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Vox Day: Actually, it's about keeping women out of gaming

Vox Day: Defending video gaming against icky girls
Vox Day: Defending video gaming against icky girls

Leave it to Vox Day, the proudly reactionary sci-fi author and game developer, to say what most of his #GamerGate comrades spend so much energy denying: that their little movement is at least in part a backlash against women in gaming. At least against real women, with their own opinions.

As Vox writes in a post on his Alpha Game blog,

Games have long been an escape from women and social pressure for many young men, so it should surprise no one that they aren’t particularly keen on seeing their retreat invaded by the very things from which they are escaping.

So why exactly do guys want an escape from women? Well, as Vox once explained in an interview with “Dr. Helen” for her book Men On Stike,

Women can be entertaining, but they’re expensive, inaccessible for most men, and from the male perspective, shockingly unreliable.

What makes it worse, Vox suggests on his blog, is that the kind of guys who play a lot of video games aren’t exactly the guys scoring the top quality women.

When people ask a gamma or an omega if he wouldn’t rather be out and about “with a real girl” instead of playing games, they should first keep in mind what sort of “real girl” is probably on offer for him. And considering the alternatives, who can truly blame him if he looks at his choices and decides that games and porn are genuinely the better option.

Huh. Aren’t you a game developer, Vox? I thought the first rule of GamerGate is that journalists and developers shouldn’t insult their customers.

But GamerGaters were quick to pardon Mytheos Holt for calling them all a bunch of dateless losers, and I suspect they’ll do the same with Vox, because no matter how pathetic he thinks most gamers are, it’s clear he thinks women are worse.

201 replies on “Vox Day: Actually, it's about keeping women out of gaming”

From the quote on Mike’s link Pox was claiming that genetic science has recently provided evidence that African people (not sure if he thinks the same of Asians) are less human than European people. Wut? I’ve only read a few books about genetics and have no formal education in the subject other than the basics so I can’ claim expertise but, seriously. What? I have never seen any science that supports this at all. What is he even talking about?

It means “I’m a bigoted asshole”. What does less or more human mean? Such terms would be a human construction, right? Human as a species, homo sapiens, is defined by “can you mate and create viable offspring” those are the lines and there are no hominids on Earth today outside of those lines.

Going back to what science knows, not only are there multiple lines of archeological/anthropological evidence that the human race originated in Africa, but Africa is also the human locus of diversity. Humans in Africa and/or of recent African origin are more genetically diverse than human groups outside of Africa. This is due to stuff like population bottlenecks but racists today have erased all of their previous dumb theories and re-‘splained this biological fact to mean that the mutations that occurred in the diaspora are some sort of proof of genetic superiority, whatever in the world that would mean. Adaptations to environments, etc, to diseases, etc, do not make a creature better or worse. Again, that is a human construct.

Racists are idiots, their blatherings are not science, and the way they are always several decades behind the science trying to reinterpret it to mean that they’re awesome just for being born to the right parents would be comical if they weren’t bent on hurting so many people.

@Orion, I’m with you on the funding deal, and don’t forget there are VC firms and even … states (see Rhode Island … oops) funding so-called AAA games, just the same way movies are funded, and of course not all of these turn a profit so it would be unfair to credit customers with the funding of games that bombed and lost money for everyone.

What we need is some journalism on this topic … you know, that thing, like “ethics”, that doesn’t mean what GG-ers think it means.

That said, iPad, iPhone, and Android games are making a LOT of money and more than that, a LOT of profit … of course as more companies pile into that space the risk will increase, just as it did with AAA games. (Those were always risky, though, because it can take years to finish a project and some other company might have made an advance that makes your game seem out of date by the time it’s released.) Maybe it’s more like TV and movies … TV didn’t kill movies, but it changed the economics of movies a LOT.

@ Buttercup

They’ve really shot themselves in the foot by retreating into a doubled-down version of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club, haven’t they? Anything that smacks of self-improvement or decent human behavior gets rejected as part of the feminazi PC conspiracy. Politeness, love, relationships, tolerance, equality, courtesy, critical thinking – those are all for “lesser” beings,

They view relationships as a competition, whoever gets the most out of it for the least effort “wins”.

