30 Days Of Sexism

My name is Alanah Pearce and I’m a videogame journalist. I write for various websites, and make regular videos for four separate YouTube channels. I present on one TV show and for Xbox Australia on the Xbox Dashboard. I make news videos, review videos, I host events, I interview developers and I really, really love what I do.

I also happen to be female.

Sexism picture from Shutterstock

From March 7 – April 7, I documented everything blatantly sexist anyone has said to me. None of these comments were provoked, none of them were replies to something I said, none of them were at all out of the ordinary and the vast majority of them (an original count of 77 images) have been taken out so that this post isn’t as long as it probably should be. This is a 10-picture indication of what it’s like to be a woman who endorses game culture, every single month.

Before I record the videos I create for various different companies I change my shirt from the loosely fitting singlet I usually wear during the day, to a high-collared t-shirt that will minimise my chances of being objectified. It’s less comfortable, it’s not what I would generally choose to wear, but I do it in attempt to avoid comments about my breasts, my chest, and my physique in general – I try to negate any harassment I possibly can.

I realise this attitude I’ve forced on myself is backward. Instead of presenting as I'd like to I cover up in defence. My presentation suffers for it. I fidget with the collars, I play with the sleeves, I adjust the generally over-sized t-shirts and they often make me uncomfortably sweaty. Alas, I’m willing to let my career suffer in that aspect – however small – in attempt to minimise objectification.

Obviously, it doesn’t work. Instead of having people disregard gender entirely as it really shouldn’t be relevant to a video about game news, there are streams of responses from men complaining that a woman hasn’t revealed herself to them, as though it’s expected or it’s their right to ask for that. Not only is this incredibly discouraging – these videos take hours and hours of effort to create – it’s easy to feel like you simply can’t win. You can only ignore the comments, but that would make responding to the pleasant viewers or the ones who ask genuine questions impossible.

When I first made videos, however, I didn’t change out of the singlets I’d wear every day. People would comment disrespectfully about my choice of clothing, but if I complained, they’d call me a bitch or ask if I was “on my period”. Women are told they deserve to have men make derogatory statements about their chest if it is at all visible, as though that’s an invitation or a fault. That’s downright wrong – no human being should ever have to cater the way they look, what they’re comfortable wearing or their presentation in any way to avoid being sexually harassed. Instead, people should stop sexually harassing.

Even if it isn’t a direct comment on the way a woman looks or a complaint that her breasts aren’t on display, it’s a comment that is disgusting or enough to make a reasonable person uncomfortable. I don’t want to know that ‘sephiroth4465’ is watching my videos and objectifying me in this way.

I’ve seriously reconsidered my career choices over comments like these because, honestly, if I was getting comments like this in any other workplace, I’d leave. It’s demoralising, it’s discouraging, it takes the work you’re proud of and tells you it’s worth absolutely nothing more than the sexual value that is tied to your gender.

And honestly, “it’s the internet” is not an excuse for someone to sexually harass someone by any means, let alone someone in a professional setting. These kind of extremely invasive and excessively vulgar comments are physically sickening.

Then, of course, there are comments that seem nice but are equally inherently sexist. In the picture above, ‘JackArtStudios’ has thanked me for wearing uncomfortable t-shirts and used some hugely negative stereotypes. Some women may exploit their sexuality for views but others do it for comfort, or because they didn’t want to change their clothing. Or because they didn’t consider anyone would be indecent enough to harass them because they’re physically female. There is no logical reason to assume that any woman has changed her apparel to appeal to you.

By 'thanking' a woman for catering her clothing to your ideals, you are telling her you’d respect her much less if she hadn’t worn what you consider to be decent. While I always, always appreciate positivity (and the comment on the content, hooray!) this just further reinforces the idea that women can’t wear whatever they like without compromising perceptions of their professionalism. There is no choice here, and the same kind of comments regularly apply to make-up. If you’re wearing obvious amounts of make-up or wearing a certain kind of clothing, it’ll likely be assumed you want attention and your content or integrity will be disregarded, even though you probably aren’t wearing either of those things to appeal to anyone but yourself.

The first line of this message suggests, once again, that I must be catering the way I look to appeal to male audiences when I actually just like the colour purple. What’s far more offensive than being told you can’t look a certain way is the inexplicable amount of people telling women they only got their job because they’re a female.

