Women on the internet

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 12:43 -- BlueWinds

Yesterday, I got my very first "internet threat." Some anonymous commenter here on this blog decided to threaten me. He probably thought he was making a joke - it came across like that was the intent. I didn't approve the comment, obviously.

I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened soon after I openly announced that I'm a woman.

I'll let you in on a little secret: threatening bodily and psychological harm isn't a joke. No, really, it isn't. The internet is not "less real" than a telephone. I make my living here, I have my friends here, I am a real person behind a psudonym. I can't "unplug" or "take a break," and the police certainly won't be helping any time soon.

So far it was just one comment. But I suspect there will be more.

Until domestic violence became a national policy priority, abuse was dismissed as a lovers’ quarrel. Today’s harmless jokes and undue burdens are tomorrow’s civil rights agenda.


derp619 on

please don't let it bother you.


keep up the great work


a truthfull donator :3

BlueWinds on

It doesn't bother me, but not letting it bother me isn't a real solution to a real problem. "Grow thicker skin" is another form of victim blaming.

Which isn't what you're doing at all - you're being supportive, which is nice and good. Thanks. :)

Terryble on

Must. Control. Anger. God... That's fucking disgusting. I'm glad you're in a place where you can let it roll off your back, there are a lot of people who wouldn't be so lucky. I don't have anything constructive to add at the moment so I'll leave it there. Needless to say I support you no matter what.

Some Guy (not verified) on

II was shocked for like 2 seconds when you said you are a girl, but it made sense immediately. Guys don't share like you have been, even with technical nerdy jumbo. I support your choice (both recent revelations and this project in general). And yes, people should demand BETTER pron.

Anonymous (not verified) on

I feel bad for the moron who has to make internet threats to make his life worth living...
Keep up the good work :)

BlueWinds on

There's no call to be name calling in the other direction either. You can express disapproval without being insulting.

AColonyOfAnts on

This is pretty much, in a nutshell, why we need feminism.  If it means anything to you though, I'd like to say I'm honored to be one of the people who love and support you for who you are and what you do.  Keep up the good work!

Dorllanen on

What feminism has to do with it? Just so you know, the radical concept of not being a cowardly dick without morals was invented before feminism. It's annoying that the modern band-aid for everything is screaming "feminism". Feminism, especially its 21st century radical concept isn't the cure for sexism you know.


In any case, a disgraceful situation. It's sad to hear that happened to you, Blues. What utterly baffles me is that someone took their time to find your site, skimm through it and was so angry with visual smut (or rather the point  was it's by a woman? Or maybe born with a different set of genitals altogether? Bah.) that he *had to* take it out on you. That's just bizzare bordering on insane - especially considering time is such a precious commodity these days.

AColonyOfAnts on

The cure for sexism, actually, is gender equality.  And by feminism, I happen to emphasize inequalities heavily directed towards women, which there obviously is, given the nature of both articles linked.  Femenism is the need for the world to behave in a gender neutral way, such that women aren't harrassed in a staggeringly disproportionately amount compared to men (this does not imply that I approve of harrassment doled out in equal amounts to men and women).  Yes, there is a "radical 21st century" submovement of feminism, one of them namely FEMEN, but your implications that it represents the whole basis of feminism which I meant is untrue.  So yes, we actually do need feminism, so that women need not be harrassed by others simply on basis of their sex.

In my opinion, the *only* cure for sexism; we desperately need a paradigm shift where slut shaming/victim blaming/rape threats and apologists, which are mostly directed towards women *and unsurprisingly, on the basis of their sex*, needs to vanish from this world.  If this were a post talking about how "men can't be raped/abused/harrassed," I would have easily screamed men's rights, which is synonymous to feminism but with a male topic, though I could go on about that and it probably wouldn't be relevant here.

tl;dr: Femenism and men's rights movement, viewed as a gender equality movement, is the cure to sexism. Of course there are radical elements that claim to represent these trains of thought, but accepting that would be as bad as assuming all muslims are jihadists because those happen to be the most vocal ones.  I just so happen to state my views as feminism because that's the current facet of gender equality that should be addressed here.


