Tag Archives: Feminism

WTF Dawkins? What the flying fuck?!

Sean Prophet mentioned at a post in Facebook the following comment that Richard Dawkins supposedly left at PZ Myers’ excellent defence of Rebecca Watson.

Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard

He was then called on it

Did you just make the argument that, since worse things are happening somewhere else, we have no right to try to fix things closer to home?

And replied with more derailment.

No I wasn’t making that argument. Here’s the argument I was making. The man in the elevator didn’t physically touch her, didn’t attempt to bar her way out of the elevator, didn’t even use foul language at her. He spoke some words to her. Just words. She no doubt replied with words. That was that. Words. Only words, and apparently quite polite words at that.

If she felt his behaviour was creepy, that was her privilege, just as it was the Catholics’ privilege to feel offended and hurt when PZ nailed the cracker. PZ didn’t physically strike any Catholics. All he did was nail a wafer, and he was absolutely right to do so because the heightened value of the wafer was a fantasy in the minds of the offended Catholics. Similarly, Rebecca’s feeling that the man’s proposition was ‘creepy’ was her own interpretation of his behaviour, presumably not his. She was probably offended to about the same extent as I am offended if a man gets into an elevator with me chewing gum. But he does me no physical damage and I simply grin and bear it until either I or he gets out of the elevator. It would be different if he physically attacked me.

Muslim women suffer physically from misogyny, their lives are substantially damaged by religiously inspired misogyny. Not just words, real deeds, painful, physical deeds, physical privations, legally sanctioned demeanings. The equivalent would be if PZ had nailed not a cracker but a Catholic. Then they’d have had good reason to complain.

Richard

What is this I don’t even

I won’t go into details, as this and this posts say pretty much all I had to say on the matter1. I just was completely stunned by the WTF-ness of the post by someone who should know better.

EDIT: Dawkins has provided yet another reply, showing that he still doesn’t get it

Many people seem to think it obvious that my post was wrong and I should apologise. Very few people have bothered to explain exactly why. The nearest approach I have heard goes something like this.

I sarcastically compared Rebecca’s plight with that of women in Muslim countries or families dominated by Muslim men. Somebody made the worthwhile point (reiterated here by PZ) that it is no defence of something slightly bad to point to something worse. We should fight all bad things, the slightly bad as well as the very bad. Fair enough. But my point is that the ‘slightly bad thing’ suffered by Rebecca was not even slightly bad, it was zero bad. A man asked her back to his room for coffee. She said no. End of story.

But not everybody sees it as end of story. OK, let’s ask why not? The main reason seems to be that an elevator is a confined space from which there is no escape. This point has been made again and again in this thread, and the other one.

No escape? I am now really puzzled. Here’s how you escape from an elevator. You press any one of the buttons conveniently provided. The elevator will obligingly stop at a floor, the door will open and you will no longer be in a confined space but in a well-lit corridor in a crowded hotel in the centre of Dublin.

No, I obviously don’t get it. I will gladly apologise if somebody will calmly and politely, without using the word fuck in every sentence, explain to me what it is that I am not getting.

Richard

Dear Richard, even if Elevator Rape wasn’t an actual thing, it would still be wrong to proposition women in inappropriate locations, such as female you do not know at 4 am in an Elevator. And there is a reason why they are called “inappropriate”. Because by normalizing them, you treat women as sexual objects. As if people who can’t possibly have times where there’s no chance in FSM’s blue earth that they would accept. As if your own desires make their own desires – which common sense has made blatantly clear – irrelevant.

Inappropriate behaviour can be called out and enforced, so that people stop doing it. Because it’s bad, m’kay? Because normalizing the idea that a woman can be propositioned for sex without even taking the time to figure out if there is a chance for it, is degrading to women as it reduces them to sex dispensers. Because using rape culture and patriarchical conditioning to corner a female and implictly pressure her (even if you do not realize the pressure you exert) into sex is reinforcing those bad cultures.

Note that I would love to live in a free world where males and females are sexually liberated and they feel confident proposing no-strings-attached sex without taboo and faux shame. But that world would arrive within true equality, where rape and abuse of females is not the norm at the hands of controlling and horny males.  I get the feeling that some are outraged that what they perceive is a small step towards that world of sexual liberation, is being trounced by “those prude feminazis who get their panties up in a bunch about a harmless request for sex”. They fail to see the institutionalized oppression who cannot make this step valid, without further marginalizing females in every other context.

If you want sexual liberation, you need to fight first for female liberation and true equality. Then, and only then, will a sex positive culture occur.

