Good Points and Big Prizes

First off the Prize.  I like Bubble Wrap.  Anyone who submitted a serious suggestion to a blog written by the founder of the “Fancy Hats Corporation” was at a disadvantage.  I like the sound of “Fancy Hats just Bubble-Wrapped our wormhole… we’re hosed.”

Second I am amazed and humbled by the reaction my blog post garnered.  Amazed by how quickly it spread and how many views and comments it received between here and EN24.  Humbled by the support I have received, and the large number of rational, sensitive people able to perceive the difference between “Decent behavior” and “PC GESTAPO” they also managed to raise several points that I particularly thought should be further discussed.

1st – A large number of people pointed out that “Rape” has a lot of meanings.  No… no it doesn’t.  Not in modern culture.  No one has used “rapine” outside a history book about the vikings for a long time.  Rape is taken to mean forcing someone sexually, against their will.  While it may not include penetration, it is an abhorrent and scarring act, the (slowly) growing acknowledgement of the damage it does has been a main cause of the term’s other definitions falling into disuse.

2nd –

Nikki· 1 day ago

I hate it when people speak for the entire gender .. But here another perspective:

You start about a gender imbalance, can’t argue there: completely true, although I would like to see some comparisons made with other MMORPG. You name the reason for this imbalance the hostile environment for women. In the entire article you name one example of this hostility, which is shaky at best.

Have you thought about the fact that for one… less women play games and therefore Eve? Have you considered that perhaps less women play eve because playing Eve because it’s a technical game and doesn’t just ‘look pretty’? Your statement of the hostile environment could be true if a lot of women started a trial account, but stopped playing because of the dreadful behavior they encounter.

I am almost ashamed to say: I am a woman, playing eve and no I am not offended by terms like rape-cage. I think I’ll go back to the kitchen and make corpies sammiches…

To which I responded
There are certainly other reasons than misogyny that keep women away from EvE Online. I can’t control the theme of the game. I can’t change that fewer women play EvE than other MMOs. I *CAN* hopefully make people aware of a dangerous cultural trend in-game that they might want to change to increase the appeal of the game to many, many women.

I picked one example because I didn’t want to go through the litany of potentially offensive things, and because I have an axe to grind with rape culture in general. Far too many women I know have been forced to endure rape for me to find it funny in the slightest bit. I know it doesn’t offend all women, just as it doesn’t offend all men, but there’s a difference between “not offensive” and “funny.”

I’ve heard statistics for WoW placing the balance anywhere from 20-40% female. EvE is usually quoted around 5% or less. Even at 10% that means fewer than 40,000 female players of EvE worldwide. Giving up a term like “rape cage” would make the game more attractive to women, giving up the culture that espouses the term rape cage would as well.

Tomato, Turkey and vinegar on wheat please!

To which Alita responded

Alita· 21 hours ago

Corelin, I see whre you are coming from, but I think you got it wrong. If there is something that might put women (as far as I can speak for them) off EVE, it’s the ridiculously shallow HTFU macho culture. It takes dedication and delving into things to notice, that this is just a vocal minority.

I myself, I decided that I will play this game before I knew about statistics. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to the stupidity of immature men online. (i.e. i simpy do not take them seriously, as it should be). One thing I do not understand is, why women will tolerate this sort of crap from the people they fly with. If I would be subjected to sexist crap every other day, I’d rip off the corp, shoot whoever is within range and then leave.

