Star Stable: The Horsey MMO For LADYGIRLS ONLY

By John Walker on February 14th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

OMIGODOMIGODOMIGOD Star Stable is like totally a thing! And you can have a horse, and be in the world, and… WAIT WHAT IS THIS?! You can only be a girl?! MISANDRY! THIS IS MISANDRY! FINALLY I AM EXPERIENCING WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A SUFFRAGETTE.

It’s not like they just leave it at this gross act of sexism, either. They have to rub it in, too. “Every year hundreds of boys and girls from all over the world come to Jorvik to practice their riding at the island’s riding camps.” OH DO THEY? The boys do, do they? AND HOW DO THEY GET PAST YOUR FEMINAZI GUARDS?

This vile prejudice is deeply entwined in the game’s mythos, as well.

“The legend says that Jorvik once was a lifeless rock in the middle of a dark and cold ocean until the day a star fell from the sky. From the impact of the star emerged a girl on a horse, shining from within with a glowing light. Majestically she rode across the surface of the ocean and her presence calmed the rough waters.. In her right hand she held a shining candle. The girl and her horse reached the middle of the dead island and placed the candle. Light and life spread from that single flame and what once was cold and dark bloomed with light and warmth.”

Once you’re started (I created a WOMAN called Zsuzsanna Turtlestreet), riding on your horse (mine is called Thunderchampion), you enter a world of women. Just girls on horses, and no boys, because GAMING HATES MEN. Well, one boy. Justin. He works at the stables, and he sends you on your first quest – to find a girl to tell you (because boys can’t tell you things, I SUPPOSE) to ride in a circle. Then another girl tells you to ride in another circle slightly faster. But this girl is horrid!

After you’ve ridden in her circle, yet another girl tells you to ride in a really big circle, before you come back to the horrible Loretta who sends you back to Justin. But, because men are just meat for girls to stare at in games these days where men are basically marginalised to the point where we’re not even allowed to tell someone to go back to the kitchen and make us a sandwich without some FEMINIST telling us that gaming’s not for us any more, Justin is fought over like the piece of meat I was just describing. Loretta instructs me that “Justin’s mine!” and I’m not to go near him, while giving me a quest to go hear him.

Returning to Justin I was told I needed to gather items to groom my horse, whereupon the game froze up my entire PC, PROBABLY BECAUSE I AM A MAN.

If you want to subject your children to this despicable feminist propaganda, the game is designed to be entirely child friendly, with pre-determined names and no way to use speech to call others horrid names (like “boy” PROBABLY). And it’s free up to level 5.

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290 Comments »

  1. Kemipso says:

    Mr Walker, you’re a horrible person for making us download and play that game.
    [Edit: They have the weirdest way to communicate with parents, here: http://www.starstable.com/en/parents
    Double Edit: I'm not a bot, as far as I'm aware!]

    • Skabooga says:

      Hmm, there’s only one way to find out.

      You are walking through a desert when you come across a tortoise. You flip him on his back. You watch him flail feebly with legs as he tries to right himself.

      • pupsikaso says:

        Desert? What desert?

      • theallmightybob says:

        just becasue he is not a bot dosent mean he isent a replicant eh?

      • rokahef says:

        I derive feelings of comfort from the knowledge that the tiny meatbag will die an agonizing death in the sun, its agony stretched out over hours. It gives me hope that one day, the bigger meatbags will succumb to a similar fate at the hands of their own creations.

        … see? Not a bot, just like i told you!

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        Makariel says:

        I’ll tell you about my mother…

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        corinoco says:

        I’m confused; does this game test if you are a replicant or a lesbian?

    • Greg_Robinson says:

      If you think Florence`s story is impressive…, four weaks-ago my aunt’s step son brought home $8654 workin fourty hours a month from there apartment and they’re co-worker’s half-sister`s neighbour has been doing this for 5 months and recieved a check for over $8654 part time from their computer. follow the advice on this link… http://www.snag4.com

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    Devenger says:

    I feel like you should have endeavoured to get a close-up of one of the character (horse or rider, whichever) faces – I’m sure this game could provide a picture highly worthy of the Staring Eyes tag…

  3. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Isn’t “Jorvik” a historical name for York?

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      It’s the Viking name. I wonder if the players can take time out from their horsey antics to sack a village and blood-eagle the menfolk?

      • Vorphalack says:

        The arrival of the Vikings is the first planned DLC, to be followed by the religious conversion of the Vikings, with the story arc culminating in the cultural assimilation of the Vikings. I do like it when a game has vision.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Stense says:

    Well finally, I feel included in this “video gaming” fad.

  5. biggergun says:

    Here we go again, another round of pinko masculinist propaganda. Face it: men can’t ride for sh*t.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      True. It took me like 5 weeks to learn rising trot. It was humiliating. But perhaps nature never intended for me to ride a horse, being as how I am a male.

      • Rao Dao Zao says:

        I once went riding wearing denims, and that’s the last riding mistake I’ll ever make.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          I ride in jeans, but I got half-chaps, which makes it better. Perhaps I am a half-chap myself, else I would surely be doing something more manly, like comparing football men with my male comrades, or talking about hops.

          • Heliocentric says:

            Cowboys and Knights are the 2 manly ways to ride horses, cowboys have recently been reclassified as particularly popular among men’s men, so that’s about as manly as you can get right?

          • Tams80 says:

            What about Mongols?

      • Berious says:

        Rising trot was designed to crush testicles

    • Biaxident says:

      Fucking KNIGHTS bro. Men kick ass when it comes to riding things.

      • Trillby says:

        LoL you just shat on your own point noob – men only ride shit when they’re covered in protective clothing. I see girls riding butt-naked like nearly every day. In pictures and shit.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Throughout history the majority of people who have ridden horses have been male.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Lies! Horses are for girly girls. In other news I spent about 45 minutes grooming a horse this morning and it gave me a lovely warm flowery feeling. Am I really a man? I just don’t know any more.

        … oh yeah, I checked, and I am. What’s going on?

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      Gap Gen says:

      True fact: high heels were originally a way for Persian male riders to grip the stirrups of a RIDING HORSEBEAST.

  6. Alexander says:

    But why post this? We all know there’s no girls in the gaming world.

  7. Shooop says:

    The snark emanating from RPS today is almost tangible.

    I love it.

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    It’s not a woman’s game if it’s got no shopping!

    Buying stuff to make your horse look prettier, even though it won’t make it run faster. Hats, boots and cool looking outfits. That’s what a woman’s game looks like.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      1. You just described tf2, everybody panick

      2. I would totally pay for a game where you buy hats for horses.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Playing dressups is legitimately one of my favourite things to do in video games, and it will keep me coming back long after the mechanics of the game have gone stale.

  9. Premium User Badge

    darkChozo says:

    I’m glad that the developers were able to get over the blatantly offensive preconception that women only care about aesthetics. Those models and textures are striking a strong blow for female empowerment!

  10. Vaedresa says:

    Keep killing RPS, John, one article at a time. The neo-Kotaku train has no brakes, apparently.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      What the? Have you ever been to RPS before? If anything, there’s fewer of these sorts of articles these days. I mean, have you never heard of a man called K-ron????!exclamationmark

    • Fluka says:

      Yes John, do please keep killing RPS! Or rather, please stop – I can’t find time to work with all the funny and insightful things you keep posting, one article at a time!

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      I hopped in this bandwagon, but I wanted more puns. RPS’ comments are really halting to a stop in its punnery.

    • Snids says:

      Yeah John. How dare you? We own you, stop with all this liberal bullshit.
      RPS is DEAD because of FEMINISM you WHITE KNIGHT ASSHOLE.
      RPS used to be much better before all this shit.
      HOW DARE YOU USE SATIRE?!!

      • Jenks says:

        It’s not a bad satirization of his own recent articles, I must say.

    • McDan says:

      So what is this satire hate or just puns? Because I have neigh idea what’s going on.

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      Klatu says:

      I’d like get on that Neo-Kotaku train. One way ticket to Palookaville, please.

    • scoopsy says:

      RPS was great until they hired John, back when it was just an unregistered domain name.

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      Gap Gen says:

      So yeah, if wanky conversations with Leigh Alexander about videogames constitutes Kotaku, then this has been RPS since it was founded in 2007*, as far as I can tell.

      *Sorry, 1873.

    • Tams80 says:

      Except when Kotaku do articles like this they’re never funny.

    • Jerakal says:

      This one gets it John. All of your articles should be boring and uninteresting. Just tell us about the game. Leave all that humor and character by the wayside. And never, ever, risk offending anyone.

  11. Senethro says:

    but what about the menz

  12. Fetini says:

    God bless femeninism.

  13. Enkinan says:

    and bronies everywhere rejoice.

    • Phantoon says:

      I bet bronies have higher standards.

    • Cloudiest Nights says:

      While I like my games to have retro graphics, and my ponies to be pretty, I fear this game will give me a virus if I download.

  14. Rao Dao Zao says:

    The graphics look amazing. I’ve never seen a game manage to look like it’s got bloom without actually seeming to have bloom…

  15. Jimbo says:

    If Alec had written this I’d have just taken it as a straight article.

  16. The_B says:

    I presume once you’ve played enough, you can turn your steed into spaghetti bolog-neighs?

  17. Phantoon says:

    Ech. This is really how Tumblr sounds, honestly. Too busy screaming about “privilege” to make an actual point, which means they have no cause, and never get anything done. Which is a shame, because there’s plenty of obvious inequalities around, but it’s easier to complain and get pat on the back by people with the exact same views than it is to do anything. So, high school, really.

    • jalf says:

      Unlike your post, which is all “getting things done”, and not at all complaining, yes? :)

      Not that I have a problem with that, but it does ring a little bit hollow, doesn’t it? ;)

      • Phantoon says:

        It’s complaining about complaining, but note at no point did I generalize a group of people as all being criminals. Honestly, I think Tumblr is worse for equal rights than Fox News, and I detest Fox News. Tumblr gives misogynists a target of “look at these ridiculous people”, which is the easiest way to be marginalized. And honestly, if you accuse me of being a rapist for being male, that’s pretty dumb.

        What feminism needs is more educated, well spoken people, and less college students that have never actually experienced anything horrible.

        • impeus says:

          …did you just say that to call yourself a feminist you have to be a middle class university graduate rape survivor? Mere college students with no abuse history need not apply?

          What, you didn’t mean it like that? Well you may wish to reconsider the way you fail to get your points across.

          • hypercrisis says:

            Reading comprehension is a great thing to learn

          • thekyshu says:

            “Well educated” doesn’t have to mean “university student master degree” or something, he just means actually getting to the point and giving some thought to what you think. Take for example the article on cherryblossom that got taken down or something (there is a link to a screenshot of it somewhere in the comments here), where the author basically says that men are rapists because they are genetically pre-determined to it due to the Y-chromosome being a mutation (the only correct part in it, really), which leads to de-generation of that gene, and all men without exception being complete numb-nuts who only think about the 4-letter word that starts with “fu” and ends with “ck” … She states an example (in the comments I think) where she mentions a father that killed his 4-year old daughter with his sons watching from the car.
            What she totally misses in her pseudo-scientific “argumentation” (really, how can you say that men are missing information needed for feelings in their Y-chromosome due to one part being “cut off”, and due to mutation are turning into rapist dickheads? did she even have biology classes?), is the part about society, and their growing up and how it influences those men, and that these men are a minority among a big number of “normal” people. She also mentions puberty as the “turning point” in a man’s life, where he turns into some numbnut, and how she saw pictures from 4yr old boys and thought how they were completely “normal” and aww, so cute. ..
            I think that’s the type of “feminazi” that Phantoon was talking about, which gives feminism such a bad press. Feminism in it’s core isn’t a bad thing obviously, it’s good that women are standing up to fight for equal rights, but stereotype-driven things like *these* are going too far.

