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Gender Diversity / Politics in games (was Tropes Vs. Women)


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It silences or invalidates people's opinions. People in general don't like to not be reasoned with.

If the goal is to expand a movement then it's a tactic I would not use. You need allies and power in numbers for a movement to be successful... it's a great shame ( to me ) that a number of leading feminist intellectuals and journalists subscribe to the check your privilege argument.

I'm not exactly going to shout "reverse racism!" Every time I hear or read it, as that's not an accurate model, but the similarities to judging people's opinions by their colour, creed or persuasion are implicit in the statement.

I've highlighted the bullshit so you can sit down and have a think about it. More specifically:

- No-one is being silenced or invalidated, that I can see.

- What is this "check your privilege" argument? Because I've never heard of it or anything like it. What do you mean by "check your privilege"?

- What? Are you shitting me? Are you honestly comparing acceptance of the idea that your viewpoint is being influenced by your place of privilege in society to racism and homophobia?

I don't think I did a very god job explaining what I meant at all. When I said "reverse racism" I specifically said that racism is a bad model. I mentioned it because I see a lot of trollish daily mail like comments making fun of the phrase and notion of privilege and I meant to distance myself from that mode of thinking.

Without this context that statement is of course absurd, but I did not anticipate this level of analysis as an explanation. I assumed knowledge of the trope in this case, but I guess you are just not as familiar with online feminist boards as I am. I am quite moderate, please don't over project from what I am saying as you know it is an incredibly sensitive topic.

What I was saying was that invalidation of opinions on the basis of socioeconomic status whether up or down is something that "check your privilege" has a tendency to do and that it is of no help to anyone. This is a common factor that it shares with persecution of minorities, a tendency to segregate and silence. Arguments for equality that are well constructed should stand regardless of the person.

I was mostly attempting to appeal to moderatism, patience and reasonableness but I didn't make that clear.

I often see that people who are turned off, repelled or whatever by feminism don't react well to the phrase. Saying something along the lines of "well you're privileged, you can't understand" does not help. It was mostly tangential to the conversation at hand and I'm not laying that accusation against anyone. Also even if you accept everything I say you can still use the phrase or its notion just be aware that it does not usually elicit a good response.

You've still not answered a genuine question about your argument, "what do you mean by "check your privilege?".

And this a paraphrasing of your own words: "the term [which I have not explained] 'check your privilege' [that I claim is used by feminist theorists but again have not explained or given an example of] while not a direct replacement for the term 'reverse racism' has comparable features to racism, religious persecution and homophobia that are implicit in the statement [a statement whose meaning I am yet to explain]." Show me the straw man, please.

All you need to do is ask my to cite my sources. The definition in the below quote is a good one, and one I can agree with. But as you know words can be used and abused and carry different meanings in different contexts. So I can agree with the statement below while also pointing out it can be misused.

As for the feminists that use the term often in ways I do not find helpful: PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Laurie Penny. This is from memory and I still find an awful lot to agree with them about. Feel free to dismiss this as I really don't seek to quotemine them so you could easily dismiss this for lack of sources.

Like earlier mentioned in the thread I can be critical of how someone speaks whilst agreeing with their sentiments. That seems to me a reasonable stance to take given the stance of "Tropes vs Women" series.

Actually, I got bored waiting and Googled it. This is what I got:Yeah, I can see why that would be infuriating, accepting that you've maybe found yourself through no fault or effort of your own in a position that places you better off than others and that putting yourself in someone else's shoes may help you realise how we treat certain people differently. It's such a vicious, horrible sentiment that.

Nope, don't think it's vicious and horrible. I find that definition one I agree with. I find your need to characterise me with a hatred of that definition a bit overzealous but understandable given the poor explanation.

Why the hell shouldn't I act pissed off? We've gone through this exact dance, what, fifteen times in this thread now? Someone goes, "oh, I don't see how any of this discussion of the issues of the representation of women in media are a problem and I don't think [one or more feminists including Anita Sarkeesian] are really making arguments that are necessary and I don't see how I'm missing anything", then we spend ten pages going over the same tedious explanations of why they're wrong, explanations that a cursory watch of the videos or reading a couple of Wikipedia pages would replace. And then when we're done, oh, here comes Captain Insight with his Truth Ray to reveal how silly all this is, because EXACTLY THE SAME THING THE LAST GUY SAID.

