patriarchy, systems of oppression and blatant old fashioned sexism, still alive after all these years (part 1)

The email warns “a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out” against those in attendance, students, staff, and the women’s center. “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the email continues. “This threat is giving (The University) a chance to stop it….I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

This email was sent this month in response to  a planned speaking event at Utah State University featuring Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist culture critic who recently has been lauded for her research on female stereotypes in the video game industry  ….all for challenging sexism in video games.  In 2012, Sarkeesian was targeted by an online harassment campaign following her launch of a Kickstarter project to fund the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. At the same time, supporters donated over $150,000 to the project, far beyond the $6,000 she had sought. The situation was covered extensively in the media, placing Sarkeesian at the center of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment. It would seem that Ms. Sarkeesian has struck a chord with a few people in the gaming world. One could surmise that is probably the result of her uncovering their truths, for if what she said was not true, why get so worked up over it?

This is apparently also crime to some gamers worth threatening rape, death, acts of terrorism, and massacre for. The day before, members of the university administration received an email warning that a shooting massacre would be carried out at the event. And under Utah law, she was told, the campus police could not prevent people with weapons from entering her talk. It was decided that canceling the event was the solution. I however can think of many better solutions that do not involve bowing to misogynist cyber terrorists. While I don’t condone putting Ms. Sarkeesian in harms way I think canceling the event altogether was a huge mistake. This sets the standard that women can be silenced with one threat. It also shows that society will tolerate such behavior. Had I been the decision maker in this matter, first off I would actively be seeking the person responsibility and handing there ass to them by way of a stiff prison sentence. Second, I would not have canceled the event. Okay so the University cant provide security. Can they move it to a place that would? An Event Center? A police precinct perhaps? Minimally  make it a webcast & present it at a screening on campus. Or if the University was afraid to do that, why not a podcast sent out to all University email addresses? There are many solutions to this situation. Backing down to sexism and lunacy should not be one of them.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 48 percent of game players in the United States are women, a figure that has grown as new opportunities to play games through mobile devices, social networks and other avenues have proliferated. Game developers, however, continue to be mostly male: In a survey conducted earlier this year by the International Game Developers Association, a nonprofit association for game developers, only 21 percent of respondents said they were female.

In this day and century , the fact that the permissive attitude of misogyny in many forms and many industries continues to pervade society is inexcusable. Its quite frankly ridiculous. Guys, women make up at last half the population. Its not rocket science. This is the 21st century. Women have jobs and interests in all areas of society. As such its your job to adjust. Move your chair over and make room. Or take your ball and go home..

 

#NotAllMen

I will start with some personal stories, I like stories. I have 2 brothers (no sisters) , a son, a stepson (no daughters), 2 brother in laws on my husbands (no sisters for him) side.. I”m also married to a man. I like men. I feel I understand a lot ab the male side of our population having been surrounded by them my entire life. I also understand women’s issue, having been one my entire life. I consider myself a moderate on a lot of issues. But I do have an understanding that misogyny, rape culture, unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault etc primary targets women. I don’t blame men for the creation of these things in society because frankly women keep them in place as well.

The media is full of sound bytes & news clips with little discussion. I find however that messages about women & stereotypes, gender issues tend to blow up before getting blown away. The recent story about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria spawned the hashtag trend #BringBackOurGirls, because people with a worldview will understand that hate towards some women is hate against all women. I’m not using an us/them dichotomy here though. This is not about women versus men but an underlying feeling among many  (mixed) populations that women aren’t deserving of education, rights etc. It is important in these instances to stand up to this,  especially when the world is watching. People need to understand how the girls in Nigeria, the targeting of women in the Rodgers shooting rampage,  etc connects to a larger issue. These could be viewed as disconnected isolated events, but to think that doesn’t look at the bigger picture. These events are but examples of that bigger picture.

In another example the recent hashtag trend #YesAllWomen spawned similar dissent among people – not all of whom were men- who deny the existence of misogyny, rape culture etc. These things make people uncomfortable,I get that. And it should. Being uncomfortable shouldn’t be a reason not to address issues & try to solve or change them. I don’t want, to derail the female centered topic & focus on potential hurt feelings by men though. I’m sorry but there is a bigger issue that needs to be the focus. I feel the need to explain some things further, relating to these issues, in hopefully understandable non-offensive terms though.

I recently had a (male) friend rant on Facebook that he’s tired of female friends posting stuff that make all men out to be “evil” “rapists” & how he gets “all men are evil b/c they are rapists or want to pay you less.’ That right there is the problem:  when people get uncomfortable they tend to  stop listening and get defensive. No need to get defensive. How about helping?  Even if a “woman’s issue” that doesn’t directly affect you, surely it will affect your mother, sister, daughter, friends. Don’t be dismissive. Understand that if YOU aren’t a rapist, a predator, etc that those types of postings aren’t about you, but they should offend you that men out there CAN be those things. Denying & attributing to some “other”  in society doesn’t help eradicate the problem.

The reason a lot of these types of stories are attributed to misogyny is because simply that IS whats at the root of them. Of course not all men are women haters. Misogyny exists in society & is built up over time and takes a lot of people to hold in place. But it exists here nonetheless.  The success and popularity of the Tea Party being one  example….but there are many more, including people in the media & politics that regularly spout off in this vein:  Rush Limbaugh. Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan,  Michelle Bachmann (yes a woman).  Of course not all men are rapists, etc, but while its important to acknowledge this its important not to get sidetracked on it. Women already know this. Men already know this. We live in a society that while there are movements and laws against rape, there are also a lot more places that feed it to us in ways that desensitize society to it: video games, movies, music, public places, private citizens views…a bar in Spokane, Washington  thought it humorous to create a drink called “Date Grape.’ When there was protest, the bar owner (a man) stated it was “just a joke” –and also refused to change the name. He then began a campaign of harassment against the protest organizer (a woman). While that’s his right to name drinks whatever he wants, the humor he find in rape & those supporting it, is a shining example of what I mean. (My personal opinion is that its in beyond poor taste considering how often acquaintance rape occurs in college settings & tends to involve alcohol..but don’t let me go on a tangent)

On that note, let me give you an example of what I mean, in better terms. When college guys go out, whoop it up, get fall down drunk, people (PEOPLE) think nothing of it other than writing them off as “boys will be boys” “typical Frat guys” etc. Guys can go out and sh*t faced and not worry that a woman will see them as prey, and frankly I doubt this concern ever crosses a guys mind (I’m just assuming though). When a guy walks out of his house without a shirt or with pants sagging to his knees, no one thinks a thing of it. (Other than maybe “pull up your pants whippersnapper”) If a guy got mugged or beaten up, its doubtful anyone would say “well look at how he was dressed” “what did he expect, dressing THAT way?” Whereas when a woman goes out, if she were to get assaulted those things often times become center stage: “what was she thinking acting THAT WAY…dressing THAT WAY…” If you disagree I’m sorry but this is a huge part of the reason so many rape victims don’t press charges, b/c more often than not, stuff like that are some of defense attorneys central questions on the stand or in opening arguments. Its also the way many people think…boys will be boys versus women who shouldn’t  behave ‘that’ way.  Again, this is a societal thing, not a men versus women attitude, that does permeate our culture. Think of it: if men can freely dress how they choose, act how they choose…why is not okay for a woman to do the same? If a man can act ‘that way’ why cant a woman? Why IS it “asking for it” in these circumstances? That right there, is the clearest example I can give of what I am referring to.  There are silent beliefs that people often don’t think of because too often they are silently agreed upon by society. Dont agree. Dont help hold these in place.  #ThisTakesEverybody