          • jorygriffis says:

            That’s a mighty impressive chip you’ve got on your shoulder, thekyshu, but I don’t really see how it’s relevant…

          • Phantoon says:

            Chip on shoulder? What? “I do not agree with them, therefore they are insane and ranting!” is not a valid point. It’s not even a point. It’s trolling.

            And yes. My point was feminism is about civil rights. Tumblr Activists have no interest in civil rights. They just like to complain. If they’re actually a victim of rape, which is a terrible crime, they should seek professional help, rather than opening up to “the internet”.

            We have a society that’s shifting towards everyone is a victim, and no one is rewarded for defending themselves, so that when something terrible does happen, no one knows how to cope, and are deterred from seeking help. With the seriousness of these crimes, you get echo chambers that repeat one opinion, rather than actually being helpful.

            And no, to be a feminist, you have to be concerned about gender inequality and realize we have some room for growth, rather than thinking all men are rapists. The bar isn’t very high, but some people still trip over it.

        • iridescence says:

          All the feminists I’ve met in real life have been cool down to earth and well spoken people. But ,yeah, some of the extreme ones I’ve run across on the internet don’t do their cause any favors. I think it’s the nature of the internet to amplify the craziness in any demographic.

          Even a lot of people who I agree with on the net I still feel the urge to smack in the head. Especially on political blogs.

          • Phantoon says:

            It’s mostly college students. That’s why you don’t run into many actual people with those insane views.

        • Jerakal says:

          The sad truth, honestly. I mean, if their goal was to make a website where they can successfully make good-natured men feel like shit, they succeeded. But hey, at least now I know what it’s like to be generalized!

    • harbinger says:

      The world according to Tumblr: http://i.imgur.com/Y8E7bLw.jpg ^^
      This also reminds me of a great article titled “Are men aware of their condition?” dedicated to a final solution to the male gender I stumbled upon recently, unfortunately it is password-protected now, presumably to keep out the patriarchy while working on a solution, but I’m sure RPS will approve of the sentiment: http://i4.minus.com/iuFa4jrWbFruL.png

      • thekyshu says:

        Wow, that article and the comments brought one big WTF expression on my face ..

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        Lambchops says:

        @ harbinger

        Yes but that’s a spoof surely. You can tell because there’s so little argument in the comments!

        • thekyshu says:

          She (the blog owner) deletes every comment that is negative or discussing in the slightest ^^ Talk about opinions, man ..

          • Jerakal says:

            Well at least she prefaced her own post with “This will be taken down soon.” So at least she gives about as much as she expects to receive.

      • iucounu says:

        You know that doesn’t represent either the mainstream of feminism – it’s fringey bullshit that reminds me of nothing so much as ridiculous evo-psych MRA nonsense – or anything you could ascribe to anyone who has ever posted on RPS?

        • thekyshu says:

          Of course that doesn’t represent the majority of women right’s activists and feminists, but that article was quite shocking in my opinion, and it’s one of the articles that some people like to use as rolemodels for “femi-nazis”

          • Bhazor says:

            And thats as valid as saying all Muslims are terrorists because a tiny portion of them happen to be bomb fans.

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            Gap Gen says:

            So my view is that society is about liberalism versus conservatism. That liberalism supports equal rights for everyone that can uphold the rights of others, and perhaps welfare for those that can’t (e.g. young children, animals). That conservatism upholds a traditional (whatever that means) view of morality that has its basis in history.

            So in no way is it about men vs women, in the same way that the US constitution’s 13th Amendment isn’t about Black vs Whites. It’s about destroying the notion that women and men are biologically meant to be passive and active respectively, and creating a new set of socialisations that values equality for all. It’s not about the power struggle between men and women; it’s about eraticating that hatefull bullshit in favour of a better world for everyone.

        • Phantoon says:

          Right. Those people should be ignored, but at some point, they became part of the dialogue.

        • harbinger says:

          I don’t know that, since the bigger movement doesn’t seem to ever distance itself from such people and instead even defends them by arguing that they don’t exist and using the proverb of the “straw feminist”.
          From what I can tell they are quite real though and aren’t joking either. I’ve stumbled upon various examples (just browse around on Tumblr…), and as was said above those Blogs also usually have the habit of moderating their produce, that’s why you don’t see any arguments against. Similar to how RPS sometimes handles it: “We do not have a freedom of speech policy here. If we find your post offensive, or just don’t like it, it may get deleted.”

          Another eye-opener was also this documentary by Evin Rubar about state feminism in Sweden and what kind of means are being used to spread the ideology: http://tinyurl.com/b2qxngd , although a two-parter and almost two hours long it was definitely worth watching and quite enlightening.

          As for RPS commenters, I wouldn’t know but some seem to occasionally come across as somewhat extreme.

          • Tagiri says:

            Saying that “the larger movement” hasn’t tried to distance themselves from radfems implies that you haven’t really looked into feminism that much.

          • Premium User Badge

            All is Well says:

            @Everybody:
            If anyone chooses to watch the documentary contained in that link, please note that the text providing the context for the video is full of misinformation and outright lies, in addition to being ridiculously biased, and should be disregarded.
            For instance, the documentary was never banned here in Sweden, chiefly because the agency mentioned (“TV and Radio Review Board”) never had the power to ban anything. The only consequence of their ruling in the case of the documentary was that the broadcaster (SVT, the Swedish public broadcasting company) would have to acknowledge that the program had been deemed impartial (in parts) by the board. The author also explicitly claims Swedish law gives “the state” the right to “just steal our children anytime they want”, which, aside from being completely false, verges on paranoia.
            As for the documentary, I have not watched it and thus I cannot comment on its veracity (or lack thereof).

            @Harbinger:
            Linking to the documentary on that site is either irresponsible or damaging to the point you are trying to make. It is irresponsible when the person following the link does not know enough about the context to recognise the falsehoods and thus might be misled into believing them, and it is damaging when a person who does recognise the falsehoods clicks the link because it casts a poor light on the documentary and is likely to make the viewer assume it is as false as the text. There is, furthermore, no reason to link to that specific site as the documentary is readily available on youtube.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    *grins* And this is why I have been reading RPS since its inception.

    (does anyone else also feel the urge to go BWAAARRRRM any time they see that word now?)

  19. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Friends of mine work on this :)

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      RedViv says:

      I once translated a game that was kind of like this but never made it. I think that’s vague enough to not break any NDA with the no longer existent studio…

  20. Masterpwny says:

    Very funny article, keep up the good work.

  21. Fneb says:

    While I’m not saying that this makes up for the sexist women-only slant of the game (as a feminist I want equal rights for women (and other genders, it’s not binary!) not better-than-equal rights) it’s worth remembering how bad the representation of women is in popular media. The Bechdel Test is a good way of showing this – there’s a huge amount of films where men are always the majority when it comes to primary characters and women are in the minority or are even just plot devices, ie there aren’t enough women main (named) characters that they talk to each other about something other than a man. Even when a film does pass the Bechdel test it’s quite common for it to only be one or two lines of dialogue.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      The Bechdel test… ugh!

      Tell me, as a feminist how do you feel about the Bechdel Test? Do you think it is a valid method, or a reductio ad absurdum?

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        It’s just a mild prod to make you think about things, not a scientific scale, right?

        I mean, you wouldn’t say “this film’s Bechdel Index is 3.78″

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          I suspect I won’t be getting an answer from Fneb since she probably moved on to other things. Which is a shame.

          You don’t need inane concepts that end up being touted as veritable truths, to the point of gaining an false aura of credibility by attributing them a seemingly authoritative name like The Bechdel Test, to have people think about things.

          For one reason it’s more likely they will start thinking of the wrong things, like, oh I don’t know, that two women talking about men is a display of male bias. That’s the type of feminist discourse, and it’s only good for feminists. One of the reasons feminists tend to be looked down, often by women themselves, as doing more damage than anything else to the cause of women rights.

          You do get people thinking by pointing out concrete evidence that indeed the film industry has a strong male bias. You don’t want people to just think about things. You want people that can think correctly about things. Because quite frankly things like the Bechdel Test and the discussions it has risen are a service to any male chauvinist out there, who can easily deconstruct the ridicule of the thought and seemingly invalidate what would have been otherwise a valid point.

    • Kamos says:

      All you have to do to see how absurd this test is is follow her link above and then head over to the commentary section on The Hobbit. Apparently, they are discussing whether the movie should have included female dwarves and whether they should be bearded.

  22. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    This reminds me of that time I drank and bought that Magic Crystal game on Steam and just drank more and played through it and scribbled down my rambling thoughts while collecting all the ‘cheevos.
    Good times.

  23. -Spooky- says:

    Mr Ed The Talking Horse Public Service Announcement

  24. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Thankfully I started crossdressing last year so I can play this game without worry.
    Walking down the street, not so much.

  25. Cryptoshrimp says:

    This sounds fantastic. DOWN WITH ALL MEN!

    Hey… wait a second…

  26. BobbleHat says:

    This looks not only Totes Emosh but also Dead Amaze.

  27. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    Ah, John Walker, with this fine straw man you are really spoiling us!

    The argument that patriarchal gender roles affect men negatively is significant and complicated. This game is not a very good example of this, which is presumably why John Walker picked it to write off a position within the discussion of gender without actually having to address it.

    Remember, discussing things is bad, but John Walker is right!

    Articles like this make people like me – who are appalled and horrified at the way women are represented in games – ignore your aggressive, facile stance on the subject in just the same way that misogynists will. But then, you’re not trying to change anyone’s mind or improve the situation, are you, John? You’re nailing your colours to the mast to show how right-on you are, like a sixth form student who wants to call /everybody/ who disagrees with them a Fascist.

    What a shame that one of the few popular sites that’s willing to tackle the issue of gender in games is held hostage by this angry individual who’s much more concerned with presenting himself in a certain light than he is with dealing with the problem constructively.

    • Potocobe says:

      I thought it was funny. It is hard to do sarcasm in text and I understand that not everyone automatically looks for the humor in someone’s words. However, as the game described in the article is inarguably a bad game as viewed by many RPS readers and John used his capslock key in all the right places, this article is clearly…a joke.

    • John Walker says:

      Actually, I was being silly after I discovered the game wouldn’t let me pick a male rider. But you know, pretend it was a dissertation on feminist theory – that’s probably the sensible option.

      • subalterngames says:

        Being a man is equivalent to being tough? REALLY?

        What is up with everyone here being so insecure about their gender?

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        jrodman says:

        You seem to need a therapist.

      • John Walker says:

        You are a peculiar person. I write a daft post spoofing the stupid overreaction of stupid bigots, which for some reason you appear to be volunteering to include yourself within, and then you demand I spend my time answering your every argument. Why do you think that’s something I want to do here?

        Let alone that I do explain why I’m not engaging with this about five posts below.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      I don’t know that I even disagree with you on any particular point (Generally speaking. I’m not with you re: John), but your demeanor is insufferable to the point of being almost impossible to take seriously. Get off your high horse. Now get off the high horse that other horse was riding on. And so forth.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I hope you are not specifically referring to this article. And if you are, you probably need to relax a bit more. There’s room for silliness and valid criticism and debate. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

  28. cptgone says:

    “You can only be a girl”
    what? i can’t be a horsey? i can’t be one of the stars of the stable?
    :whinnies:

  29. kael13 says:

    I fucking love this site.

    Just don’t get any black and white pintos mixed up with the cows, okay? That’s a dodgy burger just waiting to happen.

  30. Keyrock says:

    For decades now I’ve wanted to virtually ride a horse in a circle, but I’ve been denied this magical privilege because I have a penis.

    /cries

  31. Acksiom says:

    Your preference for gamma rabbit squealing over actually addressing our actual arguments as actually made means I and a few others have been hitting some really sensitive nerves around here.

