We are currently focusing on conference and convention anti-harassment policies.
Emma Sulkowicz, who will not put her mattress down until her alleged rapist is expelled, is its new public face.
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago our message board and general inbox were bombarded with demands we address something called the “GamerGate Scandal”, posts written with the urgency and rage one would associate with, say, discovering that Chipotle burritos are made entirely from the meat of human babies. It’s apparently a big deal in some circles, so we followed the links and read the piles of data presented, and had to stop and take a deep breath just to grasp it all. “Gentlemen,” we said amid the stunned silence, “do you realize that if what they’re saying is true, then this is still the most pointless fucking bullshit anyone has ever forced us to read?”
The “scandal” turned out to be an excuse for an Internet harassment campaign against a random indie game developer who, like many such targets, was a female and a feminist.
A young black guy named Darrien Hunt was shot and killed by cops in Utah last week because he was carrying a prop sword.
Several commentators have pointed out that there was a convention there that week and the clothes Hunt was wearing appear to be a cosplay outfit.
Y’all, I’ve been hyper-aware of young black men getting shot by white law enforcement since Trayvon Martin, but this in particular gets to me. It feels personal. You know I care about cosplayers and their safety, but let me re-emphasize why:
Aggression against cosplayers isn’t really about the costumes they’re wearing — that’s just an excuse. It’s about a fundamental lack of respect for the person in the costume, whether it’s because they’re female or a POC or just overweight. It’s a way of saying “It doesn’t matter how you dress, you can never be a person.”
And that’s unacceptable.
Laverne: Nicole, does your belief system now change, in which you now know you don’t need him to be there?
Nicole: No. I think what happens is it turns into less a conversation about my blackness and more about relating to humanity, because that’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re just realizing that people are capable of doing it. We’re underestimating people because people said we weren’t viable. [x]
""One thing that happens again and again: They define certain cultural spaces as being properly male only and then go after women—women in general but often individual women—who they see as interlopers invading what they feel should be their safe space. You see this in general discussions about women and tech and women going into STEM fields. But also in other fields like atheist activism. For whatever reason that seems to draw a lot of very misogynistic guys, too. Women like Rebecca Watson, who have talked about sexism in these spaces, face an enormous amount of harassment and abuse…
"The extent of the vitriol is something that I don’t fully understand. My basic explanation, if I have one, is it’s a backlash against the successes of feminism over the last several decades since the 90s. Feminism has made progress redefining some things that men had taken for granted, such as sexual harassment and date rape. So I think it’s a backlash on what a lot of these guys see as restrictions on what they can say, how they can interact with women in a sexual way, and the idea that there may be consequences if they commit domestic violence. It’s mostly sexual resentment, the fact that they can’t get away with what guys used to be able to get away with with women, and that makes them very frustrated. Frankly I think a lot of them would prefer it if they could just go back to the way it was: Get women drunk and have sex with them. Without having the culture say, “Hey, this is date rape." And: “Your office jokes are actually sexual harassment.”
”For a lot of these guys their experience of feminism is being denied to do what they want to do. “
Emphasis added, because I thought this was a very succinct way of putting it.
Holtzclaw’s “mistake” — the slip-up that prosecutors said landed him in orange jail scrubs in an unremarkable fluorescent-lit courtroom on Wednesday — was believing J.L. was similar to his other alleged victims: all black middle-aged women, but women of a lower social status and with reason to fear the authorities. They had been caught with active warrants or drug paraphernalia. J.L., Davis said, had no criminal record to be held over her. She was driving through the neighborhood where the other women were confronted, but she didn’t live there.
“He’s stepping out,” Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger said Wednesday. “He’s getting bolder.”
J.L.’s report would put Holtzclaw on administrative leave and make up two of the state’s 16 charges against the young cop. But more broadly, it would launch a case that underscores how alleged police abuse of minorities goes far beyond Ferguson, Missouri — but how national attention does not.
It’s unfortunate that his first victims would never have been able to confront him if not for J.L.’s courage and relative privilege as a woman who does not have a criminal record. Everyone is entitled to full protection by the law. Full stop.
From the pattern described by prosecutors and detectives, Holtzclaw appears to have selected his actions carefully to maximize terror while minimizing evidence. These assaults are not about sex — they’re about power, about making these women fear for their lives while simultaneously subjecting them to degradation that would make most of us want to die. He terrorized one woman repeatedly, going so far as to break into her house and threaten her boyfriend with arrest if he saw him in the area. Another woman was forced to accept a ride back to her home after he assaulted her. She got there, but only after he drove in the opposite direction, taking a circuitous route to an empty field where she assumed he was going to kill her.
In the end, though, it isn’t J.L.’s testimony that got this case to court. The persuasive element for prosecutors came from evidence recorded by Holtzclaw’s GPS tracker and left behind when he searched police databases for his victims’ arrest records. I think this underscores the importance of transparency and supervision of police by technology. We’re under-utilizing the power of tech to speak for the voiceless.
In the most fitting example of irony, the female designer who inspired #GamerGate for allegedly sleeping with a gaming journalist for positive coverage, a claim that has already been disproven by the one who originated it, has revealed the social media campaign for the sham it really is. That’s right, it’s Zoe Quinn from “Depression Quest” and she has shed light on the situation on her Twitter feed. Quinn revealed she has observed and recorded the chat discussions of #GamerGate at its home base, 4chan, and all the ugliness that comes with. The series of tweets is long and contains Not Safe For Work language, but has been made easy to view in chronological order on Storify. For anyone that ever used or thought about using #GamerGate, you need to read Quinn’s tweets.
The general gist of Quinn tweets shows discussions from 4chan’s Internet Relay Chat channels and how the majority of posts there are about targeting Quinn, her friends, and anyone known for being or defending a “Social Justice Warrior.” No real discussion on how to improve the video games news media there at all; only how to threaten women an independent game developers online. It even goes on about trying to hack into Quinn’s e-mail and website; looking for any little thing that could damage her reputation. That should put those claims of Quinn lying about being hacked to bed.
You’re reading this, so odds are you know I enjoy geeky things: comics, action movies, video games (even if I don’t play as much as I’d like to), stuff like that. Odds are you also know I’m more than willing to call out and challenge sexism in all kinds for forms…including when they intersect with those geeky things I like.
And they do.
They do more often than I’d really like to believe, honestly.
he International Game Developers Association is working with the FBI and bullying experts to help game developers deal with what they see as an increase in online harassment, Kate Edwards, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, told Polygon.
The association plans to create an online resource on its official site in the coming months to outline what developers can do to minimize harassment and how best to deal with it when it happens.
Edwards said she was approached by the FBI in July during a visit to San Diego for Comic-Con to discuss the harassment of developers online.
"I had a meeting with the FBI in July regarding harassment," she said. "They noted a rise in activity. They themselves monitor this activity, but they’re focused more on cybercrime issues like hacking and very malicious harassment."