Category Archives: sexism

#endGamerGate2014 Linkspam

I’ve been paying attention to Gamer Gate, because as a woman who plays games and who likes to see diverse representation of characters and stories, they’re a group that does not have my interest at heart, and are likely to actively target me.  Fortunately I’m not famous, and in Australia, which means I have several degrees of protection, not afforded to other prominent women in the gaming industry.

So instead of putting this in my general linkspam, I’ll put it all here so that those of you who aren’t interested can skip it.

You know you’ve made it big when the main stream media picks up on what you’ve been doing – but making it big isn’t always a positive thing.  When the mainstream media are looking at you like something they wished they hadn’t stepped in, perhaps continuing the bad fight is not optimal for your movement.

Anyway, onto the posts!

Jay Hathaway writes at Gawker, “What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks“:

What is #Gamergate?

“#GamerGate” is an online movement ostensibly concerned with ethics in game journalism and with protecting the “gamer” identity.

“Ostensibly”?

Even regarded generously, Gamergate isn’t much more than a tone-deaf rabble of angry obsessives with a misguided understanding of journalistic ethics. But there are a lot of reasons not to regard the movement generously.

Jessica Valenti at The Guardian writes, “Gamergate is loud, dangerous and a last grasp at cultural dominance by angry white men“:

The recent uproar – said to be over ethics in journalism but focused mostly on targeting outspoken women who aren’t journalists at all – is just the last, desperate gasp of misogynists facing an unwelcoming future. But this particular bitter end, while long overdue, is loud, angry and extremely dangerous.

Female game developers Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn have fled their homes in fear after a terrifying barrage of rape and death threats. Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a talk last week at Utah State University after the school received an email promising a “Montreal Massacre-style” mass shooting if the “craven little whore” was allowed to speak. And despite assurances from Gamergate supporters that they have no problem with women, their de facto leaders are being outed as violent misogynists.

Charlie Brooker at The Guardian writes, “Gamergate: the internet is the toughest game in town – if you’re playing as a woman“:

I haven’t always been the kind of man who plays videogames. I used to be the kind of boy who played videogames. We’re inseparable, games and I. If you cut me, I’d bleed pixels. Or blood. Probably blood, come to think of it.

Games get a bad press compared with, say, opera – even though they’re obviously better, because no opera has ever compelled an audience member to collect a giant mushroom and jump across some clouds. Nobody writes articles in which opera-lovers are mocked as adult babies who never grew out of make-believe and sing-song; obsessive misfits who flock to weird “opening nights” wearing elaborate “tuxedo” cosplay outfits.

On no account go to the opera yourself: you’ll probably run into a mafia boss. According to at least one film I think I saw once, mafia bosses love opera, because there’s loads of death and killing in it. Yet politicians don’t table motions solemnly condemning opera’s dangerous level of violence.

There seems to be a small yet vocal core of maniacs bafflingly resistant to the notion that women should have any say in the games industry at all. Even recent statistics indicating that female players now outnumber men can’t sway them, thanks to a lazy assumption that most of those women are playing Candy Crush or other, equally non-taxing “casual games” apparently un worthy of being called “games” at all. I don’t think that’s true, and even if it were, I wouldn’t blame women for voluntarily choosing to play something soothing and non-threatening in their free time, since they spend so much of the rest of their time being forced to play a terrifying survival horror MMORPG colloquially known as “The Internet”. Women are the hardest hardcore gamers there are, by miles.

Jon Stone at The Guardian writes, “Gamergate’s vicious right-wing swell means there can be no neutral stance“:

One thing they really do have in common is a desire for positive press coverage. When I wrote a blog post last week examining the permutations of zealotry within Gamergate and the way the movement misunderstands and perverts the language of reason, it was dismissed as one of a number of “biased” articles that only told one side of the story.

But even leaving aside the fact that Gamergate’s “argument” is an irreconcilable mess of trembly fingered accusations, vendettas and uncertain nods to complex problems, the fact remains that there is only one “side” to be discussed, and that is Gamergate itself. As much as it would like to nominate as its opponent a power-axis of leftist games critics, mainstream journalists, developers, activists and academics, this axis doesn’t exist.

