GameSkinny

Gross Expectations: Dealing With the Inevitability of Sexual Harassment in the Games Industry

An explanation of why the constant news of sexual harassment while being a woman who wants to work in the gaming industry is a massive, unmitigated bummer.

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Did you ever have a dream job?

Most of us have. Some hobby that we’re extra fond of, that makes us think, “if I could turn this into a job, life would be grand!” Those careers that we're convinced would be perfect - that would necessitate hard work, but with all the fun that came along with it, that would come naturally, right?

no job looks as good up close as it does from far away

At some point in pursuit of a dream job, you will be smacked in the face with reality. Because no job looks as good up close as it does from far away. Becoming a doctor, at least in the US, involves going deep into debt only to have to spend most of your time dealing with paperwork and other people’s poop. Detectives spend way more time at the desk than looking through crime scenes in cool hats. Even becoming a famous actor means sacrificing your privacy.

Of course, if you really love it, you do it anyway. But there’s nothing quite like the moment when you’re hit with the realization that your dream job isn’t going to be the ray of sunshine sprinkled with cupcakes that you thought it would be.

The External Threat

For most every gamer who wants into the industry, they have to come to terms with the fact that they’re not going to get paid all that much for what they do, and they’re likely going to have to deal with being brutally overworked when those deadlines start creeping up.

But hard work for relatively low pay doesn’t scare me off, no sir. You can’t put a price on job satisfaction, right?

No, that doesn’t get to me. What makes my heart sink, and my hands go limp on the keyboard, is the knowledge that all my efforts and all my dreams could be crushed flatter than Mr. Game and Watch, not because of something I did, but because of something someone else did to me.

 

 speaking out against what should be seen as universally and unquestionably wrong could cause my entire community to turn against me and cost me my job. My dream job. 

I read the piece on Kotaku about the harassment of Alice Mercier by Josh Mattingly. Now, sexual harassment doesn’t surprise me. At all. I’ve been sexually harassed throughout my life, more times than I could possibly count, for many different reasons and for seemingly no reason at all. Online and offline. I’ve also received threats and been told I should die, sometimes by my own hand, for saying things on the Internet that people don't like. And I’m not even close to Internet famous. I’m still pretty much an Internet nobody.

Women learn to expect all of these things, especially when entering traditionally male spaces. We’ve all heard the stories and we’ve all been given the warnings and we all know that we’re expected to expect it. What I can’t come to terms with is the lack of support I’m supposed to expect. The knowledge that speaking out against what should be seen as universally and unquestionably wrong could cause my entire community to turn against me and cost me my job. My dream job. 

A Culture of Silence

The very first thing that the Kotaku article mentions is that Alice Mercier is a pseudonym. This woman can’t give her real name for fear of the retribution she’ll receive for speaking up against harassment by the owner of a mid-range Indie gaming community website that I’d barely heard of before this controversy came to light. The website is not even a year and a half old. This guy isn’t the CEO of IGN or Game Informer. When I first heard his name, I thought he was a baseball player.

There is so much pressure to keep silent about sexual harassment in this industry that this woman cannot give her real name when condemning grossly unprofessional and harmful conduct by a guy who I've never heard of before.

In the interview with Kotaku’s Rachel Edidin, Mercier explains how impossible her situation is:

I don't want to potentially burn a bridge here, because what if there's a future where I need that press contact, or a professional relationship, and the industry is so small?"

When I point out the irony—that, of the two participants in the conversation, Mercier was the one worried that her behavior might burn a professional bridge—she laughs ruefully.

I know that laugh. I’ve laughed the same laugh. The same mirthless, despair-riddled laugh that comes out of me when I see comments like “why didn’t she just tell him to stop?” Or, better yet, “why aren’t there more women in the gaming industry?”

Ha.

Don't Be That Girl

There are four simple words that explain exactly why she didn’t “just” tell him to stop right away.

“Don’t be that girl.”

In the Kotaku piece, Edidin goes on to describe other stories she's heard from women in the industry who have dealt with sexual harassment:

At a gaming convention, one professional acquaintance cornered her into an extended and increasingly sexual hug. "I'd be thinking, 'please let me go,' but then there were a bunch of people around me, and the people that were around were people I'd be interested in working with, who worked for companies I'd love to work for," she tells me. She remembers what she told herself: "Try not to make a scene, because you don't want to be 'that girl,' and you don't want to ruin the overall mood."

"That girl" is the bogeyman, a cautionary tale to keep the ladies in line. "That girl" is the woman who is iced out for speaking up and ruining everyone's fun. I hear about her from almost every woman I interview.

Why aren’t there more women in the gaming industry?

What is it that makes me myself hesitate, wonder why I should bother, and turn away from my work in despair?

Because the question of sexual harassment is not an if, but a when. And when it does happen, there are three possible outcomes.

Option 1: I can sacrifice my principles and my dignity by putting up with it out of fear of retribution.

Option 2: I can tell the harasser to stop immediately and be branded as “that girl,” as I already have been branded and seen others branded on numerous occasions (“lighten up” “it’s just a joke” “don’t be so uptight”) and risk being frozen out by contacts, depriving my career of the oxygen it needs to survive.

Option 3: I can expose the behavior of the harasser to the section of the gaming community that is more sympathetic, possibly gaining for myself the support I need to continue my career, though it would most likely be thrown completely off track. And, of course, with the last option comes the inevitability of a flood of harassment from vicious trolls who will attempt not just to end my career, but drive me off the map by compromising my safety.

What fun options those are!

One Big Bummer of a List

I’m only basing this on what I’ve observed, over and over. It makes a career in the gaming industry a tad difficult to look forward to when a woman has to hide her identity as though she testified against the mafia because she refused to put up with a guy graphically describing what he wants to do to her vagina during what was supposed to be a business conversation. And what if she had been harassed by a bigger name in the industry?

This is just one incident to be added to an ever-more-depressing list that includes women who have dared to criticize video games, women who have created video games, women who have had any role in creating video games at all, and women who simply exist in the industry as women of color, trans women, or women who don’t have a very specific body type.

