Confessions Of A Teenage Sexist

It takes guts to look back at the things you didn't know, and to examine them in light of the things you know now. But that's just what writer Jenn Frank (who we've featured here talking about everything from motherhood and sea monkeys to the adorableness of Diablo III) has done.

In a fantastic new article over at Unwinnable, Frank has laid out her path from teenaged blitheness all the way up to her present, perhaps less blithe state. It's a remarkable, honest piece of writing.

The article traces all the way from Frank's childhood dreams of being Rambo ("Not a man, not a woman, not a mother or an astronaut: only that mythical creature called Rambo.") to her gig as a community manager at Electronic Gaming Monthly ("When I accepted, my new employer made the happy announcement. I remember the first Internet reaction, posted by a semi-anonymous user: 'Hotness fail.'") up through the current day. When discussing "girl on the internet syndrome," Frank notes: "I have been on the Internet since 1993. I got over being on the Internet long before I ever got over being a girl."

Later in the article, Frank muses on the nature of the oh-so-loaded concept of "Feminism."

Feminism isn't only about correcting social inequality and wage disparity. If that's all feminism is, I was a feminist way back when I believed you could cut your hair short and behave just as boyishly as you liked, getting ahead on your balls alone. Don't cry, emo girl! You live in a boys' world, so be a man!

Instead, feminism — and other types of social justice, I figure — acknowledges that there is an invisible pattern of experience that comes along with being, very visibly, something else.

You don't have to think of ladies as "victims" — I'd prefer you didn't — and you don't even have to think of some experiences as "baggage."

But feminism does ask you, as an ethical human being, to objectively reexamine certain standards of behaviour, which themselves are often based on an internalized, invisible set of shared beliefs and values.

Feminism isn't about holding another sex in higher esteem than the male sex. Rather, it's about anti-sexism.

It's about making sure your child doesn't grow up believing she is somehow subhuman.

And if someone ever makes your child feel like he or she deserves abuse, you better hope that kid is confident and surefooted enough to fight back.

Read the whole article over at Unwinnable.

I Was a Teenage Sexist [Unwinnable]

(Top photo | Refat/Shutterstock)

Comments

    Don't cry, emo girl. Masculinity is just as maligned and misunderstood as feminism.
    Vive la différence .

    Isn't that definition of feminism just humanism applied to gender issues?

      Which is feminism.

        Wrong. Feminism is putting Women ahead of men. That's why it's called Feminism. Equalism is the one we should be striving for.

          Insert Picard facepalm meme here.

            Your sarcasm makes you seem like an asshole and almost makes me want to agree with him completely. Grow up and tell him why he's wrong instead of not backing yourself up.

            @Samfergo, yes, equalism is good, but by definition feminism is just establishing rights for women. Not putting them ahead of men. There's a big difference between feminists and feminazis.

              Indeed and I see where samfergo is going with that, part of me agrees, but then Toasty put it perfectly. Feminists seek equality, they seek it to be even for all. They just want a fair go. Feminazis however are the sexist variety, they're the equivelant of the chauvinist pig. The one who doesn't see equality is possible.

              If your mind is that easily swayed by *sarcasm* that you're inclined to *agree* that feminism is putting women ahead with men and *not* think that the statement is entirely ridiculous based on what feminist ideas are clearly about -- then I think you have larger problems.

          It's the same with affirmative action.

          I actually raised this, because if you take humanism and then make it about one group, thats exactly what's being done. Therefore, I think this is a poor definition for feminism, which I'd argue is more of an advocacy position from within a humanist philosophy.

            "if you take humanism and then make it about one group, thats exactly what’s being done" It has been my experience that feminism and LBGT go hand-in-hand and feminism groups also play large roles in supporting racial issues. There are some feminist groups that put women first but on the whole they usually settle for sticking up for the little guy. Just my personal experience.

          You're thinking of 'matriarchy'. Feminism does assume in the name that women are currently not given equal opportunities to men, but it justifies that.

          Feminist don't want equality, they want equal opportunity. Saying men and women should be equal is like saying 1 = 2. What feminists want is for everyone to be given equal opportunity in life without prejudice or discrimination.

    And this has what to do with video games? Yet more politically correct liberal crap.

