My own efforts to create a voice and a perspective on these failures haven’t really been about chastisement, or a certain set of assumptions about what the articulation that I’m critiquing should have been, or what the failure of it represents in the person, but rather a collective effort to build a feminism that does more of the work that it claims to do.

Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality, the term she coined, quoted in this article.

The system fails and it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, so long as we do what we can to repair it.

On rape culture

dearcoquette:

she was probably just a drunk whore who was ashamed of the sex she had the next morning

Die in a fire.

(In reference to this previous post about a woman struggling to find any source of authority that believed she was raped. The following post does not mean to address her brusque response, but the motivation behind the above question given the hellish rape-Catch-22 of the original submission.)

It’s not that women never lie, it’s not that men always lie. It’s about how we created a world where any victim is suspect. Why do we suspect victims? When did we become so panicky that we hear about someone in trouble and our first thought is “how can I resolve this for myself” rather than “how can I resolve this for this other person, who either is a victim or is suffering in some other way that she feels the need to represent herself as a victim?”

While all oppressed groups deserve more attention from those in power, these conversations do not have to serve just one person in our own minds. We all hear “feminism” and “rape culture” and presume that the points being scored are for an in-group. Even though those labels are necessary for the movement and clarification’s sake, they scare. And they scare because none of us want to give any ground.

What can be done to reveal the greater good here? How do we keep the end-game in sight as we, day-to-day, make small compromises in our own will to power and survival? What can I do through comedy/writing/culture that overturns this message of fear that continues to avalanche upon us all trying to get by?

grapingfeminists:

I’m convinced at this point that gaming journalists are not even gamers themselves. I mean, how long can you ignore the truth that’s been exposed about Anita Sarkeesian [x] while turning your back to the core gaming audience that fucking loathe her existence all in the name of being ‘progressive’? Perhaps they just don’t want to be labeled as misogynists by fucktard feminists that write for Jezebel and Kotaku. Perhaps feminists have no place in the gaming community because they think playing Angry Birds makes them fucking gamers.

Everyone knows that in the gaming world you leave politics and world views at the door and everyone is a bitch, faggot and nigger by default. If you don’t know that and can’t accept that as customary in our world then you’re not a gamer, you’re a filthy casual and you should shut the fuck up about video games. There is no underlying misogynistic agenda or boys club. You perceive those exist because you can’t understand that we don’t hate you because you’re female, we hate you because your personality sucks and you’re a fucking liar.

I’ve been seeking out tumblrs that have large reader bases and polar-opposite views of my own and sniping random posts that bother me, but I’m realizing that it’s more about me feeling powerful than actually teaching someone something (because you can’t teach anyone anything over the internet, duh, first rule of posting words). Plus, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person over the age of 16 on tumblr.

So I wanted to attack the exclusionary logic of the second paragraph (I fucking still want to) but instead I’m just gonna relate my story.

I’ve played video games my entire life. I remember trying to help my mom play Zelda before I was even attending school. My love for glitch & pixel art plus 8-bit music makes it clear to me that my approach to culture is seriously (hilariously) informed by my gaming history.

One of the first online games I played was Warcraft III. Like every game I enjoy, I was obsessed. I preferred custom matches where the objectives could be shifted to create things like tower defense or the precursors to DoTA and League of Legends. Matches that offered new, innovative challenges and kept the emphasis on interesting gameplay.

If I ever participated in a ranked team match, I found something curious; if my team began an inexorable slide down the slopes of Scrub Mountain, my stomach filled with a sinking feeling— like a rollercoaster plunge for two minutes straight —to the point where I wouldn’t even want to struggle anymore and just give up. This sensation only comes with multiplayer games, and it increases as the gap widens between my team and the victors.

I’ve never consistently had friends who game online with me. Sometimes we have different consoles, or I buy a game long after anyone else is interested in it, or I only want to play offbeat weird shit. Nearly all of my online gaming was done with random teammates… And it literally (literally) nauseated me because of the type of talk described up there.

What might surprise you given my fey, wimpy take on most topics is that I can roll with punches: if rivals call me a “faggot,” I hear “winner.” Besides, the other team isn’t going to give you tactical tips, so why not mute them in the first place? My discomfort comes from my own teammates.

