>Google Search Results: Revised

>First, a Disclaimer:

As always, not a professional academic or researcher. Also, not a statistician. I’m just a fine art major who happens to really, really like spreadsheets.

Revisions explained

Okay, so I got some helpful feedback yesterday that included improvements to my search methods. So I thought I’d write a quick post updating my data as well as providing some information about traffic and such. I may or may not get to the post about the context of these terms since I went a little crazy making spreadsheets. (Call me a nerd, but I love spreadsheets. They can fix anything.)

I made a major blunder in my original post, I realized. In my searches yesterday, I was only searching http://www.ign.com and not all of its various gaming subdomains. As such, I revised my search to ign.com and this substantially affected the results. Now ign.com has subdomains for tv, movies, and comics that get much less traffic than its gaming subdomains, but I still searched those subdomains and subtracted those results from the overall total. With the numbers for all of the subdomains and forums included, this wound up altering the final outcome.

I also had some requests to add some additional terms – specifically homophobic or male-gendered slurs. I did wind up adding “fag” to my list, but “dyke” did not make the cut because of the fact that “dyke” is also a name. Specifically, Gordon Van Dyke, who is one of the big figures behind the Battlefield series, skewed the results too heavily. I also did contemplate adding “prick” to the list of terms, but I made an entirely subjective judgement that “prick” is not “as bad” as “cunt”. Entirely my opinion, but I’m also trying to keep the list of terms short so I don’t go completely insane running them all through Google. For the same reason, I also did not search for racial slurs, since that would cause the list to balloon beyond the point that I can gather data in an hour or two.

Lastly, my problem with Kotaku was that instead of running “site:kotaku.com” through Google, I was using “site:http://www.kotaku.com”. That’s what I get for not copying and pasting, I suppose.

The Results

So here are the raw results. (No pretty charts today. I like spreadsheets, but charts are a pain in the ass.)

Interestingly, adding Kotaku to the list didn’t have any effect on the final outcome. Adding all of IGN’s subdomains, however, did. In terms of raw results, IGN now comes out on top with 18 points, just barely edging out Destructoid at 17. Team Liquid’s showing isn’t quite as impressive, but is still pretty solid at 11.

It’s worth noting that Joystiq only scored 3 points, and that Kotaku actually managed to score 0. Something I found almost as interesting is the fact that there are absolutely no results for “feminist/feminazi bitch” on Kotaku.

Now none of this gives us more than a very sketchy general picture without at least having some information about traffic patterns and context. Context we’ll save for my next post. As for traffic patterns, I was able to find some super-basic traffic information for Destructoid, Kotaku, IGN, Joystiq, and Team Liquid by using Compete’s free traffic search features. (It doesn’t let you search subdomains.) The monthly normalized data for February for the five sites is as follows:

Sadly, data about page views is not available for free, so I can’t provide that data. But unique visitors and monthly visits will still give us a pretty good picture.

In an attempt to at least half-assedly normalize the raw results, I decided to divide the unique visitors by the number of search results for each term. It doesn’t really mean much in terms of where the words are coming from – staff writers? Users? Anonymous commenters? But it at least provides some sort of context as to traffic versus usage of each term. It seems counter-intuitive, but lower numbers are “bad” and higher numbers are “good”:

I decided to go through these results and award points again, this time going from lowest to highest. When looking at unique visitors, this time Team Liquid came in first with 20 points, barely edging out Destructoid with 19 points. IGN, by comparison, came in a distant third with a meager 6 points.

When you divide monthly visitors by numbers of search results, results change again – but the overall picture stays the same:

By this metric, Destructoid wins with 20 points, Team Liquid places second with 16 points, and IGN once again comes in third with 6 points.

What does any of this mean?

Well, not a whole lot really. We can make sort of general statements saying that Destructoid and Team Liquid seem to have a higher per capita usage of these terms than other sites, but it’s not possible to make any definitive statements about just what any of this means. Another important factor that was not possible for me to examine is the source of the comments. With the exception of Team Liquid, all of these sites employ paid writers, but they also host user blogs. As mentioned before, it’s not really possible for me to discern the frequency of use by the writers versus the frequency of use by users or anonymous commenters.

So, overall these numbers aren’t that useful from an academic standpoint. However, they provide a useful illustration of the fact that misogynist (as well as other forms of hate speech) language is pervasive across all major gaming sites, and that some sites are consistently more guilty of using this language than others.

>Google Results – misogynist language used on major gaming sites

>Rather than diving back into things here with something easy, I decided to try something I haven’t done before. While browsing my Google Alerts for Jim Sterling, I had an idea inspired by the awesome troll data analysis done by blogger kirbybits in the wake of the whole dickwolves fiasco. I decided to see how many search results for common misogynist language I could get for major gaming sites. I was curious – is my growing hate for Destructoid simply because of Jim Sterling? Or is it really more misogynist than other major gaming sites?

The first thing I did was draw up a list of sites to search from: Destructoid, Kotaku, Joystiq, Team Liquid, 4chan/v/, Reddit/r/gaming, the official WoW forums, and the official StarCraft II forums. (Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Kotaku doesn’t allow Google searches. I don’t know if there’s a way around it, but I was feeling too lazy to find out.)

The next thing I did was draw up a list of search terms. I did this mainly using the word maps in kirbybits’ troll data analysis. The searches I ran were: slut, whore, fat slut/whore, feminazi, feminist/feminazi bitch, cunt, and rape. For the two word phrases, I searched for both with “or” (eg: “fat slut” OR fat whore”). I had initially planned on including “bitch” as its own search term, but I discovered that bitch by itself was a problematic term because of it’s varying uses – it wasn’t possible to easily separate the verb from the noun, and so I dropped it from my list.

The results were… well…. not too surprising, but I went to the effort of making them pretty anyway using IBM’s ManyEyes. Unfortunately, while ManyEyes makes things pretty, it doesn’t make them terribly readable at smaller sizes – so I wound up making ugly charts in Excel. (If you’d like, you can click this link to see the visualization itself.)

Just to amuse myself, I’ve decided on a tournament style ranking to determine which gaming site “wins” the prize of using the most misogynist language. The “winner” will get three points for each top result, second gets two, third gets one. The site with the highest total “wins”.

The search terms:

The results:

Although Destructoid didn’t win every search term, they still managed to completely dominate the competition with a whopping 19 points, winning in five of the seven categories. Team Liquid, though, put in a solid showing as well with a solid 14 points – proving once again that their reputation for sexual harassment has at least some basis in reality. Joystiq managed to come in third with 5 points, just barely edging out Reddit/r/gaming/’s 4 points. And 4chan, a supposed hotbed of anonymous internet fuckwittery, barely even managed to make the list with 1 point. Better luck next time, guys.

Now to be fair, I do imagine the terms feminazi and cunt were edged in Destructoid’s favor, given the recent Jim Sterling twitter fiasco in which he called twitter user Daphny a “feminazi cunt” – something for which he received a lot of backlash. But given the huge gulf between Destructoid and its nearest competitors, I feel confident in saying that Destructoid uses the most misogynist language of the group. (Which makes me regret being unable to get search data for Kotaku. Now I really want to know how they compare.)

None of this, of course, considers the context of the usages, so I’ll look at that next time.

>A belated look at gamer Valentines: the good, the questionable, the pathetic

>Okay, so I know I’m about two weeks late with this. Since I’m including stuff from previous years’ Valentine’s Days, I’ll call this a retrospective and pretend that I meant to be late. (Actually, I didn’t start looking for most of this stuff until after I stumbled across a truly awful Valentine’s Day feature on the FilePlanet FileBlog. That got me looking for other examples of gamer Valentines and Valentine’s Day features on major gaming sites.)

What I found was a pretty mixed bag. There’s a lot of genuinely funny stuff out there to be found. Then again, there’s some pretty tasteless stuff too.

The good/funny

First up we have some Street Fighter valentines. These were done as a promo for last year’s release of Street IV and were posted along with a trailer of Cammy, Juri, and Chun Li. And while the trailer is exactly what you’d expect for a promo trailer featuring fighting game women (SO MANY PANTY SHOTS), the valentines are actually pretty good:

I appreciate that “I’m head over heels for you” shows Juri knocking out Kratos, and that the pose isn’t blatantly fanservice-y. (Considering that Juri wears a square of fabric strapped to her chest, it’s impossible to avoid completely…) I also enjoy the number of male/male pairings. I realize that given how vastly the women in Street Fighter are outnumbered by the men, it’s probably a function of not many women to choose from. But still, I’d like to think that they meant to have valentines with non-straight pairings. (I’d root for female/female pairings too, only that wouldn’t end well given the design of all of the Street Fighter women.)

