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Microsoft Comments On Xbox Rape Joke Controversy At E3


Microsoft has responded to accusations one of their game producers used a rape joke in a recent presentation at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. 

Our sister site, The Jane Dough, posted about initial situation earlier this week. The presentation in question was for Killer Instinct on the Xbox which featured a producer and a manager playing the fighting game.

“Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon,” the producer said when it seemed like the manager, a woman, was losing. It was this exact statement that left many cringing. Why? Because while many would consider what the man said as simply trash talk, many others related it to rape. Even more so when you include the following lines from the encounter:

“You have a fight stick!” the manager said. “Wow, you like those,” the producer replied. “No, I don’t like this!” said the manager.

While many were angered by the words, many others came to their defense. But Gamers Against Bigotry wrote a pretty good post breaking down why, “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon,” is trash talk, a rape reference, and highly problematic language all at the same time. They write:

It’s a rape joke because it is a phrase rapists use during rape and is reported later by survivors; it’s used commonly enough that a huge number of people heard him say that and immediately went “WTF” on Twitter, in their minds, and in their stomachs; and it’s a joke because people laughed (is it worth noting it was the only thing people really laughed at in that demo?).

It’s a rape joke that is a variation the many rape-related phrases and jokes that get used flippantly in games to describe a severe defeat. “You might as well try to enjoy it” or “don’t fight it” or “I wish you had at least used lube” or (the most common) “I/we just got raped.” Some of these are phrases perpetrators of rape use during the act and are later turned into jokes by us, while others are victim-centric and used as a self-deprecating joke to dismiss a bad loss — all of them condone and normalize rape, and they are all problematic.

The people who don’t consider the statement a rape reference most likely don’t realize it is simply because using it as a joke or trash talk has become too prevalent in our society. GAB writes:

Casual rape jokes are normalized far beyond just games culture. Back in the 90s, we (Texans) had a gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams who was asked about rape and joked “if it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” Yes. That’s real life. Several years before that, Tex Antoine, a New York City weatherman (but originally from Texas… damnit) joked, while responding to a story about a 5-year old girl who was violently raped, “With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: ‘If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.’” Also real life.

The E3 segment was initually reported as scripted by Kotaku but has since been refuted by Microsoft. “The comments in question during the ‘Killer Instinct’ demo were not scripted,” they told CBS in a statement. The demo was meant to include friendly gameplay banter, and there was no ill intent.”

But the words “friendly gameplay banter” is something to think about. Not all gamers mind trash talk, or even trash talk that uses offensive language, but it’s worth noting there are many who do mind it, and there is a distinct gender divide when it comes to how that language is used .

A study was published last year by Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff and Lindsey M. Rose, two PhDs from Ohio University’s School of Communication Studies called, “Communication in multiplayer gaming: Examining player responses to gender cues.” They looked at how Halo 3 players communicated with pre-recorded male and female voices.

“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,” they said. “On several occasions the female condition was exposed to derogatory gendered language. For example, 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.’”

Some, not all, gamers react poorly when their comfortably offensive territory is threatened, however. I’m sure you remember the treatment Feminist Frequency’s Anita Sarkeesian received (and continues to receive) when she decided to do a series on women in video games. But Microsoft previously said they take in-game harassment very seriously which is probably why Microsoft Studios corporate vice president Phil Spencer released this follow-up statement about the E3 incident:

“Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off the cuff and inappropriate comment while demoing ‘Killer Instinct’ with another employee. This comment was offensive and we apologize. At Microsoft, being open and respectful with others is central to our code of conduct and our values. Bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously. We remain committed to make gaming fun for everyone, and in that effort, we must lead by example.”

What did you think of the incident and what are your thoughts on the apology?

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  • Anonymous

    I love how they’re backtracking when the whole joke is a textbook “Shock comedy” gag straight of the playbook of douchebags like Daniel Tosh. It’s intention is to be as shocking and offensive as possible and evoke a “Holy crap did they really say that?” reaction.

    So they think it’s funny to joke about rape, just so long as they don’t have to deal with the consequences of saying something so awful. It’s like Microsoft is doing everything possible to endear people to the PS4.

  • Anonymous

    “The people who don’t consider the statement a rape reference most likely don’t realize it is simply because using it as a joke or trash talk has become too prevalent in our society.”

    I don’t speak knowingly (I don’t play fighting games and I usually only interact with my friends online) but if the statement above is true, then I would accept the apology.

  • Amber

    At least they issued a timely apology as bland as it is. It would be great if these gaming companies put their money where their corporate mouths are and did something ACTIVE. Enforce their TOS which state that you can’t harass someone, have audio/video podcasts that educate gamers about the problems, and lead by example! Sarkeesian’s series is successful because she has managed to stand out from the noise in the sea of pro-femme bloggers.

  • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

    I, for one, am happy that they acknowledged that it was inappropriate and apologized.

    Now if we could only get them to rethink their Xbox One strategy.

  • Lia Harrison

    It’s my understanding the Clayton Williams quote was in the context of comparing poor weather conditions to rape, not that anyone else brought up the topic.

  • http://zadl.org/ Captain ZADL

    They need to go a bit further with it. I’d like to see a large donation to shelters or a similar cause, as well as spearheading a campaign.

    They make the tools, and while not directly responsible for what people using those tools do, they should be adults and try to mitigate the bad behavior as much as possible by running awareness campaigns. Like some other industries I can think of should do.

  • BOBRACHA

    I’ve heard this line used multiple times by players towards how badly the Xbox One is doing at E3, and was confused to where the reference came from but now I know.

  • Anonymous

    Where did it come from?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Rapists.

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of the episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee with
    Alec Baldwin. Alec referred to a comedian’s “rah-pee-eh (rapier) wit”,
    and Jerry correct him with “rape-ier”. Alec prefers not to use that
    pronunciation because it it sounds like it’s comparing two things and
    which
    one rapes the most, example being one rapist telling the other rapist,
    “I’m rapier than you”. Uh oh. They made a joke about rape. You can’t do
    that. We should raise our pitchforks, regardless of how funny it was.

    So
    what’s the plan? How do we attack Microsoft now? I know they
    apologized, but you don’t let a rapist apologize. And we’re going to
    bring this up in the news until… some point. Until we feel better.
    Let’s define that point, so we can get there in a hurry and move on with
    our lives.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    Agreed. I figured they’d go with the standard ‘we’re sorry people got offended, but they’re just overemotional because we clearly didn’t mean it offensively.’

  • Anonymous

    So first there was that twitter/Lindy West debacle, and now this. It’s truly been a kicking few weeks for rape jokes. -_-

  • Mina

    I’m not seeing how a joke about NOT wanting to say something reminiscent of rape is really comparable to a joke about lying back and taking it.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, because calling someone out when they make a rape joke is an inconvenience to all of humankind and we should deal with it as quickly as possible so we can get on to more important things (or is it other things that don’t make men uncomfortable??). Like, watching Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, maybe? Priorities!

  • Anonymous

    +1.

  • Anonymous

    It seems most people here have decided there’s no chance “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon” refers to the beating actually taking place in the game, not a supposedly common rape expression. I don’t know whether you’re right or wrong, but I do know you’ve completely forgotten to give this guy the benefit of doubt.

  • jenovapooh

    And this article perfectly describes why I don’t play vocal interaction-based multiplayers anymore. Just LoL for me, kthx.

  • jenovapooh

    You have missed the point.

  • BlaughDaugh

    Exactly how I feel. You can only be verbally assaulted so much.

  • Anonymous

    Um… the fact that you believe this phrase which is most COMMONLY used in reference to RAPE is simply “gamers being gamers” is the problem. Why exactly do we have to be OK with comparing something as trivial as a loss in a video game to being raped and violated?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    The *player” may believe it only means a beating, but in the overall world, it’s a rape reference.

  • KaputOtter

    I’ve been discussing this since yesterday and have run into a few people who really do seem oblivious. Which is a slight consolation but also really troubling at the same time. Unfortunately I’ve tried to explain this to some, but their young proud egos don’t feel like apologizing. Some peoples’ idea of equality basically amounts to “I’ll just be a massive d*ckhead to everyone equally.”

  • KaputOtter

    Right, everyone bear with me here, but — I think it’s possible to make a funny rape joke.

    The ‘jokes’ are no longer really funny, however, when they are directed to real people and used as a threat (however minor, including during video game-play).

    This is the difference between Daniel Tosh and Sarah Silverman. Sarah Silverman’s rape jokes are abstract enough, with enough of a silly context, that she allows a kind of suspension of disbelief in quality storytelling and the humor, irony, and absurdity actually become a creation. Daniel Tosh on the other hand was nothing more than issuing intimidating assaults in his infamous moment of shame.

    Now, whether you like rape humor like Sarah Silverman’s or not, whether or not you think it’s in good taste — that’s up to the viewer. But there is NO call for intimidation and threats.

    Yes, insults, banter, and comraderie are a part of game-playing culture; and a lot of people claim that true equality would see men and women both participating in the banter. But when it comes to very touchy issues like rape, it’s just not so cut and dry. At the very least, this was an unprofessional social blunder whose context needs clarifying. Thanks for the apology, Microsoft.

  • Anonymous

    We can disagree if that was a rape joke (it wasn’t) but can everybody agree that the gamers against bigotry article is poorly written and contains a couple logical fallacies.

  • Amanda Cox

    The thing that really bothers me about them stressing the fact that it was unscripted is that it doesn’t make the situation any less disturbing or offensive. It seems to suggest that Microsoft employees’ comments to one another are not given much attention, or perhaps even excused due to the “inevitable nature” of the gaming industry, where women will “inevitably” fall into the minority. The fact that they have addressed the issue apologetically shows attentiveness to the needs of their audience, but it does not address the fact that even in a position where the woman does indeed have some control over the presentation and creation of the game itself, she was still made to feel marginalized and unwanted within her own community. It really makes me question how Microsoft treats their female staff, and given the fact (as Sarkeesian has pointed out) that there are absolutely zero original titles planned to release for the XBOne with a female protagonist, it doesn’t make me too confident about their perceptions of gender in video games or their future endeavors to explore gender equality.

  • Hawkes006

    Ok, so, question for everyone. If a rape joke is off limits, because rape is terrible, would that make murder/killing jokes also off limits? “Their team murdered us” or other forms of the phrase are common in pretty much anything competitive.

    I’m only talking about the metaphoric use of the phrase. I understand there is a difference, since in many games, killing is literally what is happening to these digital characters. Often the goal is to kill your opponent, but never in mainstream media do characters actively rape their opponents (unless there is some dark form of CoD no one told me about).

    But if rape should never be a joke or used flippantly, and instead only used in serious context to guide our culture to take rape itself more seriously, shouldn’t we apply that logic to murder, suicide, or theft. Is there a line we can draw on this?

    Not trolling, just curious to see thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, the only change we can realistically hope to make is that good people don’t use hurtful language by accident. There’s not much we can do for people who are d*ckheads at their core.

  • RodimusBen

    The comment was rude and insensitive, and an apology was in order. Microsoft did its part, so at this point it’s time for all parties to move on.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    Please explain what those are.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    I feel like you answered your own question.

    ” I understand there is a difference, since in many games, killing is literally what is happening to these digital characters. Often the goal is to kill your opponent, but never in mainstream media do characters actively rape their opponents”

  • Anonymous

    Rape jokes aren’t necessarily off-limits and murder and suicide jokes aren’t always okay. What’s important is the context and the way the joke teller makes the joke. For example, your friends may tolerate a sort of language that an audience at E3 can tolerate, and a rape banter will have a different effect on a woman than it would’ve had on a man.

  • jenovapooh

    The conversation is going to continue. Not just because of this instance, but because it is an epidemic in the gamer community and our society.

  • jenovapooh

    The main difference between the two is that people (should) inherently know that murder is a horrible thing. However, with the general attitude towards women in gaming, it definitely doesn’t seem like there is an understanding of what rape is and results in. I suppose that could be applied to murder as well, but the rape jokes hit in different, negative ways.