And finally, PZ nails it once more

I’m taking one last stab at explaining this. Imagine that Richard Dawkins meets a particularly persistent fan who insists on standing uncomfortably close to him, and Richard asks him to stand back a little bit; when he continues, he says to the rest of the crowd that that is rather rude behavior, and could everyone give him a little breathing space? Which then leads to many members of the crowd loudly defending the rudeness by declaring that since the guy wasn’t assaulting him, he should be allowed to keep doing that, and hey, how dare Richard Dawkins accuse everyone present of trying to mug him!

I’ve also had enough of a discussion with Sean Prophet trying to explain to him in Facebook why Dawkins is not saying anything relevant and why feminists are not in the wrong to call out inappropriate behaviour. I’ll post it below for your perusal.

  • Sean Prophet
    Absolutely!!!! If agreeing with Dawkins makes me misogynist, then hate me and bring it on. The feminists have a right to their opinion, but this is totally subjective, and in fact goes pretty far toward the demonization of men by calling them “creepy.” All the feminist definition of “creepy” means in this case is “made an unwanted advance.”
    Men are at a distinct disadvantage in this game since they *always* have to deal with the high likelihood of rejection, something women have far less experience with. This is not a “moral” or “progressive” issue. This is an issue of *equality.* And that means women get to say “no” and as long as the guy is polite and leaves, he has done nothing wrong or anti-feminist. He may have been clumsy, or simply not attractive, but that should not be a crime. Nor even an offense.
    And this does call for the phrase “grow up.” If women want to be considered equals, then *act like it!*
    I think Skepchick just made a colossal fool of herself. And shame on the others like Blag Hag and PZ Myers who doubled down on the foolishness.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    I consider myself a feminist and I agree with you 100%. Well said!
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    However, there’s a lot of degrading crap that goes on on a daily basis that isn’t polite, as you’re probably aware…or maybe not, since you don’t have to deal with it.
  • Sean Prophet
    I agree many men are creeps. Which is why when a guy just screws up and politely leaves, he should be applauded for *not* being a creep.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    I liked what you said about men having to regularly face rejection and how difficult that is. Women need to understand that and cut men some slack, as long as men are being polite. Women also need to stop participating in their own exploitation and then playing the victim. I’d love to see more respect and healing between the sexes. This is a good discussion to be having. Thanks for bringing it up.
  • Sean Prophet
    Hey no problem. I’ve got a blog post coming, where I provide more links and details. 😉
  • Divided By Zero
    What a bunch of nonsense from Dawkins. First of all, yes, he is making the argument that people should raise an issue with things happening to them because “children are starving in Africa” kind of thing and it’s obvious how ridiculously wrong that is. His reply to that is completely irrelevant. So it’s just words. Sure, and Rebecca replied with “just words”. What’s the problem again? Oh, is it because those words make you uncomfortable in propositioning unknown females you find in elevators? Are you for serious?
    Recebba has a right to point out bad behaviour, and privileged males like you don’t lose time in putting her in her place. It’s disgusting.
  • Gretchen Chadwick
    No, Dawkins has a good point. Feminism needs to set priorities. A guy asking a woman to have coffee with him is no big deal. I had a guy run down the street after me to invite me to dinner and I thought it was funny/sweet. I didn’t go because I didn’t know him, but, even if it had made me uncomfortable, he did nothing wrong. There are such bigger problems that feminism needs to tackle, not the least of which is how young women are being systematically trained through a variety of media to become perpetually youthful sex objects. Picking on men for asking to spend time with a woman just creates tension between the sexes and makes feminism seem stupid and frivolous. There are bigger fish to fry.
  • Divided By Zero
    You’re dismissing the very real concerns of why these women do not like this objectifying behaviour – and this has very little similarities to someone asking you out for coffee. The idea that there are other things to do is simply a derailing tactic used to silence and has no benefit to the discussion. People talk about their own experiences and the things that affect them on a daily basis. Just because some other people have other, more difficult situations to face, does not make those issues invalid.
  • Sean Prophet Db0 I addressed this in my blog post. As did Dawkins in his comment. This was a simple overreaction on the part of Skepchick, and now people are just doubling down to avoid offending feminatheists. Is there anywhere you would draw the line? Or do women just get to completely dictate every detail of men’s acceptable behavior?
  • Sean Prophet
    And I’m actually glad Dawkins has burst this little pustule of pompous powermongering entitlement. And it also smokes out the men who have absolutely surrendered and ceded all pretense of balance between the sexes. Certainly everyone has a right to their opinion, but I want nothing to do with women who act this way nor the obsequious men who follow them around. If I’m going to be that submissive, it’s going to be for a hot scene with a self-aware domme who has her shit together.
  • Sean Prophet
    Gretchen, I do think the media makes things worse, as you said. But youth and beauty are tied to fertility, so will always be desirable. Where I think there’s room for growth is broadening the range of what is considered beautiful. (As well as prolonging and preserving health.) Increasing the beauty in the world is really something we call all do with a simple shift in consciousness.
