So Now Adobe…

First Intel, and now Adobe. Adobe has pulled back from Gawker because one of their writers made sarcastic, satirical, critical comments about #gamergate.

Way to go, Adobe! We can now add another company to the long list of companies that think women are inferior beings who deserve all the shit heaped upon them that men can deliver. Beat them down, silence them, make this world a better place for the men-boys out there, right? Men aren’t the only users of your products, you know. Some of us have to swallow our pride and use them at work–because, through your actions, it’s quite clear that the women who use your programs are considered second-class citizens by your company. What could be more pleasing to #gamergate trolls than forcing women to use a product that is created by a company that supports the hate towards, the rape and death threats, and the doxxing of women?

The longer tech industries refuse to speak about #gamergate, the less likely it is for the rest of the sane world to believe these companies don’t hate women. Refusing to speak is tacit approval to these people. Are you, as big strong wealthy companies, so concerned a few trolls are going to take you down that you have to remain silent? DO you have to withdraw support from websites because #gamergate trolls threw a hissy fit? What chance does the average woman have against these assholes if a huge company with a horde of techies on the staff is too afraid of retaliation to say something?

Or, and I think this is more likely, the men running these companies agree with #gamergate–women are contemptible. I mean, who hires women in tech? Who promotes them? Who’s in charge of their raises? Men who don’t think they’re worth much. Considering how few women there are in tech, considering how women who are in tech are treated, considering the much lower pay tech women get than men, it seems those who run tech companies really don’t like women that much. They have something in common with #gamergate trolls right there, and it’s hardly surprising they take the side of hate. They do it on a daily basis at work.

If #NotAllGamers Is Your Defense, You’ve Already Lost

I delved into Intel’s withdrawal from Gamasutra this weekend, seeing if public outcry has changed their minds about supporting misogyny and hatred over a woman’s right to be part of the gaming community.

No shock–they prefer the misogyny and hatred over the right of women to work in the video game industry.

During my reading I came across an article on Forbes.com by Erik Kain titled “Why It Makes Sense For Intel To Pull Ads From Gamasutra Over #GamerGate And Why It’s Still The Wrong Move”. There was very little said about the “wrong move” other than Intel is right to listen to their customers and quite a bit about how not all gamers are misogynistic thugs sending rape and death threats to women in the business, trying to drive them out. When your main defense of the attempted destruction of Zoe Quinn’s career and life is “Not all gamers do it” you’ve already lost the battle. That’s the same defense that #NotAllMen use, and instead of focusing on issues of misogyny, hate, bigotry, harassment and the like, it sweeps them under the rug so the “but I’ve never done that!” men never have to think about the problems, never have to try and help solve them, and in the end, ignore them because they’ve never done anything like that and the abuse doesn’t happen to them, anyway, so it can’t be a problem.

Kain is angry that Leigh Alexander had the gall to stereotype all gamers into asshole misogynists who send rape and death threats to women. “Nerds” have been fighting those anti-social stereotypes for ages. They are not the secluded basement-dwellers of myth because nowadays gaming is ubiquitous. No, no, gamers are normal people. You see, #Gamergate is really about how people buy good reviews for their video games and how underhanded that is. Sparking controversy by lighting the fuse to a bomb centered on “Entitled Gamers” is just stupid. In the end, it’s Alexander’s fault that Intel pulled their ads from Gamasutra, because her focusing on misogyny, hate, bigotry, harassment misses the point of why #GamerGate was established, and gamers have every right to insist Intel succumb to their “I have a right to send death threats to whomever I want and if you don’t agree, I’ll never buy another one of your products again” demands.

Kain’s article is a “No really, it’s not us gamers who are assholes, it’s the women who are at fault” article. When I read it to my husband, the first words out of his mouth were, “Is he really that clueless?”

Yeah. He is.

Gamers under the #Gamergate hashtag claim they want to solve the problem of game developers buying good reviews. That’s really what the Zoe Quinn thing is all about. No, really. It isn’t about the hundred-page screed her ex wrote to trash her because she broke up with him, and it isn’t about him sending hordes of men after her to shame, threaten and harass not only her, but her family and friends, because they broke up because hey, she slept with a game reviewer who didn’t even review her game Depression Quest but she still slept with him and that is absolutely inexcusable, though we don’t really say much about huge corporations buying reviews because they make COD and GTA and those are games gaters like!!!

And gaters will just ignore the male reviewer she slept with. He’s not that important, even though he’s supposed to be part of the problem. They won’t demand he lose his job. And why not?

So I have a question. If these gaters truly wanted to solve the problem, why attack Gamasutra? It’s known for doing everything #Gamergate people claim they want–fair, good reviews. Oh, wait, that’s right. They really don’t give a shit about fair game reviews–they just want to punish a website who had the audacity to publish an article critical of the gamer culture that led to Quinn’s absolutely horrible experience.

