted as preeminent and ideal women as subservient and meek.

    Even people who’ve realized this is wrong can still exhibit weird sex and/or gender xenophobia. wrt gaming, for example, guys will often make no effort to include gals in their gaming, and even if this exclusion is not deliberate (it often isn’t) it can still lead to xenophobia if the group’s boundaries never or rarely expand. Even when women are included they’re often treated as porcelaneous damsels.

    Tight-knit exclusive groups are fertile breeding grounds for all sorts of screwy beliefs. That’s why I think it’s good that John is bemoaning the MRA-crowd’s refusal to engage in dialog. It’s not just that they disagree with X or Y feminist idea but that they won’t even discuss said ideas directly, instead turning to the insular and inward-facing mentality that is at the heart of the larger problem:

    “Women are poorly represented in games.”

    “But I have a penis!”

    Aside from the (good) ethical case against misogyny, there’s the simple observation that a lack of variety in body and personality types makes game settings all the more generic and boring. I idealize a certain relatively lithe & fit form (in both sexes), and I’d even say one could make a decent ethical argument for attempting to maintain such a physique (or at least a fit & healthy one, which doesn’t necessarily mean “lithe”). However, I don’t think that means the vast majority of media should be dominated by one particular figure. I suppose certain aesthetic fixations are cultural inevitabilities, but inevitable ≠ good.

  • Brosuke Hanamura

    I guess now’s as good a time as any. I think I should probably say what I’ve been seeing since this whole situation started last year.

    I’ve been viewing a lot of this unfold from the sidelines, and I have to say, I think both sides are going about this the wrong way.

    For example, a “discussion” about misogyny and sexism in video games implies multiple perspectives are entertained. I haven’t read all of the articles on the subject, but the few I’ve seen have mostly been “X is Sexist, Y is Misogynistic, blah blah” you get the idea. And there’s very few other possibilities being entertained. Entertaining another perspective doesn’t mean that you are condoning misogyny or whatnot, but it helps to weigh in on an issue and at least look at the other side before stating why your perspective is clearer. The recent thing that comes to mind is the Dead Island Bust debacle, where everyone was so quick to call it out for being sexist and misogynistic. The bust looks stupid and tacky, but I don’t really see it as saying things like “all women should be like this” or “this is all a woman is” or even sexy in anyway. In my eyes, it’s just a stupid joke that fell flat on it’s face.

    What made me more sad and disgusted was how people let DmC: Devil May Cry get away with some actually horrifying treatment of female characters. Kat, for example, is completely helpless without Dante. There’s an entire level of the game dedicated to Dante being unable to help her and to only hopelessly watch as she attempts to avoid the soldiers looking for her. At the end of the level, we are treated to a scene where she surrenders to the soldiers and they respond by shooting her in the shoulder and running up to take turns kicking the living hell out of her. Two levels of off-screen torture later, and she’s limping across a parking lot toward us during a trade-off, with all kinds of lovely cuts and bruises all over her body. It wouldn’t be quite as disturbing if she wasn’t the only female protagonist in the game, and the previous levels have Lillith gleefully cheering about how much she enjoyed torturing her. It struck me as honestly weird that no one brought this up. The only person who did was FemFreq on her Twitter account, and she was conveniently ignored. In fact, many reviewers praised overall the writing of the game.

    Another thing is that people are willing to look at Cyberpunk 2077′s trailer and accuse CDPR of “disempowering someone who seems like a lead female character”. It’s not a bad observation, and it’s certainly worth exploring, but I don’t think it’s a judgement that can be made based on the trailer alone. And it’s weird that they’d miss something as big as DmC’s very poor handling of female characters. Is DmC sexist? Probably not. It might be a simple oversight in the writing. But I have yet to see this question asked about DmC like people were so willing to do with Cyberpunk 2077.

    I feel like the Dead Island bust was a “safe” thing to go after, and that’s why everyone did it. People loved attacking Duke Nukem Forever for being misogynistic trash, but only when the game itself turned out to be garbage. Prior to the game’s release, everyone was excitedly passing around the trailer (which featured alien breasts, I might add) and hyping it up. The most I heard was a small outcry about the CTF mode which featured women as flags, but DNF was still getting tons of positive hype.

