Dead Island shitstorm: even if it was a “private joke”, it’s still not okay

So there’s been a bit of a controversy surrounding the accidental release of a debug build of Dead Island on Steam and the discovery of a skill called “Feminist Whore” buried in the code of said test build. I’m not going to waste too much space summarizing the incident, so if you have managed to avoid the internet shitstorm thus far, the Escapist has a pretty good summary of what exactly happened. Go read it. I’ll wait.

… okay. Amusingly, I’m feeling a bit vindicated about some stuff I said about Dead Island after watching the E3 pre-release trailer. It seems that  my belief that the game was a cynical attempt to package a healthy dose of T&A along with good old fashioned zombie killing might have some grounds after all. But this isn’t about saying I told you so.

Now, a lot of people have said a lot of things in response to this. Some people have professed horror that this could have ever happened. Many others have tried to dismiss the incident with a wide variety of justifications – from ‘it was a joke’ to ‘I wasn’t offended’ to ‘you feminists have no sense of humor’ to ‘it’s not sexist it’s just code’. And Jim Sterling, that bastion of civil behavior and tireless supporter of feminism, responded (somewhat predictably) with:

That’s definitely the kind of thing you want to make sure you take out, because I can tell you from firsthand experience that pissing off the more radical of feminists is way more trouble than it’s worth.

(emphasis mine)

Now I could take on Jim Sterling’s response. It seems to me that there are a lot of reasons for being upset about this incident, not the least of which is the base level of misogyny and sexism still present in the gaming industry. But you know what? I’ve devoted more space here to Jim Sterling than I really care to, and I don’t have anything to say about him that I haven’t said previously. So if this isn’t about saying ‘I told you so’, neither is it about Jim Sterling’s problematic understanding of why this should be a Big Fucking Deal.

It’s not even about the responses of those who have tried to handwave or otherwise justify this incident as not being a big deal. I could have written about that, but Tracey John already beat me to the punch with a well-written post about why misogyny in code is still misogyny. I don’t really have anything to say that she hasn’t said already. And over on VG24/7 Brenna Hiller did a wonderful post on how this incident plays into the sexism in the hobby as a whole.

So what am I adding here?

“Feminist Whore” is not a joke

This about the idea that “Feminist Whore” was a “private joke”, a joke shared in the office that is only offensive in the context of being shared with the world. I’ve seen that in more than a few places. Heck, the Escapist’s summary ended by saying that they hoped this was nothing more than an in-joke. And Techland’s official response, too, plays on this idea (again, emphasis mine):

It has come to our attention that one of Dead Island’s leftover debug files contains a highly inappropriate internal script name of one of the character skills. This has been inexcusably overlooked and released with the game. The line in question was something a programmer considered a private joke. The skill naturaly [sic] has a completely different in-game name and the script reference was also changed…

Here’s the thing I can’t get past. I can’t conceive of a situation that is not rampantly inappropriate in which an office in-joke that would cause a coder to implement “Feminist Whore” as a skill name in a debug build. Now that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an office in-joke anyway, but the thing that concerns me is this: we can’t know the environment in which this “joke” was conceived, but we know that misogyny is very prevalent in the game industry and that harassment is a very real and ever-present phenomenon.

Seriously, go read that last link. Go read it now. If the sorts of “jokes” that happen in game studios can include employees wearing shirts that say ‘dead girls can’t say no’ and women being interrupted during meetings by male employees telling them to make them a sandwich, I don’t see why we should assume that this joke is benign. In an environment where jokes that trivialize sexual harassment, assault, and rape are considered funny, why should we assume that this anonymous coder is an anomaly?

Furthermore, the studios are responsible for creating the work environment in which this coder was working, an environment in which he had the idea that “Feminist Whore” was appropriate to implement in a debug build. So I don’t think we should be so quick to absolve the studio of responsibility, even if they claim ignorance of this “joke” up to this point.

I don’t know the makeup of Techland or Deep Silver. I don’t know if there are female employees who worked on this game. But if there are, I hope to god that this wasn’t something that they had to deal with as an office “joke”, because that would really break my heart.