    Going back to what you stated, the goal in the games this attitude is prevalent in is to win, usually via killing your opponent in a myriad of ways. I would hope that people don’t play these games to “rape people”.

    It also has to do with the sheer volume of women and men that have been raped (more common than murder, as far as I am aware).

    I can see your point, though I do feel that what the rape comments/jokes say about the person using them and the culture surrounding it are more problematic than the semantics surrounding the differences.

  • Anonymous

    I’d agree that there is a way to make an actually funny rape joke; the key is to make punchline about anything but, since the whole focus of comedy is to upend expectations.

  • Hawkes006

    That wasn’t to answer the question, but to acknowledge that argument and point out that isn’t what I was talking about. I’m only talking about the euphemism. The term can be used in Madden just as much as in CoD, but no one is pulling off a headshot in the former. Many times when the term is used, it’s being used figuratively and not literally.

  • David Ouillette

    Here is my problem. There were two ways to take the statement. The person who said it stated he meant in the innocent way. However an entire community has chosen (it is a choice) to take it the un-intended way. Thanks to that choice we have this fireball of backlash at the wrong people. If it were up to me, why don’t we focus on the horrible comments against the Feminist Frequency videos that were INTENDED to cause harm, and leave the comment that was not intended to cause harm alone.

    Just my two cents.

  • Hawkes006

    That’s a very good point, context and audience should play a much bigger part in all of this. For example, amongst friends I get it, but for Microsoft to do it live, on a big stage, in front of the whole industry…especially an industry struggling with the treatment of female characters AND players…clearly out of line.

    I was just curious, because to many a rape joke is NEVER ok, no matter the audience, so I was following the line of thought. Just a mental exercise.

  • Ugh

    “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon” How the HELL does this even relate to rape?

  • Anonymous

    I was wondering if someone was going to invoke Tex Antoine. Glad that outstanding bit of stupidity has not been forgotten.

  • KaputOtter

    I totally hear what you’re saying, and you asked some very fair questions. I feel like I answered some of it in my reply below to robodomo.

    I’ve encountered lots of people who feel the same way, that “rape jokes are never okay”. I may disagree with them on principle, but I absolutely respect that “rape jokes are never okay (for me)” (for them); and that there is a time and place for them, namely with your known friends, and that in public it’s a disgrace, much like racism. (I don’t tolerate racism either, but in private with your friends, what can I do?)

    Rape is a much more triggery subject for some than others. But for obvious reasons there are many more rape survivors than murder survivors.

  • http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ Kate A

    You’re the only one that’s said that joke isn’t acceptable. Surely you can see the difference between making a joke about a word’s pronunciation and insinuating that a woman is being raped?

  • Hawkes006

    I think the idea that people don’t know rape is “wrong” is itself wrong. As I understand it, the point of using it as a threat or an insult, or even a self deprecating joke, implies that it is “bad” (though we could argue on “how bad” since it’s being used flippantly). The only people who don’t understand it would be the screaming 10 yr olds or crazy sheltered, immature 18 yr olds.

    Also, I looked up the stats on rape being more common than murder, just to see, and holy crap. First hit I found was that it was more common than SMOKING. What a horrific “learn new things every day” today has been…

    But to hit on your point of volume some more, maybe rape jokes should be more harshly regarded, because there are more rape survivors in the world than murder survivors. Interesting…

  • Brian

    You don’t have to say that here, there’s an actual button.

  • Sara Clemens

    Partly because we live in a rape culture and not a murder culture. It’s far less likely for a murder victim to be blamed for their own murder, for example, than it is for a rape victim to be blamed for their own rape.

  • Hawkes006

    I like the idea of context, even for something like racism. I wouldn’t consider Avenue Q a racist show, but they have a whole song based on racism jokes.

    The problem is, by saying “There is a time and place for everything”, we’re kind of giving Microsoft an out. They could easily say it was a slip up, the guy was trash talking as if he was amongst friends (who knows, the two on stage may even be friends in real life), and we’d have to give them the benefit of the doubt…

  • Anonymous

    Intent is not magic. Unintentional stuff can still cause harm, especially in a press conference ran by people I’m going to assume are professionals (although given the disasterfuck the rest of the Xbone showing turned out, maybe not).

    Also I really don’t see why we can’t tackle both this particular thing and the FemFreq stuff as well. It’s not really an either/or situation. Calling for focus when it’s rather simply a matter of ‘X is shitty, Y is also shitty’ looks a bit silly to me.

  • Anonymous

    “To temper my reaction, I even asked one of my roommates (who’s not a gamer or social justice-y person), “Hey, no context, if a person said ‘just let it happen, it’ll be over soon,’ what do you think it’d mean?” The verdict: rape reference. He even got the stomach discomfort, and he heard it second-hand. That has two major problems. First she purposely took it out of context in order to prove her point. That is unfair and proves nothing. Second the whole “the whole my friend agrees with me so I am automatically right” doesn’t prove anything. If I said that my roommate agrees with me that it isn’t a rape joke does that invalidate her roommate?

    Also the whole rapists actually say that so it is automatically a terrible rape joke is unfair. If the manager told the producer that she owned him in the second round does that make it a slavery joke because white people use to own black people?

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I’m not convinced this was a rape joke/reference. “Just let it happen; it’ll be over soon,” is a generic statement wherein the “it” can be any undesirable outcome that someone might resist, and personally, whenever I’ve heard it used, the “it” was getting killed or beaten up. The fact that it could also be used to refer to rape or that some rapists apparently do use the phrase that way, doesn’t mean that’s the exclusive or even the most common usage. In this particular instance, given that the guy was playing a fighting game in which his character was actually beating up his opponent, it seems much more likely that the “it” he was referring to was generic ass-kicking not rape.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is actually a large part of the problem: rape jokes like that are SO common and such a part of the gaming community (and sometimes even society at large) that the people saying them don’t always recognize/understand the original context.

    Yes, language can evolve and the meanings of words/phrases can shift, but some changes shouldn’t be tolerated. Rape is still far, far too prevalent a threat to have it be trivialized.

  • Charlotte Van Zee

    One of the first lessons I learned as a child is know your audience. I could win points with my dad if I got a burn on him and made him laugh. I’d be in deep if I tried that with my mother depending on her mood. If you’re going to go so far to tell a rape joke, first make sure that it’s actually funny, and secondly make sure that the recipient is not going to be offended when you tell it — which is why rape jokes, like dead baby and Helen Keller jokes, tend to flop when they’re told to large audience.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Please, continue being obtuse when the post explains the answer to your question.

  • Anonymous

    On what basis do you conclude that “in the overall world, it’s a rape reference”? As I mention below, I’ve honestly never heard it used that way. I’ve only ever heard it used in reference to killing and/or severely beating someone.

  • Anonymous

    “in the overall world, it’s a rape reference”. You write with such certainty. As if your own assosiacions are the only ones conceivable.

  • Sara Clemens

    Oh dude, not at all! The context was a huge live-streamed press conference at the biggest video game conference in the world. With stakes that high, that trash talk actually *should* have been scripted to avoid any misogynistic/racist/homophobic slip-ups.

  • http://www.geekgirldiva.com/ Geek Girl Diva

    It really is in the post. ;-)

  • Hawkes006

    Ask anyone around the world if the US is a murder culture, you might get a different answer.

  • Anonymous

    Of course I have. After all, I made the bold claim that we can’t be certain the guy meant it the way you interpret it. Thank you for putting me in my place.

  • Hawkes006

    True…maybe they thought by not scripting, it would be more realistic? But you’re right, whoever planned that interaction without a script should be fired

  • Anonymous

    How do you know (or, more accurately, why do you think/assume) it’s “most commonly used in reference to rape”? Honest question. Have you personally seen/heard it used that way enough times to reach that conclusion with a reasonable degree of certainty? As I note elsewhere in the thread, I myself have never heard it used that way. YMMV I guess, but even then, it’s clear from this and other discussion threads on the subject that many people do not consider it to be a rape reference, so your apparent level of certainty seems excessive to me.

  • KaputOtter

    Too true. I’ll just have to keep being the change I want to see.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    It seems like this should be a learning experience not a means to say, “I’ve never heard of it used that way.” We are trying to explain that it is used this way, regarding rape. That seems something you should pay attention too.

  • Anonymous

    How do you know that?

  • KaputOtter

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=let%20it%20happen
    ^^^ Please see link.
    Sorry, but this particular turn of phrase has a history, and it’s one of nonconsensual context. Plenty of commentors in this thread have mentioned encountering people who were oblivious to the rape context, implied or overt; and it’s our job to give you the full story.
    Edit: You’ll have to take my word on this, but it appears the main entry in the UrbanDictionary file has changed. The prior definition included cases of “date rape”, which is quite true.

  • http://arewerobots.libsyn.com/ DarthBetty

    Gotcha. I see what you mean.

  • Sara Clemens

    Ha, I certainly agree the U.S. has a problem with violence. I just mean we don’t live in a culture where murders go unreported, or the clothing the victim was wearing at the time is called into question.

  • Porco Rosso

    Neither of the examples there even remotely hint towards rape – and using it as such is WANTING that distinction to be there. Also, I would not use Urban Dictionary as the source any kind of wisdom as it is user generated and thus often wholly unreliable.

  • Hawkes006

    Touché

  • KaputOtter

    I’m going to take your advice, because I swear on all I hold dear that earlier today it had a much better definition. Please take my word on it; the turn of phrase has a very infamous history as used by rapists, confirmed by many other participants in this thread.

  • Anonymous

    Again…….what apology? They are saying shit to cover their ass; I see absolutely NO self-reflection and a way to prevent this from happening again. They’re not even going to talk to the asshole who made those comments. The first “apology” was some bullshit about Intention Not-Being Magical, and the latest one just states the fuckin’ obvious. Great, now what are you going to DO about it?! Nothing, oh, okay player….>.>

  • Anonymous

    The problem with jokes like this, is it adds to a culture in which this type of violence is acceptable. So even if your audience was “okay” with it, take the higher road and don’t add to the rape culture.

  • Porco Rosso

    What would you like? Should we fire the guy? Nah, that’s not enough. Let’s fire him AND make a note to never hire him in any enterntainment position again. Nah, too easy. Let’s ostracize him entirely! Put him on a dinghy and send him out to sea, that’ll show him!

    What CAN they do but apologize? At what point will everyone be happy? Cause I can guarantee to you, no matter what they would do now, it wouldn’t matter – someone is still going to want more blood in the water.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very privileged response. “I don’t see how, therefore it’s not,” How lovely for you.

  • totz the plaid

    I felt sick and disgusted as soon as I saw the phrase in the photo.

  • Porco Rosso

    I’d like to consider myself a relatively savvy and well read person. Even understanding. But the only times that I’ve heard that particular (groan worthy and lame) line used has been in bad action movies, lan parties and poor comics. Always working as a variation of poor villain dialog like “this is really gonna hurt”, “it’ll be over soon” (last used in I think the Wolverine movie). Yet, it has never struck me as a “rape joke” at any of these times. Which is why I’m so perplexed at the anger that has been displayed at this stupid throwaway jab.

  • http://www.geekgirlsonline.com Athena Hollow

    Exactly. Dickwolves is another great example. The punchline wasn’t the rape. The punchline was that adventurers do their quests in games, and immediately move on, regardless of how harrowing the PC’s story might be.

  • KaputOtter

    Poor analogy. Slavery in the US has been outlawed and is an antiquated subject. While racism is an issue, slavery is a non-issue. There is also enough innocuous context around the phrase of “owning” someone, specifically in a non-racist fashion, that racially motivated slurs are not the immediate cultural response to this phrase.

    Rape, however, is extremely common even now and threats of rape are considered assault, improper, uncivilized, and unprofessional. Plenty of people in this thread have acknowledged that “let it happen” is a common phrase used by rapists. This isn’t an issue that can be settled with a bloody democratic vote, but you should be aware of the full context of how MANY people interpret it.

  • Anonymous

    Quoted from “Oh no! Video Games!” (link below):

    “1) Murder in games is normally justified within the fiction. There’s no justification for rape.