    Now, what if Duke Nukem Forever had kept the same style of humor and actually had been a good game, with entertaining gameplay and levels, better graphics, shorter loading times, and more polish? What if it got almost perfect scores all around? I doubt that nearly as many people would be saying that it’s misogynistic. DNF is an easy target: it has the stigma of being a bad game that couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Dead Island is also an easy target. While it wasn’t hated as much as DNF was, it was widely considered a disappointment. But very few people actually question DmC in terms of it’s writing and representation of women in the narrative and actually recommend that you go out and buy it.

    Proposing another “what if” scenario, what if the Dead Island bust had been a male torso instead of a female one? What if men had taken offense to this and started feeling as though it portrayed them as disposable hunks of meat?

    They’d be laughed at and ridiculed instead, and told to grow a pair. I can’t see anyone writing seriously about an issue like that, and it wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much controversy as the female bust did.

    I think that we, as people, need to look at both sides of each issue, here. Maybe that’s why MRAs want to bring up so many facts about how they feel that men are unfairly treated. Maybe they just feel like people aren’t looking at their side, either. I think it’s as simple as going “Maybe Y isn’t Misogynistic, but here are some good reasons why I think it is”. That’s more of a discussion, in my opinion. I do agree, that MRAs shouldn’t be spamming irrelevant facts on articles about women in video games, but I think a lot of it is out of desperation. No one takes “Men’s Rights” seriously, do they? At this point, I feel like both sides are trying to antagonize one another when they shouldn’t be. We need more discussion about this stuff, but actual discussion, not simply hissing at one another like angry cats.

    On that note, I think rather than simply looking at how women are portrayed, I think we should also take a look at video game writing as a whole to see how it can be improved. Not because representation of women isn’t valuable, but I’d like to see a wider variety of characters from either gender. We should definitely have more women protagonists with more to them than just their bodies and maybe add a few new male characters who aren’t beefy Space Marines, since we have enough of those.

    In conclusion, I think that we should entertain more than one perspective for each of these things, and that I think we should ask tough questions about video games as a whole rather than looking at small incidents and simply labelling them while turning a blind eye to others. That’s how we can advance this discussion, and even take some steps forward in perhaps improving video game writing AND making them more accessible for everyone.

    Anyways, that’s all I have to say on that. Thanks for reading.

  • Rodafowa

    The funny thing is that the cure to pretty much all of the handful of legitimate issues that MRAs point to time and again is, y’know. Feminism.

    Courts give lighter sentences to women and favour mothers in custody cases? Get rid of the stereotype of women as homemakers and wilting flowers that need to be protected and hey presto, no more problem. Add “allow women equal rights to serve as front-line combat troops” and that solves the issue of male soldiers suffering vastly higher casualty rates than female soldiers. Eradicate the lingering odious notion that the victims of rapists are in some measure responsible for their attacker’s crime and that would go a long way toward making sure that rape committed against men and women is treated with the seriousness it obviously deserves.

    Rising tide, all boats, you know.

  • Scone

    Rockpapershotgun is one of the three game related sites I have CommentBlocker off for, and I’m incredibly grateful for the effort that goes into bushwhacking the comment section.

    It’s so goddamn hard to talk about gender in games; people just don’t tie together cause and effect similarly enough for it to feel like a conversation going on between two folks in the same plane of existence. I spent forty minutes trying to cobble some words together on the Cyberpunk trailer and the art in their Making Of post (http://bit.ly/SEhrWB). That first drawing under “characters”, the one with the silly squat pose, is reminiscent of Annah’s concept art (http://bit.ly/15jh2vy) and, well, that there pencil sketch is the reason I didn’t originally play Planescape. ‘course I was 12 back then and didn’t know yet that sexism in games is sort of smeared on and easy to ignore because you’re never supposed to relate to those ladies anyway.

    Or how I feel ashamed of myself whenever talking games with lady friends who have different hobbies, because even though they discuss TV shows written by dudes who only know how to show females as mothers, prostitutes or ball ‘n chain girlfriends, I don’t have it in me to sell the idea of desensitizing yourself to sexism so you can play games that first-person you into misogynistic bastards without feeling shit. Last night in Sleeping Dogs I did two sidequests where the goal was to punish unfaithful women by murdering people until said woman was terrified into submission. Then I slept with Not-Ping because you can’t get some very useful minimap upgrades until you cheat on Tiffany (and /all/ quests to get icons are ‘dates’). Before any of that, I checked my cute little cell phone encyclopedia that helpfully told me Amanda was a ~total skank~ that’d sleep with any Asian man.

    Didn’t post it in the end, felt unrelated to where the argument had gone. Hey, how ’bout the lot who talk about female characters as if they’re real people and “deserve to wear whatever they want”, eh? Speaking up feels impossible.