Nor do Gamergate’s critics mass beneath any banner, or rally together to punish individual targets the way Gamergate does. The misdemeanours alluded to are many and various because this “other side” is simply people from all walks of life, gamers and non-gamers alike, reacting (or not reacting, as the case may be) to Gamergate.

Chris Kluwe writes at Medium, “Why #Gamergaters Piss Me The F*** Off“:

There’s this herd of people, mainly angsty teenage caucasian men (based on an informal survey of 99 percent of the people who feel the need to defend this nonsense to me on Twitter), who feel that somehow, their identity as “gamers” is being taken away. Like they’re all little Anne Franks, hiding in their basements from the PC Nazis and Social Justice Warrior brigades, desperately protecting the last shreds of “core gaming” in their unironically horrible Liveblog journals filled with patently obvious white privilege and poorly disguised misogyny. “First they came for our Halo 2’s, and I said nothing.”

Gaming is part of who I am, I can promise you that.

Thus, when I see an article titled “Gamers are dead,” referring to the death of the popular trope of a pasty young man in a dimly lit room, it fills me with joy, because it means WE FUCKING WON. So many people are playing games now that they are popular culture. They are not going away. All sorts of cool things, that I like, are now things that a whole bunch of other people like! There’s enough space now for people to make games that are strange and disturbing and maybe highlight a different perspective of the world, because gaming is no longer a niche activity, it’s something that everybody does. There is room for art in video games. That’s awesome!

Brendan Keogh, an Australian game critic wrote at Ungaming:

I was having a conversation with a fairly polite gamergater. They asked me a bunch of questions and I asked if I could reply with a tumblr post instead of a hundred tweets, so this is that post. There was an ongoing conversation before this point, which you should be able to find via the links easily enough.

I find this idea that journos don’t respect the gaming audience or their readership really interesting, and it comes up again and again. But, really, what I see haters saying as ‘not respecting’ their readership is, to me, just journos not pandering to their readership. You don’t have to look far to see sporting outlets condemning abusive fans at sporting events or film outlets condemning the spreading of nude pics by fans of celebrity actors. These writes, along with the games journos who condemn the more toxic elements of gaming’s culture, don’t do this because they don’t respect videogame players. They do it because they do respect them enough not to pander to them. Go back just a decade or so, and all games journalism is nothing but a celebration of how great videogames are. This weird insider “we’re one of you” kind of tone permeates old issues of gaming mags where those non-gamers just don’t you, but we get you, we are you. We’ll tell you what you want to hear about how great and politically incorrect this or that game is.

A storify of tweets about the Escapists coverage of Gamer Gate, “Game Devs on Gamergate“.

Hayley Tsukayama at The Washington Post wrote, “The game industry’s top trade group just spoke out against Gamergate“:

That prompted the the nation’s top trade group for video game companies to speak out Wednesday. “Threats of violence and harassment are wrong,” said a spokesman for the Entertainment Software Association in a statement. “They have to stop. There is no place in the video game community—or our society—for personal attacks and threats.”

It’s a simple statement. But it indicates just how seriously the gaming industry is working to break free of the worst stereotypes of its community. Game culture is, no doubt, changing. The ESA now boasts that women comprise nearly 50 percent of its audience. The push toward mobile gaming, in particular, has expanded the industry’s audience at a faster rate than ever before. The Gamergate controversy has drawn attention to the worst kind of video game player — misogynistic, violent and reactionary.

In other words, exactly the kind of player that the industry no longer wishes to be the face of the industry.

Arthur Chu at The Daily Beast writes, “Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage“:

The biggest 1970s music bonfire was not done by a church, and the records they destroyed weren’t metal records. And they didn’t use kerosene and a match, they used explosives. And rather than singing hymns and being quietly self-righteous, the event erupted into an orgy of violent rage.

I’m talking, of course, about the ill-fated promotion the Chicago White Sox ran on July 12, 1979, known as “Disco Demolition Night.” (Most notably written about by Dr. Gillian Frank in this scholarly retrospective.)

