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Rotten Circuits
July 20th, 2010
10:57 am

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Well worth a read
http://whilenotfinished.theirisnetwork.org/2009/04/20/april-round-table-brokering-peace-with-the-fear/

From last year, but still worth reading - a design for a game which would teach people how it feels to live as a potential victim in a rape culture.

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From:chalicier
Date:July 20th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
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"However, this is not a Feminism 101 post/thread, so I will delete comments questioning rape culture or otherwise demonstrating that the commenter has not read Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog."

Thus invoking the Number One Problem With Feminist Discourse On The Internet and entirely ruining the article. Was doing fairly well until that point, rampant selection bias and weirdly skewed attitiudes towards male feminists notwithstanding. Could be a good idea for a game if someone slightly less immersed in Internet Feminism did it.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 20th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
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The number one problem with feminist discourse on the internet is redirecting off-topic replies to posts which address them?

This is a post on a feminist blog, presenting an allegory to feminists which could be used as a way to explain rape culture. I don't see a need for the author to solicit discussions on anything that isn't related to the idea presented.

I don't see any mention of male feminists at all, but maybe I'm not digging deep enough. I'm not really sure what your selection bias point is referring to - maybe that this isn't presented outside of a community?
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From:chalicier
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
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"Questioning rape culture" is not even remotely "off topic", and it's followed immediately by a statement to the effect that if the commenter "demonstrates that they have not read x" then they'll be deleted. In other words, any deviation from the extremely specific standpoint taken by the post will not be tolerated.

OTOH I apologise, I interpreted the piece as an article rather than as a journal/blog post. The writer is of course entirely within her rights to decide that replies outside of her narrow chosen remit will be removed summarily within context.

That said, it still undermines her premise. If the purpose of the design is to illustrate and/or explain rape culture to others, assuming an attitude from the beginning that rape culture is by definition a valid proposition without making any attempt to support that beyond what is admitted to be an exaggerated scenario isn't going to help matters. It smacks of trying to be shocking for the sake of being shocking.

As regards male feminists - "green shirts", and as regards selection bias, she openly states that she's ignoring even the 1 in 4 statistic and all statistic involving punishment of the offender in order to present a specifically channelled viewpoint. Her setup expressly attempts to present a context that does not reflect reality in order to illustrate something she believes IS reality. It's self-defeating.
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From:rumor_esq
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Re: your last paragraph: I see what you are saying, but based upon her description of the game I think this is a case of poor explanation or poor understanding or both. I think the point of the game is that a given yellow shirt/woman cannot a priori know whether any blue shirt/man is a potential harasser/rapist without personally getting to know and vet that person. So in essence the statistics are irrelevant in the individual practice, since even a lesser (overall) probability presents a significant risk. Only those blue shirts/men who the yellow shirt/woman verifies in practice can become a green shirt/safe man. I think this is what the game is designed to demonstrate, in part.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
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Agreed - my assumption was that the "safer world" was because that one person was now not a threat, rather than that they were going out and making a difference as well. I guess it could be fun to model the spread of a meme through the game, but on the timespan you'd be playing it you'd never see any result!
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From:chalicier
Date:July 21st, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
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Actually this
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From:chalicier
Date:July 21st, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
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LJ fail...
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From:wererogue
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
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I think opening up every article about every nuance of feminism to discussion of topics which are tangential, but will be raised, is pretty foolhardy and counterproductive.

I do think that, as posted below, there's a tendency to just ignore or try to shut down people who genuinely want to discuss, learn or just have a different point of view. I never heard of Feminism 101 before today, but it seems like an excellent place to point commenters raising topics like "do women even deserve rights?" and "why do you hate men?" in comment threads for posts about, for example, the gender bias evident in a particular advert.

As regards the accuracy of the simulation; as you say, the author is very up-front about not having perfectly modeled the metaphor. I think that if you were trying to make some kind of accurate metaphor, this design is a pretty good starting place. However, as a teaching tool, it doesn't really need to be perfect, just to convey the the feeling of insecurity of living in a world where threats to your safety are open and omnipresent.

"Hey Baby" was an awful representation of anything approaching reality (and an awful videogame,) but it got people talking, and gamer communities have had some really excellent discussions and some shitty arguments about the reality of street harassment. Likewise, there are plenty of educational cartoons that don't accurately portray safety hazards, but do effectively convey the message that you should be careful around things which are hot.
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From:chalicier
Date:July 21st, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
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I hate the metaphor for several reasons.

Firstly, "man == rapist" is not something I'm ever going to be willing to accept. I personally thought we'd managed to get shot of that in the 1970s, but I should have realised that Internet Feminism (of course she references Jezebel's blog, *shudder*) would dredge it back up again.

Secondly, she repeatedly describes situations which are either completely absurd (Shopkeepers putting their penises on the counter? Where the hell does she live? Workmates talking about who they raped last weekend? Someone tell the police where this woman works ffs) or demonstrate a willingness to conflate any sexually-oriented activity WHATSOEVER with rape. So it's not just that all men are potential rapists, it's also the case in her metaphor that any and all sexual behaviour (by men, of course) is by definition sexual assault.

Thirdly, in her metaphorical world, blue suits only shoot yellow suits. No blue-on-blue or blue-on-green violence here!

