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Old 01-05-2013, 08:35 PM
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Default Sexism, Gamers Contd. Discussion

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Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
I apologize, this is slightly off-topic, but I just read this amazing article, and it repeats a whole bunch of stuff these 'nice guys' say. It's about misogyny in the world of gamers, and I wept through most of it. It's long, and beautiful, and it has gone a long way towards healing me tonight.

http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/m..._Daughter.html
I've seen that article before and while I do agree with most of the major points, I think it misses a couple of important things.

First, THIS is the article that spawned the one you linked to. Its character assassination, pure and simple. It may not have been intended that way but that's how it reads; girl dates a guy who turns out to be a NERD and the author doesn't date NERDY people. If you say something that sounds stupid and cruel, even if it's fucking genius once you actually analyze it, be prepared for people to treat it as though it were stupid and cruel.

People's responses to it were just as stupid as the piece they were responding to and most of the ones I read were incredibly sexist and mostly male. I dont, however, feel that that's a systemic problem and I'll elaborate on that later.

Second, I take Tait's point about someone not wanting to play second-fiddle to a hobby or game. Someone who is the "world champion" of anything indicates a strong need of a time investment and many people may not be down for that kind of dedication. That said, she gave no indication that she'd bothered to find out if that was the case AND she declared it in an outright mean way.

She basically went (and we don't even know if she did, she doesn't indicate doing so in the article but we'll assume that Tait's assertion is correct for the sake of argument) "world champion -> big time investment -> not enough time for a real relationship -> loser." Once that math was done, she didn't say "I'm sorry but I dont feel like we'd be able to have a real relationship because of the time commitment difference." No, she said "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people" like he's some kind of date rapist or burgeoning sex offender and the article tries to warn people against ending up in a date with someone like him.

Third, the makeup of the gaming community is not what it was ten or even five years ago. Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about) so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore. That said, many of the vocal people you do run into with multiplayer games ARE male and are generally young. If anyone would like to cast their minds back to when they were in the 14-18 demographic and ask if they made the best behavioral choices that could be labeled smart today. When someone points out a case of harassment where a female gamer is being targeted, look at who is doing it; generally young (14-18) boys. The average age for a gamer is 30-35 years old.

The call of sexist with the justification of harassment of female gamers is being dropped on the entire gaming community and I dont see that its justified considering that roughly half of the community is female and most of the offenders are young men when the average age is 30-35. This is behavior that is not new in human development, it went on when ALL of us were kids but was generally pushed off as "boys will be boys." If you dont believe me, read Calvin and Hobbes; its cute in certain situations and raging sexism in others.

Labeling the gaming community, or even that subset of players who do attack female gamers, as sexist misses a broader problem; that demographic are dickbags, to use a technical term. They're jerks to EVERYONE; male, female, black, white, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, rich, poor, domestic, foreign, it doesn't matter. How many stories do you see about someone getting tormented by other gamers where the victim isn't female? Plenty. Taking what is, in essence, schoolyard behavior and couching it as some pathological hatred against women really does a disservice to everyone because more often than not its behavior that the people who engage in it grow out of as they begin to understand that people WILL punch you in the face for saying stuff like that.

I know for a fact that someone is going to take this as my trying to make excuses or rehashing "boys will be boys" but that isn't my intention at all. The commends in Tait's article were horrendous at best but if we start blaming that kind of behavior on pathological hatred of women, we miss opportunities to really curb or deal with that kind of behavior.

Getting back to the article, Bereznak basically went on a bad date and responded by venting her annoyance in an extremely high-school type way. A negative response should have been expected and I feel very little sympathy for her with regards to people being angry. The sexist comments, absolutely over the line. I feel like if she had written the article in such a way that made her sound less shallow, she'd have gotten less of a negative response.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:02 AM
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Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about) so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore.
Mmmm, I would say that the female gamers need to weigh in on this more. I don't know that boys can accurately determine whether something does or does not feel like a "boys club" to the non-boys. For instance, there are still MANY mainstream game stores with clerks in their 20's or 30's that give females trying to buy certain games grief, either trying to "make" them admit that they're actually buying the game for a brother, boyfriend, or husband or steer them towards different games that "would be more your speed". Even without the EXTREME douchebags who are assholes to EVERYONE, there's a LOT of smack talking that centers on gender and sexuality, portraying being female or gay as a negative thing.