Saying something like this is almost as offensive as having yourself belittled to nothing more than a pair of boobs in a video – it discredits all of my work, which he likely knows nothing about (and hasn’t bothered to check) simply because of my gender. I could go on an rant about the hard work I’ve put into making myself a part of the games industry, yet I would still regularly have people tell me that the only way I’ve gotten anywhere is because my sexual organs are different to theirs.

It’s this kind of attitude that forces women to work unreasonably hard before they’re taken seriously or able to establish themselves professionally. The fact is, no woman is less deserving of any position than a man is. It’s also unreasonable and unrealistic to assume you know the motives of any producer or editor or their hiring processes. Presenting is, in some (definitely not all) cases, undoubtedly easier for women to get into, but this should never mean they be stripped of all credit. Work ethic should be judged equally upon both genders, instead of women naturally being assumed to lack skill or use their gender to cheat their way into success.

‘coywhitehartbboy’ left this comment on a photo I took of a statue of Connor Kenway, where I jokingly called him my fiancé. I’m fairly sure he took that literally, but either way this post is insinuating I avidly promote gamer or geek culture in attempt to appeal to men or “#Market” myself. Instead of simply accepting that hundreds of thousands of women very openly have genuine passion for these things, this man and many others like him try to suggest that women are falsely trying to lure them in.

Not only is this attitude hugely egocentric, it also promotes huge amounts of negativity and encourages the ‘testing’ of women who like these things. It creates an obscene and close-minded standard where, unless a woman proves she likes something, people will assume she’s doing it in attempt to market herself.

Women are laughably regularly proposed to for endorsing game culture, but that entire idea is horribly shallow and these comments are sexist in themselves. I would never want to establish a relationship with a man who “wants to make babies” with me solely because I’ve posted a picture my gaming merchandise, and all that’s really doing is completely disregarding my personality or my integrity. It’s an insult to be told you’re ‘perfect’ or ‘attractive’ for something as daft as a hobby, particularly if you take pride in the content you produce, or (god forbid) your actual personality. There is nothing desirable about that kind of attention whatsoever, it’s little more than an insult, and it’d be far preferable if there was absolutely no reaction to a woman openly endorsing games at all. That overreaction and uncomfortable, unfounded affection is sexism. It should be treated like any other hobby – how would you react if a woman said she liked shoes? You wouldn’t, and you shouldn’t.

If jerks on the internet are given a free-pass and allowed to hide behind anonymity when they’re being sexist to someone, then there’s absolutely no reason you can’t use that same anonymity to criticise or educate them. Honestly, just seeing one down-vote or having one person stick up for me is a part of the reason I’m still here and I’m not going to stop fighting. Every single person has the power to fight sexism.

You can follow Alanah Pearce on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Comments

    Any kind of investigation done into the average age of the people making the comments? I'd hazard a guess that a lot of them are in their teens and have no understanding of the concepts of respect, or sexism for that matter.

    Last edited 30/04/13 1:47 pm

    It's not really something that is fixable. You can educate people on why sexism is bad but there's always going to be creeps who don't get it.

    It's not just sexism though, just insults in general, on the internet or in real life. People will judge you (male or female) for what you look like, what your interests are, what your opinions are - and some people are very poor at proper criticism and just resort to stupid statements or insults because they can get away with it or they want to troll or they stupidly think what they are saying is a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

    As painful as some messages might be you have to rise above it and disconnect from it. An anonymous voice on the internet saying disgraceful things is an empty voice.

      An anonymous voice on the internet saying disgraceful things is an empty voice.

      Except it's clearly not if it riles up people so much that they feel the need to write articles about it.

        Yep so you gotta learn to tune it out.

        Or a more practical solution is to hire someone to moderate comments for you so you never see the bad ones.

        It would be nice if you could just make people behave but that's never going to happen until mind control becomes a thing.

          I don't think you're ever going to make everybody behave. But if articles like this can cause enough other people to chastise the jerks, then maybe the amount of sexism can be be reduced, at least.

            Hopefully that is the case.

            Either that or a lot more people who didn't know about Alanah now know about her thanks to this article and will start sending her creepy messages. Hopefully that is not the case.

            I think this article has fallen short of encouraging people to chastise the jerks, and I think that it should have gone that far. It's this blind eye approach that allows issues like this to continue whilst victims continue to be hurt.

