Why I won’t be going to PAX any time soon (and why that makes me really, really sad)

This is a post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while but haven’t because I don’t want to be That Feminist Who Only Writes About Rape Culture. I’ve been wrestling with the fear that if I talk about rape culture too much that people will stop listening to me because I’ll be seen as an embodiment of every strawfeminist stereotype out there. “Yeah, yeah, wundergeek. We get that you’re obsessed with rape. So, like, can you please just shut up already?” Ultimately, though, I feel like this is important enough for me to “risk” not being taken seriously.

So as I’ve mentioned before, I had a pretty serious experience with sexual harassment at last year’s GenCon. As such, the issue of convention harassment is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Like many other events in male-dominated nerd subcultures, harassment is a real problem at gaming conventions. Unfortunately, while other male-dominated nerd subcultures (ie tech, skepticism/secular activism) have started to engage with the issue of harassment at conventions/conferences and to implement anti-harassment policies, the attitude toward this problem by gaming event organizers is, shall we say, less than helpful. For the most part, event organizers would rather bury their head in the sand than take this on a serious issue.

And sure, I get it. Harassment is absolutely a shitty thing to have to deal with, and it sucks having to make plans for how to deal with it. But hand-waving and saying “it’s not your responsibility” or “it’s not a real issue” just isn’t an adequate response. The lack of harassment policies at major gaming conventions is something that is harming real people, and organizers need to get over their discomfort and start implementing serious policies to deal with the problem.

The notable exception to all of this is PAX (Penny Arcade Expo). PAX Prime and PAX East not only have harassment policies, they also have Enforcers on the show floor available to enforce the policy as incidents occur. Even more encouraging is their (sometimes controversial) ban on booth babes, something I’d love to see at GenCon but frankly don’t expect to see ever.

Recently among the indie tabletop tribe, attendance has been shifting away from GenCon due to a number of factors mostly related to the ever-increasing cost of being an exhibitor on the show floor, and PAX has been picking up a lot of that slack. While not originally a convention that included tabletop gaming as part of its focus, there has been a growing interest by attendees in tabletop gaming and a lot of independent designers and smaller game companies have been quite happy to take advantage of that interest. So between their progressive stance on booth babes, their serious anti-harassment policy, and environment that doesn’t price indie creators out of the show economy, PAX should be a convention that I would be happy to support, right?

Well…

Were PAX not affiliated with Penny Arcade, I would be delighted to go, or to tell other people to go. Unfortunately, the creators of Penny Arcade have repeatedly proven that when it comes to rape culture, they Just Don’t Get It. All of these efforts to make PAX a welcoming and safe place for female attendees aren’t because Gabe and Tycho care about whether women feel welcome and safe. It’s about business and not alienating a very large potential customer base. Gabe and Tycho themselves have an, unfortunately, long and checkered past with being openly supportive of rape culture.

Most notably there was the whole, long, sordid dickwolves fiasco, which I mentioned in a previous post here on GaW:

There’s a Really, really long summary here, but in a nutshell they made a comic that joked about rape, then made fun of the rape survivors who complained about the comic, then SOLD SHIRTS based on the rape-joke comic, then stopped selling the shirts when it started hurting attendance at PAX but never really properly apologized. Or rather they did, but it was a “we’re sorry you were offended” sort of apology, which actually isn’t a real apology at all.

 (For the record, I was in the camp that thought the original comic was funny but that their subsequent response to objections was completely unacceptable and Not Okay.)

 Anyhow. The point they were making with the original comic was a good one. Did they need to make that point with rape? Nope. Not at all.

If that was the only instance of this kind of bullshit, I might still have been inclined to roll my eyes and look past their misdeeds and their faux apology. Unfortunately, more recent events have proven that the Penny Arcade creators haven’t really learned much of anything from their experiences with the backlash against the dickwolves comic and t-shirts. Last month, there was a Kickstarter for an awful tentacle rape card game called Tentacle Bento that got pulled due to violations of Kickstarter’s TOS. And then Gabe then came out as being against the pulling of the Kickstarter, because, you know, freeeeedom.