This isn't a discussion; you need to engage with the material for it to be one of those. It's a conveyor belt of people coming in with exactly the same ignorance making the same comments over and over. Read. The Fucking. Thread.

Jesus.

If this is aimed at me: Don't lump me in with them. I've read the thread and given my analysis of Anita Sarkeesian's opinion that I have not seen previously, but I'm not like some superhuman who can memorise everything in a thread, I'm approaching this with as much honesty as I can. I seriously doubt I was saying the exact same thing considering I was approaching the topic with close to 10 years of interest and involvement with feminist discussion boards (and probably a massive amount of ingrained problems and misconceptions of my own)

But you're right, there is certainly a consensus opinion in the thread that they're brilliant and you can approach them from this angle or some other context and find something insightful. This is helping those who are wrong (or as I would put it, of a different opinion to the quality or opinion of the videos in question) find something of use from her project. I don't see how that is a bad thing.

That's what a thread on a forum is for in my opinion, allowing a good discussion hopefully without people losing their temper or patience - I actually found your willingness to be rude and condescending really annoying. I don't usually even bother responding in cases like these but I'm also trying to be patient. I actually think that if we were to sit down and talk in person, we probably agree on most things anyway.

TLDR: Nah, just read it, I'm pretty moderate.

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Getting back on topic a bit...

...there's a piece on Kotaku about the Josh and "Alice" (not her real name) Facebook exchange.

http://kotaku.com/she-was-harassed-by-a-games-reporter-now-shes-speakin-1510714971

When we finally talk, I'm struck immediately by how much Mercier feels obliged to qualify. Without asking, I learn how she dresses for work and professional events; how she acts in professional contexts; the image she strives to project; her boundaries for friends and friendly acquaintances and colleagues. She also tells me, unprompted the exact scope of her previous contact with and relationship to Josh Mattingly leading up to the conversation where he told her repeatedly and explicitly what he'd like to do to her vagina. She's seen the comments on Mattingly's apology post, and she's acutely aware that, in the court of public opinion, it's she, not necessarily Mattingly, who is on trial.

In amongst the usual comments was this post that nailed it.

I think I can explain.

Women are taught, over and over and over again, to use what sociologists call a "soft no." Changing the topic, stepping away from an unwanted touch, bringing up our boyfriends when someone is hitting on us, it's the way that we've been taught to respond to this. In what ways have we been taught?

Well, look at the in-text example of the women whose careers were sabotaged. Look at study after study that indicates that a women who uses "hard" language is more likely to be penalized in her career. An excellent example is that women who actually aggressively negotiated for a higher salary at job interviews were heavily penalized, while men who negotiated weren't.

In a more everyday context, if a guy is hitting on me at Starbucks, I have several optins. I can smile and avoid him and use a soft no and most of the times, that will avoid a scene. But if I say "Back off," he's much more likely to shout "Fuck off, c*nt! No one wan'ts to f*ck your fat ass anyway!" We get heavily penalized, in a thousand daily interactions, for establishing clear lines. So she used a "soft" no to avoid the consequences of a hard no.

Within the context of a professional conversation, the soft no should have been enough. If he honest to god can't understand that a woman is uninterested in him when he starts hitting on her in a professional setting ... if he sincerely needs an explicit "Back off, dude," in a professional conversation with someone he's met all of twice, then frankly, this dude ought not be allowed to interact with humans without a minder.

(Anthropologists call this high and low context, incidentally. There's plenty of interesting stuff to read on that, too.)

Incidentally, most "accidental" harassers can totally read a soft no. Lots of studies have shown that. They just claim that they can't.

Also this neat little Catch 22.

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No-one wants to be told "fuck off cunt" by anyone, male or female. In business or personal life, if I said that to someone I didn't know (or, under certain circumstances, even someone I did know) then I would expect them to hold it against me for a little while.

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No-one wants to be told "fuck off cunt" by anyone, male or female. In business or personal life, if I said that to someone I didn't know (or, under certain circumstances, even someone I did know) then I would expect them to hold it against me for a little while.

If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me for a little while?

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I actually think being told to "check your privilege" or whatever can be silencing and that's okay too. Because sometimes we SHOULD shut up and listen to what others have to say - those whose voices get shouted over so often.

For example I saw a thing yesterday about how an actor who plays a gay man in something or other had someone come up to him and say "If I were gay I'd be really offended by [characters name]" - this is a good example of when it's a good time to shut up and think instead. You're not gay and you have no right to say what someone who was gay would think! How about you listen to what they have to say instead.

Or how someone will post something about what Beyoncé has been up to, and a white woman will tell the black woman who posted it how Beyoncé is no good as a role model. What the fuck? This is a good example of when it's a good idea to shut up and listen instead. You're not black and you've no right to say who that woman should look up to or not.

it's not always going to go down well. We're so used to our voices being heard, to our opinions being important and meaning something. But sometimes they don't. It's hard to deal with! Especially if you're white, and I can imagine doubly hard if you're a white man and SO used to 'your' voice being the authority on anything.

So it is a hard thing to hear and deal with, but important to hear and to deal with. And not half as hard as being part of the oppressed group that doesn't feel like they have the automatic right to have their say AND be heard.

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There's presently a controversy about a LibDem candidate in trouble because he tweeted some Jesus and Mo cartoons, some 20,000 people have signed a petition saying he should step down, now Channel 4 has decided to show the cartoons but blacked out their depictions of Mohammed. There are many people wondering out loud why on earth some Muslims are taking such offence that they are signing that petition or, in some cases, sending death threats. Should those people shut up because they have "no right" to talk about what other people have taken offence to?

I don't think people should necessarily shut up - I think they should be more willing to genuinely engage in a conversation, talking with instead of at. But lots of people talk at, therefore a likely reply will be along the lines of "shut up".

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Or how someone will post something about what Beyoncé has been up to, and a white woman will tell the black woman who posted it how Beyoncé is no good as a role model. What the fuck? This is a good example of when it's a good idea to shut up and listen instead. You're not black and you've no right to say who that woman should look up to or not.

Are you saying that only black people can criticise Beyonce's aptitude as a role model? :huh: Wtf..

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We're so used to our voices being heard, to our opinions being important and meaning something. But sometimes they don't. It's hard to deal with! Especially if you're white, and I can imagine doubly hard if you're a white man and SO used to 'your' voice being the authority on anything.

This is crazy talk. It's not "hard" for white people to deal with the fact their opinions are wrong or whatever! It's not a matter of white people getting offended because they're not used to being opposed. The problem isn't white people (or men, or other historically empowered groups) being opinionated. The problem is the oppressed censoring themselves.

You cannot put the onus on men (or white people etc) for making space for women to talk up. Sure, you can talk about it, and criticise etc.. but women have to claim that space. Anything else is just falling back to stereotypical manipulation and passive aggressiveness. Slavery wasn't abolished because slave owners thought it was bad and sad for the slaves! Suffrage wasn't achieved because men thought it was unfair that women couldn't vote. Gender equality isn't going to be achieved by guilting (white) men into giving "us" that space.

This whole "check your privilege" thing is retarded. I've only seen it used as a modern way to Godwin discussions on this matter.

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This is crazy talk. It's not "hard" for white people to deal with the fact their opinions are wrong or whatever! It's not a matter of white people getting offended because they're not used to being opposed. The problem isn't white people (or men, or other historically empowered groups) being opinionated. The problem is the oppressed censoring themselves.

On the contrary, many people struggle with challenges to their opinions and many find it offensive. Not just opinions related to gender or ethnicity but anything. I think it's laughable you think "the problem is the oppressed censoring themselves," when historically it seems to me the rather greater problem is the oppressed not being given a platform or opportunity to make changes happen... because they are, you know, oppressed.