Valve got in on the act as well with a few different Valentine’s themed promos for Portal 2. In particular, I loved the video that they produced as a message from Aperture Laboratories with Valetine’s day “tips” like “women love diamonds for their wide variety of industrial applications. It was humorous and did a pretty good job of turning a few stereotypes on their head, albeit in bizarre fashion.

They also released a few more traditional valentines like these:

Overall I’m a fan, but I have to say I have mixed feelings about the first one. It seems like they might be using this as a chance to promote Chell’s new design in the upcoming release. Chell in the first game was female, yes, but definitely was not a traditionally slutty female heroine. I’m a bit worried by the decision to glam her up. Here’s hoping that we don’t start seeing disgusting Chell fanart pop up like we did with post-Zero Suit Samus.

I also stumbled across this gem by the producers of The Misadventures of P. B. Winterbottom:

I love the retro styling, but what I love even more is the instruction at the bottom that starts with: “should feelings of love or desire overcome you, this clever card can be used to fan away such salacious vapors.” It’s always nice to see game studios treat gender stereotypes, even outdated ones, satirically. Lord knows it’s far oftener the case that game studios are PERPETUATING gender stereotypes, yes even the outdated ones, rather than mocking them.

Some other gems I found that aren’t gender/sexism related are:
* some Left4Dead valentines by the hugely talented Alexandria Neonakis (aka Beavotron).
* gamer valentines on IGN, including one by a horny Elcor (if you play Mass Effect it’s hilarious, trust me)
* these NES valentines

They’re worth checking out for a few chuckles at least.

The questionable

This is going back quite a while… Lion’s Head, the studio behind the Fable series put out this Valentine in 2007:

Now, I’ll admit that the one thing I have been arguing for here is a diversity of female body types in game art. That said, I think this is more of a negative than a positive. This woman is being presented as an object of ridicule, not as an object of beauty. She is clearly designed to disgust the intended male viewer, which is sad. It wouldn’t have taken much to present such a character as beautiful, but clearly Lion’s Head just wanted to get some cheap laughs.

Richard Mitchell, the author of the feature that ran this valentine on Joystiq, ended the piece by saying:

We’re sure she has a great personality. Hopefully, this has nothing to do with the secret Fable 2 feature that Peter Molyneux will reveal at GDC.

Even more depressing are the comments left on the Joystiq feature:

Ew. Just ew. I wouldn’t touch that chick with a 110 ft. pole.

Hard nipples…going to give me nightmares!

I’d hit it.
Yea, with a baseball bat :)

That’s about what I expected. Still… yuck.

Then there’s this valentine of questionable taste from Kotaku:

I dunno. I guess it’s kind of funny. But then, it’s yet another example of puerile sex humor coming out of Kotaku. What a shock! Not sure what to think of it, so in the end I’ll roll my eyes and move onto this valentine from Destructoid:

Okay. This is actually pretty cute, and doesn’t have some cleavagey piece of fanservice like I half expected from Destructoid. But they couldn’t leave it there, could they? I mean, then they wouldn’t be the Destructoid we know and… um… love.

Anyway, the feature ended with: “Now who’s going to make a Destructoid card for Steak and BJ Day?”

…charming, guys. Real charming. So nice of you to “throw us women a bone” every once in a while. Now do you think you could refrain from practically in the same breath demanding that us women give you blow jobs? Christ.

The pathetic: FilePlanet’s FileBlog

Surprisingly, Kotaku and Destructoid put in pretty half-hearted attempts to offend this year. But have no fear – FilePlanet has come to the rescue! Apparently this year is the third year that they have posted a selection of nude mods for Valentine’s Day in a charming feature they call Valentine’s Nudity.

Because really, what better way is there to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by hacking video games to remove the clothes of video game women? That’ll show those uppity bitches. How dare they have “empowerment” and “character arcs”. Fuck character arcs – tits or gtfo, bitches!

And then of course there’s the comments:

No males? All female. That’s refreshing.

Where did i stick my vaseline?

AVG Detected a virus in a file needed for the Mass Effect 2 nude skin to work. Oh well the miranda nude mod is better anyway

I liek wen day showda boobays

Wow… might consider making a lesbein sim just to take advantage of this…

So yet another example of how a subset of male gamers are determined to systematically dis-empower any female character who might have some degree of strength or agency. What kind of sick entitlement causes this sort of shit, anyway? Why can’t they just do what normal people do and go find porn on the internet? God knows there’s enough free porn out there that going to this much effort shouldn’t be appealing.

So I guess thanks go to FilePlanet for making even Kotaku and Destructoid seem appealing. Then again, I guess they’ll be needing the nude mods since some of those guys probably couldn’t NOT offend a woman if their lives depended on it.

>Just because your fans tell you you’re not sexist doesn’t make it true

>Okay, a bit of a quickie here… I’m working on a post about Reaper Minis that has wound up consuming way more time than I thought it would. So in the mean time, here’s a preview of what you can expect:


She’s going to have some serious scratches later.

So there’s that.

Anyhow. Dale North, who is a major contributor on both Japanator and Destructoid, asked his readers if he was sexist. Amusingly, in describing the difference between Japanator and Destructoid, he had this to say about Destructoid:

If you frequent Japanatator, then you surely know about ModernMethod’s flagship site, Destructoid. This gaming community is past hope, and we like it like that! We offend on a daily basis, and we’re championed by our readers for it.

…which, amusingly, is one of the best descriptions I’ve seen yet of Destructoid. Good to know that sexism is apparently part of the writing style guide.

Now normally I would ignore stuff like this on a site like Japanator. I do try to avoid crossing too much into anime fandom here, since the problems with anime fandom are rooted a great deal in cultural differences and Japanese misogyny. However, since Dale North is a contributor on both sites, and content that he writes for Japanator sometimes gets cross-posted on Destructoid – which are both part of the same blogging network, I consider this fair game.

So here’s the question Dale posed to his readers:

Am I, Japanator’s Editor-in-Cheif, a sexist pig? And, if I am, should I be concerned about this as a writer on anime/manga/Japanese culture?

Not surprisingly, given the wording, the rest of the post was then followed by defensiveness and strawmen. This seemed to be more a facetious inquiry to cause a bit of controversy and garner hits rather than a genuine attempt at self-examination. Especially since near the end of his post he tosses out:

I’m not really doubting myself or the work of the Japanator staff here. And in the end, like it or not, we still get paid to write this crap. Sexy? Maybe. Japanator is filled with sexy commentary and pictures and whatnot. We’re all horribly perverted, as good otaku should be. But I don’t think there’s anything here that makes us terribly sexist.

Nope! No sexism here! I mean, there’s scads of sexy women. And our staff is mostly men. And GOOD OTAKU SHOULD BE HORNY. I mean, come on. QED. But none of that makes us sexist. (Now show us your tits.)

Anyhow. None of this should be in any way shocking coming from Dale North, who titled an article about the banning of RapeLay in Japan with: “RapeLay raped off Japanese shelves for good”… and then had this as the headline image:


For fuck’s sake.

Dale’s no Jim Sterling, but he certainly has his moments.

Predictably, Japanator users fell over themselves to defend Dale. Here are some of my favorite comments. (My commentary is in brackets.)

Grow a backbone! Be more like Jim Sterling. He doesn’t give a fuck. [Note: Yes. Because we should all seek to emulate Jim Sterling...]

I’ve been a reader for over a year and I’ve never found your comments insulting (I have a vagina). I think there is a lot of coverage on “sexy news” like PVC figures, but that’s a part of the otaku experience. So, no, you’re not sexist, you’re just an excited fanboy as we all are. [Someone with a vagina says you're not sexist! That makes it true!]

Last time I checked, I had a vagina so I can comment I suppose. =P There are those on the interwebs that love to stir up a bunch of bull. As a long time reader (though I rarely if ever comment), I have never been offended by your nor anyone else’s word choice or whatever has been shown here.