There’s a detailed breakdown here, but basically Gabe went from saying that Tentacle Bento’s Kickstarter shouldn’t have been pulled because, you know, censorship, to questioning the mental health of his critics and finally dismissing the issue all together. Because that’s totally a great, PR-minded response from a business person who professes to want to make women welcome at PAX because it’s good for business. Nope. I can’t see how having one of the creators of Penny Arcade, who has already gotten in trouble in the past for making jokes trivializing the existence of rape culture, make jokes and belittle the concerns of people concerned about rape culture in the gaming would possibly make women thinking about attending PAX feel less safe. Nope. Not at all.

That would be bad enough, but I guess Tycho felt like he had to get in on the supporting rape culture action too. Not very long after Tentacle Bento, the new trailer for the upcoming Hitman: Absolution was released, which pretty much shows Agent 47 beating the crap out of scantily clad, overly sexualized assassin-nuns.  Unsurprisingly, this drew a fair amount of criticism, especially as the Hitman games don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to producing women-friendly promotional material. So what did Tycho have to say about people criticizing the new trailer?

Well, he called their complaints “infantalizing chivalry”, for one. He also said that “the swooning and fainting and so forth about this stuff, the fever, is comical in its preening intensity”. And naturally he set up strawmen that completely mis-characterized the criticism against the Hitman: Absolution trailer before knocking down said strawmen as being “a crock of fucking shit”. (You can read the entirety of his post here.)

Wow. I feel really confident that Gabe and Tycho understand my concerns about rape culture in gaming and that they care about wanting to help me avoid repeats of last year’s harassment by marking PAX as a space where rape culture is not welcome! Oh wait, no, scratch that. What I feel really confident about is that Gabe and Tycho care about wanting to make money by increasing female attendance at PAX conventions and that they plan to do that by taking some common sense measures to make sure that women want to go by making sure they won’t get harassed and stuff.

So here’s the part where I feel conflicted. On the one hand, the PAX harassment policy is what I have been advocating to see at other large gaming conventions. There’s anecdotal evidence out there to suggest that harassment is taken seriously and that violators are removed swiftly from the convention. And that’s great! One of the things that I am most sad about with regard to my inevitable return to GenCon next year (pregnancy is going to keep me from attending this year) is the knowledge that I will be constantly monitoring situations for the potential to become unsafe, because GenCon has done nothing as of yet to enact serious anti-harassment policies. So you think I’d be more enthusiastic about a convention that is designed to safeguard the safety of its female attendees, right?

Unfortunately, I can’t get past the continued support that Penny Arcade’s creators have given to rape culture, nor can I get past the persistent scorn and ridicule that they have heaped on those who speak out against rape culture in gaming. Wanting to address the culture that gave my attacker tacit permission to violate my boundaries and know that he could expect not to face serious repercussions is not “infantalizing chivalry”. It’s looking out for my own damn safety. The anger  I feel about the incident I suffered isn’t “comical in its preening intensity” – it’s righteous fucking anger that the trauma that I suffered, and that other women like me have suffered, in a convention space continues to be dismissed as not a real issue, as nothing more than “swooning and fainting and so forth” by us poor hysterical womenfolk.

Gabe and Tycho have a huge audience. They have the potential to use that audience for good, or at least not to use their audience for evil. But instead they take every opportunity they can to mock people who speak out against rape culture and belittle their concerns, and their audience is paying attention. And that makes me sad, because PAX is a good convention that I would like to be able to support, and there are good people going to PAX who I would also like to support. But I can’t countenance giving money to people who think rape is funny and that rape culture just isn’t a thing.

About wundergeek
In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, I am an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.

29 Responses to Why I won’t be going to PAX any time soon (and why that makes me really, really sad)

  1. The internet is a magical place that makes savvy users more aware of the world around them. Unfortunately, what I’ve learned from the internet this year is that conventions are scary places to be female, and I need to stop and look at our conventions to make absolutely certain that my *impression* that we’re friendly and safe is true.