Why didn’t Mercier do something different in this situation?

Because she can’t win.

No woman can win in this rigged game that really only has three losing outcomes. Stronger, smarter woman than I haven’t found a way to beat it, so what chance do I have?

“Why aren’t there more women in the gaming industry?”

Ha.

Originally Published Jan. 30th 2014

Contributor

Lindsey Weedston is yet another in a large crowd of aspiring video game journalists. She loves Gearbox for the writing, Bethesda for the open... more »

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  • Max_3454
    If I remember right, in an interview with Amy Hennig where the topic of sexual harassment came up she said something along the lines of she has never experienced sexual harassment in her time with the industry, which is maybe a very, very singular experience, but it stands pointing out to women aspiring to be game designers as a beacon of hope that may allay some fears or push some women to take the risk where they wouldn't before if it seemed like it was "inevitable". I think this article sends the wrong message in several contexts.
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    I hear what you're saying, but in my experience, reading articles similar to mine (like the one Amanda linked to) has actually made me feel better about working in the gaming industry rather than worse, because it made me feel as though I was not alone in feeling like I did. I also hope, though this may be a long shot, that this might inspire a few individuals to strive for change, which is what we really need to get more women in the industry.
  • Max_3454
    We're always striving for change; we're human. But try to understand that we all experience discrimination and encounter offensive things in our day to day lives and we all have to make the choice to either allow it to be a burden to us, or find inside of us that, in fact, it has no bearing on who or what we are. Hardships happen to everyone, but not everyone is a victim. Being cynical about the change that's already happening is just going to lead to being bitter about how you think things should go, and you have to find a way to consolidate your feelings about how you think things should be subjectively, with how they actually are objectively.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Very lucid, Max.
  • Amanda Wallace
    Associate Editor
    Your article (the comments perhaps more so) reminded me of this: http://aliendovecote.com/7-thoughts-on-women-in-games/#more-4911
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I think this is a great article by the way Lindsey!
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Thank you!
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I've been sexually harassed before but I don't "expect" it. It shouldn't happen on either side PERIOD. There needs to be some type of "platform". It also has to do with the way people interpret things. That's important to realize. What someone may say may not be offensive to one but offensive to another.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I know a gentleman who is just the sweetest person, very respectable, who was fired for sexual harassment after giving a female co-worker a hug to thank them for their assistance through a personal issue at home. The female co-worker spoke vulgarly at work, gave sexually explicit details of her lover, told her co-workers she was cheating on her husband and had her lover come into the location. The gentleman I know worked for his previous employer for 15+ years without a smudge in his record. Now HE is scared to even speak to any female co-worker after his experience.
    Where is the balance?
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    That would be my question exactly. That man sounds very much like my friend.

    What a lot of woman don't realize is that this is happening a LOT. Most don't even want to admit that it's happening.
  • Sarah_6804
    Seriously, why the fuck do you call for "balance" on an article about women being harassed? This has everything to do with the root of the problem. "If you choose to ignore it entirely, you'll think it never happens." That is simply not at all true. At all. Ever.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I don't respond to uncivil questions.
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Because you've been so civil.
  • Katy Hollingsworth
    Former Staff Editor
    I tend to agree with this point.

    "Fathoms_4209 (FEATURED COLUMNIST) said:
    Women are excellent "micro-aggressors," in my experience. But hey, a MAN'S experience is disallowed.

    Keep harping on "irrational." It defines hypocrisy. When you can explain your own hypocrisy ("inevitable" vs. "small percentage"), let me know."

    Not the most civil thing I've seen in this thread.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I was just accused of being a misogynist and a woman-hater, which is extremely hurtful, just because I didn't think it was "inevitable" that every woman in the gaming industry will be sexually harassed.

    As I've spent my life practicing not only a great respect but even deference toward women, and I made this very clear in my responses, I think anything I've written is minor in comparison.

    I find this entire piece outrageous and insulting because I'm in the game industry, and when I offered a different perspective, I was accused of being something utterly disgusting and offensive. I'm sorry but I don't appreciate that at all.
  • Sarah_6804
    This article is not about women harassing men? OH MY GOD!!! BURN IT!
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    I know, right? God forbid anything should ever not be about men. Don't know what I was thinking, making an article about my experience as a woman about women.
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    I should also mention that it's a function of male privilege to assume that the only type of sexual harassment in existence is the kind of thing that Mercier experienced. Most sexual harassment is more subtle and much of it comes from gamers who do not work in the industry but are still part of the community. Women who publish anything online, especially, will inevitably receive anonymous harassment from commenters and gross emails. But it can also take forms that many men will not even notice, such as jokes that make a woman uncomfortable, but the men in the office might never know because her speaking up about her discomfort would be socially unacceptable.

    These "small" instances of sexual harassment are often referred to as microaggressions and create stress buildup over time, especially since any women who complains will be dismissed with words like "irrational." They are nearly impossible to avoid for women.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Women are excellent "micro-aggressors," in my experience. But hey, a MAN'S experience is disallowed.

    Keep harping on "irrational." It defines hypocrisy. When you can explain your own hypocrisy ("inevitable" vs. "small percentage"), let me know.
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    If you're seriously engaging in some kind of stereotypes about women being passive aggressive, firstly you're not helping me to think you're not a misogynist, and second, I'm going to need you to do some research until you understand what microaggressions actually are.

    Of course I've already explained the second bit.
  • M_6800
    Harassment isn't necessarily about men vs women. It's about a certain type of person vs a different type of person. In general of course, it's mostly men harassing women.

    Women though, can harass men too. There are vulgar women and men that aren't comfortable with vulgar language. A lot of women out there make penis jokes and joke about men's heights, masculinity, etc. And it hurts.

