In Which I Don't Try To Write Like A Man...

I have a friend, whose name is Mark Sorrell, who yesterday posted this column. It's probably worth going and reading that first, or none of the rest of this will make sense.

That column triggered a bunch of discussion, part of which was a reddit thread, and part of that thread was this comment from a reader called LadyKeen:

"It shouldn't have to come to this. It isn't about just accepting the fact that you will be harassed, but being a legitimate prescence in the gaming world. Women in the gaming industry aren't just being shat on because they are women. It is because they are used/using themselves as sex symbols or they come out with outrageous claims/ideas about something (ala Hamburger Helper). Successful women in the gaming industry do their job without being a nut about it and therefore do not get the flack."

The whole comment thread is worth reading, partly for Mark's smart answers, and partly for a useful refresher in how myopic and ingrained a lot of the attitudes surrounding this issue are.

Here's what makes me sad.

My position used to be exactly the opinion quoted above. I don't get the flack that a lot of other women-on-the-internet, and especially women-on-the-games-internet get. And that, I used to think, was because I was clever and smart. I didn't cam-whore. I didn't flirt. I didn't do anything to make myself a target. And therefore I was better than the stupid women who courted the hate-mail and the rape threats and the knee-jerk dismissals.

Here are some other things that I included in my 'not making myself a target' strategy:

  • not wearing skirts
  • not wearing heels
  • not coming to the defence of other women on the receiving end of abuse and threats and dismissals
  • not, under any circumstances, ever ever ever ever indicating that there might be any sexual activity in my thoughts or my life or my body
  • not talking about 'being a woman' or anything dumb and feminist like that
  • judging the success of my approach on the number of people who didn't realise from my writing that I was female.

These things pervade everything about how I comport myself online, and indeed in the industry. I posted a picture of my skirt on Twitter the other day, because the pattern reminded me of a Pokemon. I was anxious about posting it, in case it seemed like something that would lay me open to accusations of being a camwhore or an attention-seeking flirt. In the end, I decided I would, but was careful to take a picture where you could only see the pattern, and not -- god forbid -- some of my leg or something like that. It was a trivial post about a trivial thing, but - thanks to the degree of craziness that pictures of women on the internet can trigger -- it felt like treacherous territory.

So when Mark talks about women who self-censor, he is talking about me. It took me a long time to recognise that, because since expressing what I think is such a central element of who I am that facing up to that fact is miserable.

And when LadyKeen makes her point, I sympathise and identify. But I also despair, a bit. Everyone -- absolutely everyone -- has to decide how to handle themselves online, how to construct themselves professionally. Everyone has to decide where to draw the barriers between their private and public life. We all self-edit, and we all *should* self-edit. It's a pleasure and a responsibility, both, to ensure that we are who we want to be and we have a generally non-shitty impact on the people around us.

But it has taken me a horribly long time to understand what an insidious impact the fear of attracting that degree of negative attention has on the way I present myself. It's taken me a while to recognise that a big part of why I don't post things like this is because I'm *scared*. Actually scared. Actually worried that I'll terminally undermine my credibility. And that's because the degree of abuse you can attract is of a different order from the generality of internet rough-and-tumble [interesting, newly-self-aware side note: I would normally have deleted 'rough-and-tumble' after writing it, because it could just about be interpreted as something titillating. Today, I'm leaving it in there]. General internet rough-and-tumble doesn't phase me. I'm secretly delighted that the 4th Google result for my name is 'Margaret Robertson is full of shit'. It amuses me enough that I've bought www.margaretrobertsonisfullofshit.com, even if I haven't quite figured out what to do with it yet. I think, on the whole, I can make my peace with being called a cunt for what I write, but I find it more daunting to be called a cunt for just having one.

That's a thing I wouldn't have written out-loud before today.

So I'm not saying that a degree of self-editing is bad. And I'm not saying that women (or men) shouldn't be try to be good at their jobs, or act professionally if they want to be treated professionally. I think women being great at what they do is the single best advert for that fact that women are great at what they do.