Finally, a slightly more complex reason. One of the worst elements of real-world rape cases is the incredibly low report rate, which has the effect of both increasing the risk of the rapist re-offending and also massively increasing the likelihood that a given rape case that is actually brought to trial will be one of the many false rape allegations. IMO one of the major reasons for the low number of convictions in rape cases is simply because while evidence suggests that rape victims overwhelmingly do not report the incident, false allegations are by definition always brought.

So by presenting the idea that reporting the crime will simply result in no prosecution and no real attempt at justice, the game model as presented encourages the idea of not reporting rapes, which in turn encourages rape conviction rates to plummet ever further. Again, self-defeating.

The whole metaphor is either incredibly poorly constructed, or the result of a truly disturbing mindset. I'm willing to be kind and assume it's the former.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
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1. Man == potential rapist. Not everybody shoots people in the game, but everybody could.

2. You're bloody sheltered if you think that people don't make rape jokes in workplaces and on the street. And nobody needs to show you their penis to make you feel threatened. ETA: I do agree that the gun == ability to rape metaphor isn't immediately accessible. However, I do think that our culture encourages women to believe that every man who isn't provably not a rapist is/could be one, instead of dealing with the source. That's the oppression that the game highlights, in game language. Removing the gun metaphor removes the audience connection.

3. Fair point, although I think the metaphor in the game could use simplifying, not making more complex.

4. The game model presents the experience of living in rape culture. Part of that is the very real condition that the law is not always sympathetic or helpful.

Edited at 2010-07-21 05:35 pm (UTC)
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From:chalicier
Date:July 21st, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
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I'm going to bow out of this discussion at least temporarily. The reason is that this is quite an emotive topic for me on numerous levels even under normal circumstances, and given my current extremely heightened stress levels I'm finding it very difficult to produce a coherent and rational response.

I'll try and get back to it when I can actually discuss things like a human being again.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 21st, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
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Absolutely fair enough - I was kind of surprised that you wanted to get into a debate at all! (Edit: At the moment - obviously I know you feel strongly about the topic.) Best of luck with the craziness - as I posed on your journal, seriously let me know if there's anything I can do; code reviews, testing, soliciting donations...

Edited at 2010-07-21 08:24 pm (UTC)
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From:wererogue
Date:July 20th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Incidentally, IMO the number one problem with feminist discourse on the internet is combative and hostile reactions to people coming from an ignorant standpoint.
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From:chalicier
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
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You are of course welcome to your opinion.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 20th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
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Merci ;) I still don't know what your number one problem is, though?
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From:chalicier
Date:July 21st, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
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Well, it's this. See all these arguments I'm putting forward? Regardless of your agreement with them, you'd say they have validity, right?

Well, to your average Internet Feminist, they don't. Not because of any actual problem with my arguments, of course. No, it's because I'm male, and as a male, if I disagree with them, it's BECAUSE I'm male. No other reason for my disagreement can possibly exist.

And if I put forward the suggestion that I can disagree because the reasoning is flawed rather than simply because I happen to own a penis, it will be received with rolling eyes and "this old chestnut again", and they will talk about all the other Y-chromos who've had the gall to try and actually engage them as equals in a discussion over the years and how they didn't "get it" either.

It's this kind of implicit misandry that lies behind statements like "I will delete comments questioning rape culture." What if someone doesn't understand it and wants an explanation, but does not accept the very poorly thought out one given on the blog link she posts? Ah, they must be rejecting it simply because they're male. Right? Of course.
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From:wererogue
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Regarding male arguments, that depends on what you're arguing. If you're making an argument that is inherently made from a point of view of male privilege, then yeah, it's because you're male. If that's not the case, yeah, I've seen that happen, but most of the time the people trying to shut down men participating often get shut down themselves. (For a comment thread that demonstrates exactly what you're talking about, see http://sexyvideogameland.blogspot.com/2010/06/you-look-nice-miss.html .)

Jumping back to the start of your post, I'm happy to have this discussion with you basically because I enjoy doing so. Your arguments absolutely carry validity, but they're pretty far from the context of the article that I linked.

The "I will delete comments questioning rape culture" isn't by any means misandric - aside from the fact that there are plenty of women who don't believe in rape culture, the post is intended to express a metaphor, and the author wants to discuss the metaphor, not the problem it's trying to solve. On top of that, the author explicitly provides a link to a place where rape culture *can* be discussed.

Bizarrely, it sounds more and more like you're arguing that feminists shouldn't discourage derailing? I mean, physics and ballistics are inherently related, but I'd be pretty pissed off if I started an article on rocket trajectories and somebody came in questioning whether gravity was real.
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From:curtana
Date:July 21st, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
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Makes me think of this post - women are assaulted after having the gall to ... be female in public, and so apparently what's really needed is an awareness campaign FOR WOMEN -_-
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From:wererogue
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
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Ugh, wow. The guy basically blindfolds himself against these guys being his normal patrons:

"I can't believe it, this is everything that Latitude isn't," he said.

"It is difficult to find any nastiness or aggression at Latitude and this is the antithesis to everything the festival stands for. It's shocking and I am distraught about it."

You know what? Apparently it's not difficult if you're a young girl at night. Get some bloody security. And tell your patrons not to rape people.

Edited at 2010-07-21 05:14 pm (UTC)
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From:curtana
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
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And the other idiot who said "When you go to a festival with your friends and you drop your guard, but you are living in what is essentially a small town and in a town you wouldn't leave your door open and you would expect some crime." Because going to the fucking toilets is the same as leaving your door open!
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