Gamers Harass Women More Than Men

Content/Trigger Warning: Gender and Racial Slurs and Profanity

I mean, duh. But still, it’s nice to have some data to back up all the anecdotal evidence.

Halo 3 was used as the staging ground, chosen for its popularity and its random matchmaking system. In order to standardize the experimental conditions, verbal messages were pre-recorded in both a male and female voice. These were made up of unassuming things such as “hi everybody,” “nice job so far,” and “thanks for the game, bye.” The researchers then played public matches, transmitting the messages via voice chat. Matches played without engaging in voice chat were used as a control. […]

Findings indicate that, on average, the female voice received three times as many negative comments as the male voice or no voice. In addition, the female voice received more queries and more messages from other gamers than the male voice or no voice.

Negative language also tended to be more gendered when directed toward women than when directed toward men.

In one particular game nearly every utterance made by the female condition was met with a negative response by a particular gamer. When the female condition said “hi everybody”, the other gamer responded with “shut up you whore” followed a few seconds later with “she is a nigger lover”. When the female condition said, “alright team let’s do this”, the other gamer replied, “fuck you, you stupid slut.”

What’s wrong with people?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Under Scrutiny For Abuse of Aboriginal Women

In a report released on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that many aboriginal women in British Columbia have been the victims of discrimination, aggressive use of police force, and even sexual assault by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The report, titled “Those Who Take Us Away,” features in depth interviews with 50 aboriginal women along the “Highway of Tears” in British Columbia where numerous aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered. Researchers also interviewed 37 family members of missing or murdered women and girls. The women interviewed describe scenes of excessive use of force on girls under the age of 18, abuse of strip searches, and even accusation of rape and beatings.

The RCMP has issued a statement to the effect that, while this is deplorable, no one has actually complained directly to them about these abuses. It’s not hard to imagine that this is because aboriginal women in Canada have grown so accustomed to police abuse that they see nothing to be gained by attempting to lodge a complaint.

Gingrey's Bad Science and Bad Logic

When I responded to Rep. Phil Gingrey’s “legitimate rape” remarks on Saturday, I focused on the subtle misogyny underlying the statement. William Saletan at Slate wants to make sure we don’t miss the bad science behind Gingrey’s claims that stress can cause infertility and that doctors frequently tell women to “Just relax. Drink a glass of wine.”

If Gingrey is telling this to his patients—and prescribing alcohol for it—he’s a quack. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “While chronic stress, for example from extreme exposure to famine or war, may decrease a woman’s ability to conceive, there is no scientific evidence that adrenaline, experienced in an acute stress situation, has an impact on ovulation.” The American Society for Reproductive Medicine agrees: “There isn’t any proof that stress causes infertility.” Another infertility organization, Resolve, says “stress does not cause infertility.” Dr. Gingrey might also benefit from reading this 2010 paper in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: “Acute stress may induce ovulation in women.”

Saletan also isn’t letting Gingrey slide on his reinterpretation of Akin’s original statement as a warning against false rape accusations by teenage girls afraid to admit they had consensual sex:

Really? That isn’t how Akin explained his remark. On Aug. 20, a day after the gaffe, Akin went on Mike Huckabee’s radio show. Huckabee asked Akin: “What did you mean by ‘legitimate rape’? Were you attempting to say forcible rape?” Akin replied: “Yeah, I was talking about forcible rape.” If that’s truly what Akin meant, then he was using the term legitimate to suggest that any woman impregnated by rape must have suffered statutory rape, not forcible rape.

As I’ve mentioned frequently, I grew up Republican and retain strong nostalgia and sympathy for the party. So I believe I’m decently-positioned to be fair in thinking this incident illustrates that many of the GOP establishment have gotten lost in uncritical rhetoric and thereby become incapable of not sounding like racist, misogynist, homophobic fear-mongers scrabbling to retain their dwindling vestiges of power.

Because of my also—by this time—well-known belief that most people are pretty decent and have good intentions, I think the Republican party needs to take a good hard look at itself and get educated about the true needs and perspectives of women, gays, and minorities, very quickly.