What exactly made so many people—let’s not be coy here, so many young white men—hate disco so much? An aversion to a steady dance backbeat? A dislike of orchestral instrumentation? What?

Did it have nothing to do with the fact that disco icons were frequently black women like Gloria Gaynor and Diana Ross, who sang anthems of empowerment like “I Will Survive” and “I’m Coming Out” and seemed like the polar opposite of the aggressively macho white frontmen rock fans idolized?

Just look at the rhetoric used by angry 1970s rock fans to bash disco. It goes beyond just finding the music unpleasant, it invokes the rhetoric of legitimacy. Disco artists aren’t “real” musicians. They don’t play their instruments live, like rock guitar gods; it’s too “produced,” it’s too “studio,” it’s fake.

Moreover, guys who listen to disco are fake. They dress in expensive leisure suits and hang out at fancy clubs. They don’t get down in the dirt and tear it up like us hard-core, genuine, masculine fans. They’re not real men, and women like them for not being real men, which is unacceptable. The face of the New American Man under the disco reign of terror is John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. You don’t want your sons growing up like that, do you?

I’m afraid of masculinity, and privilege, of the male sense of “honor” they combine to create, and the incredible reservoir of madness that “honor” can unleash when it’s threatened. Of how incredibly petty the offense can be and how insanely disproportionate the retaliation can be.

Brianna Wu writes at XO Jane, “It Happened To Me”:

They threatened the wrong woman this time. I am the Godzilla of bitches. I have a backbone of pure adamantium, and I’m sick of seeing them abuse my friends.

The misogynists and the bullies and the sadist trolls of patriarchal gaming culture threatened to murder me and rape my corpse, and I did not back down. They tried to target my company’s financial assets and I did not back down. They tried to impersonate me on Twitter in an attempt to professionally discredit me and I did not back down.

The BBC called me “Defiant,” in a caption. I plan to frame and put it on my wall.

My name is Brianna Wu. Ordinarily, I develop videogames with female characters that aren’t girlfriends, bimbos and sidekicks. I am a software engineer, a popular public speaker and an expert in the Unreal engine.

Today, I’m being targeted by a delusional mob called “Gamergate.”

Devin Faraci at Badass Digest writes, “Why GamerGate Already Lost“:

When this news broke something happened: everyone on Twitter blamed GamerGate, the harassment campaign organized under a hashtag and run off the kiddie-porn disseminating website 4chan for being too extreme. While the threatening letter never mentioned GamerGate it was pretty clear that this lunatic was on their wavelength. Despite protestations that GamerGate is about ethics in journalism (we’ll get to why that’s hardcore bullshit), it’s been mostly a force for hounding women, especially Sarkeesian and indie developer Zoe Quinn, with developer Brianna Wu becoming the latest women run out of her home by specific violent threats from GamerGaters.

The Sarkeesian threat name-dropped Marc Lépine, who was the Elliott Rodger of Montreal, murdering 14 women in a self-described battle against feminism – the same enemy that GamerGate says it fights. This is the world of GamerGate, sick, pathetic men who are so threatened by women that they must either murder them or terrorize them into silence.

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My new pledge – no more games with only male characters

I was at work, doing worky things and my ex-intern, but still my minion, shares with me a link for the Kickstarter of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.   He knows I am a gamer, as is he.

I scroll through to see if it is something that I’d enjoy playing or not, and find one of the stretch goals – at raising $600K, the developers will add a “Playable female character”.  This, I should add, is the fourth stretch goal, and the character developed is not the main character, but is a character you can play as part of a memory, or prequel who helps the actual main character, a bloke, end up where he is when the story of the game begins.

Wow, I thought to myself, me and people like me are optional extras for game developers, and that’s when I decided – I will no longer play games where there are only dudes present as options, or where the developers think that playable female characters are only worthy of a stretch goal.

The developers of Kingdom Come: Deliverance were criticised by players and others for their lack of playable female characters, and they fell back on “this is a period game set in Europe in the 15th century, women weren’t heroes” (not an exact quote).