November Rain and I were talking about this article earlier today, and my conclusion was that this behavior is present in MANY groups of men (though certainly not all), whether it's a group of music fans, or sports fans, or whatever. The only difference here is that somehow this idea has developed that gaming groups are less misogynistic than others, which just isn't the case. They're as misogynistic as anywhere else in society, but perhaps it is just now being realized how automatic and deep-seated that misogyny is.

(For the record, I'm a pen-and-paper-and-dice gamer, not an online gamer, so any misogyny I've faced has been in person, which makes it easier to deal with and hopefully squash early.)
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:09 AM
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First, THIS is the article that spawned the one you linked to.
*That* is what caused all this fuss? Holy cow. Thanks for linking, I just didn't have the heart to look it up after I read Tait's. That was completely unworthy of the maelstrom it caused.

It was one woman, whining about a bad date. It is so not even close to character assassination.

I feel very sad that Tait felt the need to respond with an article, what, five times as long as the original?

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
Its character assassination, pure and simple. It may not have been intended that way but that's how it reads; girl dates a guy who turns out to be a NERD and the author doesn't date NERDY people. If you say something that sounds stupid and cruel, even if it's fucking genius once you actually analyze it, be prepared for people to treat it as though it were stupid and cruel.
I didn't see anyone say that what she said was genius. She was saying she doesn't date nerds, a simple fact and preference to which she is perfectly entitled.

Can you explain to me exactly what was cruel about it? I also don't see the word 'loser' anywhere in her article.

I, myself, don't date people with underage children. If someone didn't bother to mention that they had them, I might be equally inclined to a similar story, if I had a blog/platform. Is that cruel? She did point out her failure to take care of her own boundaries.

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People's responses to it were just as stupid as the piece they were responding to and most of the ones I read were incredibly sexist and mostly male. I dont, however, feel that that's a systemic problem and I'll elaborate on that later.
I disagree. I think the responses were totally out of proportion to the perceived insult. Even if it had been stupid and cruel, the responses were overblown. Why the hell should anyone who is not Jon fucking Finkel care what one woman thought?

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
Second, I take Tait's point about someone not wanting to play second-fiddle to a hobby or game. Someone who is the "world champion" of anything indicates a strong need of a time investment and many people may not be down for that kind of dedication. That said, she gave no indication that she'd bothered to find out if that was the case AND she declared it in an outright mean way.
She very clearly said she'd neglected to do her own research and find out.

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
She basically went (and we don't even know if she did, she doesn't indicate doing so in the article but we'll assume that Tait's assertion is correct for the sake of argument) "world champion -> big time investment -> not enough time for a real relationship -> loser." Once that math was done, she didn't say "I'm sorry but I dont feel like we'd be able to have a real relationship because of the time commitment difference."
Why should she be sorry?

And let me tell you, the next gamer that approaches me for a date has a much higher price of admission than the last one. Because Tait describes my experience exactly. And he wasn't world champion of anything. Just a gamer.

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
No, she said "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people" like he's some kind of date rapist or burgeoning sex offender and the article tries to warn people against ending up in a date with someone like him.
I wish to heaven someone had warned me. Had I read Tait's article 10 years ago, my life might look damn different today.

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Third, the makeup of the gaming community is not what it was ten or even five years ago. Female gamers are between 40-50% of the gaming community (depending which study/game/platform you're talking about)
That's a HUGE 'depending upon.' I highly doubt that gamers are 40-50% female. I do think there are more women playing games than 5, 10 years ago. But being a female who plays one or more games does not a gamer make.

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so painting it as a "boy's world" doesn't fly with me anymore. That said, many of the vocal people you do run into with multiplayer games ARE male and are generally young.
Not a 'boy's world' but MANY of the people you run into are male.


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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
If anyone would like to cast their minds back to when they were in the 14-18 demographic and ask if they made the best behavioral choices that could be labeled smart today. When someone points out a case of harassment where a female gamer is being targeted, look at who is doing it; generally young (14-18) boys. The average age for a gamer is 30-35 years old.

The call of sexist with the justification of harassment of female gamers is being dropped on the entire gaming community and I dont see that its justified considering that roughly half of the community is female and most of the offenders are young men when the average age is 30-35. This is behavior that is not new in human development, it went on when ALL of us were kids but was generally pushed off as "boys will be boys."
My experience of the gamer community is the 30+ year olds, and my experience is that they are far more obnoxious (in the way Tait's article describes) than I would expect from the population as a whole in that age range.

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Labeling the gaming community, or even that subset of players who do attack female gamers, as sexist misses a broader problem; that demographic are dickbags, to use a technical term. They're jerks to EVERYONE; male, female, black, white, gay, straight, tall, short, thin, fat, rich, poor, domestic, foreign, it doesn't matter. How many stories do you see about someone getting tormented by other gamers where the victim isn't female? Plenty. Taking what is, in essence, schoolyard behavior and couching it as some pathological hatred against women really does a disservice to everyone because more often than not its behavior that the people who engage in it grow out of as they begin to understand that people WILL punch you in the face for saying stuff like that.
The fact that they are jerks to everyone does not change the fact that they are sexist douchebags. I don't see how that misses the broader problem; nor how it mitigates it or points us in a better direction for fixing it.

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I know for a fact that someone is going to take this as my trying to make excuses or rehashing "boys will be boys" but that isn't my intention at all.
Several very wise people I knew were fond of saying 'good intentions and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee out of a machine.' The fact that it is not your intention to do so, does not mean that you didn't do so.

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Originally Posted by Helo View Post
The commends in Tait's article were horrendous at best but if we start blaming that kind of behavior on pathological hatred of women, we miss opportunities to really curb or deal with that kind of behavior.
I would really like to hear your ideas for how to really curb and deal with that behaviour. It makes me feel like punching people in the face, so I have a hard time imagining how to make it better. And I could really use some hope in that direction right now.

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Getting back to the article, Bereznak basically went on a bad date and responded by venting her annoyance in an extremely high-school type way. A negative response should have been expected and I feel very little sympathy for her with regards to people being angry. The sexist comments, absolutely over the line. I feel like if she had written the article in such a way that made her sound less shallow, she'd have gotten less of a negative response.
I still don't understand how it's shallow to have preferences and boundaries.

I don't think she would have been under any delusions that she would not get negative responses. But the maelstrom was completely out of proportion (again).



Oh, and thanks very much for bringing it to a separate thread!
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:02 AM
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and then there was moar:

http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2012/...ming-misogyny/

Clearly, if we just accepted that teenagers are douchebags, it wouldn't be such a big deal.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
and then there was moar:

http://unsubject.wordpress.com/2012/...ming-misogyny/

Clearly, if we just accepted that teenagers are douchebags, it wouldn't be such a big deal.
Oh, that was a GREAT article. I don't usually read the comments online, but I'm glad I did this time, if only to reiterate to myself that there REALLY ARE people out there who truly don't think sexism happened in the gaming culture until people started talking about it. Moronic, but out there and something we all have to deal with one way or another.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
*That* is what caused all this fuss? Holy cow. Thanks for linking, I just didn't have the heart to look it up after I read Tait's. That was completely unworthy of the maelstrom it caused.

It was one woman, whining about a bad date. It is so not even close to character assassination.
When you publically denounce someone else in the way Bereznak did for the reasons she presents, I find it difficult to classify it as anything else.

What would the motivation be for attempting to publically humiliate a guy who, according to her own story, made the mistake of choosing an odd first-date venue? She never said anything about him being rude, nasty, or otherwise uncouth.

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I didn't see anyone say that what she said was genius. She was saying she doesn't date nerds, a simple fact and preference to which she is perfectly entitled.
If that's your preference, that's totally fine and I dont think any rational person would fault it. What I have issues with was her approach.

