Thursday, March 8, 2012

All Men are Pigs

"Men are pigs, susan."  ~Manos Kdo, CEO of Ka Pow Pow, Late Night Alliance

I wasn't planning to write a response to Corelin's post 'Sexism in EVE' but it seems to be a topic that's been bouncing around everywhere so I thought, being one of the few female EVE players and bloggers, I should try my hand at sharing my opinion on the matter.

And I'm going to be very frank with you.

My Experience

If I seem offended, there's a 99% chance that I'm trolling you. I simply don't get offended that often as I find it's a waste of my time. I pay little attention to local, generously use the 'block' feature in EVE, and don't stick around in channels where it's obvious the inhabitants got the short end of the stick where the gene pool is concerned.

Yes, it would be nice to relax and play EVE without being bombarded on occasion with rude pictures, videos, or crude humor on coms. Sometimes, when things start to approach too close to the line, or cross it, I take a break and go find something else to do--because, when things reach this point it usually is indicative that there's really nothing to do at the moment game-play wise anyway.

In the past, I can remember only one time where I was specifically targetted and harassed by a corpmate. I believe he was more humiliated in the end then I was, when all of his corpmate friends turned on him,  and forcably removed him from corp. He mysteriously quit EVE shortly after that....

The group I currently fly with is pretty laid back. But, I don't think they'd stand for a new guy coming into alliance and harassing me or anyone else. Bahamut420 is a cheerful fellow, but I'd hate to make him angry. And then to have Galdorane, Sigma Pi, Djan, Tyrolen, and Sneaky Noob irritated as well...lets just say it would suck to be that dude. I see pain...and WOW in his future.

"What's in a Word..."

While I agree with Corelin's sentiments in making EVE a relaxing atmosphere that anyone can enjoy, I don't agree with his logic.

First, let's address this issue of the terminology he finds so offensive, particularly freely using the word 'rape.' Rape train, Rapage, Rape Cage, etc etc etc.

The word 'Rape' was not always used to describe a situation of sexual assault. Nor is it always used now in this manner. One of the official, Dictionary meanings of the word is, "an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation." ie: the rape of the countryside.

In literature, it is often used to describe situations of war where something was completely taken over, demolished, ravaged. It is also used to describe the effects of disease and plague on a country, etc.

In this context, it would be legitimate to use this word in combat situations in EVE where an enemy was completely taken over, or in situations of complete and utter destruction, without any sexual context or meaning implied.

And now I'm going to be blunt.

You are ignorant if you think that anyone who uses the word 'rape' is part of some sort of evil, sexual assault 'culture' that delights in thoughts of abusing women, just because this is where your mind goes when you hear the word.

You are ignorant if you think that proclomations of removing this one word from your vocubulary makes you look less profane or more feeling when the rest of what you say is saturated with other profanity.


Secondly, the topic of sexism does not equal the topic of harassment to women.

Sexism is a topic that deals with men and women placing stereotypes on genders, and differences in behaviors toward a specific gender as a result of these held stereotypes.

I find it ironic that Corelin does not address the fact that a large percentage of rape victims are young boys raped by older men. I find it ironic that he addresses the sensibilities of Women, without any discussion to the sensibilities of victimized men/boys in the same situation. Do Women deserve special treatment?

The very idea that the issue of rape is a women's issue alone, is a stereotype. And, talking about protecting Women's sensitivities without also discussing equal measures to protect Men's sensitivities on this topic or in general is in and of itself sexist.

Harassment is a completely different topic. While harassment can be the result of extreme sexism, there are plenty of sexist attitudes in EVE that are not necessarily considered to be harassing. For example, it is sexist to think that a woman is not good at pvp because she's female. Thinking this does not mean you are being harassing. It just means you're ignorant, and sexist.

Harassment in the sense of in-game persecution, and threats to your RL self should be reported and will be dealt with by CCP. Sexism, like ignorance, can not really be dealt with as doing so will remove nearly everyone from the game. (We all stereotype each other whether we're conscious of it or not. To think otherwise is naive.)