But in the end, I was right to think I was clever and smart. I have avoided making myself a target of sexist arseholes by playing by their rules. I've done a *blinding* job of that so far.

I think I'm going to stop doing that now.

Margaret Robertson is development director at Hide&Seek, who make interesting games for interesting people. These creations include one adorable iPhone game and one unsettling, challenging documentary project.

Republished with permission.


Comments

    Is this still a video game website? I don't see how this belongs here.

      I understand EXACTLY what you mean. I mean, "women in video games, the gaming industry, and on the Internet" has nothing to do with games...

      RIGHT?

      RIGHT?

        SHE IS A WOMAN NOT A GAME!

          But do games exist if no one plays them? /zen

          This website has consistently reported the sociology of games, which is a huge topic and of great interest to many people. This is not a new thing for Kotaku. Gender is one of the topics covered. Get used to it.

            Yes they do, the whole tree-falling, sound bullshit was old before anyone even questioned it. This is not about gaming. If you want to talk about this, go to a sociology forum. Or hell, even a forum. Don't pretend it's news.

              -_- The blog you are looking for is not here, go to 1up or something.
              Kotaku covers a wide range of topics that have to go with games. Unfortunately, sexism and self censoring exists in gaming communities so either get used to it or get lost.

              Correction: This IS about gaming. The act of playing a game includes how people relate to each other while playing games, while writing about games, and while discussing games. These all adequately fall into any reasonable definition of the word 'gaming'

              What this article is is not about is GAMES, which is presumably all you want this site to be. What's the release date, what's the price, what's the rating?

          AGREEED. Everyone quit your bitching and play minecraft!

    Good article

      Mm, I think she raises a lot of valid points. I must admit ladies had a problem of not being able to be ladies on the net because no matter how they try to make guys happy on the net, people make nasty comments above the normal level of nasty internet comments

    This comment has been reported for inappropriate content and is awaiting review.

      Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Don't think anyone will miss you and idiots of your ilk.

        I really don't like that saying, I jut don't get it. Shouldn't you be thinking "I hope you really hurt yourself on the way out, I hope you get your hand caught in the door and lose the top of a finger, or at the very least stub your toe really badly"

          Not at all, because Mr Serrals is extremely professional and polite. Even to backward bigoted douchebags such as Beb.

          But think of the door man, it should not have to deal with that.

          Futurama explains it:

          "Don't let the door hit you on the way out. CAUSE I DON'T WANT ARSE-PRINTS ON MY NEW DOOR!"

          "Don't let go of the outside of the car door frame as you close it".
          The pain is twofold - it bloody hurts to jam your hand in there, and your pride also takes a hit if anyone sees you do something that stupid.

          It's called sarcasm and condescension. I can spell it out;

          "Since you're such a moron that you can't even remember how to get through a door properly, try at least not to fuck that up as badly as you do everything else. I wouldn't want to see you get hurt, after all, since I hold you in such high esteem."

          It means "Don't leave so slowly that the door hits your ass" aka "Leave now"

        Mark Serrels is clearly working under the pseudonym of Mark Sorrell...

        I see wotcha doin'!

      Sadly, I suspect it is people like this that make gender such a huge issue in games and gaming.

      And what is sadder is the response, indicating that it's a problem that could well be here to stay.

      i can give you a flying f**k if you want...
      here ya go
      http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/rc/b527/?srp=1

      in other news...
      if you can't appreciate thought pieces and wise words from a community, i think Mr. Serrels has been very accurate in his statement of where the proverbial door is

    *yawn* can we get back to articles about Skyrim now? srsly

      Well, I love pondering topics .. any topic ... the more grey the subject matter, the more I want to share the discussion with my friends - not to change anyone's mind, I just like the cut and thrust of discussion and debate. You know, the annyoing person that takes a contradictory stance in an argument - even if they don't belive in it.

      Anyways, I just spent almost 2 hours at work completely engrossed in all of the articles, the comments, and the reddit thread. I work in a TV newsroom, an ABC newsroom (not to get on a high-horse i just didn't want anyone thinking that it was a current affair or todaytonight) where no-one even remotely cares about gaming, except for me of course. Yet once I sent this and Sorrels article around to everyone the discussion didn't stop for another 2 hours. People ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-50s, intelligent people - award winners, king-makers and politician destroyers - engaged in passionate conversation and debate about an issue that is really worth talking about. And here in newsland - we have plenty of topics that are worth discussing - yet this one was what got everyone going today.

      Thank you Kotaku (always love your work guys) for posting this article - if you want to read just game reviews - here's a thought - just click on the game reviews.

    I admin a Facebook site for a game- I have come out as "female" - mainly as I was sick of "Thanks man" - why am I automatically a man? It did help tone down foul language- though it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you get "sorry I didn't know a female was reading this" - on the other, I get "I bet you're hot" and "Shouldn't you be in the kitchen?"

      My sympathies - neither edge sounds like a positive outcome.

      Men (or at least me) and women (or at least my wife) alike pray for the day when it becomes 'normal' for women to be doing everything.

        Actually, toning down of language is good- but it shouldn't be because I'm a female. It should be because swearing does not need to be used in posts at all.

      FWIW I use 'man' for everyone, it's not a gender assumption, more a throwback to hippie stoner vernacular. Perhaps for the worse, don't know. I should probably start adjusting, for a pro-active pov.

        That's a good idea, friend.

        ^ helping

          True, some people do use it without thought of gender- though colloquially, no-one ever calls me "man"...

            Serious question:

            Do you get offended by the collective term: Guys?

            Like, 'Hey guys, I need you to make sure all those TPS reports are done by COB Tuesday'.

            I ask becauseI'm running orientation for a new employees group next week.

        Use 'mang'. It's not gender specific ;)

          I never said I was offended by "man", just that I personally was sick of hearing it.

          Also, given your other comment of "This is going to sound deeply uncaring, and I’m sorry about that, but if people want change… they won’t get it by muttering under their breath how unfair things are" - maybe you should ask the individuals you are addressing rather than a specific female on a forum who you do not actually know.

        I'm guilty of this.
        But I say "Thanks, man!" to everyone, regardless of gender, even if I know their gender. The way I try to treat people is that everyone is an asexual blob, and not many of my comments are gender specific, and I'm certainly not going to change the way I act because I know someone's gender.
        Why "man"? I don't know. It might be that I'm just used to being in a predominantly male environment (grew up on the internet 10 years ago and hung around game sites where most people were male teenagers, Engineering at uni which has a very high male:female ratio), but I like to think I just use it because it rolls off the tongue (fingers?) better. The cheeriness of the exclamation mark ends better with "man" rather than "guy" or "lady" or "woman" or "dude".

        tl;dr Lambo is right, just use "mang".

          I say 'friend' if I'm not sure, or use names. It's worked well, but I think it comes across as a little disingenuous.

            You should put on a Russian accent.
            No one could ever be offended by "Hallo friend!", except more Russian sounding.

          Isn't 'mang' just mexican for dude?

            Actually, a while back now I greeted someone with "Mang", and they told me they weren't Vietnamese. I was confused. Just recently they told me that they're an ethnic group in Vietnam.
            The things you learn.

          ^ This was aimed at James Mac, not lambomann007

        I too occasionally use "man" when talking to a female. Same with "guys". I mean no offence

    Good article, and good links.

    Makes me think of some of the stuff I do online. I'm not going to suddenly turn full-strength PC, but I'm more likely to stand up in situations that warrant it (in a gaming perspective),

    Good stuff, I think that this is probably the best article surrounding this issue that Kotaku has run. But out of curiosity, Mark Sorrel? Has Mark Serrels got a secret feminist alter-ego or something?

      As a person who believes that women should receive equal rights, opportunities and treatment, Mark Serrels IS a feminist. He does not need a feminist alter ego.

        Ohhh, so Mark Serrels is actually Mark Sorrel's feminist alter ego. Gotcha.

        Are you a feminist or mysoginist? One or the other. No fence to sit on.
        http://www.trevorowens.org/2011/12/techies-you-decide-you%E2%80%99re-either-a-feminist-or-a-misogynist/

          Haha. Also, can I spell? No.

    If you wouldn't say it to their face. Don't say it on the internet.

      Word.

        +1

        The interwebz, while having enriched our lives in so many ways, also gives losers an opportunity to run their mouths without getting their teeth knocked out. Which would happen if they talked that kind of shit to my face.

      Agreed, this is starting to become a problem in society, people aren't standing up for themselves!

    Like this article :)
    Gaming is a community, which means this site talks about more than just game reviews, if you want to read reviews, then go to the damn review section!!!

    Here's a new take on the matter:

    The reason why women are stereotyped and outcast in the video game industry is because the men in the video game industry haven't actually grown up yet. What do you expect from 12yr old boys? Sensibility? Paalease...

      while this can be very true, having been in the game industry for a while some of the people you meet are indeed the most antisocial people-in-their-mums-basement type folks...
      unfortunately it is yet another double-edged sword, because i know quite a lot of 30 - 40 year old gamers, who lead respectable lives and don't need to change underpants each time they suspect that they may be gaming with a female online...

      i think the main problem is that the it only takes one or two people in a community online to bring the house down. you can have a perfectly acceptable game-of-something-or-other and someone joins who think "ZOMG BEWBS" and goes into spasms about it... it's them that need to be bludgeoned to death with a wet newspaper, not the rest of us...

      anyway, just my take on things

      /rant

      I thought the average age of gamers (in australia at least) was 30 something?

        34, I heard.

        Either way, (not to Lambo, to Lillee) I'd say that labelling the gaming industry as "full of 12yo boys" is probably doing that whole bucket/generalisation thing that the author and others have complained about people doing.

          It didn't say they WERE twelve, it said they ACTED like they were twelve. Though this is inaccurate too as many twelve year olds act more mature.

            Not sure if you're Lillee, but if so, scroll up mate:

            "The reason ... is because the men in the video game industry haven’t actually grown up yet. What do you expect from 12yr old boys?"

              No, I am not Lillee. "men in the video game industry haven’t actually grown up yet" - exact quote. Merriam-Webster definition of "man" (plural men): "a(1) : an individual human; especially : an adult male human" I don't believe twelve year old boys are adult males.

                I think you've replied to the wrong thread at some point and gotten confused. We're talking about Lillees fairly shallow assessment of the situation and they definetely don't use the word 'acted'.

                I thouhht your post about being a mod quite reasonable.

                  My interpretation of Lillee's comment was that the people who say these things are just acting immature. Obviously people interpret differently...

      Yeah that is a little unfair, Lilee.
      I can see where you're coming from, but I think men in general - not just the gaming community - are encouraged by advertising companies, the media and popular culture as a whole to be brainless, immature manchildren who need a woman to do all the thinking for them. It's degrading, because the guys I know are getting along, studying, working hard or raising families & being generally awesome.

    Good read. It provokes interesting thought on how female developers choose to present themselves, or are presented by their company (thinking Ubisoft).

    Great article. Maragaret is a smart writer - didn't she used to edit EDGE back in the day?

      Yep, she used to be the Editor of Edge a few years back.

    Also, congratulations on the public photo Margaret. That is something I don't think I will ever do- simply because of the backlash based on appearance. I actually think it is brave and heroic.

      Wish I could grow a moustache that spectacular...

        Don't we all...