Let me remind you, Mr. Kain, that Intel would not have pulled their ads from Gamasutra if just a couple hundred people complained. No. They had to be inundated with complaints from gamer after gamer, people that you claim don’t really exist. Sure, there’s a few bad apples, but that doesn’t spoil the gaming barrel, right?

Yes, it does.

You see, the message Intel has sent me, and so many others, is that men who believe that women don’t belong in games, creating games, or playing games are in the right and the people who would love to see more diversity in character, story and gameplay aren’t important enough to their bottom line to care about. They prefer to support rape and death threats over articles trying to have a conversation about those horrible things, because silencing critics is an easy way to ignore the problems. They think what happened to Zoe Quinn is justice.

That’s one spoiled gaming barrel. What’s going to happen is that other websites are going to take note and silence their writers so they, too, don’t lose income. Problem solved through threats, which gaters are so good at.

I’m not so willfully blind.

Women vs Women

#WomenAgainstFeminism

I never realized how many women are satisfied with getting paid less than men, getting treated as little more than sex objects or baby factories, being denied jobs they are qualified for based on gender, getting assaulted then blamed for it… the list goes on.  What does it say about a movement whose adherents proudly proclaim that since their boyfriend doesn’t beat them, there’s no need for feminism. Yay. High bar there, ladies.

Also says something about their empathy that, because it doesn’t happen to them, it’s not a problem. Only it does happen to them–low wages, denial of jobs,  etc.–they just don’t care. Inequality is status quo and that is just fine and dandy. No need for change. Ever.

The Sorry State of Women

After reading this post by Brianna Wu, I was struck by Case Study #1 Nina, in which a male coworker said that he had a different reaction when he heard criticism from women as opposed to men. He became more defensive more quickly when he heard it from women. I mulled this over while scrolling through posts on Facebook, and a friend posted a Pantene commercial that she, and several others, thought was as empowering as the Dove Real Beauty Sketches of a few years ago.  The Pantene commercial begins with a simple question:  Why are women always apologizing?

The commercial shows several senarios where women apologize before they make a statemet or ask for something. Then it says, “Don’t be sorry.” The same women in the same senarios make their statements without apologizing first. It’s a great message. It’s empowering. It appeals to those who strive to be strong women.

And it’s completely unrealistic.

Why do women apologize anyway?

It’s pretty simple. It protects them.

If a male (and sometimes female) co-worker has problems hearing any suggestions or criticisms from a woman, apologizing first softens the words. It makes the meat of the comment more acceptible. It’s never fun to be mocked by coworkers or your boss because they see your words as a threat and try to ameliorate them by calling you a bitch, uptight, unwomanly, too pushy, too forceful. Sorry makes comments digestible by those who get defensive when a woman speaks. It sucks, but that’s the way it is.

Being perceived as a strong woman is not an asset. Strong women are ridiculed, ignored, deplored. Men see them as a threat, and do their best to silence them by using the previously stated ways. When men see women as less, any evidence they could be equal is frightening, and not tolerated. I see this at work all the time. The manager laughs at women’s suggestions in front of their coworkers, even if the idea is one that he eventually uses after a man suggests it. He will call a female supervisor into his office because he is concerned about the tone she used to point out that a male employee is not doing his work,  but ignores the tone used by the male employee when he told the female supervisor to shut up and stop yelling at him, even though she had actually calmly pointed out he had not done his assigned work. The manager may not realize the favoritism, but his employees have. It’s the reason the female employees rarely bring up things that male employees do wrong, like stealing. There’s no point, since they are more likely to get in trouble with the boss for being a rat rather than the perpetrator getting in trouble for doing something wrong. It’s the reason the men do what they want, even if it hurts the workplace and morale, and the women keep silent.

“I’m sorry” will never fix workplace inequality, but it is something women have realized allows them a voice when dealing with men. A small voice,  but one nonetheless. It’s better than nothing.

The Blame Game: NFL Edition

Ray Rice is a despicable human being. So are far too many players in the NFL (Erin Gloria Ryan has a good run-down at Jezebel). A two-game suspension for knocking out a woman when smoking pot gets you four? The NFL is getting well-deserved criticism for this mind-blowing decision.