    2) Much of society doesn’t view murder as acceptable. We’re still trying to get there with rape.

    3) Murder victims aren’t continually reminded of their attack through media.”

    Link: http://ohnovideogames.com/penny-arcade-tentacle-bento-a-summation

  • Pomfelo

    Look up Project Unbreakable, a tumblr for quotes from rapists said to sexual assault survivors (GIANT TRIGGER WARNING).

  • KaputOtter

    Only you can live out your own personal life experience. That is the nature of the human condition — we can’t be everyone all at once, and empathize instantly with every problem, so we’ll just have to take things one step at a time. Thank you though, for making a sincere effort at understanding!

  • jenovapooh

    You are most welcome, Captain Sarcasm.

  • Anonymous

    Continue this; you are close. Thank you for being honest and willing to learn.

  • Hawkes006

    #1 I addressed, and wasn’t the point of the question. #2 makes me wonder what parts of society the author deals in. Also, by using it as a threat/insult, that is implicitly acknowledging that it is “bad”

    But #3 is a spot on good point

  • Anonymous

    How about making sure it doesn’t happen again?

    I mean it would take time to prove that they’d learnt from this situation and changed but that’s the point. As it stands an empty apology means nothing if next E3 a similar thing happens.

    You’re trying so hard to make people seem unreasonable but waiting to see if MS actions match their apology is perfectly sensible. No blood necessary, but you can’t expect people to take ‘Stock Apology #23′ as though it were a heartfelt sentiment.

  • Porco Rosso

    Hey, no problem, thank you for wanting to even have the discussion. I’ve been really frustrated with this topic, because nobody seems to actually WANT to talk about it. It’s always a shouting match, where anyone who doesn’t agree with the majority is branded as a woman hating pig (pun to username not intended). I would much rather understand than just join the choir, since otherwise this topic is not going to go anywhere productive at all.

  • Anonymous

    Unless you’re really interested in an actual back-and-forth, please go learn some Feminism 101.

  • Sara Clemens

    For the record, the author is male.

  • KaputOtter

    I really prefer understanding where the other side is coming from so I can create an informed response. Also Hanlon’s Razor is my daily mantra.

  • jenovapooh

    It’s more a comprehension issue than an understanding, sorry. A person can say they understand that rape is wrong, but still not see the aftermath is causes, or how cruel an act it really is.

    I’m lacking a good phrase here, but the idea seems to lack impact until the person in question has more personal experience. At least, it has in the people I’ve spoken to in the past regarding this subject.

    I also see that it isn’t always meant in the vicious, poisonous way, given the nature of some banter. Which is why I think comprehension might be an issue.

  • Anonymous

    How about this? “Oh, you write about sexism on the internet? Well, before we get into all that boring nuance and subtle gender dynamics that feminist scholars have been demarcating for years, can you just back up 17,000 steps and prove to me that inequality exists?” -Lindy West

    lolforever

    Link: http://jezebel.com/quit-fucking-asking-me-questions-a-refresher-course-512810149

  • Hawkes006

    But then doesn’t it become an issue of political correctness, to not offend survivors, instead of an issue of rape culture?

    I am trying to be honest and just have an open discussion. This is something a HELL of alot more complex than any of us can ever conquer in a comment section, but I think being able to have these conversations sets a better example for internet etiquette when compared to the examples of Lewis’ Law

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    When things are fact, yes, I can write about them with certainty.

  • jenovapooh

    Thanks for being willing to listen and engage. :)

  • KaputOtter

    “The problem is, by saying ‘There is a time and place for everything’, we’re kind of giving Microsoft an out.”

    I’m kind of okay with this.

    While I sorta agree with some that MS should probably do just a touch more to brush up on their image, I’m not going to lambast them and instantly boycott them for one offense.

    But I really do think there’s a time and place for everything. There’s a time and place for nudity, drunkenness, even anger if it’s excorcised in a nonviolent way (and that’s why many of us play games).

    It’s when you own up to stepping out of line that really counts.

  • Sara Clemens

    If you ever do any work in a rape crisis center, especially ones with educational outreach programs, you’ll be horribly surprised to learn #2 is spot on, too.

  • Hawkes006

    I like the distinction between comprehension and understanding, I can get behind that. Knowing something is wrong and seeing it first hand are worlds apart, so I’m with you.

    But the aspect of it being used as banter and not always viciously, I don’t think that plays a part in the comprehension/understanding of rape. I feel that may (in some cases, not all or even most) be a matter of the dark nature of some humor. I know personally, I am the kind of person who makes jokes about truly awful personal experiences, like the death of a loved one, as a coping method. So I don’t want to discount that aspect in the conversation on “rape jokes”. Some people may not function that way, and we should be respectful of that, but then I think it ties back to context.

  • Anonymous

    Though it loses points for being a textbook example of how not to respond to this type of criticism.

  • Guest

    I found some disturbing quotes, but not really any documentation that this is a typical rapist line. But what does it really matter anyway? Even if, say, 70 % of rapists rutinely said this, we can’t expect that everyone knows that?

    This is probably the sort of thing you could expect a rapist to say, and I guess that’s why people are reacting. But there’s also a chance this producer didn’t think of that, and saying something that could be a double entendre without thinking is not such a crime.

  • Anonymous

    And connotations are facts now?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, that means it’s time for all parties to keep talking, so it DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN

    That’s how we women are ALWAYS expected to handle this.

    Somebody says something terrible.

    Women have an outcry

    Someone “apologizes”

    Dudebros swarm to tell women to STFU “U GOT UR APOLOGY! MOVE ON”

    Rinse, Repeat.

  • Hawkes006

    Really? Damn…

  • Hawkes006

    That’s a very good point

  • Anonymous

    It’s not about offending survivors; it’s about not triggering. Personal example, I have post-traumatic stress (I don’t like the “disorder” part of it, so I leave that out). I am triggered by sudden, loud noises. I give a short scream, turn towards the noise, have my hand on my chest cuz I feel like I’m having a heart attack. Now, you could say most people would react that way too, but they don’t have the pain that follows. It’s like being suddenly slapped across the face; the emotional pain that comes with that. The shame that I reacted, the hurt and confusion that comes from being triggered, the anxiety that there are Things Outside of Me that Control my Emotions. Now, why do we live in a culture that doesn’t care if it hurts people in this way? (and yes, I am also triggered by rape references/”jokes”/ scenes in media)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    People viciously bullied the Stuebenville rape victim, who was unaware of the crime committed against her, until the rapists and their abettors started bragging about.

    Rape is normalized in our society. It’s nice, to be a guy who doesn’t rape and think that everyone agrees with you. But the 1 in 3 women who are assaulted beg to disagree with you.

  • Anonymous

    It is a fact that the phrase has those connotations, yes. Either you don’t know what “connotation” means or you are being incredibly obtuse.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    You might want to reread the article. I never said the producer knew it was a rape reference and used it anyway. Just stating that it is, in fact, a thing rapists say. Not sure why you’re continuing to try and dispute that…

  • KaputOtter

    You can move on if you please — after all, you’ve acknowledged the situation graciously enough. But the sad fact is there are many people who are denying any wrongdoing, so there are those of us who feel a certain duty to explain the reality of all perspectives to them.

  • Anonymous

    I know they vary from person to person.

  • Anonymous

    “or the clothing the victim was wearing at the time is called into question.”

    It can, when a whole other issue comes up, like race (Trayvon Martin).

  • Porco Rosso

    As opposed to “I see how, therefore it is”?

  • Anonymous

    “Unfairness”: not actually a logical fallacy.

  • Anonymous

    It is, it’s a fact.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The target of the rape joke is important too. Is it making fun of the victim? Or is the perp the butt of the joke? Are we intended to sympathize with the rapists point of view to find it funny?

    Wanda Sykes has a joke about having a detachable vagina, so if she’s raped, she can just pop it off and hand it to the guy. That’s a joke about rape that SIDES with victim and makes the attacker the punchline. Which is a huge difference between telling a woman to “lie back and enjoy it, it’ll be over soon”

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t asking for an education; I was asking Jill to provide support for her conclusory statements. I see that you used the “Feminism 101″ dodge downthread, so in that vein, I’ll note that if you’re having trouble understanding the difference, I would suggest you sign up for “Persuasive Writing 101″.

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    Then thank goodness there’s someone around to point this shit out to you when it happens, right? Now you know not to embarrass yourself by saying the same thing in front of a large audience.

    YOU’RE WELCOME.

  • Porco Rosso

    Considering the amount of debate, I’m not sure it is.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    You don’t see the connection. Fine. That’s fair. But all you have to do is take a look at other responses to what the producer said—including comments here—to see that, yes, the phrase DOES have that connotation for a hell of a lot of people.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, no dude, I’m not interested in vengeance…I want actual understanding, which is NOT happening here. (and neither from you, it seems)

  • Sara Clemens

    Absolutely. Good clarification.

  • Anonymous

    But they are not unique to each person. If they varied from person to person as much as your argument requires, we wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively. I would go into more detail if I thought for one second that you were in this thread in good faith.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    Fair enough, DarthBetty. To clarify, though, I’m not arguing that the phrase is never a rape reference; just that it’s not always a rape reference and that people should therefore not automatically assume it is.

  • KaputOtter

    This is the entire conundrum of the issue, right here. The ignorance on the part of the Microsoft representative, and how common it is to encounter trash-talk like this in games on the whole. You can’t stop it from happening on XBox Live, but at a public conference? It’s unprofessional at best.

    There are many gamers, young and old, who made/make the same mistake. We’re here to fill in the details. So for what it’s worth, thanks for listening.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    What other things does it refer to, that does not include an innate reference to a discomforting attack on an individual that violates bodily autonomy? I’m ALL FUCKING EARS!!!!

    You are the one who is claiming that “it’s not always” a reference to rape, so enlighten me, what ELSE is it a reference for?

  • Porco Rosso

    So, when someone questions what you present as fact, they’re automatically sexist and wrong? Do you not see how incredibly bad that is for the cause of equality?

    Nobody is trying to tell you to go back to the kitchen. Only to get at the bottom of the thing why a good deal of people do not consider the situation that happened on stage as anything but an incredibly facepalm worthy moment and why others consider it an offence and allusion to rape. Clearly there is a wide split, making this something else than just a fact.

    It’s not going to help anyone if you’re going to start labeling those that question you as sexist.

  • Anonymous

    Of course, “I don’t see how, therefore it’s not” is not a reasonable paraphrasing of my argument. Also, just fyi, it’s poor form to use quotation marks when you’re not, you know, actually quoting someone.

  • Anonymous

    “Dickwolves is another great example. The punchline wasn’t the rape.”

    For you. For others…Link: http://www.shakesville.com/2010/08/rape-is-hilarious-part-53-in-ongoing.html

  • Anonymous

    As I mentioned upthread, pointing out that an article/post has failed to properly support its conclusions is not the same as demanding an education.

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    The obtuseness gambit really is one of the most annoying, isn’t it? They plead ignorance, on behalf of themselves or others, but scorn any attempt to educate them.

    Some days the world makes me so, so tired.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    So other contexts include

    action movies- usually made in reference to violent attacks on other people

    lan parties- so the context is gaming, usually in reference to victory

    poor comics- again victory

    So you yourself concede that other contexts all revolve around dominance, achieving hard fought victories? Just what do you think rapists THINK THEY ARE DOING?

    The value the phrase has in other contexts comes from it’s use in association with rape culture!!!!! Just because the phrase isn’t always used to mean literal rape, doesn’t mean that’s not the context of the phrase. When you are using that phrase, you are attempting to invoke the power and dominance achieved by rapists over their victims as your own power, no matter what particular context you are using it.