    I have a number of thoughts on this very subject, but without resorting to blogging myself or typing a 3000 word comment, I'll say this. I think misogyny and sexism, particularly with regards to gaming and online, but also applies to the offline world, stems from the sexes being segregated in 'thought process' by the world around us. We are systematically brought up to believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and that we are completely different. Bullshit, we're all human. We're all just as capable as each other. Also, there are countless feeble minded people who hide behind their online avatar, and say things that they would never say to the same people face to face.

      I'll counter that with the fact that we are also different. Not in capability but in approach, and thought process and idealisms and so on. The problem isn't accepting that we're all the same, the problem is accepting that we're different but that it's not a bad thing.

      Prejudice is almost always born out of fear of the unknown or something we don't understand - I think in the bigger picture we need to learn that we don't NEED to understand in order to appreciate a different approach.

      /soapbox

        I agree with Dave on this one. I believe that men and women should have access to equal opportunities and treatment, but that (generally speaking) we are quite different in certain ways - men have been shown to generally exhibit better spatial awareness whilst women tend to be better at multitasking for example. I think that it's ok to acknowledge these generalisations as long as you recognize them for what they are, and are open to accepting the fact that they don't apply to everyone.

        I think that our society promotes a win/loss view of things (due to capitalism, advertising etc, which I won't expand upon here), which naturally leads a lot of people to think that being a man can't be good unless it's better than being a woman. The truth of the matter is that there's enough awesomeness in the world to cover both genders without them having to be identical.

        Yes, of course their are fundamental differences. Dave and Vibesublime, I COMPLETELY agree with you both. Just to clarify what I was talking about, I mean in terms of understanding and the ability to feel, love, hate etc etc, we are the same.

        Dave, your point is excellent.

      Looking at male and female anatomy, you realise that they both have their own unique 'capabilities' :P

        Again, got to agree with you.

        More verbosely: there are obvious and major differences between men and women. We're not "all the same" and rather than try to hide the fact, we should be embracing it and celebrating what that recognition can do for us as a species.

        Case in point: the Olympics has men's events and women's events in a lot of areas for a very specific reason. Look at the 100m sprint records and times, and then consider what would happen if it was a unisex event only open to the fastest (no quota system).

        Some events - like shooting - the split is meaningless. However, sticking our heads in the sand and saying everyone is equal in all capabilities and there are no genetic differences based on your Y chromosone is dangerous.

          We’re not “all the same” and rather than try to hide the fact, we should be embracing it

          I'm sorry, but that quote can be interpreted in way too many different ways :P

            [quote]quote tags work?[/quote]

    This (and the linked articles) is why Kotaku AU is about 3 levels above pretty much all other gaming websites.

      Omg the pictures didn't help one of those linked articles.

    Whilst I deplore sexism, I'm not sure self censorship is the worst thing in the world. I'd respect Mark less if he attracted page views by mixing reviews with pics of his glistening abs, and I don't care to watch Lisa Foyle (for example) for the same reason.

    One thing I also wonder is whether women cop crap for being women, or about being women because they express opinions on the Internet. My reasoning is that Jim Sterling vops a hell of a lot of abuse about being fat, but I'm pretty sure its cause he rated Kirby 10 and Battlefield 7.5.

      I suppose it's like American Presedential campaigns.
      Just find anything you can to attack them on, and go for it, relevance be damned.

      Also, I would totally click Mark's articles more if he showed more abs, but maybe that's just me.

      Why didn't I think of unleashing my rippling abs for page clicks. DAMMIT. I've been doing it wrong this whole time!

        I thought you already did on your super secret paid web cam si... oops, I may have said too much.

      Well, everyone censors themselves to some extent, but it's important to think about what and why. Most of the examples here were related to avoiding sexist stupidity from gamers, not because there was anything actually wrong with doing those things. Whereas some ideas are bad or have negative consequences for legitimate reasons and you probably should think before you try them.

    Thanks to both Mark and Margaret for the article. Good points, quite balanced. And I'd flip the bird to anyone who says this kind of article doesn't belong on this site.