86 thoughts on “Dead Island shitstorm: even if it was a “private joke”, it’s still not okay

  1. I’m not trying to defend this guy, but I read ‘private joke’ as something that the person that wrote it found funny, and not as an office in-joke: that is, it was something that wasn’t part of the general office environment, but something introduced by an individual into the game, passing relatively unnoticed until this outcry. I might be wrong, though. My reading makes me want to take the apology in the spirit (I assume) it was intended. If I’m wrong, and it was a part of the greater working environment, then it is a whole different kettle of fish.

    • I read it that way too, as it being a private joke only the individual was in on, but Wundergeek’s (and all the others’) point is still very valid: That the game industry as a whole and this company in particular have a strong enough strain of misogyny running through them that this developer, lone wolf or office-wide in-joke, felt it was okay to put this in the coding. Even if that code was never meant to see the light of day with the public, even if it was only meant to be in there for one instance of debugging. The coder felt that a ‘Feminist Whore’ skill was safe enough to not get them in trouble if a coworker, supervisor, project manager, or whoever else saw it. That points straight back to a culture of entrenched, normalized misogyny that is the much larger problem in the gaming industry that should be the focus here, rather than shunting blame onto a single coder being an asshat.

      • I read it this way (lone gunman as opposed to entire office joke) as well. I’ll agree that because one douche thinks its funny, does not make it okay. On the upside, it looks like the guy responsible is getting sacked.. or at least he’s in some serious shit.

        • OK, I was about to leave but saw your answer. Why would firing this person be justified D: it’s not like they leaked company secrets, or made out on the boss’ desk or, like, emptied an air horn whilst screaming and running in circles through the main foyer; they just expressed poor judgement in variable naming. You don’t fire people for bad method names! You send them to sensitivity training. Good lord, have you thought that maybe the person wrote it at 2AM in a caffeine-induced haze? Churning out code can be terribly dull, and sometimes people make their own (tasteless) fun.

          • Except it wasn’t jsut his fun. He put the company through a scandal by typing something akin to hate speech in code. I mean, of you can get fired for hearing the wrong kind of hat on a facebook photo, that is certainly a vaild reason.

            • You can get fired for wearing a hat D: well, I suppose I’m safe except for those days when the bed-head attacks.

              I get what you’re saying, though, that people can and have been fired for less but try to picture it from another angle: your friend, who gets payed well-enough for a job where they’re worked silly [1] to the odd hours of the morning, comes to you one day crying that they’re going to be fired for something they wrote.

              Think of the injustice your friend must feel, having written two, seemingly innocent words (on par with doodling something inappropriate in a bathroom stall) and facing the end of their career — because who would hire that woman-hating coder? Yes, it was a miraculously stupid indiscretion, but punishments should fit the crime.

              [1] http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/05/the-death-march-the-problem-of-crunch-time-in-game-development.ars

              • I’m in the industry and have never found myself absently writing hate speech in my work, even during a crunch period that lasted 2 years. It has absolutely nothing to do with accidentally putting words together and everything to do with misogyny.

                You keep dismissing it as innocent and not a big deal, when it is a very hurtful and extremely pervasive issue that women deal with on a constant basis. Reinforcements of harmful behaviour, phrasing and ideology are not “a joke” — they continue to perpetuate it.

                Making light of something that has such a huge, hurtful impact on people, and coming up with excuses for it, does not help us solve the problem and shuts down important discussion about it. If it’s not something you experience for yourself, that does not mean it’s not an issue.

              • Apparently you can’t reply past a certain depth😐 I guess that makes sense, but this is

                @Sunny
                *I* am not dismissing anything — please, please would people stop making personal attacks D:. I’m discussing the point at hand, which seems to be how offensive you need to be in order to warrant a pink slip. Let me make this perfectly, 100% clear: defamation. Is. Not. Tolerable.

                Yes, any sort of discrimination is bad. Yes, insulting other people is bad, but there is a continuum, here, and if people flip out and cry for blood over Every Single Little Thing that pales in comparison to some of the crap that exists, there will ‘never’ be any change. Save your energy, get the person responsible responsibly punished and move on.

                And on a personal note, I dislike the fact that you think I don’t care about this. You want to see someone who doesn’t care? Check the trolling going on a half dozen posts down. I’m going to play the hypocrite for a sec and say that people like *you* are the reason I don’t comment on the internet; I just keep everything to myself and in-person discussions.

