Ramblings On Online Sexism

This little, whatever, comes after reading an article on Not In The Kitchen Anymore (a site I can’t pretend to read very often), which I found to be one of the most disturbing things I have read in a long time. So, after this latest hullabaloo about male players giving females a hard time online, (a hard time does sound kind of patronising, doesn’t it? Especially given the severity of this ‘hard time’), I find myself asking the same question I always ask. Why?

(I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise for the language I’ll no doubt be using. I try not to swear so much in these things, but if it is something I feel this strongly about, then I tend to wheel out the F-bombs. So, you know, look away now if you are the proud owner of an anathema to curses.)

I know the problem has been going on for years now, since the inception of Xbox Live, in fact, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. I don’t understand why people, (I can’t use the word men for these cretins), still find it hilarious to make jokes about the kitchen. Ha ha, we get it, you twelve year old prick, you can repeat a joke you heard on 4Chan or Memebase, or from some other douche bag in your MLG Call of Duty clan.
Your prize is in the mail.

Unsurprisingly, these are mostly the same scumbags whom screech ‘faggot’ whenever you break their pathetic little kill streak, or whip out the ever relevant ‘gay’ card when they feel that the bullet that just went through their tiny minds, should not have done.

I wish I could say that it is just because they are all sad, lonely and pathetic, but I don’t know these people. I feel, if I generalise in the way that they do, then am I really any better than them? Obviously, my generalisation is more reactionary, but it is still a generalisation. I’m sure, at least a percentage of people who make these jokes, are perfectly pleasant if you would meet them in real life, but then perhaps that is another generalisation. Simply playing the numbers game can only take you so far in these situations.

Now, I am not a woman (I really hope you’ve picked up on this by now, though the long hair may be a little confusing), but I feel as though I’ve received some “abuse” over the internet in my time. I know, I cannot even begin to compare the kind of “abuse” (notice the double marks around that word, and my quite incredible lack of comfort on its usage) that I have received, to some little spineless bastard who thinks it is okay to threaten a woman with rape, but I can’t help but feel it has to do with the strange perception of invisibility, or rather, invincibility, that believe we posses on the internet. That feeling of anonymity which allows somewhat nice people, to become trolls, bullies and thugs when they squat behind a keyboard.

I can’t help but feel guilty, looking back on some of my own messages over the years, at how cruel and insensitive I could appear, were anyone, whom did not know the entire context of the conversation, was to be suddenly exposed to it. Clearly, and I hope you will have realised this, otherwise I must sound like an unbelievable hypocrite, I have never gone so far as to threaten a woman with rape, but many times have I made slightly sexist jokes at a few friends of mine. However, the only ones I will make these jokes at, are those who throw similar jokes straight back at me.

I have a feminist friend, and she is hilarious when we start arguing about sexism, feminism and the current culture of masculinity. These days, of course, her gradual ageing has forced her talk to drift more towards Nightwish and Cider, but I can make do with that. I miss our arguments sometimes, not because I really believed in the comments I made towards her, as I’m sure she didn’t believe those she threw at me, (if she did then she is a very, very different person than I thought she was), but we had fun in going over the top, in making outrageous claims at each other’s well-being. Maybe that makes me part of the problem, I‘m part of a culture that thinks nothing of mocking someone for their beliefs.

In fact, I started this whole paragraph wrong. I should have led with ‘she is a PC Gamer’. Just the fact that I thought of her as a feminist, or a woman, milliseconds before I thought of her as a fellow Gamer, perhaps shows a depth of hypocrisy which I am certainly not comfortable with.

I am sexist, not in a particularly cruel way, and I certainly do respect women, men and anything in between as equals (and often superiors), but there are certain things I will not do as a result of this sexism. I’ll carry bags, offer my jacket, hold doors open and go out of my way so my girlfriend won’t have to. I won’t hit a woman in a Mosh Pit at a concert, whereas a man would already be shoving me back. I will, at least try, to tone down my language around women (it rarely sticks, but it’s the thought that counts, right?).

I think everyone is sexist, but there must be a way of culling these arseholes that go on the internet and threaten people with rape, simply because of the makeup of their chromosomes. Perhaps, one of the reasons that these fucktards (new favourite word of the day!) feel as those they can behave this way is because, well, because they can! There really isn’t anything acting as a deterrent, so these fucktards (is it catching on yet?) can’t see that there is anything wrong with it.

Anonymity on the internet is important in some parts of the world, in fact it can be the difference between life and death. But for ignorant, self-obsessed little bastards like the kind that threaten women, for the simple reason that they are women, I humbly suggest either a loss of anonymity… or a public execution.

Okay, so maybe that is a little far, but I tend to get a little wound up over situations like this. So, to all you cowardly, sexist, ‘keyboard warrior’ pieces of shit out there, I apologise. Or, rather, I will, when you stop being thugs and start treating your fellow gamers, whatever their gender and whatever their sexuality, with a little common courtesy.

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