    This sort of article about sexism in game culture is a million times more useful and interesting than those moronic ones about the Dragon's Crown game. The guy writing those is actually extremely sexist himself in that he wants to "protect" women from sexual imagery and demonise sexuality in pop-culture.
    This article actually focuses on REAL sexism!

      Oh PLEASE, this isn't real sexism. Real sexism would be not getting a job because you're female. An anonymous 12 year old on the internet saying HEY NICE TITS is not.

        I'm leaving this in here so people here can realise that while you've been complaining about your comments being moderated you still continue to post things like this.

          Simply putting this where it actually belongs on the grand scheme of sexism.

          Interestingly though, I find some truth in his comment. Arguably, the internet is not real. A random rude person being rude, or a group of them, might make that portion of the internet an unpleasant place, and especially unpleasant for whoever their latest target is, but it doesn't compare to the more insidious sexism, the type that could actually hold her career back.

          EDIT: That said I suppose 'the internet' is her job. I just feel that if I stray too far from my friends online, I'll get abused too, for whatever it is the cretins take objection to. In her case, it is being a female, for me it will be something else. I'm seeing it more as a 'the internet is full of rude people' issue, I guess.

          Last edited 30/04/13 2:18 pm

            The Internet is as real as anything else- it's all human interaction and communication. Saying those comments to her on the street is pretty much the same as doing it online; it's humiliating and patronising and it will get her down. It's sexist because they're insults based on her gender, which makes them more personal and cutting than just general rudeness, and there's also the factor that if it was a male reviewer there wouldn't be any of those sorts of remarks: They're attacking her because she IS a woman and so has no right to be doing what she's doing.

              I agree with you on how important the issue is, and how hurtful it must be to recieve those comments. However I'm struggling to appreciate it as just a sexist issue. I feel like if every journalist online spent all day writing articles about people being rude online, then they still wouldn't cover all the vile that gets posted online! I don't wish to detract from her personal experience of sexism, but I'd prefer a discussion about how to build better communties or how to promote a more repsectful internet culture. For me this article didn't tell me anything new. My opinion is that equality won't progress online whilst there is a broader issue of internet etiquette, especially in areas renown for 'trolls' such as youtube comments. This is different to IRL where say workplace culture and equality/ sexism are more inextricably linked.

              Last edited 01/05/13 11:31 am

          See this is 'possibly' what people mean then (I haven't seen the removed stuff so I won't talk definitively), but if this is an example of something 'in poor taste but not quite enought to mod so that I can prove a point' then I'd be concerned about what is and isn't modded (I know I've had rational but controversial [by which i mean I was in the minority opinion] posts modded before, no idea by who exactly, but they also modded all my posts over the space of about 4 days, right down to ones that merely said I was excited about game x because I loved previous entries in the series.)

          Objectively, what mdn said is true, he might have been able to word it in a nicer way, but comments like 'I would like to see her boobs' aren't inherently sexist, and if that's the only comment from person x, they're not even necessarily contextually sexist, with the exception of the Jackartstudio comment and the two following it, the pictured comments are people being what most would consider rude (myself included), they're remarks that fail to address the content the comments section is there to promote discussion of and are therefore off topic, they're great examples of how nasty and downright terrible internet communities can be, they are not however the best examples of sexism one could use when writing an article on sexism, because wanting to see breasts isn't sexist. As others have pointed out, objectification (which wanting to see breasts isn't necessarily a result of either) and sexism are two distinct concepts, and while they're all too often co-morbid, that doesn't make them identical, one can objectify things other than gender, and even at the exclusion of gender altogether.

          An opinion, and perhaps more importantly, a fact, being unpopular or uncomfortable does not make it any less true. Sexism is a very real issue, a very important issue, both online and elsewhere and Alanah's heart is clearly in the right place, and the latter half of the article touched on some credible sexism, but much of what is called out here is the pervasiveness of absolute assholes using the internet, Alanah is 100% correct that 'it's the internet' is not an excuse, it is however an explanation, and one to many problems other than sexism online. Essentially a lot of people are stupid jerks, or do very good jobs of impersonating stupid jerks online.

          Well he is just stating his opinion. Or hers.

          I think he's wrong, but not totally wrong.

          THIS (the articles subject) is real sexism, but not as severe as other forms of sexism.

          There are many forms of sexism.