        • This pretty much covers it, in my view.  I doubt it was actively sanctioned, and it probably should have been caught earlier.  But the yutz responsible is no less out of line for that.

      • I disagree with your conclusion that the entire office would be to blame, even if the jerk who originally wrote the identifier did so with malicious intent. Someone, or a group of someones, felt that the method should be buried and came up with an alternative (‘script reference was also changed’ -article) but even in doing so they simply cannot remove or rename the original without investing much time and effort tracking down every reference to it. It isn’t an excuse, but the parties involved might have found those two words simply inappropriate, not earth-shatteringly terrible, so their response reflected their disgust.

        • I didn’t say we should blame the office, instead of the single coder. I’m sure that office has relatively few assholes compared to the number of nice people just trying to get by and do their job. What should be blamed, or more appropriately what should be addressed by the community as a whole is the misogyny in the gamer culture and gaming industry that makes naming a skill “Feminist Whore” in a derogatory manner seem okay or just mildly inappropriate/tasteless and not worth fussing over instead of treating it as the insulting, inflammatory, damaging, denigrating, and alienating slur that it really is to a very sizable portion of the gaming audience.

        • “they simply cannot remove or rename the original without investing much time and effort tracking down every reference to it”
          Visual Assist, Right-Click, Rename. Not a whole lot of effort or time needed at all.

          • Ahahahaha I was waiting for that; if it’s a debug script then there could have been files outside of source control that referenced it — it’s neither clean nor safe, but for large projects things can get out of control (or, at least, that’s my understanding of things from the outside :3). Plus, I’m sure that you’ve experienced config files referencing internals (yes, it’s lots of coupling, but eh) and hence breaking on a rename.

            • asdfasdf, your “Ahahahaha I was waiting for that” sounds somewhat like “ahahaha I was waiting out to catch the silly wimminz out on something and give them the benefit of my superiority”. A bit too gleeful, no?

              Despite the possibility of breaking other parts of the application with a rename, it will happen if the project management deem it important enough, and you’re just saying you don’t deem it important enough. It would be nice to think that a more ethical or thoughtful project manager might consider ridding the code of something as toxic as that, which will hang around for years and be seen by baby developers of both sexes, important enough.

              An appropriate way of dealing with this might be to assign all defects resulting from said rename to the developer who put the code there in the first place. To be fixed on unpaid overtime!

              • True, I may have been just a *little* happy that someone responded in exactly the way I predicted they would (people should ‘really’ stop thinking auto-refactor is the be-all and end-all solution) :3 I suppose I’m overjoyed instead of saddened, but eh. Anyways, if it were my decision, I’d have the coder (or tester) do just as you say; so please don’t confuse what I think happened with what I’d do myself🙂.

                On topic, it just seems so darn unprofessional to begin with: I’m all for having stupid (read: not discriminatory; funny joke) comments, but I draw my line at that stuff touching code and I should hope others would too.

            • Fair enough but if that had been the case it also makes it more likely that a hell of a lot more people would have seen the function name – and that’s more people who didn’t think it was worth changing it.

  2. I’ve been reading about this. I’m a dude. The original “joke” is pretty disappointing and stupid. What’s doubly disappointing is the endless parade of commenters on the reporting sites that are freaking out because, horror of horrors, someone had the audacity to call this dude out on his dick move.

    They scream and moan and cry about their free speech being threatened, about political correctness run amok. As though being asked not to call women whores is some huge sacrifice. Then there’s the “I’m not hurt by sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. comments, so nobody else should be” crowd, which reek of privilege and psychopathy.

    Listen, dudes. Feel free to act like dicks. Feel free to say crap like “feminist whore” (though it’d be nice if common courtesy won the day once in awhile). But cut out the crying and finger-pointing when someone calls you on it. You act like jerk, you suffer the social consequences.

    • Not to mention the annoying 180 a lot of these people make — on the one hand, gamers say ‘games are art’ and should be taken seriously and accepted as a mature medium, but then the instant anyone actually holds it to any higher professional/societal standard it becomes ‘But it’s just a GAME get over it!!’