Run away, run away…

@altofronto

They play games to escape any kind of reality in which women, LGBTQ, or PoC folk exist and are represented as fully-rounded characters, because their favourite escapist fantasy involves being a big ole white macho-man.

They exploded over games having different player OPTIONS, options they could easily scroll past. So it has little to do with games or gameplay in the end. This is about women having an opinion. This is about burning the witch. Google “Operation Lollipop”. This was the #GG test run. A racist, sexist agenda. It wasn’t even MRAs who started this mess although they jumped on the bandwagon. It was some straight up determined racist f*cks who were trying to come up with new ways to troll Black people on social media. Trolling and tormenting people IS the point. That’s the game here. Not a single person shooter with hot grafix.

Er, yeah dude, pretty sure that women aren’t inaccessible to MOST men. Sure, a few guys may make the conscious choice not to pursue romantic relationships on a temporary or permenant basis and sure, a few guys may have long dry spells, but even the most stereotypical nerds, those cut from the same mold as myself, generally manage to A) Get laid at least a few partners and B) Manage and maintain actual physical relationships.

Some of us neckbeards actually get together with hot girls Vox, wrap your head around that one.

Fedoras actually twist your brain waves and make you sexist. Unless you wear tinfoil beneath them. Then you are safe

@ Orion – I don’t think the GG-ers even consider it in that much depth, they just want their consumer demographic money to dictate how the market is supplied. I’d just like to assert myself as being a fellow consumer, and having money exactly as green as theirs, while being part of the marginally larger demographic to boot.

@ Holocene – I don’t think it’s limited to player options, there have been freak-outs over gay NPCs flirting with their characters via dialogues. But I agree, a lot of it is just about “putting those uppity [slurs] back in their place” for daring to express themselves or even assert their existence via the medium of video games. As if it’s the result of some kind of direct pressure from activist groups that some NPCs might be rounded characters, and not game devs imitating life through their art and finally catching up with the times.

It’s all about defensiveness. Defending the “L337 gamer” identity from “casual gamers”. Defending their egos from anything that doesn’t put them front and centre as the protagonist. Defending their favourite games from criticism. Defending their regressive opinions and tropes of women, PoC and the LGBTQ community. Defending their positions as most chased-after consumer. Defending their privilege to not be forced to accept or think about the existence of people who are not like them……
Ultimately, it’s all so shallow.

Fedoras actually twist your brain waves and make you sexist. Unless you wear tinfoil beneath them. Then you are safe

aw, it’s trying to pretend it isn’t a troll. innit cute?*

*no. it’s not

@Boogerghost

So many of these Gaters seem to be under the impression that all the people who have always been feminists are suddenly becoming gamers, when really a bunch of people who have always been gamers are gradually becoming feminists.

Nice. Nailed it.

As if it’s the result of some kind of direct pressure from activist groups that some NPCs might be rounded characters, and not game devs imitating life through their art and finally catching up with the times.

Sarkeesian talks about this. But isn’t it interesting that they threw a rage-meltdown prior to her even raising the money for the first webisode? Before. Not in response to.

I’m not a gamer by any means. I am a nerd, but I played sports year round and my mother was really negative on computer games (and also on me staying over at friends’ houses–when I had friends) so by the time I got any access I found that I really sucked and found sucking at something pointless kinda … pointless. My most shameful nerd self-expression would probably be erotic fanfic, posted under another nym, obvs. Writing and posting it was rewarding … playing videogames wasn’t.

But I’ve been reading and listening to what everyone has been saying and what I hear from female–born female–gamers (I don’t mean to be transphobic–actually I am trans–just pointing out that it’s a different life experience) is that while the female NPCs in certain games are a nuisance, they really take back seat to really simple basic things like being able to play as a female protagonist (or a protagonist of color, or both). And also, being able to play multi-user games without having people you don’t know pile on IRC-level nasty when they hear a female voice.

