Oh, we haven’t had a feminist post for at least a month

I have a lot of sympathy with Effraeti, who waxes lyrical on why she isn’t a feminist. She reminds me a lot of myself a few years ago when I was straight out of college. I was getting on with things, working as an engineer, and maybe wincing at women who pull the “I’m a girl! I’m so bad at maths” shtick a bit for encouraging the general public to think that people like me didn’t exist. And of course, I was always a gamer. I don’t  much care for the label ‘female gamer’ , it isn’t meaningful to me.

One difference is that I did take Home Econ at school instead of Woodwork/ Metalwork because I’m pragmatic and figured cooking would be a more useful skill in my future independent life, to which I was counting down the hours. It is however true that none of the boys in my class seemed to see this. Another difference is that I never felt strongly about feminism. I could see it had been useful, equal pay and anti-sexism at work and all. But that was all done.

It’s only recently that I see how badly feminism has failed so many women who actually are putting themselves out there, trying roles that used to be seen as exclusively male, and not accepting gendered stereotypes. This is because it has become the preserve of social science academics who sit around talking about media studies and privilege. So of course everyone else is out of the loop.

Anyhow, the short form here is that I think Effraeti is wrong to keep that door closed. And it’s because although there will always be some women (like her, like me even) who see social structures saying “girls can’t do X” and think “I’ll show them!” and who happen to have lots of male friends and don’t see themselves as particularly girly. And maybe you’ll never really see the way in which society discriminates against women (and this is different from racism, et al because women are not a minority group), or wonder why even though you think you are one of the guys, they don’t always seem to act like you are when it would count. (If you think it’s bad now, imagine if you had kids; mothers are deeply discriminated against in the workplace.)

But equality, social justice, recognising societal power imbalances and finding room for everyone to have their voice, are important for girly girls (or boys) just as much as for engineers. You shouldn’t have to act ‘like a man’ to get people to take you seriously.

In gaming that means that female gamers might be good, might be bad, might be roleplayers, might be pet collectors, might be … anything that male players are. But you’d have to be blind not to see how games tend to pander to a male audience right now. You can claim you don’t care, that you like military shooters and want your female characters to be wearing bikinis and high heels — and if you do then you are well catered for. It could be different. There could be a wider variety of games to suit different players, both male and female. More romance, more social play, less killing, more cooperation, more exploring. But when you say that you’re a female gamer and not a feminist you’re effectively saying that you don’t even want to have that discussion. Heaven forfend you ever comment on character boob size or sexist smack talk. Maybe you don’t want to, maybe you like those things or feel you can easily ignore them. But wouldn’t it be nice to have more options for those people who do want them, wouldn’t it be nice if those women — so unlike us — who do experience sexism online didn’t have to?

You don’t like to call yourself a feminist, I don’t like to call myself a female gamer. But we’re still sisters, under the skin.

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100 thoughts on “Oh, we haven’t had a feminist post for at least a month

  1. Excellent post!

    I do find this:

    “This is because it has become the preserve of social science academics who sit around talking about media studies and privilege.”

    To be a bit jarring – a lot of what I’ve learned from feminism (and intersectionality) I’ve learned online, in discussions with other people who have never studied it academically, and via reading the blogs, articles and tweets of others who do not have my ‘privileges’. I’ve probably picked up the jargon of it because I think that way anyway (and I probably count as a social science type due to my major)

    But then I’ve always viewed feminism as an on going process rather than a static ideology.

  2. Here, here! As a guy I’d actually be open to changes to our games. Just because you alter things to have more romances, social interactions or whatever doesn’t mean the game is diluted or more “girly” it actually provides a more varied experience that can increase immersion in your chosen milieu. MMOs shouldn’t be the province of kill X of this, deliver y of that. I’m sure we’re all well aware of this by now. Changing the status quo isn’t just “pandering to the feminists” it’s also moving away from stale tropes and providing an experience that could be more engaging for everyone. Unfortunately I think we hear too much from the vocal minority that seem to enjoy sexist banter and belittling other human beings for their own sadistic plasure.

  3. Beautiful post.

    Whenever I hear the argument that feminist has become obsolete and that there’s equality in the “civilized” world, I shudder, and sometimes I get defensive. It is a difficult topic to discuss, especially with people that are unconscious of their privileges. Very much like any truth, the exposition of sexism produces negative reactions.

    The industry of video games is socially primitive in his respect. As long as we have sexualized female characters (which is not the same as sexual, as you probably know already); a focus on women’s appearance instead of her words, as in pewter’s account of Nikasaur’s video; derisive and/or patronizing attitudes towards female gamers; the whole concept of ‘girl’ gamer, which you wisely reject, and its infantilization and sexualization of women, often self-inflicted; the notion and reinforcement of the stereotype of the female player as someone precious, to be showered with gifts and praises.

    And the most awful thing is that sexism doesn’t work unidirectionally, from the prejudiced to the oppressed, it is an internalized attitude in many women too, which is why I consider that rejecting all ideas of feminism, which whatever label you may call them, is usually indicative of a lack of social awareness, and in some sad cases, of compliance with the patriarchal notion that there is no sexism anymore, nothing to fight for.

  4. Thanks for putting important clarifications out there, Spinks; you echo another reaction by TB from Borderhouse (not sure you seen it, it’s at http://tamibaribeau.com/?p=639) and I was very glad when she posted it. It’s how I feel today and know that when I was younger, I have been under all the same girl geek misconceptions most of us go through, just in order to get accepted and prove myself; never even questioning why I would have to try so hard or imitate the behaviour of the boys around me. it’s easy not to feel discrimination when you are actually absenting yourself from the issue, making sure to conform with “male” standards and values, never making yourself subject of criticism. It’s like walking in the woods wearing a green cape and then say “see, no problem”. Only, it has nothing to do with free choices or things being fine. in fact, you are just re-inforcing that they aren’t.

    I know by now where I went wrong before and why, and the blogosphere has had a big part in that personal growth. many thanks to Pewter as well in this context who has given me much to ponder over the years. it’s been very liberating but often frustrating too, hehe.