      Also, it’s not like this kind of thing is an isolated incident that could be brushed off as just one maladjusted coder’s misogyny. Sexism is a pervasive problem all throughout gaming, and unless this kind of stuff stops getting a pass from people whenever it crops up, things won’t get better and gaming as a whole won’t ever get full respect from the rest of society, nor will it deserve to.

  3. I don’t get the whole “tee hee feminism” thing that geek culture seems to love. For example, the obvious “Go make me a sandwich” joke. When a teller of the joke is called out on it, he will usually say, “oh, it’s not sexist, it’s just a joke.” But there is a silent thought that seems to follow, which is “but seriously, go make me a sandwich.” They fall into the trap of knowing that, oh no, THEY’RE not racist/misogynistic/homophobic, they’re just telling a joke. You should KNOW that, jeez…

    Combine stupid stuff like that with the PUA movement that seems to attract so many of my fellow male nerds, and it ends up with a group of people who are just as sexist/racist/etc as anyone, but convinced that they are the exceptions, just making “jokes”…

  4. And if I hear one fucking word about “political correctness,” I will punch the speaker in the nose. Because people who whine incessantly about “political correctness” are 1,000 times more annoying than the handful of examples which could reasonably be called an overreach of PC

    • I know, right? Political correctness = being considerate of people different than you. The way it’s framed as the Ultimate Oppression to ask people to keep their mouth shut instead of making ‘jokes’ at the expense of other groups of people is really getting old. In the olden days it was just called ‘being respectful of others’. It’s not rocket science.

  5. Should it be in there? Nope. Is it inappropriate? Definitely. Did I chuckle when I read it? You betcha😉

  6. I don’t really want to defend this guy, but I think your choice of “implement” is a little misleading. Perhaps because I’m coming from a programming background and it’s a jargon word, but to me it makes it sound like the coder spent a lot of time working on making this happen. You don’t really “implement” a name–you just type it in and that’s the end of it.

  7. The incident reminds me of a game I was working on with a group for a school project.

    I asked two of the programmers to be in charge of the main system (set up the game loop, 3D environment, etc) and focused on my stuff. A couple of weeks later when I went to get the code from them, not only did I not get the expected result, but they had named the project “Project Unko” (which means “Project Poo” in Japanese) and had used inappropriate pictures for placeholders (thankfully no porn, but one was three female popstars and another was a caricature of the programming teacher).

    I couldn’t get over how unprofessional and inconsiderate it was. I remember thinking to myself, “This is what happens in school; at least when I start my job I won’t have to deal with this kind of unprofessional crap.”

    And then I saw the Dead Island fiasco (and all the defenses of it) and remembered that the gaming industry is so bloody far from anything that can be considered professional that I shouldn’t get my hopes up.😦

    Seriously, I cannot disagree more strongly with people who argue that we should extend sympathy to the programmer/company because people use whatever placeholders come to mind. When you’re in a habit of creating appropriate placeholders, that’s what you create even when you’re tired as all hell.

    There is no doubt in my mind that even if this was a “private” joke, the environment of the office (and the tone of the game itself) led the programmer to believe that it was “okay” to put that in as a name. And, while I’m glad that Techland/Deep Silver seem to be taking this seriously, it will take a lot more than “professional consequences” for one programmer to fix the problem.

    • >”…they had named the project “Project Unko” (which means “Project Poo” in Japanese) and had used inappropriate pictures for placeholders (thankfully no porn, but one was three female popstars and another was a caricature of the programming teacher).

      I couldn’t get over how unprofessional and inconsiderate it was. ”

  8. I’m just now hearing about this, and so catching up rapidly, but I wanted to comment about about the game itself – there’s really no basis whatsoever to claim that Dead Island is about T&A. In fact, it’s genuinely shocking to see that something like this – and particularly this kind of vileness – was in the code, given that the developers went above and beyond with their protagonists, creating a cast that I’d have expected Wundergeek to be pretty pleased with. I know I was.

    As far as the ‘T&A’ and ‘bewbs’ factor goes, Dead Island, taking place on a tropical resort in Papa New Guinea, does indeed have characters in bikinis and boardshorts – but as they’re either sobbing, beaten down and filthy survivors, half-devoured corpses, or mangled bodies running at you while screaming, please take my word for it when I tell you that the titilation factor is zero. If there’s a gamer out there who was aroused by playing Dead Island, it would form the basis of a strong argument to have said gamer comitted for psychiatric examination. The game has many things – terrible violence, shocking brutality, scenes of terrible sadness – but one thing it does not have is sexual pandering.

