Amateur game invites player to beat up woman

When Anita Sarkeesian kickstarted a research project into female videogame tropes, you might have expected some nasty remarks from game culture's contingent of adolescent boys.

But Sarkeesian's been subjected to much more: attempts to hack her website, comics depicting her being raped, and even a video game where the player pounds her face into a bloodied pulp.

The game's creator, Ben Spurr, explains: he just wanted to make her listen.


  1. If there’s one surefire way to win arguments with feminists, it’s threatening them with violence. :-|

    1.  To be fair, arguing from the axiom “women should have equal rights” in general means it is pretty tough to argue with feminism.  It is a really strong thesis.

      1. Perhaps it is his inability to argue with a fairly self-evident philosophy that is frustrating him and not some dark, embarrassing, secret sexual problem.

        Next he will take on the eco-activists by severing a pipeline and spoiling pristine wilderness.

      2.  Ah, but that’s not what feminists really think! Really, they think all men should be castrated, then killed, and then have their porn and video games all taken away. Just out of spite!  It all becomes clear once you learn to ignore what they’re, you know, saying out loud.

        1.  The sad thing is that there are some guys out there stupid enough to think this is true. You should be careful how you joke.

          1.  That’s terrible! After I went to all the expense and trouble to import them from Africa! The clip-clop of their dear little hooves is such a joy to me, and you would take them awa–

            What’s that? You say you just want to take my guns away? Oh, that’s fine.

            Never mind!

    2. Is she still accepting funding?  I think it’s important that as many of us support her as possible, even more so in light of this terrible news.  I’m not much of a feminist myself (Hell, I’ll admit I’m a bit lecherous on my best day), but nobody deserves this.

        1. Excellent.  I’m going to give her some money now and an apology on behalf of people who aren’t pond scum.  I’m really sorry she got subjected to this.

      1. The simple fact that you are doing this shows that you consider her a human being first and foremost – and that’s basically the one thing that matters most. You don’t have to be an activist to be a feminist. You don’t even have to be perfect – you’re allowed to make mistakes. Just treat women as human beings :)

        1. Many thanks.  Of course women deserve to be treated as human beings. While none of us are perfect, women tend to be pretty wonderful.  We guys have our moments, too. :D

        2.  I disagree. He’s White Knighting, just like all the other men did a few weeks back.

          1. Bullshit. 

            ‘White Knights’ don’t exist, they’re just a way of devaluing anything said by someone who isn’t a douchebag.

            “Actually caring about someone on the internet?  *Obviouisly* you’re doing it for sex.  There’s no other possible reason you’d do that, because i’m a douchebag and I’m convinced everyone else secretly is, too “

  2. When someone’s misogyny and virulent sexism is so deeply rooted that they can’t even see it when it’s calmly, logically pointed out, they need help.

    Side note: never was an ad for “Absolut PUNCH” more unfortunately placed.

    1. I have never, ever, witnessed an instance of someone in possession of misogyny and virulent sexism, seeing it, after its being calmly and logically pointed out.

      For one thing, those are extremely difficult things to calmly and logically point out – they’re infuriating.  Even the most well-meaning and patient person will get angry in pointing them out.

      Secondly, they are extremely difficult things to quickly accept about oneself.  At the very best, a remarkably self-aware misogynist bigot might react defensively, go away for a few hours of hard soul-searching, and eventually acknowledge the point.

  3. Male gamers are enraged by the thought that they harass women and to prove that they don’t, they wage a harassment campaign against woman who said that male gamers harass women. Logic, how does it work?

    1.  They’re also enraged that anyone would hear her opinions and be convinced… so they’re doing everything they can to make her famous and sympathetic.

    2. Typical reaction from someone who has run out of arguments and lacks self control.

    3. SOME male gamers.  I condemn what happened unequivocally, and believe every person should have equal rights, regardless of appearance or background.  But yes, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

      What are your thoughts on the female characters in “Gears of War” and “Halo” (particularly the contrast between the female armored troopers in “Halo” versus Cortana)?

      1.  It’s everywhere. I got _Civilization_ for the iPad the other day – surely the sort of slow paced, even tempered game where primal appeals to sex, violence and mass junk food consumption wouldn’t apply, but…

        At the start of the game you choose which of history’s great leaders you want to be – Ghandi, Abe Lincoln, Catherine the Great, etc. In their portraits all the male characters are looking statesmanlike and all the female characters are vamping a bit and looking a bit… booby.

        It’s not much – it’s pretty minor really – but I thought it showed just where the background radiation level was, that an artist or art director would choose these depictions automatically, even in as dry a context as _Civilization_.

        Like I say, it’s not much by itself – but it’s one more ant in an ant plague.

    4.  He’s not trying to prove that they don’t, he just sees her as an inferior stepping out of line and is trying to put her back in her place, so to speak.

    1. Well, on the upside, if he tries to get a job in the software industry this story will be pretty easy for potential employers to find via google. I can’t imagine companies will be lining up around the block to hire him once he gets a reputation as a misogynist who implicitly encourages the beating of women (or, at least, a specific woman who he feels has wronged him which could end up being any one of his female co-workers if they “don’t respond” satisfactorily when he speaks to them).

      1. What a wonderfully painful question that would be to ask as the interviewer: “So, tell me about the violent game you created to harass a woman you’ve never met.” 