  • Furk

    “I believe it is worth restating the positive effects of RPS’s posting on feminism. The consistent and mature reporting on the site about the treatment of women in gaming has had a strong effect on me. My opinion changed from apathetic indifference, to an interest in womens’ treatment in and around gaming, to wholeheartedly supporting those who wish to improve inclusion within the gaming space. I recall this change occurring over 1 – 2 years and while I didn’t post attacking any of RPS’s articles, if I had they would have been dismissive.”

    And for me it had the exactly opposite effect, I was rather apathetic and indifferent about the feminist movement when I started reading RPS, interested mostly in the gamey bits. If anything I was in support of it, since obviously they were looking for equality, right? And it fit right in with my world view as a vegetarian by conviction, being rather left-wing, voting Green and Pirates and being a college student.

    But his constant barrage of incoherent bileful rants about pernicious nullities and constant complaining about something as ridiculous as a character design in a game he didn’t like, as well as his not even considering or debating any other viewpoints or considerations (which he calls “derailing”) but those long consolidated in own as if he was trying to save the world made me look into the issue more, and at some point I realized that feminists aren’t out for “equality” at all.
    But whatever this is:
    http://agentorangefiles.com/
    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/what-logistical-problem/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iARHCxAMAO0
    http://davidkramer.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/how-radical-state-feminism-triggered-communication-breakdown-in-sweden/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/business/global/citing-lack-of-women-in-top-jobs-european-parliament-rejects-male-nominee.html

    I don’t have anything to do with any MRAs, but you’ve helped radicalize me on this certain subject, and I’m rather surely not the only one, so thank you John.

  • Clumpy

    Any chance of getting this posted on RPS? The dark side of this subculture is really a monster that’s going to be have to be dragged out into the light, kicking and screaming, in order to be slayed.

  • John Walker

    @Furk – How very convincing you are!

    Your dreary, tedious declarations would make a great deal more sense if you could point to any examples of what you describe I’ve written. But no, instead you (so coincidentally) make the same strawmen as the other MRAs from /v/, suggesting that to cite examples of poor representation of men is in some way offering “other viewpoints or considerations” that contrast the argument being made. Such an inherently bigoted opinion isn’t one you stumbled upon because I wrote three or four articles (ever) on the poor representation of women in some extreme cases.

  • Jambe

    “I realized that feminists aren’t out for “equality” at all.

    If John were being a hypocritically-chauvinist white knight (which isn’t evidenced), this would still be a laughably dip-tastic overreaction.

    “Some feminists are hard-line unnunaced zealots, therefore e.g. Joss Whedon is a charlatan!”

    By that logic John and his Jesus-associates are clearly best buds with Fred Phelps, and I’m in league with Gretzky and Lemieux since I slapped a puck or two some years back. This “radical” stance of yours is pathetically brassbound.

    “The women in this game are meek tits on pegs.”
    “Hey John, I have a cock. Did you know that?”
    “OK?”
    “Sometimes men get put down because of their sex.”
    “…”
    “Therefore feminism is bankrupt!”

    That’s one helluva pithy insight. Most depictions of females in games could’ve emerged from a sleepover of newly pubescent boys, therefore males are being systematically oppressed by feminism. Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, cuz FEMMANOTZIES are runnin’ rampant out here!

    /me faints into Limbaugh’s outstretched arms

  • Erik

    In the wake of all of this bile I just want to say keep up the good work. The reason I have kept reading RPS throughout the years is exactly because of the kind of coverage you do on gaming culture. You have always covered issues concerning race, sex and gender and I hope you keep it that way. If you ever become a site that covers “just games” maybe I’ll have to find something else (but then, where would I go for puns?!).

    So thank you!

  • Grampy_Bone

    So John, are you in favor of censorship? Because that’s where this line of thought inevitably leads. You’re using the same language that Moral Guardians in the past have used to condemn rock music, rap music, violence in media, sexuality in media, etc. It all sounds well and good to preach about tolerance and decency, but when you get down to it, what exactly do you hope to do about it?

    Free speech and free expression means nothing is forbidden, nothing is taboo, and everything is allowed. Including things you don’t like, things that offend you, which make you angry, or disgusted, or sad. You don’t get to tell people they are only allowed to portray people in a certain way. You don’t get to be the culture police. The market will decide what is and is not acceptable, not you, me, or anyone else.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks for this entry