    Internalized sexism is the hardest to perceive in yourself. I still struggle with it, not to judge women who allow themselves to make use of their sex in a free way or to achieve their goals. but I don’t consider male behaviour different or superior anymore and I see how often men don’t need justify themselves when women do, simply due to privilege. so at least, I have become more critical overall and perceive the double standards, rather than always seeking blame with women – what they should do differently in order to not be discriminated.
    I always wondered why I experienced so little “sisterhood” in my life (as opposed to my male friends), but I had to realize that a big part of the problem was me all along. sorry for the WoT, couldn’t keep it any shorter. :)

  5. My wife and I are in our mid 50’s. She was a very strong feminist in the days of Gloria Stienem et al. What has happened is the feminist movement has turned into more of an abortion/lesbian movement instead of a womans connection movement.

    But what you preceive as remaining sexisim is really not. A women from a wealthy background will have it much easier than a man from a poor one. Its all about connections. It was rarely ever what you know and has almost always been who you know. Men had this big advantage but it has been diminshed and replaced with money and power circles. Today Ivanka Trump on money and name can get what she wants way before a male expert on a subject.

    So its not ‘acting like a man’ that is important. Its what type of relationship you have with the ‘boss’ that actually matters. Now if the boss likes ‘survival of the fittest’ then that boss encourges a confrontational discussion and probably backstabbing. You might think that is ‘acting like a man’ but its not. So please don’t equate that to sexisim.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, but I’ve also worked in a very male dominated environment and I saw things a bit differently. I liked my colleagues, that was never the issue. But it was also much easier for a guy to get ahead in that environment because the managers liked to promote people who were ‘one of them’ and a man was more likely to fit that mould. Especially when being ‘one of the guys’ involves spending hours after work in smokey pubs with colleagues drinking beer, talking about football and your wife and kids. There was a point where I said innocently “could we go to a coffee shop instead” – I figured it’d be more comfortable, and quieter, and we could sit down and chat. Plus coffee. But apparently this was not the way engineers were supposed to socialise in that company … or something.

      When a man is assertive, it’s seen as managerial potential. When a woman is assertive, it’s seen as bitchy. That’s still a very real thing in the world.

      I’m not going to keep arguing the point, but accept for a moment that perhaps what I perceive as sexism is actually sexism. Sure, being rich always makes things easier, but women are far far more likely to live in poverty than men in our society. So you can say that a rich women will have things easier than a poor man, but there are many many more poor women than rich ones. And many fewer rich women than rich men.

      • There is a whole argument about race, to a lesser extent class and feminism that went on in the 70’s that essentially being replayed on the internet because the internet is whitest, most middle class place on the planet.

        Playing who has it worse game is always going to be problematic.

      • To say there is absolutly no discrimination is crazy. As long as there are human beings there will be discrimination. Its human nature.

        But to say that it exists in large amounts is highly debateable. As I said what matters is personal relationships, the who you know part. I can easily point to a straight white male that has conservative positions and guarantee that he would never get a job al the New Your Times, MSNBC or probably at any public school in a major city like Chicago. It wouldn’t matter if he was the most qualified person or not.

        yet would anyone calssify that as discrimination? They would chalk it up to a difference in viewpoints. And THAT is what is mainly going on today.

      • A straight white male is a lot more likely to be able to make the sorts of connections that will lead to good job opportunities than a woman (and I gave some examples of why that is, and a lot is down to current managers, mostly straight white men, preferring to mentor people ‘like themselves’). That doesn’t mean that every single straight white male will be able to do that. But the fact that one man hasn’t made connections doesn’t mean that there also isn’t sexism.

      • To be fair, an average homeless person, alcoholic, drug addict, convicted felon or someone with an IQ below 60 is also far more likely to be male than female.

        In the great game of life, males have a higher “critical chance” when it comes to both successes *and* failures.

    • In agreement with Spinks, I think you also have glimpsed the bigger problem Goodmongo, but haven’t recognized it.

      That women from a wealthier background *may* have some kind of advantage over a poor male, the issue remains one of patriarchal power structures. Even that poor man is, in fact, a man and he still receives privileges the rich woman does not. This scenario is a good point from which we can see that these two characters struggle against the same crippling system. The poor man suffers from trying to live up to “being a man” in this society, which happens to be a good example of why sexism hurts men. The wealthy woman struggles to prove her worth …by being wealthy? What does this say about the structure? That for women to be worthy they must be careerists? There’s a whole lot to dissect in your reply, but I don’t think I’m the one to do it. Hopefully what I’m pointing at is clear though.

      • I hesitate to even post this, because my list of caveats is going to be a significant part of this comment. Personally, I identify with the goals of equality that feminists support. I don’t mean this comment as an attack on Doone or anyone else; I like to believe that people arguing in support of feminism are allies in the fight for equality. Part of what I believe makes me a good game designer is being able to see things from different perspectives, and trying to understand other points of view. However, don’t take this as me speaking authoritatively for others or trying to define their experiences.

        So, consider what a person who believes that society should work toward equality would think when reading a line like, “That women from a wealthier background *may* have some kind of advantage over a poor male, the issue remains one of patriarchal power structures.” In that perspective it reads like you are downplaying the role of socioeconomic class in inequality and saying that the primary element in determining inequality is a person’s gender.

        Now, I can understand why you likely feel the need to word it like this. You don’t want to give ammo to critics of feminism to say that sexism “doesn’t really matter” when there are other forms of inequality that can dominate so heavily. But, realize that you’re also potentially fueling the doubts of a prospective ally who has seen economic status play a much larger role in his or her life than gender (possibly due to internalized sexism as others have mentioned in other comments).

        Recently I’ve read up on the concept of “intersectionality” which has made for very fascinating reading and has resonated tremendously with me. In the end, I’d love to see more people fighting inequality of all types. As I said, we need more allies to fight the good fight.

      • I understand what you’re saying, Psycho and that’s perhaps part of the reason I felt I wasn’t the best person to give it the explanation it deserves. To be clear though, my point is exactly as you pointed out: the power structures which hurt all and how class plays a role in keeping most of us oppressed, rich woman and poor man. That was entirely my point. Class, feminism, sexism, racism …all spring from the same bitter tree. Same structure.

        No one who believes in the cause of feminism, ally or not, has reason to be discouraged if they know what they believe in.

  6. “I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a Feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

    -Rebecca West

  7. Something that makes me honestly uncomfortable about people talking about catering to women in gaming is the concept it will somehow make gaming better or more grown up. Or that games focusing on a male demographic, such as military shooters, are some how less ‘mature’.