She accused the guy of "infiltrating" a date then recoiled when she found out what he did as though he'd told her he was a convicted sex offender. I keep using the high-school metaphor for a reason; she reacted the way "popular girls" in high-school did when interacting with "nerds." She trashed him for no other reason than she felt he was beneath her because of what he chose to do with his time.

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Can you explain to me exactly what was cruel about it? I also don't see the word 'loser' anywhere in her article.
Her writing has the net effect of calling the guy a loser and her reaction doesnt speak to a great deal of respect for her date.

As I said, it's the contemptuous "I dont date NERDS" attitude that I find utterly distasteful especially when, by her own account, he acted like a perfectly reasonable guy who had done nothing wrong and certainly nothing deserving of her ire.

If she had written her cautionary tale from the standpoint of "We met and I found out he was a lot nerdier than I usually look for in a partner, so I didn't continue things" the article would have been bypassed with no controversy.

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I, myself, don't date people with underage children. If someone didn't bother to mention that they had them, I might be equally inclined to a similar story, if I had a blog/platform. Is that cruel? She did point out her failure to take care of her own boundaries.
There's a massive difference between having underage children and being nerdy.

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I disagree. I think the responses were totally out of proportion to the perceived insult. Even if it had been stupid and cruel, the responses were overblown. Why the hell should anyone who is not Jon fucking Finkel care what one woman thought?
I agree with you on that as far as the sexist comments go. Those were completely and totally over the line. As to the rest, no sympathy whatsoever. You trash an underserved someone like that and to a point I have no sympathy for the consequences that bite you in the ass.

Quote:
And let me tell you, the next gamer that approaches me for a date has a much higher price of admission than the last one. Because Tait describes my experience exactly. And he wasn't world champion of anything. Just a gamer.

I wish to heaven someone had warned me. Had I read Tait's article 10 years ago, my life might look damn different today.
That's another HUGE issue I have with that particular point; its GAMING. We wouldn't be having this part of the conversation if it was golf or baking or collecting thimbles or reading books or making art. For some reason, I see more people complain about gaming being a timesink for the people they love than anything else and 99 times out of 100 it comes from someone who isn't a gamer.

If you're spending your time on stuff that the rest of society feels is acceptable, you've got a hobby. If you're spending your time playing games, you're an addict/immature/socially malformed/disturbed.

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That's a HUGE 'depending upon.' I highly doubt that gamers are 40-50% female.
I'm only quoting the statistics.

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I do think there are more women playing games than 5, 10 years ago. But being a female who plays one or more games does not a gamer make.
For the purposes of discussion, I dont think its helpful to start throwing around jargon and alternative definitions. A gamer is someone who plays games on a regular basis and this is the most commonly accepted definition.

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Not a 'boy's world' but MANY of the people you run into are male.
In certain settings and games, yes.

Quote:
My experience of the gamer community is the 30+ year olds, and my experience is that they are far more obnoxious (in the way Tait's article describes) than I would expect from the population as a whole in that age range.
Its true that games do often provide a refuge for anti-social individuals regardless of age so that you're more likely to run into them in a gaming environment but I dont see anything about a game that intrinsically attracts assholes.

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The fact that they are jerks to everyone does not change the fact that they are sexist douchebags. I don't see how that misses the broader problem; nor how it mitigates it or points us in a better direction for fixing it.
There is a difference between being a jerk and a sexist douchebag. Being a jerk is often a fixable condition, something one can be trained or grow out of with time and influence. Being a sexist douchebag is a more systemic problem that comes from crappy values regarding women in general that are often much more deeply rooted and harder to change.

Jerks are often just jerks regardless of their method of choice. They'll just as soon call a new player a "fag" when that new player kills then as they will screech and hoot at a female player. They're not sexist and they're not homophobic, they dont hate and fear gay people and women. They're looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance. On a game, that's often insults and the low-hanging fruit of insults are usually to question one's sexual orientation (if the target is male) and make sexually harassing comments (if the target is female).

I do have something of a solution, or rather a resolution, more on that later.

