Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sexual Harassment in the Gaming Workplace

Again, with all apologies to Frank Zappa.

There has been some more talk about sexual harassment, gender power politics and related issues when it comes to gaming.  No surprises really, it is a hot button topic in most of the places I frequent on the net.

When is comes to gaming here are some of the latest developments.

http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2013/08/open-letter-to-shannon-appelcline-and.html
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-convention-prudery-counter-current.html
http://gmskarka.com/2013/08/20/when-nazis-get-rapey/
https://twitter.com/GOODNESSaidan/status/368856722233761792/photo/1
https://twitter.com/Gen_Con/status/368870917754998784
http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2013/08/first-they-came-for-saucy-sloganed.html

And there are lots more.  How many more really is sorta the point.  Everyone seems to be talking about it.
Not sure what anyone is doing yet.

Though to be 100% honest I am not even sure what there is to do.  Not that there isn't something to do, I just don't really know what *I* could do.

I am not espousing a particular viewpoint here; I think my viewpoint is pretty well known.
Though I do think talking is good, action is better.

What to do?  No idea.

13 comments:

Konsumterra said...

i cancelled the trip to russia ive wanted for years - i was detained for 9 days as teen in 89s wont risk again

Sean Tait Bircher said...

Yeah, I dropped Greyhawk Grognard from my blogroll over this. I'm not shy about admitting the confluence in my mind between fantasy gaming and sex, but "I could use a little sexual harassment" just isn't funny even if a non-Nazi woman is wearing the panties. I live in Texas; I know full well you can be a woman and not believe in women's equality.

noisms said...

I don't get it. I feel like America is an alien planet sometimes. These kind of panties are stuff you can buy in any joke shop over here and are the kind of things women buy for each other for a laugh, or specifically when going out for a hen night. Or for that matter the kind of thing men would buy each other for a laugh or for a night out or whatever. Anybody with a modicum of sense knows that it's just poking light-hearted fun at the person you're buying them for.

George said...

I don't get it as well. I was aware of Zak Smith's trouble with RPG.net in that infamous Numenera thread. I've read Skarka's post and the comments are a treasure mine, where he attacks everyone daring to have a different opinion. There's a lot of botched Perspective tests all around.

alzrius said...

I thought Greyhawk Grognard's posts on the subject were not only insightful, but brave. Pointing out that just because you don't like something doesn't mean you are entitled to have it removed from your environment seems to be more and more verboten these days.

Timothy Brannan said...

The issue is that no one is saying they can't sell them on their own, but they can't sell them at Gen Con because it violates their standards.

Don't like that? Don't sell things at Gen Con.

alzrius said...

What specific standards are they in violation of? Because I read through the linked document, and nothing really seems to jump out.

Section I6 does mention that "No exhibitor or member of an exhibit may promote, display, or behave in a manner considered offensive to decency or good taste as determined by Show Management." but this would be solved by moving the offending items out of view of the general show-going public, which was apparently done when brought to the Management's attention.

K3 does talk about sexual themes, but for "displays." "Products" are only mentioned as being prohibited if they depict "rape" or "graphic lust," which a cheeky slogan doesn't do.

K4 talks about products "featuring sexual perversion and/or sexual abnormalities," but again it's a stretch to say that a slogan rises to the level of "features."

K5 talks about "Degrading or salacious displays," but products aren't displays, and a suggestive phrase doesn't rise to that level anyway.

Finally, this is an example of policy enforcement that is, at best, highly selective. There were booths where you could buy hentai (anime porn) DVDs and computer games, full-size pillows of naked anime girls (the naughty parts were covered with sticky notes), and women selling naked pictures of themselves (the Cosplay Deviants), though those were similarly kept in a segregated part of the booth, away from casual viewing.

Simply put, the only way that some panties with slightly controversial phrasing on them violates Gen Con's standards is if you take an extremely broad reading of those standards, and ignore how many other retailers such a reading would encompass as "violations."

George said...

I don't think anyone would have a problem with GenCon prohibiting the sale of a certain type of merchandise, as long as they have a clear policy that is not made on the spot. Their convention, their space, their rules.

The issue here is that some people are trying to present the display of underwear with saucy and distasteful slogans as "harassment". It is not harassment by any reasonable definition of the word.

I think I also read in one of the links provided that "harassment is defined by the victim". No it is not. This is a troubling mindset.

Timothy Brannan said...

You did read the part where I said I had no idea about what to do right?

My reading though Gen Con was fully within their right to ask them to take it down. Someone did complain. Are there worse violations? Of course there are. Are there worse violations that are blatantly getting away with it? Of course there are.

But I am not sure I know what to do or even if I am qualified enough to suggest it.

George said...

Sorry, Timothy, I should have made it clear that the "some people" part did not actually include you. I was referring to the blog post link that is drumming up the outrage.

Timothy Brannan said...

eh No worries.

Lloyd Rasmussen said...

You ask what action we will take. The action I will take is, I will assume women are smart enough to decide on their own what kind of panties they wish to purchase.

Anthony Simeone said...

All I think of with this whole issue is, uh, the shit is corny and what does it have to do with gaming?? I mean only desperate losers should be interested in naked anime shit. It seems like companies that want to bring this stuff to GenCon are trying to cash in on the sterotype of the loser gamer who needs life sized doll-women in order to get anywhere close to seeing naked ladies. It's the sane sort of thing as strip clubs. I don't care if you go, but just remember that you look like a loser for going there. Thats your choice if you want to go there. Now, if you arre part of a consenting relationship and you want to buy naughty panties, whatever. But does it really need to be in a game convention? It smacks of nerd exploitation if you ask me.

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