    You have virtually no address to the issue of, let alone articles intentionally about the negative impacts on men and boys of their characterization in games, but you’ve published plenty of sub-tabloid faff ragebait regarding the same for women and girls. Why?

    How do you reconcile this http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/14/study-finds-violent-games-reduce-violence-hmmmm/ with the clearly and repeatedly displayed group belief that the common characterizations of women in video games as attractive by normal, natural, healthy male standards has meaningful negative effects on female?

    Why the obvious double standard, not just between males and females, but between claims of female victimization caused by video games, and hard rational skepticism of any other claims of harm cause by them?

    Yes, I do understand that you’re only joking around. But that’s actually the problem itself. It’s only ever a joke to you. It’s never taken seriously.

    Suicide is the 7th largest killer of men and boys in the usa. The male suicide rate is 4 times the female rate overall, and 5 times the male rate in the 15-19 age group and 6 times 20-24 age group. Is it really that much of an impossible stretch to even just consider the idea that only ever responding to arguments in their defense with sarcastic mockery might be part of that problem?

    It’s not that males can’t handle being mocked. It’s that nobody can handle being only mocked while watching another moeity being protected and cherished. And that’s all you folks ever do when it comes to men’s issues.

    How high does the suicide rate have to be before you’ll change your behavior? Will it be enough when it’s the 6th largest killer of men? When it’s in the top 5?

    Do you people even acknowledge the existence of any issues of discrimination against men and in favor of women? Because if you don’t, or can’t, doesn’t that mean you’re not really qualified to comment believably on issues of discrimination against women and in favor of men? How could you be, if you don’t recognize any valid men’s issues at all?

    • Chris D says:

      Did you just use “Gamma rabbit” unironically? That’s adorable.

      • iucounu says:

        I know, right?

        • Senethro says:

          He’s summoned the MRA hordes on some awful reddit http://www.reddit.com/r/TheRedPill/

          Ah, he’s referred to themselves as Men’s Liberators. The way they present themselves in public and private is quite interesting, no?

          • Acksiom says:

            No, I just dislike the terms masculism or masculinism for the same reasons I dislike the term feminism: they’re both etymologically bad. I’m all for women’s liberation; always have been.

            Distinguishing between feminism and women’s liberation is a great filter for sorting the wheat from the chaff. Is it actually about liberating women, assigning them the autonomy and responsibility they deserve as human beings, such as freeing them from unjust laws? Then’s it’s women’s liberation and good by default.

            Is it not about actually liberating women, but about juvenilizing and weakening them through special privileges, and denying them autonomy and responsibility? Then it’s feminism, and bad by default.

            It’s really funny to see people accusing me of all this stuff while I sitting around thinking about ways to encourage more women to get trained, licensed, and regularly carrying firearms. That’s women’s liberation, and I’m all for it. It’s probably the single most effective thing we could do at the present to further prevent rape.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Feminism, firearms, and rape.

            Could you also get eugenics, hatred of nanny states, something about homosexuality, abortion, and religion in this too? That would be great.

          • Senethro says:

            I see your link was deleted. I wonder who engaged in that damage control, or did they just not like having their rock lifted?

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            You seem to be amazingly obtuse. The point was that by clouding the issue with unrelated political nonsense, you’re only ensure that people either see you as a kook or that your message is lost in a cloud of vitriolic flaming.

            But I guess you don’t know any other MO of lumping things into pro and con, so you continue on, good soldier.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            What a sad, little creature. Ignore him, let him tire himself and he’ll go away.

    • Senethro says:

      The first paragraphs struck me as obvious yet well crafted satire, but then I became not sure :/

      • Tagiri says:

        He did this over on the “Actual Sunlight” post, too. I don’t know whether he’s just really passionate about suicide or trolling, but he never really addressed anyone’s points over there either.

        • Acksiom says:

          Yes, because I was waiting for people to address mine first, and then it was carbs and XCOM time, and then local life took precedence, and then John flinched like this I’ll go back and take another look at that thread when I have time.

          But if you’re going to point out I haven’t addressed other people’s points, you should also be pointing out that other people have either refused to address mine first, or have been grossly twisting what I said, which pretty much takes any onus to respond off me. Or at least until they do address my points, and admit they misrepresented things. I perceive no responsibility to be accountable to people who won’t play fair or reciprocate.

          Just like I choose not to play games with people who use exploits and lie about me. Very similar.

    • sinister agent says:

      I’ll field this one, if I may….

      *clears throat*

      But WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ : – (

      • Phantoon says:

        Having next to no child custody rights in the case of a divorce is a small price to pay for not having to deal with makeup, or match shoes with an outfit. Much less anything actually serious.

        But then I don’t like children.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Depression/suicide in young men is a problem.

      However suggesting that because there are articles about other stuff means that sort of thing is being ignored is pretty daft. You seem to haev a bee in your bonnet about John and although I’d rather he wrote more amusing bashings of games like Colonial marines or enthusiastic reviews of adventure games than start another round of discussion in the comments (as much as it may be needed I do prefer chatting about other things) I don’t think you can call him out on ignoring issues like depression and suicide when he just a few days ago posted this:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/11/thoughts-on-actual-sunlight/

      Person in holding opinions on more than one social issue shocker!

      • Acksiom says:

        >However suggesting that because there are articles about other stuff means that sort of thing is being ignored is pretty daft.

        Yes, it is. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t do it. If you think I did, would you please point it out to me?

        AFAICT, all I said was there are lots of articles about women’s issues, BUT men’s issues are being completely ignored. I don’t understand how you got from that to the false proposition that there are lots of articles about women’s issues BECAUSE men’s issues are being ignored.

        Why do otherwise apparently rational and sensible and maturely communicating people like yourself keep inserting this false zero-sum premise into the conversation? Because you’re not getting it from anything I’ve posted. Really, you aren’t. You’re putting it in there all by yourself.

        >I don’t think you can call him out on ignoring issues like depression and suicide when he just a few days ago posted this:

        But I’m not. I’m calling them all out for ignoring both the gender and skepticism disparities in their own behavior. He didn’t post anything in that article about how men and boys are many more times at risk for suicide than women and girls. He didn’t post anything about how much harder it is to get outreach to depressed men and boys done. And so on.

        None of that even remotely suggests that they have to stop addressing women’s issues. Anywhere. I’m still patiently waiting for even just an acknowledgment of their blatantly self-contradicting hypocrisy, let alone an explanation of it, let alone an apology for it, let alone a policy change about it, let alone some actual behavioral follow-through on it.

        That pretty much conclusively demonstrates that those of us criticizing these double standards are right about deep prejudiced bias. We’re still just only asking for the simple, minimally adult minimum admission that ‘yeah, okay, you’re right, we do that,’ and look at the response.

        We’re not trying to put women down. We’re just trying to help men and boys at risk. When JW writes things like the above in response to just that — to only that small and simple a request. . .it’s more than enough to prove that we’re fundamentally right about the gender bias involved on his part.

        It’s not the mockery. It’s the absence of anything but mockery, while consistently protecting and cherishing the female population.

        It’s not the lack of address of the issues. It’s the complete and utter absence of any address of the issues as being men’s issues per se, while consistently addressing other issues as beings women’s issues, and yet skeptically criticizing claims that video games have any negative effects otherwise.

        • Phantoon says:

          Well, to be fair, suck it up you big sissy.

          • Acksiom says:

            Thank you for continuing to behaviorally prove me right. I really appreciate it.

        • Lyndon says:

          Acksiom breathe buddy. You’re getting worked up over nothing.

          Just relax. Feminists agree that patriarchy hurts men too. So there is literally no problem here.

          Just breathe and relax.

        • John Walker says:

          But this is the issue, isn’t it. It’s not about your sad fury that RPS fails to address issues that affect men – it’s that you hate it when we address issues that affect women.

          Your dismissal of the suicide article, because it didn’t needlessly state statistics that you parade out in every discussion, reveals all that need be revealed. Yes, the male suicide rate is terrible, and shocking, and yes, I am very keen to do anything I can to help prevent such things. So, when I write about a game about suicide, on a site vastly predominantly read by men, I give details for suicide helplines and strongly encourage people to use them. But because I didn’t write “MEN MEN MEN!” it doesn’t count? Of course it does – of course my passionately appealing to those suffering from debilitating depression to seek help counts. But that’s not the fight you want. The fight you want is to condemn any coverage of the abysmal ways women are portrayed in gaming, and to dismiss it with such wretched nonsense such as pretending it’s “presenting women as attractive”, as if that’s anything to do with anything.

          Honestly, I prefer the ghastly morons who stamp into any article asking for developers/publishers to be less awful and shout, “FUCK YOU, WOMENS DONT EVEN PLAY GAMES”, than your far more insidious and deceitful approach. Pretending that you want to prevent male suicide by sabotaging any discussion of the representation of women is grotesque.

          And yes, I will happily mock the idiocy of those who scream “MISANDRY!” in some privileged attempt to disguise their own misogyny, as this article is clearly about. That you don’t want to see them mocked – people who would do your purported campaign more harm than anyone else – reveals much.

          • Senethro says:

            jesus christ dude the evidence is your posts and what you write in them

            can you not read your own words with a hint of self-awareness?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            You do a lot of “WOMEN, WOMEN WOMEN!” though.

            I do question how much have you ever thought of how men are depicted in computer games and the type of signal this is giving to young males.

            When you start looking at the issue of women depiction in video games also by observing how male depiction of video games is one of the greatest contributors (if not the biggest) to mysogyny, I’ll respect your opinion on the matter more. Until then, I’ll have trouble.

            “MEN, MEN. MEN!” is a cry to stop mysogyny too. And an effective one at that, let me tell you. And you can do it with “WOMEN, WOMEN, WOMEN!” without having a need to separate the two. Feeling all flustered when someone accuses of being near-sighted won’t impress.

            Not only that, but “MEN, MEN MEN!” goes well into addressing other issues in our society of super males that is quite possibly the number one reason for the high male suicide rates in most of the western world.

          • Askeladd says:

            In my opinion Acksiom is taking this a little too serious. This is still just a gaming news site and it’s not as if John is able to address all issues society has in every single post.

            If you want to discuss this on RPS I’d suggest to do that in the forum or on an actual article from John that focuses on the way men are represented in games. I’d also suggest to make your point clear as it seems as if your first post was a bit misleading on your actual position in this subject.

          • John Walker says:

            It’s far too tedious to quote your own post at the top of this particular chain, in which you of course do state the things I mentioned, which would be your much demanded “evidence”.

            I love this tactic of, “Because you won’t let me derail every discussion on women to be about men, you therefore are too scared to engage with my arguments!” Sadly, it doesn’t work. I am fascinated by the arguments you make, and I’m very much interested in looking deeper into them, trying to understand how the most privileged can so passionately believe they need to engage the vocabularies of the the most oppressed. It’s a subject I plan to look into much more, both from the perspective of how such a mindset can have gathered such a following, and from the perspective of asking if there’s any truth that male representation in games could be damaging to men. (I note you and your cohorts never, ever include any evidence at all, but I’m interested to see if there’s any out there.)

            But I am absolutely not interested in allowing you and your /v/ chums to derail absolutely every discussion of the representation of women in games. As you state yourself, you “don’t care” about and are “not interested” in the representation of women. The painful irony that you so drearily accuse me of hypocrisy when I don’t allow you to derail is spectacular, so congratulations at least on that.

            The other thing that seems worth noting, of course, is that I’ve never had a sensible email from anyone from this cause, asking for an investigation into the subject, or suggesting evidence and arguments that would be worth reading. Never. I get mad, frothing insanity from lunatics, threatening me and screaming, but no one actually asking for the discussion. Instead just people popping up attempting to stop any discussion of women’s interests. Funny that, eh?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            “In my opinion Acksiom is taking this a little too serious. This is still just a gaming news site and it’s not as if John is able to address all issues society has in every single post.”