Terryble on

All of this is why I'd rather the terms Feminism and Men's Rights were done away with and combined into Gender Equality. Gender equality is what both sides want, there doesn't need to be this bullshit divide. It's so easy to see the term Feminism and read it as WOMEN ARE TAKING OVER EVERYTHING THEY WANT TO OPPRESS MEN even though that's a view only held by the most radical, extremist Feminists people. I don't think anybody here is going to argue that men don't have it better off than women but both genders still face legitimate issues that need to be resolved. I'd much rather see men and women work together under one banner of Gender Equality to fix them than see Feminists and Men's Rights advocates quibble over terminology while people privileged men run around screaming about Feminazi agendas.

But feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.

BlueWinds on

Feminism is about more than gender equality. Gender equality is an important facet, but only one part among many:

So I am not opposed to gender equality, far from it; I just believe that it does not go nearly far enough on its own.  Whether more palatable to the general public or not, standalone gender equality is not what we need, nor is it truly possible.

The Mens Rights Movement is a false equality with Feminism. They are not opposites, except in the sense that the KKK and the Civil Rights movement are opposites. Both MRA and the KKK support the "rights" of a threatened dominant group - which, in practice, means denigrating the oppressed and supporting the status-quo.

AColonyOfAnts on

I respectfully disagree.  The men's right movement, or at least the wing of it that I tend to associate (and I hope to believe it to be a silent majority), is not a response to, nor does it oppose feminism.  Here is a my roughsketch description of moderate men's rights movement:

"Men's rights is the male response to male chauvinism on behalf of men who do not associate with, and/or harmed by a patriarchal structure."

Snipping from the article you posted : "Feminism is grounded in the principle that no one should be judged to a different/unfair standard due to their gender, and neither should they be stereotyped on account of the same."  Replace Feminism in that sentence with men's rights and you'll have a pretty clear picture of how I feel about men, and replace it with gender equality and you'll have idea what I wish for both sexes.

If I may presume you describe gender equality in the same notion that the author of that article,  then you have mistaken my stance.  Her second point, -Gender Equality doesn't challenge the World-At-Is-, claims that gender equality means uplifting women into a "patriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist, oppressive system."  Let's focus on the patriarchal aspect of that statement, as it is the most relevant factor here.  I'd like to point out that there are men who suffer due to preconceptions of a male dominant society.  For example, domestic violence against males is often overlooked, and almost always ridiculed.

Have an article as food for thought: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/01/30/a-hidden-crime-domestic-violence-against-men-is-a-growing-probl/

People ignore domestic violence against men because in today's patriarchal society, they are not expected to be a victim.  Furthermore, when these men do try to seek help, they are oftentimes ridiculed and shunned for not living up to societal expectations of "being a man."  It was this reason why my grandfather endured ~25 years of abuse from his wife, and no one stopped it until recently.  This is one of many reasons why I dislike patriarchy; men are just as often stereotyped.

Other stereotypes that have been assumed of me due to our patriarchal society: "Men can't be raped! Men always want sex! Men can always defend themselves! Men can't control their urges to rape women! Men are inherently sexist!"

So in a nutshell, I happily claim to be a men's right activist and a feminist, and an ardent critic of male chauvinism with the goal of removing prejudice against women and stereotypes against men.  Men's rights does not equate support for patriarchy, the same way feminism does not equate FEMEN.

tl;dr - My views of men's rights is one that opposes patriarchy on behalf of men, and is non-complementarian.  Supporting a gender equality movement first requires the recognition of gender inequality.  

anonymous (not verified) on

yeah, my father was abused by his ex wife as well. you know that stereotypical hit the guy on the head with a frying pan thing. It didn't include the parts where dad was sleeping and she took all car keys and drove away immediately so he couldn't retaliate(not that he would have, being a pacifist in general). then she gets the cops to let her in because he wouldn't leave the door open after that.

