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Obscene images, hate sites and a game where people are invited to beat you up have been inflicted on Anita Sarkeesian.
Those words are Carl Sagan's.
If Hitchens used them, then he was quoting Sagan even if he didn't credit him.
You'll have to give me some time to check the Institute of Trollology to see if they have the most recent statistics on flame wars.
Okay,you've found something on the Internet that you don't like. What do you propose to do about it?
I must admit I'm conflicted on the whole situation. On the one hand it sucks that she was harassed. But making as buig a deal out of it as the media has justy feeds the trolls. They read articles like this that post or reference their work and they feel validated.
Would her kickstarter have made as much money without the trolling and subsequent press coverage? Would it have languished in kickstarter
obscurity? Who knows.
The best way to defeat trolls is to ignore them. Thjey only do what they do because people react to thgem. They love that. It isn't about gender or race, it is about the offending, and that is what so many are missing. These people will attack a woman on the net because it is easy, and then they will go and make fun of someone for being black, brazillian, asian, british, american, gay or whatever. Anything that they think will get a reaction. Did your mom die? Don't let the trolls know or they will try and use that to hurt you.
Stop feeding them.
They don't care nearly
as much as you do.
The best way to deal with *a troll* is to ignore them. I think the best way to deal with a culture of trolling is to point out how bad they are and get others to do so as well so that the acts of degradation aren't considered cool by as many trolls.
Two main observations that make me physically sick:
1. So many people find it easy to justify their hate and hate crime actions.
2. Every single woman has suffered from harassment online and IRL.
I saw a lot of it as an impressionable youth during the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment. Something so simple and logical and *needed*, who could be against it? Yet here we are. And I heard filthy epithets directed at people collecting signatures for the ERA or selling "fish without a bicycle" shirts.
Harassment of women brings down the entire human race.
The worst part? I find in myself a desire to yell "Nice butt!" out the window at a female pedestrian. Clearly the human race has a tough road ahead.
So...having a desire to do something hurtful but then not acting on it makes you a decent person. Congratulations! (this is not sarcasm, I really mean it)
"1. So many people find it easy to justify their hate and hate crime actions."
To paraphrase the immortal words of the late, great Patrice O'Neal, why can't I hate you in speech? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXo1yJC0FrM
Hate me all you want. Just don't lay your hands on me. Just leave me be. That's it.
At the end of the day, it's all rooted in comedy. There is great demand for dark humor, mostly among men. To say the unsayable. To depict the undepictable. The political correctness in society only compounds this demand.
By the way, it wasn't easy to justify all this hate. I mean, to defend hate speech. Now that's posting on hard mode.
Where is the line between a threat and free speech? I know the SCOTUS defined a line between free speech and endangerment ("fire" in a crowded theater)
So at what point does "I'm going to find you, rape you, and kill you." stop being free (if horrible) speech, and become a clear threat?
You know who was the instrumental figure in stopping the ERA, which I support? A woman.
But once that ERA goes into effect, no more affirmative action. No more quotas. No more special government funded programs for women. It's all out.
This article is so depressing. The fact that my money went to something that pisses off so many jerks is the only solace I can take.
To the first poster, the point about those complaints is probably because there's an awful tradition of stereotypical gay villains in fiction: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=gay+villains This video probably puts together the best collection of this in cinema: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS4c05WPyRY
Come up with an equally comprehensive list of already existing gay protagonists and then your point with have some weight.
wow, this threading system is backwards, so not the first poster, but the one who mentioned dune: 000.
I don't think it's extreme at all.
I've had the same thing happen to me just because I'm a woman. And I wasn't even doing anything other than chatting.
"What you fail to understand is that the use of hate speech, threats and bullying to terrify and intimidate people into silence or away from certain topics is a far bigger threat to free speech than any legal sanction."
I stopped reading after you said that this was a great point. Government censorship is far more dangerous to free speech than a bunch of children being vulgar on the internet. Open a damn newspaper and read about what's going on in the Middle East you dolt.
The article wasn't about what's going on in the Middle East you dolt.
It is true that on a global scale, government censorship is the biggest threat to free speech. However, it doesn't follow that this general observation is an absolute rule, which applies to every individual situation.
Though the reference to the Middle East did ring a bell in my mind.