Anyone who knows anything about history knows that women foughtJoan d’Arc was alive and well in the 15th century, and she fought.  Saint Geneveive didn’t fight, but she certainly was active in the fields of war, negotiation, and keeping shit real in Paris in the 5th century.  Then you know there is a proud history of women pirates.

There was nothing stopping the developers saying, “right, the main character is either man or a woman (your choice), but the female character will have to disguise herself as a boy/man because of the environment/culture/time period that this game is set, and may have extra levels of difficulty because of that”, because I’m certain that women often did that, as they do today in places where appearing as a girl or woman can be risky.

But back to my pledge.  I will no longer play a game if the only character options are men, or male anthropomorphised creatures.  From now on, I will only play games that allow the selection of men/women/neuter characters, where the main character is a women, or where the player is effectively an ungendered god (ie myself).  This means that there are plenty of new games that will come highly rated and recommended that I will not play.  I was looking forward to Watch Dogs, but as the only protag in the game is yet another dude, I’m not going to play it.

As it turns out, looking at all the games in my play list, and on the shelf, the ones I’m most likely to play are those with options for different gendered characters, so it’s not like my pledge is going to be hard personally – but imagine if lots of people made this pledge.  Imagine if we as consumers forced gaming companies to actually portray women and girls as active story-tellers in their own lives?  Imagine if women and girls were not sexualised objects, or Ms Men, or motivations for male characters to do other things – how much richer stories would be told then?

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The messages we get

Volume

Be quiet.  If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.  Silence is a virtue.  Don’t talk back.  Don’t make a scene.  Good things come to those who wait.  Be patient.

Safety

Don’t do that, do this.  Don’t do that, do this.  Don’t drink.  Don’t drive.  Don’t go to that neighbourhood.  Don’t go out at night.  Don’t be alone.  Don’t be alone with them.  Learn a martial art.  Be loud, shout.  Fight.  Don’t leave your drink unattended.  Don’t get drunk.  Don’t take any risks.  Plan everything.

Relationships

Be nice to men.  Don’t be nice to women.  It’s a competition.  Dress like this, no like this, no like this.  Show more/less skin.  Don’t dress like that.  Don’t earn more than your boyfriend/husband.  Don’t be more educated than your boyfriend/husband.  Don’t be queer.  Be sexually available.  Don’t have sex on the first date.  Play hard to get.  Tease.  Flirt.  He didn’t mean it.  Why didn’t you leave?

Money

It doesn’t matter that you earn less than men.  This is not a career path for women.  Don’t negotiate for a payrise, you’ll be seen as a bitch.  You’ll have a husband to support you in your retirement, so why care about super?  You don’t need to worry your pretty head about money and budgeting.

Media

Your voice isn’t important.  Your opinions don’t matter.  This issue that affects you is better discussed by a man.  Men write better than you.  Men know more than you.  Your issue isn’t important.  You can only write/publish in the “women’s interest” areas.  No one would take you seriously if you wrote about politics/the economy/sport/violence.

Politics

As a man, I can speak personally about abortion.  You have no merit.  Institutional sexism is perfectly fine and we’re doing nothing to change it.  Your sex appeal is more important than your policies and ability to do your job.  Having children shows you’re a real woman.  Having children shows you cannot dedicate your full attention to politics.

Bodies

You’re too skinny.  You’re too fat.  Exercise more.  Use this cream/lotion.  Don’t use that cream/lotion.  Eat this type of food.  Don’t eat that type of food.  Avoid carbs/protein/fat/everything.  Starve yourself thin.  Your body isn’t yours, it belongs to everyone else.  Do you feel ashamed to have your body yet?  You are beautiful.  You’re an ugly slut.

Attitude

Be nice.  Don’t have self esteem.  Be confident.  Fake it until you make it.  Feel ashamed.  Be empowered.  Be patient.  Be kind.  Don’t be rude.  Don’t stand up for yourself.  Be cautious.

Emotions

Women have more emotions than men.  Smile.  Don’t be angry.  Be calm.  Don’t cry.  Don’t scream.  Don’t be afraid.  Be afraid.  Women make no sense.  Women cannot be trusted to know their own feelings.