    I’m a principle at Double Exposure – we run DEXCON and DREAMATION. It is my goal to encourage and foster a culture that self-policies, and makes harrassment (as well as shaming and bullying of any sort) unacceptable behaviors. But everytime I read about another group that gets it “almost right” and then misses the bus entirely, my heart breaks. Conventions should be about community, creativity, and joy. Not fear, shame, etc. :-(

    Thank you for speaking up; by making convention organizers more aware, you give us a better chance of succeeding at being “safe space”.

  2. I hear you, there.

    I’ve been to Prime the last two years, and last year a few of the women I knew decided to change how they dressed on Sunday, because of harassment on Friday & Saturday. I know the Enforcers are pretty cool (and knowing several personally, they take this seriously), but there are a lot of people at the show and you can’t police everything.

    The more G&T make a deal out of defending this bullshit, the more it draws attention to that acceptance to their core fans. And those are the people who fill PAX’s halls. And they know their audience eats rape defense up, and being loud about it creates social media storms that just give them more eyeballs. It’s that sort of disgusting-but-effective PR that trains the minds of those totally tuned in.

    And that’s fucking unfortunate.

    - Ryan

    • “a few of the women I knew decided to change how they dressed”

      Dear GOD. Has the entire industry lost it’s everloving mind?

      We have girls in hot pants and fishnets. we have cleavage bodices. we have boys in gold lame, going regimental, wearing bodices stolen from their sisters’ closet. We nearly never have this sort of issue. I mean, maybe I’m delusional, but bad enough for somebody to CHANGE THEIR CLOTHES?

      Somebody asked on a company product forum “What is DEXCON and will there be hawt girls?” and the IMMEDIATE answer was “don’t be ‘that guy’. be cool, guy. don’t ruin it for the rest of us.” So I know we get our share of barely controlled bad behavior. But … I would be embarrassed and horrified to hear it said so matter of factly that women are not safe at my convention.

      More than half our staff is female. About 40% of our attendees are female. if 40% of my attendees felt unsafe? I’m doing something wrong. We’re doing something wrong. We are letting each other down, and betraying ourselves.

      I’m absolutely serious. reading about the fact that women just ASSUME that they’ll be harassed at conventions makes me really sad and angry. Inappropriate compliments by awkward boys is one thing. But out and out feeling unsafe? that’s something else entirely.

  3. Benjamin C. says:

    I see where you’re coming from, but it looks to me (and maybe this is because I’m a lawyer in Washington, DC, where everything is a despicable compromise) that it’s more important that the organizers of a convention have the right thoughts in their hearts, or at least don’t talk about what’s in their hearts, than that they actually do anything to change the culture.

    I haven’t been to a gaming or sci-fi convention in years, but from your post, it sounds like PAX is the only large-scale con that, structurally, takes the likelihood of a hostile environment even remotely seriously. Even if the policy is only to provide a “better consumer experience,” it exists. By your own words, GenCon doesn’t have that policy, and yet you’re still willing to give them money and support them – because, despite the fact that they don’t even seem to care about harassment of people who give them money, the organizers have not gone on record as being sexist boors.

    I’m not saying go to PAX – but I do think that by not going to PAX, but still going to GenCon, it makes it less likely that the structural features that make PAX attractive to you will ever be implemented at GenCon; if they can get your money and your loyalty merely by being quiet, why should they go to the effort?

    • wundergeek says:

      It’s true that ensuring the safety of convention attenders is important! And PAX is definitely the first convention I will point to as an example of things that other conventions should be doing if they aren’t doing it already. But the thing is that after experiencing convention harassment in such a serious way, this is no longer a situation of pure logic for me. I don’t have the luxury of not being emotionally engaged in the situation anymore.

      And for me, emotionally, it is important that I not give money to people like Gabe and Tycho who use their massive audience to perpetuate the culture that created an environment that told my harasser that it was okay to violate my boundaries, even if they are ALSO implementing the very types of harassment policies that I have advocated for.