        I think I’d put it up on the projector. 

        1. So what you’re saying is we could punish Ben Spurr AND Zynga? I like where this is going!

    2. If you really want to hurt him logon to his Warcraft server and ninja his raid loot.  That’ll REALLY burn him up.

    3. See, now you’re advocating violence against the poor man!

      I really hope this comes back and slaps him on the ass. And tells him what a good job he’s doing, and could you refill my coffee, please?

    1. That would be different. They don’t “deserve it” after all. 

      God I have too much insight into people like this. 

        1. True, Ben Spurr may think they “deserve it”, but I first parsed your statement to mean that those women might deserve it after all, something we all agree is wrong. No one deserves it.

          But you are correct, we would be foolish to underestimate his sociopathy, even if we are willing to be charitable otherwise.

    2. See, those are “his” women. Therefore, it’d be offensive to him. “Somebody else’s” woman is fair game.

      Same reason that’s not a good argument against rape. These men don’t view women as people equal to men but as possessions.

  4. FTA: “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.” <– THIS, AMERICA. THIS.

    1. If there was a “love” button, I would totally click it for this comment!

      It’s frustrating, because any time someone tries to open a mature dialogue about issues in the gaming world it’s as if they are immediately drowned out by a horde of angry howler monkeys drunk on hate.  

      To add to your point, all the nastiness makes me feel unwelcome in a culture which I love. It’s gotten to the point that I read very few gaming/comics/geek-focused blogs because of all the bigotry and drama in most places on the web. I’ve got enough shit in my life without having to deal with that, and I know many people of colour, women and GLBT folk of a geeky persuasion who feel the same frustrations. I want to engage with a community about something I’m passionate about, and I know there are always going to be haters so you have to have a thick skin, but there comes a point where all the negativity becomes exhausting and you simply can’t be fucked anymore. 

      Can’t people just not be douches? It’s simple: all it entails is not being a douche.

      1. You know they just do that crap to drive away people they don’t like, right? And that by going away you’re giving them what they want.

        1. Why should Visceral Vixen or other women have to risk their mental well-being just to prove a point? Fuck that shit.

          1. Who said anything about risking her well-being? She’s talking about not reading gaming blogs and the like. That’s just stupid. If you’re not willing to stand and confront stupid bullshit when it happens you’re helping it succeed.

  5. Before I read the article, I initially thought that she had made the game as a kind of “art piece” to get her point across.

    I find it kind of ironic that the source of such a tasteless game completely changes its meaning.

    1. Ironic but not uncommon. If I use the ‘N’ word it would carry a very different meaning than when Eddie Murphy uses it.

    2. That’s what I thought, too, when the link popped up on my facebook feed- after all, there was this:

  6. On the upside, all future employers will find this first when they search his name. May as well tattoo “future cause of a hostile work environment lawsuit” on your forehead, Ben Spurr.

      1. Yeah… the more I have thought about how he expressed himself, the more my warning bells are moving from “creep” to “potential spouse beater”. If he had just done it for the lulz, sure… creep. But his defense was that she wouldn’t listen. Isn’t that what spouse beaters claim, if his or her spouse wouldn’t have… then he or she wouldn’t have had to…

    1. His real name appears to be “Benjamin Daniel.”  Let’s make sure the right person is facing the consequences of his misogynistic idiocy.  Based on his lack of skill, I think getting a job in the industry will be unlikely regardless of his recent actions, however.  Clearly it was his own inadequacy that made him lash out at Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter success.

      1. This is especially important as his pseudonym “Ben Spurr” is also the name of a reputable Canadian journalist, in Toronto, near to where the fake “Ben Spurr” aka Benjamin Daniel is, in terms of distance relative to Canada, northern Ontario is “near” to Toronto.

        edit – his name is Benjamin Daniel Spurr actually, so not a psuedonym. good.

  7. If you’re male and you have an XBOX with a Live account try this, start a game and then give the headset to a female. Have them talk about the gameplay. Pretty soon you’ll realize that this sexist gamer minority is a myth. You’ll learn pretty quick.

    1. And god forbid you offer your husband a sandwich while his mic is live in a multiplayer game of Halo.

    2. Pretty soon you’ll realize that this sexist gamer minority is a myth.

      I’m having a bit of trouble parsing that (and that “Minority” is your handle doesn’t make it any easier) but I believe what you’re trying to say is that most gamers are sexist?

      That’s not really what your experiment proves.  It proves that it’s really, really easy to find a sexist gamer, but that’s not the same thing as saying they’re the majority.  It’s not even the same thing as saying they’re the majority of people on Xbox Live.

      Loud minorities are still minorities.

      That said, yeah this is one of several reasons I don’t do the online multiplayer thing.

  8. Listen? 

    I don’t think that’s how you make people listen.  That’s how you act when you refuse to listen, yourself.

  9. If your method of opening a dialogue with them is to “invoke strong emotions in hopes of getting their attention”, you’re already on shaky ground. That it was through violence, simulated or not? Yeah, you want infamy, not attention. You want to be the big man amongst the crowd, heralded by a group who are vocal.

    And when you court a group like that? Well, at least this was a flash game. You could argue Breivik was after a similar goal.