In closing,

I agree with Corelin inasmuch that the anonymity that people find online tends to spawn crude behavior and discussion. However, I believe this behaviour is across the board and not targetting women in particular. In other words, you are not just rude toward women. You are rude in general.

I also don't think 'rape' always means what he think it means, and I'm somewhat frusterated by his fixation on it as merely a sexual term.

I would say that this tendency to think that everything has to do with sex is most definately a male trait. Though, that thought would be particularly sexist of me, wouldn't it.


  1. Damn it Ms. Black. You are one hell of a writer. I hope I never cross you. Great read.

  2. Thanks Susan for speaking out about this issue! I'll get some flak for this about being too politically correct, Eve being a cold harsh world, and it "just being a video game". I might as well take a moment and talk about something related that personally bothers me.

    I'm really, really, really, ready for the gaming community in general (not just EVE players) to drop the word "Faggot" from their smack talk vocabulary.

    The bottom line is, there's a thousand ways to trash talk someone in game. Make fun of the fact that they fail hard, that's fine, but using language that is discriminatory to what is likely a significant portion of the EVE community just shows bad taste and poor character.

    We're all human beings behind our avatars, and I personally know many gay people that specifically DON'T play video games because of the lingering homophobic culture and pervasive use of hate speech that survives thanks to internet anonymity. Sure, we could tell minority groups to HTFU. That's the hardcore thing to do, right? The way I see it, if culturally its no longer acceptable to use "faggot" as a derogatory word publicly, we should be self-policing more often in the video game world as well.

    There are a lot of cowards out there who wouldn't use the term around gay people outside the game, just as they wouldn't use the words dyke, nigger, kike, wetback, or chink, but than have no problem unleashing them when they're hidden safely behind the web.

    I don't give a crap who you fall in love with, or what anyone's sexual interests are. When you log in to EVE, I care about whether you're fun to hang out with and an effective team member. That's it. It pains me to think there are people missing out on the experience because they feel threatened or hurt by language that is entirely unneccessary.

    I hope everyone thinks about this the next time they hear it going on - I'm not asking everyone to go around correcting each other. But I think its totally legitimate to think about the words we use, and who it might hurt.

    I fully support tears extracted over a blown up ship. That's part of the game. But tears because someone is hatefully or callously targeting your race, gender, sexuality, or culture for ridicule? That has no place in gaming.

    1. Hans, while I agree with you in theory,
      the thing is it doesnt matter whether people say it or not their thoughts are what count and their thoughts are expressed in their behaviour.
      Thoughts on the other hand are influenced by upbringing the whole package everything in life influences you.
      As long as there are people raising their children with the idea that its ok to bash others because they are different these thoughts will prevail.
      And so will the actions resulting from these thoughts.

    2. I used to say, Gay a lot. Like, "Wow, thats gay." A stubborn holdover from my days as a teenager playing FPS games, and its overuse in school and in those particular online communities. Now I try to say, "Wow, that's Lame." or similar. I also don't like using the word, bitch, but it slips out from time to time, heh.

    3. @Rubinia: Behavior can modify thought. While self-policing our speech might not immediately free us of such hateful verbiage, it will eventually over time.

    4. Here's how I see it:

      When "gay" or "faggot" is used as an insult, not only is it ineffective, but I believe it says more about the person doing the insulting. I've never once been offended by someone called me gay online, because gay isn't an insult. Nothing wrong with gay people.

      BTW great post Susan.

    5. @Vordak: But that requires a concious decision to act differently than your thoughts "dictate". Which brings us back to thoughts define your actions.

  3. Do you find that guys suddenly get really nice to you when they find out that you're a IRL female?

  4. I definitely agree with what you say here.

    There was a post some time ago on jester's blog, where he mentioned he and his gang 'raping-face'. I was surprised and irritated at how many people were offended with his use of those words in that context. The commenters stripped the context right out of the words, and turned it into a thing about raping people's wives or girlfriends.

