Continuing "Game of the year 2013, not for girls"

Continuing the discussion from Game of the year 2013, not for girls:

i wanted to reply to this, but apparently the thread is closed. (???)

i am a fairly serious gamer, and would certainly not discount an authority on gaming because they were female. i think the problems come from relying on sources like kotaku etc… these sites are populated by a majority of 14yo boys. this is why more mature gamers know of sites like kotaku only as far as its existence.

my suggestion would be to hire a female game reviewer and start reviewing games. boingboing has the mouthpiece, and the readership to lead the way. why not?

i have no idea if anyone is ever going to see this, because i have no idea how bbbbs works. but hey, thoughts?

It was closed because of the direction that the discussion was going.

There are female game reviewers. The problem is that they get a lot of rape and death threats. The article specifically mentions Gamespot’s Carolyn Petit and her review of Grand Theft Auto V (you can easily find similar examples). She gave it a 9/10, but also pointed out the sexism within the game.

The review page exploded with comments—ultimately topping 22,000—most of which viciously attacked Petit over her credibility, her gender, and her audacity to even raise the issue. A petition was signed by tens of thousands to get her fired from Gamespot for disrespecting GTA V. Three examples:

* Politically muddled and misogynistic. What a fcking surprise coming from this reviewer. Not even going to read this sht.
* Fire Carolyn.
* It’s GTA. Of course it’s misogynistic. F*ck your feelings.

The personal attacks against Carolyn in the comments are so vile, they should rightly give pause to any woman considering a job in the video-game industry. The message here is clear: consider gender in professional criticism and suffer personal consequences.

Those three examples are probably fairly mild compared to most of the other comments that she received. Most women probably do not want to deal with the harassment that happens when females discuss gender and video games.

It may also be relevant that Carolyn Petit was not physically born a woman. Not saying that defends any kind of incivility much less threats of violence, but it is a different situation that could “inspire” certain people.

I am not a gamer, so I was just going by the example that the article provided. I could research other women who have been harassed and threatened for their opinions regarding games, but I doubt it will do much good here.

I wouldn’t want to take on that kind of irrational, fear-based, gender-directed hate on a daily basis. Would you?


this was kind of my point: why even bother after so much idiotic hate from a certain group, when there are plenty of sites (such as bb) that have a large readership, already review games periodically, and are not populated by internet kiddies?

pointing out that kotaku is a hive of immature idiocy is kind of like pointing out there’s some racism on 4chan, or some assholes on youtube… it’s a given. why stick around? is it really the market any game reviewer wants to participate in?

How is her trans status relevant?

Because of how some people react to it. In my experience, it goes above and beyond everyday misogyny.

The people who are going to hate on a woman for speaking her mind are going to show up wherever she goes. Also, the harassment is not limited to female game reviewers. If a woman tries to discuss the harassment that female game reviewers are receiving, she will start being harassed. It is not limited to certain websites.


It would be nice to see video games reviewed at BB with greater frequency, and even better if any given game could get reviewed by both a woman and a man. The misogynist shitheads will still show up. They always do, even at a site as well moderated as BB. As for the Kotakus of the world, I think the answer to why anyone would work for such an entity is probably money and exposure. It’s much more difficult to start out all by yourself than it is to make a name for yourself at an established, high-traffic site.

[edit] missed an important vowel.

it sounds like you’ve just given up, fireshadow. what do you suggest, convincing every loudmouthed 15yo with misplaced anger on the internet not to troll people?

i’d like to think that once female game reviewers (and gamers, for that matter) become more of a norm, there will be no point in the trolling.

it’s not just going to stop though, the smallest indie game developers get trolled for whatever, regardless of sex… anyone writing anything for a well known site, especially opinion pieces like reviews, has to expect that a certain amount of people are going to want to get under their skin, for whatever reason. if they’re female, that’s one thing trolls are going to latch on to. i dont, however, see that being such an issue at a site like bb vs. kotaku or wherever.

a big part of the problems is dogsh!t moderation, too. i look at sites like NPR… worst moderation i’ve ever seen on a news site. people hope on every… single… thread… just to say “another suck article by NPR, why do you people read this trash” and that’s it. usually more than one person. it could be a factual article on freaking gardens in columbus OH and it would get troll hits, and they’d stay on the board.

moderators are there to firewall their coworkers against idiots, threats, misogyny, etc. if your site isn’t willing to do it, then why even pretend to have rules for posting?

this is more of a tangental rant, yes, but an unmanaged message board is just begging to be invaded by angry idiots.

edit: hop. the word is hop. =D

Once again, it is not limited to certain websites (that was the point of the post that you are replying to). Consider Anita Sarkeesian, the person who created a Kickstarter for a video series called “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games”. She was harassed on YouTube and on Wikipedia. Someone even created a game where each click on a picture of Sarkeesian’s face was a “punch” that resulted in her face getting bloody and bruised. When another woman tweeted against the game and its creator, she also received rape and death threats. These women were not on “kotaku or wherever”. So please stop suggesting that a female game reviewer will not be harassed if she just finds the right website.