You cannot put the onus on men (or white people etc) for making space for women to talk up. Sure, you can talk about it, and criticise etc.. but women have to claim that space. Anything else is just falling back to stereotypical manipulation and passive aggressiveness. Slavery wasn't abolished because slave owners thought it was bad and sad for the slaves! Suffrage wasn't achieved because men thought it was unfair that women couldn't vote. Gender equality isn't going to be achieved by guilting (white) men into giving "us" that space.

That seems a bit confused.

In fact suffrage was achieved partly because some men thought it was unfair women couldn't vote and other men thought it was politically expedient to enfranchise women. There's a ton of debates in Parliament about this prior to the enfranchisement of (some) women and all the speakers were men (have a think why). Men had the debate in Parliament and men made the law that enfranchised women.

Slavery wasn't stopped by slaves.

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On the contrary, many people struggle with challenges to their opinions and many find it offensive. Not just opinions related to gender or ethnicity but anything. I think it's laughable you think "the problem is the oppressed censoring themselves," when historically it seems to me the rather greater problem is the oppressed not being given a platform or opportunity to make changes happen... because they are, you know, oppressed.

I disagree.. there's nothing wrong with having different opinions (which also means many people will have the wrong opinion). What "check your privilege" does is try to act as the thought police - it says you are ONLY allowed to have an opinion on a topic if you're the right gender/ethnicity/whatever. That's a killer to any form of debate. Of course the problem is women censoring themselves - you'll always have dickheads like that guy offering dick to the game company's woman, you will not do away with that. What needs to happen is women getting to the stage where they can tell him to fuck off without fears of repercussions.

We've come a lot closer to that - the fact older women (myself included) think she was complicit in the harassment for not putting up boundaries, while younger women think it's completely out of line is a sign of the times. See also a number of old sexual harassment cases that are currently taking their turn in court. That's what we need more of. Waiting for men to stop being lechers? Not going to happen.

In fact suffrage was achieved partly because some men thought it was unfair women couldn't vote and other men thought it was politically expedient to enfranchise women. There's a ton of debates in Parliament about this prior to the enfranchisement of (some) women and all the speakers were men (have a think why). Men had the debate in Parliament and men made the law that enfranchised women.

Slavery wasn't stopped by slaves.

That's a matter of opinion - you're saying all freedoms we have earned are due to people being given the freedom by their benevolent oppressors. Completely ignores the crucial role of women and slaves in the whole debate. Isn't that like saying gays were given access to marriage because straight people thought it was unfair to them, completely ignoring the fact that it's a fight they have battled for, and are currently winning?

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I disagree.. there's nothing wrong with having different opinions (which also means many people will have the wrong opinion).

At no point have I suggested otherwise.

What "check your privilege" does is try to act as the thought police - it says you are ONLY allowed to have an opinion on a topic if you're the right gender/ethnicity/whatever. That's a killer to any form of debate.

I'm inclined to agree, to an extent - OTOH there is the context that many haven't even considered they have 'privilege' beyond that of their interlocutors as they barrel in with their ill-founded, ill-considered opinions.

That's a matter of opinion - you're saying all freedoms we have earned are due to people being given the freedom by their benevolent oppressors. Completely ignores the crucial role of women and slaves in the whole debate. Isn't that like saying gays were given access to marriage because straight people thought it was unfair to them, completely ignoring the fact that it's a fight they have battled for, and are currently winning?

Why on earth do you think I'm talking about "all freedoms"? I didn't mention "all freedoms", I only talked about the two topics you mentioned: slavery and women's suffrage.

You highlighted my use of the word "partly" so I cannot understand why you say I "completely" ignore the roles of women and slaves in their respective battles.

You said "Suffrage wasn't achieved because men thought it was unfair that women couldn't vote." I say it was in fact partly achieved because some men thought it was unfair women couldn't vote, partly achieved by those who thought it politically expedient. Of course women's campaigns for enfranchisement played a part too - I did not suggest otherwise.