Tits or GTFO

Either way the entire otaku community has a heavy emphasis on fanservice. Girls who get all huffy at a small thing like the term “good looking gal” should just stay away completely [Yeah! Hear that, wimminz? GTFO!]

As a person with no financial relationship and thus no legal liability with Samantha Robertson, you have the opportunity, nay the duty, to be a sexist pig for all us sexist pigs out there unable to attend this convention. As a representative of this fine oasis of otaku in the vast desert of drivel we call the intarwebs, you carry the honor and privilege of commenting on all the shapely figures and voluptuous bosoms you might encounter in our stead. So go forth and offend. With pride. With courage. With conviction. And let exhaustion and weariness not touch you till you have recieved at least one restraining order.

As a girl, I have to say, not only are the things you say not sexist, but they’re downright hillarious! The call me thing was classic.

Just as the other females have said, my tits say you aren’t a bad guy at all. I think you’re hilarious. I don’t understand what the commotion is about, you guys cater to the female crowd too with the yaoi. [Right. Because all women love yaoi, right?]

Dale, I must admit that you are indeed a sexist pig. You offend the very core of my man-finger, and you continue to do so on a regular basis with your sexual innuendo, such as your reference to “I worked hard,” and referring to me as “dear reader.” I am appalled, good sir! Now back to the beautifully luscious breasts and asses of Anime Expo 2008!

As always, the internet restores my faith in humanity. Or, wait, it restores the inverse of my faith. Anyway, having female commenters tell you that you’re not sexist doesn’t automatically make it true – in the same way that “having black friends” doesn’t make you automatically not racist. Read Derailing for Dummies, for god’s sake.

(Sidenote: I’m amused by the concept disembodied body parts leaping to Dale’s defense. “Hey! I’ve got four tits and two vaginas that say I’m not sexist!” Protip: having ladybits does not automatically make you an arbiter of what is and is not sexist.)

Now, I get that Japanese culture mass-produces misogynist media, and that a certain level of tolerance for that goes with being part of anime fandom. Examining issues of sexism in anime fandom isn’t easy because it’s often hard to tell when you’re dealing with Japanese cultural issues and when you’re dealing with Western cultural issues – which is why I usually stay out of it.

But here’s a tip for all you game “journalists” out there who may be wondering if you are sexist. If you’re actually interested in obtaining a real answer, then you need to step outside your little echo chamber. The users on Japanator are there because they like the site and the content that it posts. Are they going to want to see a negative label attached to a major contributor for said site? No, because that would mean being a fan of that contributor might make them sexist as well.

But I guess that wasn’t really the point of this whole exercise.

>Apologetic linkspam: Have some WTF, and also some win

>

Okay, folks. As promised, here’s a bit of extra WTF to carry you through the weekend. I resolve to fail less starting next week, but as I’ve discovered I need my weekends. Those two days to detox from all the icky shit I look at during the week in the name of research for this blog are important. Srsly. You don’t even want to know some of the shit I stumbled across by accident while researching “clothing damage”. Brr.

Anyway. Here’s some WTF to console yourself with.

WTF the first: yet more creepy shit from Japan

So. There’s this thing in Japan called a hostess club, where lonely young men go to spend time with women who are employed by the club, and by spend time I mean just that. Some of them will have board games, others will just have coffee… whatever. Anyhow, I stumbled across this article about a Japanese romance game centering around young women who work at a particular hostess club.

…yeah. Because stalking women home from work is totally romantic.

Anyway. No idea on if it’s being translated – these screens are all in Japanese. But here’s a taste:

If you want to see more, you can see the full article with lots, and lots, and LOTS of creeptastic screens here. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. (And don’t get caught reading it at work.)

WTF the second: dear Nukezilla, I heart you

Okay, this isn’t so much WTF as an awesome repudiation of WTF. So remember the fail-tastic IGN Gamer Girl Christmas Gift Guide? If you haven’t seen it, please do go glance through it. Don’t bother reading the text if you’re in a hurry – just check out the photos. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

… yuck, right? I mean, I’m pretty sure anyone who would attach a photo like this to an article supposedly about gifts for “girl gamers”…


Okay, why is she making Seductive Face at SACKBOY? That’s just creeping me out.

…has never really talked to a woman that games. (And yelling ‘tits or GTFO’ over XBox Live doesn’t count, fellas. Neither does sending ASCII penises in chat.)

Anyway. John Kershaw over at NukeZilla wrote this amazing rant about how horrific that feature was. It starts off with “girls, meat, what’s the difference?” and gets better from there.

John Kershaw, I don’t know you, but you are my new hero.

WTF the third: The Bayonetta creator said something misogynist? NO! SAY IT ISN’T SO!

So everyone is familiar with Bayonetta, right? I have to say that she’s hands down one of the best female characters to come out of the gaming industry in the last few years. She’s strong, well rounded, not sexualized and… okay even I can’t maintain the sarcasm.

Anyway. She’s inspired a fair amount of controversy, which isn’t too surprising since one of her main attacks involves spreading her impossibly long legs to kill things with her ladybits sword.


Bayonetta. Feminist icon and role model.

Anyway, Hideki Kamiya – the creator of Bayonetta – apparently thinks that all women view each other as enemies. Which begs the question… He designed a title with a female lead… why?

Oh right! The tits. I mean, sorry – the ass. Almost forgot. Kamiya is clearly an ass man.

…okay, that’s enough fail. So here, have some win:

Troll data analysis

Blogger Kirbybits got involved in that whole Penny Arcade internets fiasco and got a lot of internet traffic to her blog. Interestingly, she decided to analyze comments to see what sort of trends troll comments display. The results are super-interesting! You can read the post here, but be warned there’s lots of super-graphic language involving threats of rape.

And that’s all I have time for today. I’ll check in a few times this weekend just to make sure people aren’t setting themselves (or each other) on fire in the comment threads, but otherwise I’ll see you Monday!

>Some followup: Jim Sterling, Reddit, and DM’s Roundtable

>DM’s Roundtable follow-up interview

Hey, folks. Before I get to the meat of my post, I just wanted to update you all that last night was the followup interview done with the folks on the DM’s Roundtable podcast. After hearing the podcast that originally went up in which I got fairly lambasted, I was pretty wary of going on. But, happily, things went really well and we had a really positive conversation. Those of you who want to give it a listen can find it here. Fair warning, though, it’s long. (A little over an hour, iirc)

Reddit response to yesterday’s post (trigger warning! rape jokes…)

Why do I read the comments on reddit? Whhhhyyyy? After the backlash I got from reddit over my post about gaming not being sexist against men, you’d think that I’d have learned my lesson? But no, I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

So, some dude over on reddit called me an “ignorant judgemental cunt”. The fact that all the horrible shit Jim Sterling has said was meant as humor apparently puts me COMPLETELY in the wrong. Of course, given that in THE SAME COMMENT this dude joked that the difference between football and rape is that women don’t like football.

…so, yeah. I guess I should feel vindicated rather than annoyed. But. Wow. Yuck, dude.

Jim Sterling. Sorry? Well….

Okay, so here’s the thing that prompted me to write a followup post, rather than tackling one of the many other things that I’ve been working on entries about. Kaonashi forwarded me the email from Niero that was mentioned yesterday, and the summary was pretty accurate. “Sure Jim crossed a line and he knows it but he’s a nice guy”.

Which, you know, fine. As an apology it kind of sucks. I have yet to see anything resembling an apology that isn’t full of defensive bullshit from either Destructoid or Sterling, but I’m not about to hold my breath since I honestly don’t expect it to get better than that. An acknowledgment that a line was crossed and that it’s not okay to call people feminazi cunts is about as much as I can reasonably expect since Jim Sterling has proved his worth to Destructoid by being able to get pageviews to Destructoid by saying inflammatory things. Is that out of the ordinary in the gaming world? No. Is Kotaku worse? Oh fuck yes.

Still.

I was skulking the Destructoid site yesterday looking to see if there were any editorials offering a more official apology for Jim’s conduct (there weren’t) when I spotted this post by Jim Sterling about a recent “news” segment on FOX in which the recent rise in reported rapes is blamed on sexy scenes in video games. As is to be expected from FOX, the segment offered no supporting evidence or really any reasoning beyond “be afraaaaaaaiiiiiiid! only FOX can saaaave yooooouuuuuu!”.