          Just because there are more serious forms of sexism does not make this not sexism.

          Again, I think the writer has done well to choose one slice of sexism (that is valid) and highlight that rather than confusing everyone with a generalist discussion that very few can get to grips with.

          @ the mod - it's smarter to allow comments like mdns' because even if the thought is refutable it allows others to discuss the point and educate, mdn and others - or, god forbid, allow mdn to further explain their point and educate us.

          Last edited 30/04/13 3:52 pm

          I don't find anything wrong with this particular post of his/her. it's an opinion based on self interpretation of sexism.

        Hahahahahahahahahaha.

        Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

        I think I kind of get what you mean. Like... discrimination based on gender isn't the same thing as objectification?

          I'm mainly saying that these days, there are fewer and fewer actual sexism problems so now everyone has to find an issue where ever possible. We've made some pretty damn good progress when it comes to actual sexism. Women can now vote. Women are now CEOs. Women can join the military etc etc. We've eradicated most of these problems so now people just like trouble and have to go looking for it, and they've found it in the comments of an anonymous person on YouTube saying NICE TITTAYS.

          But hey, I've been silenced so you'll probably never even see this.

            Nope, I removed one of your comments.

              And now all of them have to await moderation. Yay silencing.

                I was under the impression that by default comments go into a moderation queue. I don't think it's a grand conspiracy to silence you.

                Okay, apparently not. I've seen my comments go in a mod queue before. But, even then, mod queue isn't silencing. You're being really loud and obnoxious for someone who's been silenced.

                Last edited 30/04/13 3:23 pm

                  My comments have occasionally gone into the moderation queue. I don't know if that was because of a glitch or I've previously said something naughty but I'm not aware of having posted anything bad.

            Yeah, again you're wrong mdn.

            Sure, you're highlighting some truths, namely the decreasing extent of sexism in the workplace, but then you're attempting to use those truths to present untruths.

            Just because there has been improvements does not mean that sexism no longer exists.

            Severe sexism may have decreased significantly, but lesser forms of sexism still exist, as shown in the article.

            You might as well say something like Aids is no longer a problem. It is.

        You're making a valid point, but you're doing it in an unnecessarily obnoxious manner and tone, which I think is the problem.

        What the author is complaining about is hardly sexism - she's being abused in Youtube comments and the easiest point of attack is her gender. If she was a male and a commenter decided to sling some abuse the likely avenue would be that he's a 'faggot' or something along those lines.

        The author hasn't actually proven anything except that Youtube is full of assholes.

        Additionally you point about real sexism - that being instances of tangible disadvantage levied upon a woman simply because of her gender - such as not getting a job or a promotion or whatever else is fully valid.

    Dude, re-read the article, you've completely missed the point. She isn't objectifying herself, merely stating her fitness goals. She shouldn't have to cater what she says or does to avoid objectification, so she really doesn't deserve those comments. If a dude posts a topless photo showing months of work in the gym does he get objectified? Nope, because nobody cares, but as as soon as a woman does you jump at the chance to use that in an attempt to void all credibility.

      Not disagreeing with your point but I have enough instagram friends posting gym selfies that yes, men do become objectified when they are half-naked too. Not to the same degree perhaps, but it is something that happens. To be honest, gym selfies from girls or boys are pretty galling to me. Why do people do that on social media?

    Going through the article, I find myself agreeing with a lot of what's said, as most of the comments are sexist rubbish, but there's one section I found myself disagreeing on, and I may regret commenting about it, but here it goes:

    this just further reinforces the idea that women can’t wear whatever they like without compromising perceptions of their professionalism.

    Of course women can't just wear whatever and not have it compromise perceptions of their professionalism. Men can't do it either. That's why businesses have dress codes. You can't just turn up to a meeting naked and expect no one to notice that your naked, and then complain when they do notice it. It just doesn't work like that, and it never will. Even if societies views change and being naked becomes the new norm, there will still be items of clothing you can't wear without it compromising how people perceive you.

    You might think it sucks, in fact I imagine a lot of people think it sucks when in concerns what they wear, but that's just how the world work. How you dress does influence how people see you and regard what you say, and the smart person realises that and uses it to their advantage. I mean, heck, that's what those women JackArtStudios is talking about do. Not every women who exposes their cleavage on youtube is doing it for views, but some are, and they know full well why people are clicking on their videos.

