Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Sexual harassment in the world of video games is bad

Just a very short comment on an ongoing heated debate, in which I think an important point has been forgotten: Yes, sexual harassment in the world of video games is bad. But please let us not forget that non-sexual harassment in the world of video games is as bad. We would be very badly served if we made a huge effort to only eliminate the sexual kind, and permit the non-sexual harassment to continue.

The reason why the sexual harassment issue is coming into the forefront lately, is because it was pushed there by the victims (girl gamers), many of whom have been working at getting the issue into the public light -for years- now. And it was an uphill journey for a long time just to get any recognition that it was even a -problem- in the first place.

By all means, if any group of players want to start making a concerted effort to end verbal abuse in gaming, I'd support it as well -- as I'm sure anyone would. This isn't a zero-sum game where saying 'sexual harassment is bad' must mean we as gamers can't also think 'verbal harassment in general is bad' at the same time. =P
Manufactured problems because of the stupid cloud.

If players had the ability to set their own servers and administer them than the problem will be solved by itself.
You are right Kreeegor, living in a bubble where you block out the parts of the world that don't agree with you is much better. /sarcasm
This comment has been removed by the author.
Has anyone actually advocated allowing non-sexual harassment to continue?
Effectively, yes. By making this a narrow gender issue people forget the wider problem. We get far too many games and communities in which players being hateful and mean to each other are actively encouraged, instead of promoting fairplay and sportsmanship.
"By making this a narrow gender issue people forget the wider problem."

The argument you are making is that worrying about sexual harassment in gaming is actually HURTING players. I am kind of boggled.

It is entirely possible to be aware of sexual harassment in video games AND be aware of other kinds of harassment. I have enough social bandwidth to think about more than one issue at a time, and am just as likely to speak out about sexual harassment as I am about harassment based on race or sexual orientation or just people being giant jerkwads.
I have enough social bandwidth to think about more than one issue at a time, and am just as likely to speak out about sexual harassment as I am about harassment based on race or sexual orientation or just people being giant jerkwads.

But then why don't you? You basically declare gamers being giant jerkwads as being a different issue than sexual harassment. When in fact I'm pretty sure that the gamer who used sexual harassment as a means to destabilize a female opponent would have just used a different form for a different opponent. Only that sort of behavior never gets the big press unless the victim is part of some special interest group.
A child steals a watch from a man and another child steals a necklace from a woman. Both are of equal value.

Should you:

A) Punish child #1 for stealing the man's watch?

B) Punish the child #2 for stealing the woman's ring?


C) Punish both children for STEALING.

I hope you chose C.
Agreed, as long as we make a clear separation between genuine personal harassment (like abuse on voice comms or through power point presentations) and harassment of your in-game assets via, say, non-consensual PvP.

Muddling up the two does disservice to the more important of them.
"But then why don't you? You basically declare gamers being giant jerkwads as being a different issue than sexual harassment."

Actually, you did that in your post, which very clearly delineated sexual harassment from other kinds of harassment.

I'm not sure where you're located, but cyberbullying has been a HUGE issue in North America and appeared as the topic of a number of news shows and magazines and is the subject of legislation in a number of States and in the UK. Your statement that generalized harassment never gets attention is absolutely false.
Cyberbullying has been a huge media scandal. In terms of actually harming people, it's still losing out to its older brother: face-to-face bullying. People don't need the internet to be horrible people.
[...] living in a bubble where you block out the parts of the world that don't agree with you is much better. /sarcasm

You, me, we all do this every minute of every day. Compartmentalizing the senseless evils of the world is the only way to stay sane.

That said, improving your arbitrary bubble is just as noble a goal as anything else, so if reducing sexism is yours, go for it. If you want a more manageable goal of creating an environment free of sexism, Kreeegor has the right of it: moderation is easier than social engineering.

I get Tobold's point - what color is the prostate cancer ribbon again? - but I don't agree with it. Hate crimes and sex crimes are worse than regular crimes, IMO, even if they spring from the same well of malice. And besides, if sexual harassment is somehow eliminated, we would probably be at such a place that the method used would still work once the word sexual is removed.
Why do the solutions to these type of problems always seem to revolve around making men more like women? What exactly is wrong with men being men?

I don't think anyone can look back at human history and disagree that men are violent creatures. Similarly I don't think that anyone would disagree that women are much less so. Nature made men this way, for whatever reasons nature uses to select the fittest of species. So why is it that women expect men to be anything but what they are considering they have been exposed to us for like - ever - and know what we are capable of?

Women, today, are playing at games that are set in what traditionally used to be men's domain - warfare. They are ONLY able to participate because these games are the most basic of simulations, using tools that are easily wielded by women - keyboards and computers. Look back in history and you will see that women have not played a significant role in any battlerfield. Ever. If they were capable of it, I'm sure they would have seen significant action over the long history of humanity. But it hasn't happened. They apparently cannot compete with men at warfare (today's digitized battlefield is a recent aberation, and women are still not used in significant numbers in front line duty).

Why are women even in these games in the first place? They would never be in real life. They have never been historically. They are suddenly (within the very recent past) inserting themselves into the domain of men, and expecting those men to act differently than they have over thousands of years of humanity. Do people seriously think men can change their nature that quickly?