  10. Spurr’s in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. I’d be very interested to know whether his actions violate any Canadian laws.

    1. Yes.  Hate speech is not protected under our Free Speech act.  Also it is definitely harassment under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  It would be hard to prosecute him, though, because the target is American and there would be a lot of red tape for her to press international charges; but it could be done, in theory.  Let’s hope.

      1. If a Canadian or group of Canadians took umbrage with the message of his game, despite not being the subject they can seek sanction against him via Hate Speech legislation. An indirect threat is a threat indirectly after all. 

        After all, the legislation is intended to protect individuals as members of a group more than it is intended to protect named individuals. He’s promoting violence against women, despite his ludicrous claims to the contrary.

  11. The third link in the article is garbled. It sticks the address of the game on Newgrounds (well, former address, it’s been blammed by users) and the address of an interesting blog post on the issue.

    As for my opinion on the issue… I can’t, I just… can’t. It hurts me just thinking about it.

  12. > The game’s creator, Ben Spurr, explains: he just wanted to make her listen.

    Oh, and make him a sammich. And shut her damn mouth. And move faster when he tells her to do something.

    1. “make her listen”…
      I imagine that statement alone makes women who’ve live/d in abusive relationships quake with fear. 

  13. He hates her because she’s pretty AND smart and he knows he will never be able to have an intelligent conversation with her. He hates her because she knows more about what he does than even he knows. He’s a coward offline,  and a bully online. 

      1.  Oh, this is the guy with the failed “MISANDRY IN VIDEOGAMES LET ME SHOW YOU IT (no really it’s here, I swear it is)” crowdfunded thing. Suddenly it becomes even clearer.

        The pity is that there are interesting things to be considered and discussed about the ways that the patriarchy/kyriarchy harms men too. But this attitude of  “there is no misogyny and if you think there is you’re an ignorant bitch who deserves to get smacked around” is really not the way to get at it.

        1. The Misandy in Videogames project looks somewhat interesting. Scroll down to get to:

          Addendum #1:

          This project does not constitute an attack on Anita Sarkeesian, nor should it be seen as a response to her work! Anita has done an amazing job, and it’s really incredible to see so many people stand up for more diverse video games.

          While our campaign may tread upon similar lines, we have no intention of encroaching upon Feminist Frequency’s work, and urge you all whole-heartedly to head on over to to find out more. To Anita and her supporters we’d like to extend our warmest congratulations for smashing targets in such fantastic style, and we can’t wait to see her upcoming work!


          Here are some examples of what [our] topics may involve: (this is an incomplete and non-final list, as research is still ongoing!)

          The Musclebeast: Why are all men 7 foot roided up killing machines?
          Mr Emotionless McStonefaced
          Cannon Fodder
          The Fat Comedic Sidekick
          Men Are Always The Heroic Ones: Pressuring modern day men into being heroic alpha males. This potentially sets a standard men can’t obtain.
          The “Average Joe” As The Bad Guy, And The “Macho Man” As The Hero. (Granted a less harmful industry standard, but the alternatives could be extremely interesting.)
          Men As Sex Symbols
          Double Standards – Why is it okay to see women killing men, yet the other way around is met with criticism?
          Sexuality Stereotypes or “All Gay Men Are Flamboyant” – Or a gay man’s sexuality is his entire character!: At the risk of opening a whole new can of worms, it’d be nice to see sexuality expressed in a more natural, less forced manner.

          Now of course, several of these apply just as equally to female characters, but as stated before we’ll leave the bulk of the female perspective to dedicated people such as Anita Sarkeesian, so be sure to check out her work!

          And by NO MEANS are we decrying stereotypes as harmful on their own merit. After all, a huge number of great, genre-defining games rely on them, and are indeed made great BECAUSE of the use of over-the-top clichés. (And with games being fantasy, rightly so!) The biggest problem lies with over-use of such tropes, and the resultant lack of imagination in a medium that is all about exciting, unique ideas.

      2. Um, I might be wrong, but I don’t think this is the same guy.
        Your link directs us to someone named “Benjamin Daniel” who has “Favorited” but not backed a misandry-related project. Is there a better connection?

      3. Yup, tried to make a SNES-style RPG and failed miserably. He then backed the misandry project seemingly out of spite.

  14.  this attack on the project and the head of the project shows absolute stupidity. The statement that he “wants to make her listen” through showing her being beaten up show Ben Spurr as a social retard with no understanding of cause and effect. Probably misogynistic and not functioning on all cylinders (make someone listen to your argument by virtually beating them up? Seriously?).

    Now, we can discuss feminist theories, and compare theory to practice (we all know that they may not fully overlap and sometimes the practice may be seriously counterproductive to proper equality as it is really hard to foresee complex chains of effect when making new laws or campaigns), but attacking someone in this way only shows that he brings nothing to the discussion and understands none of the important matters that are being discussed.

    These asinine attacks just make me sad that it’s too late to donate (..they don’t really seem to need more money as they got just a little over their goal, but still).

    1. Great point, we are doing her a disservice by not discussing her thesis. 

      I can only talk about what I know. In our dimension, strong women in the entertainment industry, like Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga and the like, have dressed much worse than any R.P.G character I’ve seen. But, I’ve never played within a MMO or MMORPG gaming environment, so I’ve never seen how female characters are treated. Also, the puppet master driving the character may not be female. It’s all very strange and my 48 year old brain can’t seem to wrap itself around the gaming mind. Thank god. 

      Finally, devils advocate: He’s not approaching her any worse than I’ve seen portrayed on Family Guy, misogamy and abuse is the driving force behind that writing team.

  15. Yeah, nobody was hurt. But would you be as willing to write this off as overreacting  if it was a game featuring your wife or daughter getting her face smashed in? Sorry but words DO hurt people. Bruises and cuts will eventually heal, but stuff like this feeds into a larger culture of misogyny. Have you looked at the comments sections of gaming websites? Sorry, maybe I’m biased, given that I have been a victim of violence at male hands, but stuff like this simply makes a mockery of every survivor anywhere, and only serves to encourage an attitude of apathy towards violence against women. 

    Sorry but the dude needs to do some community service in a women’s shelter or something similar before I’d be willing to employ him…

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and this was meant to be a reply to a dude somewhere above wringing his hands that this hateful pustule on the face of humanity might not be able to find future employment, but BB didn’t want me to reply, obviously. :p

    1. I wouldn’t let him into a women’s shelter if I were running it. The women therein have had rough-enough lives and don’t need to serve as object lessons to that douchebag.

    2. It’s kinda sad seeing the “wife, daughter or sister” argument being used so much… I understand its point, of course, but how far are we from equality if the only women that men can possibly sympathise with (or are emotionally tied to) are their direct relatives?

      I’m not blaming you for using it, of course. It just goes to show how fucked up the situation is.

      1. This. Way too many men still think that treating women like their possessions is the definition of being a protective, nurturing boyfriend, brother, or son. The scariest part happens after a breakup- where the man still feels he has some claims to the woman, and will get angry when other men approach her, but he’ll call her an ugly fat bitch at the same time, just to assure himself that he’s better off without her.

        Parents, please stop raising your boys to think they’re the Masters of the Cave.

  16. In an ironic way, this guy was responsible for the huge funding results directed her way.  Perhaps he should be applauded.  There’s nothing like pissing off a lot of people to create social change.

  17. I’m normally more sympathetic to arguments about how we should give people second chances and not condemn them forever for past sins…but that’s usually in reference to things done far in the past. And in my experience, it’s usually one person suggesting forgiveness and a 100 saying they’re getting what they deserve (and maybe saying they’ve gotten off easy).

    Except when it involves violence against women and/or  misogyny. Any time the deed  in question is one against women, everyone jumps out of the woodwork to bemoan the ruined life of the perpetrator, and to argue for forgiveness, even when it’s an extremely recent act, even when the person hasn’t shown the least little remorse.

    That’s kind of fucked up, wouldn’t you say?

    1. Ugh. Check out the thread above with someone clutching their pearls over whether this incident will affect his future employment prospects. 
      Like receiving endless death threats and having a game featuring yourself getting beaten graphically to a pulp isn’t going to affect your mental state for the rest of your life??! 

      1. Or your employment. Being seen as a victim of harassment is often considered “problematic” and a lot of people tend to think “she must be one of those women who brings that on herself” and leave it at that.

        Sad but true. This will follow her too, and it was intended to. 

  18. The guy might as well have stood up in Yankee Stadium at the first game of the World Series and, just before the singing of the National Anthem, run onto the field, grabbed the mike and done a standup routine combining the worst of Corey Holcomb and Andrew Dice Clay.

    Lotta potential employers sitting in the good seats.

    Of course showing one’s ass in public shouldn’t have lifetime consequences. I look forward to seeing when or whether Spurr lives this down.

    Whoever wrote the “insight” is a hater aspiring to be a concern troll. Ms. Sarkeesian’s actions were okay until she *got too big for her boots* by trying to raise the whopping $6000 that would put her on easy street, what with all that YouTube ad money raining from the sky. Not being “big” enough to laugh off crowds of lunatics who could easily find out where she lives. Appealing to her audience when she should have just faced the bullies alone, because it’s really just between her and them. Mr. (and it s a guy) Insightful must want to help Spurr off the hook, just a little bit, because that’s where his arguments are directed.

  19. They’re just mad because a woman whom they think doesn’t know anything about video games, has accumulated so much cash on a subject they think they know something about. 

    Tissue, bros? 

    If they have such a huge problem they should just start their own KS to research men’s roles in video games.

  20. You do know what “criticism” means, right? I mean, I think you could benefit from taking a few media studies classes.

  21. Looks like a mod finally got tired of Hobobro’s incessant and misdirected concern trolling. Buhbye!

    Seriously though, when is this stupid sexist shit going to stop? I was hoping that the massive cognitive dissonance needed to use misogynistic attacks on a woman studying sexism in games to prove there isn’t a problem would have burned out the peanuts most of these slime balls use for brains, but they just keep going!

  22. I am seriously having a Facebook argument about this very thing. Like who wins those? No one. All my friends are gamers, and two different men decided to jump in about how she was asking for it by posting feminist videos, and is a misandryst, and whatever other tired old crap they are dishing. Apparently to both of them, if you complain about how women are treated in media you deserve everything you get, no matter if they be threats of violence and rape, or violent video games of them. 