    Will a man ever talk about it? Will a man go to his boss and say "She made fun of my stature and to be frank it really devastated me. In fact, I cried about it every single night for a month after I got back home from work." I think there should be at least some acknowledgement of males being harassed by females.

    http://whohits.blogspot.com/2008/09/single-man-driving-suv-small-penis.html
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yes, exactly. This is the other side of the argument the author apparently doesn't want to acknowledge.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I think you're missing the point, M. That whole "well what about [insert group here]" argument when used in any context, while based on truth (since there are obviously people other than women who are harassed), almost always derails the conversation to a "well what about me" argument. It's like if somebody is upset about having depression and somebody else says "well yeah, but I get sad days." That doesn't really help the person who has depression. It works the other way too. Like, when talking about men who are fired for what was probably not harassment, it's probably not entirely relevant to say "well women get harassed more, so you're wrong." It's just white noise that adds nothing to the exact discussion.
    Like, men clearly get harassed and sometimes get falsely accused, but that doesn't really make the very real harassment of the women any less awful. Harassment and false accusations of men ARE an issue, and they're certainly important things that deserve discussion, but they're not really what this particular discussion is about, or at least, what the article's about, if that makes sense.
    As a guy, I can almost always leave a situation that makes me uncomfortable, but women don't really get that opportunity because it's how society works, and saying "well I felt uncomfortable that one time" doesn't do anybody any good.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • mlandis
    I don't say that the article is wrong.

    I don't think being as inclusive as possible derails the conversation. I really think that it helps us get to the bottom of the problem, and understand the problem much better and more objectively instead of from a single point of view. It would lead to a more interesting article, in my opinion.

    If someone says they're depressed, and another person also comes to you and says they're depressed, well that second person isn't really helping the first person, but maybe the second person needs help too. Maybe we can get to the bottom of the depression if we include everybody and try to understand the problem fully.

    The article comes to extreme conclusions: No women can win. I understand that it's an exaggeration. But it's not hard to imagine a group of women starting a studio made up solely of women.

    http://www.siliconsisters.ca/

    I don't like that conclusion because it's weak. If you want to be extreme, a better conclusion is "We don't need men."

    "Why aren't there more women in the gaming industry?" That's another interesting question which I really don't believe is solely due to discrimination against women in the industry. Maybe discrimination in Society as a whole, but more thought and research into that would be interesting to read about.

    I'm a man, and I've received death threats and harassment too. Some were really weird. Many, just like the author experienced, because I expressed my opinions about the iphone. Some of that harassment was from women, some using their real accounts. The author in the post seems to suggest that she received the threats mainly because she is a woman. That's probably somewhat true. But I think it would be far more interesting to look at harassment on the internet in general. I think it would lead to better discussion and better solutions.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Uh... other... M, I'm not refuting anybody's opinion on the article, because /you/ didn't talk about your opinion of her article, so I won't acknowledge that anymore. You seem to have made a brand new account just to comment on somebody else's comment.

    I'm simply saying that while yes, harassment of men happens, when talking about women's harassment, it's not as relevant as talking about just women's harassment. It may be related, but it's kind of a different beast entirely. One is harassment of a rather subjugated group, while the other is harassment and false accusation of a group in power that rarely experiences said harassment in comparison to how likely women are harassed. Harassment of men definitely isn't a nonissue, but in the context of the discussion, it kind of is. She says harassment of women in the gaming industry is inevitable, but hyperbolic or not, I'm not sure discussion of men's issues is really as relevant as you let on.

    Also, I'm not sure depression was a good analogy, in retrospect, because depression isn't just being super sad and is actually a medical condition of decreased emotion while being sad is just.... being temporarily sad.

    I'm just explaining why women get annoyed by the "what about men" argument. To my knowledge, they aren't trying to downplay any bad things that happen to men, but statistically, harassment of men and false accusations have a ridiculously smaller impact in the grand scheme of things than harassment of women. Take a look at some of the statistics here, if you'd like some data. http://bit.ly/1dn6vAd

    I also think it'd be interesting to look at the greater picture of harassment in the workplace, particularly in gaming, but that's not what the article is about--it's about one woman's experiences with harassment, and the way it is written, seems to ask about harassment of women in the game industry.

    For example. I'm not talking about how the author says no women can win, because while it's certainly /related/ to what I'm talking about, it's not relevant to my argument about how the "what about men" argument is irrelevant. Again, don't discuss your problems with the main article's argument with me, because that's not what I commented about. Adding more and more subjects just distracts from the issue that's being discussed.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • mlandis
    I understand where you're coming from. It's just my opinion that the "what about men" is relevant. It's my opinion that ignoring it completely can distort one's perspective, especially when you're talking about just your experiences.

    The article you linked states:

    Myth: Only women are sexually harassed; this does not happen to men, and all sexual harassment perpetrators are male.
    Reality: While women continue to experience most sexual harassment, men do get harassed — by other men and by women. Currently, approximately 16 percent of EEOC claims involve men. Also, increasing numbers of women are being sexually harassed by other women.

    that really isn't rare, this article agrees:
    http://reason.com/archives/2014/02/02/is-there-a-cyber-war-on-women

    the article also suggests:
    "men who are harassed may be less inclined to complain than women."

    I just don't believe that it's as productive to approach the subject solely with a male vs female mentality, although that should still a substantial part of the discussion.

    In terms of changing things, finding out how things operate, and understanding the problem, to me, including all victims is obviously hugely relevant. If the post is a rant, or the author is simply venting, I can agree that it doesn't matter, but can't see how it's irrelevant.

    I do approach this topic as someone who was sexually harassed, crying himself to sleep many nights.
  • mlandis
    also please note how women being harassed by women is increasing, according to the article you linked. I believe that it will increase as the gender imbalance problem is solved in high positions in workplaces. If we think about this in a male vs female manner, then we might simply have more to deal with down the line.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Brian, neither of them missed the point of the article, and neither did I. Nobody derailed anything. A man has experiences in the realm of sexual harassment, and unless the author intended to restrict this article to only women, men can only reply based on their experiences.