    I think we do need to address the idea that what women want in games is just as pathetic and venal as what men want in games. A different kind of pathetic and venal but pathetic and venal just the same. Of course we should cater to it, as we should cater to everyones terrible id in gaming, but we shouldn’t put it on a pedestal either.

    • I think this is a bit of a straw man since you’re introducing an argument that no one here made so that you can rebut it. I also think that you’re laying the pathetic and venal thing on a bit strong. What do you think men and women want in games?

      However, it will absolutely and measurably make gaming better if it means more games that I like!

    • Sounds like BS to me. No one said ‘give me beefcakes in tiny shorts’. I read things like ‘more social interaction, more cooperation, more exploration’. Those are not demands of the id, and are therefore more mature in that they come from the parts of our brain that aren’t just flight, fight, or fuck.

      • “No one said ‘give me beefcakes in tiny shorts’. I read things like ‘more social interaction, more cooperation, more exploration’.”

        To be fair, men didn’t say ‘give me bimbos in transparent bikinis’, either. We wanted tales of adventure, triumph over adversity, personal empowerment and self-actualization. Instead, we got gratuitous boobs, violence and explosions.

        Of course, you could point out that all of the above sell very well and conclude that this is what men really wanted all along. However, in that case I would have to point out the financial success of the Twilight saga (with its overwhelmingly female readership) and draw a similar conclusion.

        With a few worthy exceptions, game designers have a history of pushing our most primitive buttons and targeting the lowest common denominator. So when they start actively ‘catering to women’, you’ll get twelve Harlequin-style bodice rippers for each decent game about social interaction, cooperation and exploration. And then they’ll claim that this is what you wanted all along.

        So be careful what you wish for. Learn from men’s folly.

    • You mean Effraeti’s? I went over there to take a look at her arguments and became instantly depressed. Her discourse is all about internalized sexism, of being proud of having conformed to the idea of man and man’s culture as superior, when compared to the women’s usual entertainments and “trifles”. Becoming a tomboy, unfeminine, is not the solution towards gender equality, it is a question of choice, which is what feminism is about. Belittling what is considered as feminine is complying to the patriarchal view that grades typical women’s things as superficial.

      • Yes, I meant Effraeti’s page. She is so … urgent in her insistence that she is one of the good women. She doesn’t complain! She loves men! She’s not angry or uppity! She doesn’t act TOO much like a woman! She has earned being treated with respect by inoffensiveness and not questioning anything.

        So depressing. :( Effraeti, if you ever read this: you deserve to be treated with respect whether you are angry or not angry, a tomboy or a girly girl, a feminist or not. Please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and stop assuming that angry girly girls don’t deserve the same respect that you do.

  8. I said a similar thing over on We Fly Spitfires when they asked if you were ashamed of being an MMO player. I’m not ashamed of playing games, but I’m deeply ashamed of being associated with (a large group of) people who do. Racist, sexist, immature and proud of it.

    It’s certainly not true of everyone, but pick up a console and go online (which is the easiest/most common way to start gaming), and see what you think of gamers. That’s why I only tell people who already know me that I play games. To strangers, my hobby is guitar.

    • Isn’t this a type of profiling? Or sterotyping? Not saying those individuals don’t exist but aren’t you painting everyone with the same brush?

      And this is exactly my point. EVERYONE has some type of bigotry. We must as humans view life and surronding events through the prsim of our lives.

      But to determine a fact requires pure logic and the removal of all emotion. Only numbers and statistics should matter.

      I can’t respond to how things are in the whole world. I live in the USA and there things are way different than 50, 40, 30 or even 20 years ago. There will never be utopia but when over 57% of the college population is female it is kind of hard to calim that they don’t have equal opportunity.

      • “when over 57% of the college population is female it is kind of hard to calim that they don’t have equal opportunity.”

        It’s also kind of hard to claim that women don’t have equal opportunity when you stick your fingers in your ear and say “la la la I can’t hear you” when women (and men) tell you about their experiences with the contrary, as has happened on this very page!

      • Did ya see how the panel of experts fer the House hearing on requiring insurance companies to cover presription birth control consisted of five men? And how Chairman Darrell Issa done accused Rep Carolyn Maloney of “an outright lie” when she asked, “Where are the women? When I look at this panel, I don’t see one, single woman”? And callin’ wimmenz liars were hardlies the worst thing what got said in the fallout.

        Meanwhiles, vodka companies run ads suggestin’ what rapin’ wimmenz be a fun time, even when they don’t “go down smoothly”.

        I ain’t lookin’ fer Utopia, but I sure fuhg ain’t willin’ ta settle fer this crap.

      • Lets see. Theratshag is saying it would only be fair if all types have representation. Just because someone is or isn’t on a panel doesn’t mean it qulifies as discrimination.

        And what about the straight white conservative anglo male who applies for a job at say the NAACP, MSNBS, The New York Times or almost any large city school but isn’t hired? Is that discrimination?

        What if a male wanted to teach a women’s study course but was refused because they weren’t a women? Is that discrimination? Of course those aren’t and there are reason why. So before always yelling discrimination because someone disagrees with you or didn’t pick you for the team don’t run off an yell discrimination.

        Oh BTW where is all the outcry against rap music or certain religions (not naming them) for the anti-women stances they take. See to me is selective assignment of guilt or accusation. I mean how many of you got upset about conservative women being called the C word or the T word? If its WOMEN’s rights you are really for then it should be for ALL women and not have a political agenda as the primary cause of action.

        So please be real to yourself and the movement.

      • No wimmenz allowed at the table, but dudes what took a vow of celibacy is, to discuss an issue what directlies affects most women, but exactlies zero percent of mens. If’n yer cool with that bufoonery, then yer part of the problem, no matters how hard ya try ta change the subject.

      • Sorry theratshag but that logic is basically crazy and has a tint of bigotry. Lets assume that the panel had 5 men who were all MD’s and highly qualified. Are you saying that just because it has zero women that it should not be listened to? Your exclusion of men from the panel can easily be viewed as discriminatory as excluding women. Their qualifications are what should matter.

        Now if you argue that they aren’t qualified that’s another story. But to say they are not qualified because of their gender is just as discriminatory as the other side.

        I mean does this mean only males can be on a panel that discusses male education or viagra? Qualifications are what amtters not the race, gender or whatever preconceived birth notion that you or others may have.