And frankly now, just being able to be in the industry for women seems to be a major challenge, never mind the content of the games being created.

I see a lot of parallels between gamergate and what happened to Rebecca Watson. Because Watson was tolerated — not embraced, tolerated — as long as they thought she was a chill girl of Atheism (the movement, the one with conferences and self-important thought leaders). There was already negativity about Skepchick (the blog) and about having women speakers other than a few superannuated old guard folks like Dr. Harriet Hall (who has positioned herself as the chill matron when it was time to make a choice) and Eugenie Scott (who is not really part of the atheist movement per se but is a hero to a lot of atheists for fighting–successful–against creationism and Intelligent Design in public schools) who had “earned” a place at the table (and didn’t make the bro’s uncomfortable in uncomfortable places). (No doubt O’Hair would have been among them but she was murdered by a con-man in a really twisted, bizarre case.)

But once Rebecca broke the unspoken truce, by criticizing an “awkward guy”‘s behavior, by suggesting that one of the tribe–the “Brights”–could have made her uncomfortable when everybody knows the bad guys are all religious, right?–it was on. And I mean ON. It was nasty. Relentless. Women who supported Watson like Surly Amy got death threats. Personal lives and careers were assailed. Big wig douchebags showed out. Dawkins played Adam Baldwin except AB has always been a bit of a joke whereas Dawkins despite the “Brights” silliness still was basking in a lot of respect which he has proceeded to blow big time.

Sailor Moon–love it! Truth, justice, and the American–what’s that you say? Ai to seigi means Love and Justice? What’s that? You say she’s Japanese? Oh. Ohhh.

You know what was the cutest thing ever? Chibiusa (Rini) saying I will punish you in baby talk: o shi o ki you

MRAs who neg young girls and mock their pure hearts, I cannot forgive you! Or your ridiculous hats! Yurusenai!

/yes I am loving Sailor Moon R on Hulu, why do you ask?

But I’ve been reading and listening to what everyone has been saying and what I hear from female–born female–gamers (I don’t mean to be transphobic–actually I am trans–just pointing out that it’s a different life experience) is that while the female NPCs in certain games are a nuisance, they really take back seat to really simple basic things like being able to play as a female protagonist (or a protagonist of color, or both). And also, being able to play multi-user games without having people you don’t know pile on IRC-level nasty when they hear a female voice.

I think it’s all of those things together, honestly. The eye candy characters would be more tolerable if there were also female characters that were, you know, actual characters with personalities and a purpose other than being wank fodder, and when you pile on the hostility that anyone who sounds female seems to automatically get the “this is not for you” message comes across loud and clear. If it was just one of those things then people wouldn’t be so pissed off, it’s the accumulation of micro-aggressions combined with the lack of representation that reads as “you are not welcome here”.

Some of us neckbeards actually get together with hot girls Vox, wrap your head around that one.

Pretty sure Theo, who is a garden variety religious conservative as well as an open sexist/racist wingnut is getting all the sex in his life that he wants and instead is talking to an audience of marks, just like Elam, Heartiste, and all the rest. “Unhappy with your life? Let me validate your unhappiness with pure unvarnished bullshit and then sell you rage.” In Theo’s case he makes his living, last I checked, selling milporn, not blogging, so his motivation is to garner a flying monkey army to fight back against the evil kool kids* in the sci-fi/fantasy world who are trying to “silence” him. He just wants attention and revenge.

Kinda like Eron Gjoni, who found out too late that bad attention is not better than no attention at all. Since Theo is apparently competent at his version of hackery it’s quite possible that so far all of his attention whoring has been profitable–who knows? Notoriety has only bitten OSC in the butt very late in the game. His (shitty) movie even made it to theaters. So … there.

*such as Scalzi, not to mention every woman of color writing sci-fi in the English language ever, oh also anybody who read sci-fi by POC and pronounced it “good”–they must be stopped. now.

The best way to troll Beale would be to rename the Hugo and the Nebula after Octavia Butler and Samuel Delaney. His hed wud asplode.