      • Uh, actually, women get a wide array of clothing. The only women wearing bikinis are the ones who were actually on the beach when the attack happened. Have you played the game? Do you really consider mutilated corpses and sobbing, psychologically traumatized survivors ‘sexy’ because of their clothing? Furthermore, in the areas where there were female npcs with bikinis, there were also a large number of men wearing nothing but board shorts, both survivors and undead.

  9. As an example of sexism in gaming, this is pretty weak and inconsequantial. It deserves criticism for sure, but the response should be proportional to the impact. If a detail like this gets the same blog coverage as much more blatant sexism, I’m worried it skews the perception and discussion.

  10. In doing further reading on this, it appears that the line in question had already been purged from retail. It was discovered because they accidentally shipped the debug version of the code to Steam for digital download, rather than the retail version. It had many flaws, amongst them, the ability to press the ‘y’ button to activate noclip mode. Even there, the internal skill name had supposedly been erased, existing only as an obsolete pointer in one of the debug tools. Supposedly the proper retail version, which was pushed out the very next day, doesn’t contain the misogynist line at all.

    It was still a douchebag thing, probably done by a misogynist coder at 3am during crunch for his own childish amusement, but it seems unfair in the extreme to rake the company as a whole over the coals for this, in the full light of day. That said, it is a perfect jumping off point for a broader discussion of the sexism and misogyny that runs rampant in the gaming industry, and, indeed, in many geek circles, and I’m glad to see that opportunity has been seized by several commenters.

  11. Is it weird that I’m more offended by the fact that this was the placeholder for a skill called “gender wars” that made said character more efficient at killing male zombies? I feel like assuming gender conflict is all about women trying to hurt men is an extremely offensive idea, and that’s in the final build of the game.

    • I’m actually so inured to this insipid mindset (feminism = anti-male, erosion of gender barriers = bad) that I didn’t really give that skill name much thought. I just eye-rolled and moved on. But you’re absolutely right in pointing that out. Pretty much shows that the designers weren’t exactly working from the most enlightened of world views in the first place. “Feminist whore” doesn’t seem like such a freak occurrence when you take that into consideration.

      • Um, I don’t think he meant it like that and I agree with him. Assuming a woman is participating in ‘gender confict’ (challenging essentialist gender binaries? What IS gender conflict? /shrug) means that she wants to kill all men is pretty offensive I think.

        • Not only that, but equating feminism with extra damage to men is also offensive. Many (most? all??) feminists are seeking equality for starters, and we also know that the gender binary hurts men, too.

        • Yeah, that’s certainly the way I meant it. It’s pandering to the stereotype that feminists are rabid man-haters.

  12. I’m not sure you understand what misogyny means. Look at the list that Adam Bishop wrote:

    “You could practically write a novel about how frequently some of the women who worked there were hit on by male co-workers.”

    “An employee who used his cell phone camera on the subway to take pictures of women’s asses to show off to co-workers.”

    “Conversations about how men should go about trying to make women at bars feel poorly about themselves to make them more likely to have sex with them.”

    They want to date women. They want to show off pictures of women. They want to have sex with women. I think it is clear the male employees of that company thought very highly of women. Indeed, it sounds like they are downright obsessed with women.

    • I think you’re the one who just doesn’t get it: thorough lack of respect towards individuals is the same in essence as hatred towards those same individuals.

      That list speaks of men who show no respect towards their female counterparts. They don’t respect their co-workers’ professional boundaries, they don’t respect women’s right to not have images of their most private parts used without their permission, and they don’t respect the personhood of their romantic targets enough to consider that they shouldn’t manipulate and abuse them for personal gain.

      That is hatred. It’s a complete and utter contempt for women as people, whether outright hostility is shown or not. And, in almost all cases, it mutates into hostility as soon as the women in question reject the position those men want to see them in, which just goes to show that the two things were the same right from the very beginning.