      • theragshag – whilst I’m almost entirely in agreement with you, transgendered men exist, and are affected by the availability of birth control

      • @Goodmongo

        I’s impressed, bro. Ain’t manies what be self-absorbed enough fer ta believe a hypothetical what exists only in they’s brain invalidates sumthin’ what, ya know, actually happened. Is big hairy Congo rats.

        @Sebastian

        Good point. Thankee fer the correction.

      • Goodmongo ~

        Every single comment you have posted on this blog thus far has consisted of active attempts at derailment in the first place and outright sexist bullshit in the second. Perhaps you should name one damned reason why any woman should take you seriously?

  9. The thing is Spinks I agree that there should be more options. I’m way open to allowing the gamer to choose what they want to do or be, especially in a RPG type game.

    I loved that I could be a child killer in Fallout 2 or be the savior of the wastelands. Give me those options. I have no problem with gay characters in ME3 but I want the option to kick any NPC off my ship, or to even shoot them in the face if I wanted to.

    In Planscape Torment NPC’s would attack you if you did things they didn’t like. You could treat them like crap of be nice. It allowed for the full playstyle. I’m all open to more of that. I hate having to abide by or be the type of character that a writer says I am.

    So I say include all types of females, let us the player pick the body and face type. Let us be able to play as peace loving, or gay or as a serial killer type that even kills his companions. I say open it up to allow us the gamers real choices.

  10. Just wait until y’all are past 40 and don’t garner sexual attention anymore (from whatever your preference). Its a whole different world, one that you are no longer wanted in. Then you’ll see how Feminism is still needed and, in fact, has lost ground on many fights due to complacency of the younger wave.

  11. “It could be different. There could be a wider variety of games to suit different players, both male and female.”

    The Call of Duty male teenager shouting profanities over his headset is NOT representative of the average gamer:

    http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2011.pdf

    I agree that the industry could do with more variety. However I would argue that the range of gaming titles across PCs, consoles, mobile phones and social media is the most diverse that it has ever been.
    Someone is buying a lot of copies of Call of Duty. But someone else is buying Just Dance. And let’s not even get started on The Sims phenomenon.

  12. When a panel whose purpose is to discuss the control of women’s reproductive rights (and by extension, the control of women’s lives, since, you know, having kids is kind of a big deal) consists primarily of men, I would most certainly say the group is not qualified, and that by extension, a “peer” group of mainly men dictating an issue that is pretty much the foundation of female equality (control over your own body, control over your own future, control over your own life) is clear cut discrimination.

    White male about to hit thirty checking in, by the way. As many other people have posted, my experience is that my opportunities and options are still wider than those of female colleagues my age (in the sense that I feel I have fewer expectations not related to performance/skill to meet to be considered “viable”) and as Melponeme has pointed out, my older female coworkers have their options limited even more.

    So yea, the argument, based on hypothetical anecdotes, that white males are slowly becoming some kind of disadvantaged minority, is frankly a load of bull. Equal rights aren’t a finite good.

    • Equal rights aren’t a finite good.

      Sure… but opportunities absolutely are finite. The more level the playing field, the more competition exists, the lower your personal odds of success.

      Now, obviously, that is no ethical argument against equal rights. But sometimes I feel it’s silly to completely ignore the zero-sum side of the equation. Especially since I consider most of the resistance and feet-dragging from men subconsciously stems from that angle.

      • All you can ever really ask for is an equal right to compete on a level playing field. And the people who lose out will lose out because others were better, not because of their gender, skin colour, sexuality, religion, disability, wealthy family etc.

        I understand that can sound scary, but not as scary as knowing you have to be twice as good as the next guy to even get a shot because of how you were born.

      • “But sometimes I feel it’s silly to completely ignore the zero-sum side of the equation. Especially since I consider most of the resistance and feet-dragging from men subconsciously stems from that angle.”

        I agree. People will naturally be reluctant and resistant to give up inherent privilege.

    • That is just so silly and ignorant. You are throwing out knowledge and expertise in favor of what you have between your legs. Remember my premise was 5 male MD’s on the panel vs. females that were there just because they are female.

      • The 5 male MDs are never going to get pregnant. Yet they are the ones who decide whether women will have access to birth control? I don’t think it’s “silly and ignorant” to see an attempt by men to exert control over women’s reproduction as discrimination.

      • So Theo lets say you are a women with ovarian cancer. Would you refuse to be treated by male MD’s because they don’t have ovaries? See it is stupid and ignorant to base your decisions soley upon what is between your legs.

        As a male I have no problems seeing a female doctor as long as I think she is qualified.

      • Unlike ovarian cancer, reproductive rights, and by extension the ability to control one’s future, are not really a medical issue. You seem to be trying very hard to make it appear to be a medical issue, which kind of boggles me.

  13. It could be different. There could be a wider variety of games to suit different players, both male and female. More romance, more social play, less killing, more cooperation, more exploring.

    I’d like to see these alternative games, but I don’t see how they exist outside of anyone’s imagination. Or even how they would be fun in a game-sense. The Sims did fine, I guess, but beyond that?

    • Oh, there are plenty of games like Portal, Skyrim, Bioware RPGs et al. Not to mention huge sellers like Pokemon.

      But the big money still seems to be in the combat heavy/ FPS field.

      • To understand the key to the current success of the FPS field, you need to relaise that FPS multiplayer games are, more than any other genre (even MMO’s), a social genre. They’re an activity that social groups perform rather than, to contrast with things like MMO’s an activity that you need to perform social groups to perform.

        FPS multiplayer games are essentially pub snooker. Their financial success comes from making you buy a new snooker table every year.

        Until you have another game genre that offers that level of social connection, you’re never going to topple it.

  14. It won’t happen. Power cannot be given. It can only be taken. People who refuse to fight in the name of “More romance, more social play, less killing, more cooperation, more exploring” will not have anything. Not because they are women, because they are WEAK.

    Sexism is saying “women are weak” which is not true. You are a living counter-example. What you are saying is “the weak shall have a place under the Sun”. That’s not feminism, that’s just plain stupidity.

    The ONLY way for women (and man alike) is to be strong. The discrimination comes from the fact that little boys are taught to be strong while little girls are not. It’s not fair. Barbie houses and fairy tales with no struggle, evil witch or dragon to defeat should be banned as child harming.