The Octavia Butler Awards would make me so happy, do so much good for the field overall, and piss off the Vox types so much. How do we make this happen?

Late to the party but I nth everything said about the Sailor Moon cartoon. Nice one fruitloopsie. 🙂

@Buttercup

Nerd girls are hot? Intelligence is hot?

Hot is only problematic when you make it that way, because attraction is a very personal thing. Now when corporations and marketing firms and horrid bottom feeder magazines get involved, look out.

Hot is only problematic when you make it that way

No, actually, there’s an accepted mainstream definition of ‘hot’, so unless you specifically say ‘hot to me’, it’s going to mean we think you’re using conventional media standards.

You have a knack for picking just the right ones with just the right text. It’s one of your many talents. 🙂

And by picking, I also mean making. Choosing the right picture, choosing the right text.

Argh, it’s been a long day.

Holocene Human – “Had a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack / Went out for a drive and I never went back,” comes to mind.

My mom haaaaaaaaaates that song, since my biological father (her first husband) used to listen to it a lot, and she took it as a veiled threat…he was heavily depressed and did quite a bit of gaslighting. 😛

I suspect we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this:

No, actually, there’s an accepted mainstream definition of ‘hot’, so unless you specifically say ‘hot to me’, it’s going to mean we think you’re using conventional media standards.

There absolutely is not. There is certainly certain things that cause you to be ignored by the high fashion world (try being Black), or even ridiculed publicly (don’t offend people AND be fat–that’s a crime, trufax), but what is “mainstream” “hot” is so utterly all over the place that you’d look like a fool trying to define it.

Clear skin? Freckles? Beauty mark? “Flawless”? Warm hues? Translucent? Blond? Red? Natural? Permed? Straight? Short? Long? Bright irises? Dark irises? Long nose? Puck nose? Flat nose? Pointy nose? Strong chin? Shy chin? Florid coloring? Heroin chic? Epicanthal folds–y/n? Crazee makeup? Hippy makeup lite? Form fitting style? Drapey-flowey style? Flat butt? Big butt? Cleavage? Lift and separate? A-cup? Wonderbra’d? Athletic? No visible muscles? Skinny? Voluptuous? Tall? Petite? Pregnant? Never had a baby? Age? Betty White, anyone? Queen Latifah?

Now there’s research on what is attractive to men on average and the role culture plays in those conceptions … but that’s not what we’re talking about, is it?

We’re talking about the world according to magazine covers. And it seems to me that actresses become “hot” by making their handlers lots and lots of money by being in lucrative projects … and “not” by making bombs. You can also become “hot” or a “sex symbol” by playing the laddie boy mag and skin-showing speaking parts circuit just the right way (cough Megan Fox); but luck is involved because there are so many wannabes that never break through (the less famous Olivia).

Then add magazine copy about from their makeup artists about how this person is so angelically beautiful and naturally gorgeous it’s almost a crime to put makeup on, and finish off with photoshopping every photo into submission (art photographers need not apply?) so the cover image looks ever so unnatural, otherworldly and just plain off.

Hot. Okay.

I still don’t know from a set of photos who is going to be judged “hot” unless under the photo you tell me how much profit their movies made.

If you’re not talking about real humans but about those “hot” NPCs you do realize those are polygons with exaggerated simulacra of secondary sex characteristics and there is not a bleeding human being on Earth who looks like that, right? So I’m pretty sure that’s not what the OP had in mind. Either that or the OP needs glasses. ;-D

@Puddleglum, you may (or may not) be too young to remember this, but Cindy Crawford was considered the hottest woman in the early 90s. She seems to be a decent person but physically? I would never look at her twice. And in fact some of her early shoots before she became hyperfamous were airbrushed quite a bit. But once she was famous all the unique things about her face that make her unforgettable become her signature.

A few generations ago there were a lot of men who were obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and her “measurements”. She wasn’t necessarily considered the most beautiful or most glamorous figure in Hollywood at the time, but she became a sex symbol with great staying power. I would argue this was largely on the back of the roles she played in racy “B” movies. My grandfather had a poster of her on the bathroom door of his bachelor pad but after they got married, my grandmother gave the ultimatum: Either Marilyn moves out or I do!