      Because male gamers are all sexist obviously

        Try gaming sometime. Male gamers by and large are homophobic and sexist in their remarks) "Faggot" "Bitch" "Homo" "You f***ing girl" etc etc are just a small tiny sample of the names thrown around.

          You too, not every game is all creeps all the time. Try playing TF2

          I'm wary of linking throw away insults and curses to actual bigotry. You'll find equal measures of the words cock dickhead and bastard coming out of those exact same mouths (male or female), this doesn't mean these people are self loathing men or raging men hating machines.

          What really matters is context and that's something that is almost always ignored in this kind of discussion.

            Hence why I said "In their remarks". Context or no, how do you take 'you cock smoking faggot' out of context? I was called that on DayZ the other night? DayZ which to this point tended to attract a better class of player. I USED to play tf2, I got sick of the insults.

          I think the sexism is part of the larger problem of them being massive douche bags. The older I get the more I realize what a large percentage of the population are just jackasses. I don't believe this has a large amount to do with them being gamers, more that the jackasses all flock to the same kind of activities where they can be horrible to people.

          The sexism is just another one of many things they use to attack and upset people smarter than them.

            Yeah I don't ever use my headset playing games online because of the morons on xbox live (don't have a headset for my PS3). But basically, just because someone says something inflammatory to me, I don't make it about me (a gender/race/sexual identity issue), it's a problem with them as a person. If you take anything they say and say "that's sexist" it's like complaining about the colour of the bullets a person is using to shoot you with. You're missing the forest for the trees.

            People are just terrible, it's not a gender issue when someone says you're a bitch or a girl or they threaten to rape you online. It's not something to get up in arms about because those are insults derived from female identity. As Korwin said, there are just as many masculine insults.

            It's the cattle of humanity talking just to make noise. And you're right to think "I shouldn't have to put up with it, i shouldn't have to hide who i am online and not talk on voice chat", but at the same time, why would you want to talk to these people anyway? These people will never change, they will always be there, and it's not giving up in saying that, it's not a "that's just the way the world is" deflection, they literally do not have the mental capacity to improve their worldview. Don't let them drag you down to their level, and you do that by acknowledging their existence.

            I don't use my headset, and it doesn't affect the way Halo or Gears of War or any other game plays online. At all.

          12 year olds on xbox don't know better.

            They need a little education to reach their liberal sensibilities

    No no no no no, no more sexism articles! I know this is an issue that needs addressing but it's only going to lose value as people (including me) get so sick of being blasted with it.

      Why are you even reading this?

        Because if he didn't, he wouldn't have anything to whine about...

          Smurf,

          Get over yourself. He's only trying to express an opinion. You are more than liberal with yours so how about letting someone else have a say without criticizing them?

            Wanna share that soapbox a bit? :)

              No, I want you to fall off it. Rejoin us mortals and get over being slandered in a multiplayer game. Everyone smack talks on the Internet, where you not aware of that yet?

              P.S playing a violent shooting game. A game where the objective is by and large to kill, then mounting that soapbox of yours to complain about people being mean to you AND somehow deciding you are a victim of sexism doesn't really make any sense.

                http://i.imgur.com/LyXGp.gif

    Props for posting. "I was a Teenage Sexist" was a great, if somewhat depressing read. It always helps to remind those in a position of privilege (myself included) that other people have vastly different and sometimes more difficult experiences of life.

    Yes lets pretend that a social issue that affects all of a society doesn't exist in our prefered medium. Whether you like it or not videogames are growing up and we need to grow up with them so we need to deal with these issues rather than ignore it because it makes us uncomfortable.

      Lets make a big deal over someone saying something you don't like while playing video games.
      But ignore the real problems that women face, like being executed for suspected adultery.
      Talk about first world problems.

        Eat your broccoli because there are kids starving in Ethiopia. Is that really your argument?

          No. It is not.

          He is saying that to raise an issue like sexism in gaming and to say it is valid when compared to the real world problem is narcissistic and arrogant.

          Your statement is absurd Sir.

            Sexism in gaming and repression of women in third-world countries are two separate and valid issues. Narcissistic and arrogant is not how I would describe wanting to be treated as an equal.

              Sorry.. But what are you saying?

              You say they are separate and valid issues.....Agreed.