    One has been ostracized from my friends group, and I think the second is working on it with vigor. 

  23. Uh, are you there Canada? I wonder if Canada is on the internet Today and this weekend?

    I heard there was a virus that would affect maybe 9000 computers in Canada today, maybe that closed things down? Do we have 9000 computers plus two or is mine the only mac?

    I’m asking because this guy is Canadian and there hasn’t been a peep about it on Canadian media outlets.

    I think that there has been a national disaster because normally when a Canadian get attention there is a massive pile-on of Canadian media, eager to say “Canadian” again and again until we turn off our media.

    So, I’m in a rural, did Canada implode elsewhere, or are we not claiming this one?

    I noticed because “Ben Spurr” is a reputable journalist in Toronto, at NOW magazine, and this “Ben Spurr” that made the punch-her game is not the same one. The punch-her game person is Benjamin Daniel, and honestly he now owes Ben Spurr (real) an apology too.

    Edit : The punch-her game author is Benjamin Daniel Spurr of Sault Ste Marie and is still not Ben Spurr of Toronto.

  24. Come on, don’t worry about this loser. Now, in his mind he has all the excuses he needs for when shit goes bad for him in the future, as it would have gone without this, anyway. You know, it’s not his fault, it’s just that bitch and her army of brainwashed morons who will be guilty of every single failure in his life, from now on. 

    I wish I had someone to blame when my life goes bad and I make mistakes. Now this jerk has one, and I do not think he is letting that excuse go away. Apologize? Repent? Yeah right, he’s gonna be smug and righteous, because he, poor persecuted male against the whole universe, is the one who has been abused.

  25. Gamers who sit back and let harassment happen in their games and say nothing are almost as bad as the harassers. The majority of male gamers might not be sexist dickheads, but if we say nothing about this kind of crap it means we’re also varying degrees of apathetic and cowardly. 

  26.  I”m probably going to get criticized pretty heavily for saying this and I’m really sorry for the all the hate she’s been getting.  And count me among the males who think this behavior is vile to the nth degree.

    BUTttttt…on another part of the discussion….

    Don’t we all KNOW what the outcome of her research is going to be?   Did she really even need $6,000 when we all KNOW the end product here?    Video Games and the industry is sexist toward women.  The end.  That’s where this is headed and we know it.   Is there any possibility that her research will show that there is not sexism and misogyny in video games?  Seems like her point is pre-determined and she just needs some cash to film it.

    So what’s the point here?   Does she want feminist training for video game writers?  Is this “research” really going to change anything or anyone’s mind?   Is this just a backdoor attempt to censor video game writers and artists?   (I thought I’d throw artists in there because you know… their the ones drawing the big boobs!).

    One other unrelated point.  I’d like to see more of the statistics about women being “gamers”.  True, they may identify themselves as “gamers” in a poll.   In my humble opinion if we start adding up the hours played and the dollars spent and I think you’ll find the video game consumer (as opposed to self identified video game user in a survey) is a very male demographic.

    1. We also “know” that something must account for mass, eh?  So why bother at all?

      We “know” that there is a world around us, so why bother? What’s the point. You’ll end up dead anyway.

      Buddy if you don’t understand how acquired knowledge may be applied, but a lack of same prevents application I guess you can “know” that water is wet with a bucket and your head.

      “Sociology is a waste of time, you can’t change people.” – Abraham Lincoln*

      * Abraham Lincoln never said this

    2. “Is this just a backdoor attempt to censor video game writers and artists?” 

      Interesting question. Could you explain what, specifically, makes you think this is a possibility?

    3. Some points, 

      1. If  “Video Games and the industry is sexist toward women. The end.” Then I’m glad to see $160,000 going to publicizing that fact. 

      2. “Feminist training”? The hell is that? If treating people with the respect due any fellow human being regardless of gender must be called ‘”feminist training,” then, yeah, bring on the feminist training. 

      3. That the majority of people who meet the unspecified number of hours played and money spent to qualify for you definition of “gamer” are probably male means what exactly? That the majority of gamers are male doesn’t justify shit treatment of female gamers by male gamers. It doesn’t make an industry largely ignoring fifty percent of its potential market any less idiotic. What is the point of that last paragraph?

      1. The hope is that it will actually go:

        “Video Games and the industry is sexist towards women. Now, for a new beginning.”

    4. Don’t we all KNOW what the outcome of her research is going to be?

      I felt that way about the Miasma Theory.

    5. To your other point, .. I consider myself a gamer. I have been a ‘gamer’ since 1995. When I pressed Multiplayer on Diablo in 1996, I became an addict. I am female. I met my husband 10 years ago Diablo II. 
      I’ve probably spent a small fortune on games, and on my rig to support said games. I play more than my husband does (who dislikes most of the games I play, and then I have to talk him into playing some of the others; tldr. he doesn’t play MMO’s). For a few years I was a raid leader and a guild leader in wow, until I got pregnant with my last child and decided to tone down my playing a bit. Currently.. I play.. Wow, Diablo, Rift, League of Legends, Minecraft (Am about to release my own texture pack), Sims, Vindictus, Diablo 3, Terraria, Aion, and am eagerly awaiting Guild wars 2, and Secret World.  Don’t let that fool you into thinking that I only play computer games. We have a Wii, and it’s very hard to let my son beat me in Mario Kart, or Skylanders, or any of the other games we have, or on the PS2, and 3, or the gameboys we have around the house.. 
      While I suppose I am in the minority, I do consider myself a gamer, and a hardcore one at that. I know a few other ladies like me, that play just as hard as I do, and while I suppose the demographic is male, females do exist and are largely there most of us know not to call attention to the fact we’re ladies, and just go about playing, as it should be, regardless of gender (Though we do crack up quite a bit on the sheer will it must take for this gals to wear the armor they do, the only game that gives females awesome armor in my opinion is Vindictus, where everything is covered up, but it’s a Korean game).  