  • Divided By Zero
    They get to dictate behaviour when it affects them. This is not a contentious issue or something difficult to grasp. One is not “sumbissive” for recognising that women are not sexual objects you can proposition at any and all time.
    This ridiculous pompousy of yours is just absurd. Just bang your chest a bit more and declare you don’t care what those damn bitches want. Maybe you’ll feel manlier.
  • Sean Prophet
    Women *are* and always will be sexual objects. They are also a lot more than that. And there’s a whole other dimension to both sexes. But nothing can remove the fact that life is pretty much an endless stream of penises searching for vaginas.
  • Divided By Zero
    The problem is that such behavious treats them as *just* a vagina. Because you apparently do not see anything wrong when people treat women as if they’re there just for their enjoyment and they couldn’t possibly be some contexts were propositioning them is inappropriate.
  • Sean Prophet
    I don’t need to beat my chest (which is not all that large). I simply demand a balance of power between the sexes. My relationships with women have been the most important relationships in my life. I love and respect them, and they do the s…See more
  • Sean Prophet
    BTW I dislike overly submissive women (or men) just as much as the petty dominants. Self-aware people do not act out either extreme. They know unctuousness quickly turns to contempt. This kind of crap on either side is essentially two sides of the same developmentally-challenged coin.
  • Sean Prophet
    I agree elevator guy was inappropriate. Wrong time and place. But once he realized that, he quickly went home and left her alone. We can’t legislate (or even socially regulate) all the nuances of what goes on between people who are drinking late at night in hotels at conferences. There should be plenty of leeway so long as basic social norms e.g. consensuality, are being observed.
  • James Scott ‘Doc’ Mason
    My issue was with Skepchick’s characterization of the encounter as misogynistic. I agree with Sean that it was inappropriate, but only because she is a young, attractive woman. If he had said the same exact thing to a man, we wouldn’t have this conversation. Maybe I need a better understanding of misogyny, but from what she described it didn’t feel like he was hateful or sexualizing her. We simply do not have enough information to be objective about his intentions. Isn’t it possible that he found her interesting and simply wanted to continue the conversation in a quite setting? We’ll never know, because she did the right thing by politely saying no, and he did the right thing by accepting her refusal.
  • Divided By Zero
    Cheezus, you people are acting as if he asked her out for a coffee during work. Are you completely incapable of recognising the fact that propositioning is completely inappropriate at times and with particular styles? Do men get excused at all times as long as they accept the “No”? This is completely obtuse. Think about it for a second for crying out loud.
  • Sean Prophet
    Db0 did you not read where I said “elevator guy was inappropriate”
  • Divided By Zero
    And then you said “But once he realized that, he quickly went home and left her alone.”, which implies that all was OK. But all was NOT OK. You can’t proposition a woman at any time and method and act as if nothing was wrong as long as you accepted rejection. Some things need to be called out, and this is what Rebecca did in the first place.
  • Sean Prophet
    Rejection *is* the penalty. Nothing else is called for. Negotiation 101.
  • Divided By Zero
    Yes. There is. To give an example even you might understand: if someone comes to a woman an propositions her for money, simple rejection is not enough.
    Rejection, by itself, is not a penalty, except in the mind of midguided PUAs
  • Sean Prophet
    The guy was *not* a pua. He was simply inept. That is not a crime, or even an offense.
  • Divided By Zero
    Oh gawds…I didn’t say he was a PUA. I said “Rejection, by itself, is not a penalty, except in the mind of midguided PUAs”. And you haven’t countered my point that simple rejection is not enough.
  • Sean Prophet
    You haven’t supported the point. Shall there be a law passed to prosecute inappropriate speech? Public shaming? Ban from elevators? You’re going really overboard, just like Skepchick. And especially for an anarchist.
  • Divided By Zero
    I’m “going overboard” for the srawman suggestions you made? Are you for real?
  • Sean Prophet
    I still don’t understand the issue. He was shut down and went home. What more does anyone want??
  • Divided By Zero
    Have you see the video Rebecca posted about it?
  • Sean Prophet
    Yes, that was not a big deal. What was a big deal is that when Stef disagreed with her she called her out publicly and tried to turn the non-incident into some kind of feminist rallying cry. That was *way* out of line, and that’s what all the controversy is about.
  • Divided By Zero
    You’re not criticizing THAT though. You (and Dawkins) are criticizing her reaction to guy in the elevator. Whether she should have publicly made an example of her disagreement with Stef is up for debate. I’m with PZ Myers on that front http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/07/always_name_names.php
  • Sean Prophet
    It was still an overreaction no matter how anyone slices it.
  • Divided By Zero
    It’s an overreaction to point out that there are inappropriate times to proposition women and that women are not sexual objects?
  • Grace Feldmann
    NOT an overreaction and Thank you Divided By Zero!
    Grace Feldmann
    please see my note on this. And BTW I take the dare Sean. This IS in part about a blind spot around not just White, but male privilege and power. Absofuckinglutely.