To quote my Rabbi “I told you that story so I could make sense of my sermon”
The HTFU culture is a result of essential EvE mechanics.  Ships are lost permanently, the wrecks looted and destroyed, scams are rewarded, not punished, PvP pervades all aspects of the game with “real” permanent consequences.  In EvE you HTFU or GTFO.  This may or may not be sexist in itself.  After all “The female of the species is more deadly than the male.”  I know for a fact there are women in EvE that would gladly abuse you in-game as thoroughly as any guy.  Rape Culture has nothing to do with game mechanics.  It has nothing to do with PvP, it has nothing to do with markets, it has nothing to do with PvE.  To eliminate HTFU the basic mechanics of the game would have to change.  A lot.  To the point where many people would quit.  To eliminate Rape Culture, players would have to be more polite, less sickeningly misogynistic, and “be excellent to each other” in the words of Theodore Logan and William S Preston (Esq).  Rather simpler, it might still make people quit the game, but I wont miss them.  Incidentally many of them would leave the game if we got rid of HTFU as well.
3rd and last – There’s a difference between being a “Political Correctness Jerk” and a decent human being.  Especially on the internet.  Are you nitpicking about small points that 90% of people hardly care about?  Are you using euphemisms to avoid talking about a real problem?  If you are dancing around the point, or picking on something so small everyone is ignoring you, it’s being a politically correct jerk.  Well Tuesday I certainly wasn’t hiding what I was saying.  I threw down a challenge to the community.  That solves the “dancing around the point” problem.  I am looking at EN24 and seeing how many comments were made, how many hits my website received, the e-mails, evemails and comments on my blog and I can say that people care about the issue.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is because I wasn’t nitpicking, I wasn’t hiding, I was calling attention to a serious problem in the community that plays EvE Online.  I was doing it in a very public, and open way.  I challenged people to hold themselves to the same standards I try to hold myself to.  Am I proud of myself?  You’re goddamn right I am.  Have I dislocated my arm patting myself on the back?  Maybe.  X-Rays are on the schedule tomorrow.  Am I finished?  No.
I’m going to continue this series.  I’m going to take a long look at EvE.  I’m going to look at its gameplay.  I’m going to look at its culture.  I am going to look at the women that do play it, the women that have played it and didn’t like it and women that have never heard of it.  I’m going to do interviews and see if I can find ideas for how we as a community can be more welcoming to women, and how CCP can adjust the game to make it more appealing to women without killing our sacred cows.
I would like to offer special thanks to Jen Allen whose courage in telling her story has inspired me to be a better person, and whose courage in editing my writing has made my points clearer, Riverini, Mynxee Poetic Stan, and Hans Jagerblizten for their high-profile comments, support, and in general all of the commenters for drawing more attention to this issue.  Even the trolls helped on this.

I'm using it every time I can

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About Corelin

An Eve playing Fool who occasionally writes about the shenanigans he and his minions get up to.

Posted on March 1, 2012, in I was RIGHT!, Things I think I think. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I put out the FB word to my EVE-playing female pals to come check your article out…I was curious what they would say, on a personal level, and didn’t peruse all the comments to see if they’d left one, though “Nikki’s” sounds quite a bit like what one of them told me, just the version I got was much more “tl;dr”. So either she expounded a lot in her comment to you, or there’s more than one EVE-playing gal who shares that particular line of thought regarding why “girls don’t play EVE”. I believe it’s also a thought I brought up originally, but was apparently dismissed because OF COURSE a blatantly dudely dude like me would make such a silly excuse as “why would that many girls play a sci-fi spaceship game?” especially one like Excel Online as we have with EVE. 😉

    Generally speaking, women like to be able to “identify with” as part of their psychological engagement with a place, thing, person, etc, and it’s pretty hard to “identify” with a spaceship. Especially one that you’re SUPPOSED to lose eventually anyways. :-/ If there IS anything that will stand a serious chance of bringing women to EVE, it’ll be the avatar/incarna aspect. Of course, our blatantly homoerotic oedipal misogyny will immediately chase them away forever, but at least they came and looked at it. 😉

    As regards the “HTFU and carry on” culture, you of all people should understand its provenance. And you should also read my blog post “Uphill in the Snow, Both Ways”, because most times, that’s _really_ what we’re talking about when we throw those magical four letters around in EVE.

  2. I’m going to have to subscribe to your blog in hopes of seeing an ongoing, deep-delving conversation on the issue because it IS interesting, and the issues do not have simple solutions (and there may not even be solutions for them). Thanks for digging into this!

    — Mynxee

  3. If you can spare ten minutes, I have thoughts along a similar if more expansive line here in my podcast episode 10 from july 2010.

    I look forward to future posts on this subject.

  4. A short reply: if memory serves, one of the (main?) reasons for Incarna was to appeal to the female gamer market. t was thought women might be more interested in Eve if it has full body avatars, clothing and such. And I have to say, the Incarna part is able to draw my wife and daughters’ attention, while the spaceship part pretty much doesn’t.

    Not sure if that ever an official CCP line, but I sure do remember reading this at several places.

  5. D’oh.. some bad typing in the previous comment. That’s what happens when you let your kids distract you while posting comments on blogs 😉

  6. Outstanding series so far.

    It never ceases to amaze me the lengths some people go to ignore or deny something so blatantly wrong. Rape, faggot, and retard are this generations n-words. Words whose usage is almost always inspired by ignorance and hate and are only tolerated because social awareness hasn’t yet reach critical mass to condemn them outright. In 30 years, those who continue to use these words as they’re used today will find themselves in the same position as the racist grandfather.

  7. I take a week’s break and look what happens: awesome breaks out! I’m looking forward to more. Keep up the good work.

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