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Women, they're just like us!
March 21, 2013 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Women enjoy video games, to the astonishment of local TV newsreaders. Women enjoy science, to the astonishment of Facebook users.
posted by Horace Rumpole (48 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Women, they're just like us!

Say whaaaaat!?
posted by asnider at 6:48 AM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe I should reply to one of those nice people who keep emailing and offering to introduce me to real women in my home area.
posted by Segundus at 6:53 AM on March 21, 2013


Adrienne Massanari is a researcher who writes about women and video games. Her work is a great corrective to this kind of attitude.
posted by liketitanic at 6:56 AM on March 21, 2013


Women enjoy science

Citation needed!

(Am I weird? I went to unit with a gaggle of gals who did science and maths, and that was decades ago).
posted by Mezentian at 6:56 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oi vey.

This cultural moment (in the broader context of the coverage of the Steubenville verdict) has really brought home to me exactly what we mean when we call it the "Mainstream Media": Its small-c conservatism*, in the sense that it keeps certain norms so firmly in place even as society around it evolves beyond those norms, dealing so thoroughly in stereotype and narrative. I am really quite tired of it.

*putting aside the big-c agenda of media owners for a moment
posted by dry white toast at 6:57 AM on March 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


TV newsreaders are fuckwits, to the astonishment of nobody.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:57 AM on March 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm also pretty offended that so many local TV stations decided to use the phrase "gamer ranks."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:58 AM on March 21, 2013


Which, in that first regard, is pretty amazing given how most major gaming companies target, to the point of obscenity, young, middle-class white males.

As to the latter, I Fucking Love Science is pretty much meme-driven bad pop sci so the comments are not surprising. It doesn't excuse the behavior but yeah, the geek crowd has never been innocent of sexism.
posted by dubusadus at 6:58 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm also pretty offended that so many local TV stations decided to use the phrase "gamer ranks."

They didn't make a conscious decision, though. They just read the syndicated copy that was fed to them. This is no different than 100 different newspapers running the same Associated Press story, perhaps changing a word or two.
posted by Longtime Listener at 7:03 AM on March 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wow, really? I didn't know I did that.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:03 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


TV newsreaders are fuckwits, to the astonishment of nobody.

I have to think a lot of this is an act. To seem unpresumptuous to the type of people who still watch local news. And call in to give feedback.

Or post on local news paper websites.

Those people.

I hate how that makes me sound... but goddamn it makes me weep for the future.
posted by DigDoug at 7:04 AM on March 21, 2013


Women: They're Almost Like People!

I have so many ideas for future stories.

Women: They Fart, Sometimes with Pride!
Women: They Have Hair on Their Faces!
Women: They Already Know That Thing You are Trying to Explain to Them!
posted by emjaybee at 7:05 AM on March 21, 2013 [44 favorites]


Women: They're Almost Like People!

New Soylent Green: Pink flavour.
posted by Mezentian at 7:06 AM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


I used to have an anonymous blog, and the reaction when I outed myself as a woman after years of anonymity was pretty amusing -- nothing hostile or inappropriately sexual, just astonishment. One guy said something like, "I feel like I'm on a game show, 'So You Think You're Not a Sexist'".

People have different reasons for being anonymous, but one of my main ones was that it was supposed to be something of a satirical blog. I have no doubt that the humor was graded on a much more lenient scale because I was presumed male.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 7:07 AM on March 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's a g-g-g-g-g-g-g-girl?!
posted by Brocktoon at 7:13 AM on March 21, 2013


Just a note from my insular world; there are a lot of female Dark Souls players and they will Fuck You Up. Some of the most amazing vids on YouTube.

I attribute its popularity as one of the few RPG games with selectable gender that doesn't have stupid armour set aside for bodies with breasts.

And possibly because it allows silent (no chat or voice) PvP against douchebros who will squeal like stuck pigs when defeated. That's gotta feel pretty tasty. I know I'd drink long and deep from that spring if I was regularly griefed IRL just because I was female.

Maybe projecting a little.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:14 AM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm also pretty offended that so many local TV stations decided to use the phrase "gamer ranks."

As if a member of the Grand Master League would play against a Bronze-ranked newb. COME ON!
posted by ersatz at 7:21 AM on March 21, 2013


Girls? In my gamer ranks? It's more likely than you think.

What I want to know is which company paid for the "news" story that everyone was reading. Often, these fluff stories are provided to local stations by a PR firm that has been hired to make them.
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 7:24 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Women, they're just like us! (post title)

The fact that the newsreaders seem to distinguish between "women" and "us" is, of course, a symptom of the problem.
posted by immlass at 7:39 AM on March 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Next they'll be astonishing us with insightful reports about how comicbooks aren't just for little kids any more.
posted by talitha_kumi at 7:44 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


gamer ranks.