Belonging

You belong at home.  You belong in the kitchen.  You belong with me.  You are mine.  You belong with the children.

 

Sound familiar?

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What? I don’t even…

*Trigger warning for rape discussion (corrective sex)*

So Ricky Nixon, an AFL “personality” (former player manager), decided to publicly sledge a Fairfax columnist (is that different to journalist?) Suzanne Carbone on his Facebook page today.  As it was a public page/wall* the whole world could (and indeed did thanks to the article published by The Age and other places) see what he and his friends said about Suzanne Carbone.  It wasn’t pretty, it was incredibly sexist.  It was also incredibly immature.  Seriously guys, if someone says something you don’t like, debate it, don’t call that person names and suggest that the solution is “a good shag” because not only is that sexist and misogynist, but it also makes you look like a Neanderthal.  Debating ideas and opinions is not that difficult.  Name calling is certainly easier, but makes you look like a fool while the other person effectively wins.  Not a good strategy.

Continue reading What? I don’t even…

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A random and unidentified visit

I had a random (and anonymous) comment left on my blog quite recently, and thought I’d share it all with you.  It’s on my “Roses only… more like sexist only” blog post.

The commenter said:

Bec, it’s just an ad… get over it.
They’re not playing into anything, they’re doing a good job at selling their product.
I’m sure if you were trying to sell lots of your over-priced flowers you’d be trying to do whatever it takes to get people to buy them too.

Continue reading A random and unidentified visit

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Seriously?

*Trigger warning – this post discusses  language misuse detrimental to women*

I rarely encounter direct sexism (that I notice – different story) in my day to day life.  I read about sexism, I comment on sexism in the media, but rarely do I end up calling-out sexism from someone in my day-to-day life.  If that makes sense.  I’m very, incredibly and wonderfully lucky in that my partners, their partners, my family and my friends are all non-sexist.  We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there is little in the way of direct sexism in my life.

Enter Michael Barnett, a blogger and commentator, and a member of the National LBGTIQ Rights list (Australia) that I’m on.  He has a blog, and is currently upset with a female member of the (Melbourne?) Jewish community who has been posting homophobic comments in various forums.  He announced his latest blog post on the National LBGTIQ Rights list with:

More deluded rantings from this homophobic Jewish bitch.  She really needs to see a vet.

I told Michael that I was upset with the language he’d used to describe the woman he was upset with, and told him that there were plenty of other ways to refer to someone without equating them to an animal or belonging.

Michael, to my surprise (I really don’t know him) refused to apologise stating:

No apologies.  Please channel your offence at the viles (sic) homophobes.

I informed Michael that I can be offended at both homophobic behaviour (and individuals) AND people who are sexist and that I would indeed like an apology from him as well as an undertaking to modify his language use. At this point another member of the mailing list pointed out that homophobia and sexism were as vile as each other.

Michael decided at this point to deflect responsibility for his language use onto the individual he was upset with and also to tell me that I was not offended.

I won’t tolerate homophobic rants from vile bitches like [name redacted]*.  If you are offended by what I write, I suggest you have a tete-a-tete with [name redacted] and politely ask her to stop writing the offensive material that I don’t like that drives me to write the material you find offensive.

Please don’t get all high and mighty on me.  You are not offended.  You are being precious.  [name redacted] is the problem, not my writings.

So I should redirect my offence to the individual that has upset him, even though Michael’s choice of words, something he is responsible for, was the cause of my offence.  I was flabbergasted that someone could even dare to suggest such a thing, and on a relatively public forum at that.  I pointed out to Michael that he was responsible for his language use regardless of the actions of another person, and no matter how much that other person upset him – especially as he was reporting on it later.

I also told him that he could not tell me that I was not offended and that he was mansplaining my offence away and that did not make me suddenly not offended.  I reminded Michael that sexism was as bad as homophobia and that his refusal to apologise or to agree to modify his language was increasing my offence.  I asked him to be a better person than the person who had upset him and to apologise.