  • Anonymous

    Well that was incoherent…

    Anyway, I’m off so I won’t be reading more replies. I get the feeling most people here aren’t really interested in seeing this from different points of view anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it was pretty fair. You’ll note that I’ve heard “your” argument multiple times…and no doubt will hear it again. In other words, you’re not telling me anything new.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care; you’re not interested in conversing. So neither am I.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    What the guy “meant” is irrelevant. I didn’t mean to hit you with my car, does that mean you are no longer injured?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like trying to converse with people who project.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but it’s also a thing non-rapists say in reference to things other than rape. Given that, I think the dispute is over whether such non-rape related usage is necessarily tainted by association.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, it drives me nuts. Seriously, connotations: facts. The feelings and reactions of others: facts. Subjective experiences of others: facts. Something not being “objective” or “universal” doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s such a classic way to shut down a discussion.

  • Anonymous

    My certainty comes from real life. Because from my own real life experiences (conversations with both men and women) I have never heard the phrase “let it happen” in any context other than rape. Now honest question for you, what is an appropriate context to use this phrase? Cause I seriously can’t think of one.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Like you, for instance.

    But thanks for reading!

  • Anonymous

    Oh. The. Irony.

  • jenovapooh

    It’s more a symptom of a lack of comprehension, in my opinion. Just because it isn’t meant in a vicious context (that word again) doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to be perceived that way.

    It seems like another issue is that a blasé approach to rape jokes can be validation for rapists. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, since I haven’t any personal experience in that specific subject. However, it does seem present in people’s minds?

  • Porco Rosso

    There’s some thick irony there.

    You don’t seriously see what you’re doing here and how bad of a thing it is to whatever cause you’re promoting? You’re attacking anyone and everyone with a different viewpoint, you’re only linking even more hostile articles at people who question you and you refuse to communicate in a civil manner with anyone because you perceive what you are doing is the only right and “factual” way of things. There is a word for behavior like that.

  • Anonymous

    I understand the larger context as to why this can be a rape reference but in this specific case he is specifically talking about the game not rape.

  • Anonymous

    As I mentioned a few times elsewhere in the thread (including 3 posts above yours), it’s also used as a reference to beating and/or killing. And yes, those are violations of bodily autonomy, but it’s the specific violation of rape that people are concerned with here.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But it’s a phrase that draws it’s power FROM RAPE!!! You cannot divorce it from that context. It’s is a statement about domination and victory, given that power BY RAPISTS!!!

  • Porco Rosso

    I was concluding, when asked, that the other methods of that particular phrase being used have been about fictional dominance, gaming and movie violence. Meaning: things that are not rape. Things that aren’t even remotely implying rape – as they are already implying a victorious situation in a game or a film in the first place. (Personal experience example incoming!): Upon a rewatch of the Matrix trilogy and later playing Mortal Kombat, my flatmate attacked my character with a move highly similar to what Agent Smith does to Neo – involving spreading a black liquid into the character, X-Files style. In the movie, Agent Smith remarks “yes, it’ll be over soon” in a taunting manner. My flatmate mockingly imitated Smith’s taunt. Doesn’t mean that even remotely implied rape in this case – or ever.

    It relates back to my point: you have to be looking for it. If you are, anything can be turned to feel like it’s an attack on you. Doesn’t mean it is.

    I’m not trying to belittle anything, least of all rape, all I’m saying (as others have said it better before me), that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  • Anonymous

    Again, the problem is everyone is expected to just accept this kind of joke as the norm. And that’s sad that the people who are calling out this joke as dead wrong and inappropriate are being accused of ‘attacking’ an innocent guy. Know that saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, I have a hard time thinking of a joke that historically came from rapists being innocent in any way.

  • Anonymous

    #2 is surprisingly common. Any time you hear someone talking about how a person was “asking for it”, appeal to the way they dressed, say “boys will be boys”, appeal to hormones/male instincts… that’s legitimizing a crime under a certain circumstance. It’s saying that sometimes the victim deserved it, on the basis of things that should be irrelevant.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But whatever meaning it has, comes from the fact that it means rape. You want to divorce the context of the words from their original meaning, because you want to use it for something else, and problematic language DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!!!

  • Anonymous

    No one has provided any evidence of that, though, Aeryl. That’s my whole point. I’ve Googled the phrase (and variations thereof), and prior to this current dust-up, I can’t seem to find anything showing that it’s originally and/or predominantly a rape reference.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But AGAIN, it can’t be divorced from that context. It only has power in those contexts, because it invokes the dominance and violence of rape.

  • Porco Rosso

    No, please stop putting words in my mouth. I did not say that, nor did I even imply it.

    All I said, and this was a response that you even agreed with being true, was that the term has not specifically meant rape in culture a 100% of the time in history. I provided examples, which you agreed on, but then you twisted them into meaning what you wanted it to mean. To quote yourself: “because you want to use it for something else.”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Except all the people in this thread, the references the linked article talks about.

    Why don’t you stop trying to deny the lived experiences of others?

  • Anonymous

    “You don’t seriously see what you’re doing here and how bad of a thing it is to whatever cause you’re promoting?”

    The old Shame the Minority into Not Being Righteously Angry. No thanks :) You’re being an asshole, so am I. The difference here is I’m going to be seen as MORE of an asshole (in your eyes and others) because I should be overjoyed that you’re even talking to me about this issue!! And, that I’m suppose to just hand you all teh learning you’ll need to do, just like everything else in life! (privilege). So no, fuck that.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    There is evidence provided in this post. In the corresponding links. In the comment sections here…

  • Porco Rosso

    I’d like to see where I have been an asshole. I’ve responded to your more and more hostile remarks in a sensible manner and have tried to bring some logic into this discussion. You have responsed by linking angry walls of text, used only wide generalizations and called people names when they’ve disagreed with you.

    If you don’t actually want to have a discussion on the subject, just say so, but throwing insults around isn’t going to help one iota.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It’s a phrase that draws it’s meaning from rape. That means even its uses in other contexts, that may not specifically mean rape in particular, it is invoking rape by using it.

    I don’t want anyone using the phrase in any context, because even if you don’t mean to talk about rape, you are implying it.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    And here’s another I just got from a quick google search: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2013/03/28/girl-says-she-was-raped-by-two-men/

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    But for that phrase to have any meaning, it has to draw it’s meaning from the context OF RAPE. That’s what rape culture means. It means we normalize, we invoke, we ignore it and minimize the damage done by it, by taking these phrases and try to use them in other “specific” contexts, when they imply rape.

  • Porco Rosso

    All you’re doing is exactly what you just accused others of doing: forcing language into their mouths and intentions. It’s unhealthy and useless. That phrase has been just a phrase until you have given meaning to it. If a child says it, it’s still just a phrase – they haven’t given intent to it yet and it’s vital that they’re taught to understand intent more than told to be afraid of words and sentences.

  • Anonymous

    What are the non-rape related uses?

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    What bothered me more was that the woman was clearly not enjoying her time playing the game, while the man was very clearly enjoying dominating her, apparently with a different set of controls. It was about more than just the off-the-cuff statement.

  • Porco Rosso

    I’ve heard, on more occasions than one, people like dentists, doctors, teachers, therapists and nurses use this particular phrase in a number of meanings and contexts. Never in those times has it even crossed my (or their) mind that it would imply something harmful.

    Are you really going to tell all of them, and the rest of the world, that this sentence is now banned effective immediately, because of what it might mean?

  • Sara Clemens

    True. I should have used a better example. Though barring incidents of racial prejudice, I don’t think the clothing of murder victims is often called into question. Certainly not as often as that of rape victims.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Where did the child learn the phrase?
    What thoughts do you think they are trying to convey with the phrase?

    Victory and domination of a resisting foe?

    You mean, like RAPE????

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    And people are never raped by dentists, doctors, teachers, therapists, and nurses.

  • Porco Rosso

    Again, you’re leaping to conclusions and projecting things that aren’t there. Victory or domination of a resisting foe? You mean, like FOOTBALL? HOCKEY? MINI-GOLF?

  • Porco Rosso

    Then I suggest that everyone, everywhere at every place stops communicating right the hell now, because someone, somewhere at some time might get hurt by someone of some profession at some location.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Again, it draws it’s power, when used in contexts related to sports and gaming, FROM RAPE!!!!!

  • Porco Rosso

    No, it doesn’t. It really, really doesn’t. It’s a PHRASE. A connection of words. It is whatever the person behind it gives it meaning. “Hey, we totally are beating you at this soccer game, but relax, it (the game) will be over soon” is not the same as rape – never has been, never will and if you’re going to be afraid of a sentence then there’s not much that I can do to change your mind. But I really, honestly, hope that you’d at least entertain the idea that language itself is not inherently bad and we never should make it be the fall guy when horrific things happen.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, all I am saying is that because it may have a use, unrelated to rape culture, does not mean this context is UNRELATED to rape culture. Or that even those “innocent” contexts don’t have a more sinister context underneath.

    You have a very ignorant and uneducated way of looking at this situation, and your hyperbole is not helpful(EVERYBODY STOP TALKING TO EVERYONE EVER)

    It’s wonderful(for you) that you don’t have to face this reality, that people you must place your trust in, your coworkers, your LOVED ONES, could one day do this to you. I, and a lot of other people, don’t get that privilege. So when someone who’s been marginalized, tells you that your language is problematic, that a phrase has connotations you may not have been aware of, it behooves you to STFU and listen, and try to learn.

  • Porco Rosso

    My hyperbole is only a reaction to your insistance of making everything and everyone out to be a demon. You have no idea who I am, what I have gone through or what I have helped people around me go through. You don’t know what my daily life consists of or what people go through it. But you assume that because you are afraid of a string of words that everyone who isn’t, or says that they are just that – words – are somehow wrong or evil.

    No, we’re just not willing to lie down and be scared all the time.

  • jenovapooh

    …Mini golf?
    I’m impressed that you found a way to make me smile amongst this horrible topic, even if it was only for two words.

    Bravo.

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of a Colbert interview where he commented to some politician, “Generally, in the past we’ve all been able to agree that rape is bad.” I feel like I’m in The Twilight Zone when I have to explain to people not only why rape is bad but why a phrase like “let it happen” is bad. The fact that people have to write entire articles explaining why it is inappropriate to say a rape joke on stage at an event as big as E3 is just plain sad.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes it does, it really really does.

    See I can do that too. What I’ve also done, is participate in a thread, that demonstrates the connotations the phrase has you weren’t aware of(like the word “lame” is a derogatory phrase, imputing negative things onto something because of immutable conditions. Most peopel aren’t aware of that UNTIL SOMEONE POINTS IT OUT).

    Words cannot be divorced from the meaning other people will put into them and intention is NOT MAGICAL. I can intend a lot of things, but the effects matter more.

  • Roberta

    I think part of it is that murder jokes are based on what the person does. For example, “My friend is going to kill me when he finds out I…”. The “victim” of the joke is one because of an action. To go with your earlier example, “That team murdered us”, it is because you were playing against them and lost, not because you simply existed.

    Rape jokes are really more about what the victim is. The victim in most rape plots or jokes is attacked mainly because they are simply a woman (or other identity), not for an action that they have done. “That [gendered insult] is going to get it…” is a common one.

    There are a bunch of other factors, but those are my two pennies. Hopefully that makes sense.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Fuck you dude. SRSLY. If you think going out on the internet to tell confident dudebros they’re wrong is the act of a coward, you are more fucked up than I can imagine.

  • Porco Rosso

    So what you’re saying is that because people (like you) are willing to find intent and offense in anything that isn’t there, that the rest of us should watch every word we say because of it?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No you should be willing to learn when phrases YOU thought to be harmless, actually aren’t.

  • Anonymous

    By that isn’t how language works, except for a few examples words and phrases have multiple meanings and usages, and the only way to differentiate those meanings is to use the specific context that it was used.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    This.

  • Roberta

    True, with rare exceptions you do not hear government officials tell people to “not dress like you want to get murdered”

  • Anonymous

    Well, to the latter point, I’m not denying anyone’s “lived experiences”, but I note that “lived experience” is just a fancy way of saying “anecdote”, and for every anecdote in favor of the “rape reference” interpretation, there’s another one in favor of the “generic violence” interpretation.