I'm not being hateful but i think ALL prejudice needs to be kicked out the door. i dont care about race, sex, class, or creed(unless it compels you to violence or destruction of others property.... thats mostly jihadists and some devil worshipers though)

I am however in favor of a mass round up of all politicians where any questionable acts are either explained or they face appropriate criminal charges..... maybe i'm prejudiced against politicians but i think they have power to help in many cases and choose not to.

btw if gender was reversed he would probably have gotten alimony and the ex in jail

oh and in direct comment to the threat itself i have a half joke response to the perpetrator
you bastard
*kills kenny
what? saying that and kenny being killed are inseparable anymore.
if i say it when no one killed him i have to;P

AColonyOfAnts on

Maybe the domestic violence example wasn't the best of examples; I don't want to exacerbate an existing "male v. female" school of thought. Domestic abuse happens in gay households as well with a disproportionate amount of unreported cases.

But a continuation on how patriarchy hurts men as well as women... I think this young lady's rebuttal to the point "Boys will be boys" pretty much hits the nail on the head.
"Being a boy refers to your gender. That’s all. It does not make you constantly sexually aroused, animalistic, or sexually uncontrollable, but for some reason society has come to the conclusion that you are this stereotype. This is extremely sad. This gender stereotype is unfair to all men. "

I found it even more disgusting that the principal in question was so bigoted that he didn't even apologize, just told the girl "I'm sorry you feel that way," as if she's the one who needs to be pitied for the way she thinks.

BlueWinds on

Can you leave the anger at the door? This post comes across as unnecessarily confrontational. You can dislike something without boing vitrolic.

I get that you don't like the word "feminism", but I still don't understand why. You've asserted that it "isn't a cure," but you haven't actually made an argument - all I see is the (trivially true) statement that "not being a dick" is an older concept than the 21st century.

Xenmen on

[On my machine paragraph separations are not showing properly... If this also occurs at your end, my apologies; I've enabled all domains on this site in 'no script' and am not yet sure whether the fault is mine or some middleware]

If it helps, look at the way people discuss 'Republicans' and 'Democrats'. Then remember the definitions of Republic and Democracy. The demonyms no longer have much to do with their original meanings.

People say this and that about 'Americans', when really they mean citizens of the United States of America. Brazilians are Americans, Canadians are Americans, every last Eskimo and Amazonian is an American... but there's still confusion.

Moreover, names and labels get hijacked by fringe groups, or get redefined by ignoramuses/pop-culture, like 'hacker'. I'm a hacker, I opened my DVD player because it stopped working. I found a rubber band had snapped that controlled the eject mechanism. I replaced the band, it worked again. That was a hack; I'm not a trained technician.
I never call myself a hacker, because people get the wrong idea.

By your definition of Feminism, and indeed the noble and original definition, I am a Feminist. However, that label has been diluted by people calling other people Feminists who weren't, and people calling themselves Feminists, who also weren't.

I mean, jeez, look at the whole 'Mac vs PC' issue :[

Personally, when a term gets muddied like that, I've decided to remove it from use entirely and use alternative terms. I can understand wanting to keep strict definitions and not let people literally redefine 'literally' :P but it sure is a pain in the ass when other people aren't also familiar with the strict definitions, or simply don't care.

Heh; I thought for a few minutes in my last post, a few threads back, whether to say 'liberal' or 'libertarian'. I wasn't sure which definitions would be associated in context. When dealing with you, I *know* that you both educated and dedicated to applying your knowledge, and probably would give me the benefit of the doubt when I clarified I meant 'like those 18th century blokes', which really is what I meant.
(For the record, up here in Canada [and I know you're practically just over the border from Vancouver], we just don't use terms like libertarian and liberal like you do down there. Here, Liberal is an actual political party. They're pretty far from supporting actual liberty [big surprise for any established party], but the only other definition here is the 'classic liberal', even though the average person won't be familiar with Locke they can understand the policies are distinct.)

Anyways, just wanted to offer that clarification. I can only really speak for myself, but most self-proclaimed Feminists I meet are a far cry from your tier of behaviour/policies, and can more or less be written off as loons. I'll agree they aren't authentic Feminists, but due to that very issue I avoid the term. 'Fundamentalist Feminist' might work... though I'm happier just hijacking 'humanist' :P
No one around here uses that term, so I've hijacked it locally to mean "working for the general long-term benefit of mankind through the creation of long-lasting cultural elements and durable infrastructure/hardware/software".

anon the 3rd (not verified) on

Wow ... 2 of my favorite adult games and they both are beeing developed by women ... more women for better porn!... eh GAMES! Oo
You and Gabe from Legend of Queen Opala are great!

crazy_alan1988 (not verified) on

The internet is full of idiots and children (of all ages). Things like that will happen even if you are blogging about kittens and puppies. The only way to avoid it is to not go onto the internet. The only thing you can do is ignore it and know who you are won't change because of a 35 year old child trolling the internet.