Grandmother was much thinner than MM, probably a few inches taller, and quite attractive as a young woman. She spend hours curling her hair so it could be formed into a fashionable coif. To me, MM’s hair always looks a mess. What is hot? Hot becomes it’s own justification. Hot people define hot. There is no “mainstream” hot. It is supplanted by whatever creature has become the most famous, the most successful, or the most daring, the most flirty and exposed.

We don’t really want to read these long detailed letters from your boner. Please keep them in your pocket where they belong. Thank you.

Anarchonist:

Part of being a decent person is realizing that not everything is about you personally. Understand that and you should be fine here.

Unless, of course, you are a cat. Because then everything is about you personally. Which is only right and proper, because cat.

“When people ask a gamma or an omega”
Blargh, this crap was bad enough when we just had Alpha, Beta and Omega. What, are men now supposed to be ranked through the whole greek alphabet?
Then why is it so bad to be a Beta, shouldn’t they be rather high?
By god, from all the infuriating bullshit these idiots use, this is not the worst, but in some way the dumbest.
Talk like this in seriousness and get lobotomized, it would actually improve their mental capabilities.

Hot is only problematic when you make it that way, because attraction is a very personal thing. Now when corporations and marketing firms and horrid bottom feeder magazines get involved, look out.

You read a lot more into my objection than was actually there.

“Some of us neckbeards actually get together with hot girls, Vox” is problematic because it plays right into the belief that sex with a hot girl validates you as a man, and that hot girls are the only ones worth dating.

If he’d just said “girls”, it would have been “aww, that’s sweet”…but no, he had to go and define his social success in precisely the same obnoxious criteria that Vox Day is using. Remind me again why we care about his approval?

@kittehserf:

Unless, of course, you are a cat. Because then everything is about you personally. Which is only right and proper, because cat.

Exactly. Then again, why would a cat want to be a better person anyway? Even the best person in the world is below cat. Cat is awesome. Who needs people anyway? Well, obviously cat does, to get the cat snacks, but that’s beside the point! The point is… umm… Why are you still reading this, you lazy bum? Go get me snacks!

/catspeak

We don’t really want to read these long detailed letters from your boner. Please keep them in your pocket where they belong. Thank you.

I think we’re also getting long detailed letters from his grandpa’s boner of yesteryear, which, it turns out, is worse then just corresponding with one boner.

Hot people define hot. There is no “mainstream” hot. It is supplanted by whatever creature has become the most famous, the most successful, or the most daring, the most flirty and exposed.

WTF?
Seriously, creature?

I feel like I’m reading an article about Bridget Bardot from the 60s. Please note that this is not a compliment.

We’re talking about the world according to magazine covers. And it seems to me that actresses become “hot” by making their handlers lots and lots of money by being in lucrative projects … and “not” by making bombs. You can also become “hot” or a “sex symbol” by playing the laddie boy mag and skin-showing speaking parts circuit just the right way (cough Megan Fox); but luck is involved because there are so many wannabes that never break through (the less famous Olivia).

@Puddleglum, you may (or may not) be too young to remember this, but Cindy Crawford was considered the hottest woman in the early 90s. She seems to be a decent person but physically? I would never look at her twice. And in fact some of her early shoots before she became hyperfamous were airbrushed quite a bit. But once she was famous all the unique things about her face that make her unforgettable become her signature.

Is it just me, or does this sound weirdly demeaning to Megan Fox, Olivia Wilde, and Cindy Crawford? And given the sheer level of conventional attractiveness that these three women appear to have? This is also starting to verge on “2/10 would not bang” territory and to critiquing the looks of very pretty women and thereby holding all other women who aren’t like them to an even more impossible standard.

I mean…

A few generations ago there were a lot of men who were obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and her “measurements”. She wasn’t necessarily considered the most beautiful or most glamorous figure in Hollywood at the time, but she became a sex symbol with great staying power. I would argue this was largely on the back of the roles she played in racy “B” movies. My grandfather had a poster of her on the bathroom door of his bachelor pad but after they got married, my grandmother gave the ultimatum: Either Marilyn moves out or I do!