            This issue has been seriously discussed on RPS since it started. There’s no monkeying around it. John has that in his favor. He treats this issue seriously as it should.

            Meanwhile, John isn’t being asked to address all issues of society. What is unfortunate is that John attitude hasn’t contributed one iota to the cause he professes. All he has done has been polarizing the debate and intensifying opposed opinions. What has John achieved with constant attacks on the male gender in favor of the female? His attitude on this matter is no different from that he is trying to fight against. He professes the thought that the strong male is subjugating the weak female.

            What he is being told — and apparently unsuccessfully — is that this is a false idea. To effectively stop polarizing the debate and to start approaching opinions and make people actually start thinking on this matter through a new light, he needs to address the male persona. And he needs to understand that sexism goes far deeper than the shallow and false idea of a men’s world, popularized by the feminists. He needs to come to terms that the male gender is itself being the subject of a constant attack. That to be a male today is to be strong, unemotional, aggressive, powerful and that this has been a contribution to sexism as it has been to male suicide rates in the western world.

            Well written and full of the type of satire I enjoy, this article is however yet again a whole bucket of nothing on the debate of sexism. We know he wants to address it, and I personally would like to see it being addressed. But it needs to be something more than the typical sexism debate that for the past centuries has done little to actually solve the problem.

            It’s bloody time people start thinking outside the box and actually look at the real causes of a problem that, from the simple fact it is still being discussed on the 21st century, is clearly something much more complex and with deeper roots that lie well outside the generalist debate it has been suffering for centuries. Men and women are both being victims of an instinctive social movement that promotes difference. This “movement” reflects on women as sexism and on men as psychological abuse.

            I’d also suggest to make your point clear as it seems as if your first post was a bit misleading on your actual position in this subject.”

            In an article that spills satire from beginning to end you have to learn to contemplate satire in people comments. It’s just natural that an article of this nature calls for a follow through from commentators. You should at least check for a comment against the possibility of satire and if you have any doubts ask.

            In any case, that’s ok. I don’t mind what people think about my stance on a certain matter. They will soon know for sure if I’m inclined or allowed to talk about it.

          • John Walker says:

            Okay, we have to get this straight:

            This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that this is simply coded misogyny. Your position is that in writing about the terrible representation of women in games, I’m harming gender equality because it isn’t also about men. It’s *ludicrous*, and it’s undeniably nothing but an attempt to silence any discussion of matters of women.

            “He professes the thought that the strong male is subjugating the weak female.”

            What an extraordinary thing to say. I’ve never written that, let alone thought it, and this parody of the discussion is a further part of the ulterior motive, to pretend that discussion of one issue is a denial of another. That’s a lie, an incredibly transparent and stupid one, designed to prevent the condemnation of misogyny. Whether it’s intentional or unconscious, it’s why this argument makes me so furious, and why you do not get the satisfaction of the responses you want.

            To talk about the abysmal way women are depicted in games, and in marketing campaigns surrounding games, and the way women are treated when they play games, is in no way a denial of any issues that may affect men.

            You and the MRA gang phrase this as “polarisation”, as tipping a balance such that inequality appears on the other side. And it’s a LIE. And it’s a lie I damn well fight at every opportunity. It’s an insidious, dangerous and vile lie, one of massive convenience to the most privileged, in attempting to shut down any discussion that might reduce their privilege to something closer to equality. In campaigning against the depiction and treatment of women, in no sense is a discussion “polarised”. In no sense do men therefore get a harder time as a result of it. In no sense does it deny the issues men face.

            Attempting to patronise the discussion by saying it’s about claiming a “men’s world”, and whatever else, is part of this lie. The entire point of the debate RPS raises is always entirely focused on its being a PEOPLE’S WORLD, and therefore, as a result of the world that already is, game developers and publishers should start to reflect this, and stop overtly demeaning the women in it.

            I will not tolerate this lie. I will stamp it out, because it’s disgusting. Whether you know you’re a proponent of it or not, I will not allow this nu-misogyny to silence RPS on matters of the representation and treatment of women.

            And as I’ve already said, I will gladly write articles on the representation and treatment of men. But to write one is not to deny the other, and to suggest it is is nothing but an attempt to censor.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lambchops says:

            @ Mario

            “That to be a male today is to be strong, unemotional, aggressive, powerful

            This might be a cultural divide here but I’m really not seeing it. What about the whole “Meterosexual” thing (see Beckham etc.) that was big a few years ago and still seems to be trundling along. Granted it tends to come with an idea that these men are supposed to be successful financially and so on, which comes with its own pressures (but ones that are to do with being in a capitalist society and which have fuck all to do with gender) but it certainly doesn’t chime with being unemotional and aggressive.

            @ Acksiom

            Re: Evidence and your continuing references to double standards

            I was prepared to apologise for misinterpreting your views but I’m sure you can see how the following two statements from you contradict each other and undermine a lot of what you are trying to say:

            “AFAICT, all I said was there are lots of articles about women’s issues, BUT men’s issues are being completely ignored.”

            “See, that’s the problem right there with your belief that I want to shut down discussion of women’s issues: I don’t care enough. I’m just not that interested in women’s issues. I’m too busy with men’s issues.”

            If you reserve the right to not care about women’s issues then surely John can reserve the right not to care about men’s issues. Funnily enough I don’t believe that either of you don’t care in the slightest about the “opposite” issue and as such there shouldn’t really be any real reason for the two of you to be at loggerheads over this. If you were to write an article about, oh I dunno, prostate cancer screening, I’m sure John would nod his head in agreement and move on with his life so why can’t you do the same when John writes an article about sexism in the games industry?

            In fact I’d like to think that both of you actually just see people, as y’know people (EDIT: and John’s post which came up while I was writing this does in fact state that point) and actually aren’t bogged down in this daft gender war nonsense that doesn’t really help anybody.

          • harbinger says:

            Ah, you know you rustled his jimmies Acksiom, when all he does on Twitter for the past several hours is talk about you.

            Or how someone else put it:
            “At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it…
            Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals.”

          • John Walker says:

            Um, harbinger – in the space of one minute I posted three tweets about my sadness at the MRA behaviour. Also, how does your out-of-context quote work when applied to an unorthodox argument that’s simply wrong?

            Lambchops – the answer to your final question is, of course, because this is and only ever is about stifling the discussion of matters affecting women.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            John,

            I’m throwing in my thoughts the best way I can, illustrating what your articles in this area have felt like to this someone reading them and how I believe you address the whole issue from the wrong point of view.

            Contrary to what you think I have no MRA agenda and I didn’t even know what the acronym stood for until I looked. I look at your reply as offensive and humiliating and yet another demonstration that you are indeed completely incapable of taking a broader and nonpartisan look at the issue and without yet again polarizing it. Because I speak of men as victims I’m immediately referred to as a men’s activist. You are indeed just another drop in the mess this whole debate has been for centuries. Just another shouting person incapable of distancing himself from such a complex issue before tackling it. Like many before you, you will add nothing to the problem and instead will only contribute to the divide.

            It’s really impossible to have this discussion with you. I prefer to talk with other type of people that I feel can contribute more. This is the last you will hear from me on this matter. That’s how much I will spread the MRA agenda you gave me.

            EDIT:
            BTW, I haven’t looked at your tweets yet and probably won’t. But since you say you made references to MRA, if you included any link pointing directly to any of my comments I’d appreciate if you removed it. I’m not affiliated with that group, I don’t profess their ideologies and I’m strongly against the thought of any kind of faction on any issue discussing divides. So I will take issue. Thank you.

          • John Walker says:

            Yet again I can only ask, how does writing about issues affecting women, and about the depiction and treatment of women, create inequality or polarisation. I maintain that the only reason to pretend that it does is to ensure that the subjects can’t be usefully discussed.

            Also, if you don’t like your position being associated with those you have nothing to do with, perhaps you might consider the inevitability of this when you respond to my replying to *someone else*.

            Including dishonest phrases like “John’s constant attacks against men” is exactly why you absolutely do merit the response I gave. I have made this one post, mocking the worst of the stupid misogynists who like to pretend that gaming is being turned against them. Why you’re choosing to associate yourself with the targets of my spoof continues to bemuse me.

            And no, of course I didn’t link to you.

          • Senethro says:

            Mario, do you also think racism should be solved by equal emphasis on black on white prejudice and white on black prejudice?
            Do gay people have an equivalent obligation to stop being such incredible heterophobes?

          • Kamos says:

            I don’t think Mario is going to answer, but if I had to choose one thing from what he wrote to represent what he means, it would be this: “sexism goes far deeper than the shallow and false idea of a men’s world, popularized by the feminists. He needs to come to terms that the male gender is itself being the subject of a constant attack.”

            Edit: This is far, far beyond what I’m qualified to discuss, but I think the issue he raises is that of the psychological abuse of men, the pushing of better-than-equal rights for women, etc.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            “Mario, do you also think racism should be solved by equal emphasis on black on white prejudice and white on black prejudice?”

            Actually yes. You got it exactly right. I’m a white male Caucasian currently living in Angola on of of the slums (called Sapu) surrounding Luanda. I’m a daily victim of racism and have to live with it. Don’t have a protecting organization or a government program that tries to combat it. Contrary to what my own country offers to black people living there.

            Meanwhile, racism exists even between black and mixed-bloods. Something I’ve learned in here, in fact. Racism is a another deeply rooted problem that can only be solved by addressing it as *Racism*, not as black rights, or white rights. It may seem odd in your reality for you to listen to me saying that. But experiment. Just try and come live as my next door neighbor for one year. Try to get a job on equal standing to a black Angolan on any of the state owned companies. Try to walk the streets without being constantly called “white”. “Hey white! Take your car off the sidewalk!”, “I don’t like white’s food”. Try that and you will have a much broader idea of how pernicious and broad the concept of racism is. It will change your life that realization.

            As for your second question, yes they do. If I’m gay and have a prejudice against heterosexuals, I’m as much of a discrimination factor to society. All it will take is for I to somehow gain the upper ground to bring in my prejudice to rule over the old opposing prejudice. I’m as disgusting as the heterosexuals that discriminate me. And in the fight against discrimination I should deserve the exact same treatment as anyone else discriminating against gay people. And yet, no one can deny that gay discrimination is much more visible and victimizes more people in our western societies.

            EDIT:
            No Kamos. That’s a different idea that I don’t support at all. The idea is that in the matter of gender equality the divide exists both as a belittling of women’s image as it does in the empowerment of men. The latter also creates its victims as is probably illustrated by male suicide rates.

            It’s thus my firm belief that in order to tackle sexual discrimination we need to also tackle male empowerment. Both as a source of the discrimination but also as a real problem to men themselves who don’t fit in the accepted strength ideals of today’s society.

            As a, possibly poor, example, a woman who gets fired because of stress issues that lead to her underperform at her job is more likely to find compassion among her family members and close friends, than a male under the exact same conditions. Male empowerment ends up leading non ideal males down the drain of society, while contributing to women’s discrimination. There are victims on both sides. And addressing that goes a long way to have people on the opposing side, arguing against women’s rights or not caring about it, to start thinking more about it. And it has the potential to bring in more people to fight against gender discrimination.

          • John Walker says:

            Just as soon as you move to the Land Of The Women, this argument will make some sense.

            Do you believe that racism should be dealt with by equal emphasis on black on white prejudice and white on black prejudice in the UK? Or Sweden? Or Germany? Or Australia?

          • Senethro says:

            Dry your eyes, you poor oppressed minority. There’s a difference between understandable resentment of someone resembling a recent imperialist ruling class and the institutionalised persecution of ethnic groups in developed nations.

          • Senethro says:

            Fun game, let me try.

            >… gamma rabbit squealing…
            Dismissal of men promoting feminism in this manner is misogyny. You are saying they are worse quality men for associating themselves with something feminine. This requires hatred of the feminine.