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Several very wise people I knew were fond of saying 'good intentions and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee out of a machine.' The fact that it is not your intention to do so, does not mean that you didn't do so.
Then that, quite frankly, is not my problem.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:37 AM
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I would really like to hear your ideas for how to really curb and deal with that behaviour. It makes me feel like punching people in the face, so I have a hard time imagining how to make it better. And I could really use some hope in that direction right now.
Hmm, hope I'm not to sure I can provide, but some form of resolution, why not?

Wait.

That's it. That's the plan.

Wait.

We have to look at the parts of the problem we can reasonably expect to effect and change. Aggressive, dickish behavior has been around since time was only now we cant channel it off by sending the boys off to raid a neighboring city. The impulse to be a jerk will ALWAYS be there and the (perceived) anonymity as well as the false courage online games give to people will be a perfect staging ground for it as long as it exists.

Since we cant change human nature or the fundamental structures of the internet, what CAN we change?

We can change the way we interact with each other and focus on changing our attitudes towards other people. As things become more socially accepted, the targeting of them drops off. When I started gaming, "fag" was the insult du jure for other gamers. As the LGBTQ community has come into it's own and been accepted, the use of that particular slur has dropped sharply because fewer and fewer people will tolerate its use. As more and more women come into gaming, the truly misogynistic attitudes will simply be sidelined and ignored while the jerks will move on to something else. This is a process that is already ongoing and shows no signs of slowing down.

People are already marginalizing and shutting out people who truly have these ideas that we find abhorrent. That process is going on socially as well as in our digital societies and what we need to do is wait for that process to come around to the issues we find important. We can help accelerate that by creating and nurturing environments that reform the behavior of jerks and sideline true misogynists.

I play EVE Online regularly and one thing I absolutely demand from a corp (in game group) is that they have at least one female player among them. I do that because I now have an idea that that group is likely going to be more mature and more accepting of different kinds of gamers, including women. If more people start doing things like that and actively voicing that they dont want to be a part of a group that is going to treat other people negatively, you'll see that push speed up even more.

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I still don't understand how it's shallow to have preferences and boundaries.
Its not. The author's approach is the difference between "I dont date Catholics because Catholicism and Catholics tend to share values that I disagree strongly with" and "I dont date Catholics because they're Catholic."

One is a stated preference, the other is an implied inferiority. It may sound like a small difference but, in the words of a famous man, like a small piece of glass lodged in the urinary tract, small things can cause big problems.

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I don't think she would have been under any delusions that she would not get negative responses. But the maelstrom was completely out of proportion (again).
Then I have to question why she wrote the article. If she wanted to warn people, why create a horror story out of something that isnt really a horror story?

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Oh, and thanks very much for bringing it to a separate thread!
No prob I think its an interesting topic that bears discussion.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:20 AM
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Jerks are often just jerks regardless of their method of choice. They'll just as soon call a new player a "fag" when that new player kills then as they will screech and hoot at a female player. They're not sexist and they're not homophobic, they dont hate and fear gay people and women. They're looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance. On a game, that's often insults and the low-hanging fruit of insults are usually to question one's sexual orientation (if the target is male) and make sexually harassing comments (if the target is female).
As a high school teacher, students are NOT allowed to say, "That's so GAY!" in my classroom. I don't care if they're actually homophobic or not. I don't care if they have gay friends or not. I don't allow them to say it because it perpetuates an idea that using sexual orientation (perceived or actual) or gender identity (perceived or actual) as an insult IS OKAY. When it is NOT OKAY. In the paragraph I quoted above you do the exact same thing, minimizing the effects of males using orientation or gender to insult. As if it were somehow justafiable, because they're just "looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance." That is in NO WAY an acceptable reason. If it were not tolerated by the gaming community in general, they would eventually stop doing it and find other, more gender-neutral ways of insulting teh noobs. Allowing anti-gay and misogynistic behavior to continue without challenging it is as bad as spreading it yourself. This is absolutely one case where if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the over-arching problem of societal acceptance of this behavior.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:28 AM
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That's another HUGE issue I have with that particular point; its GAMING. We wouldn't be having this part of the conversation if it was golf or baking or collecting thimbles or reading books or making art. For some reason, I see more people complain about gaming being a timesink for the people they love than anything else and 99 times out of 100 it comes from someone who isn't a gamer.
Ummm, because statistically speaking a LOT more people spend a LOT more time and money on gaming than is usual for most other hobbies. For whatever reason it seems to be very addicting for some. There may be the occasional person who fails classes or loses a job or relationship due to too much time spent baking, but it's far more rare. There are lots people who can balance gaming as a fun, non-detrimental part of their lives, but there's also lots of people who can't.