 

And this is where the discussion stands at the moment.Hopefully, he starts to get it but I won’t get my hopes up.

However this whole Brouhaha does show how little connection there is between Atheists and their lack of common positive goal. Atheism is a negative cohesive point. It’s as unifying as the lack of hair and the more people that identify as atheists there are, the less cohesion the movement as a whole has, as it stops becoming novel (within a religious community) thus requiring support for others, and rather becomes the norm. But I digress. As I was saying, this just another example of how little one Atheist has with another.

You can’t demand that other Atheists are feminism or anti-racists because this is not a defining aspect of the irreligion. It’s precisely because you can have racist and sexist atheists that there is so much friction in the movement, and the secondary reason why I stopped wasting my time with it. The primary being the same for most others I presume: I live in a country where religious oppression does not exist anymore and therefore my irreligion is not used as a point of oppression.

 

  1. Dawkings absolutely misses the point, continues derailing and generally dismisses the concerns of a female due to his extreme privilege blindness []

Quote of the day: The Anomaly of an mostly-female cast

Quoth Sarah Morayati (found in TV Tropes)

“If a smash hit has mostly male characters, nobody raises an eyebrow, but if it has mostly female characters, it’s a Great Big Anomaly worth several trees’ worth of shocked speculation.”

What also usually happens is that a movie with a primarily female cast is going to be considered a “chick flick” by many, while movies where there’s at best a token female are considered simply as “Action Movies”, “Adventures”, “Comedies” and so on, rather than “Dude flicks”.

The Smurfette Principle and Sexism in PvPonline

She says it much better than I could really.

And since I’m on the subject of feminism, can someone explain to me what is going on with all these old school webcomics starting to show more and more sexism? I was going through my PvPonline backlog of the last week and I came upon these two “gems”

Men who are afraid of scary movies are like women while screaming in fear is stereotypical of a married female in “hysterics”

“Women are competitive and catty and generally unkind to each other” (Said by the only main female character – i.e. the “smurfette” of PvPonline)

What the fuck is this shit people?

Feminists don't think all men are rapists. Rapists do.

Via chickwithmonkey I have discovered this excellent comment from Time Machine explaining just how rape jokes are harmful. Quoted here in it’s entirety, for truth, justice and the ‘murican way FUCK YEAH and because the original thread is 1000+ comments deep and takes ages to load.

[Note: Many people on Reddit have expressed the sentiment that while they agree with the substance, they have a problem with the condescending tone. This is because the comment I’m reposting was on a blog post and was made in response to a guy who was actually arguing that it’s okay for him to make rape jokes with his friends. While it starts by addressing all men, it’s coloured by the reaction to that particular guy.]

To all those who don’t think the rape joke was a problem, or rape jokes are a problem.

I get it, you’re a decent guy. I can even believe it. You’ve never raped anybody. You would NEVER rape anybody. You’re upset that all these feminists are trying to accuse you of doing something or connect you to doing something that, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve never done and would never condone.

And they’ve told you about triggers, and PTSD, and how one in six women is a survivor, and you get it. You do. But you can’t let every time someone gets all upset get in the way of you having a good time, right?

So fine. If all those arguments aren’t going anything for you, let me tell you this. And I tell you this because I genuinely believe you mean it when you say you don’t want to hurt anybody, and you don’t see the harm, and that it’s important to you to do your best to be a decent and good person. And I genuinely believe you when you say you would never associate with a rapist and you think rape really is a very bad thing.