Now, is this worthy of ridicule? Absolutely. Does this sort of thing deserve coverage on a major gaming site? Sure. Do the people at FOX deserve to be lambasted for making the same groundless accusations that no one has been able to prove for the last thirty years? Right on. As someone who had to promise her mother not to become a serial killer in order to be allowed to buy Mortal Kombat as a child, I get just as tired of the blame that video games get for just about every social ill that exists. So for once I was cheering Jim on, until I got to the last sentence:


Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some vaginas that have not been raped yet, and Kirby told me I need to “get on dat sh*t!”

…really? Really, Jim? Wow. This doesn’t make me all that confident that Jim has, in fact, grasped the nature of the line that was crossed. Calling people feminazi sluts? Not okay. But you know what else isn’t okay? JOKINGLY SAYING THAT YOU’RE GOING TO GO RAPE A BUNCH OF WOMEN.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that hottest chick lists aren’t going away any time soon. Will I mock them? Sure. Are they a staple of “game journalism”? Unfortunately, yes. Ditto with all of the stuff masquerading as “news” that boils down to “hey look! Boobies! We all like boobies, amirite?”. It’s crass, it’s tasteless, and it carries with it an undertone of “tits or gtfo”. But that is still something I can roll my eyes at and walk away from. Jokes about going out and raping a bunch of women? Not so much.

So I’ve just sent the following email to Niero, the editor-in-chief of Destructoid:

Dear, Niero

A commenter on my blog was kind enough to forward the email that you sent him in response to his complaints about Jim Sterling’s comments in the twitter dust-up that occurred last week and I was very happy to see that in that email there was a clear acknowledgment that Jim’s comments were entirely out of line. I want to make it clear that in no way do I support Daphny’s actions – her comments were entirely disgusting and tasteless and I do agree with Jim that no one gets a free pass on discriminatory language just because they happen to be a member of said group.

That being said, I have grave concerns about the larger context of this twitter dust-up when viewed in light of a larger history of things that Jim has said as an official writer on your site. When the flare-up originally occurred, I refrained from taking sides on my blog, but I did put together a chronology of offensive comments that display a consistent trend of denigrating feminists, feminism, women, domestic abuse, and rape. So when I saw your email to Kaonashi, I was very pleased and had every hope that perhaps Jim would be a bit more thoughtful in his official commentary in the future.

Imagine, then, my dismay, when yesterday morning I saw a post by Jim about FOX news blaming Bullet Storm for the increase in reported rapes. Did FOX deserve to be thoroughly lampooned? Absolutely! But Jim ended by saying: Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some vaginas that have not been raped yet, and Kirby told me I need to “get on dat sh*t!”

This makes me very concerned that perhaps there wasn’t any sort of real lesson learned at all and that the apologies were just lip service to win back those publishers that Jim managed to offend with his comments.

Look. I don’t like the boob-centric nature of your website, but I’m not about to start a crusade to take down Destructoid because you folks like boobs. Whatever. I just really hope that you can understand the difference between jokes about liking boobs and jokes about going out and RAPING A BUNCH OF WOMEN. I really do. I’m not trying to be a “humorless feminist here”. I just really hope that you can make it clear to Jim that just as it is never okay to call a woman a feminazi cunt, it’s also never okay to joke about engaging in rape. The fact that it’s a joke does not obviate the fact that Jim is an influential guy within the gaming community who gets a lot of respect for the consistency of his gaming scores and, like it or not, there are people who look up to him.

I do hope that you will relay this message to Jim. And I do very much hope to see Destructoid clean up its act.

Thank you for your time and attention.

I’m not sure if I’ll get a response, or if anything positive will come of it. I mean, I’m not a user on their site and I’m a woman, which already puts me at a disadvantage. But it’s worth a shot, and I hope that those of you that agree with me that rape jokes ARE NOT OKAY in game journalism (or, you know, anywhere) will also send Niero an email and let him know where you stand on this.

That’s all for now

>In his words: why Jim Sterling is, in fact, very sexist

>[This post is very long, because I wanted to give Jim plenty of rope to hang himself. As you might have guessed by the length, this took a few days to put together, which is why I didn't return to posting as quickly as I wanted. Also, trigger warning for slut-shaming and jokes about abuse - especially the stuff about Fat Princess.]

[ETA: The writer behind GJAIF is Ben PADDON, not Ben Padman. Sorry about that, Ben!]

[ETA2: Hey! There's now a followup post with even more horror! If this isn't toe-curling enough for you, be sure to check out the sequel with even more misogyny!]

 

Amusingly, I’d been planning a post on why Jim Sterling is a paragon of male entitlement and sexism in the gaming industry when the flap broke out on twitter and the affiliated internets about a twitter exchange between Jim Sterling and Daphny over some “fanfic” that depicted Sterling having gay sex. (The “fanfic” was in response to Jim’s defense of David Jaffe for his comments comparing the NGP to a “fresh vagina”, which I won’t address in this post since that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.)

There’s been a lot of heat generated from the pro and anti-Sterlingites out there. I want to make clear that I have mixed feelings about Daphny’s actions. Definitely Jim Sterling deserved to be called out for calling his defense of David Jaffe “journalism”. But were some of her comments homophobic? Maybe? Apparently, Daphny is a lesbian – but that doesn’t give her a free automatic pass. One of the problems with discrimination is that minorities often engage in oppressive language and actions against their own group. Women certainly don’t have a Get Out of Jail Free card when it comes to sexism, so I’m not convinced by the arguments that Daphny CAN’T HAVE BEEN homophobic because she is herself homosexual.

THAT SAID. The things that Jim said in this twitter exchange are absolutely inexcusable. Instead of doing the reasonable thing and ignoring her, or responding in a measured way, he IMMEDIATELY started flinging misogynistic insults of the worst sort:

Jim Sterling/Daphny twitter conversation highlights (Click the link to view the conversation in its entirety)

I know exactly what cunts look like. I’m talking to one right now

Just ask your husband for permission before using the computer next time.

People like you *revel* in sexism, so sure. I’m just giving you what all attention-seeking little bitches crave.

You’re the embarrassment. To your gender, your species, and all feminazi sluts like yourself.

Pretty shocking stuff. Understandably, there’s been a lot of flap over what was said, and a fair amount of backpedaling. CLEARLY Jim only meant these comments to apply to Daphny, and in no way should these comments have been interpreted as a general hatred of women! Even weirder, Ben Paddon of GJAIF (whose blog I do love, btw) attacked Jim’s comments but defended him as not sexist, which was more than a little surprising.

And you know what… okay, it’s the internet. People have internet-freakouts. It’s a thing that happens that I’ve done myself more than once. But the thing is that Jim’s comments are hardly an isolated event. When you look at the larger picture and actually read the things that Jim Sterling has attached his name to in the guise of “game journalism” over the years, his sexist insults look less and less like an isolated freakout and more like a representative sample of Jim’s views of women.

So here is a collection of quotes by our friend Jim, with links to the original articles included to make sure I’m not “taking things out of context”, which is how a lot of pro-Sterlingites have been defending his comments. I’ve loosely categorized them for your reading convenience. Any italics is purely my emphasis. My comments are added in brackets.

Breasts make everything better

The bigger the breasts, the better the fantasy. (Huge Breast Fantasy gives away free breasts)

[Clearly, any fantasy without breasts is sub-standard. I'm looking at you, Lord of the Rings! Clearly, LoTR was a steaming pile of fail with nary a nipple, sideboob, or cleavage to be seen.]

Yep, Mai Shiranui and her milktumors are returning to the series. For fans of nipplepillows the world over, this is certainly great news! (King of Fighters XIII bringing back Mai’s breasts)

[And isn't that what matters? Who gives a shit about graphics improvements, new game modes, or new characters? What really matters here is MAI'S BREASTS. I mean, because we all know that the only value a woman has is what titillation her breasts can provide to male gamers. Sorry, ladies. Those of you who who have had mastectomies or who are transgendered will just have to face the truth.]