      • Lol, I like the italics meant to emphasize a simplified point that you actually make far more wordy then needed — and you’re wrong besides. Lack of respect equals hate? Nope! Respect (in the sense you are using it ie. “civility”) is superficial. You insult your friends, you suck up to your boss, and you throw around sexist jokes because being offensive is funny — I swear to god, it is! Watch Frankie Boyle. Jokes are superficial, and when we laugh at them we are laughing at the joke, not the subject.

        Feminism is also superficial. Notice how dear Adam doesn’t devote a simple word to women who were hurt by the behaviour he describes. Because none of them (except, of course, the feminist, who try their utmost to take offence at the most trivial of things) were hurt — several of them likely laughed and made a similarly offensive jokes back! Women who were having their backsides “respected”, by men who thought sneaky pictures are daring enough to be fun (certainly not out of misogyny) , may have been thoroughly “appalled”, but completely unoffended and unhurt.

        “complete and utter contempt for women”, lol. This is the most trivial thing I have seen anyone get their panties in a twist over. Honestly, you are being far more hostile then any man mentioned in either article.

        • I notice how not a single oen of your “jokes” are meant for women – you’re talking about “jokes” made by men, about women, for other men, and wether or not women are offended by it is beside the point. Of course you don’t think of it as hate or hostility, and of course they don’t either – you have to actually care about someone to hate them.

        • Respect (in the sense you are using it ie. “civility”) is superficial. You insult your friends, you suck up to your boss, and you throw around sexist jokes because being offensive is funny

          Respect is not civility. Respect tends to underpin civility, though it’s not a prerequisite (eg. sucking up to your boss, for whom you have little true respect whatsoever).

          Respect goes far deeper than that. Respect is the belief that others have intrinsic value that goes beyond their usefulness to you. Respect is the acceptance that others have a right to decide whether your behavior towards them is appropriate and (all things being equal) the willingness to avoid behaviors they feel is inappropriate. Respect is the good sense to listen when others say that your behavior has hurt them, instead of trying to dictate how they “should” feel (someone who is appalled isn’t hurt? Really?).

          Interestingly, it’s possible to be hostile towards someone without necessarily disrespecting them. Hostility may be deserved, can exist towards an equal, and is quite the reasonable response to someone who has harmed or degraded you. Contempt, on the other hand, places another individual beneath you, and is therefore inexcusable.

          • This is my point: how can you imply a lack of respect by a lack of civility? The two are not interconnected!

            Chances are these guys had no disrespectful prejudice. If they’d been asked to stop, they probably would have.

            • I don’t think they would have actually:

              “When the issue of sexual harassment was raised, one of the leads declared that, in retaliation, a bunch of employees should open up MS Word on their computers and write “BITCH” in large letters across the screen. ”

              That sounds to me like disrespectful prejudice.

            • Civility wasn’t an issue until you brought it up. Everything I mentioned was a lack of respect — for professional boundaries, for personal boundaries, for the personhood of another individual. Civility may be defined in such a way to defend those boundaries, but that doesn’t mean they’re not issues of respect at heart.

              Stopping when asked is not necessarily proof of respect, in any case; ironically, that’s one of the places where deference to civility doesn’t imply respect. True respect asks for permission first when something is questionable rather than stopping and seeking forgiveness after the fact.

              • Civility is the ONLY issue, that’s WHY is brought it up. There is NO evidence of a lack of respect. What about this are you finding hard to understand?

                Let’s just leave it there. The discussion was enlightening, though probably not in the way you would have hoped.

        • “Thank you for your explanation, which was wrong, even if it’s wasted on the opposing argument, which is right.”

          It’s pretty simple, darling. Civility and disposition are not interconnected. The very idea that some fucking jokes imply misogyny is so absurd is shouldn’t even have to be explained: but, hey, there you go, no need to thank me.

          • Anyone who seriously thinks otherwise, by the way, obviously has no experience with genuine misogyny, or the nature of it, and I can only assume is just another teenage bandwagon feminist who just wants something to rant about and doesn’t much care what it is.

        • Yeah, unfortunately, Sam is probably a lost cause.

          But I don’t necessarily feel my words are wasted — I write for myself, to articulate my thoughts, and for others who agree with me, to offer my own perspective and support. I write for those who read through the comments thread who are currently on the fence, that they might find something compelling. I write to keep my opponents from taking my silence as an inability to respond, and to add one more straw onto the camel’s back of their dedication towards that opposition.