Because this is why I refuse to take rape jokes sitting down-

6% of college age men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word “rape” isn’t used in the description of the act.

6% of Penny Arcade’s target demographic will admit to actually being rapists when asked.

A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?

Rapists do.

They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again.

Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape, and other men just keep it hushed up better. And more, these people who really are rapists are constantly reaffirmed in their belief about the rest of mankind being rapists like them by things like rape jokes, that dismiss and normalize the idea of rape.

If one in twenty guys is a real and true rapist, and you have any amount of social activity with other guys like yourself, really cool guy, then it is almost a statistical certainty that one time hanging out with friends and their friends, playing Halo with a bunch of guys online, in a WoW guild, or elsewhere, you were talking to a rapist. Not your fault. You can’t tell a rapist apart any better than anyone else can. It’s not like they announce themselves.

But, here’s the thing. It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed.

And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed?

That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapist knew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades.

You. The rapist’s comrade.

And if that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach, if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, if that doesn’t disturb you or bother you or make you feel like maybe you should at least consider not participating in that kind of humor anymore…

Well, maybe you aren’t as opposed to rapists as you claim.

This is a perfect example of how social norms are insidiously perpetuating acts you might not expect. Just from a seemingly harmless activity like laughing as a rape joke, a sexist joke, a racist joke and so on.

PS: Protip (for chickwithmonkey). You can find a permalink to a Disqus comment under the date of the comment (Where it says something like “1 day ago”.) Same with Intense Debate that I’m using here.

Feminist lazy linking

I’ve been kinda lax in my blogging recently. I’ve been meaning to write on a few subjects but completely useless arguments on reddit keep sucking up on my energy. I’m working on that. That said, you might have noticed that I write more about feminism and satellite subjects lately and this is because I’ve started reading a couple of excellent blogs on the subject in its intersection with gaming and geek culture.

So given that I’m not in the mood to write much today, I thought I’d just post a bunch of interesting stuff instead. Hope y’all like it. Remember that an /r/ before something, means that I’m referring to a reddit section.

A woman shares her story in /r/feminisms of how she was kicked out of an Egyptian protest because she brought up female genital mutilation. Once more a case of how women’s issues need to wait until after the “serious business” has been done.

Penny Arcade discontinued the dickwolves T-Shirt and explained the reasoning behind it in absolute douchebaggery. In my eyes, these dudes have lost serious credit. Of course the discussion that spawn in reddit because of this comment just pointed out how much geek culture is basking in privilege, not to mention rampart misogyny. I posted a link to provide some context from the other side of the dialogue and this was the result. Good going reddit.

Speaking of privilege, have I mentioned the sparkling new subreddit I created to record Reddit’s crass privilege denial? It’s inspired by the late Privilege Denying Dude (of which the tumblr page is once again gone), /r/ShitRedditSays and /r/TransphobiaProject. Join me in bitterly laughing together at some privilege denying dudes.

Mad Props to genderbitch for writing the Methods of Communication for Activists. This is one of the best and most insightful posts I’ve read in years and it gave a lot of insights into the reasons behind The Great /r/Anarchism ShitStorm of 2010. I’m already thinking of ways to combine these particular strengths each of us has rather than argue endlessly with each other.

And now for a blast from the past, check out the sheer amount of misogyny and fat-shaming that exploded from one post critical of the game “Fat Princess”. The internet once again proves to us how despicable gaming culture remains in general. The whole train-wreck of apologia that followed is an embarrassment to all gamers.

And finally, check out this stupifying misogyny from Kanye West. I have only heard of this guy from the whole “Imma let you finish” meme but what I’ve heard of him since just shows that douchebaggery sells in the USA.

And that’s all for now children. If you have have any faith in humanity left after this post, feel free to tune in next time.

So it seems S2 Games continues with the proud tradition of sexism in gaming

One of the things I liked in the MOBA game Heroes of Newerth is that it had some female heroes which were more than just cleavage and suggestive show of skin (even if those were never far away). The game was still as sexist as most others, what with a multitude of monstrous or fully clothed males and a minority of females, primarily fregile wizards and archers and overwhelmingly suggestive.

I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to that until now however, and the reason why I started was when their latest hero was revealed in a leaked newsletter and her concept art looks like this:

A "Bikini" robe with patently ridiculous (for someone going into battle) beach panties

Now generally this is not something to get particularly worked up about. Just S2 Games caching on titillation for their primarily teenage/young adult audience. I was content to stay and perhaps argue a bit on the thread on reddit about how patently ridiculous this outfit and character is for the battlefield. However, others brought this issue up in the fora and against my better judgement, I felt compelled to leave a few comments and links there as well.

