THE WORD ON THE .NET

Writer T. James' Exploration of Words, on the Internet.

Radical Feminism Femsplains Science, 1.0… Gender Crime in Science: Suppression of a Woman’s Right to Free-Expression in the Workplace—Masculine Demonisation of Demostrable Femininity

Wanda Wumon. ‘Male Privilege’ prevents her rising further than lab tech.

Disclaimer: For comment, I shall be handing over to our Intersectional Feminism Correspondent, Wanda Wumon. Her opinions are entirely her own and do not reflect those of the owner of this blog.

Science: How The Patriarchy Oppresses Women’s Free Expression in the Workplace

For decades, women wanting a career in the patriarchal ‘hard’ (I don’t need to discuss the self-evident misogyny of the word—an obvious label designed to intimidate women) sciences of engineering, physics, and chemistry were expected to study for years alongside men in academic environments that subjected them daily to the torture of stare-rape and the sexualising objectification of the male gaze from privileged cis-white male-baby-nerds. Worse, we were expected to accept, with good grace, regular intimidation: being space-raped by domineering men confident of their entitlement to invade a woman’s 1/2 mile Safe Radius to propose such lewd acts as ‘checking  something in your notes’ or ‘partnering up for the group assessment’. Their real meaning was always so, so transparent: systematic weaponisation of academic study in order to suppress the natural creativity and freedom of the female spirit. Continue reading

A ‘Neutral’ Mansplains Neutrality Versus Being Pro- or Anti- Gamergate

Sounds like a dumb title, doesn’t it? But after the launch of a recent Gamergate associated tag, #GamerGateNeutral, and watching how many reacted to it, it seems an explanation of some basic principles is needed.

(NOTE: whether the GGN tag is truly representative of neutrality in its broadest sense is up for debate. Being a neutral, and therefore having enough of a brain to form my own opinions, I would argue it is not, but that isn’t the subject of this post.)

Gamergateneutral mission statement 260115

The term ‘neutral’ was coined after the descriptors of ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ gamergate came to be used as shorthand for those who focus on fighting for ethics in games journalism and those who consider that ‘gamergate’ is a cover for those wishing to engage in harassment and abuse of women in the games industry. For those who feel they cannot subscribe to, or stand with, either position, the term neutral has been adopted by some, myself included. Continue reading

A Neutral Proposal for Solving the Gamer and Social Justice Culture Clash

NOTE: Harassment and ethics are issues that are important to many, but NOT the focus this post. Agendas and concerns elsewhere, please.
This is about looking at allowing gamers of ALL sorts enjoyment of an inclusive hobby. Gaming is easily big enough for everyone. My suggestions for moving forward are:

1) When considering gaming and the community of gamers, drop the history. Leave it behind. Stop investigating. Stop shaming.
2) Social Justice types: stop trying to ban games.
3) Gamers: stop seeing the development of games that prioritise story and character interaction as threatening. Let those that enjoy ‘gentler’ or casual games do so without attacking them.
4) Devs: be aware the market contains a huge diversity of consumers. Follow your artistic vision for the game you wish to make, targeted at the audience you think will most enjoy it. Do not cave in to pressure to change your game by anyone who is not in the target demographic.
5) Devs, Gamers & Social Justice Types: stop attacking & trying to dismantle each other’s identities and sub-communities. Create safe and unsafe gaming spaces, and trash talk, or not, in an a place where it’s accepted.
6) Gamers & Social Justice Types: don’t be an idiot and make a nuisance of yourself in someone else’s space. Stick with your own and enjoy yourselves there.

What did I miss? Any suggestions/critique/agreement in the comments below. And we’re trying to look forward here. Can we think past the current gamergate ‘scandal’ no matter our affiliation?

A ‘Neutral’ Mansplains Gamergate, Social Justice and Radical Feminism

‘Mansplaining’, One Definition: a word often used by social activists and radical feminists to label someone’s opinions in such a way that they can be disregarded, based solely the gender of the holder.

Being neutral is about either not caring or it’s about asking questions. Why is there a fuss about a Storm Trooper’s colour? Why should Katniss Everdeen have been black? Why are the current sexualisation and depiction of women in games ‘bad’? And why are those who support gamergate feeling under attack from some radical feminists and social activists when it’s women who’ve been abused and threatened?