    "As a guy, I can almost always leave a situation that makes me uncomfortable, but women don't really get that opportunity because it's how society work..."

    How exactly did you force-feed yourself that bit of guilt? Unless you're talking about physically restraining someone from leaving, it's not even remotely close to accurate.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Mlandis, I said, "I'm just explaining why women get annoyed by the "what about men" argument." Or, to my knowledge, why they get annoyed, more specifically.

    Perhaps I didn't make it clear. I can understand the frustration of somebody seemingly changing topics. Like, if I wrote an article about false accusations of harassment or something--just false accusations and the damage it causes--and somebody went at length to talk about how much harassment against women effects women, I'd be a little annoyed not because harassment against women isn't important, but because it kind of takes away from the discussion, even though it's related.

    It's not a matter of male vs. female, but it's more a matter of apples and oranges. They're different things, though they're rather similar. Sometimes they're relevant to the other, and other times, they're not. I'm not entirely sure that talking about harassment of men is entirely related or unrelated to harassment of women in this case--sometimes it's yes, sometimes it's no, and sometimes it just depends on the tone of how it's used--but the /immediate/ reaction to ask "what about men" instead of taking the article/discussion as it is first is a bit concerning, and /that's/ what I was commenting on.

    Furthermore, saying "you're ignoring men" both literally or just implicitly is a bit accusatory and kind of starts the very dichotomy you said you wanted to avoid. I know talking about tone and holding it against people sucks, but it happens for a reason, I guess.

    Like I said, I think it'd be interesting to look at the greater discussion. I'm not entirely sure that splitting it into another discussion is entirely necessary, especially considering all the proponents of adding the "what about men" side don't seem to discuss that side among themselves except when defending their need to discuss it, but that's a different topic. I may have made it seem like I had a solid opinion on the relevance, but I guess I was more playing advocate of that side. Sorry I wasn't clear. I find them both relevant, but sometimes not, and I don't know in this case, but these comments are bit too... vitriolic overall for my taste, so I'm out.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • mlandis
    Male vs female is not my position, but the position of the article. The point of view of the writer is a male vs female point of view. My opinion is that this point of view is archaic and distortive. As a rant, or if you are just venting, that point of view is fine. If you want to have a serious discussion or a serious analysis of the situation, then being inclusive is the best way to go. That's just my opinion. I don't care if people are annoyed by it.

    If you want to seriously discuss statutory rape, for example, you will discuss female and male teachers and female and male students. If you want to seriously discuss teachers having sex with underage students, you may believe that a male teacher/female student is much different than a female teacher/ male student but will you leave that out? (or female teacher/female student or male teacher/male student)

    You may even feel that a female teacher should get probation whereas a male teacher who has sex with an underage female should get 20 years in prison or more. That I'd say is a perfectly valid opinion to have and many judges would agree, though personally I do not agree. Still, any serious discussion about statutory rape will include all victims.

    I don't agree that this is an issue that is discussed only when defending the need to discuss it. That's not even a different topic. That's simply incorrect. All you have to do is google this topic and realize that it is being discussed very often and very seriously. That women and feminists do discuss it too in serious discussions and that research papers are written about it.

    If you believe that men harassing women is different than women harassing men, or women harassing women, that's okay. If you believe that they're somewhat different, that's fine. I don't believe anyone has any real evidence one way or another. We just have our own point of view. There's not much research out there that says women victims are hurt equally as male victims of sexual harassment or that they are hurt more than men in the same situation (though some googling will show you that plenty of men's lives have been destroyed by sexual harassment by women bosses). We just really have our opinions and our own points of view to go by.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    As I said in the article citing the Mattingly issue, there's a flip side to this coin, one which many women don't acknolwedge:

    I really do have friends who go to work every day petrified they'll do or say the wrong thing. One, who works in an office, said three guys were fired in just the past two years for sexual harassment, one of whom was so devastated (and confused as to why it had happened) that he's afraid to work with any women anymore.

    Obviously, sexual harassment exists. I know it does, and I know it can't be condoned. What nobody is talking about is the role everyday, well-intentioned men (regardless of what some feminists think, this is the majority of men) have to play. They play the role of the fearful. And why? It's because if they're accused, THEY can't win, and they know it. So, they just try to blend into the wallpaper at work.

    Saying you will definitely be sexually harassed if you enter the game industry is false. Is it more likely than in other industries? I'd say definitely, because it's a double whammy: It's a big boy's club and many of those boys are unfortunately immature and socially awkward, which leads to big problems. But saying it's inevitable is hardly fair, or accurate.

    In such sensitive issues, one must remain as objective as possible. If you want to see sexual harassment everywhere, you're going to see it. If you choose to ignore it entirely, you'll think it never happens. There is a happy medium, and that includes seeing both sides. Some men are just pigs and need to be thrown out. Many others - MOST others - are not, and don't deserve to live in fear because of their piggy brethren.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Actually, I see the issue of men who are afraid because they think they might accidentally harass a woman brought up pretty much any time the subject of sexual harassment is discussed.

    If men are worried about this, I think they should take it upon themselves to become better educated. We still don't talk about sexual harassment enough - I've never seen it discussed in a workplace beyond maybe a budget video during orientation. These men should talk to women, and group discussions should be held in the workplace where women are given a safe space to explain what kinds of behaviors makes them uncomfortable. I know so many great men who I've worked with or been friends with for years, and they've never harassed me or made me uncomfortable, socially awkward or not. It's really not hard.

    The thing is, women don't "go looking" for sexual harassment, but we do go in expecting it. And we can't help it. We've all experienced it far too often. It is absolutely accurate to say it's inevitable. I don't know a woman who hasn't been sexually harassed in some way.