That went as well as one might expect, as the audience for which S2 is based on is rightly considered to make up the worst community of any game ever. And in one such community, sexism, homophobia and ableism are never below the surface but rather blaring in your face 24/7. So if you want to see the results and possible bash your heads against the keyboard as well ,because of the sheer stupidity and how much S2 will allow crass ableism and homophobia to shine in their official forums, go check them out.

Thread 1 | Thread 2 | Thread 3 (good points, see what replies it gets)

Of course, all the classic derailment and logical fallacies that one might expect have been presented and supported, at times by S2 staff themselves.Here’s some of the most common samples

  • “But every other game is doing it!” – Frequently used fallacy. Actually repeated by a couple of S2 staff. Most people outgrow this in kindergarten.
  • “Don’t you have more important things to worry about?”Classic Derailment
  • “The audience asked for more boobs, and we delivered” – FSM forbid that you might not indulge your audience’s sexism. Again, actually said by S2 staff.
  • “Sex Sells” – Yeah, for some reason I do not see an equal representation of “sex” for female and LGBT consumption…
  • “S2 is being sexist against males too!” – Repeated Ad Nauseum. Fortunately I only had to link here.
  • “U gay?” (In various expressions) – Not even worth a reply, but mentioned just for the sheer popularity of it.
  • “There’s not so many half-naked chicks and those that are, have a back story which explains why they need to be so.” – Against commonly used and I’m going to expand on this particular a bit more, with pictures, to show just how ridiculous it is.

Part of the last argument is to argue that compared to the overall cast (or other even more sexist games like League of Legends), the amount of “hot” female heroes are not a lot. This argument falls flat on its face when one does even a cursory look at the heroes cast.

  • There’s currently 74 heroes (including Empath)
  • Of these, only 13 (17%) are clearly females (There’s a bunch of characters that are not clear due to their form, but for most of those, their body type and voice pitch is also clearly male)
  • Of these 13, there is only 1 (7%) that is fully clothed (iirc it’s Wretched Hag for which I couldn’t find the concept art) which means showing no cleavage or trying to get some kind of sex appeal [EDIT: I might be wrong here, it may be the case that another hero is fully clothed, valkyrie, as a reddit commenter points out. I seem remember her model as not fully clothed however and I can’t find any official concept art]. All others, including the monstrous females, have a clearly feminine body displaying sexually appetizing forms. Yes, even the monstrous ones. Examples:

A ghost with appetizing cleavage. YumA spider-woman, who still retains a human belly and curves.

And these are the absolutely least sexy females one can find in the game mind you. There’s one more, Moon Queen, for which I don’t have a concept art but only the model, which seems even less suggestive than these, but I can’t tell if her human torso is naked or not.

  • Of the human-form females (in which I’m including “non-humans” who just have a pair of horns or wings to separate them), all of them are suggestive, by which I mean that cleavage and/or naked body/legs are shown. That’s 100%. And while some of them are acceptable (at least in concept, like Valkyrie), most others, by default are absurdly dressed, even for most other games’ standards. (Click for larger images)
Almost naked except for a strip of fabric covering her breasts, a g-string/loincloth on her legs and an absurd hat.
Ophelia is supposed to be one with the beasts and therefore needs to go butt-naked. Of course that means a beach-bikini style cloth and a supermodel body.
Blue skinned assasin female handling a scythe. Her hair and clothes are fading into smoke. She is wearing an elaborate bikini-mail
Fayde is supposed to be a shadow assassin, able to "fade out". I guess that means that anything other than mail bikini is faded out permanently.
A grey-skinned female notching an arrow and riding a skeletal beast powered by green energy. She is wearing practically nothing except a hood and some skeletal bone armor covering her breasts and back
One can only assume that the Forsaken Archer needs to armor towards her front, as she is always running away. Zing!

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Mind you, I am not cherry picking my examples, these are literally the only concept art I could find for the human heroes, with the exception of Valkyrie, which looks like this, which unfortunately does not accurately represent the actual model.

  • If we consider the characters that received an alternative model (through the goblin shop), things become even more sexist. You see, various male and female character are getting alternative models people can buy with real world money or by grinding the game’s currency. When a male gets an alternative male model, it always is something cool. Gladiator (a whip wielding hero) becomes Indiana Jones. Magmus (A burning rock hero) becomes a giant fire scorpion. Kraken (a water-based hero) becomes a giant crustacean.