            >…hitting some really sensitive nerves around here.
            First example of plausibly deniable word choice implying the opponent has “bad” feminine qualities and standard barefaced trolling gambit i.e. you care, you lose.

            >…sub-tabloid faff ragebait regarding the same for women and girls.
            Outright dismissal of issues as being beneath notice. And if this is all John is capable of producing, I don’t know why you’d want him to promote mens issues.

            >… by normal, natural, healthy male standards has meaningful negative effects on female.
            Appeal to supposed biological norms and implication that if something is “natural” for men, its probably A-OK! No complaint by women allowed. Setting the bar at “meaningful negative” is also a masterstroke as you can raise it as high as you need to be meaningful.

            You’re blind to your hate and addiction to angry adjectives.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Fair enough, please tell us how the representation of men in video games contributes to the social attitudes/discourses that lead to men committing suicide.

      • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

        It might be claimed that the near-exclusive use of men in “hero roles” – where the lone wolf takes on the world – promote an idea of male toughness and invulnerability that is severely at odds with asking for help in situations of mental distress. In the same way that Duke Nukem defines women as incapable of toughness, he also defines men as requiring it. Further, that almost all victims of violence in video games are also men – the grunts you mow down – might have something to do with why men being murdered twice as often as women in the UK isn’t seen as significant. in games, films, TV, we’re used to see men dying, so perhaps that’s why we’re not that fussed about it in the real world?

        After all, the numbers are striking. Men kill themselves four to five times as often as women, are murdered twice as often as women (in the UK), twenty times as many men in jail as women (in the UK). You could subscribe to patriarchal gender roles and say “Oh, this is just men being men”, but women earning less than men isn’t “just women being women” – maybe we could look at some structural reasons for these numbers?

        I’d say that it is very much in everybody’s interests to talk about this. Perhaps if we were able to say “women are allowed to be the violent hero in games because men don’t have to be it might work better – that is, if in addition to trying to expand female roles in games we also tried to de-limit the way in which men are typically portrayed in them. In a wider sense, maybe men who are resistant to women attaining the same professional level as them might have an easier time letting go of that – which is what we all want, right? – if somebody said “Women can be breadwinners, but you don’t have to.” Perhaps if men’s health issues received more attention – if prostate cancer didn’t get a fraction of the funding of breast cancer – that might help us to accept that A) men are vulnerable and so B) there’s no problem with women playing heroic roles, as they are no more vulnerable than men?

        Now clearly this is all up for discussion – it’d be good to talk about this. Unfortunately John Walker, Sinister Agent and the other smug, smirking, superior commentators won’t let us. Talking about this has no place in discussions of gender.

        But no, your platitudes disprove the points you won’t engage with.

        • sinister agent says:

          Or, more likely, we’re tired of engaging these tedious points over and over again with people who take any discussion of the vast piles of bullshit women are subjected to as some kind of assault on men or denial that anything bad ever happens to men ever.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            I’m not sure how you could prove my point any more clearly.

            It’s encouraging in a way, though – when people start making fun of something it means they aren’t able to ignore it any more. That John Walker feels the need to be so aggressive, or that Sinister Agent has their set of platitudes and tropes to dismiss another position means they’re aware of it.

            I think more reasonable people of any gender are going to start talking about this more and more, and it’ll be good for everybody. I’m optimistic that getting men to reject harmful patriarchal gender roles that apply to them should make it easier for them to stop applying harmful patriarchal gender roles to women. Here’s hoping.

          • sinister agent says:

            It’s encouraging in a way, though – when people start making fun of something it means they aren’t able to ignore it any more.

            Implying that I was making fun of the issue and not the typical attempt to drown out discussion of women by insisting that men’s problems are more important.

            Implying that I was ignoring anything men are faced with, simply because it would be more convenient for you that way.

            Lots of insinuations and tubthumping, and all in aid of making sure that nobody talks about things that are harmful to women without addressing the more important point of what about the men.

            That John Walker feels the need to be so aggressive, or that Sinister Agent has their set of platitudes and tropes to dismiss another position means they’re aware of it.

            God, you condescending, self-congratulary… seriously, you need to stop talking in assumptions, because right now you’re just making a complete cock of yourself.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            The comically, overtly smug and self-righteous way you have responded to anyone whose opinion differs from yours (and has taken the time to explain their position) without actually dealing with the points they’ve made marks you out as so dogmatic, so obsessed with the rightness of your own beliefs and catechisms that you’re just furious – furious! – at anyone who may offer another viewpoint.

            For you to accuse others of “talking in assumptions” when you have repeatedly dismissed people’s posts without even addressing any of the things they’ve raised is flatly hilarious.

            Again, I have faith that third tier polemicists like yourself won’t play too much of a part in the discussions that’ll make a difference on these issues. I’ll re-iterate my optimism that getting men to reject harmful patriarchal gender roles that apply to them should make it easier for them to stop applying harmful patriarchal gender roles to women.

          • sinister agent says:

            The comically, overtly smug and self-righteous way you have responded to anyone whose opinion differs from yours (and has taken the time to explain their position) marks you out as so dogmatic, so obsessed with the rightness of your own beliefs and catechisms that you’re just furious – furious! – at anyone who may offer another viewpoint.

            Tell me more about how I feel and what my views are on something, Senpai .

            For you to accuse others of “talking in assumptions” when you have repeatedly dismissed people’s posts without even addressing any of the points they raise is flatly hilarious.

            I’ve dismissed that which always comes up when someone tries to turn discussion of women’s issues into “but meeeeen”, as opposed to understanding the implicit agreement that gender roles are bullshit for everyone, and consequently not feeling the need to insist that everyone make a point of talking about men at every opportunity.

            You are concerned about an issue facing men? But but but you aren’t even acknowledging the existence of Chinese sweat shops, and I demand you spell out something about them instead, because they’re more important to me.

            Again, I have faith that third tier polemicists like yourself won’t play too much of a part in the discussions that’ll make a difference on these issues. I’ll re-iterate my optimism that getting men to reject harmful patriarchal gender roles that apply to them should make it easier for them to stop applying harmful patriarchal gender roles to women.

            And once again, priorities. Should we reject gender roles because they harm women? No no, let’s sort the men out first, then it’ll be easier for them to think about the women. It’s important that we don’t discuss anything about women until the men are taken care of.

            Which is all what “but what about the menz” is shorthand for – because that tired, egocentric outlook is so ubiquitous that almost anyone with an interest in gender is fucking sick of explaining why it’s completely missing the point.

          • Senethro says:

            Every time I look at a mens rights activism site I see half of the terminology is borrowed from the speed seduction community and then I experience creep shivers.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            >Implying I said we should prioritise men and not treat both sides of the issue as part of the same thing.
            >Implying I said ‘men have it worse’.
            >Implying that the comments section for an article in which John Walker raised the issue of men in gender issues is an unsuitable place to discuss men in gender issues.

            That’s all I need, there. You aren’t reading my posts. You are responding to whatever you want to respond to. You are ignoring what I have said and arguing against your own straw man. When you don’t do me the courtesy of reading my arguments, I’m not inclined to carry on doing so for you.

            Finally, I’d like to note that I have lots of enlightening, civilised discussions with feminists about this. By no means do they all agree, but we can talk like human beings. That the angry internet turns it into a fight doesn’t mean it has to be. Sinister Agent’s refusal to engage with other people’s opinion does not have to be a trait of talking about gender.

            Good night.

          • Senethro says:

            Keep saying good night at the end of your posts, one of these times it’ll stick.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            Only bothered reading the last line, then?

            Seems about right.

          • Phantoon says:

            You’re using memes from /v/. Seriously, that’s not okay outside of 4chan. In fact, it’s not even okay outside of /v/, which is where all the shitposters are. Which you’ve identified yourself as, so good job. It automatically means no one has to listen to you as you have nothing valuable to say.

            And quit whining, you sound like a woman.*

            *SATIRE!

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            I think more reasonable people of any gender are going to start talking about this more and more, and it’ll be good for everybody.”

            Mango and Acksiom, this is indeed an issue I would like to see more discussed and to participate. particularly because I disagree with some of your conclusions. Unfortunately every time it is brought up it becomes a complete mess of derisive and inflammatory replies and it just becomes impossible to make anything of it.

            You won’t see on RPS a large enough number of mature commentators that will contribute to a good discussion, and on this particular matter, I suspect you will not see in John Walker an interested party. He’s more concerned with the apparent end of civilization by men’s fault (a necessary hyperbole) and refuses to even acknowledge that there is something deeply troubling about male characterization in games too. Both as a gender, but let me tell you, as an age group (although he did champion this last for some time until he decided to drop it to save women from men).

            I suggest, for these reasons, you two just drop this issue on RPS. It won’t ever experience the respected it deserves or the coverage it would require. Currently the topic in RPS (i don’t know if I should laugh or cry every time time I think of the context sexism is being discussed on RPS) is Women Need RPS Help.

          • Acksiom says:

            >I suggest, for these reasons, you two just drop this issue on RPS.

            Thank you for the advice, but your estimate of my goals is off. My experience has repeatedly taught me that just raising these points without being censored suffices for progress. As I keep pointing out, the solution begins with acknowledging the problem.

            Also, it’s not as if I don’t have other irons in the fire of which you’re unaware. Please remind yourself how badly JW just flinched. I’m not going to assume primary responsibility for that, but for contributing to it? Yep. And that’s progress.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Good reply and I like your thoughts, the only criticism I would bring is to your idea that the problems that men have through discourses of masculinity somehow devalue the importance of challenging the problems caused to women by adverse media portrayals and social attitudes. Commenting on social misogyny doesn’t tackle problems that men have you’re right, but neither does it deny them. Keep raising the issues that portrayals of men in the media cause because you’re obviously insightful about them and it is important, but saying that it is wrong to address the portrayal of women because of these makes you come across badly, which is a shame because you clearly have some valuable things to say.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            “But saying that it is wrong to address the portrayal of women because of these makes you come across badly, which is a shame because you clearly have some valuable things to say.”

            Whoa whoa whoa, please, tell me where I said that? That’s not what I’m talking about at all. If you could, please quote the section where you think I suggested that and I’m sorry if I gave you that impression.

            I think that the way misogynists think about women (that is, according to patriarchal gender roles) is, intellectually for them, a dead-split, 50-50 down the middle, with how they think about men (that is, according to patriarchal gender roles). Y’know – women like salad because men like steaks, women like cuddling because men like fucking, women like chatting because men like sports. Patriarchalism defines these things as binary.

            It seems to me then that even if you only wanted to improve the lot of women alone as regards this point, then that would be a very difficult task without addressing how misogynists think about men. That doesn’t preclude talking about women – that makes talking about women and men part of the same thing, and I think that gives a much, much more effective route to stopping people putting people in boxes based on their gender.

            We should talk loudly and vociferously about gender issues that affect women, and I do (let’s remember that John Walker raised the issue of ‘men in gender’ here, that’s why we’re talking about it), but if you only talk about the issues that affect women – vast, terrifying and valid as they are – you’re only addressing half of the problem that exists in the brain of a patriarchalist.

            The claim that ‘patriarchal gender roles’ aren’t good is hardly shocking, is it? Isn’t that pretty much feminism’s starting point? Why would they suddenly be ‘good’ for men?

            Now I am not claiming equivalence – I don’t think that men have it just as bad and I didn’t ever claim that (it’s the best straw man John could come up with for his rant, but I didn’t say it). I’m trying to say patriarchal gender roles are sucky, un-natural conditions to put on people, so let’s stop putting them on people. ALL people. And that doesn’t deny the mountain of shitty things that women face because of their gender, it’s just saying that adhering to patriarchal gender roles isn’t fun for men either. Because why would it be?

            I don’t want to claim I know how the world works, I just think that might be a helpful way to frame the issue. But, obviously, that requires discussion. Not mocking or flippant dismissals.