    What about boobs and heels? They are weapons against weak man (and weak lesbians).

    • I’m saying the way we decide who is weak is determined largely by rich men. When I say that women are more likely to live in poverty it’s not because they’re weak, it’s because they are more likely to be out of the economic workforce due to being old (women live longer) or being at home with children (women are far more likely to be doing the majority of the childcare in pretty much every culture) or having caring responsility for other family members (ie. older parents etc). Women also get discriminated against at work because senior management assume they’re going to take time off for kids, even if that wasn’t their plan, so think it’s not worth promoting them (yes, this discrimination is illegal, but it happens.) Sexism is saying that even if you’re strong, the odds are against you compared to if you were a man.

      Now you could say that only a weak woman would agree to stay home with the kids, or even have kids at all. Or you could say, well maybe this burden should be shared more fairly. Maybe it should be more normal for both parents to work part time and share childcare, or for the state to provide childcare so that mothers can afford to work.

      • Weakness is not determined largely by rich men, the only person who decides they are weak is the person themself, regardless of gender. To argue otherwise is to suggest that we are all merely puppets at the end of another’s string which by extension would deny the existence of choice. I would suggest that taking the approach that it’s someone else’s fault for putting someone in a lesser position is not the fault of the person doing it, but, rather, is the fault of the person allowing it to be done to them. And, by doing so, i.e., merely allowing themself to be put in a lesser position, is a tacit acknowledgment of acceptance.

        The question really to be asked is not why do men put women in an inferior position (if you accept that postulate, which I do not), but, rather, why do women allow themselves to be so?

      • No women who live in poverty are there because they decided to have kids while being single. At least use facts. If they didn’t have out of wedlock kids they odds of them being in poverty are even less than males. Yes you read that right. Take away being pregnant while you ar 16 and the chance of a female living in poverty is LOWER than a male.

      • Goodmongo: No, that’s actually not true. Women are more likely to be living in poverty than men regardless of what age they have children. This also applies to women in relationships whose partners are either not working or won’t share their wages.

        Also there are single mothers who are single because they left violent relationships, or where relationships didn’t work out for other reasons.

        Why would anyone choose to be a single mother living in poverty? That makes pretty much no sense?

      • SpiritusRex: I’m talking about the social construction of our idea of ‘weakness’ being so linked to economic power and alpha male attributes. Or in other words, for a woman to be thought of as strong in our society, she must act like a man.

        Also, telling people who experience discrimination that it’s collectively their fault is making me wonder whether you have ever experienced it yourself.

      • Spinks, please check the facts. Even at a left leaning site like americanprogress.org you can see that 13.8% of females are poor compared to 11.1% of makles. However, 38% of those females have dependant children. So my comment that a single female without children has a smaller chance to be poor compared to a single male without children is a FACT.

        And for many of the single females without children they are elderly. So your preconceived thoughts on poverty and single females is actually wrong.

        As for your question of why would anyone choose to do that, there are many that do make that choice. While you nor I can comprehend that choice it is made everyday in the innercities. Have you hard of the “baby mama” syndrome?

      • The whole children thing is a pretty big thing to ignore as a determining factor there, Goodmongo. As well as the ability of the gentleman to…do his business and step away from the after effects.

        You’re also assuming that everyone has the same degree of choice you have as a white male.

      • Simon, the fact remains that a childless female growing up has a lower rate of ending up in poverty than a childless male. You can argue about why women get pregnant or why they end up with the child but it has nothing to do with the premise that females on a balanced view have a better chance of avoiding poverty.

        And the difference between 13.8% and 11.1% is not some super hugh gap that females imply.

        Whether or not you or anyone else wants to admit it the main reasons for poverty are single parent households or ald age. Women live longer than men so have a higher chance of being old and in poverty. I’m citing facts here and not false beliefs.

      • So if you’re female, the best way to stay out of poverty is to NEVER have children (because relationships can go wrong or break up, and then you’d be on your own with the kids). Is that your answer then? No woman who wants to stay financially independent should ever have children?

        Do you think that’s a reasonable position?

      • “I’m talking about the social construction of our idea of ‘weakness’ being so linked to economic power and alpha male attributes. Or in other words, for a woman to be thought of as strong in our society, she must act like a man.”

        How so? I mean, it’s not like men automatically get a check because they happen to have been born with a Y chromosome. On a macroeconomic level, I think linking “weakness” to women is an awfully broad brush with which to be painting. Further, to say that women are oppressed as a result of the Old Boys Club and male attributes is rather simplistic and just as discriminatory as that which you argue against.

        Lastly, as an aside, I have lived almost all of my life with an obvious physical handicap which limits me from some things others are able to enjoy. Unfortunately, as a result, I am well aware and am reminded almost daily of the discrimination that exists in our world. Given that perspective and having had it for so long, I came to a decision at a young age and retain it to this day that effort and intelligence are the primary sources of power and are also well within one’s own control. To allow somebody else to have an impact on either of those is what I consider to be “weakness” – and also happens to neither be gender, nor economically specific.

      • How so? Well who holds the power in our society, and who has done so historically? That group of people have been quite influential in defining how our culture/s work and how we think around ideas like strength and weakness. Anyway you can go read up on social construction theory if you are interested.

        Well, I think it would be better if we fought against discrimination so that people who have some kind of stigma or discrimination didn’t have to work so much harder to get anywhere. You are free to despise those you see as weak if it makes you feel better.

      • GoodMongo: I looked at americanprogress.com for reports on gender stuff and didn’t find anything about single women with no children. I did find this about how gender inequality strains economic and political development though.

        We do however know that women are more likely than men to be poor in old age, and that women with children are more likely to be poor than men with children. In the UK, single working women with no children are slightly more likely to be in poverty than men … but it’s really close (probably less close now because the public sector is taking a lot of cuts, affecting teachers, nurses, social workers etc which are female dominated professions). That’s the population section that is closest to equality. I couldn’t find anything similar for US statistics, but that’s probably because I’m british and I know the local sites with expertise. Feel free to post more specific evidence.

        I still think ‘you can be equal but only if you never marry or have children’ is not really the solution, especially if you want to encourage smart career-minded women to have kids, or in fact care about the survival of the species.

  15. “There could be a wider variety of games to suit different players, both male and female. More romance, more social play, less killing, more cooperation, more exploring”

    For me the answer is business. Women do play videogames, but they are still a minority. How many players would a “romance, social play” game really have?