You have two choices when Agarest War launches — the aforementioned PSN download or an Xbox 360 version that provides a sexy bundle, the centerpiece of which is a mouse mat with big breasts. … Sorry, but absurd, boob-related items always win. (Breast-Flavored Record of Agarest War Gets Release Date)

Deep cleavage, skimpy leotards, side-portions of breasts and fleeting, partially-obscured nudity? Sounds like the perfect night in, right? One again, the ESRB has completely sold me on a videogame. (ESRB Final Fantasy XIII has side portions of breasts)

People complain about the lack of a strong female character in gaming, but they don’t come much tougher than this one. Jenova is one MILF who can taste my Lifestream any day of the week. Plus the head comes off, and you can do some proper Patrick Bateman shit with that. (http://www.destructoid.com/videogame-characters-that-i-would-have-sex-with-137737.phtml)

[Okay, that's just disgusting. I'm not a guy, but I'm pretty sure it's not normal to fantasize about popping a woman's head off and sticking one's dick inside it.]

Boobs and video games: They pretty much are like peanut butter and jelly. (Another boob list geek lotion stock refilled)

Tits or GTFO

Slightly repurposed from an earlier Bayonetta figure, this one was been given a more natural pose and less, less, less clothing. Which is awesome. (This sexy nudey Bayonetta figure kit is sexy and nudey)

[Ladies, if you want to be deemed "awesome", you need to wear less clothing.]

Well, if she wants to show the skin, far be it from me to stop her liberating herself. What kind of man would I be if I suggested she should cover up? A low-down, rotten sexist is what! Well, I will take a stand for feminism and applaud this strong woman’s decision to have her arse and norks prominently displayed for all [sic] the see. (More X-Blades screens, still less clothing than is sensible)

[For fuck's sake. This is a fictional character designed by men for men. At what point does her costume constitute a choice? Exposing yourself for the gratification of male viewers is not feminism. Read a fucking dictionary.]

We’re dedicated to bringing you only the most relevant and hard-hitting weekend news, which is why we bring you grave word that Soul Calibur IV’s Ivy might show a little less of her fat wobbly tits in the American version of the game than in the Japanese version — JOURNALISM! (Japan keeps all the boobs for itself, Soul Calibur cover-up scandal)

Namco Bandai, hear this! I demand that Ivy’s lactoids be on display for all to see. We’ve already lost the fatalities in Mortal Kombat; we refuse to surrender our snuggle pups, loblollies and twangers. We deserve the sweater meat as much as any Japanese gamer. (Japan keeps all the boobs for itself, Soul Calibur cover-up scandal)

[Ivy's tits being slightly covered is a scandal? I do not think that word means what you think it means, Jim... Seriously, this is an example of the sort of entitlement that just has to stop. Namco Bandai makes the games, and if you want them you give them your money. At no point does this entitle you, the customer, to DEMAND that publishers give you more tits in your games. Seeing tits is not an inalienable right that you are born with. If publishers decide to cover up some tits, then go buy an issue of Playboy.]

Fat Princess rules, feminism drools

It is quite ironic that (ugly) Feminists believe looks shouldn’t matter, yet are judging Fat Princess’ book solely by its cover. How hypocritical of them. Anyway, Fat Princess is obviously about the protection and veneration of women, and does more for the fairer sex than Feminism has ever done. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[Right. Because we know that all feminists are shambling, drooling horrors. It's been proven by science! Anyway, feminism hasn't done anything for women. It's also been proven by science!]

“Heteronormative” is one of the most pretentious words I’ve ever heard. This is obvious proof that Fat Princess is better than Feminism, since someone who claims to be a Feminist once used the word “heteronormative” and now I’ve decided that all of them use it. Dropping little made-up words to try and sound clever just makes you look like a pretentious dickhead, and it’s incredibly prugamatic to commit such indefenderable verbulascur offenseries. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[So... you're saying that sounding like a pretentious dickhead is something you have expertise in? (Okay, a little below the belt, sure...)]

Fat Princess won’t get pregnant in order to trap you: Everybody knows that women do this. They love getting themselves all preganted up so that they can force you to marry them and be stuck with their cancerous hides forever. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[d00d, there's nothing women love more than fucking up men's lives - and what better way to do that than to get yourself pregnant? Who's with me, fellow feminists? Let's all go get pregnant RIGHT NOW. That'll show those bastards! If you're already pregnant or unable to reproduce, you can still join the party. Just bring home random foster children! And those of you with same-sex partners, well I guess you'll have to decide which men in your life you hate most and steal their sperm somehow. For feminism!]

In Fat Princess, everybody has a role to play. This is quite contrary to the idea that every single Feminist has, that women are better than men and make better drivers and that men should be forced to have their sperm hijacked at birth so women don’t have to fuck them anymore. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[Oh, shit. He's on to me! As a feminist, I do hate having sex with men. It's hard for me to get over my feelings of inadequacy long enough to do the deed since I'm so hideous and all. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I'm not a lesbian and can't have hot lady-sex where men can see me and get off on colliding ladybits.]

Seriously, fuck this idea that the social pendulum has to swing a little in favor of one group before balance can be achieved. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[YEAH! Hear that, oppressed minorities? STFU! Hispanic men, you're just going to have to learn to be happy making 57% of what white men make. You want wage parity? Well FUCK THAT.]

Since women are basically just 3D porn, what is an anti-pornography stance if not an anti-female stance? (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[You know, sometimes I get tired of being porn. Like, the other day I was at the grocery store and these two dudes were following me around and masturbating at me and it was really inconvenient because I was like - "guys, you're blocking the cereal, can you move?" and they wouldn't. But then I couldn't really do anything because, you know, I'm porn and that's what porn is for. Still, it's inconvenient having to order my pizzas for takeout. The last time I ordered pizza for delivery it was cold by the time I got to eat it.]

If pornography is to end, then all women on Earth have to be murdered, and that’s just not my scene. Perhaps it’s okay for Adolf Hitler and his cackling Feminist cohorts, but we reasonable people who aren’t Nazis don’t agree. (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there's a difference between Nazis and feminists. Also, I'm pretty sure that women can't be equal to men if they're all dead, which makes me pretty sure that I'm not advocating for the systematic murder of millions of people. But then again, I am prone to sleep walking, so who knows? I guess you'd better watch out because I'm pretty tired and... zzzz.... ALL WOMEN MUST DIE! IT IS OUR SACRED DESTINY! WE MUST... zzz... sorry, was I saying something?]

Fat Princess is a game about having fun, first and foremost, which is something that Feminists are 100% against! Just take so-called Woman Suffrage , for example. The American government denied women the right to vote for a joke, and a bunch of stupid women took it too far and then had to be force-fed through tubes because the silly bitches wouldn’t eat thanks to some idiotic hunger strike. If they’d have laughed along like they should, they probably would have gotten the vote in another fifty or sixty years anyway. Whatever happened to patience being a virtue? (How Fat Princess is blatantly better than feminism)

[Silly bitches, votes are for men!]

Perhaps I’m just too heteronormative to understand the terrible evil that this game represents. Or maybe self-styled “feminists” who think that the movement is all about getting angry and using buzzwords are simply retarded. Who knows? (Feminists sh*t all over Fat Princess, real people laugh)

[Hey, guys I'm a feminist and... uh oh, I feel the stupid coming on... herp derp! Derp derp derp!]

Slut-shaming

screw ICO, and screw Yorda, the bedraggled, moth-brained, slack-jawed tartlet that she is! Terry Schiavo would have been a more effective ally than that ridiculous bitch. (Things I’m sick of games making me do)

[I'm blown away by the implication that mentally impaired = slut. Is keeping your legs together a higher brain function that only kicks in above a certain level of intelligence?]

Being unable to travel anywhere on your own because a bunch of shadows will drag off this mute mongoloid at a moment’s notice. Where’s the option to just say “f*ck it” and let the shadows pull her away? Chances are the shadows will throw her back anyway once they realize what an awful slag she truly is. (Things I’m sick of games making me do)

[Because once a woman has sex once, her value as a human being disappears. True story.]

Koei Tecmo employees will get $1,000 for their first child, $2,000 for their second child and a whole $20,000 if their loose and flapping vaginas can squirt out a third. (Koei Tecmo paying people to f*ck in the name of repopulation)

[Those whores. Think of how much sex you'd have to have to have a third kid. You'd have to bone a dude at least, like, half a dozen times. What are those skanks thinking?]