    And we know well the other side, because we've all seen women speak up and been shouted down by people who want to protect the other side. But what are we supposed to do? Sacrifice our sense of safety and well being to protect the men who wronged us? That seems unfair to me.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I'm sorry, but the issue of "education" doesn't really help my friends, or most men. The problem is this-

    All are taught that "intent is irrelevant." That's the current rule in the workplace for sexual harassment and it gives men no way out. Interpreted literally, it means that if a woman feels offended or harassed, it doesn't matter in the slightest what the man says in his defense. It's over. The woman felt offended; hence, you're gone. It's ludicrously one-sided and THIS is what men fear. If they're accused, there is absolutely nothing they can do or say to defend themselves because the "intent is irrelevant" rule has rendered them defenseless.

    And I must repeat- it is not accurate to say it's inevitable. If you really believe that every woman in the video game industry has been harassed, you're being misled by your own bias. No rational-thinking person can really believe that.

    You're too focused on the "men who wronged you" and don't seem to care one fig about the other men (the 99% of them) that would never do any such thing. Your entire post seems unfair in my eyes. I would never do anything to harm a woman; I would never want them to be uncomfortable. I'd honestly feel sick to my stomach if I thought I'd made a female afraid of me. I'm sort of old-school that way.

    I'm really not the only one. I promise. Like those men you work with that never did anything to you, right? You don't believe such men exist in the video game industry? I'm one of them...hence, your belief that "all women in the industry will inevitably be sexually harassed" is already proven inaccurate. I'm in the industry, and I get that women are outcasts right now...and it sucks.

    But we need to be objective and fair. I do not believe your piece is objectively written.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    It's not meant to be an objective piece. It's a piece about how I feel. But having emotion about the industry I love doesn't mean I'm irrational, and it doesn't give you leave to dismiss my lived experiences.

    Every woman I've talked to about sexual harassment has told me that she has been harassed more than once by men. This is not bias. This is my reality. Of course I know that this is still a small percentage of men, but it's obviously not small enough. A small percentage of men is all it takes to make women feel safe, and men need to address this rather than focusing on defending sexual harassers and telling woman that their lived experiences are false.

    It is so easy to make sure you don't make someone uncomfortable. All it takes it communication. If someone in a workplace is incapable of that, then it stands to reason that they are not an asset to the company. People get fired all the time for screwing up regardless of intent. Why should men get special consideration when it comes to something as harmful as sexual harassment? How is that fair?
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Where did I ever say men should get "special consideration?" And if we're talking about that, maybe it's reversed. How many cases of sexual harassment involve men harassing women as opposed to women harassing men...? Of course, men are more likely to do it, but is the difference in percentage of cases accurate? You say people get fired all the time for screwing up regardless of intent...do women?

    You tell me I can't dismiss your lived experiences and yet, you dismiss mine without even thinking. That's the definition of "anecdotal evidence," by the way. You're not being objective and you're not being rational. It is not incumbent upon all men to feel scared about losing their job every second of the day.

    Lastly, and I just have to say this: I don't pass judgment on anyone; I don't know you or your friends, but if every single woman you know says she's been harassed by men, they're either looking for sexual harassment every second of every day, or they're quite frankly hanging around the wrong crowd. That's just my belief, if that's all right.

    Oh, and I don't appreciate the accusation that I ever once defended sexual harassers. Never did I, nor would I. It just proves to me how your emotion has clouded any semblance of rationale on your part. Frankly, you are the reason my friends go to work scared.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    You are absolutely passing judgement on myself and every woman I've met, and people like you are the reason I go to work scared. The comments I've received only confirm the inevitability that is the lack of support women receive when the topic of sexual harassment comes up. All I can ever look forward to, it seems, are people who want to turn the topic of the subject to the struggles of men. It's derailing and disrespectful, but not nearly so disrespectful as to suggest that I go looking for and therefore deserve sexual harassment.

    Also, women get fired more often for screwing up regardless of intent. And I never dismissed your experiences, I in fact acknowledged them and gave actual solutions that men can pursue to relieve their anxiety. You, on the other hand, practically called me a liar on multiple occasions.

    But you seem to be approaching this situation from a biased and irrational state of mind, therefore I don't have to listen to you, according to your own logic.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    I merely asked you to be objective. I asked you to consider both sides. You did not acknowledge what I was saying; you just said the men had to "fix it," when I explained why their anxiety will always persist. You ignored that. I never called you a liar; I merely questioned, which I'm allowed to do. Or as a man, am I not?

    Your entire post is disrespectful and dismissive of all professional men. The following statements- "Every women I know has been sexually harassed more than once" is telling.

    The statement that all women in the video game industry have been or will be harassed is ignorant. It's incredibly offensive, especially to me, as I'm a male in the industry. But you don't care about me, do you? No, why should you? I do feel offended but I'm not allowed to feel that way, right?

    You're the one saying these things, and then you're accusing others of being irrational? I mean...really?
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    I never said you weren't allowed to feel offended. And it's funny you're complaining about that when you're demanding I be "objective" in a piece about how bummed I get knowing that I will be sexually harassed. I've already had men send me sexually explicit things on social media or in comment sections like this or forums on gaming websites, so exactly why should I not expect that to continue?

    And yeah, men are the vast majority of the ones sexually harassing and women are at a disadvantage in this industry, so sorry, but it's on you to fix the problem, which will in turn cure your anxiety. What's your solution to the issue, exactly?

    Don't pull that "you're not allowing me to such and such" thing on me. You're allowed to say what you want and I'm allowed to call you out on anything you say. Free speech goes both ways.

    I don't understand why you're taking my statement that all women I've known have been harassed and all women in the industry will almost certainly be harassed so personally. I didn't say all men will harass, and I acknowledged (objective individual that I am) that the men who will harass are a small percentage. I'm sorry if my lived experiences offend you, but if they do, I would think that speaking out against sexual harassment would be more effective in stopping the offensive thing than telling me I'm being irrational.

    And calling me a liar, because you are. You pretty much said that it's not true that I and the women I know have all been sexually harassed, and implied that I'm crazy for saying it.. How is that not calling me a liar?