    Developers and designers are catering to their target audience, which are most teenage males. Hence the violence, the sexualised women and the overall feel of the game.

    This is where I don’t understand where you are coming from. You are asking for games orientated towards women, without realizing that video-games are a business and that businesses make money by selling a product to the people interested in buying said product. In the present, having a videogame targeted towards women would mean that the company would most likely take a loss in revenue, unless I am mistaken…

    • There is a notion of ‘expanding the market’. Too many devs have already decided that their main audience is teenage males (or older males who want to relive being teenagers) and aren’t really trying to serve other areas of the market, who can and do play games but not the ones they’re being sold.

      It probably doesn’t help that there are so few female devs, writers, and designers too. Not that you need female designers to design games but a more diverse workforce would maybe throw in some new ideas and approaches.

      • You use the term market but that actually translates into sales. And just like women sports (NCAA womens basketball for example) the market is many times smaller than the market for men’s sports.

        You may not like it. You may think it’s unfair. But its a reality. Now the question is what would be the market for a game designed for women? Which we have some clues like dance studio etc.

    • Aren’t there dozens of studies showing that the female population completely dominates casual gaming? Anecdotally my wife drinks those games up but could care less about a “mainstream” game like CoD. Plants vs Zombies, Smurfs Village, Puzzle Quest (that was a dreary time) are the tip of the iceberg.

      Zynga has made BILLIONS catering to this market. Mainstream MMOs have shunned this side (though Rift’s exploration/companions and WoW’s MOP expansion are attempts) for quite a while. That mold is being broken as there is money to be made catering to both sides of the same coin (that coin being people).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games

      Read this and count the number of games that are male and female oriented – or those that are neutral. Wii Sports, the Sims, Nintendogs, Super Mario, Pokémon, Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain – not counting MMOs. Wii Fit (42 million copies for both versions) has sold more copies than all CoD games, combined.

      Women have for years, though silently, made game companies millionaires.

      • Zynga also lost billions when people stopped playing their games.

        The issue is that women buy these things, then go away afterwards. That Wii sports is probably the only game they bought. There’s nothing wrong with that because money is money but the gaming industry would rather end up as Jack Warner than Richard Knerr.

        I’m not saying this is right but to squeeze the sort of sustainable cash that keeps the game industry rolling and to really want to draw in female audiences, you’d need a shift in female buying patterns to match those of teenage boys along with a similar absorption of gaming culture into the target demographic.

        That’s not to say they shouldn’t create more female friendly games but you can understand why they stick to what’s tried and true.

      • First, Zynga made 1.1 billion dollars last year, gross. 303 million in profit. Their results are online for people to read.

        I’ve read your reply a few times now and I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. The entire consumer market is tailored to women’s spending habits. It’s the reason Home Depot/Lowes have gardening/decoration/appliance sections.

        http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/

        Gaming is the same. The top 14 console games of all time are casual games. Heck, 25 of the top 30 are casual-oriented.

        Call of Duty sold 10 million copies? So what, Nintendogs sold 24 million. Cooking Mama sold 5 million!

      • OK, so there’s a female audience who will play games. Why would you be surprised if I’d like more games with the budget of a CoD thrown at them that aren’t military shooters?

      • So Asmiroth based on what you posted it seems there are plenty of games tailored to females. If so then whats the argument? Is the argument to change COD type games to be more female friendly?

      • The argument is that there are already plenty of games targeted for multiple demographics – yet not within specific gaming markets.

        If you want to design a game for a specific audience, you are by the very act limiting your possible sales demographic. If you make a Hello Kitty game, you’re not going to get too many 21 year old males playing. Just like CoD won’t find too many 18 year old females.

        Women aren’t asking for candy canes that shoot sparkles at ponies and give them bow ties (will have to patent that idea though). They are asking for a semi-competitive environment (vs themselves), minus social pressure, the idea of ownership, with nurturing/ positive-feedback game play. And the ability to play without being sexually harassed. Holy jeez is this a big one.

        That being said, in a given game market (say shooters), there are very few games that attract a female audience. Subscription based MMOs used to be very male-focused but one can argue that Worgen/Goblins are better than TERA’s dancing strippers and lolicons. There’s still work to be done to expand a given market into ALL demographics.

      • Ok I get that. But why go down that path? Take turn based wargames. It is a very niche market. They tried to expand on it but realized that they can make almost a guaranteed set amount money appealing to gonards than risk creating a very expensive game that may or may not bring in the larger audiance.

        So while COD could build a game that meets that criteria the market question is why would they? They have a basic formula that kinda prints money for them right now. They don’t have to take risks. Now if some competitor actually did take the risk and it proved to be a money maker than everyone jumps on the bandwagon and you get tons of games that follow that path.

        See some like to think its because of some discrimination or other reason. No its about money. Companies don’t discriminate if they can make a buck. But till the market is proven they want to take the guaranteed money and not risk it.

  16. Pingback: Feminists All the Way Down | Apple Cider Mage

    • Do you know clicking on the link to your site reuslts in it being blocked as a malicious site? You may want to scrub the site.

  17. “OK, so there’s a female audience who will play games. Why would you be surprised if I’d like more games with the budget of a CoD thrown at them that aren’t military shooters?”

    Referring back to the casual market, I would argue that you don’t need to throw a CoD budget at them in to be successful. All you need is some pick-up-and-play mechanics, distribution through the right channels and some good marketing.
    Could Angry Birds be made more profitable with a CoD budget?

    Conversely, would a console FPS be successful without a sizeable budget? Maybe, but I believe the audience for these games expect cinematics and big name voiceovers nowadays.

    I’m not trying to be deliberately obstructive – I genuinely WOULD like to see new game types emerge.
    Spinks, if you start a Kickstarter game development for a romance/social title, you have my $10.

  18. Pingback: Hypercriticism – Embracing Feminism

  19. I always laugh at “feminist” discussions, because they often seem to revolve around overcomplicated rubbish that skirts a problem that’s wholly misunderstood. Take Milady’s comments; deliberately designed to obfuscate what’s being said for the sole purpose of anonymity; I’m a woman, damn it, how dare you hold me responsible for the sound of my own voice?

    The fact that the feminist movement doesn’t actually bother to promote feminism by a reasonable definition (and never did) almost completely bedevils the attempt to do so. Go figure.

