I didn't pay much attention to the specific situation the article's talking about because I couldn't give two shits about Magic: The Gathering, but I do remember thinking that it was certainly poor judgement on Alyssa Bereznak's part to write the article in the first place, I wouldn't exactly call it shallow to reject a guy whose entire life seems to be centered around a fantasy card game.
That said, I readily admit to seeingm yself reflected in some of what the article has to say about mens' attitudes towards women.
My own area of particular dorkiness is videogames, so I'm uncomfortably reminded of Jade Raymond and the reaction of parts of the gamer community to her role both as producer of the first Assassin's Creed game and as de facto representative of the game to the press and the public.
The whole situation can be summed up thus:
1. An attractive woman happens to be a producer on one of Ubisoft's big upcoming games. Ubisoft's PR Department, using impeccable logic, decides that since most gamers are guys and guys like attractive women, plastering this attractive woman's pretty face anywhere and everywhere said upcoming game happens to be even passingly mentioned is just a fantastic idea with no possible negative repercussions whatsoever.
2. With stunning inevitability, the attractive female producer is roundly dismissed and belittled due to being an attractive woman, with many assuming she plays no actual role in the game's production and was only hired to look pretty, obviously the only thing she could possibly be good at. It all culminates in a nasty little comic strip depicting her as a cum-drenched whore.
As disgusted as I was by the general response, I too found myself wondering if maybe it was true that Ubisoft had only hired her because she was an attractive woman. Of that I am not proud.
Jade Raymond is currently Managing Director of Ubisoft's Toronto studio and I think it's safe to say they don't give those kinds of jobs to people who don't know what they're doing.
Last edited by Donald M.; 12-17-2011 at 03:12 PM.
Take the concept of privilege (male or otherwise). It's insidious because it's always there and accessible and its benefits are the default state. If you aren't allergic to wheat, you don't typically notice how many foods aren't gluten-free. Likewise, most folks on this forum just assume their tapwater is safe to drink and cook with. Plus there is almost always someone who has more privileges than you, and it's so much easier to notice what you don't have.
Having privilege isn't inherently bad but trying to prevent people from sharing in the same benefits is.
In that situation, the games publishers/advertisers do have responsibility for that situation - not for the worst things said, but for at least a general level of cynicism.
I know damn well I get cynical when advertising for something revolves around the looks of the creator - you are being too trusting if you don't wonder "If they are any good, why are their looks being pushed so hard?".
Advertisers often get a free pass when it comes to responsibility for reactions to their ads - if their advertising pushed her pretty face, and not her skills/track record, then it is fair to wonder if she's just a pretty face.
(That said, I dread to imagine what some message boards were saying).
"We must fight on!"
"We'll die. We fight and we die, that's how it goes."
"Then we die gloriously!"
"There's an important word there, and it's not gloriously."
- Only You Can Save Mankind
"Loudly proclaiming that you are above childish things isn't a sign of maturity - it's proof of adolescence." - Schnitzy Pretzelpants
Co-host of The 'Mike & Pól Save The Universe' Comics podcast - check it out on www.mikeandpol.com
I am told Kotakus financial base is the number of clicks they can generate, and that they have a name for articles like this : "Geek-baiting."
Which brings us to:
Basically, it built around a massive straw man, the false premise that the negative response to Alyssa Bereznak was only from male gamers. The original "Finkeldate" hit the mainstram media, and Berezenak got just as much condemnation from non-gamers as gamers, and just as much from females as males. It was a bigger deal in gaming circles, and 4-chan got in a lot of abuse. But the notion that male gamers was somehow the only negative opinions, or that the median response from male gamers was significantly different from female gamers or non-gamers is patently false. However, if the point that the negative response came from males and females, gamers and non-gamers is recognized, his whole torrent of wrath against gamers starts to fall apart.
This point is so central to Taits article, that that he calls women who condemned Alyssa Bereznak "Uncle Toms" and "House Negroes looking for a warm corner in massahs attic" (!) Think about that for a moment.
The article also generalizes an awful amount on the basis of some very slim assumptions and no evidence. Does anyone really believe gamers as a subculture are more misogynistic than soldiers or fishermen? I've been all of the above and to me, the notion that gamers are worse can at best be described as "touchingly naive". How about heavy metal fans, bikers, fashionistas, football fans (any sport really), surgeons etc?