I don’t want to play a multi-player game for the sake of playing a game. I want to play a multi-player game to slap together some camaraderie, to maybe learn better evasion tactics with TF2’s Scout by witnessing and supporting my rando team members. These days, I can’t find that randomly. I can only find people who scream blame at me and exacerbate that sensation of my stomach slipping out my ass. There’s only people who gloat and trash. People who don’t even see the team and, as a result, the game… They just see the ranking ladder.

I admit, I’ve met and even online-befriended a few other gamers. It’s still no longer worth it to dig through the pile of haters for those few gems.

So I don’t do it. A friend gave me a copy of DoTA months ago that remains untouched, while another convinced me to play through the tutorial of LoL until I realized that the game wasn’t exciting me. It only made me nervous for the inevitable moment when I’d “fail” anyone (or even my buddy!) If I’m playing because I have to do it right in order to avoid consequences, that isn’t a game. That’s just another responsibility a.k.a. the shit I’m trying to forget about when I play games.

I wouldn’t include this next chunk in a real publication because it ain’t humble but it’s probably the part that makes me most sad and there is a point to my bragging if you stick with it and most of all I want to share feeeeelings: if anyone gave me a chance they would realize that games come as a second nature to me. When I play something for the first time, my brain defaults to test mode: I try and jump to obviously out-of-bounds areas. I cast spells on friendly characters because I want to see if the programmers accounted for player choices like that (and if they happen to burst into flame I feel pangs of regret). I experiment with character limits (“sure, I can hold down the dash button to move quickly… but what about the forward momentum from the three-slash combo?”).

Then, with those rules established for myself, solving puzzles and developing tactics for new enemies & bosses comes to me quick: advanced variations on an enemy design means the weak points will vary similarly. If I already know that boulders can be rolled down hills, it’s likely that I will have to roll a boulder at some point to progress. I find secrets by noticing spaces that would otherwise make no sense given what I know about the game (nobody designs an empty room in a video game; shit needs purpose). On top of that, my lifetime of play has afforded me killer hand-eye coordination (which might explain my tendency toward Sniper classes in shooters [also juggling]). I may be shitty at a lot of things (all sports come to mind) but I think I’m being fair when I testify that I am really quite good at video games.

I’m not expecting anyone to say “great job, your creepy devotion to games makes your thoughts on the matter more valid.” I am expecting someone to say “toughen up, dickhead teens aren’t going anywhere, fucking casual,” but I think that’s missing the point, too.

I only want to point out how sad it is that a kid like me, a kid who still buys t-shirts referencing his favorite 90s Japanese RPGs, a kid fascinated by pixelated landscapes just as much as the sensation of executing a 360 noscope, is the same kid who gave up on playing with others because the community is toxic.

egalitarians-do-it-better:

creppysquid:

I love how nobody is talking about GTA V even though is one of the most misogynistic pieces of shit to hit store shelves today :/

That’s all people do on this website. For every positive post about a video game, there are 10 more posts talking about how harmful its messages are. If you don’t like GTA, don’t support Rockstar by giving the game even more attention. Wow, what a novel concept!

But dude, if you don’t like MRA’s (sidebar: why aren’t we calling them “meninists” yet?) or feminists, then don’t support them by making a blog that draws attention to their movements.

You’re complaining about people complaining too much.

WAMPOHOLIC: in which i attack someone who wasn’t addressing me

heroinfriday:

A) As far as insulting you is concerned I don’t really care if I insulted you because I felt insulted when you placed words in my mouth with your condescending judgemental interpretation of my statement when you really knew nothing about my tastes or interests. Don’t want to be called a pretentious, self righteous little snob? Then don’t act like one.

When you say that “entertainment and art would go right down the shitter” if pop culture practiced empathy, I find it laughable (as do you, since you’ve already agreed that empathetic media exists and succeeds). Only a person who had a complete lack of awareness of their options would say something like that. So I imagined a hypothetical terrible person who might need that sort of advice, and I didn’t expect you to reply to me since you haven’t in the past when I’ve used y’alls views as talking points for my own thoughts. I do apologize for being vague enough that you took me to actually mean you.