During these times of recession, it would be great if Walmart could pay its mostly braindead and poor workforce not to f*ck. (Koei Tecmo paying people to f*ck in the name of repopulation)

[... okay, I can't even be sarcastic on this one. As someone who grew up in the midwest and left because of double-digit unemployment BEFORE the recession... fuck you, Jim. Fuck you.]

Abuse = funny? (NOT for the faint of heart!!)

If you love drawings of impossibly huge breasts, you’ll likely have heard of Ikki Tousen Xross Impact already. If not, then you’re in for a treat. It’s a fighting game for the PSP that recently launched in Japan, in which mammararily gifted young females lose more of their clothing as they take damage. Garmentry disintegrates as the battle wears on, and since the girls don’t seem fond of wearing underwear, there’s plenty of skin on show. Great fun for fans of domestic abuse, in any case. (Disintegrating clothing boob game gets boob wallpaper for bob fans boobs)

[Because we all know that domestic abusers are a key market segment that video game companies pursue...? ...seriously? Holy shit, dude.]

In fact, the message of this commercial seems to be that if you consistently beat your woman and mess with her head until she’s a hopeless, despair-ridden wretch, all it takes is one material gift and she’ll instantly forgive you. So, a pretty realistic portrayal of all women. (Abuse your virtual girlfriend, make it all better with a teddy bear)

[Seriously. Whiskey tango foxtrot.]

The key words banned by online shop Dejipare include things like torture, bondage, loli and rape. Regular Christian sex will still be perfectly acceptable, but it seems that the whole underage rape thing that has been seen in many an ero title will no longer be tolerated … Thanks a lot, RapeLay. This is why we can’t have nice things! (Japan’s erotic game sensitivity continues)

[This is as entitled and privileged as it gets. I don't care if Jim is serious or not with these comments. It's one thing to demand that Ivy show her "fat wobbling tits". It's another to demand access to games that center on rape. Even if it's "just a joke", these kinds of jokes are never, ever, EVER okay.]

So that’s the stuff that’s in the past. There was a fair amount of backlash over this whole thing that even resulted in some industry professionals like Mikey Neumann stating that they would not allow Jim to interview them. Predictably, this resulted in a lot of backpedaling by both Jim and his supporters, but the responses don’t really do anything but dig an even deeper hole for himself:

Jim’s responses to comments on Destructoid

Otherwise, you basically said it all. I responded in kind to some incessant abuse by someone who was using anti-male slurs and homophobic implications, and they started acting like the victim. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

[No, Jim. You did not respond in kind. Sure, I'll admit that Daphny's depiction of you having gay sex with David Jaffe was disgusting and utterly tasteless. But your response was like killing a fly with a bazooka. She implied that you were gay, and you called her a "cunt" and a "feminazi slut". That is a completely disproportionate response, akin to running over someone with a tank because they threw a rock at you. It's not okay to throw rocks, but it is never EVER okay to run people over with thanks.

Furthermore, at no point did Daphny ever "act the victim". Go back and read the conversation again. Are those the words of someone who feels victimized? They're not. But you know what, even if she had felt victimized she would have HAD A RIGHT TO.]

I want to disagree with that statement. I do not think feminism, at its heart, is a bad thing. I think true feminism is a noble endeavor, a quest for equality and for women to not feel subjugated. I agree with that endeavor. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

[This is the biggest load of horse shit I've heard from you yet, Jim. The only reason you're saying this is because you finally crossed a line and alienated people in the industry - which is impressive given the base level of misogyny that exists in the gaming industry. But how can you reconcile this profession of support for feminism with all of your previous statements about feminists? Please, do explain this to me. Because you can't say that ALL FEMINISTS are ugly, silly little bitches who hate men and want nothing more than a good dicking and then expect me to believe you when you say that you support feminism. I would have to be as retarded as you claim all feminists are in order to believe that.]

This is why I specifically said “feminazi” and not “feminist.” I believe there is a sub-set of poser-feminist that uses the movement as an excuse to demand special treatment and dampen free speech by using the accusation of “misogyny” as a weapon, a way of terrifying people into being quiet. I believe the blending of “feminist” and “nazi” in this regard — since it’s a brand of female using fear and bullying to quieten people — is quite fitting. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

[Feminism, like any movement, is a collection of people. People being what they are, any group of people sufficiently large enough contains assholes who are motivated out of self-interest more than anything else. So sure, I'm sure that there exists a small minority of feminists out there who use their feminism in this way. But you know what? Those people are still NOT NAZIS. The nazis systematically exterminated millions of people, including Jews, Catholics, gays, the disabled, and political dissidents. These asshole feminists? They behaved like assholes. Trying to equate the two is an insult to the people whose lives were ruined by the Holocaust and an insult to the families of those who were killed by the Nazis.

But aside from that, you're familiar with the maxim "where these's smoke, there's fire"? Maybe the reason so many people are calling you a misogynist is because, I don't know... YOU'RE A MISOGYNIST.]

And this is why I called her an embarrassment to her gender. When you throw the “misogyny” card out there like the boy who cried wolf, using it to attack writers, comedians and others for simply making jokes or treating you how you’ve treated others, it belittles the entire female population and makes people roll their eyes at the thought of feminist issues. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

[No, Jim. You're the one who is making people roll their eyes at feminist issues. You're the one who has systematically belittled women and feminism. You're the one who has a large body of writing that supports the system of privilege that keeps women "in their place". Being a comedian does not mean that misogynist jokes are okay. Being a writer does not mean that misogynist writings are okay. That is not "crying wolf". That is speaking out against injustice. Learn the difference.]

In essence, Aurain, I believe you just demonstrated the damage this type of faux-feminist can do. You just wrote feminism off as a bad thing, and that’s the image that people like “Daphaknee” have helped to spread. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

Anyway, I’m done with this. After three days of disproportionate harassment, I’ve had my fill. (Jim Sterling’s comment history on Destructoid)

[Oh noes! Poor Jim Sterling! People have been "harassing" him for THREE WHOLE DAYS! Those jerks! Don't they know that they hurt his fuh-fuh-feeeeeeelings? ...sorry, Jim. You crossed a line, and you deserve a lot more than three days of internet controversy.]

I’m not sure about the chronology of the Destructoid comments as relates to the twitter “apology” that follows, but here’s the “apology” that Jim posted on twitter as well…

Jim’s twitter “apology” (compiled from 6 successive tweets)

Am I sorry for saying it to the person in question? No. Am I sorry for calling [sic]our her hypocritical faux-feminism? No. If you, as a female or male uninvolved with the discussion, are offended by what I said, then I apologize for that.

[Okay, you know what? Go back and re-read the exchange. Go. I'll wait.

...AT NO POINT DOES DAPHNY EVER MENTION THE WORD FEMINIST, FEMINISM, OR MISOGYNY. She did say that you used a sexist stereotype, but only after you told her to ask for a man's permission before saying things on the internet which is, you know, PRETTY SEXIST. The feminist label was something that YOU applied to her so that you could YET AGAIN demonize feminism and feminists, which is pretty telling and pretty much puts the lie to your comments about supporting feminism.]

It also leaves out the disproportionate and stupid harassment I’ve had for the past few days, and have mostly done my best to ignore. Their version of events leaves out the homophobia or the fact they got in my face and begged for my attention in the first place. They opened the conversation with homophobic insults and male-specific slurs, and after a LOT of patience I responded in kind. Obviously my comments were not aimed at all women. I never once said women are bad. Just the type of woman represented by who I dealt with.

[I think by harassment you mean backlash, which is pretty well deserved considering how far you crossed a line with your comments to Daphny. Once again, calling someone a faminazi slut is NOT OKAY. Maybe instead of trying to ignore the backlash, you should do some serious self-examination about why exactly so many people are so upset with you. There was no patience exhibited in your responses. In your THIRD TWEET to Daphny, you called her a cunt. It only took two responses before you threw decency out the window and resorted to misogynist slurs. So don't try to claim the high road here, Mr. Stirling, because it does not belong to you.

You may not have said women are bad in this particular twitter exchange, but your body of writing speaks for itself, sir.]

Concluding thoughts

So… phew. I feel pretty dirty having read through Jim’s stuff to find all of these quotes, but I feel pretty confident in pointing at these quotes and saying that… you know what? This twitter freakout is NOT an isolated incident. Jim Sterling is, in fact, incredibly sexist. What you have here is a consistent trend of Jim making comments that reduce women’s worth to the gratification their bodies provide male gamers, comments that assert that men HAVE A RIGHT to see womens bodies whenever they demand it, comments that trivialize rape and domestic violence, and comments that denigrate feminists, feminism, and anyone who would assert that changes need to be made to further the equal treatment of women. You know what that is? Misogyny.

See, the thing is that you don’t have to go around saying “shit, I fucking hate women” to be a misogynist. You don’t have to be a member of the men’s rights movement to be a misogynist. Misogynists are people who seek to justify and reproduce the subordination of women by men, and that’s what all of these quotes are doing. What’s more, Jim is a fairly influential guy within the game journalism community. I’ll freely admit that his insistence on a correct usage of the 1-10 review scale and disregard of backlash from publishers is admirable and something that game journalism needs more of.

I might not always agree with his reviews, but his consistency of standards is something that has earned him a lot of respect in the gaming community and has made him an influential person. But with that influence comes responsibility. Jim can’t have it both ways. He can’t insist that he’s a “journalist” who wants to see game journalism become less of a schill industry and then turn around and write anti-feminist screeds about Fat Princess and claim that we shouldn’t get offended because he’s just doing it for the lulz. To use a metaphor that should make sense to Mr. Stirling, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

I’m not going to advocate that Destructoid fire you, Jim, because that would be pretty pointless. Clearly, they have a vested interest in keeping you around because your brand of “humor” creates controversy and brings them pageviews and thus more ad revenue. It’s a sad fact of life, but it’s true. If you want to be the Howard Stern of the gaming world, there’s honestly not much I can do to stop you. But DO NOT try to claim that you respect women, and DO NOT try to claim that you are somehow not rampantly misogynist because the evidence just doesn’t support it.

>WTF: The where the hell did my week go? edition

>Holy shit, folks. This week kind of got away from me. I apologize for the radio silence – this week is a week of pure and utter madness. I’ve also been working on some things that require a bit more research to pull together. Next week, things return to normality, so I’ll be returning to a more normal posting schedule.

Some of the stuff you can look forward to is a rant about why Jim Sterling of Destructoid is a despicable human being, a look at recent M:TG art, and, uh… this:

And worse, sadly.

Anyhow, I don’t come completely empty-handed. I have some WTF for you, aside from the above.

WTF the first

David Jaffe, the director of the ever female-friendly God of War series, compared the new Sony handheld to a “fresh vagina”. Unsurprisingly, game “journalists” have fallen all over themselves to repeat this in the name of “journalism”, proving once again that game journalists really are incompetent fuckwits.

WTF the second

I’ve heard of several “virtual girlfriend” apps for the iPhone, which… okay. Whatever. A lot of them are based on the popular dating sim genre common in Japanese games. But what I really love is when North American men who don’t even have a cultural excuse to fall back on wax enthusiastic about these games. Like this review of Virtual Girlfriend in which the title image is captioned:

The beauty is, when she starts getting bitchy, you just start over!

/facepalm

WTF the third

NOOOOOO!!! Samus! What have they done to you?? Curse you, internets! Curse yooooouuuuuu!!!

So. Okay. I want to point out that the file name of this picture is “waifu1″. For those of you not familiar with Japanese, that’s a Japanese rendering of “wife”. There are many things that I can picture Samus doing. Being a housewife is not one of them.

For more housewife Samus fail, check out these photos here.

>Why I am arrogant, crazy, ugly, and not worth listening to

>I’m discovering that trackback links are a mixed blessing. Sometimes you find super-interesting stuff as a result. And sometimes you find out that a couple dozen people are slamming you over on reddit. I’m mostly getting the hang of not taking the attacks personally, because it’s not really ME that they’re attacking, if that makes any sense.

Anyhow, one of the gems I discovered in the trackback links was a podcast called the Dungeon Master’s Round Table – their most recent podcast links to this blog in the show notes and featured the first half as a discussion of sexism in gaming. Curious, I fired up the podcast only to find out that the discussion was prompted by the fact that one of the contributors (Jerry) had seen my blog and tweeted that clearly I must be ugly. Because I’m a feminist, or something. I got a laugh out of that and kept listening, hoping to hear some good conversation since the host was pretty clearly upset by that tweet.

Unfortunately, what I heard was pretty much what I expected – a bunch of gaming dudes being defensive and coming up with reasons why no one should listen to me. The first portion is about half an hour, so I’ll spare you from listening and pick out the highlights. For clarity, if I use elipses in the middle of a sentence, it’s to remove things like “uhm, ah” that are just verbal filler. I otherwise tried to limit myself to quoting only complete sentences. I’ve also added some things in brackets to the quotes, just to make clear the context of the comments.

In their words (with my responses)

right now they [Blizzard] have a marketing strategy that works, so calling them out is kind of ridiculous

3.2 million women play WoW. 48 million women play FarmVille. Do the math and tell me that alienating gaming women is a sound business decision.

I haven’t read her website, so you know, I’m talking completely blind about this… She is, from what I understand… telling everybody else why this morality that she’s assigned exists for them too, which it doesn’t…

(I think the post he’s referring to is my original article, since he mentions charts and graphs. Anyway, original article is this one here.)

You know, I really admire their ability to know what I was saying without ever actually reading what I had written. Saying that I’m trying to dictate a universal morality based on seeing at an article, that you didn’t read, that happened to have charts that you also didn’t read… That would be about as sane as if I flipped through an issue of Time Magazine, saw a picture of Barack Obama, and started bitching about how Time was telling me what to think about black people. (In other words, not very.)

This is a fantasy world where I want to play, and the reality is I like chicks with big boobs and very little clothing. I’ll admit that. Maybe I’m a pig. (Another contributor, interrupting: “You are a pig.”) Yeah, I am. That’s fine.

Yeah! Hear that, chicks? That’s fine! How dare us wimminz have the nerve to complain about unequal treatment? We’re failing to consider something far more important! This male gamer likes boobs! I mean, come on! Case closed, slam dunk, let’s move on.

[Here Jerry - the dude who initially tweeted about me clearly being ugly - speaks. He starts off by apologizing for his comment on twitter.] Her ideas I completely agree with. [Long rambling monologue about how he was raised by women and shouldn't be misogynist and how because he's married he's seen some estrogen-filled chick flicks and enjoyed them and then starts talking about Sex in the City 2 and how ridiculous it was. Apologies if I'm not summarizing accurately.]

…Sex in the City 2 or this woman’s blog where you take the bullet train to Too Much Fucking Time on Your Hands We Get It Town and it gets ridiculous. Like, I understand her point but…

“Okay, look. I said something that was out of line and I apologize. Here’s a bunch of reasons why I have anti-sexist cred and why I agree with your ideas. Now that we’ve established that, could you please just shut up and not talk about them?”

So why do I think that if this dude would get serious backlash if he started saying things like: “Like, oh my god Haiti. We get that you’re poor and all your shit was destroyed and you have lots of corruption and stuff, but can you please take this money and SHUT UP? We’re kind of tired of seeing you on the news. It’s been a year, move on with your lives.”

…but since I’m just a woman, it’s okay to tell me to just SHUT UP AND MOVE ON ALREADY.

She has a clear agenda, that is true … Looking at most feminist writings, its clear that there is an agenda there.

Oh my god, they’re on to me! I want to make the same amount of money as my male counterparts, equal representation in government and corporate board rooms, and I want people to stop blaming rape victims for being raped. I’m a crazy fucking radical who has to be stopped! Quick! Somebody put a stop to me before I have a chance to do more damage!

Jerry, don’t beat yourself up. I understand where you were coming from with your comment. I think it was a reactionary comment… [Jerry agrees that it was] …if you felt like you needed to apologize, that’s fine. But you could also tell the world to eff themselves too.

Yeah! She’s just some bitchy feminist, so who cares if you hurt her feelings? Boo fucking hoo. Go cry me a river and go back to writing love letters to Gloria Steinem!

[Jerry - twitter guy - again] Oh, by the way, my wife… has the capacity to really hate men, but she’s been able to spend some time with this blog today and she thinks she’s [meaning me, not his wife] maybe a little crazy. So, that makes me feel good because my feminist wife thinks that maybe the blog lady is a little out in left field.

Congratulations! You’ve found one woman who agrees with you! Clearly that invalidates everything I am saying! Sexism only exists if ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE say it does.