Michael’s response:

Hi Rebecca,

[name redacted] fits the definition of bitch “A woman considered to be spiteful or overbearing.”

I am not sexist.

I call homophobic rabbis cunts.  They fit the definition “Used as a disparaging term for a person one dislikes or finds extremely disagreeable.”

This is not about you.

And that’s where he got it it incredible wrong, and I walked away (because I could not be arsed spending the energy and time it would take to educate this individual).  Michael’s language use is sexist and his refusal to acknowledge that his language was inappropriate and harmful makes him sexist in my opinion.

I am incredibly grateful to those on the mailing lists (some of my comments were cross-posted – or replies were cross posted) that stood up and agreed with me.  Many of them were more eloquent than I was able to be at that time, pointing out that language is an important tool and using appropriate language is essential in fighting for human rights.  Thank you to those who stood up against sexism.

Some of the best comments (names withheld) were:

One would have to query why one should be so apparently determined to repeatedly to show such little respect and put off-side, those who share the battle and grief the result of these homophobic individuals?

Bayne Macgregor said:

It is every politically active persons responsibility to be aware of some of the basic ways language is part of politics and emotion. You don’t need a degree in linguistics to see that conservatives have made one of their main tools the control of language and the emotional meaning-association. Why the heck do you think people started using the word Gay instead of terms like Homosexual, Faggot, Poofta, Fairy, Fairy-Maggot or Pus-Person?

Now if you want to insult this person go ahead! But do so with terms that are not enforcing any other discrimination.So it would be in your interest and everyone elses if you explore the great cultural heritage of cretive insults and find some that do not reinforce any sexism, ablism, racism, transphobia or any other such problem which we as human-rights activists specialising in the GLBTIQ area need to be aware of and supportive of the fight against.

Michael, you’ve failed to grasp the meaning of the word “offended”.

Offence is in the eye of the beholder, not defined by the offender. Consequently, when someone tells you that they are offended by your language or your behaviour, they are right. You as the offender are in no position to claim that, “You are not offended.  You are being precious.”

Further, when someone tells you that they are offended by your behaviour and you refuse to change it, you are indicating that you hold their views and their feelings in complete contempt.

*  I’m not naming the individual that Michael is offended with, even though I have read some of her comments on a blog and found them homophobic, because right now she is not the issue.

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There is always an agenda

*trigger warning – this post discusses violence against women*

Jim Schembri posted an article on The Age today which suggested that violence against women is funny. I wrote a letter to The Age about it, which is below.

I am appalled that Jim Schembri’s article, “Top 10 best movie bitch slaps of all time” has been allowed to be published on The Age online today.

Schembri writes:

“As civil and courteous a species as we like to think we are, we all know that there exists in this world certain people who, every once in a while, deserve a good smack in the chops. And how do we know this? From the movies, of course.”

No one EVER deserves a good smack in the chops.  To suggest so implies that victims deserve the crime committed against them.  Victim Blaming is where:

“Victim blaming (or blaming the victim) is holding the victims of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment to be entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them.”

Logically following Schembri’s statement through, people deserve to be mugged, domestic violence victims deserve their abuse, rape survivors deserved to be raped in the first place and murderees deserved to be killed.  This doesn’t actually sound all that sane and in a week where we’ve already had plenty of victim blaming and rape apology printed in The Age, I thought that someone would be suggesting to the contributors to The Age that perhaps easing off the violence towards others would be a good start, and that making fun of violence would be a bad idea.  Clearly this hasn’t happened.

Of the 10 incidents of violence he lists, 60% of them are men abusing women.  Five of the 10 involve a man slapping a woman (or in one case the entire passenger manifest of an aircraft slapping a woman) on the face, one of the ten involves a woman slapping another woman.  Only two of his suggestions involve men slapping other men, overwhelmingly his article and examples focused on violence against women and suggested that it was a good or funny thing.  Violence is not a good or funny thing.

Schembri:

“3. Godfather II (1974): Al Pacino vs Diane Keaton.

If you’re going to abort a man’s child, and the father is an all-powerful mafia Don, best to keep that to yourself, too. “You won’t take my children,” Al screams after slapping her down. “You WON’T take my children!””