And Stephen A. Smith, and those like him, are so eager to protect the sport and its corruption that he blames women for getting hit and abused. Oh, of course he Tweeted, then issued, retractions after the outrage, but who believes him? He began his tirade with this:

This will be a long tweeted message, folks. So please stay with me and let me finish my complete thought before responding…b/c i’m ANNOYED

— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 25, 2014

You’re annoyed? You know, I bet all the women who suffer getting hit in the face very day by their “loved one” are pretty “annoyed”, too. No, scratch that. They’re furious that you, on national TV, have told them, and their abusers, that it is possible for them to not be battered. You told those women that it is somehow possible to calm the raging asshole in the abuser. You implied to abusers that they are, in some ways, justified in their abuse, because their women provoke it. Abusers search for ways to justify their actions, Mr. Smith, and they are going to ignore your response to the outrage because it’s just a PR stunt. They are going to take your initial words and add them to a list of reasons that rationalize why they abusing their girlfriend/fiancée/ wife. The harm is already done, and you can’t take that back.

I knew a woman whose husband would become furious if a complete stranger passed them in the grocery store and that stranger smiled at her as he/she reached past them to get some product. The husband would angrily grill her about who the person was, where she knew them from, why they smiled at her, etc etc. How is it possible to stop another person from smiling at you? That’s all it takes to invoke the fury of an abuser in some instances. Saying women can somehow do something to placate her abuser and stop abuse is like yelling at a hurricane to go the other way. It’s impossible. The only way to stop an abuser beating you is to leave (and then you get to go to court and relive every terrible thing while trying to get custody of kids, get stalked, etc.).

This is rape culture expanded. This is our “blame the victim for everything” society, one that so many are so proud of. They bemoan the bad luck and falling graces of the perpetrator. They fight tooth and nail to make sure the woman is shamed and ostracized. They make sure that everyone knows that, no matter what happens to the woman, the man (or men) will be forgiven and promoted.

Funny, how many of the terrible, horrible stories to hit national media about abuse and rape involve football players. They start young (Steubenville), continue their illegal behavior through college (recent expose on Hobart and William Smith College) and hone themselves into truly horrendous human beings by the time they hit pro (NFL, too many to count). Players are never taught to respect others, never punished for their transgressions, and they know that they can get away with practically murder (almost, and as long as your victims are men, you’ll get charged). They are too important to castigate and it doesn’t take long for them to figure that out.

The more we have jackasses standing up and proudly displaying their ignorance and misogyny by defending these horrible people, and in turn being defended for what pops out of their mouths, the more our society fails and falls. Women are half the population. We deserve better than this. We deserve to be treated like human beings, not a shitty man’s punching bag.

Dimalique’s Disgust at the Supreme Court

The Hobby Lobby victory, where SCOTUS has told me that my employer’s corporation has more rights than I have, is the impetus for this blog, though not the only factor in its creation. The time for silence, for sitting on the sidelines doing what you can locally, is over. I am lending my voice to millions of other women who are screaming into the night that they matter, that their choices should be respected, no matter what those choices may be. Birth control is just the next item in a long, long list of ways the frightened patriarchal status quo try to regain their power. They believe their voice is the only voice, and silencing everyone else is in their best interest, even if their actions actively harm others. As long as they can exert their influence into people’s private lives, any damage done is an acceptable loss. Control is everything.

I take a birth control shot (however inadequate it is compared to the pill) because the menstrual cramps are so bad I throw up otherwise. Working is terribly difficult when you’re in the restroom hunched over a toilet all day. That sort of health issue is actively ignored by those who think the Hobby Lobby decision is a victory. Punishing women with pain for being women is all in a day’s work for these people because the Bible says women should be punished with pain. ‘Nuf said. What is even crueler? Preventing a woman who has ovarian cysts from getting the medicine she needs so, in the future, she may still be capable of having children–or even living. It shows the hypocrisy of these religious types, that they prefer to deny a woman the meds she needs to have children while claiming that they only want to save the lives of unborn children. They obviously have no care for those potential children in the ovarian cyst case, since they actively try to make certain they are not born, so it seems very unlikely they actually care about the few cells in other women that will eventually turn into children once born. No, they care about control, telling others what to do, despite the harm it causes.

The high court has singled me, and every other woman, out for specialized treatment due to our gender. The Hobby Lobby case focused solely on lies about how birth control actually works, and those lies trumped truth. Here I thought that bearing false witness was a grave enough sin that it figures in the 10 Commandments–rules the president of Hobby Lobby, Steve Green, claims to follow, but apparently only does so when it’s convenient. Following the Word of his Lord proves very inconvenient when greed is the motive–after all, money is God, correct?

And Steve Green plans to be paid very well for creating his 4 year high school course on the Bible. Of course, just because Mustang, Oklahoma has decided to adopt the course despite the fact it’s not even completed yet does not mean they are setting precedent for the rest of the country–though Green thinks so. He has seen the billions Pearson makes by selling their testing products to K-12 schools and decided to get in on that action.

Again, greed. Again, the want to destroy lives (this time the future of the children attending public schools in Mustang, OK) as long as it puts an extra dime or three million into an offshore bank account.