    I think it's unfair to say it's 'video games' that's the root of it all, be it players of games or makers of games or whoever else. The issues being raised in a lot of these articles is about sexism in general and should more rightly be aimed at society as a whole. I know this is due to the fact that this is a videogame blog but the criticisms being levelled at the 'gaming industry' aren't just contained within it, but merely a reflection of society as a whole.

    I think the mainstream media such as film, television and magazines etc do more to enforce negative stereotypes and segregated thinking (as Jim said) which bleed into other forms of media, such as games.

    If anything games place women in empowering roles as the main character, sometimes they are attractive (shock), or exaggerated (in a cartoon/anime context along with the male characters) but are ultimately more than capable at beating up people or saving the world just as any (stereotyped, muscle bound, gruff) male character, which is more than most films or magazines do as the completion of the game depends on the characters actions, a character you are controlling.

    Eh. The only reason that the online community continues to spout these insults is because it gets such coverage. 99.99% of the stuff is completely harmless and ignorable. The comments i've read starting with "the things i'd do to Olivia Munn", "Hey, Felicia Day, why don't you...", etc. number in the thousands. The ones about the pornstar chick that hosts that show (her name eludes me) have been even worse. Know how many of these comments have eventuated into a real life action taking place? 0.

    What people say and the actions they take are 2 different things. If they're allowed to hide behind an Xbox Live Gamertag, PSN ID, they'll say anything. Will they do anything? No. One of the comments on the Sorrels' article probably said it best. "If you let it known you're a woman, you'll be insulted for it", if you sound foreign, you'll be insulted for that." They don't even know you, they're just relieving stress by throwing what they can at you. No person who is comfortable with who they are should be damaged by any of this.

      No, the reason why the online community continues to behave in this is way is because they think it's acceptable and they think they can get away with it. Coverage like this is making a point that it's not OK, and it's raising awareness about how those who are affected by it feel. Ignoring an issue like this doesn't make it go away. Addressing it and getting community involvement does.

        But this coverage invariably hits the wrong people. The ones writing the long thought out responses to this are mostly TAYbies like Rize, Shane, Pixel and Lambo. I've read posts from these guys for months, and these guys are not the problem. The 'target audience' of this, if you will, are coming up with the same responses as they always have, see Beb's response for example ("TL;DR WHERES THE GAEMZZZZ).

        The people who are the culprits for this type of behaviour are not the ones who are going to sit around and read a well-constructed essay on why it's not a good thing. If you think otherwise you're deluding yourselves.

          Interestingly, I agree with both of you. I agree that promotion and discussion is the only way this can be dealt with, but I have doubts about its true utility cost/benefit: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/12/in-which-i-dont-try-to-write-like-a-man/comment-page-1/#comment-476336

          Still, it's all we've got until I become Lord Emperor of mankind and can legally start culling stupid people from the population.

          Sure there's some jerks and trolls out there who aren't going to get the message, but what will get to them?

          But it got to me, and I'm a thinking person who has been fairly anti-feminist until now (mostly in reaction to the looney extremist feminist blogs I've encountered around the place). I bet it has made an impact on a lot of other readers also.

          Thanks for the article Margaret, and Richard/Tjowens for your response article too, you've shown me a problem I hadn't really understood until now.

    Great Job Margaret! I find I do the exact same thing. It took me a while on Kotaku to reveal I was female, and pretty much almost instantly on TAY though.
    I do censor myself. I was playing killing floor with my cousin and we were talking via msn, because I was worried if they found out they were playing with two females (one of them 12) that I would get the "back in the kitchen" comment. It really irks me, because I can't cook that well.
    We censor ourselves and pretend to be guys to avoid the horrible comments. The problem is that it is a minority, it's just a loud Minority

      Sorry, my cousin is 13, I forgot she had a birthday earlier. oops

    Rather than trying to change the behaviour of immature people on the internet, how about individuals take the responsiblity to protect themselves? You can't stop people from being jerks online. But you can protect yourself.