B) You aren’t merely making a critique. You are suggesting cutting out anything potentially hurtful what so ever. That’s not suggesting improvement on artistic form but suggesting censorship. You aren’t looking at a piece of art and saying “hmm it could use more red” You’re looking at it and saying “you shouldn’t have made it to begin with, it’s dangerous, it’ll hurt people”

“Progressives find it futile, same as you do, to tell the creators what they can and cannot do.” Since I’ve already said that, I’m worried that you aren’t reading what I’m writing. I cannot cut anything out. I do not have the power necessary. No feminist does. Why would I try to censor when I know it’s impossible? Since you’re under the impression that I am, it’s clear that we’re operating with different definitions of feminism. To continue your metaphor, the feminist critique does not say “never paint anything with the color red!” It’s “I noticed you used some red here, and the technique you used combined with the red itself upsets me in a visceral, intrinsic way. Consider the effects of red in the future and the best way to play with it.” It’s cool though, you don’t have to believe that their hurt is any more valid than someone saying “red isn’t allowed by my culture, destroy all red” or “red is rude, it disgusts me and my senses,” but then other people, the people who feel hurt by red or support those who are, might think you’re a bad, hateful guy. That’s your choice! Same as the painter and everyone else on this beautiful Earth.

If your experience with feminists (and any other progressives [hate that term but it’s a good umbrella]) has left you thinking that the movement calls for censorship, I’d say that you’re engaging with members who don’t practice feminism effectively. You can choose to do that too, but I think it’s a waste of time when there are smart people and resources in other, less reactionary corners of the web than tumblr.

C) As for cutting out the hurtful stuff. Yes there will still be plenty of beautiful interesting content out there for people. But cutting out the hurtful and potentially offensive stuff, Which is what tumblr seems to demand is like cutting the color spectrum in half, there will still be beautiful colors in this world but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still lament a world without red.

I did say “cut all the hurtful shit out,” but it was meant with the sentiment of an admonishing parent rather than scissors removing. I also did say “excise” in my initial response, but I was asking to imagine a world after the fact, once we have excised hate from life as opposed to excising particular contributions to discourse. Same with my use of “deleted.” Other than that, I’ve only ever said it’s a choice. I’m going over my words to make it clear that, regardless of word-choice ambiguity, I’m not asking for censorship.

I can appreciate the works of Franz Shubert, Tchaikovsky and Wagner but for god sakes  give me Ren and Stimpy, South Park and Tosh.O. Throw some fucking chaos in the mix. I love dialogues, all dialogues, even the hurtful and offensive ones, even if i’m the one being hurt because it challenges me to grow as a person and develop my own ideas. I would even be bothered by the censorship of feminist critique both moderate and radical, even though I disagree with a significant portion of the opinions and claims being espoused and often find a lot of it to be riddled with hypocritical sexism and hatemongering because again I feel like losing that expression of opinions would be like losing a color in the rainbow.

I would never say that someone should shut Tosh.0 down, where would we get our Web Redemptions? I would definitely say that Daniel Tosh contributes to rape culture (more than the vast majority of humanity, given his celebrity status), and I wish he would stop doing that because I choose to believe it upsets friends of mine because I trust them when they say they’re hurt. I sometimes find him funny, but I don’t respect or support him and it bothers me that he and his writing staff are given such a platform not because they shouldn’t have one but because we, all together, look past the damage he creates and provide him with power. I don’t want Daniel Tosh to stop making jokes, I want to share why he’s unfunny and how he upsets people in the hopes that others might understand and agree, and then he won’t tell rape jokes anymore because his audience won’t find them funny.

^—- That’s the feminist approach. Accept no substitutes. Unless you don’t believe me, in which case: whatever.