    But when males become females, or females get an alternative female model, guess what it happens…They become sexier.You remember the spider woman before?

A spider-woman with 6 extra (non-used) legs on her back spread as wings, who still retains a human belly and curves.

Well, she becomes like this.

The spider-woman receives a supermodel body and a face.

And there’s also two male wizards, one of ice, and one of fire. Their transformation from male to female is kinda like this.

An ice-wizard, wearing a long blue robe covering his whole body
Normal for a wizard huh?
The female version of the fully clothed fire wizard. The red robe became a robe-bikini.
Apparently females in Newerth by default can only choose bikini-styled robes.

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Because everyone knows that women can’t compete with men on skill alone. They need to show some cleavage and supermodel looks in order to be their equals. Sigh. Now compare the females with the wide array of looks and builds for the male heroes of which most are not even remotely suggestive, even if they are nominally bare skinned (Because of course the trolls of the forum were all to eager to point to Kraken and complain that he’s too naked as a sarcastic counter-point). You’ve got fat heroes, truly monstrous males, disgusting males, macho males, punk males, mad males, sneaky males and so on, and most of these don’t even need to be remotely suggestive to a female audience to be liked.

And finally of course, the last ditch argument is that all those females are wearing bikinis because their story demands it. Ophelia is “one with the nature”. Nymphora is a nymph (and we all know how those dressed). Valkyrie is a Valkyrie (and Norse concept art shows them as wearing veils and bare breasted) and so on. This argument of course ignores some very important parts. First of all, Valkyries and Nymphs and other historical archetypes were not generally going into battles. When humans do go into battles, they are generally well armoured.

Secondly if all the concepts for your female heroes somehow end up requiring them to wear (chain mail) bikinis in battle, perhaps one should reconsider those concepts because as sure as fuck one can think concepts for heroes which do not end up with them being a titillation product. The fact that S2 seems to be able to think or or choose concepts which require suggestive females shows that their sexism starts from very early on in the design process.

It’s unfortunate that S2 is going this way, when practically both of their competitors are just trying to outdo each other on who can objectify females the most in their games. But I guess one shouldn’t expect better from them anyway given how they treat other similar subjects.

On a last note, I’m going to leave you with an image which shows how the HoN concept artists think of the females in the game. This doesn’t say much but it does display the mentality behind the designers of the game.

5 of the female characters of Heroes of Newerth. All of them showing ridiculous amount sof cleavage and gravity defying boobsTop right to bottom left
Top right to bottom left: Succubus, Ophelia, Andromeda, Dark Lady, Nymphora

Quote of the Day: Feminism

As the third shitstorm in /r/anarchism raged, enkiam provided this excellent quote.

No, I mean I am a feminist. It is meaningless to say “I support equality between the genders”; “the genders” are defined, assigned, and enforced by patriarchy, in the same way class is defined, assigned, and enforced by capitalism. A feminist is a person who seeks to disrupt, destabilize, and destroy patriarchy in all forms — the privilege of men, the oppression of women, and the definition of binary gender in itself.

Quote of the Day: White Knights

Quoth LoudmouthedBitch

To me, a “White Knight” is someone who will “defend” someone (usually a female), not for the sake of defending them, but to seem awesome. They usually expect something in return (praise, the everlasting love and affection of the (usually) female). When they do not get praise/everlasting gratitude&affection, they often quickly transform into the “Whiney Knight,” who complains about the lack of gratitude and asks why they ever try doing “nice” things in the first place.

Very accurate.

Do we need more direct action than debate on inclusive spaces?

The 1932 Soviet poster dedicated to the 8th of...
Image via Wikipedia

As the recent /r/anarchism drama slowly dies down, we keep having discussions on the merits of the various courses of action we’re considering. I just wrote a lengthy reply on the issue of “aggressive censorship” on the subreddit that I thought was interesting enough to share1.

The background here is the ban of a Men’s Rights Advocate (MRA) who started hanging out in /r/anarchism making civil but strictly anti-feminist comments. He continued doing this for a while and many people expressed how annoyed they were by his presence, especially since it coincided with the subreddit being linked from others ones, and thus waves of the classic redditor (which takes casual sexism to new heights) started coming in and upvoting this MRA’s comments. His multiple derailments led me to give him a warning and after discussion among the regular members of the reddit once he outright refused to stop this behaviour, we decided to ban him.

