Actress and gamer Felicia Day was doxxed by people associating themselves with #GamerGate. That’s the ostensible, timely reason that I’m writing this article. The real reason is that I’ve talked with all stripes of Gaters in the last few days and I feel like banging my head on the floor over the whole thing. Keep reading »
Last week, we published a story by Tiffanie Drayton about encountering a strange man multiple times in her neighborhood in the span of a few days, including on her own block, who then hunted her down on social media and sent her creepy and “flirtatious messages.” The experience made her feel incredibly unsafe, understandably so, and I was distressed to see some commenters be quick to dismiss his completely bizarre actions as coincidental or a misinterpretation on her part, mimicking the way some of her friends responded. Unfortunately, I think that happens a lot. On one hand, the instinct to dismiss those concerns — “I’m sure he’s not stalking you, he probably lives on your block/has an innocent crush/won’t actually DO anything to hurt you” — could be a (misguided, but well-meaning) attempt to make the person feel better/safer. On the other hand, they are also an example of the ways in which we tell women to ignore their instincts and give complete strangers, in particular men, the benefit of the doubt and a trust that has not been earned. There are very, very good reasons for women to not feel safe in this world of ours. The ways in which women’s personal spaces are violated on a regular basis are plentiful, from street harassment to inappropriate comments at work to online threats, and sadly, so too are stories of these behaviors taken to the extreme. As these 12 examples from Whisper illustrate, women who have been stalked are left isolated, do not always get the support they deserve from family, friends and community, and find the fear stays with them even after they’re finally “safe.” Keep reading »
Samhita Mukhopadhyay asked today on Al Jazeera: Can online dating ever be women-friendly? She talks in her op-ed about the challenges of online dating after your mid-30s, the rash of gross misogynist messages you can expect to receive as a woman on online dating sites, and how Tinder was intended to be woman-friendly, but can it really be woman-friendly if its creators don’t know what life is like as a woman and have, now, been accused of sexual harassment? She doesn’t mention sites like Straight White Boys Texting, which cull their content from Tinder users, among others, and which seems like a pretty pertinent point: Even if you “approve” of them based on their profile, you have no guarantee of how a potential date will actually treat you in real time.
Her conclusion is this pretty depressing last-stage-of-grief coping mechanism: “It’s as though the offensiveness on dating sites becomes a sorting mechanism, a virtual last man standing; only the last man is (hopefully) not a drunk sexist jerk.” My god. I mean, I know what she’s talking about. I’ve been there. It’s just that I was 25 and after four months of being on OKCupid the well of all right guys had already dried up and I couldn’t find anyone who was neither sexist nor duplicitous nor hyper-defensive (I expect from previous bad online dating experiences of their own). Keep reading »
The Texas Supreme Court threw out a ban on “creepshots” this week, saying that it’s “paternalistic” for the government to “regulate the defendant’s mind” in a case in which someone takes illicit photos of another person, in public, without the subject’s consent.
Jenny Kutner at Slate points out the very real fact of the matter, which is that thinking lascivious thoughts about someone and making them the unwitting subject of a pornographic photograph are two clearly distinct things. However — and I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion or not — I personally agree with the ruling for reasons other than what the court put forth. The language of the proposed law stated that it would ban “improper photography or visual recording.” Considering we live in a culture in which some people clutch their pearls over spaghetti-strap tank tops and others believe that nothing is “improper,” it’d be hard to set a standard for what exactly “improper” would mean in this context that wouldn’t be too broad. Vague language kills laws with good intentions all the time. I’d love to see a law banning creepshots that would be specific enough not to put street photographers (ahem — *raises hand*) at risk of fines or incarceration. [Slate]
Online dating can be a wonderful thing, and plenty of couples — including our own Jessica and her husband — have met and found love through sites like OK Cupid, Tinder and Match. But it can also be a complete and utter shitshow, especially for women. While there are plenty of cool single dudes to meet online, there are also loads of entitled, misogynistic assholes littering your inbox and refusing to be ignored. Our friends over at Whisper asked their female users to submit the worst messages they’ve received from men they refused to chat with and the results were sadly and unsurprisingly vile. Let’s hope these dudes spend the rest of their lives alone. Keep reading »
I was raised to play games. I was no good at being on teams and I wasn’t about to submit myself to voluntary cardiovascular activity, so it became clear early in my childhood that I wasn’t going to gain any skill for rule-following, cooperation, collaboration, brainstorming, problem-solving, or focus (much less any pleasure) from sports. So instead, I played games on the family computer, by myself or with my sister Sara or with my friends, and my dad and Sara and I played video games together at night and on the weekends.
My parents supplied us with a steady stream of educational computer games — Midnight Rescue! and Mega Math Blasters, the Carmen Sandiego games, games to help our typing skills and spelling; whatever subject they felt we needed help with at school, they got us a game. And I loved logic quests: Zoombinis was my favorite computer game, and when I played on our Nintendo systems with my sister and my dad, they fought the bosses while I figured out the side quests and puzzles. We got Myst when it came out when I was six and it was way over my head, but I watched while Sara played, read the official companion book, and drew landscapes based on its worlds. Keep reading »