    As for article and the references linked therein, they don’t contain much in the way of evidence for their actual claim that the MS rep’s statement is one whose meaning was originally or is predominantly a reference to rape. Indeed, the only evidence presented for that claim is that some rapists make similar statements to their victims. All the rest is just general discussion of things like the prevalence of misogyny, explicit rape references and so on in general society and in gaming culture specifically, all of which is true but none of which is relevant to the question of whether or not the MS rep’s statement was a rape reference.

  • Porco Rosso

    I didn’t say that, not in the least. I said that being scared of language (in this case, the phrase relax, it’ll be over soon) is an act that will make you scared of quite a number of things.

    Or would you really react poorly if someone, upon seeing you being nervous and scared while sitting in a amusement park ride, told you to relax, that it would be over soon? Would you start shouting bloody murder and lecturing that person on the meaning you decided to get out of a statement that was only meant to be helpful and comforting?

  • Porco Rosso

    I’m aware of countless of phrases that I originally in my youth thought were harmless that weren’t. Telling someone to relax and that it would be over soon certainly doesn’t qualify. I’ve given you a number of examples of where this particular phrase could be used that it would never, ever have a poor meaning to it. Yet you refuse to accept that fact, insisting that any meaning you can find from any sentence is always bad.

  • Anonymous

    Really? You’ve discussed the origins and common usage of the statement “Just let it happen; it’ll be over soon” on multiple occasions in the past?

  • EleniRPG

    “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon” is pretty rape-y. It might also be seen as kind of psycho-murder-y, as in a case where the murder method is something drawn out, like strangulation, and the victim struggles futilely the whole time. Things tipping the scales in favor of rape-iness: the laughs that followed the statement (it was perceived as a joke; rape jokes are common and enjoyed by many, psycho-murder jokes not so much) and the later comment of “Wow, you like those”/”No I don’t like this”. Also not helping was the setup: the first woman onstage in the presentation is someone with probably no experience with this particular game, battling a man who is a producer and likely has quite a bit of practice. When one player trounces the other so completely, you know a significant portion of that audience is already thinking “OMG he’s totally raping her” because that is the language used by many gamers (we hear it a lot). Considering the setup of the presentation and the underlying culture, the comments definitely come across as rape-y and thus inappropriate and offensive. I’m glad Microsoft apologized.

  • Stewart Zoot Wymer

    I think, if you’re dealing with the public at all you have to really check your words more than once. Maybe the author of the comment didn’t mean it in that precise way. Maybe the comparison with such inappropriate dialogue was a complete accident. However, if you’re in PR, you have to really consider any possible application of your words. It’s all well and good for internal communications, but that’s why companies have PR people and people being spokespeople for their products, with scripted dialogue. Your audience is HUGE and you have to consider that almost anything you can say can trigger people off. Even with carefully scripted interplays, you will probably *still* offend some people – what you’re doing is trying to minimize the damage and have the phrases you use to be acceptable by the majority as best you can.

    Personally, even never hearing the terminology before, it sounds wrong in my head. If not a rapist, then a serial killer. Definitely denotes duress of some kind.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’ve given you a number of examples of where this particular phrase
    could be used that it would never, ever have a poor meaning to it.

    Except when it does.

    Yet
    you refuse to accept that fact, insisting that any meaning you can find
    from any sentence is always bad.

    When have I ever said this?

    No, I CONTINUE to insist that THIS meaning can be drawn from THIS sentence. LEARN TO BRAIN. I can insist that because of the context, like the toxic gamer culture, which imputes rape into trash talk, is exceedingly hostile to women who ask them to stop, and are unbelievably hostile to women who point out sexism in games, gamers, and gaming.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    What are some kind of fucked up person who gets off on hearing survivor testimony or some shit?

    She knows it because she has a brain, and can learn and listen. That’s all you need to know. There are plenty of people, IN THIS VERY THREAD, who explain HOW THEY KNOW RAPISTS SAY IT!!

  • Porco Rosso

    Sigh. I guess results would be better if the conversation was with a brick wall.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’d probably tell a stranger who said that to me in an amusement park(you know, the place you go for THRILLS AND SPILLS) to mind their own fucking business. My friends know better.

    You are attempting to impute weakness and timidity upon me, implying that because I object, I must be coddled and comforted from the evils of the world.

    “Oh how terrible it must be, to walk through the world SO SCARED of words!”

    No. It is because I FACE the horrors of this world, that I object. It’s those who say, “Nothing to see, it’s harmless, it has a specific INTENT” who are scared. They are scared to face the world where one in 3 women are raped, many of them multiple times. They are scared to face a world where they will have to give up their privilege, and stop using language that marginalizes. They are afraid to face their own compliance with an oppressive system, with their refusal to acknowledge that the BIG SHIT, is all built upon the foundations of a million small violations that no one ever speaks against. To take the steps necessary to change the world, you must fight the small battles as well as the large.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nuuni.nuunani Nuuni Nuunani

    Personally I take from this the idea of a gamer not meaning anything by it due to the painful fact that comments like this are annoyingly and frustratingly common in games like this to the point that it has bordered on a stereotype of online gamers who trash talk during sessions. ^^;

    I see this as less an issue with Microsoft as a general community issue as a whole that needs to somehow be addressed.
    Because the fact that this comment was apparently ad libbed in front of a large audience is rather telling in and of itself. ^^;
    I honestly don’t believe the perpetrator was being malicious on the matter, however such comments are more serious than the speakers often realize.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Except that a) the anecdote vs anecdote ratio is NOT one to one as you claim and b) the MS rep’s statement was made at a GAMING convention. GAMING, which has a well known problem with sexism and misogyny, with perpetuating rape culture through the appropriation of the term rape, a culture which continues to deny the very EXISTENCE of women in gaming, a culture that responds to the IDEA of a video critiquing sexism in gaming with rape and death threats.

    There is the context that an inexperienced gamer was put up on stage against an experienced one, likely chosen for her gender, for the sole purpose of degrading her IN PUBLIC. WTF doesn’t seem like a context about RAPE to YOU?????

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes it would work better if you didn’t have mortar where you’re brain should be.

  • Porco Rosso

    You’d tell a stranger that’s trying to be friendly to mind their own fucking business? You’re just a real ray of sunshine, aren’t you?

  • David Ouillette

    Again, you assume he meant it as a joke, rather than literal. He was in the middle of a combo chain and there was nothing for his opponent to do but stand there and wait for it to be over. It was quite a literal statement. Just let the combo happen, it will be done soon.

    I freely admit he MAY have meant it as a tag or cliche line like he is being accused of. As long as someone else can admit he may NOT have. You MAY be raking a totally innocent man over the coals for a totally innocent remark.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Any time it’s used in a context to imply domination, OF ANY TYPE, it’s relying on the context of rape to give it meaning.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yes I am

  • Anonymous

    I hope you’re getting paid for how hard you’re defending this dude. I stand by what I wrote and still don’t think any comment historically linked to rapists can be used in an innocent context.

  • skitter

    It’s the context. If a doctor says you should relax when they’re hurting you, okay, that’s fine I guess. (I still think that’s weird, my doctors are pretty okay with me acknowledging reality and that I can’t relax while in pain. )

    At a games conference that’s traditionally had problems with sexism and you’re in a context where rape jokes and gendered slurs happen excessively, then yes, it’s inappropriate. It’s the context. They’re aware that women going online and getting harassed is a problem. They’re now promoting the thing that they’re claiming that they want to prevent.

  • David Ouillette

    I am not defending. I don’t even know him. If we had more video or such of how he speaks during gaming we could draw a better picture. The only thing I am doing is pointing out that there MAY be a different explanation. Unlike the other cases listed along side this one (the ones against Feminist Frequency), this one does leave room for reasonable doubt. The only reason I bring it up is because no one else has.It is somethign the original author should have brought up, if for nothing else than to allow for discussion.

    When it comes down to my own opinion, yes, I think there is a good possibility he meant it in the spirit he is being accused of, but I try not to hang people on my own opinion of a single instance.

  • RodimusBen

    What is the epidemic? Poorly timed, inappropriate jokes? How do we eliminate those completely? Humor Police?

  • Chandra White
  • BabeWoreRed

    “Bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously” said Microsoft, presumably before doing absolutely nothing to discipline this employee…
    Now I guess we know where the endemic Xbox harassment comes from: straight from the top.

  • BabeWoreRed

    An apology is one thing, an actual reprimand of the employee who made the remark would be a whole lot better.

  • BabeWoreRed

    What kind of society indeed.

    Politicians still use phrases like “legitimate rape” and question whether pregnancy by rape can even happen. There are dozens of Facebook fansites dedicated to date rape. The “creepshots” subreddit was one of the most popular pages on the site. The news is filled with victim blaming and questions about “what she was wearing,” even when the victim was an 11 year old who was gang raped (http://www.motherjones.com/rights-stuff/2011/03/new-york-times-texas-rape) Julian Assange is still considered a folk hero despite the fact that he’s refusing to stand trial for a rape he allegedly committed.

    Basically it’s everywhere, all the time and women are (unsurprisingly) kinda sensitive to it…call it the world’s worst sixth sense….

  • Mina

    I’m perfectly willing to believe the guy who said it wasn’t TRYING to be offensive. But that phrase IS kind of creepy and disgusting to many people and had no place in that setting. I doubt that guy is a terrible person, but that still wasn’t a good thing to say. I don’t see anything wrong with people wanting Microsoft to acknowledge that it was bad form and not repeat the mistake.

  • Chandra White

    For the men desperately trying to understand this issue, here’s how i would like to describe this situation:

    You are talking to someone from a foreign country. You say something that you think is an innocent joke. They jump back and explain to you that in their country that is something that a rapist says to people.

    You have two choices:

    1) tell them you’re sorry, you didn’t know that, and attempt to take that out of your vocabulary (because you never know who you’re talking to)

    2) tell them to take it easy because you didn’t mean it that way, and they’re not in their country so they should just let it go.

    The guys on this site are probably good guys, and the ones I’m aiming this at seem like the option #1 people. The problem is that what a lot of people would do for someone from a foreign country without much thought is considered a big deal and a huge inconvenience when it is said by a woman from the same place.

    Let me point you to this clip from south park http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/155500/stan-gets-it

    Yes, you don’t get it. We know you don’t get it. Just like if you’re a white guy, you’ll never really get what it’s like to have a racial slur thrown at you.

    The point of the episode is that you don’t have to get it. Just like you would scrub your language for a foreigner you want to befriend, you should do the same for the women you know, even though you don’t get it. Maybe even BECAUSE you don’t get it. The people saying just ignore it are trying to continue doing what they’ve been doing because it’s easier. Because women aren’t really from Venus, you assume that we have a shared culture. And because you don’t get it, women are simply over-thinking it or trying to change things for the sake of their own skewed world views.

    Well, as some people have learned today, if you’re a man, you live in Man-land where you don’t have a constant Rape-o-meter on in the back of your head, you can do pretty much whatever you want with significantly less concern about your physical well being, and for the most part you don’t have to worry about people coming out of the shadows to get you. You aren’t even aware that walking the same streets at the same time alone might as well be a different dimension for every woman on this planet. That’s the awesome thing about being a guy.

    And on top of the fact that you do not need to constantly be aware of your surroundings, attire, and every stranger around you, you can say anything you want to, and you are generally not expected to apologize unless you want to look good. And if you do, your actions will be supported and everyone will be told that you didn’t need to apologize, all of those people who live in a different and frightening dimension should just deal with it, because they’re in Man-land with the Men now. It doesn’t matter what their dimension is like.

    When things are said that make a lot of people suddenly not feel safe in a place where they really should, like a business conference, or a very public product demonstration, it’s a problem. That is what rape jokes do to women, and they are not really allowed to say that it isn’t OK without becoming a target for more threats.

    Do you feel safe asking questions on the internet in your home? Because we don’t. The women who reply to this open themselves up to a billion whack-jobs who could make their walks to their cars seem longer and darker and scarier, and make them worry for their daughters and mothers and friends. Are you worried that someone would threaten you for telling someone why they’re wrong on a forum? Every woman on here probably is.. if only just a little.

