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Why is there hate in my fun?

June 17, 2011

For all the talk of “Politically Correct Censorship”, it seems that you can say a lot of misogynist stuff and still get paid to write about how to bring women into roleplaying.

They’ve just pulled down the article, but it really says a lot about the whole process that it got put up in the first place.

“Best person for the job”

I’m totally against employers digging through people’s blogs, tweets, and facebook pages, but let’s be honest: if this guy is spewing these views semi-publicly, I don’t think it would have been that hard to figure out with a simple conversation or two.

“We’re doing an article on bringing women into gaming- why are you more qualified than the women who already work for us, and have written articles for us, on this subject?”

That’s not PC-policing- that’s trying to find someone qualified for the task, which is something an editor should be doing at some point the process.

This is one of those cases where you could easily assume that a woman probably would have more knowledge on the subject… but I’m sure it probably never really came up or was considered in the process – just slammed through to make sure DDI has enough content.

“We’re following the market!”

It’s always interesting the way “following the market” is used as an excuse, but only in one direction. When people ask why (games/movies/books/whatever) pretty much focus on straight white males, they say, “We’re following the market!”

But, if the people who aren’t straight, white, males, complain and take their money/viewership elsewhere, then suddenly they’re in the wrong? I thought they weren’t part of the market you were going for, anyway, right?

And, when companies do decide to listen to people complaining, who are threatening to take their money elsewhere, aren’t they, indeed, following the market?

I’m reminded of David Gaider’s inclusive market comment on Bioware Games:

The romances in the game are not for “the straight male gamer”. They’re for everyone. We have a lot of fans, many of whom are neither straight nor male, and they deserve no less attention. We have good numbers, after all, on the number of people who actually used similar sorts of content in DAO and thus don’t need to resort to anecdotal evidence to support our idea that their numbers are not insignificant… and that’s ignoring the idea that they don’t have just as much right to play the kind of game they wish as anyone else. The “rights” of anyone with regards to a game are murky at best, but anyone who takes that stance must apply it equally to both the minority as well as the majority. The majority has no inherent “right” to get more options than anyone else.

When we look at the use of “following the market” it’s used as a good thing when it’s about marketing to straight white men, and it’s never mentioned when talking about marketing to more than just straight white men – instead we get stuff like being “PC police”, oversensitive, censorship, etc.

When 51% of all people are women, 10% are LGBT, and, at least in the US, 28% of us are folks of color… straight white men aren’t actually a majority market (more like 31-32%). Shouldn’t we be flipping that terminology around?

Isn’t doing stuff like turning characters of color into white people a form of censorship? Isn’t removing gay male relationships from media and games a form of political policing? Isn’t getting upset that people asking for more than a constant focus on a “minority market” being a little oversensitive?

Putting white male gamers on trial, or something

I think NK Jemisin says it best:

I’m getting really, really sick of the idea that respecting your fellow human beings is somehow restrictive or oppressive or damaging to creativity, productivity, the genre, whatever….When you complain about political correctness, we hear “Man, if only we were still back in the good ol’ days, when I could stomp all over other people with impunity!” That’s what you really mean, so why not just come right out and say it?

If the point of gaming (geek media, fandom, whatever) is about having fun, why is it always a problem when we ask to be included in that fun and not abused in the process? Is fun a limited resource that we have to conserve like we’re going to hit Peak Oil or something?

The idea that other people being respected, or included, is a problem, only makes sense if you’re saying your fun relies upon disrespecting and self-segregation.

And if that’s the case, the question is who’s really the folks making unreasonable demands here?

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