      Different survivors will have different reactions, of course. Some people might decide that their safety is more important than the intent of the organizers. For me, though, the intent is important and I’d rather go to a convention like GenCon that is potentially unsafe due to cluelessness on the part of its organizers rather than attend PAX which is much more safe DESPITE the rape-culture-supportiveness of its creators.

    • I think it’s incredibly more damaging toxic to give lip service to an ideal while publicly behaving otherwise.

      Look at it this way – in my life, I have a zero tolerance policy re: gay bashing. I don’t tolerate it and when I see or hear it happening, I take it on. If I were to turn around and support hate speech or bullying, all my work to make certain that our events are friendly for everybody goes out the window. I invalidate all of my work and in fact make the world LESS safe. If an advocate is on the side of your oppressors, what hope is there that things will get better? And why take the conversation about the broken systems seriously and change your behavior if activists are toe-ing both sides of the line?

  4. Simon Rogers says:

    Have you spoken to anyone in authority in GenCon? Peter Adkison would be all over this if you raised it. Let me know if you need details.

    • wundergeek says:

      I blogged about the issue a bit last year but haven’t had the mental energy to really take the issue on until now, nor did I know who would be the best person to contact at GenCon about this. If you could forward me his details, that would be fantastic. I would love to follow up on this. Thanks!

  5. Ryan Brosmer says:

    It would probably help if you understood that when PA writes a strip about something it’s more often than not done to poke fun at/raise awareness to something absurd in the videogame world/industry/community. They made the dickwolves joke because that’s an actual thing that happens in actual games and it’s ridiculous. It wasn’t making fun of rape. It wasn’t diminishing how horrible it is. And they made that clear in their follow up when they really shouldn’t have to even spell that out.
    Also, the editorial you linked to regarding booth babes at PAX is just that, an editorial not written by Jerry or Mike or any of the PAX organizers.
    You have a problem wit hthe videogames industry, and I get that, because there are many, many problems in the videogame industry (actually, I sat in on some good panels on these topics at PAX East 2012) and Penny Arcade is a comic that makes commentary on this very same industry. And I think that’s your issue. You and Penny Arcade are commenting on the same issues, except they use humor because that’s what they know and you see humor as an invalid form of commentary for super serious issues because you think there are just some things you shouldn’t laugh at. Well, laughing at it is just another way of talking about it and talking about these issues is the most important step to fixing them. So maybe you should just ignore Penny Arcade because you’re both doing good and attacking one another is just going to hurt everything.

    • wundergeek says:

      Instead of misrepresenting what I’m saying, go back and re-read the post. Especially the part where I said that I was one of those who appreciated the point being made by the original comic and found it amusing. What was ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY was the way in which Gabe and Tycho responded to the criticism that they received. Making a followup comic that mocked the survivors who spoke out against the original comic? Super fucking uncool. (Seriously, go back and read the followup comic. They’re completely mis-representing and mocking the concerns of the critics of the original comic.) And then SELLING T-SHIRTS based on the original rape joke? MEGA fucking uncool.

      I am no stranger to using humor to talk about serious societal issues – as you might gather if you go back and read some of the archives of this blog. Humor is a very effective tool in the social justice tool box. But there is a difference between using humor to effect social change and using humor to belittle the concerns of those trying to effect social change. What I do is the former. What Gabe and Tycho do with regard to rape culture is the latter. And sure they do some positive things too, like Child’s Play. But that doesn’t obviate the fact that their “humor” perpetuates a culture that enables harassers to feel validated in their lack of respect for the boundaries of others.

      • Moon Worshipper says:

        Ryan’s take is completely understandable from the perspective of someone not immersed in the feminist sub-culture. I don’t think he needs to re-read the article, I think you maybe should just understand the way your article comes across to even pro-equality readers who are engaged with the subculture’s group-think.

        If the article is about proving your bone fides with your crowd, then I’d say that goal was accomplished. If it’s about making people more aware about sexual harassment issues at game conventions, it’s a fail, because you find a way to attack the one high profile convention actually trying to do something about it. This is bound to result in people who might otherwise be sympathetic to the issue failing to engage in the issue after reading this article. The message is that what PAX organizers are doing is meaningless, because you find the founders boorish and insensitive.

        IMO, linking the two issues, sexual harassment at conventions, with personal displeasure with the words and attitudes of the PAX founders, was the mistake in the article that muffled the message and leaves people not already engaged with feminist issues scratching their heads and walking away.

        I understand that you probably found it impossible to applaud PAX for it’s anti-harrassment policies, while also having decided that the founders just must be misogynistic pigs. However, by deciding to nullify the actual positive actions of PAX convention organizers because you chose to interpret the art and words of those two guys in the most negative light, you are signalling that those steps to protect women are actually worthless.

        Actions speak louder than words and art does not condone any horrors the art represents.

         

        • vexorian0 says:

          “However, by deciding to nullify the actual positive actions of PAX convention organizers ”

          I don’t think she ever did that.

          ——
          Perhaps Gabe and Tychus should like “consider” how would their jokes “come cross to people” not in their circle? I mean, since I don’t really read PA, this comic: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/13/ comes across as dismissive of serious concerns and it is not funny. It really does not seem as if they were trying to teach us anything, it seems like they are just ridiculing the criticism.

        • wundergeek says:

          I think you’re confusing me saying “here is why I’m not going to PAX” with me saying “here is why no one should go to PAX”, which actually isn’t what I’m saying at all. Framing my displeasure with the PA creators in terms of my personal experience isn’t “muffling the message”, because my personal experience IS the message.

          Is PAX doing a lot of stuff right with regards to policy and Enforcers? Absolutely! And whenever I hear people asking how they can address convention harassment, PAX will always be one of the first conventions I point to as an example of how not to fail. But for me, PERSONALLY, I can’t square that with the knowledge that Gabe and Tycho are perpetuating and condoning the culture that told my harasser that it was okay to violate my boundaries.

          Actions speak louder than words and art does not condone any horrors the art represents.

          1) Yes. Actions do speak louder than words. So let’s consider what it says that despite setting up one of the more successful anti-harassment policies, the creators of Penny Arcade feel the need to CONTINUE to denigrate and deny the existence of rape culture and the very real harm that it causes people.

          2) Dude. Know that I am speaking as someone who has a Fine Arts education and background when I say this. This is an area that I can speak to with authority.

          ART DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.

          You don’t get to create something that is problematic and then handwave past the problematic bits because “it’s art”. Art doesn’t come from a magical thought vacuum. It comes from the brains of real people, and should be criticized as such.

    • Bruce McGlory says:

      Nice try, but that’s completely and immediately proven false with their making and selling t-shirts mocking the issue and the whole “team rape” thing that followed. PA aligned themselves with rape-apologists and misogynists. It will take a lot to climb out of that hole. And, subsequent to the dick wolves fail, PA has proven to only want to dig deeper.

  6. Luarien says:

    Can you report Gabe and Tycho to the PAX Enforcers for supporting sexual harassment and potentially get them permabanned from their own convention?

    That’d be awesome.

  7. Harland says:

    [deleted]

    • Don’t be a jerk.

      You know it’s not about “PC enforcers” and being inflammatory on a sensitive thread that has been thoughtful and respectful so far is just trollish.

  8. Hazmat Sam says:

    [derailing]

  9. Just a Girl says:

    First, as a previous PAX enforcer (I have not served or attended the last two due to family obligations), and a female to boot, I see and acknowledge your point. However, please keep in mind that the PAX the convention is more than the sum of its figureheads. There are a lot of unnamed people who are working hard to make the convention as comfortable as possible for all involved. People who don’t necessarily deserve to be called out or punished for transgressions not their own. Personally, I don’t believe throwing the baby out with the proverbial insensitive bath water is really the right path, but it’s your path and your journey, and you should follow it as you see fit.

