Rape is for Profit
Now, forgive me. I’m not going to link these because I’m not giving anyone hits or advertising money. There’s quite enough profit going around already.
So I was talking this morning to The Good Doctor and he brought to my attention something that makes my feminism and my geekery hurt.
As a girl geek, I want to tell you right now, I love my people, I fly my nerd flag. I also don’t want to sit here and say that nerdom, and gamer culture in particular, is a woman friendly feminist space, because it isn’t. Girl gamers deal with a lot of nonsense, from open hostility that we’re in A Man’s Space to having to look at ourselves being cast as the cute little healer.
And then we get to deal with the rape culture, which is, of course a source of jokes.
I spoke before about how being raped is not, in fact, akin to losing at PvP or beating a boss.
It’s also, by the way, not cheap comedy or a way to line your pockets.
Now then, the fine gentlemen at Penny Arcade (who I actually link and I will be fixing that as soon as I’m done with this post) posted a comic a little bit ago making a joke that the npcs you don’t save while questing (because you only need five or so) spend their nights being raped by Dickwolves. When called on the fact that rape is not, in fact, a punchline, they proceeded to post another comic making fun of that reaction (the smarm on that one went to eleven). These two comics were then very quickly deconstructed by the internet, blown up, dismissed, another day on the internet.
They then put shirts in their online store for the Dickwolves, which are designed to look like the logo shirts of a sports team.
I don’t even know that I can continue writing this post, as I’m sitting here gesturing at the screen and yelling “FUCKING REALLY?” Though since that just happened , clearly there are some parts of the world who don’t understand Humanity 101.
First of all, rape isn’t funny. It’s not a punchline. If a survivor chooses to deal with his/her situation using humor, that’s one thing. For a webcomic to, with no explanation, use the idea of rape as something comical that happens to NPCs when the game is off is severely fucked up. Second of all, when called on your shit by people who are upset for good reason, the proper response is not to act like they took your cookie and you are going to make fun of them. In fact, it’s even more unfortunate that’s coming from two icons of a community that flies acceptance as a flag and rallies under the cry about how the world isn’t High School. Right now, two icons of the gamer community look like high school bullies. Oh, did we hurt your feelings? We don’t really care.
I mean, honestly. They have wives. They exist in the world with women. Who looks at his wife and thinks, “Honey, you know what would be really hilarious?” And furthermore, the character who is confessing to being raped is male, so we also have a wonderful dose of the idea that somehow, a man being raped is ludicrous. Also, rape isn’t some mythical thing that doesn’t exist. Every three minutes, gentleman.
Lastly, this shirt is so foul on so many levels that I’m having trouble comprehending them all. First of all, making a profit from the rape culture is reprehensible. Please stop, reboot your humanity chip, and donate all proceeds to RAINN. Yesterday.
Rapists as a team you can cheer for is so hurtful on so many levels that I’m left praying that the Penny Arcade boys are simply stupid instead of malicious.
Also, if you wear that shirt and someone punches you in the face, well, I’m not violent but I see where they are coming from, don’t you?
This, by the way, is one of the reasons why a lot of geek girls live in holes where they don’t show up to cons or speak on vent or X-box live. Because you are making your culture just as hostile to us as just about any other culture out there. Why would I go somewhere and actively announce myself as an entity that you are say you are welcoming of but are, in fact, openly hostile to.
It sucks, but some of us persist. Some of us even persist in making a safe gaming space for women where they don’t have to tolerate sexual harassment or gendered slurs. I made a co-ed one. What’s up, Sheep Nova \m/ And let me give an extended shout out to Daughters of the Horde, who have made a female only gaming space on WoW/Bronzebeard US. I’m sure there are others, but these are two I can vouch for. And if you’re running a space where women and queers and minorities are ACTUALLY welcome, please keep it up. We need it, since, you know, two icons of our community persist in slapping us in the face.
I can end with my usual sign off—
WILL YOU PLEASE STOP IT.