Race, Femininity, and Moral Panics in History

Christen McCurdy’s final post in her “Lady Liquor” series at Bitch Magazine looks at three of the ways prohibitionists have exploited women and minorities:

“Female gin consumption was problematized and value-loaded as an act of moral significance,” writes Elise Skinner. “This is reflected in the response of magistrates and the disproportionate convictions of women. The perception of reformers and their attempt to regulate women is a complex interplay between the lives and economic realities of women, the influence of the press and the institution of government.”

11,800 Days

This isn’t strictly feminist news, but it’s a bit of a slow day, and I feel this story of a black man held without a court-ordered retrial for 32 years is intersectional with feminism.

It has now been more than six years since Hartfield first began to try to unravel the series of errors and omissions which resulted in his wrongful imprisonment. And it could be years more before the courts finally grant him relief. It’s hard to know which period is more infuriating: the 23 years during which Hartfield’s rights were left unprotected by the justice system; the half-decade or so years since, when state officials, including judges, have refused to help him; or the years more of legal briefings and oral argument that the man will likely have to endure before he gets some relief.

A society that wants to remain free should be wary, even afraid, of letting habeas corpus rights erode. But that is what we are doing, in more ways than one.

The Privilege of Purity

Sarah Moon analyzes how purity culture perpetuates a power imbalance between whites and non-whites:

Some women are seen as impure just because of who they “are.”

Jessica Valenti points out in The Purity Myth, “we rarely see women who aren’t conventionally beautiful idolized for their abstinence… The desirable virgin is…young, white, and skinny. She’s never a woman of color…”

I think it’s a fascinating (and infuriating) contradiction, the way the American Church is able to simultaneously essentialize sexual behavior and—in practical terms—deny sexuality as a fundamental component of humanity.

Why Are We Still Talking About Chris Brown?

If you didn’t know we were talking about Chris Brown at all, Tricia Romano summarizes the controversy for The Daily Beast:

Jenny Johnson, who writes regularly for Grantland and has published stories in GQ, is a self-described “writer, wife, a****** and owner of 2 dogs” responded to one of Brown’s innocuous tweets with a scathing riposte. On Sunday he tweeted: “I look old as f***! I’m only 23 …”

Johnson replied: “I know! Being a worthless piece of s*** can really age a person.” (Brown was arrested in 2009 for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna. The two have since been rumored to be back together.)

Cue meltdown: Brown responded with a series of misogynistic tweets, each one more lurid and disgusting than the last.

Brown eventually shut down his Twitter account, and Johnson received numerous insults and death threats from his followers, along with accusations of bullying from members of the general public. Others leveled accusations of racism against anyone who too enthusiastically decried Brown’s behavior, since plenty of white celebrities have also beaten up their wives or girlfriends and behaved like pigs in general toward women.

Syreeta of Feministing quotes Roxane Gay to explain why this is (partly) incorrect, and why we need to keep misogynist behavior in the spotlight:

You can’t keep trotting out Sean Penn, Roman Polanski, et al because our cultural memory is short. If social networking were around when Sean Penn abused Madonna in 1987 or when Polanski raped a minor in 1977, the backlash would have been similar. Those examples will not work unless we’re discussing Chris Brown with the same fervor in 2042. Also, we’re still conjuring their names. Polanski still can’t return to the United States and he’s still a rapist pig. Sean Penn has always been an a****** who puts his hands on women. Charlie Sheen is irredeemable. I hold these men and all their cronies in the exact same regard as Chris Brown. We haven’t forgotten these misdeeds as much as people assume.

I don’t generally cover the “celebrity gossip” category of news, so I’ve tried to avoid giving any attention to this incident, but Gay nails it: regardless of race or color, we can’t let behavior like this go unchallenged; silence is approval.

Unemployed? Considering Being White.

After being unemployed for two years, Yolanda Spivey decided to attempt an experiment. An insurance professional, Spivey created a separate Monster.com resume and profile—which used her education and professional experience—with one big difference,[sic] she called herself Bianca White and claimed she was a white woman.

I wish I could say the results will surprise you.

Via The Frisky.

Police Claim Sharmeka Moffitt Fabricated KKK Attack

Remember the woman who suffered burns on 60 percent of her body and had “KKK” and “N*****” written on her car? Turns out she probably did those things herself.

If this does turn out to be the case, I can only imagine that she is a very mentally ill woman.