              But they are NOT equal. Not at all. Are you saying rape victims in Pakistan should feel SORRY for western women who copped a little flack online because they are equal? Or the other way around?

              How on Earth could they be equally valid?

                They are not equally heinous, but they are both equally valid. As Simmo says below, should we only concern ourselves with the direst of situations while letting everything else slide? Sexism is gaming is a valid issue without having to point out that more egregious sexism occurs elsewhere in the world.

                Pat: Master of the Doctrine of Relative Filth.

                  While that is my next status update, perhaps the point has been missed. I have volunteered. I do contribute to society. My girlfriend was raped and honestly, hearing this pro moralistic crap about something that exists only in video games makes me sick. I wouldn't want to compare myself to anyone here, nor would they to me. Sexism is not a relative issue.

            But I didn't say that, I'm talking specifically about sexism in the realm of videogames and stating that it is a valid issue that the gaming community should concern itself with.

            You are the one who brought up the issue of female oppression around the world and are for some reason turning me into a bad guy by insinuating that I believe videogames are more important when I said no such thing.

            By your logic we should cease all discussion of video games in general until we solve, world hunger, world peace, cure all disease, global warming, save every endangered species, discover the meaning of life, etc., etc. because video games are clearly nowhere near important as those issues.

              Assuming this is Dubya (Simmo.)

              I'll quote you

              "Sexism in gaming and repression of women in third-world countries are two separate and valid issues. "

              That is exactly what you said. I'm not incinuating anything beyond the suggestion that in the context of the gaming industry, sexism as an issue pales in comparison to the real world and any person wanting to make a difference might want to involve themself in real world issues rather than assuming the moral high ground on a website like this.

              Furthermore I am not out to depict anyone as a 'bad guy.' If you feel like a 'bad guy' then look at what you are saying. Not me, cheers.

                Apologies, I thought Dubya and Simmo where one and the same.

                I see nothing wrong with what I said, again you are the one who brought up the issue of female oppression around the world not me. I just want to discuss sexism in gaming, on a gaming website.

                "He is saying that to raise an issue like sexism in gaming and to say it is valid when compared to the real world problem is narcissistic and arrogant."

                How can that not be seen as tying to paint me as the bad guy when you make up a postion that I never stated than attack me for it?

                At right this very second I care not for the plight of the rest of the world as my attention is focused on this topic. Does this make me a bad person? NO. It's a silly notion that is just as foolish as people who complain that a government shouldn't bother itself with such minor issues and only worry about the big stuff.

                Turns out people can care about more than issue while keeping their priorities right.

                If I were however given a choice to eradicate sexism in videogames or cease the horrible treatment of women in other countries I know what my decision would be.

                  Look at the article bro.

                  There is virtually no mention of sexism in the gaming industry on this article on this website.

                  I could rather tastelessly paint you as a bad guy but as I repeat, that isn't my intention. Hypersensitivity like yours is exactly what cheapens your sentiment and argument. I understand your message and to an extent I agree. But not so PC nuts can continue to manufacture feel goodery

                  Look at the article bro.

                  There is virtually no mention of sexism in the gaming industry on this article on this website. (which is allegedly what you want to discuss...hmm.)

                  I could rather tastelessly paint you as a bad guy but as I repeat, that isn't my intention. Hypersensitivity like yours is exactly what cheapens your sentiment and argument. I understand your message and to an extent I agree. But not so PC nuts can continue to manufacture feel goodery about their efforts to liberate women from a sexist gaming culture while there are so many more prominent examples of sexism in the world. I'm not talking about the extremes either.

                  So stop victimizing yourself please.

    This is not a gaming article. Although I do love reading the back and forth between supposedly intelligent people that this sort of dreck generates.

    Although, I play video games to escape from idiots. It's a shame that this sort of writing appears so frequently on this webpage

    This is not a gaming article. Although I do love reading the back and forth between supposedly intelligent people that this sort of dreck generates.

    Although, I play video games to escape from idiots. It's a shame that this sort of writing appears so frequently on this webpage.

    I don't visit this website to discuss gender issues, social or political issues. There are plenty more useful places to go to do that. I visit this website to read about video games...

    Get back in the kitchen.

    who put a computer in the kitchen? lol i joke i joke.... ;)

Join the discussion!