    I was accusing you of being irrational for getting emotional to show you how it feels. It's not so nice, is it?
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    You're just not getting this. Your lived experiences don't offend me. Your lack of objectivity offends me, as does your outrageously insulting belief that ALL WOMEN in the video game industry will "inevitably" be harassed. The obvious implication is that me, being a man, has or will harass a woman. That's what you think. And yeah, it's offensive as hell.

    Someone who believes that is not in a rational state of mind. They're projecting their own emotions.

    And you made my point for me: I never said you lied; I never said you were crazy; that was not my intent. But of course, as intent is irrelevant, you are in the right and I have no defense, yes? The exact example of what's happening in the workplace right now.

    My solution? Balance. What Aristotle originally coined the "virtue." Based on what you've written here, you are not capable - or unwilling - to embrace the aforementioned happy medium. I was never "emotional." I was stating fact. You haven't produced a single fact yet, besides your own experiences, which obviously outrank mine.

    Therefore, I will not be wasting any more time this subject. I only deal with individuals who are capable of making a concession here and there. The "men are evil" shtick is boring, thank you.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    " the men who will harass are a small percentage." - my exact words. Direct counter to your assertion that I'm saying all men will harass. Men who harass do it to multiple women, all men need not harass. If you look at that and take it to mean that I think all men are evil, then you are coming from a place of emotion just like I am, and therefore you don't really have a right to demand absolute objective non-emotion from anyone.

    "And I must repeat- it is not accurate to say it's inevitable. If you really believe that every woman in the video game industry has been harassed, you're being misled by your own bias. No rational-thinking person can really believe that." -Your exact words. Irrational is just a nice word for crazy. You have no defense because this is the reality of what happened. If you want to be able to accuse me of things and then say you didn't, you probably shouldn't post these things on the Internet where I can just go copy-paste them.

    "Balance"? What does that even mean? How is that a real solution at all?

    But you're right about one thing. this is a waste of time. Because talking to someone who ignores all your concessions because you don't agree with everything they say when they have no idea what it feels like to be in your situation in the first place is a waste.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    What does "balance" mean? Look it up. Evidently, you also need a dictionary for "irrational." That absolutely does not imply "crazy."

    You don't have to agree with everything. You'd just have to admit that I have a point. But of course, you can't do that.

    I can't believe you can't see the blatant hypocrisy of your own words. In the article's TITLE and in the article itself, you say a woman in the video game industry will "inevitably" be sexually harassed. Then you say it's a "small percentage" of men who harass.

    Well, which is it? If it's "inevitable," that means it ain't a "small percentage." It means basically every male. Including me.

    Like I said, you're the reason men like my friend - and the gentleman Venisia describes below - are afraid right now. Interesting that you haven't responded to her comment, by the way. Didn't respond to M_6800, either. Why is that?

    But please, go about your business. I'm not sure why I should bother to defend myself when I'm the one who's offended.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Dude, if you can't figure out that one person can harass many people in his lifetime, then I don't know what to do for you. You really think it's going to be a 1 on 1 ratio of harassment? You're just being willfully obtuse at this point. I wonder why.

    Let me break down what's happened in this conversation so that we can put this to a rest and maybe productive conversations can happen. I posted a personal piece about how I feel when seeing both women in the industry get sexually harassed as well as the lack of support these women always seem to face. You post a reply about your concerns about men who are afraid they will be wrongfully accused and fired. I've never seen this happen, nor have I known anyone else who has seen this happen. Yet I did not deny that this happens - I did not deny your reality. I instead offered a concrete solution that men can utilize to avoid this.

    You respond by saying it won't work, but don't say why, and complain that intent doesn't matter in sexual harassment cases, then go on to repeat that you think I'm wrong that sexual harassment is inevitable for women (ignoring all the times I qualified the statement to make room for exceptions). This despite the fact that I have already been sexually harassed by gamers online. Thereby denying my lived experience and the experiences of all those women who, if you would only talk to them, would tell you that they have experienced the same. Then you say that I don't focus enough on the men in my article which is supposed to be about women. Because everything should always be about men, right? And you accuse me of not being objective, which is a boring tactic used by people who want to claim that emotion makes a person automatically wrong. But the term "objective" in itself is misleading because no one can be truly objective. You are not objective because you are afraid of being accused of harassment and are "offended" by my article, therefore by your logic anything you say should be disregarded. Following so far?

    You then attempt to further make the issue all about men by bringing up the fact that men get harassed sometimes too. Let me whip out my derailer Bingo card. Then you accuse me of dismissing your lived experience, which I explicitly did not. Then, and this is the best part, you say you don't want to pass judgement, but then you pass some serious judgement by saying that I and the women I know are to blame for our own harassment because we're "looking for it" (which either means we're imagining it or we want it, I don't know which is more misogynistic and horrible) and because we hang out with the wrong crowd, as though our friends are the ones harassing us because I guess we just love being harassed, right? That is so mindblowingly offensive, dude. Heard of victim blaming? That's what you're doing. Super gross. #1 misogynistic tactic.

    When I point out how disrespectful this is, you whine that you were just asking me to be objective, which is a lie because telling me I'm to blame for (and therefore deserve) my own harassment is not asking me to be objective. Then something about how even if the problem of sexual harassment is fixed, men will still worry about it? Why? That makes no sense at all. But I guess because that solution somehow for some unknown reason doesn't work, I'm not acknowledging the woes of the poor men. Then you turn it around to say that you're offended that I'm bummed about sexual harassment being practically inevitable, which doesn't make sense either. How am I disrespecting men as a whole by complaining about a small section of men who harass women?

    Oh, it's because you have this bizarre scenario in your head where it's impossible for a man to harass more than one woman in his lifetime. I point out multiple times that this makes no sense and why, and you ignore that and continue to state it because it's convenient. Then you claim that I'm irrational, which is 100% code for "crazy," and to be clear, I don't mean that the definitions are identical, but it doesn't matter if I explain this, because anyone who was being "objective" and not just trying to win an argument by being willfully obtuse would know that and get what I mean. And you absolutely did intend to imply that I'm just a crazy, hysterical woman. Don't pretend otherwise, because I see right through that.