ETA: Other high-cost, long-hours hobbies, like golf, can indeed cause rifts in relationships, if it isn't an interest the people in the relationship share.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:53 AM
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As a high school teacher, students are NOT allowed to say, "That's so GAY!" in my classroom. I don't care if they're actually homophobic or not. I don't care if they have gay friends or not. I don't allow them to say it because it perpetuates an idea that using sexual orientation (perceived or actual) or gender identity (perceived or actual) as an insult IS OKAY. When it is NOT OKAY.
And that's the kind of influence that we need that will help to diminish and eventually eliminate using that kind of language, I applaud it fully.

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In the paragraph I quoted above you do the exact same thing, minimizing the effects of males using orientation or gender to insult. As if it were somehow justafiable, because they're just "looking for something to use to make themselves a nuisance." That is in NO WAY an acceptable reason. If it were not tolerated by the gaming community in general, they would eventually stop doing it and find other, more gender-neutral ways of insulting teh noobs. Allowing anti-gay and misogynistic behavior to continue without challenging it is as bad as spreading it yourself. This is absolutely one case where if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the over-arching problem of societal acceptance of this behavior.
There's a difference between accepting and condoning.

I dislike rain. Its cold, its wet, it makes travel difficult. I dont condone rain but I know there is nothing I can do to make it stop raining so I have to accept it's existence.

The same goes with people acting like jerks. You will never get rid of that kind of behavior. Ever. That goes across all gender, racial, sexual, and cultural lines. I'm not attempting to minimize at all, I am trying to get people to understand that there IS a difference between someone who acts like a jerk and someone who is truly prejudiced; someone who just acts like a jerk can have their behavior corrected by their surroundings and the input of their peers. That's why what you do in your classroom is important; it shows the kids that they're in a world that does not accept that kind of treatment of other people and they're less likely to use that kind of language.

People are going to act like jerks no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is help create an environment that is as unreceptive as possible to that sort of behavior and you'll see it moderated quite a bit with enough time and pressure.

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Originally Posted by ThatGirlInGray View Post
Ummm, because statistically speaking a LOT more people spend a LOT more time and money on gaming than is usual for most other hobbies.
Lets take golf as an example, its a nice establishment game.

It requires special shoes and special equipment as well as clubs and course fees just to play the game. Punch that stuff into Amazon and see how high that price will go. There are clubs, ONE CLUB, that goes for upwards of $1,000. That's one club, the game is generally played with an assortment of them.

ANY pass time can be taken to ludicrous level of expense.

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For whatever reason it seems to be very addicting for some. There may be the occasional person who fails classes or loses a job or relationship due to too much time spent baking, but it's far more rare. There are lots people who can balance gaming as a fun, non-detrimental part of their lives, but there's also lots of people who can't.
At the risk of derailing the thread, I'm not sure I agree.

People may not loose jobs because of excessive baking but they certainly can put on large amounts of health and relationship endangering weight. Spending time gaming is almost universally looked at as an unproductive waste of time by non-gamers and even we gamers (yes, full disclosure, I am a gamer) tend to be sheepish when we stay up till 4am playing a game we're really into.

I think we're more likely to HEAR about gamers having an unhealthy balance because society isnt yet that accepting of games. We're far better than we've been but we've got a ways to go.

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ETA: Other high-cost, long-hours hobbies, like golf, can indeed cause rifts in relationships, if it isn't an interest the people in the relationship share.
Absolutely true.

But you have to ask yourself when Googling addiction, which activity brings up a joke site as it's first result and which brings up the Betty Ford clinic as its first result? That gives you a pretty good idea of where people's general values are situated.
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