The fact that you are a woman comes as a surprise to me, but it doesn't change what you are providing the people who visit this site. If someone doesn't like either your blog, your game, or your gender, attacking you with childish messages do nothing for them.

Morgoral on

Sorry to hear about that Blue. Threats in general is never funny :(

It is rather sad that some people think, that just because there is a screen of anonymity between them and their victims, it is okey to insult or threathen another human being.

In my opinion (and I stress this is just my opinion, nothing more), the problem is not sexism, but rather loss of compassion in general. I belive that a lot of internet threaths/insults could be avoided if we weren't anonymes, and if all internet users would show just a little more compassion towards each other.

Hope this won't affect you to much Blue, and know that for everyone out there who lack compassion and understanding of your work. There will always be us here who appriciate and love your work :)

BlueWinds on

I would agree that as a society we're lacking compassion, but sexism does also play a role here. A relevant quote from the article I linked in the post:

In 2006, researchers from the University of Maryland set up a bunch of fake online accounts and then dispatched them into chat rooms. Accounts with feminine usernames incurred an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages a day. Masculine names received 3.7.

As I said, I don't think it's a coincidence that I've operated this site for two years, and then the week after I acknowledge I'm a woman I get my first harassing comment.

Morgoral on

I agree to that. I also think my formulation in the last post was a bit wrong, let me refrace that. I don't think sexism is the biggest problem. 

Poor formulation on my part. I agree that there are certain media types (most of them actually) where women in particulare are "mistreated" (for lack of a better word) more than men. The internet is probably the worst of them all.

However I will stand by my statement, that I think lack of compassion is the most crucial part of this entire puzzle, to make everyone safe and secure in media.

Also I think you are right. It is sadly not a coincidence about the timing of your acknowledgement that you are a woman and your first threath :(

BlueWinds on

Just to be clear, my disagreement there was friendly, not argumentative. :) I clarify because it's hard to be sure that tone carries well across the internet.

To go off topic a bit, I suspect that "lack of compassion" could often be more closely described as lack of breadth of compassion. People generally treat their "in group" very well, and the history of civilization is the history of expanding that circle - first to larger and larger tribes, then to nations, then to the whole species, and now, with vegetarianism, to all animals.

From that perspective, sexism looks like an artifact of the gender binary - it allows people to set aside that which is different into the category of "other" and thus unworthy of compassion. Racism, sexism, war, greed and nationalism (yes, I consider it on par with the first couple of items, but that's an entirely separate argument) could all be considered outgrowths of the same human drive, that "The Other is not worthy of concern."

Hehe, Hegelianism. I haven't thought about Hegel in quite some time.

Morgoral on

Oh I didn't take it as argumentative, your point just highlighted my own poor choise of words. So wanted it fixed :) It does seem like we agree overall, but might differ in the opinion about what is the biggest contributer to the problem ;)

Interesting point. By no means am I in any way a psychologist major, but it would explain a much about internet culture. If the "in group" as you say, were to expand to include so many people that everyone in that group basically become strangers or anonymes to each other. Than might negate the effect of the "in group", which in terms could explain some of the rather rude behavoir on the internet... Very interesting subject :)

It might also explain why the "in group" in this case turns around on itself. With a group so big and encorporating so many people, there is no clear adversary towards the "in group" which is the people on the internet in this case. Thus the negative feelings of the "in group" would turn inwards.

Hmmm... that might have turned out more heavy handed, then what I entended when I started making this reply :)

Dasanko on

Well, there goes your internet threats cherry, surprisingly.

It's even worse in online video games (maybe they feel "threatened" themselves?).


Alas, ignorance knows no age.


On an unrelated note... using Firefox 26.0 (latest stable), also tested on IE 11, same result: http://i.imgur.com/Zb45Ss4.png

BlueWinds on

The comment-preview background thing has been annoying me for a while, but you've finally inspired me to actually fix it. Should be better now.