    So, nice guys (who may feel a bit more bullied for trying to get it), stop. You don’t get it. You don’t need to get it. What you do need to do is empathize as much as possible, and support us as much as possible. You don’t have to get it to know that what hurts someone else is wrong. We need supporters sympathizers and cheerleaders who will step up whether they get it or not.

    And (because that’s what Woman-land is like) here’s a man telling you the same thing… on 4 different occasions:

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/12/05/rape-versus-murder/

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/12/why-men-should-speak-out-about-sexism-misogyny-and-rape-culture/

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/11/challenging-responses-to-sexism-and-misogyny/

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/10/25-things-to-know-about-sexism-misogyny-in-writing-publishing/

  • Anonymous

    Hey, good article. Thanks for tying it to a bunch of other events and reports in the past year or so. These comments always seem annoying initially, but are revealed to be much more dangerous when put into our culture’s unabated normalization of rape.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Re: #2:
    Please to read anything about the Steubenville rape a few months back.

  • Laura Truxillo

    No, that’s true. I have heard people I actually know and usually respect say that of course he seemed dangerous, his hood was up.

    Like, what is he, a cobra?

  • Laura Truxillo

    “I think the idea that people don’t know rape is “wrong” is itself wrong.”

    Well. It’s not?

    The idea, not the rape.

    Because people have this weird concept that rape is only something that happens at gunpoint with a stranger and the woman screaming and fighting for her life.

    So guys who get a woman plastered to make her easier to have sex with (or find a woman so drunk/stoned she’s incapable of consent) don’t consider themselves rapists. Men who cajole or intimidate (but not, y’know, with a WEAPON or anything like a psycho, just, y’know emotionally) a woman into changing her “no” into a tearful “yes” (or a silent nod) don’t consider themselves rapists. Men who rape a sex worker or a dancer might not even consider themselves rapists because hey, she does sex, that’s what she’s there for.

    “Legitimate rape” is a messed up concept that lets a lot of rapists and friends of rapists absolve themselves of the icky feeling that they may’ve done something wrong, because hey, there wasn’t, like, force or crying or anything, so it’s not rape.

  • Chandra White

    That doesn’t stop an investigation, it only leads to an assumption about motive and intent. Because he was dressed street they don’t suddenly say it was suicide. Questions about the attire of rape victims is an attempt to make the crime itself go away

  • Luna Carya

    Good, an apology. Now about actual actions against offensive gendered language and content, what are you doing Microsoft?

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    Translation: “Don’t be confused, gentle reader. I run away in victory.”

  • Lionheartwolf

    Wow you said that like men have never been the victim of rape. That’s pretty darn offensive. It sounds more like you are not considering the over 140,000 men who do get raped because they are a minority group that you are not a part of. That kind of makes you a hypocrite.

    I guess you have to options here. You can either apologize for being sexist and try to wipe this single sided opinion from your brain or you can tell us men to suck it up because more women get raped annually than men.

    Choose your battles more wisely next time. An off the cuff remark is considered offensive while at the same time one guys avatar is beating the stuffing at another person. Im pretty sure violence to such a degree can be equally offensive to some but we don’t feel the need to apologize for every single action or remark. We cherry pick based on how vocal people become. That begs to ask the question is something offensive before or after somebody complains about it regardless to the emotions it causes anybody to experience.

  • ana hopkins

    Interesting that no mention was made about the consequences for the producer, in the apology. Rape dialogue in gaming is one of the reasons I personally don’t take part in online multi-player games. I love playing video games but those kind of comments take the fun out of it for me.

  • Tim Luz

    To be fair, I have heard this type of phrase in other contexts. In fact some very similar phrasing practically became a catch-phrase for Kiefer Sutherland’s character throughout the run of 24 whenever he’d use a sleeper-hold to subdue an opponent. It became so prevalent it was practically a meme for a while.

    That doesn’t excuse this person’s use of the phrase as one has to consider the situation you’re in and in this case (playing a violent game against a woman), it was thoughtless and stupid. If he did mean it as a rape joke, then it is horrible. If he didn’t, he should have been more careful with what he said and be aware of the context with which others perceive his comments.

    At the same time, I do think it would behoove everyone to apply the same caution. I don’t know this guy personally and I highly doubt anyone else here does so I don’t think any of us has definitive knowledge of what type of guy he is, beyond his obvious tactlessness. We have to consider that he might have been using the phrase in a thoughtless but not necessarily rape-related context and we should be careful before immediately labeling this guy as misogynistic or concluding that he meant these comments in the specific way that they’ve been perceived.

  • Anonymous

    I already used it. I liked the comment so much i was giving her another one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.schmitt#!/ David R. Schmitt

    Microsoft needs to have their employees actually prove that they have read their code of conduct documents. If the employee didn’t know that phrase stemmed from rapists (how could you not, just think for a moment and figure out its context) then they should be educated on it.

  • Emily Neenan

    This is exactly why I don’t want to play MMOs or anything that involves dealing with strangers on the internet for “fun”. And then people are like “Oh, girls don’t play videogames, just one of those innate differences, they’d rather paint their nails or something. Definitely the misogynistically toxic environment is not the reason.”

  • Varya

    I always feel bad when defending something like this, because I honestly think it was in poor taste, and you really should not be saying shit like this in a press conference. Add to that the fact the bad implications of dominating a woman in a videogame, not only enforcing female gamer stereotypes but also male-female traditional hierarchy and you’ve got yourself a clusterfuck on your hands.
    However… though the implications of the comments were “rape-y” (ugh, hate that word) I don’t think the actual comments carried with them any sort of conscious or unconscious rape-culture. Let me expand. here are some quotes that could often be heard in my household growing up: “Don’t fight it, It’ll be over quicker” “Admit it, you secretly like it” “just take it and stop whining”

    Sounds really bad? Yeah, well when you have four brothers, this is the kind of words that gets tossed around while fighting, wrestling and allround brother-appreciation-time. And that’s what my view of what smacktalk really is. It’s an extension of that banter you have whilst fighting with your siblings. It has, in it self, nothing to do with rape.

    Of course, as soon as you take that talk out of childhood, it carried with it connotations of the real world horrors of actual rape. But I think it’s not inherent in the words themselves, but an unfortunate overlap of terminology.

    I’m not saying they didn’t fuck up, they did. But it wasn’t a rape joke, from their part. It became a rape joke when they said it on stage, to a woman and they should have known better. The banter wasn’t derived from rape culture but the interpretation that rang in our head when watching that did

  • Varya

    I always feel bad when defending something like this, because I honestly think it was in poor taste, and you really should not be saying shit like this in a press conference. Add to that the fact the bad implications of dominating a woman in a videogame, not only enforcing female gamer stereotypes but also male-female traditional hierarchy and you’ve got yourself a clusterfuck on your hands.
    However… though the implications of the comments were “rape-y” (ugh, hate that word) I don’t think the actual comments carried with them any sort of conscious or unconscious rape-culture. Let me expand. here are some quotes that could often be heard in my household growing up: “Don’t fight it, It’ll be over quicker” “Admit it, you secretly like it” “just take it and stop whining”

    Sounds really bad? Yeah, well when you have four brothers, this is the kind of words that gets tossed around while fighting, wrestling and allround brother-appreciation-time. And that’s what my view of what smacktalk really is. It’s an extension of that banter you have whilst fighting with your siblings. It has, in it self, nothing to do with rape.

    Of course, as soon as you take that talk out of childhood, it carried with it connotations of the real world horrors of actual rape. But I think it’s not inherent in the words themselves, but an unfortunate overlap of terminology.

    I’m not saying they didn’t fuck up, they did. But it wasn’t a rape joke, from their part. It became a rape joke when they said it on stage, to a woman and they should have known better. The banter wasn’t derived from rape culture but the interpretation that rang in our head when watching that did

  • KaputOtter

    Hey I figured out what happened here! The UD entry I posted was for “let it happen”. But what I was looking for was “JUST let it happen”, which is better.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=just%20let%20it%20happen

    I love how this only occurred to me as I was falling asleep last night. Anyway, FWIW, there you go.

  • KaputOtter

    Sure fair enough, but a MicroSoft representative would also get in serious trouble if he said something on stage like “SHIIIIAT NIGGA that was PIMP”, even if he said it with the absolute most altruistic of intentions.

  • KaputOtter

    I wrote a first reply to this, but because of the language I think it got trashed, so let me re-write it with a slight censorship because I believe it to be an important point.

    That said,

    If you don’t think this was a ‘rape joke’, then how can you concede that someone ‘fucked up’? Where is the fault, if you think the wrongdoing was projected?

    Please take a moment to think about that…

    I’ve really got to disagree with you. There is enough of a history around the turn of phrase connected with nonconsensual sex, that a full context really has to be provided for in a social blunder like this. A mistake made in naivete is still a mistake.

    Others in this thread have pointed out how this is a textbook example of how “rape culture” commandeers a turn of phrase like this. It is used BOTH _with_ the intention of rape implications, and without it, and that’s part of the problem. The convolution/obfuscation and insistence on innocent intent is still part of the problem. Believe it or not there are people who are seriously triggered by language like this, so some sensitivity and tact are crucial. Not all trash-talk is triggery, to be sure, but this particular turn of phrase really is.

    Picture a busy grocery store. There’s a mother of two kids, let’s say ages 5-7. They’re teasing each other in the way kids do. The older one lets something slip and the younger one turns to mom and says very loudly in public, “MOMMY, WHAT’S A N*GGER?” What should mom do? Let it slide, or explain why that’s an unacceptable thing to say?

  • Varya

    I managed to read your comment but not reply, so here’s my reply, adjusted for language:
    “I see what you’re saying, and I do acknowledge that I think it was in bad taste. Like really bad. I just think that it’s important to differentiate between a comment made that was inherently sexist and one where the sexism comes from the context in which it is interpreted.In your example, if “n*gger” is used between siblings the word in itself is racist, regardless of where they picked it up. But the terminology used in smacktalk or fighting between siblings doesn’t originate from any sexist context. It is pure will to win over and humiliate your siblings, and while it can be debated whether that is a good, thing, it is a thing that will happen with all siblings, and have no sexist roots.
    I’m not disputing that MS did wrong and did good to apologize, but I do think it’s important to acknowledge the difference between inherently sexist comments, and comments that become sexist in context. Smacktalk will happen in fighting games, no matter what we do. It’s a base urge to want to rub it in when you feel you are doing well, and fighting games provides a safe, non-threatening environment where we can act out these things whilst still remaining friendly. But as soon as you direct talk like this towards a woman, the implications become very troublesome indeed, and it’s a thing that might be okay when playing with someone you know well, a spouse, sibling, good friend, who knows you well enough to not feel uncomfortable and is comfortable talking back to you. It is NOT ok in a press conference in front of thousands of journalists and millions of livestream viewers”

  • KaputOtter

    Thanks for the reply! I still partially disagree with you. When I re-wrote my reply, I added the new paragraph about so-called ‘rape culture’ commandeering the phrase, and how triggery it is for some people. I’m much more concerned about the phrase as a real bonafide trigger, rather than for it being just sexist. (Because of course, men get raped too.) I don’t know if this changes your mind at all, but I figured it would supplement my point. I’m glad you agree that a public conference was an unacceptable environment for it, either way.

  • Varya

    Yes, good point about rape culture. Some things you should not say, not because they are inherently bad, but because they trigger bad feelings in others. My point was that doing that is a very different mistake/blunder/screwup than doing a rape joke, and it’s only fair that we blame MS for that.

  • KaputOtter

    Fair enough!

  • Brian

    There’s not a 1 in 5 chance that a woman you’re playing against has been murdered, for one thing.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It could be triggering to abuse victims, which is why they would voluntarily avoid game. People shouldn’t have to acclimate themselves to fucking rape jokes, b/c there is RARELY a context where they are necessary.