Gamergate was birthed as conjoined twins: the harassment of some women and the issues around game journalism ethics, or lack thereof. One side wants to say it’s all about the former, that the gamergate tag has no legitimacy except as another label for misogyny. The tag should be condemned and buried. The other side are crying out to be heard as they use the moniker ‘gamegate’ as a touchstone for the shared values of gaming culture, and even community. On both sides there are those who say their gamergate is the definitive one. I’m neutral and have to disagree. Gamergate is as messed up and mixed up as discussions about the value and nature of religion, and arguing exact definitions as pointless as debates over which gender is better. Continue reading

Dear Radical Feminist, a Letter About My Son

Dear Radical Feminist,

I have the honour and privilege of being the father of a wonderful seven-year-old. It is not his fault he was born a boy and has white skin and is statistically more likely to grow up hetero-sexual. Continue reading

#Gamergate, it’s ‘Them and Us’ All Over Again

The end of society as we know it? Probably not, but there’s plenty of fallout for those too close.

August-November, 2014 and #Gamergate hit the proverbial fan, setting off waves across the net:

  • ‘Lack of ethics in games journalism’ saw female dev-minxes allegedly grinding completely innocent journalists until they were so hot on testosterone they willingly lay naked on floors, laptop-typing feverously positive game reviews that were stiletto heel edited with jabs to the neck.
  • Hidden left-world think-tank, oestro-powered cranium-women sent Telepathic Mother Waves that were downloaded through big loopy earrings and regurgitated, unedited, by glam, pretty young things.
  • Hidden left-world think-tank, testostro-powered unwashed news hacks sat around in hairy-huddles, picking fleas from each others armpits and groin-sniffed and chest beat until they thought they were Alpha Kong-Dongs and could defecate on everyone else from on-high.
  • White, fat, hairy neckbearded menchildren responded and declared themselves the new oppressed minority majority, except the journalists had already killed them, so it was too late.
  • Left to to carry the torch were women-trans-gay-coloured gamers who shouted at the open-minded and completely unbiased mainstream press who didn’t listen – they wanted to demonstrate sympathy with the fem-left by acting in an utterly patriarchal way: ‘helping’ distressed women against their online male oppressors because it was what their audience expected, and gamer-hating brought in the ratings and ad revenue.
  • The Rabid-Fem community heard the ‘gamers’ who refused to conform though. Clothed solely in totally functional and ungenderising armour woven from whiter-than-white lily petals, these humanitarian souls labelled other women, non-whites and every gender imaginable, ‘white mens’ bee-atches’, ‘house-n*ggers’ and ‘gender-traitors’.
  • The non-majority gamers retaliated with angry signs declaring ‘#NotYourShield’ and accusations of control, hypocrisy and prejudice.

Not nice, is it?

The confusion, clash of ideologies, nepotism, deceit and arrogance displayed through the whole debacle has left lives in tatters (no, really) and enraged  people on- and offline. So, who’s to blame? The Quinns, Sarkeesians, or Wus? If women had that much power, even the most rabid man-haters would be appeased, their desired matriarchy firmly established over all men and any women still willing to treat the breast-less as human beings. Whatever their actions or politics, those three have taken enough flak and it’s time to let them get on with finding their lives. Zoe Quinn will, hopefully, eventually find joy in developing games and sharing them with an open-minded audience. Yes, Anita Sarkeesian will probably release another video or several criticising males and video games and appear on mainstream TV and in editorials, but that’s what she does. I’m not going to tell her she can’t. I’d even fight for her right to do so but she doesn’t need my help.  Whatever she says or does, I hope those that threatened her are caught and dealt with. And Brianna Wu? I hope she keeps finding the courage to send a few mocking tweets – there are plenty on  the internet who need a good prodding. My hope is that they’re big enough to take it, and restrict their responses to tweets-in-kind.

So, that leaves the misogynist gamers (no matter their colour, creed or orientation), the corrupt games journalists, the sociopathic trolls, self-serving mainstream media, the Boadicea Wimmin Warriors and Fem-Bashing Neanderthals. Who’s your tribe? Which group(s) do you hate?

Personally, I blame the cliques; group-think works for any ideology. It’s the safe way to live.