D)

Us white dudes, Morgan, we have a weird approach to the idea of “offense” because of our birthright. Here’s something I wrote back when Daniel Tosh told a woman it would be comedy gold should she be gangraped:

I’m sorry I didn’t realize that being a white male gave us the birth right of being immune to being hurt. I kinda thought being hurt and experiencing tragedies in life was more of a human trait than a racially gendered trait. Take one of my close friends for example. Average white male like me, but he lost both his mother and father to drug overdoses. Should we just censor any and all jokes or references pertaining to drug overdoses or parental death just to avoid hurting his feelings? Should we censor the dog mauling scene in Django Unchained out of sensitivity for victims of dog attacks? What about references to car accidents? Or Murders, Theft,  Adultery, Cancer. Let’s do away with war films and video games, we cant risk those veterans being accidentally triggered. Lets just wrap the whole world in emotional bubble wrap because hey we cant possibly risk hurting people with our ideas after all we all know how dangerous ideas can be to the public health.

-Morgan

Your examples are pretty sweeping, and ignore the nuance of what I described to you in drawing that distinction between offense and hurt. With them, you’re suggesting that feminists want to censor any discussion or joke about rape to avoid hurting rape victims’ feelings. As I’ve said, that’s not the case, and is really quite an unfair exaggeration.

Drug abuse, dog attacks, car accidents, murders, theft, adultery, cancer and violence are not inherent characteristics of one’s self that have been used to systematically oppress the people bearing them. It is unlikely that your friend will ever watch a TV show that implies he is built inferior because his parents overdosed. If he does, it’s unlikely that he’ll see another show do it the next night, the next week, or the next month. He will have a more difficult life, and that’s a shame, and also it’s not society’s fault; as sad as it is, the responsibility for that inequality falls on his parents.

What would you do if, hypothetically (even if it runs contrary to his real beliefs), your friend asked you not to tell jokes mocking dead parents or drug abuse? He wouldn’t mind you asking questions about them or making fun of drug culture’s pernicious nature & how the War on Drugs creates more users than it stymies or discussing the grieving process, but when it comes to jokes that use overdoses as punchlines for mere shock value or drug addiction as some kind of personal weakness, he’d rather you keep them to yourself. You’ve made it clear to me that this guy and his feelings are important to you, but so is saying whatever you want and whenever, so I’m very interested in what play you’d make.

If you say it’s a personal choice, that when you’re near your friend you will respect his wishes but then continue to speak freely in other contexts, then you’ve arrived at the root of feminism and similar movements: everyone has a choice, but not everyone is aware of that choice and the many reasons why they should consider the choice. The best way to make that choice visible is to use examples in pop culture of why it’s an important choice to make. And many times (like, for instance, my initial commentary), this shit can get emotional for its supporters, and they take on the appearance of force because they have none. So as they bear down on you and you assume the fetal position, realize that they do not hold violence; only a voice.

What’s the harm in listening?

PS If feminism was an effective tool for censorship, it would stand to reason that we would have examples of this over the past forty years. Since you’re so convinced, you must have evidence on-hand that feminism— no, fuck it, any progressive movement— has succeeded in censorship. I’d like to see it. In fact, given anything from the world’s Victorian-era take on sex to legislative attacks like SOPA/PIPA, I would tend to believe that straight white guys are, once again, in charge of something that fucks many others.

PPS While something can be “potentially harmful” if it can eventually be physically damaging, the phrase “potentially hurtful” is meaningless. Cotton candy’s potentially hurtful. Air is potentially hurtful. Everything is potentially hurtful. Culture cannot hurt until it is created and processed by the audience, who may then feel hurt.

I’m not pointing this out just to patrol word-usage, I’m saying that if you believe that feminism seeks something that does not exist… Your understanding of feminism is off-kilter.

PPPS “I love dialogues, all dialogues, even the hurtful and offensive ones, even if i’m the one being hurt because it challenges me to grow as a person and develop my own ideas.” No, you don’t love all dialogues, because when you “felt insulted when [I] placed words in [your] mouth” you told me to shut the fuck up and insulted me in turn. You, in fact, tried to silence this dialogue before it got started.

You call me pretentious but suggest that a black guy should “grow as a person” and “develop [his] own ideas” when someone yells a slur at him.

I’m not them, but I think sometimes people just don’t wanna feel hurt anymore.

WAMPOHOLIC: in which i attack someone who wasn’t addressing me