    Second, I believe that the Dickwolves incident was nothing more than crude humor coupled with a bad attempt at illustrating the absurdity of a situation. My role as a PAX enforcer required that I work with M/J occasionally (everyone had different roles – mine happened to include interactions as such), and in my experience, they are polite, considerate and kind, if a bit sensitive, shy and oblivious (par for the course within the geek culture). Because of this viewpoint, I understood the Dickwolves comic – having been there when the concept was first developed – for what it was – crude humor from a couple of men who, like all of us, sometimes act like children, but unlike us, are subjected to the unwavering attention of an expectant crowd.

    So, when I read the vitriol that spewed from the general masses, I reacted similarly to how I imagine M/J might have reacted – With shocked absurdity… because who in their right minds would ever promote rape, much less those two? I believe they might have been mistaken in their attempt to communicate with sarcasm… because their dry humor and knack for pinpointing the absurdity of life could be misconstrued. It might not have been the most sensitive approach, though it was certainly most indicative of their style. Could they have handled it better? Perhaps. Are we entitled to a thoughtful response to an absurd accusation from a couple of geeks (and I say geek in an affectionate manner – being one myself) who write comics for a living? No.

    Let me be clear – I am not trying to invalidate your feelings on the subject. I am simply attempting to illustrate my own thought process, as a woman with a different point of view on the subject matter, but one that is neither more nor less valid. Personally, I find pinning a single person down, and declaring I understand the make of their mettle based on only a glimpse into their hows and whys to be uncertain ground. But then, I am, as a rule, an uncertain girl, especially in the matter of social politics. I often find the venom with which the subject of women’s rights is approached by those of both sexes to be counter to our common goals. It alienates those we seek to educate, and puts everyone in the position of defense, which does very little to advance our position.

    • wundergeek says:

      First of all, thank you for taking the time to respond in a civil manner. Seriously. Thanks.

      And let me say that I appreciate those who act as PAX Enforcers. I really, really do! You guys are awesome and deserve a lot of props for being out there to actively make convention spaces safer. And it’s the awesomeness of the Enforcers that is part of the reason why I feel really conflicted about not going to PAX, because you guys are doing it right. Totally.

      As far as the dickwolves thing goes, I have pretty mixed feelings about the original comic itself. As someone who played WoW and other MMOs for many, many years I understood and appreciated the point that the original comic was trying to make and I thought the original comic was funny! That said, I can see how it would bother rape survivors even if I didn’t agree with all of the original criticism being levied at the comic. What’s important, though, is the response. Rather than saying “hey, rape is a sensitive topic” and engaging seriously with their critics, they reacted by making fun of the rape survivors. And when more people started joining in the backlash, angered by that response, their response was very much “FUCK YOU HATERS, we’re going to sell TEAM RAPE SHIRTS”.

      So that’s the part where I have problems. Because their reaction to recent events where discussions of rape culture in gaming has come up hasn’t really done much to convince me that they’ve migrated from their FUCK YOU HATERS position. Do I think they’re genuinely awful people? No. But I think they are pretty willful in their refusal to try and understand the points that their critics are trying to make, and I think that the fact that they support rape culture is harmful. I really hope that that changes, because I’d like to support the good stuff they do with Child’s Play and making PAX a safe space. But for now, I don’t want to give them my money.

      • Just a Girl says:

        I can see that. It certainly wasn’t a very sensitive response, but one that didn’t surprise me – not because of who they are, but because of what they are. In my time in the geek culture, I’ve learned that sometimes no matter how smart, accomplished or talented someone is, they still maintain a very low opinion of themselves. In high school, I was the least intelligent of my friends, and I learned to expect great things from those around me, but to expect to be disappointed in myself. Not a good lesson to learn, for sure, but certainly not a unique one in our world. No doubt you and everyone you talk to has a similar story. It’s ingrained in our culture, because with great intelligence comes great questions, and with great questions comes great doubt, fear and self-loathing as those questions remain unanswered. After all, if we can’t answer them, what good are we?