Those of us who remember arcades and lan parties know this is a legitimate subgroup of gamers.
posted by srboisvert at 7:53 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good lord, I though we might have gotten beyond some of this shit.

Umpty thousand years ago, back in the 1970s, Forrest J. Ackerman (anybody remember him?!?) wrote something about how it was too bad that girls didn't like science or read science fiction. Well that got this girl's blood boiling, so I wrote him a long detailed letter (yes children, it was the dark ages!), ennumerating all the girls, including myself, who did both. Mr. Ackerman replied that our little group must be a bunch of outliers, because he didn't personally know of any girls or women who did like science and/or science fiction..... so I wrote him again, listing prominent women in the sciences (Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace and Grace Murray Hopper, for starters). Mr. Ackerman apologized, and I counted that a victory.

But that was forty years ago! And "women and girls like science" is still news?!? Sheesh.
posted by easily confused at 7:56 AM on March 21, 2013 [13 favorites]


I 'liked' IFLS ages ago. I cannot recall any specific posts that sounded gendered either way, but maybe IFLS gets drowned out by everything else.

Anarchist Memes and Occupy pages discuss gender equality issues fairly regularly. No clue if a women runs Anarchist Memes, but whoever runs it knows the issues.

Just fyi, Facebook chat is based on XMPP so your favorite IM client can let you receive Facebook messages without ever logging into Facebook.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:06 AM on March 21, 2013


There are two awesome aspects to this, first highlighting the ridiculously sexist premise itself, and second pointing out the insanity of syndicated fluff pieces like this. More of this can only help kill these useless "news" enterprises.
posted by odinsdream at 8:08 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


okay, if they're all reading syndicated stories, that makes sense - because I was totally thinking, "What's with the plagiarism!"

But seriously - don't any newsrooms have copy writers anymore? They can hire me - I have years of experience of parroting back someone else's ideas but in my own words. Sometimes I even pretend to think critically about it.
posted by jb at 8:19 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was less shocked at the sexism (which is, sadly, to be expected) than the sheer head-slapping laziness of the local TV newsreaders (I can't with a straight face call them journalists). It kind of makes me wish I had access to a pair of Rowdy Roddy Piper's magic sunglasses. But what would be the subliminal message behind all the rote, smiling palaver: Obey? Consume? Don't change that channel? Hey, look at me—I'm on TV!
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:49 AM on March 21, 2013


easily confused, you are my hero!

Next they'll be astonishing us with insightful reports about how comicbooks aren't just for little kids any more.

Relevant link from artist Dylan Meconis.
posted by emjaybee at 8:51 AM on March 21, 2013


Here, let me be every local newscast I've seen in the past 20 years:

We assure you, person who still watches local televised news, your outlook on the world is in no way outdated or regressive. You don't need to worry about us challenging your assumptions! The opinions you developed in 1993 are still completely relevant and reflective of the majority! Also, you are not getting older, you are getting better! Now, in health news, scientists are working hard to solve oldness!
posted by almostmanda at 9:02 AM on March 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Side note: the reason most of the reports in the first link have the exact same wording is because local news outlets get a lot of their video and scripts from subscription services like those provided by CNN. You log on to the CNN site, you can pull down scripts that match up to the B-Roll and video packages they provide. It's a lot like the AP in print.

That doesn't make it less dumb by any stretch, but that's why.

(It's actually a pretty big problem with local news if not done right; when I worked with students in a TV newsroom I made them rewrite any scripts they pulled down and add additional information.)
posted by HostBryan at 9:13 AM on March 21, 2013


Women: They Already Know That Thing You are Trying to Explain to Them!

What I wouldn't give to see someone sneak that onto the cover of GQ or something.
posted by straight at 9:28 AM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Side note: the reason most of the reports in the first link have the exact same wording is because local news outlets get a lot of their video and scripts from subscription services like those provided by CNN. You log on to the CNN site, you can pull down scripts that match up to the B-Roll and video packages they provide. It's a lot like the AP in print.

Either that, or it's a video news release, which is worse because then they're just parroting some PR person.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:29 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I suspect what's happening here is that the newsreaders are reading the same news release. I volunteered doing the news at a campus radio station in the early 90's when the news actually came over a wire service and was printed out on a dot-matrix printer.

I would take the stories and rewrite them for broadcast, but it was always amusing to hear the original repeated word for word by news anchors who were paid big bucks to do their job.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:42 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good lord, I though we might have gotten beyond some of this shit.
Umpty thousand years ago, back in the 1970s


Then you're also old enough to remember "Women can't be president because their periods."
posted by NorthernLite at 10:11 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh good gravy yes, NorthernLite! Merely being female equaled unreasonable, purely-emotion- and hormone-driven behavior, and a total inability to think or reason: not like nice sensible men who never ever got mad or upset or were ever less than perfectly strong, reasonable fellows at all times..... yeah, right!

