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calling out bullshit is not misandry


PAX followup

Saw a couple more links go up today about the PAX controversy that spawned this week, with the Return of the Dickwolves.

From Lesley at “What Are Dickwolves, And What Do They Have to Do With Rape Culture? A Cautionary Tale of How Not to Respond to Feminist Criticism.”

And from Rachel Edidin at Wired: “Why I’m Never Going Back to Penny Arcade Expo”

To these I will further add that Dara has commentary here as to what it would actually mean to try to boycott PAX, and here as to what she’d really like to ask people to consider taking as an action in all of this.

And in the interests of clarity and forthrightness, I note that I’ve seen Gabe’s post here and have read what he’s got to say about the matter.

Me, I’ll repeat that to some degree I have no horse in this race because I’ve not been much of a PAX person or a Penny Arcade reader, either. On the other hand, I do have a horse on the very edge of the race because people close to me are PAX people and Penny Arcade readers. And in several cases, they are also survivors of rape. And it bothers the hell out of me, on their behalf, that this kind of shit keeps happening. It encourages the creation of a space that is actively hostile to them. And from a bigger picture perspective, it contributes to the ongoing misogyny of gamer culture. That, yeah, I do have a problem with.

And for me, it’s less a question of any specific bullshit remark the man makes, and more of a question of a repeating pattern of behavior. Gabe’s new post certainly sounds sincere, and if his heart is in the right place, awesome… except his heart being in the right place only means so much when he keeps making remarks like this over and over and over and over and over. He keeps getting called out on them, and keeps not stopping making these remarks. And since he is indeed half of the public face of the giant Godzilla of gamer culture, he is a huge influence on how that culture responds and behaves.

To paraphrase what I said in comments in response to my last post on this: I’ll be happy to stop calling bullshit on his behavior when he stops doing it. I have nothing personal against the man. I don’t hate him. But this ongoing pattern of behavior is bullshit, and if he wants his apologies to be taken seriously, it needs to stop.

We’ll see if it manages to stop this time, before next year’s PAX rolls around. It’ll be a deciding factor in whether I choose to go again, myself.


Friday link roundup on yet more sexism in SF/F

There’ve been a new round of links on the question of Fake Geek Girls and general sexism in SF/F and online that I’d like to bring to your all’s attention.

First up, Dara has put up this post describing a couple of experiences she’s had online this week, experiences which spell out that there is a non-zero chance that when they try to call out issues of sexism, women will get pushback and be accused of being misandrist. Even if they’re being polite.

And for those of you who read me who don’t already follow Seanan McGuire, she’s got a couple pertinent posts up as well. One is about things she witnessed at SDCC this year, including an Emma Frost cosplayer telling male con attendees they couldn’t take her picture if they couldn’t identify her costume–and more than once, finding that they couldn’t. Some of the attendees respected her wishes and backed off. Others did not.

Seanan’s followup post here reiterates why it has become exhausting for the female portion of SF/F fandom to have to recite their laundry lists of “yes, dammit, I’m a geek, I like X, Y, and Z” credentials.

Katharine Eliska Kimbriel has something to say on the matter, too. She’s yet another woman who’s written SF/F and who’s gotten shit for it because she’s a woman. She’s also got no time for the bullshit of defending her geek credentials, because she can play that game, but honestly, she has better things to do.

And to all of this, I’ll add: all of us have better things to do. So why are we continuing to have this argument?

Because, sadly, it will continue to be necessary as long as female fans are getting the pushback that Dara describes, that Seanan describes, that Katharine describes, that keeps getting described over and over and over and over again. The main difference now is that women are shouting louder about it.

Look, guys? I like you. I want to geek out with you over all these awesome things we have available to us to enjoy in our genre. I love a lot of the words, art, and music you’ve helped create. But I’m saddened, wearied, and angered that we still live in a world where Seanan McGuire can get dismissed because girls couldn’t possibly write a zombie story–which is bullshit of the highest order, because I’ve read the Newsflesh series. Seanan slings her virology like a goddamn boss, and yet because she’s a woman, it doesn’t matter. Because GIRL COOTIES.

If you’re one of those guys who feels even momentarily threatened that women are invading your treasured space of SF/F, if you’re one of those guys who picks up a book in a bookstore and immediately dismisses it because there’s a picture of a woman on the back, and especially if you’re one of those guys who’s started slinging accusations of misandry around because you keep seeing us women pointing out that this shit is not okay, there’s a really easy solution to this.

If you want to stop getting called out on sexist behavior, stop doing sexist things.

Listening to us when we give you data would be a real nice start.