          As impossible as it might be to convince someone so utterly stuck in their ways, I don’t think that necessarily strips a response of its value.

          • >”stuck in their ways”

            Yeah, this is increasingly my opinion of people like you, after reading a few of these blogs: delusional. How can you assume I’m stuck in my ways when all I’ve done is invite and encourage you to respond to the rational arguments I have made?! How can you assume that some guys that made some common, low level sexist jokes hate women? Because you’re conditioned with ideas that ignore logic, that ignore human nature, and hold tight to them whatever is said to you, and we call that a delusion.

            Enjoy never changing or accepting a thing, and only complaining, now and forever🙂

            • Your arguments are baffling. You argue that treating women as if they’re objects/second-class-citizens without opinions or feelings worth considering is actually respectful? Perhaps you should try putting yourself in a woman’s shoes and see how the ‘mere jokes’ cut? I’ve dealt with plenty of jokes, from friends (and sometimes even family), suggesting that for being a blonde woman I was stupid. Yes, they were just jokes, yes they weren’t SUPPOSED to hurt. But you know what? They did hurt. They still hurt, but I don’t want to call out my FRIENDS on it, at least not yet. Because I don’t think they mean it in a bad way and I don’t want to be thought of as a ‘humourless bitch’.

              • No, but I would argue that the treatment the women received was NOT “as if they’re objects/second-class-citizens without opinions or feelings worth considering”. Jesus, you can’t get out much if you think their “treatment” was in anyway bad.

                Q: How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday?
                A: Tell her a joke on Wednesday.

                Bye now!

              • I want to leave you with this: Ikkin is right. You’ve just disrespected me (are you a troll?). You clearly have no respect for my feelings or any interest in having an honest dialogue about an issue that obviously doesn’t concern you (I’m guessing you’re a man or a woman with very thick skin. I’m sorry we can’t all be like you) but that does concern me.

                So I’ll just bow out with the knowledge I at least tried to open up a conversation.

                Again: wow. o_o

  13. “I think it is clear the male employees of that company thought very highly of women.”

    I’m not sure you understand what ‘thinks very highly of’ means.

  14. [Hi, folks. Do me a favor and stop responding to Sam, please. I’ve tagged all those threads as derailing, so let’s move on to more productive avenues of discussion.]

  15. De-lurking, and I am back after trying to drown myself in Greece for 10 days and failing( I am not very good at drowning but I can not call what I do in the water swimming yet) and also spending some time after I got back catching up to all the post wundergeek made I am finally up to date so here goes:

    By reading this newest post and then its comments it struck me that I had nothing to add to the subject as the comments have already debated all of the questions that the post itself raised in my head at first read. Now I come back to this post two days later and read several different debates on the subject of what is the proper reaction to differing quantities of sexism and is there such a thing as overreaction, etc. From all these debates (and wundergeeks post of course) and my visit to Greece a question formed in my mind, it is a bit long to get to the question and I am sorry if this a derail but here goes:

    The point of me going to Greece was not just relaxation but also a test of whether or not a girl I know would make a good roommate, so we shared a room at the hotel (and just shared a room nothing else, I do not care for the gender of my friends and/or roommates just that they are people I can connect and/or get along with). The vacation was also a test of our self-sufficiency. We planned the trip ourselves (and we both made some logistic blunders) and then we executed it.

    Why am I explaining my trip to Greece here? And how is it relevant to this post?

    In my head it is simple, although I imagine most people will find this complicated and/or crazy:
    As a kid I liked to collect jokes of all kind (I still do but my sense of humor is more mature and refined I like to think) and one of my favorites to collect were jokes about blondes. They were not one of my favorite collectible jokes because they were the funniest I knew (actually most of them were not even funny to me) but because I could not get them as kid. You see I knew girls with blonde hair and none of them were the blondes mentioned in jokes (so I called them blonde-hair girls in my head instead of blondes) as they were always more… well just more than blondes in jokes ever were and as I could not figure out a difference between a blonde-hair girl and blondes, I kept collecting the only source of information that I had on blondes (which were the jokes) and I was also collecting a lot of info on girls in general so I could tell exactly the difference between the many different types of girls (yeah at this point just a reminder: this was in elementary school).