            By the way, thanks for being the first person to respond to this to have read it! I like people disagreeing with me – it forces me to re-evaluate my position. I just don’t like it when people scream their opinion without listening to yours, ‘cos they think theirs is the word of God.

          • Acksiom says:

            >saying that it is wrong to address the portrayal of women because of these

            But where did I say that? Because I’m quite sure I didn’t. Really, please point it out to me, I’m not taking the piss here. I honestly don’t see it.

            I didn’t put in that kind of zero-sum equation. I didn’t do that because I’m fine with rational articles, ones that show a plausible causation between female characterizations that are attractive by normal, natural, healthy male standards but result in tangible, demonstrable harm to real women and girls.

            What I’m not fine with is:

            (A) the complete and utter absence of anything comparably positive about men and boys, and

            (B) the complete and utter hypocrisy of consistently dismantling though rational skeptical criticism of any claims that video games have any negative effects otherwise.

            That’s probably why other people keep blatantly misrepresenting what I actually said. On at least some level, they know that they can’t invalidate my points without twisting things. Me, I had to learn how to keep things like that straight early on because I was raised by an abusive alcoholic who could make a corkscrew weep in envy.

            But I’m all for women’s liberation, so it’s very strange how people automatically assume the opposite without checking or asking or anything. They just jump right to that conclusion regardless of whatever I say.

            Personally, I’m opposed to both masculism and feminism because the bias is baked into them etymologically. It makes about as much sense as labeling yourself as a caucasianist because you’re actively in favor of equality between the races, or a christianist because you’re actively in favor of equality between the faiths. See how that works? As in, not?

            Men’s liberation and women’s liberation, though? Not just no problem, I’m all for it.

          • sinister agent says:

            Whoa, hang on, we don’t actually disagree then. I just think that making a song and dance about the problems it causes men whenever the problems it causes women are discussed is typically a derailing tactic, because it implies that the speaker was dismissing them.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            I’m very, very glad to hear that Sinister Agent*, but I don’t think there’s anything in the post you’ve agreed with that conflicts with the first post I made. Regardless, group hug?

            I don’t talk about gender a lot on the internet, I tend to discuss it with people I know in meatspace – as such I honestly haven’t come across the derailing tactics you mention, and obviously yeah, that’s just plain crap if that’s what some people do. I would say that in this instance, though, it’s clearly not a de-railed thread about issues affecting women – John’s article is specifically about men in gender (albeit as a mockery), so, y’know, it’s probably the right place to discuss this particular area of the topic.

            *Assuming you weren’t specifically talking about Acksiom and not me. :P

          • Tagiri says:

            @Acksiom: You keep using “normal, natural, healthy male standards” of attractiveness to describe a very specific look for women. Are you aware that beauty standards have changed over time and vary by geographic location? It also implies some things about men who are attracted to women who do not fit an impossible ideal and men who aren’t attracted to women at all, that I hope you weren’t trying to say.

            EDIT: And I just realized that you said “characterizations” this time. Are you talking about that “we must protect the delicate flower that is Lara Croft” nonsense?

          • Acksiom says:

            @Tagiri: Thank you for your measured response. I will be more than happy to answer your questions after you answer mine.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Capt Eduado – Firstly, let me state my position on the issues you’ve raised: Gender issues against men and gender issues against women are two flip sides of the same coin – you cannot sort one out without sorting the other! They must be tackled at the same time and equally by everyone who wishes to evolve sexism out of our society.

            That being said, we must acknowledge that men and women are not the same, we have slight differences biologically speaking which make massive differences in how we are. If we go down the road of what is done for women must be applied to men, one group will suffer because it is not necessarily the correct solution. Homogenizing gender will always fail.

            Now, I agree with you 100% that more men are murdered than women, I agree with you 100% that more men commit suicide than women. What I cannot accept is that this is due to the portrayal of men in video games and other medias. Now I’m not saying they play no part, but I am saying that if every media outlet were to suddenly stop making men have to be strong heros that there would be any affect on the suicide or murder rate. Instead, all we would see is lower box office returns, less books and games purchased.

            Why?

            Because society likes that. Our media is a reflection on where society is at the moment, which is why trying to change the media itself will not change society. Society will merely pick out the media it does like and others will replicate the success in that market by producing similar stuff. You’ve heard the phase “ahead of it’s time” when talking about arts and media – this is why we have that affect. Something may be ignored as crap in one era, then as society changes and it’s viewpoint comes more in line with the artist, it’s genius is recognised.

            So if we can’t change society by changing the media, what is the alternative? Change society itself right? Which is what we are all trying to do. Remember that 2 sides of the same coin thing? Well by collectively becoming the society that stops treating women as objects, we collectively create a society where women can assume the roles traditionally held by men. This allows men to assume the roles traditionally held by women and thus weakening that grip gender roles have.

            And yes, I know that by being that man in the role of a woman, you are subjected to ridicule, bullying, and all that bad stuff. But guess what. Women taking the traditional roles of men are getting exactly the same thing, except the dynamics are different! A woman in a powerful role in the industry, lets say a lead over 4 men in a games studio will not be bullied directly to her face, because she has the power. Instead she will be undermined at every turn, subvertly. When men assume a role traditionally held by a woman, the bullying is more direct, say a stay at home dad who gets blanked to his face by the mums when picking up child from school.

            The solution is to never give up. Never give in to the bullies, never allow them to cheapen the role you have taken on. There are many sticks and many carrots to nudge society in the correct direction, no one source can effectively take on more than a couple of these at once without diluting the message. John Walker is a games critic. He is not a gender equaliser god. He can take on the stick/carrot role by constructively criticising sexism against women where he sees it in games and the games industry. This is, by the way a good thing. To ask him to do more than he can is to cheapen what he does do and is adding to the problem. Let someone else take the role of the stick/carrot against sexism against men, someone who sees it, someone with the talent to be an effective stick/carrot.

            By writing here, you are taking that role in a tiny way, but every tiny cog in the machine helps drive that effort. Dont whale on others who are pulling the machine in the same direction, because by doing so, you are slowing it down!!! This is why you get the “BUT MENZZZ” response, because so many people hate on John for the stick and carrot he does provide. Lets be honest, he has never done much to stop the progress of mens rights, he is not working against you, he is working the other side of the coin, because that is where he can work!!! But by working the opposite side, he is still helping your cause!

            Am I making my opinion clear, or am I just a stupid obfuscation? I’m no writer, not in the sense that I can easily make my message heard.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            @Akisom – sorry I was replying to Cpt. Eduardo not to you, I haven’t actually read any of your posts

            @Cpt. Eduardo

            We’re in agreement once again, I think misogynist gender assumptions do harm men as well, it’s just that women do have it worse than men in many real material ways (under-representation at positions of power being the main culprit, the main thing the game industry needs is a more balanced representation of gender, race and sexuality in dev and producer roles) but it doesn’t sound like we disagree there either. While living up to the image of masculinity offered by the power-fantasy of male videogame portrayal as a male player might have its problems, I reckon being told by the portrayal of women in games as a female player that my gender-role is to serve that same male power-fantasy is unequivocally more marginalising.
            .
            My main point was that it sounded like you were saying that we talk about women’s portrayal too much (which I disagree with), rather than saying we could also talk about male portrayal a bit more (which I do agree with); on this point I might have misunderstood you and I apologise.

          • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

            Oh, yeah, totally. Saying about gender issues being two sides of the same coin? Gaming is one of those sides. It’s a complete, unequivocal shit-fest for women. It’s awful, cringe-worthy, pathetic, and a whole load of other stuff.

            As I conceive of it, the other side of that coin is in the higher suicide/murder/incarceration rates (again, not to prioritise those over any other issue, just saying that the numbers are, unavoidably, higher), but yeah, the flip-side of gender in games falls outside of games. Absolutely no disagreement here that gaming is an incredibly toxic environment for females and that as a gaming site that’s the side of the issue we should be primarily focussed on tackling. I think that cleaning up that toxic environment requires, to some degree, integrating the impact on patriarchal norms about violence and death into the discussion, and I think it would be hard to argue that that impact isn’t ‘bad’ for men as well. Again, not ‘worse’ or ‘equal to’, not a comparison – just ‘bad’ – again, because why wouldn’t adherence to a set of rules based on your gender be bad?

            Sheng-ji – sorry, I’ve been trying to go to bed for ages – I’ll read your post tomorrow.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Hehe, no worries!!!

          • Tagiri says:

            @Acksiom: Which questions? Your initial questions about the suicide rate? It’s difficult for me to posit a link between men being portrayed as strong and powerful (and manly and taciturn and all that nonsense) in video games and suicide. I mean, I suppose you could say that the wider media trend of men not expressing their emotions leads men to not seek mental health treatments when they should because they think they’re being “weak”, but drawing a direct causal link between that and suicide . . . I don’t know. Especially with so many cultural stigmas about mental illness existing outside that context.

            I also understand gamers’ knee-jerk reaction to any study involving video games and violence, since our hobby is a ridiculous media scapegoat at the moment. I do think that there’s a difference between saying that games affect our cultural perception of violence and saying that games make us violent. Games may, as much as I loathe using the word, “de-sensitize” us to real-world violence in a way, without making us want to go out and shoot up a mall or something. I read this summary of an OSU study a while ago that suggests that games don’t cause people to be violent, but that the exposure to violence caused the participants to expect others to be more aggressive. So I suppose games could be contributing to that POV that shrugs and says, “We live in a violent world,” when confronted with statistics regarding murder rates and other violence.

            And those cultural perceptions are what we are talking about, aren’t they? Whether we’re saying that a game contributes to the perception that men can’t talk about their feelings and be strong at the same time, the perception that violence is just one of those things that happens, or the perception that women are prizes that you get to have if you put enough work in. I agree that we need to be aware of all problematic content as much as we can, in order to improve our medium.

            I still don’t see, though, how you wanted the mention in the “Actual Sunlight” post to look. Both men and women can feel suicidal, and suicide hotlines were linked in the post. The game doesn’t contribute to the idea that men can’t/don’t feel sad or that men should commit suicide.

            EDIT: HTML fail.

          • Acksiom says:

            >Which questions?

            I shouldn’t choose for you. Choosing for you would be disrespectful and juvenilizing. You should pick one yourself, it’s healthier. Put a link to the post it’s from in your answer, and we’ll go from there.

          • Kamos says:

            @Eddy9000
            “I think misogynist gender assumptions do harm men as well, it’s just that women do have it worse than men in many real material ways”

            How exactly do women have it worse than men? Or is this your opinion? Because, in my opinion, wage-slavery and other things *expected* from men are also pretty bad. Not to mention the stuff Capt. Eduardo del Mango mentioned, such as higher suicide rates.

            Look, I don’t think it is even useful to discuss “who has it worse than who”. I’ll just concede that women probably have it worse than man, as you say. But I’d just like to point out that the fact that you’re treating the issue of “how bad it is for men” as an afterthought is indicative of the problem itself. I don’t think we need to talk about male portrayal a bit more, I think we need to talk about it a lot more!

            @Capt. Eduardo del Mango
            Absolutely no disagreement here that gaming is an incredibly toxic environment for females and that as a gaming site that’s the side of the issue we should be primarily focussed on tackling.

            I agree that the gaming environment for women sucks. However, I think the way people around here are looking at this is wrong. In my humble opinion, saying that that stupid, ugly Dead Island statuette shouldn’t exist, as John Walker did, is the wrong thing to ask for. The right thing to ask for is that similar content is created for women.

            Games that oversexualize women aren’t necessarily sexist, sometimes they are simply pornography – and saying pornography shouldn’t exist is simply absurd. People’s fantasies are no one’s concern, they aren’t really open for debate (unless we accept thought-police). The problem then, I think, is that people are so sexist that they don’t even realize that what they are consuming / producing is porn, and that they accept scantily clad, oversexualized women as a matter-of-fact.