    I don't personally see why the words, in that context, were out of place. I mean, it's a pretty typical way to describe completely overwhelming an enemy gang when people talk over comms, so why the big hubbub from the bloggers?

    1. What if it became common parlance to say you had "really lynched" some dudes? Would that be ok?

      Is it ok to use "gay" as a synonym for "bad"? It's in common parlance. It also means "happy". Does this make you feel better about the fact that you're using a large group of people's identity as an insult?

  5. It's funny that you bring this up. I was schooled by my (female) lawyer friend on the same subject, the other way around. Rape is to serious a word to be used lightly, especially since the act of rape (which in my jurisdiction falls under the categories of sexual intercourse without consent or sexual assault) is a serious transgression against the right to sovereignty over ones own body.

    In EVE, all PVP is consensual. There is no rape. Massacre, perhaps, devastation certainly, and an enemy might be routed and their structures razed. These words are appropriate for the context of collective entities engaged in perpetual conflict.

    Rape of the landscape has the same connotation of people acting against their environment with no consideration to the land, it's inhabitants, or the future of the people using that land. The application of "rape" in those contexts carries the emotional weight of the sex crime. Just because the archaic use of the word still applies doesn't weaken the word. Would anyone get away with using "faggot" as a pejorative if they claimed they only meant to call their victim a bundle of sticks? It is not the post-utterance reinterpretation that matters, it is the intent.

    Nothing in EVE carries the same emotional weight, so the word should be reserved for appropriate contexts where the usual uses are not cheapened. This opinion has been formed by interacting with rape victims and lawyers working in that field.

    Raping face, or killing people in a rape cage, are clearly masculine expressions of overpowering an opponent. You wouldn't use the term in public to describe the outcome of a football game, except in the very base circles of society where people have yet to outgrow their anal fixation stages of emotional development.

    These terms are uncouth, and cheapen the conversation, regardless of context (unless you are talking about situations where one person has been forced to perform fellatio, for example).

    This isn't about gender: men get raped too. This is about appropriate consideration for people who have experienced the crime.

  6. Good stuff Ms. Black - I mostly concur with what you say. However during my time in null fleets expressions along the lines of

    "We are gonna rape face", "we raped face", "they face raped us" etc were common in fleets I flew with. It is hard not to interpret this as being intended to convey the sexual violence meaning of the word rape.

    Hans - I agree totally - this faggot smack talk is purile. Makes me glad I threw one of my votes your way despite being the carebeariest of carebrears these days :)

  7. Mara,
    Rape is indeed a serious word, no matter how it's used. And I agree that the normal usage of the word has a lot of emotions that come with it that makes it as strong a word as it is. I don't even use this terminology myself.

    However, I'm a little stuck on your argument that the word 'rape' should be reserved because of the emotional weight it carries. Murder is also a heinous crime against the right to sovereignty over one's own body, and yet you do not see people outraging against useage of this word.

    The word 'love' carries extreme emotional weight to some people and yet we do not reserve it.

    Essentially, we shouldn't use 'rape' because it offends people, and we want to be sensitive towards these people. This is ultimately what Corelin was saying, and something I ultimately agree with, as I imply. In other words, I agree with your conclusion, just not with the argument you used to get there.

    What I did not agree with in Corelin's post and subsequent commenting was the idea that people who use this word belong to some sort of 'rape-culture' that is intent on being derogatory toward women. I used an alternate use of this word to show that, emotions aside, useage of the word was legitamate in a non sexual way, and that people do not necessarily have ill intent toward women when they use it. That doesn't mean they aren't being somewhat crude, considering the current emphasis and meaning society puts on the word, but many of these people are crude anyway, in general.

    I too agree this isn't about gender, as I profusely argued. I also agree it's about consideration. However, it's a little hard to find someone considerate when they take 'rape' out of their vocabulary but leave in every other crude word they can think of.

