Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Song of Angry Women

20 Responses

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It’s more possible, given all of you are less into BDSM and Canada than I am, that you’ve not heard about Jian Ghomeshi. He initially claimed that he was being discriminated against by his employer because of stories of his consensual BDSM encounters being maliciously spread by a spurned ex-lover. And this would be concerning, because people do suffer real and terrible consequences from being outed as BDSM practitioners, particularly male Doms

    True, but it's also been really depressing (but not at all surprising) seeing the fifty shades of Ghomeshi apologist shaming being laid on women BDSM practitioners by people who really don't want to get the obvious difference between consensual BDSM with full consent and clearly negotiated boundaries and sexual assault, or that engaging in the former doesn't mean you ever "ask for" the latter.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    This has also crossed my mind, Since we don't have any choice and all our metadata (loosely defined) is recorded and available to all and sundry, surely there are options to use that to our own advantage. Possibly not down to "death threat on phone = in jail", but a lot of the online threats presumably get scooped up and there are already laws against doing that. Which, incidentally, is something I struggle to understand. If a twitter user makes a death threat, linking a meatsack to that account is the obstacle and that's where IP tracking through the courts should work. And apparently the police do that all the time...

    There was an article in The Guardian the other day that private investigators in Oz are starting to demand access to metadata through the courts, and it's working. So far only a few cases, but I suspect that one will become a regular even in civil lawsuits. If only I could find the article...

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1232 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    We could start by rounding up The Herald opinion columnists and editorial writers and putting them in a very small dark room until more than 50% of them apologize for being shitweasels.

    Then we can do the same for all the talkback radio hosts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As more and more stories emerge of him being a Grade A Creeper, it seems that actually he is someone who feels okay using BDSM as a cover for sexually assaulting women, or as it’s more commonly called, a “massive shitweasel”.

    I guess among the small mercies of this horrible story is the way his friend Owen Pallet responded.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Moz,

    Since we don’t have any choice and all our metadata (loosely defined) is recorded and available to all and sundry, surely there are options to use that to our own advantage. Possibly not down to “death threat on phone = in jail”, but a lot of the online threats presumably get scooped up and there are already laws against doing that.

    Yeah, I mean, honest to gods, even I'm not sure to what extent I'm joking here. I don't LIKE this shit, but if it IS going to happen, surely it could work to our advantage some of the time?

    On a separate note, a few people have commented on how angry and dispirited GamerGate has made them feel, and for this I do actually have a constructive suggestion.

    Buy a game you know these guys would hate. Developed by at least some women. A game with a female protagonist. One with a strong, affecting storyline. My favourite is Gone Home, which I won't tell you anything about because Spoilers, but everyone I know who's played it has cried buckets.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I guess among the small mercies of this horrible story is the way his friend Owen Pallet responded.

    I loved that piece of Pallet's. It was sure, it was nuanced, it was exactly what we need more of. And I think it provides a useful template for other people who find themselves in Pallet's position.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Buy a game you know these guys would hate. Developed by at least some women. A game with a female protagonist. One with a strong, affecting storyline.

    Gave this a spin at PAX - http://www.disparitygames.com/ninja-pizza-girl/

    Definitely worth a look in: good platforming mechanics, many lols, much fun. Also, local-ish.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Wilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I have been feeling very angry in that "oh god, I have no idea what I can do about this" kind of way so I'm extremely grateful to you for your suggestion. I'm shit at games but am so going to go and buy Gone Home (and Ninja Pizza Girl (thanks Greg)) simply on the strength of them being the sorts of games that the GamerGate guys would hate. So cheers for that.

    Nth Canty • Since Dec 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Petyt, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I don't LIKE this shit, but if it IS going to happen, surely it could work to our advantage some of the time?

    I very much doubt it. Terrorism is only being used as an excuse to get more and more information, more and more power over people. The populace in general is terrified of terrorism (and will willingly give up freedoms if they think it will help fight it) but its not motivated by fear when it comes to violence against women.
    The powers in charge can never get enough. And since our interests do not match up with theirs, no these powers will not be used for good.

    Japan • Since Apr 2014 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Well, at least this appears to be a win (for once) : Julian Blanc flees Australia

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 615 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Times a million to all the above. Mr "it was all consensual when I punched them in the face with no negotiation" shits me to tears. As do the kinksters - some very well-known - who hidhind the "we don't know all the facts yet" bullshit. While somehow not managing to express their horror at such events, and the hope that the women concerned are well-supported.

    In my personal shit-bag is all the crap that came out around the same time as Gamergate, especially the Grace Hopper conference Microsoft boss saying women don't need to ask for pay rises - good karma will get what they deserve. Four men being stood up to address hundreds of women about sexism the industry - where the FUCK has this happened in reverse? We already know about it, thanks guys. (To be fair, three of them attended a session where they listened to women's concerns - again, where are the rest of male industry leaders). Some fucktard here in Oz saying he loved hiring women, because they were often better than male techs, but you don't have pay as much for that expertise.