Do you actually have any evidence that this is limited to teenage boys? Other people seem to think differently:

Like Ms. Sarkeesian, many women gamers are documenting their experiences on blogs like “Fat, Ugly or Slutty” (whose name comes from the typical insults women receive while playing against others online). It cheekily catalogs the slurs, threats and come-ons women receive while playing games like Resident Evil or Gears of War 3.

The blog publishes screenshots and voice recordings that serve as a kind of universal citation in each new controversy, called upon to settle debates or explode myths. For instance, many of the site’s recordings feature deep voices captured from the chat features of online games, debunking the widely held belief that bad behavior begins and ends with 13-year-old boys.

Another example:

In fall 2011, I had the honor of being in the Xbox Gamer Spotlight, a weekly feature where a different gamer’s profile is put up for view in the Xbox Live dashboard or on the Xbox Live website. My profile and avatar (which I fashioned to resemble me as closely as possible) was on display for anyone and everyone with an Xbox Live account to see—and that’s a lot of people (more than 12 million Gold subscribers as of last fall). In the resulting week, I received over 1,000 messages in my inbox. Because I am getting my Ph.D. in sociology, I like to record everything for study, so I decided to catalog the messages. The majority were congratulatory. The next most frequent type of message I eventually categorized as “Come-Ons or Denigration,” including slurs, rape fantasies, and two pictures of male genitalia. Adult male genitalia, for anyone who might be tempted to dismiss such harassment as the work of a group of immature 12-year-old boys.

This is something I’ve heard plenty: Oh, these are just misguided kids. But according to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is more than 30 years old, and 68 percent of gamers are over the age of 18. So to chalk all of this ugliness up to immature boys who just need to “grow up” does nothing but turn a blind eye to the very real problem—a problem that leads some young women to avoid voice communications, hide their gender in their profiles, or give up on online gaming altogether.

Acting like this is limited to teenagers seems like a poor attempt to downplay the seriousness of the harassment that these women receive. I also disagree that this sort of behavior is merely “driving trollies” that women should just expect and accept:

When Miranda Pakozdi entered the Cross Assault video game tournament this year, she knew she had a slim chance of winning the $25,000 prize. But she was ready to compete, and promised fans watching online that she would train just as hard as, if not harder than, anyone else.

Over six days of competition, though, her team’s coach, Aris Bakhtanians, interrogated her on camera about her bra size, said “take off your shirt” and focused the team’s webcam on her chest, feet and legs. He leaned in over her shoulder and smelled her.

Ms. Pakozdi, 25, an experienced gamer, has said she always expects a certain amount of trash talk. But as the only woman on the team, this was too much, especially from her coach, she said. It was after she overheard Mr. Bakhtanians defending sexual harassment as part of “the fighting game community” that she forfeited the game.

The guy also defended the use of the word “rape” and phrases like “rape that bitch”.

At some point, it may get better for female gamers. I, however, accept the fact that many women do not want to be “trolled”. They do not want to receive rape and death threats. They do not want to have their websites and email accounts hacked. They do not want their home addresses posted online. So I am not going to tell another woman that she should put herself in such a position. I am not going to pretend that there is some way to magically prevent a woman from being harassed.


before i start here, i’m responding to the comments more than the post.

the treatment of sarkeesian was despicable, but her videos were posted on youtube. find me a youtube video without some sort of “eat shit and die” comment. youtube has virtually no comment policy, so i’d say it’s not the best example of a “nothing like kotaku or whatever” situation. in fact, i’d say it’s potentially a whole lot worse, because of the instant cross-spectrum exposure. the youtube crowd is certainly not mostly gamers.

i assume that the biggest harassers of women in gaming, and people in general in gaming, are pre-mid pubescent boys, because i’ve spent time playing games. hop on a semi-public teamspeak channel for a popular game, or voice on a game like call of duty, world of tanks, war thunder, minecraft, hell, everquest ts was full of creepy little trollies with soprano voices. they do it because they can get away with it.

i have no doubt that in some instances these people are not super young but in my experience the older ones are much fewer and farther between, and i’ve dealt with a lot of people in games, be they rpgs, shooters, or the odd fsx flight controller that logs in to scream “NI&%R NI&$#R NI$($R” and log off. yep, on flight simulator 10.

regardless of age, they do it because they like to get under people’s skin, and they’ll pick whatever they feel is the most direct method. unfortunately, an attempt to call the harassers out on it is only begging for more harassment. i think it might be a lot more effective to go after the website that is failing so miserably to moderate the idiocy in their comments, because the internet is just not going to shut up, ever.

mind, i’m not talking about the people such as the interviewer mentioned above. that guy needs to be fired, or at the very least blackballed from any sort of gaming event, because he’s fueling more bs like this. there’s more than enough hate floating around already.

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