    1. I feel that murder carries less emotional weight because you never have to deal personally with the victim. Love carries little emotional weight anymore due to the overuse by people describing lust, or the simple desire to say the right words to get their intended sex partner's consent.

      If you start enforcing basic rules about "we don't say these words here" you will filter put the people who have the mindset in which use of those words is an acceptable display of power or virility. From memory the Tuskers try to be "family friendly" yet maintain a successful PvP corporation. Do they frequently use terms such as "rape cage"?

      I also subscribe to the Sapir-Whorf theory that the words we use externally impact our internal dialogues, and thus our thoughts and instincts. Well, to clarify, the "weak" Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, in that the vocabulary we know and use guides our thoughts because the concepts we keep uppermost in our consciousness directly impact the thoughts we have and the decisions we make.

      I believe that encouraging people to use different words will ultimately impact their thinking. Stop using the ultra violent terminology, start using more analytical and expressive terminology, and perhaps the crude folks will rise out of the gutter. Sure they are still bad people, just not so likely to be openly offensive.

  8. Good post Susan. When I was looking to join the Amarr/Minnie FW side, I tended to avoid corps who had guys who were using alot of profane language on comms or had a reputation to do it. There was one well known Minnie corp in particular. I kept it to myself for fear of being labeled as too sensitive or a 'fag'. So I am glad you brought this up.

  9. WOOT!! I'm A PIG!! YEAH BABY!!

    I will strut around.. CUZ I'M A PIG!!
    I'M A PIG!

    I'M SO PROUD TO BE A PI.. um.. wait..what?

  10. The problem is no one knows what the life experiences are that other people have had, good or ill. It is a strong word in any case.

    When directed at someone, even if it is without malice, and they've suffered the horror of an attack, the affects can be devastating to them.

    That is the issue. And all for a simple word that no one needs to use.

  11. Men aren't pigs... pigs are sensitive and intelligent creatures.

  12. Interesting post! I was surprised a couple of months back on this topic myself. I casually dropped the term "face-rape" into a post I was writing about a ship that a gang I was in caught and decimated. It's a pretty common EVE term, yet a lot of my readers were upset by it. I caught a lot of flak from people who read my blog that basically told me to save that kind of language for Garth posts. ;-)

    Caught me off-guard because I didn't think anything of it at the time. I've been a lot more careful about it since.

  13. This post reminded me of a phrase from Crimson Skies: "You've stirred a hornets' nest, darlin'". Good post anyway. :)

    Personally, I have no trouble with such words, I usually shrug them off, like my Hyperion shrugs off damage (har-har-har). If one can use the anonymity of the web to feel strong and aggressive, why shouldn't I use the same tactic and just don't let words affect me? Getting offended by the word 'faggot', when being gay, seems too much egocentric and over reactive.

    Besides, you can usually tell if the person means it and if he/she does, then you can make the block function feel useful. One should never try to get down to the level of an idiot.

  14. Greatly enjoyed this. Excellent read.

  15. The thing we have to be careful of is policing ourselves out our right to say things. When someone controls the speech they control the argument. To play devil's advocate:

    If a person is forced to not be able to say something because it offends someone the person saying is being controlled. In America we have freedom of speech. It doesn't mean we all have to agree with or like what is being said. But that right to say it, whether agreed with or not, should be defended.

    We do NOT have the right NOT to be offended. I'm not counter arguing here. I'm simply pointing out the slippery slope that speech control can lead to.

  16. Good Post, Interesting read. Its obvious EVE shadows reality with perceptions and attitudes.

  17. Dislike. Defending extremely offensive terms by bringing up their historical usage is not convincing to me. When people in video games joke about "rape", they are making luls out of a sexual crime that is perceived as being primarily carried out against women.
    Defending people who abuse language that is common as "not evil" isn't good enough. I don't think my friends are "evil" for using "gay" as a synonym for "bad", but I do think they are being insensitive to the feelings of others, and helping to legitimize the persecution of a group of people who don't deserve it.
    There's more to complain about but I have only so much time on this planet.