      And sometimes it is rough playing with ‘the boys’. I’ve been given everything from death threats to being told that I must be on my husband, brother, son’s, uncle, dad’s account, to get into the kitchen, to I must be ugly. I had one guy treat me with a great deal of respect when leading a raid, telling me that I was one of the best players he met, then upon hearing my voice he started to whisper me giving me hints and tips on how to play, in that split second I was an awesome player then turned into someone needing help.  I’ve had men tell me “What, I am not listening to a girl”, and leave, to some males stalking me in the game when I did not entertain their company. I do understand that shouldn’t exist, but it does, however it is nice to see someone calling attention to the fact (though that seems to be a trend every few years). 

      I don’t really think that gender should have anything to do with treatment, or skill. I largely treat others how they treat me, and if you play well, great, but if you don’t, are not willing to learn, and waste my time, then you have no business playing with me,  again regardless of your gender. 

      1.  To your credit you are much more of a gamer than I.   And your treatment at the hands of of other male on-line players is unacceptable.   But that is a little different than this person’s kickstarter project.   She is intending a condemnation of the way women are depicted IN games, rather than the way female gamers are treated playing the games.

        But I think you may be referring to my earlier, and I admit, rather humble opinion that there aren’t many female gamers.   There seemed to be a few posters above who stated that 40% of “gamers” are women.  (I’m paraphrasing)  I’m kind of old school and remember when you had to pump quarters to play video games.   I’m sorry but females at the arcade was a rarity, and I mean REALLY rare.   (Yes yes, I know that was a long time ago…)

        I’d just like to know how accurate those statistics are.   I just don’t think the game makers cater to women as they are just not buying and/or playing the games.   (I know you are the exception to that statement).

           When they did the poll to see the percentage of  women “gamers” was person “A” you, and so you rightfully answered yes.  Did person “B” play wii tennis at a friends house, loved it, and also answered yes?  Do both of these people qualify as gamers?   That’s why I suggested above a definition of gamers that includes money spent and hours spent playing games.   And my humbly presented opinion is thata survey of gamers that requires some amount of actually playing the games would show that the percentage of women gamers is much lower than we all thought.

        1. Do you feel threatened by women playing games? Because that’s what it seems like. It seems like you want to keep it a “boys only” zone by denying the numbers. Oh… and it wasn’t a “boys only” zone back in the days, either… I started out with a Pong box. For instance… how welcoming were you to the girls that did show up in the arcade?

          There are several studies, and yes, they more or less all show the same thing. And yes, they measure the time spent playing. The way women and men play is different. FPS is pretty dominated by males… doesn’t mean females don’t play. Women  tend to favor games that they can play in short bursts when they have time, men more often play in longer sessions. Women gamers tend to be loyal gamers, when they play a game they tend to stick with it and play it seriously. Men run more after the latest new game or what their friends play. But that doesn’t mean that you can define a “male” gamer and a “female” gamer… there isn’t such a thing. Just pick up google… it should be easy to find some surveys to dig into.

          Here is for instance one I read the other day for mobile games, with the demographic data starting on slide 16:

          Or for World of Warcraft for 2012 survey:
          Women playing on 
          US servers: 39%
          EU servers: 29%

          1. Considering that FPS games and people running after the latest new game is where most of the big money is, that’s an argument for females not being as big of a influence as males overall. 

            That it’s a different story in mobile is no surprise either… most mobile games are very friendly and not teen-male-centric, which is a very good thing, but not an argument against the reality of the video game market as a whole.

            I think you’re missing mattmc13’s point – which is not anti-female-gamers in any way – and your numbers are not that strong of an argument.

            I stopped regularly playing online games years ago because most players are assholes, and I’m male. I don’t want to have to deal with that crap and it should be no surprise that females don’t either, especially when it’s targeted at them. As I said in another comment it’s a chicken/egg or catch-22 problem but not looking at the situation realistically and cherry-picking statistics doesn’t help.

          2.  CH: “Women  tend to favor games that they can play in short bursts when they have time” — because we’re the ones who are still stuck with most of the childcare and housework, while we’re earning less money per hour at our jobs than men do. Plus, our leisure time is considered interruptable. There’s no “woman cave” because women’s hobbies aren’t considered sacred.

            Matt: “The first sentence of your post seems intent on intimidating me on a personal level.” Cry harder. You may think you’ve been polite throughout this discussion. JAQing off isn’t polite.

        2. “I’m kind of old school and remember when you had to pump quarters to play video games.”

          So what? You don’t get to define what’s a game and what isn’t based on your personal experiences. Or preferences.

          “I’m sorry but females at the arcade was a rarity, and I mean REALLY rare.”