How to fight an historical patriarchy that remains as part of the establishment, making the life-slope steeper for women to climb? Solution: define yourself by opposition and become a man-hater pushing for preference, not equality.

How to fight racism and discrimination against human beings who just happen to have more melanin in their skin than I do? Solution: define yourself by opposition and call white males bigoted ‘rednecks’ and ‘neckbeards’.

How to fight the corrupt media? Solution: in-focus and huddle, until you call for boycotting of every site that hosts reviews you just don’t like, and not just because they manipulate and grant behind the scenes favours. Follow up by nit-picking every little mistake your opposition makes, as if that proves your point. (But your opposition does that too, so it doesn’t matter.)

Instead, do you join the corrupt media? Answer: absolutely, because you get to close ranks with your mates when the finger pointing starts, insult you readership, and refuse to even consider signing up to ethically sound journalistic guidelines to ensure a level playing field for everyone.

That leaves the disenfranchised, what should they do? Answer: form an anti-whatever group and send the hate ‘they’ dissed you with back at ‘them’, ten-fold.

What’s so utterly obvious, yet apparently so hard to believe and act on, is that no one is perfect. Prejudice, self-righteousness, anger, hatred, judgemental-ism: it’s part of all of us. People are complex. No-one’s online self is all that they are. But, whoever we are and whatever our weaknesses, we’re defined by our choices. So, which have you made? Do you hate/despise/belittle those who oppose you? Attempt to silence them? Attack them personally?  (Note: criticising someone’s work is different – maybe just keep the bile out of it?)

Are you defined by being anti-something, or are you for something, and no, they are not the same.

Humanity doesn’t need hate-filled feminism any more than it needs self-interested patriarchy. It doesn’t need self-appointed, self-interested power groups any more than it does those who would resort to abuse or attacks to fight them. It doesn’t need groups or individuals labelling and condemning each other and not listening.

Whether our bits jiggle when we walk, or not, whether we turn pink in the sun, or not, when did we leave parts of our minds / souls / spirits behind?

Tomorrow is another day, so why not make it better?

#Gamergate: What Does it *Mean*? And Should You Use it?

Like many writers, I find stringing words together gets my thoughts in order. I wasn’t sure I was even going to publish this… but I decided to. It’s not an academic piece. It’s not referenced, it’s opinion. It’s pretty much an unedited stream of consciousness written at 3am after a private disagreement with another writer about gamergate. Was it ethical to use the hashtag on Twitter, to participate at all?

‘#Gamergate’ is something that’s become a massive controversy in the gaming community. Gaming has been a huge part of my life, nearly 30 years of it in fact. I took a break recently to explore my own creativity and have come full circle writing in a game universe. (Usual disclaimer: these opinions are completely my own and are not representative of anyone else’s. I’m an indie writer and enjoy the privilege of spouting off without undue concerns about being censored.)

Gamergate is a complex, many headed hydra. It started with an online ‘exposure’ by Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend of intimate details of her life, their previous relationship, naked photos, and accusations of sleeping with games journalists for favourable reviews of her game, amongst other personal attacks. The ‘sex for favours aspect’ was subsequently rebuffed by Kotaku (the site the games journalist she had a relationship with wrote for), stating what was written was not contemporaneous with the relationship and nothing was written after it started. But the internet had already got hold of the story. Some vicious thugs, because there is no other name for people that do things like this, persecuted Quinn to such an extent she was driven out of her home and it’s wrecked her life. Other female gamers/developers/critics have encountered similar hateful treatment. Perversely, some of the gamergate movement denied this ever happened, that the abuse isn’t real – I’ve read the tweets. Whether this stems from ignorance or a wilful desire to ignore the evidence, I don’t know, but I’m not convinced by either.

Others accuse those affected of cynical victim-hood to push an agenda, and even engineering the evidence of the abuse for personal gain or furthering of political agendas antithetical to gaming culture. Personally, I don’t think this likely. The victimisation is real, it’s ugly, and is a stain on the gaming community as a whole… And for some that’s gamergate. Jealous ex -> stigmatisation -> vilification -> victimisation. Ruined lives. The label of gamergate stood for, and will always stand for, the systematic abuse of women in the gaming community. After the hateful experiences of those concerned, that’s a perfectly reasonable interpretation. Gamergate for them will always be when their community turned on them. Many people of conscience also feel this way about the tag. (Watching someone go through that, you’d have to be a real git not to empathise.) They argue that to use the tag is to perpetuate the abuse, even implicitly endorse it. Some of those under the gamergate banner still espouse viewpoints I think most reasonable people would find utterly offensive. So, this leaves a question, how can anyone use the tag online, support gamergate, and even defend it? Is gamergate now not just another misogynistic label and rallying point for sexist bigots and abusers?