      The point is- you shouldn't have to hide the fact you are female, gay, Indigenous - most people do this already to protect themselves.

        So don't... it's obviously not working.

        Women didn't get the vote until they came uot and said 'we want the vote'.

        Maybe if every woman was open about being a woman gamers would realise they aren't that big of a minority.
        This is going to sound deeply uncaring, and I'm sorry about that, but if people want change... they won't get it by muttering under their breath how unfair things are.

      Nice victim-blaming there. You stay classy.

        He made a legitimate point. He didn't blame tge victim.

        If women gamers are hiding that they're women, then that's only going to ad to the stereotype that women don't play games.

          Damned if we do, damned if we don't. We don't so we can game in peace.

          If you went out wearing clown shoes every day- people may ridicule you- but no one would threaten you.

          If a woman states she's a woman in a gaming arena- she is ridiculed and threatened. In the real world, it would be a crime. In the gaming arena, it's considered normal and even acceptable.

    Taking comments on the internet to heart... I suppose it's understandable when you're a writer. People are just crap and the internets a great tool to allow them to get away with it, shaming them with awareness is a good way to stop it. GG!

    Blah blah blah blah blah! Will this crap never end?

    You know what I USED to like about the internet? I used to like the fact that when you talked to someone either on a forum, a bbs or in chat all you had to go on about the person was what threy said. You were judged by your thoughts.
    Not your gender.
    Not your ethnicity.
    Not your sexuality.
    Not your body type.
    Not your age.
    Not your fashion sense.
    Not how rich or poor you were.

    JUST YOU!

    I guess it was good while it lasted. Now you fucking idiots have dragged all your SHIT in here from the fucking real world and you have made it every biut as ugly and sordid and pathetic.

    Well done.
    /slow hand clap

      I'm not sure what position you're taking here. Are you supporting the article, or are you against it?

        I believe s/he is against it. Mainly because of the "Blah blah blah blah blah! Will this crap never end?"
        The thing is, real life will always infer with the internet. Unfortunately, this is an issue and good on Mark and Margaret for saying something about it.
        The thing is with a forum is that you begin to know someone after a while, you ask about them. Or they may have to tell you they're female because the thread is about a skirt.
        The thing is that you can't hide your gender forever and if you reveal you're female, you tend to cop crap.

        They're simply complaining that there is no longer a place where they can escape the problems of the real world.

        They don't actually have a position on the article.

      But I am my:
      Gender.
      Ethnicity.
      Sexuality.
      Body type.
      Age.
      Fashion sense.
      Financial status.

      How can I just be me on the internet without being all those things? I remember in the olden days being judged by all that. The only time it didn't apply was if I was just sitting in a random chat room talking to strangers. Either that or making pre-wikipedia info type sites and guides. Once I got into any sort of community I had to act like myself which meant yeah, all that stuff came into play.

    Its a mans world, its a man man man world. The inter-net is a mans world, a manny many mans world. *can-can girls kicking* In other news men are smarter than women judging from this years highschool results.

    Good article. You shouldn't have to pretend to be something your not. On the other hand, neither do the idiots on the internet. Why do you care that some vulgar idiots don't want you to act female? You shouldn't listen to the trolls on the internet. Speak up, make them realise that they are idiots (unlikely but worth a shot). Don't compromise yourself.

    Most of the women in my life (wife, mother-in-law, grandma) want to make me feel childish for loving games, fantasy and sci-fi, or somehow a lesser being for having guy-ish tendencies. I don't listen to them. I am who I am.

      *something you're not

        Yeah but isn't that the job of your mother-in-law to make you feel childish and a lesser being? :P I kid, I just couldn't resist it.

        I work in the arts, and a lot of the more pretentious hipster types (females AND males) judge me in the same way for being into games, sci-fi, etc. It's a common problem, people just like to stereotype others & put them into compartments because it's easier for their feeble human brains.

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