    Here's another great part. When I ask you for an actual solution to the sexual harassment problem because apparently asking men to take steps to learn how to interact with women and, you know, not harass them is just too offensive, you say, "balance"! A single, meaningless word, followed up with some vague, middle-school level muttering about Aristotle which you may have though made you look smart but unfortunately it is a poor interpretation of Aristotle's works. And then you say something about FACTS because of course FACTS have to come into play, except when you're talking, right? Not like FACTS isn't just another meaningless buzzword used by people who don't understand how science works.

    Then you say you won't be wasting any more time on the subject. How'd that work out for you? And when I point out how absurd it is to give a vague, worthless, intangible one-word solution like "balance," you tell me to look it up in the dictionary. I know I said "what does that even mean," but you see, I didn't mean it literally. But please, keep acting like I'm the stupid one here.

    Then more about how you don't understand how a single person can harass multiple people. And more demanding that I allow people to derail the topic and make it all about men. This is not about men. Not all things have to be about men, all the time. Sorry if this "offends" you.

    I'm not going to "admit" that you have a point. You don't have one. You're just another misogynist coming into a space about women, demanding that I stop talking about women and pay attention to men, then when I refuse, engage in a lot of bizarre logic twisting to try and confuse the issue.

    You want to talk about men who have been harassed? Write your own article. You don't like my solution to the problem? Come up with a REAL one on your own, then, and stop blaming women for their own harassment. You want something to be offended about? How about the fact that sexual harassment of women is so pervasive in gaming culture that women like Mercier can't even use their own names when calling it out, which means that women like me who want to be in the industry have to expect it, for our own survival, because how could we deal with it all if we didn't prepare ourselves?

    I hope you got all that. If you go back to the same arguments I've already refuted, I'm just going to refer you back to this post.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Here's the only recap you need, Lindsay.

    1. I replied to the article with a flip side to the coin, based on my own experiences. I couldn't very well reply from a female standpoint, now could I? This, by the way, is what people do with editorials. They offer other perspectives.

    You weren't interested in hearing it. You accused me of "defending" sexual harassers (which I absolutely never did), you accused me of doing what "men always do" and turning it to "their problems." You could've just been civil and said, "yes, I see your point" and gone from there. You didn't. That's on you.

    2. The only issue I had is you saying that if you're a woman in the video game industry, it's "inevitable" that they will be sexually harassed. It's such a gross exaggeration that I thought I'd point it out, as the word "inevitably" was fueled entirely by your emotion, and not reason.

    3. You accused me of calling you a "liar" and "crazy." Never did I even imply either. That's your own interpretation of my words and according to Webster's, hardly an accurate interpretation.

    4. Now, I'm misogynistic. I'm a woman-hater because when someone tells me that she and everyone she knows has been harassed at least once, I draw some logical conclusions. None of my female friends say they've ever been harassed, with the exception of one, who says the guy was a drunken dick at a bar.

    I explained in detail how I respect women, how I feel physically nauseous if I ever make one of them uncomfortable. You ignored it all and essentially called me a pig. Thank you. Much appreciated.

    5. In the last post, you put "offend" in quotations, as if you're either mocking that offense or you don't believe I'm offended. Apparently, you're allowed to do this because...I'm not sure why.

    6. You gave a solution - have men "educate" themselves - and you say I didn't explain why that doesn't work. But I did. I said the "intent is irrelevant" argument renders men defenseless because it doesn't matter how educated they are; if a woman finds something they did offensive, they're done. This per Venisia's example below, which you refuse to acknowledge, because you refuse to acknowledge that this actually happens.

    That's called bias. It's called one-sided, narrow-minded, "I'm the only one who can be hurt" BS.

    7. I never "demanded" that you stop talking about women. Not once. My "bizarre logic" is merely my experience on the same issue, from a different perspective. Because you can't handle that, I'm a "misogynist."

    So, to recap, despite what I've said, despite you knowing nothing about me, despite me saying that being a man in the gaming industry, I'm incredibly insulted and offended at this article, despite my zero-tolerance policy on female abuse of any kind (which friends and family will list as one of my most obvious traits), you have branded me an insensitive, misogynistic, chauvinistic, idiot.

    That's what you've done. Are you okay with that, Lindsay?

    Finally, I did write my own.

    http://www.gameskinny.com/rcv3e/harassment-and-under-representation-in-gaming-how-to-fix-it

    Unlike you, however, I welcome different perspectives to pieces I write. I write based on knowledge and wisdom; you write based on nothing but blind emotion. There's a difference. I'll finish with this-

    I'm never offended by anything. Your accusations here actually made me feel offense for the first time in my life. Congrats on that, Lindsay. I hope you consider it a victory for women everywhere.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    1. You didn't reply with the "flip side of the coin." You replied with a derail of the topic. "What about the men" is a classic derailing technique that has been used countless times. So I called you out on it. Am I not "allowed" to do that? According to you, I'm only allowed to go "yeah you have a point" even when I think you don't. Then you went and told me that I'm wrong about sexual harassment being inevitable. Do I really have to explain why it's messed up for a dude to tell a woman that she's wrong to feel that sexual harassment in the gaming community is inevitable? Again, I've already been harassed by gamers. You want to acknowledge that? Why shouldn't I think it's inevitable when it's already happened?

    2. It is not an exaggeration. You know what's gross? Telling a woman that she's exaggerating about sexism and sexual harassment. It's a classic way to shut women down. Honestly, you might as well call me hysterical. Your coded language is clear as day. And it's a tactic used by misogynists, because they hate when women speak about their experiences.

    3. Just because you didn't use the exact words doesn't mean it isn't implied. Maybe you need a dictionary for the word "implied." Again, you're being willfully obtuse by pretending that you can't ever use softer words to imply more insulting ones. Stop it.

    4. Oh, but you can say that I called you a pig when I never used that exact word! So you can cite implied words, but I can't. Typical.