Everdistant (not verified) on

I realize this is going to sound silly, but I'd like to thank you for announcing that you're a woman. it seems so strange that we live in a world where that has to be a thing, where 50% of the population is seen as a rare minority, but that's not the point.

I've wanted to make porn games for a long while, but I've always worried about being harassed or threatened. Some of the posts I see casually made on porn forums are downright vile, even when they're about fictional characters. I experimented with the idea of just not announcing my gender, or trying to appear 'male', but it just made me feel like crap. I can see why somebody would do that, but I'm happy and proud to be a woman, and hiding it just felt like I was somehow ashamed of my gender.

This is getting a bit rambly, but basically what I'm trying to say is seeing someone whose game I enjoy in a similar position as me made me feel a lot better about myself, and what I want to do with my free time. Thank you, and I hope that that comment is the only one of its ilk.

Also, as an aside, does seriously every post that even mentions vaginas have to derail into an argument about feminism?

BlueWinds on

If I may make one minor suggestion, choose a gender-neutral handle, even if you're open about being a woman. "Everdistant" will invite far less trouble than "SarahDistant". It's sad that such a thing is helpful, but statistically speaking, it is (at least in the case of fake accounts some researchers made on Twitter).

And apparently it does. I guess feminism killed someone's parents? It's really just one person a couple of people though, however loud he they may seem.

super on

While it's sick that people still have to put up with this kind of bullshit, it's good to know just how safe you really are in modern society. I wouldn't be worried at all by some bigot kid who found another target to funnel his hate out into the world. That's mostly everything that bigots really ever contribute in their lives, and it's sad.

Terryble on

I was once in a gaming group with a woman who was openly female (what a ridiculous term to have to use) and everyone in the group treated her like anyone else, however on the server we hosted she attracted a lot of unwanted attention which we'd frequently ban people from playing for. Eventually she attracted a stalker who found her personal Facebook account and started sending her letters in real life. She ended up having to go to the police who apparently helped her get some sort of restraining order which helped with the mail but then he just changed his online accounts and started abusing her on Facebook. She got him banned from Facebook and he eventually gave up but ever after that she said she never really felt very safe online again.

Personally I don't tend to reveal the fact that I'm bisexual, I'm certain there are many places online where I'd get all sorts of abuse if I did though I'm sure this is not one of them. It's a seriously sad reflection on humanity that women have to tread so carefully online just to avoid being threatened and abused.

Anonymous (not verified) on

I have had friends who had to put up with a fair share of bs like this. Hopefully it does not last lost and you can focus on making a sweet game. Until then good luck)well there might always be a few guys, but thats life sadly).

Wizard on

Urgh... there's always someone who wants to spoil something.
You see, this is why we can't have nice things.

Stay focused Blu, don't let some cheese-munching panzy distract you from your work.

Tanap Stonebreaker (not verified) on

I work in sales and one of the best things I have ever had someone say to my boss "Is he was too nice to me." When they wanted me to justify their anger or frustration. It has happened from both genders over a long period of time. For me "Peoples is Peoples" and they will do what they want when they want it. It's how we handle those frustrating situations that make or break us. in Real Life and the Net.

Internet Trolls exist and most send messages to get everyone else riled up. Trolls come in male and female types. I have found male and female Trolls posing as the opposite sex just to cause havoc and mayhem. I like to step on Trolls if I get the chance, but it doesn't happen often.

I think from my perspective is...Do they matter? How do they matter? and Are they worth the effort? Should I put my emotions out there to this individual or about this individual if it only brings me negativity, in any form? There are times you might say yes, but hopefully only when it will lead to a positive outcome.

I have dealt with abuse.. mental, physical, and spiritual, on both sides of the gender line. Been down in the depths of my despair and climbed back out. I am willing to admit that I have cried myself to sleep and been drained when I awoke the next day. People get these false ideas of what being a man or a woman is. It's more about how you treat others than how they treat you. From my perspective anyways and Trolls aren't worth my time to get emotional about.

You can't type a Troll to death, they have keyboards too.

Sorry I tend to think in circles so I know this seems a bit off topic but it feels right for the situation.

May Harmony sneak up a goose you. =)

shadow1real on

sadly there always will be people like that but hay fuck them :)