For a long time i have tried to keep the gender discussion out of my blog, as this is a very sensitive subject, and people tend to be very strongly opinionated in either direction – so maybe to avoid some of the stuff that i’m mentioning here as well, and i didn’t want people to feel negatively about other stuff i’m writing here simply because they disagree with this subject. But I’ve commenting on other blogs, forums and commenting systems on this subject before.
In the last two days I’ve seen this article about harassment in the gaming industry linked a lot. The original Post does not allow comments (on purpose) which i personally feel is a bad thing todo when you want to discuss a subject. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “everyone should be able to flame away” (the comments on my blog are moderated as well), but i feel that if you make such strong allegations against a huge group of people, you should at least give the opportunity to reply in a civilized manner.
I did comment a few times on Facebook, when friends of mine where discussing it, but seeing how far spread it is, i decided to copy my longest comment on that from Facebook to here.
To give a bit more of context, i wrote this in response to a friend who wrote about how angry it would make him that people are denying that there is a problem, but i think most of what i wrote stands quite well on its own:
Sorry, but i have a hard time agreeing there – simply because that article describes a (actually several) problem in ways that seem far off from what i personally see.
I’m not saying there is no problem. I just need to look at the study about salary in the business that was published yesterday, so there is a gender equality problem.
But the harassment in the industry, which the article was supposedly about? Yes if someone gets harassed that is a problem, but for that you need to define harassment, what is harassment, what isn’t? And looking at the cases made in that article, i’m having a problem with taking that as a basis for making a “the industry has a problem”-argument. In fact, seeing myself as part of the industry, i have to say that i feel unfairly attacked through that article.
Take Case 1, someone made a Tumblr post and through Reddit a lot of negative response came, some of which, well usually only 14 year olds with no sense of decency would make. How is that even related to the game industry?
And further more, it then makes the claim in that case that this is proof for men don’t have that problem?
Well, that is simply not true.
As soon as you put yourself, or your opinion in the public you are a target for others, especially if what you write might be polarizing or in disagreement with the public opinion. The internet has made it easy for people to respond in a lot of lets call it disturbing ways, and so they will.
In my own experience, and you know, i’m not a woman, i have had feedback on stuff that i wrote that ranged from rather harmless bashing including, but not limited to for example that i’m fat, over people who wrote they’d put me to hospital, up to people who wrote exactly stuff like “i will rape you and your family”, and further in the highest escalation a guy who waited at the door of my apartment for me telling me to take down an article about some right wing band i wrote or else.
Now as i said, i’m not a woman, but i think this is good examples for how I’ve very much gotten comparable responses, and by this in my opinion is not really a gender problem.
Also, it is not a game industry problem either – let me put up the theory that actually people in the games industry are a minority on Reddit, so why is this used as example to talk about how people in our industry allegedly behave? No, this is a society problem, and a problem with the internet, and how people think they can behave there. And yes, i have a strong dislike for parts of the internet subcultures, like Reddit, 4chan or something awful (and yes i know that not all users on those three examples are like this, but quite often i hear shit from that direction), where people spread the idea that its OK to use this kind of language, no matter if it is rape jokes, racism or just very strong insults “because its the internet”.
The next example is about videos from pax east (a consumer fair), and their YouTube comments (which i bet are mostly not from people in the industry either, i’d guess its fans-on-the-internet again). Also, negative comments about the looks? I’ve gotten that a lot, during school, when appearing on some videos.. not a gender problem either, that’s happening to men too.
Anyway, i don’t want to go through the complete article now, the rest is in a very similar tone, with the sugar of “men tell us how to feel about this while this never happens to them…” added. Sorry, but that’s just not fair.
I think it is a good thing to speak about the problems that are there in this net culture, and maybe even further (even before the net there where hurtful letters to the editor, stalkers etc), and i’d love to see an article about that. But i don’t like to get a share of blame just because i’m male and working in the gaming industry.