  • Anonymous

    You see, now if this had been the response/complaint, I think there’d be far less pushback. Unfortunately, the reaction in social justice circles tends to be a maximalist one. It’s not enough to simply say that this phrase has multiple usages, one of which is associated with rape, so in light of that ambiguity and out of consideration for those who might be triggered by it, people shouldn’t use the phrase in a public setting like the MS presentation or even an online multiplayer game. Instead, what we get is an echo chamber of blogs and articles decrying the “obvious” use of a “rape joke”, completely ignoring and/or denigrating the idea that there are common non-rape-related uses for the phrase, and using a broad-brush description of misogyny in gamer culture to create the appearance of misogyny in this particular case without actually having to support that contention. The result is legitimate pushback by many and the unfortunate but inevitable discounting by some of complaints about genuinely clear-cut misogyny.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It is pure will to win over and humiliate your siblings, and while it
    can be debated whether that is a good, thing, it is a thing that will
    happen with all siblings, and have no sexist roots.

    But this is not true. If you have siblings who used the term rape, and other misogynistic and degrading language in smack talk, THEY LEARNED IT SOMEWHERE!!! And the place they learned it from, is our sexist culture.

    Just because the person saying the phrase, isn’t meaning to the imply actual rape, doesn’t mean that the implications of the word GO AWAY!!

    Misogynistic and degrading language only work as smack talk, if you already accept the inferiority of femininity.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    NO ONE is ignoring that there could possibly be an infinitely SMALL chance the phrase has a harmless context.

    All we are saying is that THIS PARTICULAR instance, is NOT a harmless fucking context, but if you weren’t an igoramus more concerned with wading in to spaces to claim “UR DOIN SOCIAL JUSTICE RONG” you’d have learned that by now.

    But you’ve been too busy derailing, not discussing THIS instance, but trying to obfuscate by bringing up other possible times it could be used, that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand.

  • Anonymous

    Violence and domination are not limited to misogynistic attacks. To argue that this particular expression of domination automatically implies rape, you actually have to demonstrate that the language is inherently sexual or that the original meaning or most common use of the phrase is rape-related. No one here (including the OP) has even really tried to do that.

  • Varya

    But there were no misogynistic words being used. That’s sort of my point. Let me be clear, when I talk about smack talk between me and my brothers, I’m not talking about using words like “rape” or any misogynistic words at all. To the same point, no misogynistic phrases were actually used in the press conference. It was banter, that when directed towards a woman, and when uttered not between friends but in a public space, carries with them connotations that bring rape to mind.
    When I would say “If you’ll stay calm it’ll be over quicker” to my brother, that was not something I had learned from someone, I was just lying to him so that I could punch him in the stomach. Those kinds of phrases has, on their own, nothing to do with gender, it is somethings siblings will independently learn, because punching your brother is much harder when he fights back, and siblings are not known for fighting fair.

  • Anonymous

    Non-rapists usually say it when they think they are metaphorically raping someone/thing. Thats the root of why it’s a “funny” thing to say. Why else would it be funny?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    No, because rape is all about domination, and very little about sex.

  • Dave

    >> What is the epidemic? Poorly timed, inappropriate jokes?

    Yes.

    >> How do we eliminate those completely? Humor Police?

    Or people could be more aware that the implications of their jokes are about as unfunny as possibly and take responsibility for their actions when people are hurt and offended by this. Microsoft has made a decent start, but waaaay more people need to follow.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad they made an apology but I wished they said why it was inappropriate and offensive. Something like “Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off
    the cuff and inappropriate joke about rape while demoing ‘Killer Instinct’ with
    another employee.”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think their apology was good enough. We should boycott Microsoft until we’re satisfied that they’ve learned their lesson. We’re in control of this situation! Free Xbox’s for everyone that was offended. If they don’t want to do that, then I guess we’ll just keep talking about it until they end up on Kitchen Nightmares and embarrass themselves in front of Gordon Ramsey and a national TV audience.

  • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

    I don’t know, if the guy just really wasn’t thinking and said something stupid and unprofessional, I think an apology is all that is called for. People say stupid things once and learn from the experience. If they don’t learn, then public relations training, harassment training, etc. should be the next step. If they continue to be stupid, then they don’t deserve to be on the team. I don’t think he should be fired for saying what he did. Now, if trash talking co-workers and using vulgar language are par for the course for this guy, then yeah. Maybe he shouldn’t have been chosen to demo and speak on stage at a press conference.

    Producers are just people trying to do their jobs, which is usually to get a game made. They are not PR folks who should be trained to know better than to make a gaff like this. So, dude should apologize. The acknowledgment and apology from Microsoft as a company is a step in the right direction.

    What other kind of reprimand are you expecting?

  • Anonymous

    Ah yes #2 and the weedy underbelly of society that treats rape as normal. Like, say, the military. http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2013/06/05/georgia-sen-hormones-cause-military-rape.html

  • Emma Maha

    just wanna thank you and a whole bunch of commenters who have responded to you for keeping this so mature and civil.

    it makes me really happy to see many points of view aired and people learning from each other in debate (i’m no exception here, the importance of context was not something i’d thought about much prior to this chain of comments!)

  • Jesse

    Hm. While I don’t connect this phrase as exclusively rapecentric. I’m needle phobic and I’ve heard the phrase told to me when I couldn’t untense my arm. And I think the phrase has legitimate uses that are completely unconnected with rape. But, I do see how it’s a problem in an industry with rampant sexism.

    I think this particular usage was just someone not making that connection and using it as trash talk rather then making a purposeful rape reference. That said the response of the audience might be a different story given that it was the only line that got a laugh.

  • Lionheartwolf

    People shouldn’t have to acclimate themselves to any joke that is offensive, but they choose to do so when they enjoy it. There is rarely a context in any case which any joke is necessary. Jokes are not a necessity. You are using a constant and pretending its a variable. All offensive jokes offend somebody out there. Its called the butt of the joke for a reason. So you either have to argue that all offensive jokes are bad or that all offensive jokes are acceptable. Im sure jokes about domestic violence, dead babies, rape, molestation among officials, or religion are all offensive to somebody to the same degree. They exist, and the people who think its funny will laugh and the people who don’t will be bitter.

    This man made a joke that wasn’t even a direct rape joke it was just later tied to rape by offended individuals. That man is not responsible for that. That man doesn’t have two options, you do. You can either be offended and judge his character for it and avoid him for the rest of your life, or you can accept that it was a joke and it was not intended to harm any individual and move on.

    The only thing you actually have shown is that at the very least its perfectly acceptable to use a rape joke as long as there is some type of heads up or expectation to make sure people who are not okay with it have the choice to voluntarily avoid it. In that case this man isn’t guilty of being cruel or offensive its that it was unexpected. If the man on stage was Daniel Tosh it wouldn’t have been as offensive because people that are offended by rape jokes know to not listen to Daniel Tosh. Again, that brings me back to my same two points.

  • BabeWoreRed

    If I made a bullying, misogynist remark like that to a fellow employee, even if it was a mistake, I’d receive a verbal or written notice of reprimand. MOST companies have provisions like that on the books.

  • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

    Perhaps he was. We would only know if Microsoft commented on that publicly. I was just curious because so many times the Internet calls for the firing of the people in question (or companies overreact and fire people immediately) and I think that can be unnecessarily harsh punishment.

  • Mina

    “… it is a thing that will happen with all siblings…”

    Well no. During all our wrestling, gaming, etc., my brothers never said this kind of stuff to me, nor me to them, or if so it was so infrequent that I have forgotten it and it feels unnatural to say it to somebody now (I assume it would roll right off the tongue if I’d grown up hearing it). It isn’t something that everybody says, and competition doesn’t have to come laden with language of domination or humiliation.

  • Becky Cunningham

    The rape joke made this whole scenario extra-awful, but the entire situation was poorly thought out in the first place. They’re planning a piece in which a Microsoft employee is being put into a lop-sided match against the producer of a fighting game. The Microsoft employee is obviously going to lose painfully, so who do they choose to play that part? The first woman to step onto the big E3 stage that day.

    Did nobody think for even a moment that this little (completely unnecessary in the context of the conference) scene combined with the serious underrepresentation of women representing the company just reinforces the negative stereotypes women run up against in the game industry every day?

    I spent all Monday watching E3 press conferences so I could write recaps for my job (I’m a games writer). After that sorry spectacle on the Microsoft stage, several other women were tagged to participate in multiplayer game demonstrations. Although the rest of them were co-op situations, the single woman playing with a group of men kept being given the healing duties. The sunflower in the Plants vs. Zombies shooter was played by a woman. In The Division, a game that doesn’t have character classes and lets you pick from a list of skills, the woman said, “I’ve got my AoE heal loaded up, so you can change your skillset now.”

    Individually inoffensive, yes, but taken all together the rare sightings of women on stage and the roles they were chosen to fulfil gives an obvious message. You ladies can show up to our gaming party, but you better not be better than us, and your main job is to support us so we can do the interesting stuff.

    Yes, a lot of women enjoy playing healing/support characters, but so do a lot of men, and a heck of a lot of women (like me!) prefer to play offensive roles or at least enjoy variety in the tasks they perform in multiplayer games. When you have a token number of women at best on stage, MUST they always be chosen to play the most stereotypical role possible?

    It wasn’t until nearly 11:00pm, during Bungie’s Destiny demo, that a woman showed up on stage playing the same way the men in the room were playing. She rolled up playing a Titan (a heavy armour/weapon class) and showed off her awesome big gun, just like the men on stage had been doing. Really, was that so hard? Judging by all the earlier conferences, apparently it was.

  • Mina

    “You can either be offended and judge his character for it and avoid him for the rest of your life, or you can accept that it was a joke and it was not intended to harm any individual and move on.”

    Meh. I know what you’re saying, but a distasteful comment at a large press conference is not something you respond to with, “Ew, that was gross, but it was just a joke, he’s probably a nice person, nothing needs to be said here.” No, you respond with, “Ew, that was gross. I know you’re probably a nice person and weren’t trying to be rude, but that comment really IS in poor taste. You need to understand that it’s not an okay thing to say (especially in this context) and try not to let it happen again.” Actually, to me it’s the very fact that he probably IS a decent person who didn’t mean anything by it that means we absolutely should say, “Not cool. Don’t do that.” Being a probably decent person, he will probably change his behavior and try to keep from saying that kind of thing again, at least in a large audience setting. People who don’t WANT to be offensive are the ones who need to be told when they ARE being offensive, even unintentionally. The ones who are TRYING to be rude are often not worth the bother. They know full well what they’re doing and just don’t care.

  • Varya

    Ok, I’ll conceit that every family is different, and I can only talk from experience. But from people I know who have siblings, smack talk whilst fighting isn’t unusual. And frankly, almost any comment made in a fight with my brothers, taken in a context with a man saying it to a woman would sound very wrong indeed.
    “If you don’t shut up I’ll smack you”
    “I’ll show you who’s the strongest”
    “Take it back or I’ll do it again”
    My point is, I don’t think smack talk whilst playing fighting games is inherently rape-y. It comes from a different place. It’s the kind of talk brothers do when fighting, or friends trying to show off, prove their own superiority towards each other, but ultimately harmless.
    However, as soon as you remove the context from your living room, and on to a stage, with a woman that I assume, you do not know well enough to get in to the kind of banter you use with your friends, the context brings the rape associations.

  • Guest

    Let me preface it this way: Have you been raped and humor is your coping mechanism? No?
    Then please try to avoid the trigger references.

  • Needsnaming

    You did watch the conference right? The female was a “shark” she even said something to the male player during the second round something like “You know what a shark is right?” and then beats his ass, hands down. Watching the game play footage its obvious she is the superior player, she just let him win the first round, because he was on the fight stick they were trying to market.

    She does not look inexperienced when playing for realzies, she is more competent then I am at fighting games. This was not a degrading experience, it was in fact clever (excluding the trash talk).

    The guy gets up there with the superior technology, looks to win, then the woman turns around tells him she let him win and then beats his ass.

    The woman was the victor and the superior gamer in this situation (while everyone did lose when it came to the dialog)

    You shouldn’t let your emotions override your logic, she lost the first round, but was magnificent the second. She would have won all the rounds if it wasn’t scripted to show off the second screen technology.