            And then there is a bigger problem, the idea that games that tackle what women desire or feel or think are “too niche”, or simply shouldn’t be made, because you know, lolwat games for women? It is much like saying that books for women shouldn’t be written, or any such nonsense.

            (Sorry for any grammar mistakes, english isn’t my first language.)

          • Tagiri says:

            @Acksiom: If you’re only going to read the first line of my replies, this is going to be a really fragmented debate.

            ETA: @Kamos: Do you really want to see a product made for women that includes a man who is dismembered and bloody but with all of his sexual organs intact and emphasized in a way that’s meant to be attractive to women?

          • Kamos says:

            @Tagiri:
            Do you really want to see a product made for women that includes a man who is dismembered and bloody but with all of his sexual organs intact and emphasized in a way that’s meant to be attractive to women?

            I don’t want either version. But I think saying something like “THIS shouldn’t exist, it is bad and wrong, and the problem with the industry!” is naive. As I said, thought police.

            Edit: forgot that last bit there. Oops.

          • Tagiri says:

            @Kamos: Well, of course saying any one thing is “the problem with the industry” is over-generalizing. It is super unfortunate and gross, though (seriously, anyone with that sitting on their coffee table is going to look like a serial killer) and makes gamers as a whole look bad. I think mostly the Dead Island team has no idea what they’re doing PR-wise and is just flailing around, because that also have that bizarre wedding promotion.

            EDIT: Another problem with “games for women” is that a lot of the ones that are being made are being made by people that have no idea what women/girls actually want and they end up being something like this or that Bimbo-land thing. Not to mention how defensive and angry some gamers get over “casual” games – Facebook games, hidden object games, etc. A lot of those are aimed at women.

          • Kamos says:

            @ Tagiri
            “seriously, anyone with that sitting on their coffee table is going to look like a serial killer) and makes gamers as a whole look bad.”

            Indeed. The mixing of gore and sex is something I’ll never understand. Though to be fair, when I was younger I went on a “zombie walk” (basically, dress up as a zombie, walk all around town with your zombie friends growling at passers-by), which is pretty bizarre by itself (if harmless). So there. People are strange. :-)

            “a lot of the ones that are being made are being made by people that have no idea what women/girls actually want and they end up being something like this or that Bimbo-land thing.”

            I agree 100%. And probably the one thing that will help fix that is getting more women into the games industry. As Sheng-ji pointed out before, it *is* borderline misogynist. Of course they’ll think games for women are “all pink, and flowery, and stuff”. It seems pretty obvious that women should be the ones deciding what women want…

          • Tagiri says:

            @Aksiom: There are very few people on this site attempting to engage you in good faith, and your condescending attitude may be one reason for that. You could, for example, scroll up and read your own damn post.

            “You have virtually no address to the issue of, let alone articles intentionally about the negative impacts on men and boys of their characterization in games, but you’ve published plenty of sub-tabloid faff ragebait regarding the same for women and girls. Why?

            How do you reconcile this http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/02/14/study-finds-violent-games-reduce-violence-hmmmm/ with the clearly and repeatedly displayed group belief that the common characterizations of women in video games as attractive by normal, natural, healthy male standards has meaningful negative effects on female?

            Why the obvious double standard, not just between males and females, but between claims of female victimization caused by video games, and hard rational skepticism of any other claims of harm cause by them?

            The reply that you didn’t bother to read addressed both points (why not talk about men’s problems/suicide, and how can you say one thing causes harm and not another). If you’re going to keep being smug after this, I’m going to assume that you’re not really looking to engage anyone.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            @Kamos

            “How exactly do women have it worse than men? Or is this you opinion?”

            It very much depends on what you consider to be ‘worse’ and what you consider to be ‘opinion’.
            Women are vastly under-represented amongst the power elite, in positions of social power and status. They also earn significantly less than men on average, reducing their economic power. Now being expected to conform to a masculine idea of dominance and powerfullness can cause great distress for men when the means to achieve this are not available to them (I work as a psychologist in a crisis service and frequently work with these issues). A persons distress is their own and on an *individual* level is no more or less valid than anyone else’s regardless of gender. However as a *group* women suffer because social attitudes disempower and marginalise them rather than ascend them to power. I guess the matter of opinion here is whether you think as a group men suffer more from being dominant in society and living with social expectations to attain this, or that women as a group suffer more from not being allowed this power or expected to have it in the first place, ergo being marginalised; I personally think the latter.

          • Kamos says:

            @Eddy9000:

            I understand (and to some extent, agree) with your point about the under-representation of women in positions of power and status. It is a problem that is widely recognized, and this situation is slowly but surely changing. More and more women occupy positions of power and jobs that, up until recently, were considered to be “jobs for men”. The leaders of Germany, Argentina and Brazil are women. Women’s rights are protected by law (at least in the civilized world), and further, feminists are as active as ever to prove that men are rapist pigs that deserve everything bad that happens to them (sorry about the snark, but I simply cannot take them seriously). And then there are places like RPS, where sexism/misogyny in games takes a severe beating (despite some people who “honestly can’t see the problem!”).

            Not only that. I’d go further and say that there is a trend for saying that women are better team players, better multi-taskers, more sensitive, more intelligent, have more patience, have more pain endurance, and soon I believe just about every other good trait we can think of. Men are, of course, stupid, piggish, aggressive, cannot handle stress, cannot cooperate, cannot discuss things, cannot talk about emotions, etc.

            So maybe things won’t be perfect for women in the next few generations, but it seems like things are at least starting to look brighter for them.

            On the other hand, you consider men’s failings to conform to a “masculine idea of dominance” a personal failure. What about men just interested in acting like normal people being marginalized for refusing to conform to said “masculine idea of dominance”?

            There is an interesting video that approaches some of the issues we’re discussing here (male / female roles, male identity, male suicide, etc.). It is kinda long, but I honestly think it is worth watching.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            “On the other hand, you consider men’s failings to conform to a “masculine idea of dominance” a personal failure”

            I have to point out that I didn’t say this, not achieving social norms of masculinity can certainly feel like failure to a man, but I don’t consider it to be a personal failure at all, that pretty much contradicts what I was saying in fact.

            I guess you perceive men to have it a lot harder than I do. I don’t really see that men are constantly put down whilst women are said to be better, quite the opposite, and like I said it certainly hasn’t translated into any real material equality. Yes there are some female world leaders, 17 in fact, 17 out of 196 countries in the world. The thing is that you seem to use small ways in which women are making gains in the world as an example that men are being repressed or subjugated. We are a very, very long way from real equality and the male gender remains higly dominant. The fact that some people are already complaining about men being subjugated when women haven’t even started to approach the social power men have does smack a little of protecting privilege I’m afraid. Achieving equality means reducing power difference, and because men enjoy a privileged position in society they might well experience this as an attack, but it really isn’t, it’s just the playing field being levelled. Modern feminism supports equality, this idea you have of ‘feminists’ trying to depict men as ‘rapist pigs’ is very outdated, and was never represented in serious academic literature. Modern feminism is much more on a par with what we would now call gender theory, seeking to deconstruct and examine gender roles and expectations rather than make assertions about people based on gender. Of course portraying people seeking equality as radical and domineering is a very good way for dominant groups to rubbish them and avert the threat they pose to their power interests, which is why I think feminism gets portrayed like this. To be fair I don’t think you present feminism like this deliberately , but I think you’ve been fed quite a jingoistic idea of it; you seem like a thoughtful guy with an intrest in gender roles and I think you’d find some of the things modern feminists write about to be really interesting, and not man bashing at all!
            (actually could I go out on a limb and recommend Anita Sarkeesian’s (no, no put down that pitchfork!) video on how lego marketing gradually began to exclude women? It’s not anti-man at all, and a down-to-earth deconstruction of practices that create social gender discourses. Also it might be interesting to compare how she’s been labelled as radical and man-hating in the internet furore but is actually anything but, an example of what I was talking about above)

          • Kamos says:

            @Eddy9000

            “I have to point out that I didn’t say this, not achieving social norms of masculinity can certainly feel like failure to a man, but I don’t consider it to be a personal failure at all, that pretty much contradicts what I was saying in fact.”

            I’m sorry, I think I haven’t expressed myself properly. I was trying to say that men as a group are also subject to discrimination due to the roles they are expected to play (i.e., men being shamed by women into doing things that put their lives in danger, because they are men), and that men as a group are also subject to abuse (physical and psychological) for being (and often, not being) “men”.

            If a man abuses a woman, there is hell to pay. On the other hand, if a woman abuses a man… No, wait. That doesn’t happen. The general view in society is that a man who suffers abuse should “man up”, or “suck it up” and internalize his feelings. In that sense, women actually have better-than-equal rights, at least in the unofficial rules of society concerning what women are allowed to think, feel, be and do.

            “Yes there are some female world leaders, 17 in fact, 17 out of 196 countries in the world. The thing is that you seem to use small ways in which women are making gains in the world as an example that men are being repressed or subjugated.”

            I certainly *do not* use ways in which women are making progress as an example that men are being repressed or subjugated. I was merely pointing out that, even if things aren’t perfect, they are at least looking better for women since the problem is recognized to exist. I was also trying to say that, on the other hand, the idea that men can suffer abuse (individually or as a group) is not as widely accepted.

            Please note that I don’t think the discussion of one precludes the discussion of the other, either. And I don’t think John Walker is doing anything wrong in that sense – he is just punishing sexist idiots for being sexist idiots, and that is fine by me. However, I think there is reason to be concerned if the people leading the discussion fail to recognize that it is a much, much deeper issue than the games industry’s latest ridiculously sexist idea of what a woman is.

            “We are a very, very long way from real equality and the male gender remains higly dominant. The fact that some people are already complaining about men being subjugated when women haven’t even started to approach the social power men have does smack a little of protecting privilege I’m afraid. Achieving equality means reducing power difference, and because men enjoy a privileged position in society they might well experience this as an attack, but it really isn’t, it’s just the playing field being levelled.”

            Not everything is about power and positions of status. Not everything is about protecting privilege, and with all due respect, it fills me with sorrow that someone working in the field of psychological distress could imply otherwise, and apparently be oblivious to the fact that men can indeed suffer abuse (either in the hands of other men, or women).

            “Modern feminism supports equality, this idea you have of ‘feminists’ trying to depict men as ‘rapist pigs’ is very outdated, and was never represented in serious academic literature. (…) Of course portraying people seeking equality as radical and domineering is a very good way for dominant groups to rubbish them and avert the threat they pose to their power interests, which is why I think feminism gets portrayed like this.”

            But that is the thing, isn’t it? Feminism is both the movement and the serious academic literature. I was obviously talking about the former. You only need to browse Youtube for a few minutes to find a so-called feminist calling for men to be castrated, or some such nonsense. Who gets to say that that person isn’t a “true feminist”?

            You can argue that “not everyone in the feminist movement is like that”, but then I’d argue that those are simply examples of people taking the feminist ideology (not serious academic literature) to the extreme. Even with a “moderate” feminist, the underlying problem (the “dogma” that men are inferior) is still there.

            I’d also like to point out that the feminist movement does not own the rights to the fight for women’s rights and equality, as much as they’d like us to think so.