    PS, I'm really hoping I managed to get my thoughts on this out clearly and in a way that is as non offensive as possible, because as anyone who knows me can attest, I'm really not okay with sexism.

      I agree regarding dress standards for professionalism. I think Alanah was attempting to highlight that there are different standards in what is considered 'professional' attire between men and women in her line of work, rather than complain about the need for professional clothing.

        Oh, yeah, I fully agree that dress standards are different between men and women, and if she was trying highlight that I will say I completely missed the point on that one. To me, it came off more as, "I should be able to dress how I want and still be treated as a professional", hence why I made a comment on it, but I'm happy to told I was missing the point.

          I think the point is that there's a difference between "not being treated as a professional" and "receiving verbal abuse." It's different from showing up to work in a dirty t-shirt and getting called a slob.

        If anything professional clothing choices in the workplace is sexist towards males. Has anyone noticed men have to wear a button up shirt, and slacks. Girls have a LOT more options.

    as long as there are genders, there will be sexism
    as long as there are races, there will be racism
    as long as we're human, we will be flawed but forever striving to better ourselves.

    We're hitting a bit of an issue here, something about "sexism" vs. "objectification".

    I would like to preface (always a good start) this with the fact that so far as I've seen, these issues are far worse for women, particularly in regards to happenings on the internet. I do not wish to reduce the impact of statements such as these, and it is by no means my place to say that anyone's reaction to something is wrong.

    (Also, this is phrased more or less as a letter to the author (you know, those ones in comments which you just HATE because the author is clearly an idiot), which is funny, because she's not going to read it, but that's okay, because shush now, don't judge me (and I'm too lazy to change my phrasing). And anyway, you're not going to read this, are you? Look at it, it's enormous, it has words and stuff, and they're super boring, hey, I know, why don't we go grab a coffee, and see a movie, or something, dear reader who got this far in, that'd be rad, right? Sure.)

    So, let's start. Good work Alanah, not only do you have good intentions here, but you've managed to follow through with concrete examples of what has happened. I know that if I were in a position where people were watching me regularly, I would avoid the comments like the plague, and quite literally never take a single piece of feedback, for fears of my fragile psyche being shattered. And that's where we hit the gist of what I want to say.

    People everywhere face being objectified all the time. I can only imagine that people on the street see me, and think to themselves "OH GOD WHAT IS THAT?" or "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH" or even "wow, I'm really considering bringing back that Spartan tradition of throwing ugly babies into a hole, just to prevent this from happening in the future." It's not very nice, it's not the least bit flattering, but it's more or less true. The problem that people on the internet face, is that everyone has a voice, and nobody has accountability. People on the street tend to suppress their disgusted potato squeals around me, if only through fear that they will somehow catch it. These people do not know me, so all they have to judge me on is my waddling gait, and nauseating visage. Mentally, they reduce me down to what they can observe. I become an object in their mind, and so I am treated as one.

    It's not so different, except that on the internet, every fuckwad has a voice. "It's the internet" is not an excuse, you're right. But it's a damn good explanation. It shouldn't be, but it is. Everyone gets objectified, really. Now that that's said, of course, there are distinct differences. The "expectations" mentioned? Totally true, not there for everyone. The thing about "marketing" yourself? Also true, not there for everyone. Some other points you mentioned that I'm too lazy to re-read to check? Probably also a thing more unique to your situation, and almost certainly sexist (this may read as dismissive, but it's not, I'm just super slack).

    My issues with objectification are present because I resemble a blobfish. Yours are due to a piece of genitalia (or lack thereof, depending on viewpoints), and your work, but are buoyed by sexism, misogyny, misguided actions, and stupidity. Neither of the elements that you influence (loosely in the gender case) should have an effect, but they do, due to stupid people. Sexism is the driving issue here, but it isn't the only one, and I would simply fall into despair if I even tried to comprehend the immense number of factors here. SO uhh, yeah. This meandered a bit. Hey, you, person who's reading this, do you like stuff? I like stuff. Stuff is pretty rad. So are potatoes.

    TL;DR - Sexism is an issue here, plain old objectification is an issue here, the former is treatable, the latter, I fear, is not (as is my usage of parentheses, but that's something I refuse to fix).

      Man, look at this clown.