I seem to recall during both Gulf Wars, and the "War on Terror" seeing lots of flash games etc., of Saddam, Bin Laden, Bush, and Blair being beaten up, blown up, insulted, etc., and even one particular cartoon [which I confess I found rather amusing at the time, to my eternal shame], of Blair being raped by Bush. I even forwarded some of the more amusing ones to my friends
Thanks to the OP though, I now realise how childish this was,and would like to apologise to Mssrs. Blair and Bush for any hurt the items may have caused to them personally, and roundly condemn any political cartoonists, writers and other peddlers of anything other than reasoned political debate in any mass accessible media for any personal injury they may have suffered
In the meantime, of course, I appear to have lost the New Statesman article critising this offensive behaviour, perhaps you could supply a link to it?
Unless, of course, they were just "Asking for it"?
It's sadly true that harassment and insults are common on the internet,
but it's also true that people take such things far too personal.
If you get mad over how someone you don't even know calls you a cockmongler its your own fault.
On another note, the thing with x-rights-activism is that most activists are just as ignorant as the people they're demonstrating against.
Gay-rights activists for example defamed Frank Herbert for having a gay villain in his novel Dune,
yet praised Joanne K. Rowling for retroactively declaring a major good character from Harry Potter to be a homosexual.
They don't want equality, they want special treatment.
It's a farce.
When it's your face pasted into the threat, then of course you're going to take it personally. Good grief.
Exactly right. They want the special programs for women. They want to spread the lie that one in four women are raped with impunity. They want everything negative that affects women to trump anything negative that affects men, even if that negative thing affects men more.
Homelessness? More prevalent among men. We seem to care more when it happens to women.
Violence? Men live in a violent world and are at much higher risk of violent crime than women. But we seem to care more when it happens to women.
I'm not necessarily complaining about that specifically, but it's hypocritical to me that when we favor women this much, people still get to call this a sexist society. Now that violence against woman is truly reduced and opportunity for women has increased, they have to create new ways to feel victimized, with new and broader definitions of rape and trigger warnings and all that nonsense.
It's getting to be a bit tiresome and people are starting to see right through it.
lol you need to get laid
"Men live in a violent world…"
Totally. I can't even go to the shop for a pint of milk without having to battle my way through a Tarantino fight scene using the nearest blunt object to hand. Tough out there.
*sigh* Perpetuating the old "sexism has gone full circle" fallacy.
Hey Spokker, I'm remaking the Wizard of Oz; can you give me the deets of one of these straw men you seem to know? I think he'd be good for the scarecrow. Cheers!
Excellent article and very important issue, but the headline bothers me. Online harrassment takes many many forms, some very subtle indeed, and some victims are afraid to speak out because they fear being dismissed as petty or trivial. If we define online harrassment by the most extreme example then I'd worry it sends a message that anything less than a game to beat you up is not it.
It's too easy to say 'what are you complaining about, it's just a Twitter parody account (or string of sock puppet FB messages, or whatever), just ignore it". I've experienced this myself, and felt foolish to add to my upset by the harrassment.
Extreme comparison, but it feels akin to saying 'this is what rape looks like' alongside the worst dark alley story.
Helen here - thanks for flagging this Tracy, it hadn't occurred to me. You're absolutely right that harassment can take many forms, and this is one of the most extreme examples I've seen.
Wow, I'm not even sure how to respond to this.
I'm actually quite ambivalent towards the debate on how women are portrayed in video games. On one hand I find the need to oversexualise women in games a bit silly and behind the times, especially as game culture on both ends (creators and players) are seeing more and more women be part of it. So aren't these kind of depictions just capping your possible audience and thus money in you pocket?
But on the other hand I feel you should also be able to both create whatever you want and buy whatever you want and so if there is a demand for those kind of games then who am I to debate them being made.
But all of that said, these attacks on Sarkeesian are just disgusting, no matter what her opinions are.
And the thing that gets to me the most is the contrast of how Sarkeesian is not only open about her opinion but she's put herself on the line as well, while the Trolls (for the most part) just stay anonymous throughout. How cowardly is that.
So they feel strongly enough about this to have a go at her, but not strongly enough to voice that opinion face to face. Or do are they really just ashamed of their views in the first place and know they'd be berated for it just like she is?
No one's stopping anyone from creating whatever video games they want to make. As far as I can tell, people have been critiquing artistic and commercial endeavors for freaking ever. So why is it such a big deal that someone wants to critique games? The full force of this makes me think that the people doing it don't think highly of the games themselves; otherwise, why try to shut her down?
great post Helen.
As someone who recently had to report one online abuse incident to the police, I can only say again and again and again that we have to talk about this, we have to raise our voices and expose what is being said to us and about us. Because people like Brendan O'Neill believe it is just a nothing, a swear word. It's real, frightening and violent. It's hate crime.
Sending Sarkeesian solidarity.
Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She tweets @helenlewis