            I will watch the video you have recommended as soon as possible and seek to learn more about this modern feminism you mention, though honestly, I will do so with my pitchfork well within reach, just in case. :-)

          • Eddy9000 says:

            “it fills me with sorrow that someone working in the field of psychological distress could imply otherwise, and apparently be oblivious to the fact that men can indeed suffer abuse (either in the hands of other men, or women”

            Again I think you’ve misunderstood me. Of course men can be abused, and the challenge that abuse poses to masculine ideals is often the source of intense distress, but it is a source of distress for men precisely because being coerced, forced to do something and subjugated is against the male social role. This is very much about power, men feel it is less acceptable to admit to being abused and feel more shame from abuse because it contradicts social expectations that they should be powerful and dominant. Abuse of women is more recognised and talked about because while abuse represents an unacceptable and traumatic extreme, it does not contradict the social role of subservience that women are born into. Abuse survivor narratives of women often involve feeling ashamed about being a woman as abuse draws their subjugated position as a woman into sharp relief. Men can suffer as individuals from being dominant as a group, women suffer as a group because they are already subjugated, which GROUP do you think is better off? Men can suffer if subjugated, women are subjugated all the time. While the sexual abuse of men is devastating to individuals it is far less common than the sexual abuse of women as a group for instance. Working with abuse is my specialist area and abuse is often understood discursively within Foucauldian notions of power so it’s not like I’m just talking out my arse here.

          • Kamos says:

            @Eddy9000

            I apologize then for what I have said.

            It may be that I’m the one talking “out my arse”; I’m definitely not an expert. And perhaps I’m a bit too fond of my pitchfork. But I’m definitely not trying to be an ass. It just seems to me that, if a man is marginalized for not acting like a “true man”, then he does not belong to the group that has the “privilege of being dominant”. He is not a man by “true men’s standards”, he does not belong to that group at all, but he is definitely not a woman either. Which leads me to my original point, that is, that the idea that man can suffer some sort of abuse is still unconceivable to most. A man gets raped and the first thing another man will ask is: “were they hot?”

            Again, I don’t understand what is the point of determining which group has it worse. But if I’m forced to, then ok, I’ll do it. Considering what you have said about women being “subjugated all the time”? Yeah, women have it worse. Considering what I know of history? Yeah, women have it worse. However, I don’t see how it changes what I have said above.

    • jorygriffis says:

      “Your preference for gamma rabbit squealing over actually addressing our actual arguments as actually made means I and a few others have been hitting some really sensitive nerves around here.”

      You’re right–you really are getting on people’s nerves.

      • Acksiom says:

        Good. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

        WIth this article, JW’s already halfway from laughing to fighting.

        So come at me, bro.

        • Premium User Badge

          AndrewC says:

          Back to laughing.

        • Chris D says:

          Wait! If we’re neither ignoring, laughing at or fighting you what’s left? Only agreeing I guess and I that probably counts as a win for you as well I see now there is no point in resistance truly your triumph is inevitable. This is a black day, we are undone!

          Well except that I missed the part about why this should apply to you and not anyone else like, for example, John Walker. Because he started laughing while you came in fighting so he’s one step closer to victory than you. Apparently, in your world,this is not simply a description of one struggle and a word of encouragement, but is now somehow an inviolable law in which next step inexorably leads to the nex,t then that that must mean he wins.

          Except that last part is bullshit too because what you’ve actually done is try to frame the terms of engagement as what amounts to “Heads I win, Tails you lose.” and hope that nobody notices.

          So if it’s all the same to you I’m going to continue laughing at you for a bit then get back to ignoring you, and if you still insist that will lead to your inevitable triumph, well that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
          - Adolf Hitler, April 29th 1945

          • jorygriffis says:

            This is pretty funny, but I’m not sure a joke about suicide was the way to win this one.

            Still, though, good joke.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            I have to say, it was a joke about losing after being ignored, laughed at and fought rather than suicide; I’d not considered Hitlers specific cause of death when making it.

        • Premium User Badge

          elderman says:

          Here’s an actual Gandhi quotation about social movements:

          “No vital movement can be killed except by the impatience, ignorance or laziness of its authors.”
          — Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom’s Battle, second edition, Gutenberg Project.

          Impatience and ignorance aside, posting on a computer gaming blog’s website is pure laziness. Post responses here have no more impact on your cause, whatever it is, than if you made them at Empire Online. Your trolling here is dilettante self-indulgence.

    • Premium User Badge

      psepho says:

      There are serious issues with cultural expectations and constructions of masculinity, to be sure. And i agree that blanket characterisation of male=oppressor is very unhelpful in this regard. However, I don’t think that constraining attitudes towards men are actually a particular issue in the video game field, whereas these issues really are for women in this area.

      For men, I see far bigger issues in sports or family roles, for example. UK football culture is an example of a set of very narrow parameters of maleness. Similarly, the presumption that fathers play second fiddle in parenting.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Acksiom: Perhaps people would stop “misinterpreting” your position if you A) drop the self-righteous lone-wolf tone – it makes you seem both mad, and MAD, and B) learn brevity.

    • Premium User Badge

      elderman says:

      Yes it really is that much of an impossible stretch to even consider the idea that John Walker’s response to anything has any kind of effect whatsoever on the suicide rate of men and boys in the United States between the ages of 15 and 24. John Walker is not a statistical risk factor that has any impact on American national suicide rates.

      Back to talking about games now?

      (Yes, I fed the troll.)

  32. sinister agent says:

    If only you could talk to the feminists.

    • dE says:

      You can talk with feminists just fine.
      Would be nice to have some around here though, might balance out the pissing contest followers.

      • subalterngames says:

        @ dE: You could be a feminist too! It’s not like you have to pass some sort of complex entrance exam.

        @ Kamos: We might live in different universes. I live in the reasonable one. Yourself?

        • Kamos says:

          @subalterngames

          I also live in a reasonable universe. I’m going to extrapolate here that you disagree with what I’ve said about feminism, and since we’re in a reasonable universe, you’re free to do so! You’re also free to put an ideology that preaches that men are rapist pigs and that defends inequality between genders on a pedestal. I’ll just keep endorsing every other reasonable entity, law and person that simply argues that women have the same rights as men, and leave it at that.

          • subalterngames says:

            No no no That’s SECOND-wave feminism you’re making a strawman argument out of. THIRD-wave feminism is where the party is happening. You should google it and then join in the fun!

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Because all feminism and feminists are a unified block who all think and act exactly alike, convenient for demonization and dismissal. Right?

            What a voice of intelligence, perception, and understanding you have.

          • Kamos says:

            Yes, not every single feminist is like that, and then there is this “third-wave feminism” that I know nothing about, and then there is feminist theory which does not have anything to do with the dogma some feminists follow.

            I think it is quite obvious from what I wrote that I am talking about so-called feminists that think, in example, that men are evil beasts that should be castrated. What I don’t understand is why you felt the need to vinculate yourself with this extremism and feel offended, if you think the group I’m talking about (the “fake” feminists?) is not the group that you’re talking about.

            Again, reasonable world, feel free to do whatever you want, and so on.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Because such a position was put forth here by someone and is not actually a convenient straw man! No wait, that’s exactly what it was.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            “What a voice of intelligence, perception, and understanding you have.”

            It’s funny you talking about intelligence, perception and understanding when you’d been one of the least in all categories. As this post of yours just exemplified.

            As soon as someone differs slightly from your dogma, regardless of actually being on the same side of the fence, you and quite a few others immediately resort to offensive or derisive posts in an attempt to devalue a different opinion and lower people down in what’s nothing more than en exercise in discrimination. It’s not intelligent, does not reveal perceptive qualities and it is definitely not a staple of understanding what you and quite a few others have been doing on this article.

            The conversations this article spread are an excellent example of why women discrimination, sexism and misogyny are still a reality in this world. It’s not just because of discrimination, it’s because it’s of the human nature to be an asshole.

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Mario Figueiredo, I suggest reading his comment again. He pointed out sarcastically that not all feminists are alike. I fail to see how that’s sexism, please enlighten me.

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          Mario:

          You just..

          1 – didn’t read and understand my comment at all.
          2 – decided what I think based on almost no information.

          So .. look in the mirror.

          Meanwhile, I’m only pointing out when what people say is idiotic, not saying that only my position is valid. If you don’t like it when I call people idiotic, then you should either stop reading what I say, or stop investing emotional energy in idiots. Because they are.

          • Kamos says:

            Since I’m probably the one being called an idiot here, I’ll just reply by apologizing for saying what I have said about “feminists in general”. For what it is worth, I now realize there are people who associate themselves with that name (feminist) who are not as I portrayed them to be.

    • Spacewalk says:

      And the horses. You could read them textbooks to put them asleep then steal their teeth to win the human beauty pageant.

      • identiti_crisis says:

        The horse would naturally have false teeth, to clarify (no need to butcher the poor thing unecessarily), which need to be sent several hundred years into the future, from several hundred years in the past, to un-do a mutant takeover initiated in the present. Somebody should make a game about that…

    • Phantoon says:

      The women I know refuse to go by that moniker anymore as it’s become tainted with the entire “men are all rapists!” thing. So in a way, I don’t think I can.

      • Kamos says:

        They also like to think they are the only thing holding back the return of the evil patriarchy, and that there are no laws to protect women.

        The only thing feminism is good for is promoting inequality.

        • sinister agent says:

          They also like to get up before you when you’re on holiday and put their towels over the sunbeds. And they like to eat babies and divorce their husbands and promote lesbianism in primary schools. And when you’re looking for the remote, right, they’re all “I haven’t seen it”, and then when they stand up they were sitting on it THE WHOLE TIME.

          • RedPoll says:

            Goodness me, I have been grossly misinformed. I thought that was the work of the marrying gays rather than the feminististists.

  33. Dances to Podcasts says:

    This read less like satire and more like someone who’s finally snapped. Not that I disagree with the point, but old guard RPS seems to be losing out to neo-RPS when it comes to writing quality.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sinomatic says:

      Um…..surely John IS the old-guard?

      • Phantoon says:

        Actually, I think that’s what he meant. He was saying he likes the new over the old.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          But surely this was an example of almost Shakespearean writing quality!

  34. Premium User Badge

    neofit says:

    You can buy a boy character slot in the Store :)

  35. ukpanik says:

    90% of accounts created will be by dirty old men. lots of grooming and not just the horses.

  36. Brun says:

    Really, really disappointed (and worried) at the number of people who are completely missing the sarcasm in this article.

    • Kamos says:

      Well, I guess some people go into John’s articles expecting to be slapped across the face for one reason or another.

  37. Stupoider says:

    John Walker, ladies and gentlemen, showing us all how to ride a high horse and beat it while it’s dead!

  38. Eddy9000 says:

    Apparently there’s a patch coming soon that let’s you play as a boy, but only on ‘boy planet’ where everyone is a boy.

  39. Delusibeta says:

    I think this article is past the point where the satire is eating itself.

  40. Bart Stewart says:

    Just to fling another data point onto the bonfire, I suspect the folks who made this game would be baffled by its politicization (satirical or otherwise).

    I’ve been to a few dressage events (not as a rider, thank you), and the riders and support folks are overwhelmingly female in number. A 9-to-1 female/male ratio seems to be not uncommon, at least at the lower levels of competition.

    If anything, this game looks like an honorably accurate simulation of this aspect of the dressage world. Using it to score political points seems a little unreasonable.

  41. Squishpoke says:

    This is funny on more than one level.

  42. Cloudiest Nights says:

    And child molesters everywhere rejoiced!

  43. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Arf! Ta John you delightful moppet, you.

  44. Tasloi says:

    Thought this was a guest piece by Jezebel’s Lindy West there for a second.

  45. Eddy9000 says:

    Comparing RPS to Kotaku, I mean it’s not the most original thing to say is it?

  46. Jamesworkshop says:

    Talking about meat and horses but not quite horse meat exactly does have an amusing quality nowadays considering the news and current events of the day.

    funny, but i was actually talking to a girl yesterday that owns three horses, well two cos she just sold one but still that’s a weird occurance.

  47. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    So, Red Dead Redemption for girls?

  48. crinkles esq. says:

    And for the women, announcing Valiant Valkyries! Paint your spear with the blood of misogynist men, and carry to Valhalla the feminist few! Accessorize your horse and armor in many deadly DLC colours!

  49. laddyman says:

    All that bloom! Mein eyes!