          First of all, don’t call us “females.” That’s dehumanizing. The correct term is “woman” if she’s 18 or older, “girl” if younger.

          Second, I can’t imagine why a woman or girl wouldn’t want to physically hang around a bunch of men and boys who’d consider her to be “intruding” on “their” territory, as the internet misogynists consider Sarkeesian to be “intruding” on “theirs.”

    6. I’ve been harping on this throughout the comment section. This is not scientific research. She’s not setting out to test the hypothesis “games are misogynist” and empirically confirm or debunk it. 

      Its media criticism. The idea is to analyze and compare different works of art to arrive at a SUBJECTIVE interpretation of its meanings and methods. This particular type of criticism tends to lend an eye to its societal effects as well. There’s no point to be proven, or testing to be done. There’s no peer reviewed publication or ethical standards. And no expectation of an immediate practical result. So no it doesn’t have a “point”, and doesn’t need one. It has value in its own right. Because critical analysis of art helps us to understand what art is saying, why its saying it, how it goes about saying it. It shows us how to go about saying similar things, or avoid saying similar things, or why we should avoid saying them, how to tweak them, mock them, parody them. And generally go about creating art with interesting well expressed intent behind it. 

    7. First of all: No, “we” (whoever that we is) don’t know the outcome. That’s what good research is about: Finding the answer, NOT giving it.
      If you’d read the kickstarter page about her project you would know that she doesn’t want to show that video games are … – you know what? Just read Antinous comment!
      “What if it is unfounded…” Really now? Do you know how research works?

      Why would her project be a backdoor attempt at something that is already done? Games are often cut (or “censored” – if that is what you want to call it) by their companies to get certain age ratings in certain countries. Some even cut whole missions or blackout certain words or symbols. And that is just one example of what they officially do. If you would do more than huff and puff and start looking, you’d see that censoring is already going on in the game developing industry.

      On the so called unrelated point: Before we can talk about that please do give me a list of universal criteria of what a so called gamer is. Obviously you think it has something to do with hours and dollars (what about Yen, Euros and the rest?).

      And about your last sentence…. Did you read it before posting it? Really read it? So you think that people who are “gamers” (according to your as of now undisclosed criteria list) are most often male. And why did you think this important enough to mention in a post relating to a boing boing entry that is about a game inviting people to hit a real world women? If I’d do some (very minor) mental aerobics and start interpreting, I had to start wondering if you think this behaviour is okay in an all male environment.

    8. Step 1: Visit Kickstarter site.

      Step 2: Use mouse to select “play” button on video.

      Step 3: Be enlightened. 

      Step 4: Acknowledge others’ criticism comes from your own lack of effort.

      (Source, +1 female gamer)

    9.  You want an actual dollar for dollar breakdown?

      Sigh. So it only matters how human beings are portrayed if they are spending enough MONEY on games to reach a threshold you deem acceptable? Do you even hear yourself? Sexism and objectification of human beings is harmful to human beings, regardless of which gender is the primary consumer of the objectification.

      But in any case, in our house, I’m actually more of a gamer than my husband. I am the one who talked him into playing World of Warcraft because I like it. I have more mounts, better gear, and more achievements than he does. Yeah, I said it, I’m better at WoW than he is. He’s better at console games than I am. He grew up playing Sega and Nintendo, while I grew up with two computer programmer parents.

      Guess who bought the collector’s edition and who bought the regular edition of the first expansion we played? I got the CE, which is about $30 more than the regular.  The plural of anecdote is not data, but I am positive our household cannot be the ONLY one where the female gamer partner directs how much of the household budget goes to game-related purchases.

    10. Why would having a very male demographic make it OK to be sexist toward women? Are you saying the gaming industry should kowtow to sexists but not to anyone else?

    11. ” I”m probably going to get criticized pretty heavily for saying this”…. oooh, you’re such a brave truthteller, aren’t you? So concerned about censorship!! /snork

      As for “hours played,” maybe if women didn’t have to still do most of the childcare and housework, and maybe if we didn’t still lag men in lifelong earnings, we’d have more spare time to play games.

  27. I watched her Youtube video series about the stereotypical tropes that women are subjected to in movies, tv shows, and comic books.    Really eye opening stuff. 

    I always considered myself to be supportive of women’s rights, but I was blind to much of the systemic typecasting that these videos brought to light.

    Although,  for 160,000 dollars, I would let someone punch me right in my actual, non-virtual, middle-class-guy-who-would-love-to-pay-off-his-mortgage-tommorrow face.

    (Unless, of course, the puncher is crazy strong and kills me.  That would put a dampener on things.)

    1. “I was blind to much of the systemic typecasting that these videos brought to light.”

      A lot of people still are. I know I keep discovering new, insane things every day. And I think- I’m a woman myself, how did I not notice that I was being put down? Well, turns out it’s not so easy to notice something’s wrong when most of society insists that it’s right. It’s even harder to question tradition- and a lot of misogynist behaviour is accepted because it has been repeated for centuries. 

      I mean, even gamers will argue that ‘that’s just the genre, get over it’. Well, the point is that the genre is not good enough and needs to change!