(Of course, this was also the era when Nixon was having nervous meltdowns in the White House about his 'enemis list.... but no: it's only women who go crazy!)
posted by easily confused at 11:38 AM on March 21, 2013


Does the evening news even care that people are not watching it in droves? I guess they have their core audience (old people) and they are happy pandering to that audience. More power to them?
posted by ErikaB at 11:41 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The video game industry's main lobbying group, the Entertainment Software Association , has been repeatedly pointing out that the majority of video gamers in the US are female (includes online casual games, solitaire/puzzle type games etc) for at least the last decade.
posted by Bwithh at 11:43 AM on March 21, 2013


To be fair, many of the clips in the reel seem to be stories about how increasingly MORE girls/women are now playing video games rather than "we've discovered there are girls/women who actually play video games!"
posted by Bwithh at 11:46 AM on March 21, 2013


To be fair, many of the clips in the reel seem to be stories about how increasingly MORE girls/women are now playing video games rather than "we've discovered there are girls/women who actually play video games!"

What? No they aren't. They literally say "Well it seems video games aren't just for guys any more."

As if they ever were, and as if that demarcation is occurring right now.
posted by odinsdream at 11:51 AM on March 21, 2013


*incredulous reporter voice* They say it's just... fun! It's just fun! They just like the games! They just play the games because they like them!
posted by naju at 11:58 AM on March 21, 2013


Totally anecdotal, but at least at the high school where I work and in the sample of kids I interact with, there does not seem to be any gender divde between who games or who does science. Let us hope that is an image of the future.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


TV newsreaders are fuckwits, to the astonishment of nobody.

I took a magazine-journalism class in my last semester in college. My professor brought in a former student of hers. He had graduated a few years before. Now he was working in Michigan as a human-interest reporter for a local news station. He showed us a few of his stories. He said they gave an example of his reporting's literary sensibility.

One of them opened with shots of trees and ranch houses covered in snow. In voiceover, the reporter said, "In life, there are ups - and there are downs."

The story turned out to be about a high-school wrestler who was mentally disabled.

When he finished, none of us asked any questions.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2013 [11 favorites]


......... you have got to be fucking kidding me
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:47 PM on March 21, 2013


"In life, there are ups - there are downs."

The story turned out to be about a high-school wrestler who was mentally disabled.


Downs as in... oh Jesus.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:04 PM on March 21, 2013


The women in video games clip is pretty funny; the science blog article is just depressing.
posted by rcraniac at 2:33 PM on March 21, 2013


Approximately one in five players of World of Warcraft are female, yet daily there is astonishment that females play the game - and not just by 14 y.o. trolls. About once a week, I am correcting my gender pronoun for guild-mates who often respond with "YOU'RE a girl? But you don't act/game/raid/chat like one!"

Hmmm... there are so many of us that "don't act like one", perhaps the idea of how females act (and game) could use refreshing.


That Dark Souls game seanmpuckett mentions sounds interesting. I'd like to have armor that doesn't look like it's based on drawings from old D&D books (chain mail bikinis).
posted by _paegan_ at 3:26 PM on March 21, 2013


I'll second Dark Souls as very refreshing in this department. I spent most of 100+ hours playing in this slinky, revealing number. The characters in the game are too busy being stark raving mad, miserable, or broken down to be sexist, I think.
posted by naju at 4:17 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


A related thing that Dark Souls gets right is the existence of a (fairly important) NPC character with atypical gender that is handled matter-of-factly. So matter-of-factly, that it isn't referred to in game.

In fact, as far as I can tell, nowhere in the game does gender play a role at all. Which isn't to say that gender isn't mentioned; it is. There are powerful male characters, and powerful female characters, and also a powerful character where it isn't clear. And it doesn't matter. The bodies are what they are, there's no commentary, no ramifications, no social implications.

The developers even went through the trouble to create different models & textures for most of the armour so that they'd look more appropriate to certain body types, but there are no impractical designs or variations; every piece is designed appropriately for what it is supposed to offer. Example: male / female hunter armour. The variations have the same stats, they just look different to match the figure's form.

And males can wear the pretty dresses, and females can wear the armour carved from stone, and no one cares at all. It's like the way the real world should not care. It's just surface detail, nothing more.

So refreshing. And then a 12 foot tall goat demon butchers you with twin machetes.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:13 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


The women in video games clip is pretty funny; the science blog article is just depressing.

Hear, hear. Bleh.
posted by homunculus at 12:10 AM on March 22, 2013


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