    Later on as I got into high school I had a blonde haired friend who was very intelligent (she was a first year medical student last time I heard from her) and I had yet to meet a single blonde that the jokes I collected as a kid referenced and as I had stumbled onto some different hair colored jokes both about men and women with the same theme and a couple of male blondes jokes so I thought that said jokes mocked human stupidity and that most people liked the characters in said jokes to be blond to make themselves feel better.

    In the end it was this trip to Greece and my data collection habit ( put simply some of the people that know me these days call me Ivanopedia, I do not like that nick name) that explained to me what a ,,blonde” is:

    People (her mother, my mother) told me that this girl had a lot of issues, but from my perspective all she had was a case of a broken hearth because of a crush she confessed that was not returned. That changed in Greece, spending time with her as a roommate showed me the blunt of her issues:

    She failed to get a visa for her passport in time, so she arrived in Greece 3 days later then planned;

    Our logistical blunders caught up with us on arrival: a little more then 1/4 of our budget had to be spent for the transportation to our hotel (and another 1/4 would have to be spent for transportation back to the airport), she spent 3/4 of her by the time she had gotten herself to the hotel and honestly I did not hold that as some great flaw: she took a taxi from the airport because my mother could not get the information about the bus stops to her (nobody expected her to be able to navigate a new town let alone a new country, I have a talent for finding a way trough to places I have never been to before with a good deal of economic efficiency, I also hit stop signs when I am walking sometimes so everybody has their skills and their flaws) but as she had blown a hole first trough her and then my budget by the end of our stay in Greece that made me have to call back home and ask for a money transfer to double my budget and made her go into a rant about how her mother hates her because she did not have enough money to enjoy her vacation (she called for a money transfer too and her mother said no, never mind the fact that she had destroyed her visa in a tantrum she had arguing with her mother a couple of months earlier and did remember that she had destroyed it when the money transfer thing came up).

    There are more examples but I am not trying to give wundergeek a conniption with this sidetrack so I will just present the problem and the question:

    When I asked why did she have to spend money in such quantities so she could enjoy her vacation she replied that we were in a foreign country and on vacation and that you are supposed to splurge when you are in another country and that she anyways hates having to keep an eye on how much money she spends, she also mentioned in her several day rant (she took brakes to go shopping, swim on the beach and in the pool, eat, sleep,etc. and resumed the rant the moment she felt bored) about how her mother hates her, she said that she was not prepared by her parents to keep herself on a budget, that life should be lived to the fullest and always filled with as much fun as possible, that she feels that as a woman she is weaker then men and should be cared for and that she painted her hair blonde because she felt that in her natural color she looked too aggressive to men.

    So here is my thought that is also a question: is my friend the end result of a society that thinks that you should make someone (from what I have gathered about her family her brother also has his ,,issues”) feel inferior about herself so she would be more obedient?

    Or that all that she wants from life is the next little moment of joy with as little as possible of number of moments where she is bored?

    Also is she what sexist expect women to be: incapable of being on their own and thinking that they are weak and in need of being taken care of?

    And if she is what sexist think women should be, what kind of quality long-term relationship can be had with a life partner like that?

  16. Ugh… I want to apologize for my spewing profanity and feeding a troll. I won’t do it again. I just went to my first con this last weekend, and I was hoping to find a few people who shared my love for gaming, anime, sci-fi, et al… instead I was ignored, and once directly insulted (I’d rather not repeat what was said to me…). There was some nice ageism going on, too. I’ve been really upset since then, and I feel hopeless. :C

    I was really looking forward to this game (the backwards running trailer was sweet!)- but now I can’t bring myself to give these people any of my money. Not when they so obviously look down upon me. FTP.

  17. I kinda get what the programmer in question was doing. I find it extremely amusing to place random jokes in code/files where it’s unlikely anybody will ever see them. Can’t explain the logic of it, but for whatever reason it’s extremely funny to me and a good way to blow off steam.

    That being said, I would -never- make the “joke” that guy did, and if I did, I’d expect to be fired. Sure, you’ve got the right to be an asshole. Other people have the right to treat you like the asshole you are though.

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