  28. This seems to be a recurring theme. It’s as though there is a very particular and sensitive group that reacts whenever someone from the outside criticizes videogames. This phenomenon happened when Ebert made some scathing remarks about the game industry as well, so I don’t think you have to be a woman to be on the receiving end of it, although I’m sure it helps.

    I think instead of writing it off as, “Oh its just the scum of the earth again, when will they learn?”, we should respond with compassion and a desire to try and understand the situation. The behavior on display is abhorrent, but to write them off as jerks and insult their penis size is just as ignorant as what they do.

    In my opinion, the issue is much larger than video games, sexism, tropes, what have you. Its societal, and its American. I’ve spent time on 4chan and essentially, it’s a huge group of social outcasts. Many of these people have been systematically rejected by society. Often it’s of no fault of their own. Most of them are male.

    They’re raised by often racist and sexist parents in red states all across the US. Frequently they’re victims of domestic or sexual abuse. They’re bullied and beaten and humiliated at school. Routinely rejected by every female they come in contact with. All they have is each other. What they have in common, is videogames.

    The male power fantasy game is immensely appealing to them for very obvious reasons. When someone who isn’t one of them criticizes the games that they love they construe it as an attack on the last thing they have. If they lose their bastion of xbox live trash talking, they have nowhere else to go. It’s the last social interaction that they enjoy. Essentially they’re cornered animals, hence the knee-jerk and violent reactions.

    How can these boys show basic human respect, when they’ve never been shown that respect themselves? What needs to be done is to promote a culture of respect and tolerance for each other just for being human.

    1. For color Ebert’s comments were specifically about whether games qualified as art or not. Ebert’s in the no camp. While the core group of extremely vocal “gamers” that seem to drive these sort of explosions insists that games absolutely do. That same group seems to lack understanding of what that entails though. 


      Please. They’re white, they’re male, they’re mostly straight and cisgendered, they’re mostly able-bodied. If being at the supposed bottom of the social totem pole in high school didn’t teach them empathy, they can go fuck themselves.

      BTW, they certainly weren’t the only ones bullied at school. And if “females” (ugh) reject them, maybe they should, you know, examine the common denominator in each of those interactions. (If a woman were being rejected by every man she met, I suspect your advice to her would be to “fix herself” in some way.)

  29. ok, this topic is endless, I’ll just ask this, if the title of the article were:  
    Amateur game invites player to beat up man 
    would you even stop scrolling? 

    1. I think it is crass, gross, and wrong whichever gender or person is targeted, but you also can’t just throw away context. I’m a trans lesbian gamer, so I see all too much of the hate towards me in my chosen demographic for just about ever aspect of who I am. And the fact remains that while you might not blink if it was done to a man, the odds are much higher of it being a woman or minority. Far, far more likely, and especially if it is someone who steps out of their prescribed ‘acceptable path’ and says ‘Hey, this isn’t cool’. Often then blown off by people who are unlikely to ever be the subject of it saying ‘But if it was “the majority group who has treated the minority group badly for a long tiome” noone would care’. 

      (Edited for unwise use of symbols)

    2. WAHT ABOUT TEH MENZ!?!?!?!?!?

      As Mistwolf said, fucking context, how does it work?

    1. Holy… effing…!!! I would like a “name and shame” of that company! Yea, I know that that happens… but… that… I have never heard of anything quite as blatant.

      I think the kettle has been on the fire long enough for it to start boiling over. Women in IT are starting to stand up and say “Enough of this sh*t!!!”.

      I have been lucky enough in my career that I have never ever encountered any sort of negativity due to my gender. So yea… name and shame asshat companies like the one in that story (so nobody ends up working there by mistake… who would want to work there, anyway???), and go work instead for good companies that are welcoming… there are plenty of those around! If enough people did this the asshat ones would just die off.

  30.  Benjamin Daniel Spurr, it’s not too late, re-write the game, so that we can beat you up online instead. 

  31. Wow.

    What could probably have stopped some of this madness would be the explanation that a lot of people missed out on just by not watching the video associated with the Kickstarter campaign.

    It’s pretty simple: This isn’t Sarkeesian’s first “Tropes vs. Women” video series. The first six-part series is already up and viewable on YouTube and covers female Tropes in TV and Movies. No one threatened her for explaining the Smurfette Syndrome.

    She’s not attacking the gaming industry, or singling it out as being more sexist than other industries. That’s not even the point. What she’s discussing is the hazard of tropes in various forms of media. Video games are just the most recent form, and she actually has a point. 

    The gaming industry has long ignored women both as developers and consumers. Even though we’ve been there, we’ve been invisible, but things have been changing. Enough girls are playing and working in the gaming industry that we really can’t be ignored anymore, and there’s plenty of evidence. One trope Sarkeesian intends to examine is Zelda, the princess who does nothing while a boy comes to rescue her. That’s not good enough for today’s gaming girl. Now if you go shopping online, you can find advertisements for teen-sized tshirts that say “This Princess SAVES HERSELF!” At least in the eyes of girl gamers, it’s not enough to wait in a castle anymore. For them, that trope is dead.

    1.  I agree that throughout much of the gaming industry’s history women have been invisible, even as the portrayal of women has been objectifying. A lot of the kickback against women recently I think is directly related to women in gaming beginning to have a voice and advocating change- which scares and angers a far too large segment of the gaming public.

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