Sexually Harassed in a Video Game?
Yesterday Jen Nedeau wrote a post on the Women's Rights blog at Change.org where she talks about sexist comments that her post "Top Ten Moments of Feminism in 2008" received on Digg. She got comments like
"11. Making a sammich 12. Ironing my shirt 13. Cooking/Cleaning"
"Feminism. lol. Aww that's precious. Now get me a beer, and while you're at it get your milkers out.."
While I am appalled at this behavior I am honestly not surprised - especially on Digg. I've noticed on technical sites like CNet and ZDNet as well that any time a post has something to do with women, the rude sexist comments show up. The funny thing about this is that most of these comments prove the point they are arguing against. While I won't say that the entire internet has this attitude there is definitely a common theme.
Since I'm a visual person seeing the following video illustrated this issue for me. Sony has created a new 3D social gaming community for the Playstation called Home. It's very similar to Second Life and currently in open beta. It appears that whenever a female avatar appears the male avatars mob her - many crowding her space and some asking for sex. My boyfriend had access to the beta and witnessed this behavior first hand - as a matter of fact, he didn't want me to go on there to be subjected this behavior myself. Instead he shared a link this video:
While this is not actual sexual harassment or sexual assault, there's definitely something to be said about it. I'm not a psychologist but I think it could have the a similar effect. There are after all actual people sitting behind that game controller. It's ridiculous that a woman/girl can not go about her merry way exploring the community without this crazy behavior. (It actually reminds me of a few guys in the computer science program when I was in college and also of the time when I got so many IMs from guys in AOL days that my computer couldn't handle it and reset.) The excuse is that guys aren't used to seeing girls in gaming environments, in tech classes or whatever and that boys will be boys. None of this is a valid reason for this blatant disrespect of women.
There are some guys who have taken offense to these activities as well an have started reacting to it. Watch the two videos below:
What these guys are doing may deter some of the behavior but what difference does it make? There are still guys that think that women are put on this earth for the sole purpose of being their personal enjoyment. And that is the problem.
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