Yes, the freedoms and rights we have in the UK are / were granted by people with privilege, predominantly white males, because they happen to be in the position where they can grant such. For example no women voted for any Bills for women's suffrage because there were none were allowed to sit in the Lords or Commons and participate in law making.

Of course campaigns for freedoms and rights play a part in persuading those people to grant them. But the oppressed don't tend to be in a position where they can grant themselves freedoms and rights, do they?

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Yes, the freedoms and rights we have in the UK are / were granted by people with privilege, predominantly white males, because they happen to be in the position where they can grant such. For example no women voted for any Bills for women's suffrage because there were none were allowed to sit in the Lords or Commons and participate in law making.

Of course campaigns for freedoms and rights play a part in persuading those people to grant them. But the oppressed don't tend to be in a position where they can grant themselves freedoms and rights, do they?

Not if they act within the law, no. The history of civil rights is full of actions by the disenfranchised. These actions can be more or less forceful (not just violent actions but also peaceful things like sit-ins), but that doesn't mean they're secondary to the actions of those passing the laws. Getting back to the topic of sexism against women in gaming - while Sarkeesian's videos are helping to build awareness, there also needs to be a focus on the actions of women in gaming. At the moment, the focus seems to be on men doing this or that wrong, and that's just preaching to the converted.

What should a woman do when she walks into the IT room on her apprenticeship and notices the porn, the sexist game covers, etc? Ignore it? Confront it? Put up posters of naked men with massive codpieces? That's imo a more interesting question than pointing out that big breasted googly-eyed girls are everywhere in games.

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What "check your privilege" does is try to act as the thought police - it says you are ONLY allowed to have an opinion on a topic if you're the right gender/ethnicity/whatever. That's a killer to any form of debate.

That's a misinterpretation, though. The phrase means you should 1) be aware that your privilege will necessarily colour your opinions and experiences (not totally invalidate them), and 2) consider when it might be useful to take a step back and let better-informed voices take a bigger part in the discussion (not shut up forever).

OK, it's not always used in that way, sometimes it's a bit of a "shut up", but honestly a lot of the time, it's down to interpretation. If someone says, I dunno, "if you get offended by words then you need a thicker skin", I think "check your privilege" is an entirely reasonable response. Of course, someone who doesn't even recognise the idea of privilege is going to react badly to that and see it as omg censorship, but that's their own fault for not doing even the most basic amount of reading-up before offering an opinion on a complex problem.

I've seen many, many more people misrepresenting and moaning about "check your privilege" than I've seen people use it in the way you describe. YMMV, of course.

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Everyone is allowed an opinion on whatever they want to have an opinion on. Just sometimes it's a better idea to listen to the opinions of those who are better informed on the subject before you plough in with yours.



Sometimes your opinion or input is completely irrelevant - for example in this thread every time someone pops up to say 'what about the men'

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What should a woman do when she walks into the IT room on her apprenticeship and notices the porn, the sexist game covers, etc?

Start questioning her own existence based on the ridiculous hypothetical situation she has just found herself in.

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What an amazing stereotyping of men by shesaid, that they will always be lecherous.

It is stereotyping, but you yourself have said that's your basic assumption (based on previous experiences, your perception of yourself as smaller/weaker, etc). Feminism is not about gender rights, it's a component of gender rights (which in itself is a component of civil rights, etc). And because feminism deals with women's issues, it must deal with women's solutions too. Expecting men to "improve" their behaviour first, is a bit like saying the solution to crime is for people to commit less of it - what men do or don't do is up to them. Change your own actions, etc...

If men want to join in and meet women half way on the gender equality, fantastic.

BTW, even though I've played Devil's advocate a bit upthread, I don't think it is choice of only one or the other. Women can learn to speak up, and men (and women who have internalised this norm) can learn that sleaze and sexism isn't acceptable, and everyone can learn that the status quo isn't the way it has to be forever. As to 'check your privilege' that's a prod to remind people that we all speak with assumptions based on our own experience, and sometimes these don't reflect the experience of others who are affected by the issues.

Didn't you say originally blame her, that her behaviour had led him on? What do you think she should've done in that case?

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