I took the trouble to go through the article and cut out the authors references to gamers:
…knuckle-dragging apes… gamers and their terrible attitudes towards you... probably the least-valuable intelligence out there—the smirking, arrogant synaptic pep… an entire race of squanderers, of keen minds turned to inert and even flagellatory ends… The tech industry is among the most [sexist] in America... male keyboard warriors, many with the welts of social ostracization still open and weeping upon their hairy backs… Gamers are always trying to “Next Level” things and fancy themselves the Smartest Boys Club in the World. Pick a societal stricture that might actually prevent philandering and a gamer will give you a reason that he can just shrug it off… boys in her industry treat girls poorly and take them for granted… the subway-groping attentions of the otaku… all manner of ignorance, stereotyping, and hate from male gamers… Gamers are unable to accept that [Alyssa Bereznak was within her rights]… in the romantic arena, male gamers still act like a cringing minority… scornful, entitled males…. fancying themselves unappreciated, intelligent, and more worthy than other males of female attention… their fetishistic gamer culture…[gaming is] an obsession… in their soggy underdrawers…. they rot in their basements…[a woman who dates a gamer] don't have to accept his guilt-tripping and the cruelty of his friends, all of whom play, all of whom resent you for the loss of their raiding buddy or playtest partner. You don't have to accept his culture and that culture's ignorance to your needs, nor do you have to subject yourself to their biases…. [if you’re a gamer] you voided a black pool of nihilism down your own unsteady leg at age 16, and you've been floundering in it ever since….
He does not qualify this with any phrases such as "some", "a minority", or "a subset". Sometimes he qualifies it as applying only to male gamers, one of the characteristics are only possessed by "many" gamers and he uses "he" through it, but otherwise, it applies to everyone. And as written, a lot of that is a blast at female gamers too. Once, he stresses that this applies to ALL gamers "Every woman who has ever dated a gamer has some version of this story."
But the existence of female gamers is in general something that needs to be denied here, it destroys a lot of the articles premise.
This is a pretty severe condemnation of all gamers, whether male or female, and considering that he went into some detail on his own geek credentials and addressed it to future daughter who is a geek, a bit...off. I can't help but read a lot of displaced self-hate here.
I note that gamers according to this are simultaneously unable to get girlfriends, takes their girlfriends for granted, will be philandering, and will guilt-trip their girlfriends. And all Otaku are apparently subway-gropers.
Beyond that, a lot of stuff in the article rubbed me the wrong way. The White Knighting of Alyssa Bereznak, with the explicit statement that she was well within her rights, he would have approved if she had subjected her date to physical violence, and that he wants his daughter to behave in the same way. It also reminds me a bit of some people in high school who would approve unreservedly of absolutely anything the pretty girls did.
The way the form of the article, a letter to a nonexistent daughter, allowed for extreme mansplaining. And the way the guy felt entirely entitled to tell women how they should feel about the whole affair -and that they are Uncle Toms trying for massahs approval if they feel differently from how he explains to them that they ought to.
Last edited by Gnarl; 12-22-2011 at 07:13 AM.
Regarding Jade Raymond, although it was mostly the advertisers and marketers fault, the video game blogs and websites were complicit in this too. At one point most articles about Assassin's Creed would have a picture of Raymond on the front page, and the blogs would tolerate lewd comments. I believe Joystiq, my video game blog of choice, to their credit started banning people who made offensive comments about Raymond. Also how much contempt did the marketers have for gamers if they thought we'd buy a game just because an attractive woman was involved in making it?
One of the quotes from the article in the first post mentions the woman is fed up with men being surprised that she was interested in comics. I have to say that even though I know there are women who enjoy comics, I don't personally know any women who like comics so I probably will be surprised if I meet a woman who likes to read comics. I'll try not to show it, though.
Comics shops often have the perception of boys' clubs or places that are uncomfortable for women. When I was a kid my mom told me that she didn't like taking me to the comic store in the mall. Anyway, two of the comics shops that I frequent have women on their staff. Hiring women would be a good way for the stores to improve their "vibe." If a woman passes by and sees another woman sitting at the register she might feel more comfortable coming inside and browsing.
Or would the article rather be taking for granted how basically any comic fan would have to be a misogynist socially inept moron?
I'm leaning to the latter on it frankly. I'm totally not against any girls or selfawareness or open-mindedness to become thrivant witin 'comic culture', as a matter of fact I'd take pride in it with remaining to welcome it further.
But I don't like the whole assumption or preposition of how comic book fans would generally be formed by only depraved OCD yucky boy-boys.
Not even for the ones that would be such: I'd applaud anyone to feel at home at comic shops - the way dweeby nerds should get loud there if they'd want to.
"Nerds" shouldn't hassle ladies, but no jocks or studs or other ladies should do that either - not even the mayor or governor should be to hassle no girls.
See how not any of the movies or tv-shows nor any of the big time projects within comics are ever strictly only aimed at 14-year-old-boys nowadays? If comics or games or movies will ever have ever been 'strictly only for boys per se' than that will have been in the past surely. A distant, non-recurring past at that, if at all - which seems unlikely anyway.
Last edited by Kees_L; 12-22-2011 at 12:08 PM.
Chillingly good stuff besides Mignola, Slint, M, Knut and really big chunks of tinfoil?Been called a 'good egg'. Been told to rock, been told to steady myself. Been told to (please) be goin' places.
Half sunk in the mud, with one eye showing / a cracked smile and hair still growing /
your hands miles apart, as if they'd never met / you were the happiest I'd seen you yet. ~ (full) lyrics to 'Exhume' by Bedhead.
The articles were talking about the people who behave a certain way, and the people who defend/justify/excuse the behaviour. If you aren't one of those people, then the article wasn't about you.