You’d think so. I was surprised when I read the tweets.

As well as the abuse, I found a diverse range of people: white, coloured, male, female, trans, gay, bi… all using the tag. Surely this is morally indefensible and reprehensible? It comes down to motive. I read, listened, watched. I went back in time and and did more of the same. Some of it was about the victimisation/affront to gaming of Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu; some viewpoints were sympathetic, some not. There was, and still is, threads running through the tag highlighting the minutiae of the lives and event-sequences for all three individuals: who did what, when, to whom; what this tweet/vid/blog/interview means. But that wasn’t all that was there. There were many who were genuinely concerned about the ethics of games journalism and political agendas. Whether or not Quinn was guilty as charged didn’t matter, there were other things wrong with games reporting. Nah, I thought. So I did some more digging. Major companies have pulled advertising. Gawker has been found to have broken Amazon’s advertising-host Terms and Conditions and lost its backing; games journalists and forum moderators sites have been called out for bullying and abusing ‘gamers'; professional cliques (ProJournos) are thought to communicate behind closed doors, having the power to make-or-break a title before release. There was, and is, a massive community outcry to have these issues and concerns heard, to have them discussed within the gaming news sights that purport to represent ‘gamers’. Most were silent and gamer resentment mounted. Then several sites released ‘Death of the Gamer’ articles. Gamers were labelled as fat, white, heterosexual misogynist ‘neckbeards’. There was abuse from people who called themselves professional journalists towards a community that, apparently naively, thought they were there to provide a service and share there love of gaming. White male gamers didn’t like it. But neither did women gamers, coloured gamers, or gamers of other sexualities. This isn’t us!’ they shouted. ‘We are gamers too!’

The antipathy had been there a long time. Some reviewers were evaluating the content of the games, in a way that asked, ‘Were they “PC”?’ Many gamers wanted reviewers to just review games, not add in ‘progressive’ political footnotes. The divide, dislike and distrust between journalists and many gamers grew, until some journos declared they wanted them, and any male-based culture, ‘Dead’ and gone. From outside, a storm in a tea cup? It can look that way, but for many gaming is a passion, and for some of the most vulnerable, their only escape. The defence started. No one likes being called a misogynist, sexist, a bigot because they play some games featuring women lacking a full set of clothes and pneumatic breasts. (The debate as to whether this makes you a misogynist or not is one of the central ones of gamergate.) Other non-white/non-male/non-hetero groups were outraged at being misrepresented by those who supposedly thought gaming should be more inclusive, and that this wasn’t going to happen until the old, stereotypical white male culture was dismantled. ‘Gaming is already diverse; we’re here and we have our own voices, thank you very much,’ came the response. So gamers of all stripes, genders, and orientations protested. Some gamers allied with the journalists, some stayed neutral, and some idiots stirred the pot. The dialogues had all been happening under the label, the hashtag, of ‘gamergate’. The label was irrevocably attached to the conversation/debate/war. Everyone now knows what ‘WWII’ means: six years of hell to push back an evil regime, but to some in 1939 it meant a local territorial dispute that would be sorted by Christmas. ‘WWII’ is a label whose meaning changed over time for the people that lived through it. So it is now for many moderate gamers: ‘gamergate’ is no longer just Quinn’s story, or Sarkeesian’s, or Wu’s – it’s still their stories, yes, but there’s now many more. To anyone whose watched trends and ‘movements’ come and go on the internet, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Repackaging, reinventing, rehashing of meaning is endemic to such a transient medium as social networking. The word remains.

So now you have camps: those who are disgusted by anyone who identifies with the gamergate tag; those who feel it represents them, their community, their concerns and stand in opposition to a press that they feel has betrayed them; those who want it to implode, to display the moral bankruptcy of the white male patriarchal gaming culture; those who want it to disappear so they can go back to playing games; and those who couldn’t care less. (There’s probably more.)