    Life, and games, should reflect only what a person has a choice in. Choice is the only delimiter worthy of note. Women should not be considered equal to men. Blacks should not be considered equal to caucasians. All of this talk simply makes an issue out of something that doesn’t matter, CREATING segregation where none need exist.

    If you’re a black lesbian with a physical or mental disability, I’m not going to judge you any differently than I would a white, heterosexual and able-bodied male. That’s because I’d be judging you on something you can do nothing about. If I aim a product at either of these stereotypes, I automatically discount the other. No, I’ll simply make the best products that I possibly can and let each individual choose what they want.

    WHAT you are never comes into it. WHO you are is my working definition. Everyone gets a fair opportunity to do what they want, while everyone is held accountable for their successes or failures.

    Wouldn’t that be something?

  20. The resplonses are getting lost so I’ll answer some questions here.

    @Spinks “Well who holds the power in our society”. This is a major red herring in the argument. When I go apply for a job at the local company that employs 200 people who is holding that power? Its not the government or president. its who owns that company or who the HR person art that company is. And to state that men are the only ones at that level is foolish at best.

    So when margret Thatcher was PM over in the UK was not that an example of women holding the power? See its nice to use a phrase like you did but it doesn’t hold up to closer inspection.

    @Spinks: here is the HRL to the page http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/10/women_poverty.html
    Now the key is to actually look at the stats and not rely on the spin. You will see charts and other stats that show poverty rates for women = 13.8% men = 11.1% (first off this isn’t some hugh gap), woemn with children making up poverty = 38%, and the data on age.

    Put it all together and you can clearly see that single women that are old (either spouse died or were never married) are much more likely to be in poverty. Or having a child with out a spouse increase poverty. Using their numbers single women with no children are 54% of the 13.8% poverty rate. That means just 7.5% of single women without a child are in poverty. And that is HIGHER then single men without a child. This is just a fact, at least here in the US.

    Now lets deal with your other point about not having a child. Once again statistics show that having a child at 16 greatly increases your odds of living in poverty then if you had that child at 25 or 30 years of age. So if a women hold off and finishes her education then this has much more impact on poverty then just being a female.

    And with the contraception fights, abortion fights etc there should be no reason women don’t hold off till later.

    Yes I agree that there are always the case of a female/male marrying at 18 and having a kid and the father leaving. But once again facts and statistics show this to be a very minor part of the total. Once again in the US, according to the CDC 41% of all births are out of wedlock. And for blacks that jumps up to 72% (nearly 3 out of 4).

    These are the sad facts. Poverty is closely tied to having to raise a child alone while uneducated. And that rate has been increasing every year for all races in the US. So do they choose to do it? I can’t read minds but the facts sure point to it, or at least they don’t consider the consequences.

    • I think it’s a bit sad that you are so quick to write someone off for a choice they made when they were a teenager. And see how much more easily you write off women than men. And you’re not really reading the points I am making, or the evidence I’ve provided.

      This whole discussion makes me so sad, in fact. I wish I’d never written the post.

      • You jump to the conclusion that I’m writing someone off because I challenge the assertion that the reason someone is in poverty is strictly because of what they have between their legs?

        I challenged some incorrect notions that poverty is due to discrimination against women. I never said what should be done about poverty. If there is one difference between men and women it is taht men can argue facts without emotion while women take any argument about facts as a personal attack against women.

        BTW can you provide what exactly I said that supports your claim that I “much more easily write off women than men”. By listing factual causes for poverty is neither writing off them or does it list solutions. In fact I never even commented on solutions.

        As stated my whole point is to challenge you and other females as to what the real causes to problems are. After all if you don’t know what the real cause is then the chances of your solution working are greatly diminished.

      • If there is one difference between men and women it is taht men can argue facts without emotion while women take any argument about facts as a personal attack against women.

        BTW can you provide what exactly I said that supports your claim that I “much more easily write off women than men”.

        Is the juxtaposition of these two sentences some kind of subtle satire that I’m missing? If not, it might be the funniest thing I’ve read all day.

      • ” men can argue facts without emotion”

        You know there’s a whole internet out there choc full of guys getting wound up arguing about facts?

      • Thee are tons of a-hole guys as there are tons of a-hole girls. But this whole argument was centered around a primary point that the cause of the differences in things like poverty was due to discrimination. I offered proof that was not the case. I did not offer any advice or opinion on what to do about it. The only thinkg I said was to get to a real solution we need to know the true cause of any problem.

        BTW do you know that in the US 70% of HR departments including hiring managers are female?

      • “BTW do you know that in the US 70% of HR departments including hiring managers are female?”

        That’s another random statement without proof. What’s your point here? I bet the HR guys aren’t paid anywhere near as much as the devs or CEOs. What percentage of boardroom execs are female?

  21. Oh for god’s sake, Goodmongo, I realize you see yourself as some shining bastion of male logic, laying the facts on the ladies, but to pretty much every person who has read this page you have been repeatedly illogical, nonsensical, patronizing, and frankly unintelligent. Instead of engaging in discussion you just harangued the site owner until she felt bad for even speaking up in the first place. Way to stimulate discussion by shouting at Spinks. Jerk.

    And really, we are supposed to accept your logic credentials when you say that “women take any argument about facts as a personal attack against women”? Can you.. site a study for that? Also, ANY argument? Like, ever? In all of time? for every woman ever? You’re not just pulling shit out of your ass now are ya? Huh?

    I suspect you will be overtaken by an UNCONTROLLABLE urge to respond and tell me how illogical I’m being. It will be full of “females” and challenges for women to justify themselves to you personally in logical, masculine terms because clearly that is the high point of rhetoric. You’ll probably even try and work the phrase “between their legs” in again because you get a little thrill out of it, don’t you? You sly devil. And really, what could a woman’s perspective be aside from owning a vagina, right?

    Can you even do it? Can you not respond to this, or will it kill you knowing a FEMALE got the last word in a conversation? I don’t think you can.

    • I note that you failed to provided any facts but instead resorted to simple name calling. There are many studies that show women express emotion more than men (see American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

      As for other studies if you really want to enlighen yourself and just not rely on ad hominems in your next post you can look up any study that shows how men and women’s brains are wired differently. One link is here:

      http://www.healthcare.uci.edu/news_releases.asp?filename=emotionalMemoriesStored.htm

      Here is one line (Research from the University of California found the sexes use different sides of the brain to process emotions, with men choosing the left and women the right.)