(Also, mental illness automatically invalidates anything that a person says. True story.)

[about art on Blizzard's site] …the fanart is more racy than the official art because they’re pretty classy folks for the most part…

Yup. CLASSY.

She seems like someone who plays WoW too much and has too much time to bitch about things.

Make up your minds, guys. EITHER I have too much time to bitch about things, OR I play WoW too much. It can’t be both, because if I play WoW too much, then I don’t have time to bitch about things and vice versa. C’mon. If you’re going to find reasons to dismiss me, at least don’t make statements that logically contradict themselves in the same sentence.

[The host] This woman makes some good points, however crazy she must be.

I’m glad one of you agrees with me. I would have appreciated you calling your friends on their bullshit rather than taking the easy way out and throwing me to the wolves, but I guess that would be asking you to feel uncomfortable. So, on second thought, never mind. It’s easier for everyone involved if we all agree that I’m crazy.

The feminist point of view for me as a guy is when they come out and say all men are pigs and all men like this and that…

Oh, shucks! I have to admit, there’s nothing I love more than man-hating and gender-reductionism! Guilty!

Not every feminist is a feminazi

Consensus: Did they Godwin themselves? I’m inclined to say yes, but I’m open to other opinions.

I hate to say it, but I may come to this chick’s site just to see awesome pictures

… I can’t come up with a response that isn’t a proofless insult. However, I suspect the ridiculousness of this statement is its own counter-argument.

So, Jerry, it would be inappropriate at this time to say that your wife is hot?

Yes. Jerry’s wife is hot while I am clearly a shambling, drooling horror. (Remember, feminist = ugly.) Pretty wins the day!

[Soon after this they changed the subject and started talking about D&D at GenCon.]

What came next

I held off commenting until I’d listened to the whole conversation. Even then I debated with myself for a bit on whether I should comment at all. I decided to err on the side of stupidity (read: commenting), mostly because the host really did seem earnest in his desire to address the issue of sexism in gaming. I may not like the fact that he caved in the face of a unified resistant front from the other contributors and called me crazy, but I do appreciate the fact that I think he at least was attempting to have a productive conversation.

And that’s the thing. As much as I appreciate my dedicated readers, you’re kind of the choir. I enjoy preaching to you, but sometimes it doesn’t feel productive. It’s guys like the host that I want to reach out to, guys who maybe don’t agree with me but who are still willing to listen to what I have to say without dismissing it out of hand.

As such, I made the effort to keep my comment vitriol-free. (It’s still snarky, but I felt a little entitled after being insulted for half an hour. Not terribly mature, I know, I know.) Here’s the comment I left:

Hi. I’m the crazy ugly feminazi with too much time on my hands who writes Go Make Me A Sandwich. I feel compelled to assert a few things, since I couldn’t exactly defend myself. First, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts, which is a five-year honors program and gives me an excellent grounding in art history and theory. Secondly, I have worked as a freelance illustrator in the rpg industry. I won’t make any assertions as to my hotness or my mental health.

If you’d be interested in doing a followup show and actually talking TO me instead of ABOUT me, I’d be game. My contact info can be found through my blog, which I hope you would read more in-depth before addressing my credentials, appearance, politics, mental health, or my radical “agenda”.

So I guess we’ll see what happens. Should be amusing. Just one more thing.

Don’t troll these guys.

I mean it! (Also it’s not worth it. Srsly.)

[Edit: The host did contact me through email and has been pretty apologetic about the whole affair. We'll see where it goes from here, but I'm cautiously optimistic for a positive outcome.]

>Cosplay galleries on major gaming sites

>There is a horde of gaming news/columns sites out there, some more notable than others, and pretty much all of them operate under the assumption that their readership is young, male, and horny. One of the things that makes this abundantly clear is the fact that on most of these sites, you can find cosplay galleries quite easily that are full of female cosplayers dressed as various “sexy” video game characters that are pretty much collections of wank material.

Now I’ll take a moment to say that I have mixed feelings about cosplay. I get why people do it – I’ve even done a little myself (though, amusingly, as male characters). So lets be clear that I’m not out to demonize cosplayers. They make some seriously amazing costumes that I always enjoy seeing every year at GenCon. It’s the creepy fetishizing of female cosplayers that I have a lot of problems with. It’s bad enough when you see hordes of male nerds photographing female cosplayers at GenCon, and on the internet it gets even creepier.

For the most part I’m not going to post pictures because even just scratching the surface of what’s out there, I found hundreds of photos. Instead, you’ll mostly get links that are, of course, mostly nsfw. Youtube rules apply for comments (ie: don’t read them) as well.

On to the awful!

Kotaku actually doesn’t post regular cosplay pics, but they can’t be left out of the fun, as evidenced by “The Top 50 Cosplay Cleavage Shots“. The indicator that this is less than classy? (Okay, other than the title.) The first sentence of the feature is:

Well it’s noon, and that means we can break out the porn.

Right, because there’s nothing gamer men like better than whipping it out and wanking to cosplay cleavage shots over their lunch break. *eyeroll*

Destructoid, however, has tons of cosplay features – so many that it even has its own feature category. Now, granted, some of the posts under this category are really awesome and not creepy cosplay, like the most amazing Samus I’ve ever seen. But then you see some of the other featured galleries that just have so… much… cleavage. *sigh*

GamesRadar has, in addition to regular cosplay features, a “Sexy Cosplay Gallery” full of fanservice-y shots of female cosplayers.

RipTen, too, has its own cosplay feature category. Scrolling down the page you see boobs… boobs… and more boobs. What’s really great, though, is this one: “Jennifer Nigri loses Xbox and game collection in fire – booty goes unharmed”. There’s some cleavagey shots of Jennifer in a few costumes before the article mentions that she has been selling stickers to raise money to replace her game collection. The feature goes on to quote these as actual responses (emphasis mine, bracketed comments mine as well):

I wanna put my stickers on your naked body. Whoa my feet smell … [WTF???]

I would love to help out but I don’t think my fiancee would approve :( [That bitch!]

I’ll buy you both a PS3 AND a new XBox ($500) but I’m going to want more than the stickers… >;D [Right. Because really what's the difference between cosplay and prostitution, really? /sarcasm]

Srsly. Yuck.

GossipGamers has its own cosplay category, which is of course full of wank-worthy cosplay pics. However, there are some pretty wtf-worthy features like: Hot R2D2 Girl with Taco Bell Dog and Samus Zero Bunny Suit (curse you, Nintendo! Curse yooooouuuuuuu!!!) – which interestingly is another feature of Jennifer Nigri.

1up.com actually doesn’t have a cosplay category, but it still has plenty of cosplay articles like this one: “BlizzCon 2010 Cosplay Gallery: elves, swords, and a lot of body paint.

GameWad
doesn’t seem like a terribly active site (their last post was in September), but there are three cosplay galleries just on the front page. I just can’t believe that they named their site “GameWad”. However you think about it, it just sounds… unappealing.

GoFanBoy.com (another entry in the “why did they pick that name?” category) takes the cake for sheer volume of pornular cosplay pics with a staggering 42 feature cosplay galleries in 2010 alone. But perhaps the creepiest thing is this gem in the navigation sidebar:

That button there sends you directly to the list of cosplay galleries. And, since you wouldn’t want to get tired of the same pair of breasts, the image that comes up is random each time. Right above that we also have a super-creepy cosplay poll. “Make my girlfriend dress like Tifa” gives me the heebie jeebies for reasons I can’t quite put into words.

Last, but certainly not least, we have SlobsOfGaming.com, which I think deserves some kind of “Smoking Crack While Picking a Domain” prize. SlobsOfGaming has the most porn I have ever seen on any gaming site on its front page, including: “11 Hot and Awesome TGS Cosplays“. In this feature, SlobsOfGaming really goes for the gold in creeptasticness with gems like:

These ladies give me a big Level Up. In my pants. Sexually.

With a little imagination, the picture on the right almost looks like a lesbian ninja make-out battle just WAITING to happen. Hmm. Lesbian ninjas.

Man, I wish I could show this picture to every fat, ugly cosplayer out there who’s tried to ruin my Tifa fetishes and shame them into wearing burlap sacks for the rest of their lives.

Okay, please crawl into a hole and don’t come out, like, ever. kthxbai

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