        Each of us cope with these feelings in different ways… for me, I have a finely honed defense drive. The minute anyone attacks me, I attack back like a cornered rabbit. Lash out, duck and cover. Even if I believe I am wrong, if someone comes at me with anger or smug satisfaction, I taste blood, and when I taste blood, nothing you can ever tell me will penetrate my battle fever. I will protect myself at all costs, and it becomes more about defending my position than reaching the right conclusion. This is a struggle I believe we all have, and the internet only perpetuates the problem by providing a medium for anger without consequence.

        In the couple decades or so since high school (am I that old?), I’ve grown a bit (I hope), and I’ve learned that the only way I, personally, can accept criticism is if it’s framed in a non-threatening manner. Similarly, I’ve found this to be equally true in communicating and interacting with highly intelligent people. Some call it passive bullshit, and miss my confrontational, spittle drenched missives to the world, but really, being agreeable, accepting and laid back, while also putting forth my own ideas, has allowed me to get my point across a lot more often. I get less attention, because small voices creep ideas in, but don’t bring the boys to the yard. But, attention isn’t as important to me as it used to be.

        Where is this little jaunt down psychology lane taking us, you ask? My point is this – if you want to inspire change in our culture, you do so by incremental steps and non-threatening, passive criticism. The kind that doesn’t sound the battle cry, because once that horn sounds, no one wins, and no one learns. The reason I was not surprised by M/J’s response to the attacks is that none of the attacks fit this criteria. They were all angry, spittle soaked missives. How do most geeks respond to such things? Battle horns abound, the results of which culminate with things like “Team Rape” t-shirts. Something I don’t believe M/J would ever, in a non-war time, produce.

        To this point, our culture needs more level headed people, and if everyone who disagrees runs away, we will see no progress. Instead of boycotting the convention, which really won’t impact M/J or Penny Arcade in any meaningful manner, continue to attend and voice your concerns, but do so without sounding the horn.

        Just my thoughts… take them as you will, or not.

      • “And when more people started joining in the backlash, angered by that response, their response was very much “FUCK YOU HATERS, we’re going to sell TEAM RAPE SHIRTS”.”

        And then they encouraged PAX attendees to wear these shirts at PAX. And gave support to that flaming jerkwad who proposed organizing a Team Rape Flashmob at PAX.

        That the founders of PAX encourage these sorts of behaviors at PAX is *precisely* why I feel unsafe ever attending PAX, despite however many other women go or however many Enforcers enforce. Because Gabe and Tycho are actively, constantly dismissing real concerns in ways that support rape culture, I can never be sure that my safety concerns at PAX will be taken seriously — there is clearly a huge set of experiences that would make me feel unsafe (see above about Team Rape flashmobs) that is considered by the founders just me being a whining crybaby and would therefore probably fall outside the realm of what the Enforcers will actually Enforce. So.

  10. chick says:

    I don’t care that they made rape jokes about fictional people getting raped by fictional monsters. They care about REAL women getting assaulted at their conventions. They understand that assault is a real issue and needs to actually be dealt with. They also know how to separate reality from fiction. That’s enough for me.

  11. Louisa says:

    I have to say the ‘preventing assault because it’s makes us money to do so’ thing really bugs me. Maybe I’m just too much of a wide eyed idealist but can’t they just do the right thing because it’s the right thing? When people first starting dropping out of PAX after the Dickwolves thing I felt like Penny Arcade’s response was ‘but we’re good to women usually!’ I’m disquieted that being a decent person to a huge chuck of your customers is seen as going above and beyond the call of duty rather than just fufilling the basic requirements

    • wundergeek says:

      I’ll admit that it might be a little cynical on my part. But given the dissonance between their actions (making PAX a safe space) and their words (rape culture doesn’t exist! STFU if you think it does! You are crazy and stupid!), I tend to read that as business-motivated on the part of Gabe and Tycho. I would certainly love to be wrong on that front.

      • Louisa says:

        No, no I totally agree I meant that it bugs me they think that way. I’m not saying I think they do it for moral reasons I’m saying I wish they would.

  12. dmol8 says:

    wundergeek the gaming as women site is giving me a 503 Service Temporary Unavailable. Is it down?

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