      Also, you ask questions then resort to a grade school technique to label me if I dare respond. maybe if you wAnted to discuss facts, studies, or scientific observations it might contribute more to the actual discussion.

      Now I have a stong suspecion that you will add onto my statement all sorts of conclusions that I never said or even implied. So I challenge you to respond with facts, studies and not with name calling. Cite actual sentences that I wrote and where my facts were wrong, illogical or unintelligent. Please try.

      • Challenge accepted.

        This press release done discusses how men use they’s right amygdala when storin’ emotional memories, and wimmenz used the left one (you done got it backwards). It don’t say jack about processing emotions differentlies. In fact, “In rating how emotional they found the content, the reactions among the men and women did not differ significantly.”

        Looks like you saw what you wanted ta see, rathers than the actual facts presented.

      • Eh, you’re completely derailing the original conversation here. It’s a games blog, not about poverty and what else you pull out of your sleeve to support your claims.

        It looks like you’re trying to dominate Spinks’ post with your own personal agenda and you’re getting further and further extreme in your reasoning.

        Please stay on track.

        Ps: The link Goodmongo cites as proof is not at all proving his emotional hypothesis – it’s quite funny and I’m sure he just did a fast Google search to give off the impression he had some backing.
        Also, expressing emotion =/= can’t “argue facts without emotion”

        …Just making it up as he goes along.

      • “I note that you failed to provided any facts but instead resorted to simple name calling.”

        I’d like to point out that every one of your responses to my posts included an ad hominem.

    • Forgot to add one thing. You asked “And really, we are supposed to accept your logic credentials when you say that “women take any argument about facts as a personal attack against women”? Can you.. site a study for that? Also, ANY argument? Like, ever? In all of time?”

      “The wiring of the emotional experience and the coding of that experience into memory is much more tightly integrated in women than in men,” says Turhan Canli, lead author of the study that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Emotions generally have more meaning for women and they spend more time processing them.”

      And to be CRYSTAL CLEAR. I’m not saying one way is better. I’ve only said they were DIFFERENT. But there is one link that you asked for. Of course you could easily have goggled any of this but I bet its much easier for you to just name call and claim there is no proof.

      • You’re so funny!

        Here’s what you said (you seem to have forgotten):
        “If there is one difference between men and women it is taht(sic) men can argue facts without emotion while women take any argument about facts as a personal attack against women.”

        And please, the quote above is from some consulting group (http://www.bixlerconsulting.com). You really ARE quoting random stuff on the internet!

        “Of course you could easily have goggled any of this but I bet its much easier for you to just name call and claim there is no proof.”
        – Nono, the burden of truth is on you, to prove your OWN statement.

        Please Goodmongo, it’s getting ridiculous.

      • @Risandre:
        What that study clearly shows is that there is significant and detectable difference in ability to memorize and recall emotional picture, and emotional intensity of that recall (as well as intensity of response to initial picture) between men and women.
        “Women had significantly more areas than men that were activated both by subjective emotional experience and by successful encoding of that experience into long-term memory.”

        Study also postulates that you may (“may” being key word here) be able to control situation and make them equal in the end by using stimulus that create same emotional response in both men and women – but that doesn’t happen naturally, nor does abstract shows in which ways you could change stimulus to make them equal.

        Study seems to support women being more emotional in recall of long-term memory. As such, extra care is warranted (as with any other cognitive/behavioural biases) as long as you want to remain objective and unbiased.

      • What you can’t know though is to what extent the difference could be explained by socialisation. ie. from childhood, girls are more socialised towards expressing and interpreting emotions. It needn’t be a biological difference.

      • They do point that out and yes, it can be either, or both, in different proportions.

        Another interesting fact that they mention in that study is men memorizing pictures “as is” (by using right-brain structures for item placement and spatial relations in memorization), while women used left-brain structures more, perhaps pointing to semi-verbal deconstruction of scene while memorizing it.

        Though you can’t get any real conclusions from that without trying to confirm something you already consider to be true. :)


        We cannot change biological differences, but sometimes we can help in other ways when those differences seem to prevent people from achieving their dreams.
        We can and do change social norms (differences) constantly.
        Those two things often intersect in strange ways.

        For example, maternity leave. The point of maternity leave is that women can be mother _and_ remain being productive member of society without losing her job.
        Then, as managers begin to optimize workplace, even small disruption of job/profits with maternity leave seems to be too much. So they don’t hire women – not always main reason, but one of reasons anyway. And so women cannot be productive members of society in those spots.
        So it seems for equality, ability and willingness of society to tolerate some inefficiencies is required. It has non-zero cost – but same goes for having unhappy people in your society.

    • I did read the study–a scientific experiment under a controlled environment that focuses on neural networks of emotional memory–and that quote was drawn from it more to make a point that there are always different factors and variables in experiments that need be studied further. The study tested two different hypothesis (affect intensity and cognitive intensity) with subjects (12 men and women) who were all right-handed.

      Of course, I haven’t mapped out the entire body of study that deals with neural networks based on biological differences, but I don’t think the intense emotions you feel frequently relates to how often you physically express emotions

  22. I just finished an exam yesterday, which is one reason I haven’t come out of lurkdom again to comment on anything. I’ve read all the posts–their comments as well– and that stirred some pretty strong feelings in me. I can’t say I’ve ever been a tomboy to a great extent, and the only image I had of it, was through George (Enid Blyton’s Famous Five). However, I can’t really say that I have been one all my life. Growing up, I braided manes of ponies and thought that Donatello was the coolest turtle. Thankfully, my parents never had strong feelings about “girl toys” and “boy’s toys.” However, to certain people, I was less valued by the virtue of my gender, which is why feminism resonated so strongly with me later on in life (aka college).

    Being excellent to people who are different than you is fantastic, but ignores the fact the society is composed by other people than you (general you) when societal inequalities are being referenced. While I can offer support, I can’t fight all inequalities by imposing my voice and power on someone else’s struggle.

    I got a little rambly here, since its the first time I articulated my feelings in writing, so I hope my perspective came across.

  23. Pingback: “Geez, I just wanted to play WoW!” – In and Out of Game Deterrents and The Girlfriend Effect | Ironyca Stood in the Fire

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