Marilyn-freakin’-Monroe is only hot because she played in some racy B movies?

There’s definitely an argument to be made that Marilyn Monroe became a sex symbol* in part because the studio she was contracted with (MGM IIRC but I could be wrong on that) made it so. If you look at her pictures from before she became famous, it’s clear they gave her a huge makeover.

What I don’t get is why that’s an argument that there’s no such thing as mainstream hot. Her handlers crafted that image for her specifically because that look was mainstream hot at the time. Conventional beauty standards may change every decade or two, and they may be manufactured and arbitrary, but they still very much exist.

@tamerlame

Because a lot of women like gaming. What gives men any more of a right to gaming than women?

Oh right; I forgot. Because men are just better and we’re all helpless NPCs.

I’ve been gaming — PNP and video — since I was old enough to wonder what my parents were doing with dice and computers. It’s my space as much as yours, so either learn to be civil to another human being who might, ya know, be using a female screen name or go join a guild where you can be a jerkbag in private.

Basic human interaction 101: women like doing stuff they enjoy too. A lot of women like video games. A lot of women like multiplayer video games. You will encounter women on them. You don’t have to like it or talk to women online, but it is the most basic level of humanity to have the restraint not to pitch a fit about a female screen name or a high-pitched voice.

tamerlame | March 17, 2015 at 6:02 am
Lets keep women out of gaming. What is wrong with keeping the privileged man hating caste out of male spaces?

I can’t tell if you’re trolling or not, so I’m going to assume you are and go from there.

Let’s just start with the obvious: Women are not a “caste”. This isn’t a fucking feudal system here. We’re a gender that consists of both cisgendered and transgendered women, and we make up roughly fifty percent of the entirety of the human race. Hi, nice to meet you.

As andiexist said: A lot of women like gaming. Women have been involved with gaming from its fucking inception. Many of the games you know and love wouldn’t exist without women being present to help make it so. In fact, not only do women make up roughly half of the human race, we also make up roughly half of all gamers as well.

So, why is it that men get to claim the space as “male”, and try to exclude or force women out of it (y’know, like they do with comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, and practically every other “nerdy” thing out there, on top of sports, movies, music, and every other form of mainstream media?)

Why do men get to have more of a right to that space than women do if we have contributed and consumed just as much of this media as men have?

What is wrong with keeping the privileged man hating caste out of male spaces?

Kirbywarp’s Top 10 Reasons why keeping the privileged man hating caste out of male spaces, specifically gaming, is wrong!

Misunderstandings

1. Women aren’t privileged relative to men
2. Women aren’t a caste, they’re a gender
3. Women aren’t man-hating. That’d be a bit awkward…
4. Gaming isn’t a male space. In fact, this betrays a profound misunderstanding about what a “safe space” is. It’s a private group, not a genre.

Logistics

6. Keeping women out of gaming is practically impossible unless you kick out all the female developers, shop owners, burn all the game collections of all women, require gender proof for all game distribution platforms (like steam) and all gaming-related websites, train all game sellers to not serve women, prevent youtube let’s play (and the like) access to women, prevent women from creating their own games independent of the existing industry…. yeah.
7. Good luck convincing anyone outside of the manosphere that this would be a good idea. The rank and file of the population, and most gamers, are perfectly fine with the idea of women being gamers.

Morality

8. “Keeping X out of Y” is pretty much wrong by default, unless there’s a good reason to be exclusionary.
9. Trying to prevent half the population from taking part in a particular past-time just because you don’t like a couple individuals (and lets face it, it always boils down to the targets of gamergate) is extremely petty at best.

And the number 10 reason is…

10. It won’t solve anything that really bothers you, namely people enjoying something that you enjoy in a way that you don’t like. Unless you are the only gamer left in the world, there will be people doing things that you don’t like. Suck it up, go back to your bridge, and stop trying to make an amazing pasttime as hateful and miserable as you.

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