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. And so forth. ( https://twitter.com/Blaghman/status/329074586492760064 )

      well said sir, and yes I do like potatoes and wouldn't mind a coffee :D

    Funnily enough, I do find women attractive, in real life and in the media. Occasionally I see somebody who makes me think "wow, she's fantastic". It's entirely possible that an attractive woman will make me think favourably about the story/product in question. That's human nature.

    But the thing is that I keep it in my head. I don't express how desirable I find her as I pass in the street or in Internet comments. It's really not that hard to restrict yourself to comments on the actual content, or to move on and say nothing at all.

    Yes, I would like a freaking medal if they're on offer.

    If you find yourself about to write something even remotely sexist, it's probably a good idea to apply the test of "how would I react if somebody said this to my wife/sister/mother/daughter?"

      @batguy , you hit the nail on the head there, if we were animals driven purely on instinct etc. there would be an excuse, but as humans we are capable of thought we can rationalise, we can judge what's right or wrong, so there aren't any excuses. The horrible reality is that there are just a lot of jerks out there and the internet has just given them the means to be the jerkiest jerks that ever jerked a jerk.

      Great comment. Out of interest, where on the political spectrum do you identify with most?

    I want to upvote this article. I want to give this article ALL the upvotes.

    I like how it's just showing us what is. It's not trying to be inflammatory, it's just showing us what is. Regardless of what people's opinions are on sexism, what Alanah and others like her deal with is not really something any human should have forced on them.

      This? http://99gifs.com/-img/50a356f5afa96f1ff4000c69.gif

      Yeah was good read. Sucks tho but not at all surprising that it was youtube comments.. they are crazy at the best of times.

      Precisely. That's exactly what I think is interesting and valuable about it.

        I wholeheartedly agree that most of the comments are inappropriate. What I reject is the universal labelling of 'sexist'. Us humans love to label, as it has the appearance of distilling complex issues into a little box we can understand. We can then use that little box in subsequent hypothesis.

        Complementing a stranger on her boobs is inappropriate/creepy/immature not sexist. I'd go so far as to say even if the commenter hated all women and thought that they were worth less than men the remark in itself is still not sexist. If I comment on a video of an african and say "I love the higher levels of melanin in your skin!" is that racist? No. Once again its creepy and weird - but not racist. If I said "your video sucks because you are black" - THAT's racist. If I comment on a woman's video and say "not a bad review for a woman" - THAT is sexist.

        For a comment to be sexist/racist it must come from a place of hate. It must implicate that the person does not recognise the sex or race's equality. Being immature, anonymous, and very horny creates comments like the article illustrates. It isn't indicative of a generation of men that think women are worth less than men.

    I would have bothered to read this if it was over a normal community and website.

    But Youtube, really? As a journalist you should have known not even bother that that community. Sorry when I first saw the first image I rolled my eyes and then scanned the rest.

    TL;DR: Youtube is a troll community nothing there is proper.

    Youtube always will give you unwanted comments. Its best to ignore and build upon the ones which are good.

    I'm sorry.. Since when are youtube commenters real people? It is a fact that nothing good or true has ever been said in a youtube comment. But don't quote me on that.

    I think everyone could write a story like this about some aspect of their life.. In the end of the day.. Who cares. What does it matter at all. Other people will do what they do, you do what you do.. *shrug*

    I can't imagine these youtube comments are anything more than trolls being trolls.

    i'm pretty sure a lot of those comments would be from teenage boys. trying to get teenagers to not think about sex 24/7 and objectifying women is impossible

    I don't know what to say to this, Alannah. It's a solid article, and yet... it says nothing?

    I think we're agreed that YouTube comments are universally offensive and without merit, and that one subset of the ways in which they are offensive and without merit is that they're sexist. Yes, stupidity shouldn't get a free pass just because it's expressed in a stupid place, but on the other hand YouTube is a schoolyard; do you propose we're going to get anywhere by walking into playgrounds around the world and slapping children when they say something dumb that they don't understand? And yes, of course this kind of casually offensive commentary happens in other places, more mature places - but you don't really cover those places in your article, so I'm not sure where we can take that.

    You're arguing a point worth arguing but you don't have a thesis; a plan of action. You're asking people to start anonymous flame wars on YouTube, and I think honestly if that is what grassroots feminism has come to then we really DO need to be having this discussion, and having it far more intelligently than you're proposing.