    And yeah, you've been really hateful toward me and women in general in this thread. Saying that women are to blame for their own harassment is incredibly hateful. It's one of the most misogynistic things you can say short of "all women are inferior to men." Auditing women's lived experiences is hateful. Trying to silence women and force the conversation into something about men is hateful. You fit the bill, buddy. Hate to break it to you.

    And oh yeah, I totally believe that you polled all your female friends about whether they've been harassed. If they haven't told you about it, they've either fallen into the trap of thinking that sexual harassment only exists when it's the overt kind that you see on TV, or they don't trust you. Perhaps because you've demonstrated that you'll blame them for their own harassment.

    5. Yeah, I think it's a little silly to be offended by something you basically made up - the idea that if I say nearly all women will be sexually harassed it means I'm saying all men are sexually harassed. That's the definition of "looking for things to be offended about."

    6. That doesn't make sense. If men take the time to talk to women and figure out what makes them uncomfortable in the first place, then sexual harassment won't happen and the "intent" conversation will never happen. Will there be those rare occasions where a woman wrongfully accuses a guy of sexual harassment and he gets fired? Yeah, sure. But you could wrongfully accuse anyone of any offense. The vast majority of women would never do that, especially due to the risk of fallout. I've heard far, far more stories of women being told to just put up with it or to not talk about it, or the harassment getting worse, or her actually getting punished, for speaking up about real sexual harassment than I've heard about men getting falsely accused.

    And I'm not going to respond to every single "what about the men" comment. I already responded to yours and look where it's gotten me.

    7. No, your bizarre logic is no one's experience. Your bizarre logic is that somehow saying all women will likely be harassed = all men are harassers. Tell me how that is not bizarre. And going "what about the men" is a demand to stop talking about women and start talking about men. That's what that is.

    I am okay with branding you insensitive and misogynistic, yes.

    Honestly, I read that piece, and it's just kind of vague and offers no real solutions. I'm not finding where you explain what individualism has to do with the issue. Not sure what your point is supposed to be. I think you're getting close to one, but it needs to be nailed down. Sorry, slipping into editor mode.

    I welcomed the different perspective of Max, despite the fact that his comment was critical. It's because he kept the topic on women, as a concern that this would deter them from getting into the industry. I appreciated that and responded to him. Your "perspective" is little other than telling me I'm wrong to expect the sexual harassment I've already received.

    Lastly, if this is seriously the first time you've felt offended by anything - that's male privilege. You seem to have a real problem with me being emotional about the issue, but I don't have the luxury of sitting back and thinking about this all as a hypothetical. What happened to Mercier could happen to me. That's scary, and it makes me angry, and it should make me angry. I'm not a robot.

    But I'm glad you feel offended. I'm glad you're feeling the effects of the sexist gaming culture. Maybe now you'll do some thinking about it, beyond "I would never hurt a woman," because that's not enough. We all need to get involved and work toward changing a culture that's toxic for women if we're going to get anywhere. This piece was meant to stir emotions, so I consider it a rousing success. Thanks.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    "But I'm glad you feel offended."

    Thank you. The hypocrisy is complete. I'm a misogynist, I suffer from "male privilege," and yet, not a word I wrote says any such thing. I say I'm offended, you say I'm not, I say it again, you say good. I lie, you don't. I "demand" that you talk about men, you don't demand that I acknowledge your pain. Your offense is keener felt than mine. Your life is harder than mine. Because you're a woman. And I'm a man.

    That's what all that translates to, like it or not. You're going to live a very lonely, bitter life Lindsay. I hate to break that to you.

    Of course you didn't understand the piece I wrote. You're too wrapped up in what people will "do" to you rather yourself. It was over your head, but of course that's a misogynistic thing to say, regardless of whether or not it's true because all of reality, all of life, all of truth and goodness is centered on one all-encompassing fact: You're a woman and the entire world is out to get you.

    I apologize. I didn't realize that I wasn't human in your world, and that my complaints are insults, and that my hurt is somehow redirected at you. You, you, you. And yet.....you don't focus on you. You focus on what people do to you, not on what you achieve. Again, I apologize. It's all you want men to do, so I should've done that right up front. I should've realized it from the hateful, ignorant piece you wrote, anyway.

    One of these days, you'll wake up and come to the startling revelation that deeply entrenched bias, hypocrisy and blind emotion have ruled your life. ...and you will have a great many regrets. I don't envy you that pain.

    Goodbye, Lindsay. Regardless of what you may think, I have never wanted any woman to come to harm, mental or physical. I wish you the best of luck in anything you choose to do. You don't have to wish it back; you have issues of your own with which you must deal before you're capable of that. That is not an insult. We all have our mountains to climb. Good luck and may you find the peace you seek.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Oh yeah, I must be so lonely and bitter because I call out misogyny and use phrases like "male privilege" and don't put up with people auditing my experiences through a privileged lens. Probably live alone with a bunch of cats, right? Classic.

    Funny how you've spent this whole time whining that I won't listen to any criticism when you respond to my criticism of your piece by saying it must be "over my head." Yeah, you're just so wise, I couldn't possibly keep up with a piece pontificating on how we should just treat each other based on ability, but then say that that's impossible so people should just solve their own problems, somehow, I guess.

    Sorry I oppressed you so much for saying that women get harassed a lot. I'm sure I'll wake up someday and realize that you were totally right - you and every other misogynistic dude who's made the same exact kind of arguments over and over when they desperately don't want to feel like they might have to do something to make things better for marginalized groups. Oh and thanks for totally not insulting me in like every other sentence of that post. You're too good for that, of course.

    K bye.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    You could just say "typical" a hundred times and win the argument that way.

    Cats? No, you don't have cats. Even a cat couldn't freakin' stand you.
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    How civil.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yeah. A perfect mirror to the tone of your TITLE.

    Still waiting to see your response to Venisia's example below.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • Lindsey Weedston
    Contributor
    Dude, you need to stop. This is over.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yes, it's over. Because you "demanded" it and no other reason.

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