The following is one of the discussions that followed

db0: The problem is not that he’s wrong, but that he’s derailing discussions left and right and is unwilling to stop. I had no problem with him being wrong. I have a problem with him being disruptive. And even though it doesn’t bother me especially, I’m a privileged person in this situation so this doesn’t mean much. His attitude is still creating an atmosphere which is alienating to the people we’re trying to attract, such as women.

humanerror: Personally, I’m highly distrustful of aggressive censorship in the name of attracting alienated persons. I recognize that the intentions behind it are good, but I think it’s essentially wrongheaded and counterproductive. I don’t think making this place into a walled garden where everyone has to walk around on tippy toes for fear of giving offense will succeed in attracting anyone. If an alienated person comes and encounters alienating speech, I trust they will also find that speech downvoted to hell, and probably a dozen other users calling the speaker an asshole. If anything, I expect that that’s the kind of display that would make an alienated person feel welcome. Because they really are welcome, and we don’t need moderator action to make that true.

db0: I was on the same boat, but by reading more about it and talking to such oppressed classes, I can now understand their view better. While it’s OK for us to ignore such comments until they are downvoted, or to rationally argue against them; for such oppressed classes, every instance of casual misogyny hurts and every instance of a privileged comrade treating it as if it’s worthy of a rational response, is giving it credence, and hurts.

We don’t rationally debate things such as holocaust denial (unless we’re just looking to waste time) for example, because to do so would assume that they are not ridiculous to begin with. Of course, we don’t feel the need to ban holocaust denialists (anymore) because everyone knows they are ridiculous and laughs or insults them out of the room. Same with monarchists or pro-slavery people. But sexism, racism and others like them, are still very much accepted and preserved by a large number of people, who are actively maintaining oppression through them to this day. This sheer amount of conscious or casual support means that those ideologies get some serious backup always, and unless we act to marginalize them, this place will not be an inclusive space. The oppressed classes will feel as oppressed here as they do elsewhere. Perhaps marginally less so because there’s more outspoken critics of oppression here, but as we get more and more lurkers who skew votes and swamp us with comments, this organic anti-oppression cannot keep up.

humanerror: I think as a general rule we should be extremely tolerant of sincere dumbasses. Participation in this community is an ongoing learning experience for all of us, and some of us are always going to be further along than others.

db0: Again, I agree, but only as long as those dumbasses are not stubborn. People should understand that this is an inclusive space and act accordingly, by accepting some of the same premises we all do. To give you an extreme example to signify what this means: An accepted premise is equal voting rights for all. If one were to come here, being a sincere dumbass, and ask, “but why do women deserve to vote?” and keep asking this on every democratic decision we’re making and refusing to drop it, then this is derailment.

You may think that they would obviously be ignored which is true in this example, because those premises are now widely accepted. But there’s other premises, such as those of modern feminism, that aren’t, and for feminists, challenging them is as frustrating as the above question. And yet non-feminists do no see this because of their privilege. The extreme question I posted above was considered a “valid” one a 150 years ago or so and this is what made it frustrating to first-wave feminists of that time.

This discussion is still ongoing along with many others like it. What is your perspective on this issue?

  1. I think I’ll start doing this more. My blog remains silent while I write essays over in reddit. Perhaps I can hit two birds with one stone []

Yes, male feminists do exist.

Ok, this is starting to become a trend. It’s the third time now (that I remember) that someone I’ve been arguing online with about feminism in one way or another, with me on the side of feminism of course, has assumed that I am a female. The last example was more subtle, but of course the best one was this comment where the misogynist insisted that I’m a female even after I explictly said I’m not.

I guess this happens a lot in reddit because I do not have an avatar and my username is fairly neutral in gender. This generally means that it’s assumed that I’m a man 90% of the time. The only exception is when I argue for feminism.

I generally do not bother to correct them up until the point where they’ve put their foot in their mouth as I find the hilarity that ensues after making such assumptions excellent. I do not deny that I’m a male when asked directly or when obvious female traits are implied (such as menstruation), but I do not act like a female nor do I try to trick them. In fact, I continue speaking as normal, as I would speak if they knew I was a male, which seems to confuse them greatly since their brain doesn’t eem to be able to compute someone acting/speaking “manly” and yet defending feminism.

The funniest must have been the one who accused me that I was simply stubbornly refusing to hear a “man’s opinion”. For some reason he stopped replying after I told him that I was presenting a man’s opinion. 🙂

Anyway, does anyone else consider this quite telling about the ones making anti-feminist comments? I can’t really put my finger on why I think this is damning however. What do y’all think?

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