      She's showing us what happens. It's not up to her to have a plan of action, it's up to us, and those people whose comments she showed.

        "Newsflash: YouTube commentors say dumb and offensive things." If that was the thrust of her article, Kotaku were wrong and lazy to run it. I was giving Kotaku and Pearce the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that something greater was trying to be conveyed. Children say stupid things because they are young and because they are surrounded by other children; one of the places they gather to say those things is YouTube. Asking people to shout loudly at random children about how stupid they are is not responsible debate and it is not responsible community parenting. We change these things through leadership, through example, and through rewarding those children of all ages who make the choice to grow up a little.

    It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for freedom of speech to give way to moderation. Yes, yes, slippery slope to Big Brother, etc, but honestly, this kind of thing demonstrates that people are all too happy to abuse privileges that they see as god-given rights.

      No. This is heinously wrong. Being offensive is a fundamental human right. Just like being offended. You're a goddamn fascist.

        Why should it be a fundamental human right? That's kind of insane O_o

        Last edited 01/05/13 1:29 pm

    Those bloody Youtube comments,
    It happens all the time on the internet, and yet it never ceases to embarrass and disgust me that such (assumedly) sane and normal people are willing to speak like this to a total stranger.

    Last edited 30/04/13 2:47 pm

    While many of these comments are lewd and vulgar, only three of them actually appear to be examples of sexism. While demanding a woman to show her tits, or commenting about how you want to perform sexual acts with her is vulgar; by itself it is not inherently sexism. Never confuse sexuality with gender prejudice. The common thread between these comments is that they were men with a sexual preference for women. This alone does not make sexism, even if they express that sexual desire in lewd comments. I have known women with a sexual preference in other women to make lewd comments about tits and making babies to other women, and I have known men with a sexual preference in other men to make lewd comments about dicks and making babies to other men. There was no sexism in those comments either; merely a sexual preference.

    Sadly, the author of this article was quick to silence any discussion on the matter, going so far as to block me on Twitter for pointing out that some of the cases of sexism weren't actually sexism. However, this is a discussion that is desperately needed in the feminism community, because in part, the feminist movement has shifted from female equality and sexual empowerment into shaming sexuality and sexual repression; and by declaring war on sexuality the struggle to fight off gender oppression not only gets sidetracked, it even gains new ridicule by becoming a sexually oppressive movement.

    Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwaitwait. This.. isn't a Kotaku NA thing? I mean, I'm fine with the article and all, interesting enough read, but the fact that this was posted in Kotaku AU first seems abnormal, because quite frankly NA and it's audience eats up articles like these.

    Huh.

    Whilst as agree anonymity on the internet is mostly a bad thing, play any MMO and you find it everywhere. League of Legends is a great example I don't think you can play a match without abuse of some kind, abuse which wouldn't be said if there wasn't for anonymity. I wouldn't take crap written on comments as any kind of judgement of your work on the internet because like most things if people like something they say nothing, if people don't like something they like to tell the world and then there are trolls who just like to hate.

    This is a great article, hopefully it gets through to some of the tye of people who leave these comments.
    With the continued prevelance of these comments, I believe it's not a matter of anonymity which gives people the confidence to post those sort of comments, but a lack of consequence.
    On the street or at work, if a man wolf-whistled at a girl or objectified her, things would likely take a very dark turn for him.
    On the internet there is very little accountability and it can be seen as fun to get a reaction, any reaction, from anyone else.
    Still, discussion is bthe best solution to this sort of issue and while it will never disappear, it can be nearly negated through undestanding and an attitude of intollerance to those who perpetuate the language.

      Agreed. I said much the same thing back at the beginning somewhere (which I point out to demonstrate there's probably truth in it, not to complain that you're stealing my material)!

    Very well written article. I really liked the way you spliced the comments you've received into your text. The way they punctuated the article seemed to give them extra emphasis, as if their content wasn't jarring enough. At times, it seemed as if you wanted the comments to be as disruptive to the reader as they are to you in your work-life. Again...very well written.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI

    That said... I bet you will find moronic comments even attached to that video.

    I think comments in general should be abolished, on any website. I'm 32 and this is going to sound very Grandpa but they make it very easy to be stupid.

    Make it so as it takes actual effort to be a dick. Nobody bothered to mail that shit in back in the day.

      Should be able to vote people offline :P

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