    So, yeah.

    I like the proposed riposte re Gamergate, but alas, I didn't think much of Gone Home's gameplay. We do need more of those kinds of stories, or stories about how someone's queer (or whatever) identity is part of who they ARE as a character. And our characters influence how we behave, a lot of the time

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I sometimes wonder if these misogynist dinosaurs only speak out in defence of women, if it happens to involve stoning rituals in the Middle East?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    One slight bright spot in the Ghomeshi case is that one of his victims, Lucy Decoutere, went public and said her interactions with the Toronto Police Service were “warm and sympathetic” and “validating":

    "I am making this statement because I know how scary it can be to come forward,” she wrote in the statement. “Those considering coming forward should know that it was a safe place."

    Which is a grand turn around from the titanic shitweaselry that incited a global round of SlutWalks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I loved that piece of Pallet's. It was sure, it was nuanced, it was exactly what we need more of. And I think it provides a useful template for other people who find themselves in Pallet's position.

    He's a great musician as well - used to be final fantasy. Don't let his unusual web site turn you off. And here's some excellent female artists that I've found recently that deserve some sales: Sarah Jarosz and Daughter.

    I'm still not sure I've got my head around how Roastbusters didn't lead to someone being convicted. I'm not sure that's even what I want, as I'm not a big fan of the punishment model, particularly for young people, but that's clearly the way the system is meant to work, so I'm struggling to understand why it didn't.

    My son's (age 16) just got his first girlfriend, which is all very interesting and exciting, but has suddenly brought out the prude in my wife! We'll be doubling up conversations about consent and respect as well as the physical conversations about safety and health.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson,

    One more comment about PAX last weekend -

    The gender balance was not at all what I expected, especially as you worked down the age groups there. A lot more girls in gaming than you'd think from the average gaming community online.*

    This may have been a contributing factor, but the overall feel of the audience? Not gamergate trolls. Not at all. To the point where I definitely got the impression that the majority there were just as pissed off about it as I am. Which was really, really reassuring. After the past few months of absolute horror on the internets, hanging out with a bunch of gamers in person and being reminded that the horror is a minority was fan-fucking-tastic.

    The three most packed out panels that I went to were Good Game, Playing as a female character, and Women in video games - Improving things for everyone. I think that a discussion about why women are critical to the industry was more packed out than the Bioware panel re: storytelling and DA:Inquisition is a good sign.
    And no, the audience wasn't there to troll - they were there to engage, and in a few cases to try and understand.

    As I may have said (repeatedly), it was a really nice thing to be at, after #gamergate for so long.


    *re: gender balance - I get the impression that there is a countdown timer on the worst sides of gaming right now. Janet Carr mentioned at one of the panels that the (child, not parent) audience for their younger gamers show is 47% female. Might explain the fear driving the reactionaries right now.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Thanks Emma. Exactly what I needed.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    I took this away with for a few days and talked with friends as I'd heard pieces of the story but none so concise as you wrote here Emma. To date my response is exactly to quote TracyMac:

    Times a million to all the above. Mr "it was all consensual when I punched them in the face with no negotiation" shits me to tears.

    All the best with the Adric.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    There's been a substantial fall in the number of people who couldn't really understand why misogyny was bad, in various forums I frequent, as a result of gamergate conversations. Not to mention the great deal of further instruction that arose, about treating people decently no matter who they are, even when they're not present (because they usually are, duh).

    People I never really expected to be convinced of that have come on side. Not that the arguments were pretty, but almost no one wants to be on the side that's … those guys. They are exceptionally creepy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Seriatim,

    We keep tally of the number of car accidents, and report them regularly - as a warning to people to drive more safely. Why don't we do the same with domestic violence?
    Another woman died the other day because neighbours concluded that the beating they witnessed was "only a domestic" - and while so few are reported people will continue to assume that the deaths and injuries they hear about are rare occurrences.
    If we were ALL reminded of the statistics every time - that women died at the rate of ?one a week and were hospitalized in their hundreds every year (and the child death/injuries too) EVERY time there was a 'newsworthy' incident, the message might get through, and the country's culture change - just as it has with road accidents.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Seriatim,

    If we were ALL reminded of the statistics every time – that women died at the rate of ?one a week and were hospitalized in their hundreds every year (and the child death/injuries too) EVERY time there was a ‘newsworthy’ incident, the message might get through, and the country’s culture change – just as it has with road accidents.

    Would it not be more benafitial to look at the compleat picture? For example: Was alcohol involved? was emotional abuse a component, or was the domestic violence sterio typically physical? Did the offender have a personality disorder or was the offender insane? Was the domestic violence generational? Did the family have access to affordable phyclological support, before the relationship deteriated to the degree where it ended up as a statistic? And what about domestic abuse related suicide statistics?

    These are some of the questions I would rather have answered, rather than useing statistics to reinforce an incomplete narrative that talks about sugar, spice, slug, snails and puppy dogs tails.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

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