Whatever their viewpoints or agenda, the meaning of ‘gamergate’ has changed, for the people that use it (or not), and over the course of time. It will continue to change as more moderates feel they can/need to affiliate with it to actively engage in a discussion things may settle down, develop, mature. Useful dialogues and accountability, a vilification of those who peddle hate and violence may become hallmarks of the virtual culture crossroads that is gamergate. Either that, or it will fall into the hands of one extremist mindset or another and drift into obscurity leaving the disillusioned middle behind… or everyone will get bored and drop it as yesterday’s fad. Whatever happens, the collective meaning of gamergate is different: from yesterday, to today, into tomorrow.

The meaning for those whose lives were chewed up by gamergate’s genesis will not change, however. And whatever their politics or viewpoint, my heart goes out to them.

Whether you choose to use it depends on what it means to you.

 

Review: Grammarly Premium, Grammar Checker

 Interesting Image of a Very Angry Grandmother‘You’re never going to meet my standards, little boy.’

First, a confession:  in order to write this review, Grammarly Inc. provided me with a free upgrade to a premium account. However, I remain unbiased for three reasons:

  1. When I attempted to use Grammarly Premium over a year ago to help proofread my novel, I gave up on it. I’m only now revisiting the software and it has a lot to prove.
  2. I’m not the kind of person that can be bought with a freebie.
  3. It’s taken me so long to get around to this review, my year’s free upgrade ended halfway through writing it. Luckily, I finished the Premium testing last week, but this review has only been checked by Grammarly Basic. (After reading my prose, you may decide Grammarly Premium is an essential purchase after all.) ;)

Introduction

As one of its most established players, Grammarly is the Old Dear of the automated grammar checking business and is used by students, legal eagles, and writers. I wanted to find out whether it was impossible to teach the premium edition to suck eggs or whether she’s an awkward ol’baggage only fit to bury. Continue reading

I’m Still Alive – Just Working on Other Things

When I started my latest project I thought I would keep posting regularly on this blog, but alas I haven’t had time to do both. This blog isn’t dead, and new material may surface from time to time, but until Out of the Darkness is complete that’s where I will be committing the bulk of my writing time.

I’m blogging about the progress of the novel; just click on the picture below if you are interested in finding out more:

Out of the Darkness is a science fiction novel set in the Elite: Dangerous universe. Release estimated to be Q2-3, 2014.

Featured Book Giveaway: “Girls & Monsters” by Anne Michaud

Anne Michaud girls and monsters

Girls & Monsters

by Anne Michaud

Release date: Apr 30, 2013

Win a free trade paperback copy of Anne Michaud’s Girls & Monsters a month before it’s released!

THERE’S ONLY ONE WEEK TO GO BEFORE THE GIVEAWAY CLOSES…

***CLICK HERE TO ENTER***

 

This dark but uplifting collection of five Young Adult novellas includes:

Death Song: Liz is in love with Joe, but the monster of the lake has other plans for them.

Black Dog: Scarlet is engaged in a struggle for her sanity, but according to the voice in her head, she may be too late.

A Blue Story: When Katherine’s beloved dog goes missing, she fears her strange new neighbor might be involved.

Dust Bunnies: Christiane faces her childhood arachnophobia and ends up confronting even greater fears in this test of sisterhood.

We Left at Night: Brooke and her family must abandon their home and their lives to make it out of a disease-plagued town overrun by zombies.

 

Girls & Monsters is for everyone who has ever been brave enough to confront their childhood fears…and lived to tell about it.

 

About Anne Michaud

“Anne Michaud is an author of many talents, especially getting distracted by depressing music and dark things. She likes to write and read everyday, and speak of herself in the third person.

Since her Master’s degree in Screenwriting from the University of London, England, Anne has written, directed and produced three short films,  distributed by Ouat! Media in Toronto, Canada. The lyric documentary Worth a Thousand Words (2006) can be seen here.

And then, after hundreds of hours spent on studying and making films, she changed her mind and started writing short stories, novelettes and novels. Some have been published, others will be soon enough.

Keep your eyes open, she’s behind you.”

More information can be found about this monochrome yet colourful French-Canadian and her writing on her blog and her Facebook page. She has also been known to Tweet.

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