Suppose we simply solve all these 'sexual' issues in games - harrassment, so-called 'sexualization of women - by simply making them more realistic and banning women and female npc's from them. They would never have been there in the first place. They would never be swinging swords, or shooting arrows or cannonballs at enemies. They would be home taking care of the house and children. There would be no female demon hunter.

Or, better yet, if women insist on trying to be 'one of the guys', then they should realize what comes with the territory. Guys makes sexual jokes about women. They try to talk women into having sex with them. They do and say all sorts of things to each other that women would normally not be party to. If women want to play with guys, they have to expect to get an earful of what guys normally say around each other. If they can't deal with it, then maybe they should go off and play nice games with the girls.

I seriously don't think women should be purposefully abused in any way. But I also don't think that a minority of women entering a male dominated area of activity, especially one with a significant percentage of stupid young males, should expect those males to act like their girlfriends.

I also think that, like most viral news, those reports are being blown out of porportion.

The sheer vastness of the chasm between our opinions is such that it is hard to know how to respond. By the same token, though, I feel it is necessary to at least try to understand where you are coming from.

In your view, is it ok to abuse other people in a venue designed solely for entertainment?
If you can have play-fighting, why can't you have play-abuse?
If you can have play-fighting, why can't you have play-abuse?

Because the play-fighting only makes your play-avatar bleed. Play-abuse always hurts the player behind the avatar, and is thus real abuse, and not play.
I really don't think it's as widespread as the media is making it out to be. I'm sure it happens on occassion, but I have played MMO's for a loooooong time and I have never seen it has a problem.

Maybe I just don't play those games.

I'm sure the young male contingent of Counterstrike are probably a pretty rowdy bunch. Probably a lot of teenaged kids trying to act big and tough, hurling insults at everyone. Girls playing Counterstrike are probably a ripe target for immature males. But I haven't seen a big problem with it in the games I play. There are a lot of women in my WoW guild for example, and I have never heard any of them complain about verbal abuse from anyone.

I don't think anyone should ever abuse anyone else for any reason.

In my perfect world everyone would love everyone else, treat each other as brothers and sisters, and there would be no need for female demon hunters, or any demon hunters.

But that is not reality.

Men and women are different. Men hurling abuse at each other while playing games are the norm. They have always done it. That's how men are. Some males can control their outbursts, others can't. Add the anonimity of the internet, and it become easier for abuse to be hurled.

Now you add women to what used to be traditionally male games, and some of them take that abuse personally, cry about it to the media, start some campaign that politicians are more than happy to latch onto, and the next thing you know they are trying to legislate male behavior in games. Perhaps they start to take legal action over any slight a female may take issue to - like they now do in the workplace.

I don't think men should abuse women. I don't do it. I don't condone it.

But it is hard to change the base behavior of men. Men are they way we are for a reason. Nature made us this way over millenia of trial and error. You can't just change that behavior overnight, and expecting that kind of change is unreasonable.
"Compartmentalizing the senseless evils of the world is the only way to stay sane"

Creating your own server where you start shutting out every little thing that you don't like is the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand. Creating certain barriers in society can help growth, but doing something like avoiding masses of people altogether because you don't like a specific part of them or how they act is just plain foolish.

"Hate crimes and sex crimes are worse than regular crimes, IMO"

So killing someone because they are black is worse than killing someone because they cursed at you? Or because they looked at you funny?

Is their life less protected by society? Is their life any less important? This is what you are implying by saying the crime not as bad.

The problem is, it feels good for people to feel like they are defending a specific group, when in reality if you just defend the individual then you are by defenition defending everyone, because we are all individuals.
If Child #1 was a white teen and the the man was black he should be punished by prosecuting him with a hate crime.

If Child #2 was a black teen and the woman was white then Jesse Jackson should decry the conditions that white people forced him to be raised in and police department should be sued for arresting him.
Yea well, that is what currently happens in the US. Sad, but true.

How exactly do you think things change in a society? You appear to agree that certain habits people used to have in times past are not acceptable in modern society. You also appear to accept that there are people who like to participate in these online activities who in fact are discouraged from doing so because of the way they are treated there. And you do emphatically not condone abuse of any kind.

Yet you seem to say that certain kinds of behaviour should be accepted because it is only "men being men". At least a bit longer than "overnight". But things do change. They do. And change always happens because someone or (more often) a group of people react against something they perceive as wrong.

So it seems to me that what you are observing here is change as it happens. As the proverbial dinosaur, this is bound to make you (perhaps not you personally, I don't know what you like to do while online) feel threatened and negative. Ultimately, though, you will find that the "tradition" of telling women to go back to the kitchen will be perceived just as appropriate in online games as it does at work or in school.
This comment has been removed by the author.
This is honestly why I don’t care to have females in my guilds. Either by their fault, or not, drama follows them. It’s simpler to just not allow the influence. I know it’s not really the best approach but it solves a lot of problems I’ve had in other guilds.

I would love for everyone to act mature and treat everyone with equal respect but it doesn’t happen. I can’t control the world but I can control my surroundings so I limit my contact with females in the digital world.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool