What I found hardest to take was that all of these articles were written by men. A lot of them have been "in the works" for a long time now. That sounds great until you notice the impetus for actually putting their thoughts out there is almost a 'knee-jerk' response to a post written by my friend. They responded because they were affronted by something another man wrote.
The level of annoyed, perturbed, frustrated and just generally angsty I had over this turn of events was pretty high.
"Oh, that's sexist." "That's oppressing women." "I've been thinking about this topic for a long time and I have a lot to say about it."
for real ? -_-
You do not get to decide what is and isn't sexist. You don't get to determine if something is "hateful to women" (because that is what misogynistic MEANS) or whether things are oppressive. You just DON'T.
You know why? Because you're NOT A WOMAN.
Many of these articles are written by guys that have "great intentions". They want to show that they are not primitive screwheads by demonstrating their outrage. Some of these conversations went into highly involved intellectual discussions using sociology and psychology as basis for their arguments. The men had to "DO SOMETHING". They feel genuinely affronted ON BEHALF OF WOMEN. Well you know, it's nice that you are considering "us"; and it's about time some of you learned to think past your own noses.
The outrage, the angst, the almost temper tantrum level wringing of hands; it's just as bad as the shit you are complaining about.
The paternalistic attitudes and the idea that women can't (or won't) speak up for themselves is so blindingly enraging I deliberately have not responded directly to any of the posts or articles in question. Somehow, the pervasive notion that women need someone to speak for them has gotten into a whole bunch of minds, and it's just dumb.
I have very strong traits that are traditionally viewed as male. I am exceptionally visual. (I love porn and won't apologize for it.) I have a strong level of desire. I am not afraid to speak my mind, and I don't care if I "upset people". These are just SOME of why no one can speak for me.
I am perfectly capable of talking about things that upset or offend me. I've been pretty good at living up to my name, and I've had some conversations here, here, here and here about gender, gaming and how they interact. I've stated very plainly that for me, "offensive" equals "that which promotes disrespect and/or hate of others".
Here's where we get to the gritty stuff. This is my personal opinion and experience. I don't get to talk for other women (or men) any more than I want people talking for me. There was an interesting and somewhat meaningful discussion about power in one of the posts that got me all riled up, and the long and short of it was that men have power and so it is up to them to stop things that are wrong. Well, I agree to some extent; and disagree loudly on other parts of the argument.
Men DO have positions of power; especially in the gaming industry. Something I hope to address at a later time is the inequity of women in charge and/or putting on the show in our gamer culture. However, I don't think men strictly "have power" per se. I think it's more complicated than just "the guys are in charge" and that's all there is to it. I think that as the number of women (or ANY minority whatsoever) in our hobby increases, the dynamic changes and everyone feels it differently.
I've seen a large upswing of women involved in gaming and gamer culture over the past few years, and it's just now that the way the dynamic feels has started to be noticed by more than a few people. That noticeable shift has made a certain number of guys self-aware. The self-awareness has led to some embarrassment that they were associated with "that stuff" and/or "those guys", and a lot of these conversations have been a way to distance those self-aware guys from the messiness of how women are viewed and treated; at least in their opinion and perspective.
Somehow these self-aware guys decided they had to change things, or protest, or be otherwise involved in the tearing down of the established mentality of "how things go" in regards to women.
It's not up to MEN to decide (or not) to fix "how things go" by acting on behalf of women. It's not up to MEN to decide that T&A is "bad for women" or "degrades women". Those decisions, made FOR WOMEN--- BY MEN-- are inherently sexist. The only way to stop sexism is to stop acting in ways that are sexist.
By engaging in "behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex" (definition of sexist); just perpetrates and perpetuates sexist behaviors, attitudes and conditions.
Yeah. That violent outcry about sexy models? FUCKING MISSED THE POINT.
And my buddy? The one that started this recent round of "discussion" (quietly ignoring the ladies that chimed in, btw)? He was guilty of CHAUVINISM. (Please look that one up. It doesn't mean what you think it does.)
He is excessively patriotic to the Nation of Heterosexual Bronx Men. He is unduly attached to a group or place where he has belonged. He won't deny it, either. He's fiercely proud to belong to this clan of mostly minority, working class (or lower), heterosexual MEN from the Bronx. These men are also born and bred into a belief, an attitude, a set of behaviors that lives and breathes macho. Their very existence revolves around being male; their identity is about having dicks (and using them via sex with women).
Of course he likes to look at women, renderings of women, and even fantastic (again, look it up) depictions of the female form. It's part of his nature and upbringing.
As his friend, I have found his fascination with the female form pretty normal. As a woman, his ATTITUDE about women is usually pretty normal, too. It's when he starts talking about MEN that things slide to the left a little.
As I said in my post "The Skin Trade", the art is not the problem. The problem is invariably how people treat other people. Specifically when talking about this topic, how people treat women.
If women are viewed and treated as inferior, or incapable, or simply tools to use as pawns for power; this is sexist and I won't put up with it. If by their mere existence, women and their natures are used as insults; it's sexist and I won't put up with it.
I've had many talks with my friend about using language towards men that insults or degrades them by equating them with women. I've told him time and time again that it is "not cool". Part of his upbringing does implicate that the only way to insult a macho from the 'hood is to bring him down to the Nation of Others (women). That doesn't make it right, and I continue to "nag" him about it.
I've often asked my readers not to be "that guy". That goes a lot further than asking you not to treat ME badly; it goes to the heart of the matter. It asks people not to treat ANYONE badly. Treating people like people means going further than just thinking "shiny" thoughts. It means acting in ways that don't hurt others.
Don't be that guy that thinks he knows what's best for me, or thinks I'm incapable.
I'm perfectly happy to tell you when something bothers me. Like now.