Heaven forbid that a woman would like autonomy over her own body, to make her own decisions and not be subject to violence as a result. This entry clearly glorifies domestic violence.

Schembri:

“5. Flying High (1980): the entire passenger manifest vs the hysterical woman

Everybody would love to do this in real life. Maybe that’s why it’s still funny 30 years on.”

People who are scared, distraught or upset are not helped by being slapped.  The idea that slapping someone and suggesting that they “pull themselves out of it” is a harmful one and again perpetuates abuse against those who cannot defend themselves.

Schembri:

“What do you think of the list? Impossible to limit it to 10, isn’t it? What great movie slaps do think warrant mention? And who, in all of movie history, do you think deserved a slap most – but didn’t get it?”

It’d be nice to not have a list of the 10 best assaults of our time, and to instead focus on something else versus a heavy handed list of violence against women.  Who most deserved a slap?  No one… but that doesn’t get mentioned.

And finally let’s look at Mr Schembri’s use of the phrase “bitch slap”.  As commenter Jacinta rightly points out, “Further, the phrase “bitch-slap” has its own problems, suggesting as it does, that a woman who is slapped deserved it on account of being both unpleasant and female.”  I have written about “bitch” being a problematic word and really think that the usage of this words needs to be carefully monitored.

Schembri’s mansplaining my and Jacinta’s comments and suggesting that it was all a joke was also completely unnecessary.  It should not come as a surprise that some people do not find this kind of thing funny and that overall suggesting that violence against women (and men) is funny or can be funny is not a good thing, and using phrases like “bitch slap” is not good either.

Jacinta commented on Schembri’s article stating (with Schembri’s response in bold as in the original):

This article is appalling! Within context, there might be cause for a character in a movie to strike another; but to glorify these actions removed from context just so we can see one person hit another? That’s just wrong.

You wrote: “we all know that there exists in this world certain people who, every once in a while, deserve a good smack in the chops.” I disagree. Whenever I feel the urge to slap someone, it’s a fault in me, not in them. People do not deserve to be violently assaulted just for being upset or rude or hysterical or scared. People who are subordinate to you, weaker than you, less assertive than you or less powerful than you *never* deserve to be assaulted just because you’re angry with them or with something else. Yes, people say hurtful things, even that’s not an excuse to inflict physical pain. Slapping someone who is hysterical is never appropriate either.

Further, the phrase “bitch-slap” has its own problems, suggesting as it does, that a woman who is slapped deserved it on account of being both unpleasant and female.

You might think these are funny or memorable for some other reason, but I hope some of that is due to the context around the scene. If you watch these, unfamiliar with the context, you should be appalled too.

Schembri note: It’s all about context, Jacinta. That’s why Chinatown ghets No. 1. And a good slap in the movies isn’t gender specific, which is why we lead with Peter Lorre getting it good in The Maltese Falcon. Every now and again, you gotta cool the jets on the old reading-a-political-agenda-into-everything deal and just have a bit of fun. Take another look at hte Airplane! slapping scene. Tell us you didn’t laugh at least once.

So let’s look at this agenda thing (a similar comment was made by Schembri on my comment (under Rebecca) when he eventually got around to approving it in the moderation queue (some 4 hours after I posted it)).  There is ALWAYS an agenda. Humans are political beings, and even when we don’t think we have an agenda we do.  Wanting a hug, being hungry or being thirsty are small and easily identifiable agendas.  Some agendas are more subtle and harder to pick, whether someone knows you like them, organising a surprise or your taste in music.  Some agendas are unconscious and provided by society such as rape culture, victim blaming and the status of women.  Although Schembri claims that there was no agenda to his post, he is continuing to add to the “violence is ok against women” agenda prevalent in society.  And his comments were beautiful examples of mansplaining, “it’s funny, everyone else is finding it funny, you must have laughed at this – so you’re wrong”.

I was very disappointed in this article and in Schembri’s refusal to see that there were alternate points of view.  I’ll be avoiding his articles from now on.

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