    You should not put words in other peoples mouths either. Have you talked to the woman that was on stage? Did she find it degrading that she was to pretend to lose the first match to showcase the new technology, then come back and win the match? Did she feel like she was raped?

    and yes, she was chosen for her gender, but it seems more to have her come back and win and be victorious. Not to be put on stage and raped. As well as MS seemed to be trying to have as much of an equal gender distribution as possible for all presenters.

    I’m not marginalizing rape, or its victims. I am marginalizing your statements about the person on stage, you are making claims that do not stand up to observation. Microsoft is a huge company and would not condone putting anyone on stage and raping them, their only intention is to rape your wallet.

  • Tanya Schneider Adamson

    I agree with you. You cannot assume evil in someone’s words. To deprive someone of their job/income seems like a reactionary and excessive response. People always seem to want to judge and punish.

  • Anonymous

    This demeaning, dismissive attitude toward women permeates the entire high-tech industry, including at Microsoft. So glad I don’t work there anymore. The number of female programmers is actually on the decline, and they wonder why…

  • Anonymous

    They treat female staff quite well actually, and there are a large number of women in positions of authority within the company, moreso than many other large corporations.

  • http://www.fangirlwithtea.com/ Pamela

    Did you talk to the woman who was on stage? Do you know that she didn’t feel uncomfortable hearing that phrase? Do you know that she didn’t feel like she was raped? It doesn’t matter if she won a round while she was playing. The other player, a man, said a phrase that’s related to rape to her. Period.

    Maybe you should take a few steps away from your keyboard and think about your life if you’re feeling like it’s a good idea to argue with people telling you that the phrase is used commonly by rapists.

  • http://www.fangirlwithtea.com/ Pamela

    Don’t worry, nobody’s stifling your freedom of speech. What we’re saying isn’t “BAN THAT PHRASE!” It’s “that phrase has horrible connotations, and it would be great if large corporations would acknowledge its association with rape and apologize for using it during a gaming presentation.”

    You can argue that it’s used outside of rape all the time, but it is still heavily associated with rape. “Uppity” is used outside of racist contexts, too, but that doesn’t remove its racist connotations.

  • http://www.fangirlwithtea.com/ Pamela

    Guess what. THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.

  • Porco Rosso

    Varya, careful when arguing with Aeryl on this. She will not listen and everything is derived of rape when it comes to the topic. I tried the same logic that you did, but all I got was the same down votes and insults hurled my way. There is no interest here in an actual discussion.

  • Needsnaming

    I’ve been raped, never heard that phrase… might not be as common as you think. You should site your sources on it being a common phrase, otherwise you are just another person on the internet making shit up; also I find rape jokes to be amusing.

    you probably think there are such things as bad words. Words are not bad, its intent. You want to scrub the world of all the bad words and phrases, that will not solve anything, it gives legitimacy and power to the assholes who use the words in hateful and derogatory ways.

    You will not solve anything by trying to rewrite vocabulary. Yes, shame on whats his face for saying that. But if he isn’t a rapist, how would he know that that phrase is commonly used by rapists? Men are less likely to get raped (and probably more likely to do the raping), men are less educated on the subject because of those two factors. Maybe you should go start a kickstarter like Anita sarkeesian and get funded, so that you can educate people on the terrible things that can happen to people, instead of arguing with some jackass on the internet about it (me).

    Seriously this thread accomplishes nothing, you need to think socially, globally, actively. If you have so much passion about this, then you should be using that energy to be making a difference.

    Seriously, go make that kickstarter project and post it here, I will give you money. But please don’t do the same thing as Anita, don’t just point the finger and blame… open dialog, offer solutions. Noticing a problem and identifying it is one thing… but if you don’t offer any constructive criticism or ways to improve. Then your impact is only going to be marginal.

  • Varya

    I still think it is important to respond to her criticism of my opinion, whether is is because I was wrong, unclear or left something out, I am more than happy to complement my arguments. Even if Aeryl won’t listen she may bring up questions worth answering and others can still read and hopefully get another viewpoint. Also, until Aeryl proves herself to be a troll (if indeed she is, I try not to jump to conclusions) I will treat her as if she were not and respond calmly and clearly to her arguments. Should someone argue to the point where there no longer is no reasoning, I would hope that the conversation itself can stand as a test to the fact that I am not trying to excuse MS for their behavior just shift focus to what they actually did wrong in my opoinion

  • http://www.fangirlwithtea.com/ Pamela

    You should stop trying to put words in other people’s mouths, and you should also stop assuming that your experience, however terrible it might have been, defines everyone else’s experiences. Assuming that it does and arguing with people who have had different experiences than you and who do find that phrase upsetting is rude and pointless.

    And I’m not sure what part of the internet you’ve been on, but people other than Anita Sarkeesian have been trying to explain and educate men and women about rape culture and how it’s pervasive in gaming. And they get responses from (mostly) men that they should shut up, they should be raped, etc. We ARE trying.

  • Craig Forshaw

    Rape jokes are fine so long as they are not directed at someone, or making fun of a victim. All the examples above are directed at someone, or making fun of a victim. If, for example, you made a joke about wanting to be known as someone cool and not the guy who got raped by a gorilla at the zoo (to paraphrase Patton Oswalt), then the joke is fine because (a) it is about yourself, (b) it is a surreal situation, and (c) it isn’t making fun of a victim, or intended to hurt anyone. And that is the crux of the issue: comments that can hurt, jokes that can hurt, are horrible and should be stopped, because we should be nice to one another. Rape jokes are a-OK, so long as they don’t cross the line into victimising, or intimidating… which all of the above do.

  • Craig Forshaw

    The issue is that the context it was used in was her being violently attack during the game, and therefore his use of it was to suggest she should accept the violent, but virtual, attack. In that context, you cannot really assume it is anything but rape that he would be referring to.

    That said, Microsoft apologised, and I imagine the guy probably didn’t mean it as it came out (given that no-one – bar Jimmy Savile – would go to a major public event and say something so deliberately horrible) and feels pretty ashamed now he has been made aware.

    The difference is that when it happens at a major event, more people are exposed and they bring their own perspective to the event. If anything, this just highlights problems with gamer culture, which, if anything, is more to do with lax controls on the age of those playing online (certainly, as a teacher, I hear kids say worse things than most adults every day, not because they are evil, but because they don’t know any better – and most of those same kids have Xbox Live accounts (they keep asking me to add them) and obsessively play CoD). I’m not saying adults don’t do it when they can hide behind relative anonymity online, but from my experience, a good start would be instantly banning children from playing games they are too young for on the Internet. Or at all.

  • Craig Forshaw

    As a teacher, can I just say… oh, wait, there is, like, twenty guys in the news getting done for just that at the moment. Nevermind.

  • Needsnaming

    You are not understanding, stopping people from saying one thing will just have them replace it with another. its a sign of our culture and its failings. rape talk, homophobia, and racism… all things you will hear when you log into XBLA.

    So trying to point it out in gaming is a moot point, the fight is much larger then games… games is more anecdotal, the problem starts with society.

    And I follow most major gaming sites, and many gaming personalities… I don’t see this on the front page often, I’ve hardly ever seen an interview with a major name interviewed on this subject, I’ve hardly ever heard of an activist group talking to publishers and studios about these problems.

    I would love for racism, homophobia, rape, and antisemitism to not be an issue when playing online games. 1) because it would mean our society has moved beyond such childish and petty things. 2) it means we get new and interesting and hopefully more clever ways to insult each other.

    I’m not saying your efforts are unwelcome, or unappreciated by me. But I have not seen much on the topic from major publications. And maybe that is the point you need to make… if the major publications and major personalities are purposefully ignoring the topics… they too are culpable on the subjects at hand. Start blaming publishers and gaming icons for not speaking out against the childish idiocy of their followers.

    in today’s age you need a big name for people to latch onto.If the cause can get Celebrity gamers to speak out about it at major conventions and events, or get famous designers, studio heads, and publishing names to openly talk about these things… that is your big ticket to change. Because sadly unless you have a big name, the majority of people who find you will already agree with you, and that doesn’t change anyone’s mind or open discussion for change. at least not as easily or quickly as getting a champion for the cause.

    keep it up, put up the good fight. I might be an asshole on the internet, but I’m one to everyone on the internet; even if I agree with them.

    write/tweet some celebrities, gaming icons, publishers, organizations, etc. I feel that now is the time to strike, the industry is ready for change. Get out there make a difference, start a non-profit organization to promote to and educate children, find a publisher willing to take a risk and make a game, get out there, get heard, it never hurts to ask; you never know someone might say yes.

    also link me to some of your work/sites. If I like what you have to say, I will totally promote what you have to say and pass it along to friends.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I think it depends on the context. If a close female friend said it to me as a joke when that Gangnam Style song came on AGAIN, I’d probably snort whatever I was drinking at the time. Same if my grandmother ever used it in any context, but that would probably be out of complete shock.

    If someone used it whilst any kind of attack, be it virtual or real, it would have a completely different context, and I’d give them an earful. But that is because they’d be making fun of a victim, or using it as a reference to something horrible, rather than making fun of a situation by comparing it to something horrible, like rape. It is all in the context.

  • Amanda Cox

    Although the percentage of women employed by Microsoft is about 75%, the amount of women involved in actual technical or engineering positions, as well as more higher-up corporate or creative positions, is more like 20%, according to my research. Perhaps there are figures I haven’t found, and if that’s the case, I’d love for you to point me in the right direction, as I do want to get my facts straight. Of course it’s admirable to employ more female employees, but just because you employ more women does not necessarily mean they’re being treated with the same respect as male employees. The wage gap between men and women in positions of authority is still pretty dismal, and women are still subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t have exact figures, but that estimate sounds painfully low. In my department alone we have a huge pool of female engineers, and female peers in 3 other major MSFT campuses. There’s also a ton of female engineering groups in our social network, and we do a lot of proactive hiring and/or advocating for hiring female engineers. It’s an issue that we actually care about quite deeply.

  • Amanda Cox

    Well, I’m really happy to hear that! Perhaps the figures I was looking at were for a specific region, or within a specific branch of the company. I still hear questionable statistics and reports from both men and women working within Microsoft, but I’m sorry if it seemed as if I was making too broad of a generalization. I take these issues very seriously as well, so if there is any more information you can give me about it, I’d be interested to see it.

  • Anonymous

    Try 1 in 3. And amongst my friends and family, 1 in 2. If you factor in unwanted sexual contact? I don’t know a woman who hasn’t experienced it.

  • Anonymous

    I’d say our understanding of what rape is has improved….but we’re still a culture that venerates ‘seduction’ that is really rape. Consider the Grease lyric from Tell Me More: “Did she put up a fight?” the presumption being that sex was had, but she may have objected…in which case her objection was ignored and sex was had.

    Or any of a number of older TV shows and movies (and even current ones) which show women being coerced/’seduced’ by threats to their job, or threats of force. I’m looking at you, James Bond….

    Somehow it’s supposed to be sexy when a big strong guy takes a helpless, struggling woman in his arms and makes sweet love to her while she objects. But that scenario plays out in the real world all the time, and in the real world, it’s rape.

    The Luke/Laura soap opera rape=romance quiite famously was rewritten for a modern audience, because a modern audience looked at it with horror and couldn’t accept rape as seduction. We may need more recognition of rape in our media, and identification of that rape as assault, no matter how handsome the guy is, or whether he’s nominally the hero.

  • Anonymous

    Hawkes, I appreciate your candid efforts to bring some light to the hazy areas.

    I think people who suffer the traumatic experience (or at high risk) are entitled to joke about it. First off, they’re not joking about perpetrating harm. And second, it can be about coping, by owning the situation, satirizing the idiocy that says this is acceptable, or otherwise allowing the wounded party to regain some sense of control.

    For the gender which is more likely to perpetrate the crime to joke about perpetrating the crime, on the other hand, crosses a line. For starters, there’s an implicit actual threat there; although Swordfish showed us a horrific case where rape can be perpetrated against a guy, the vast majority are guy on girl, and when a guy threatens a girl with rape, that’s a threat she has to take seriously. And it reinforces an unequal status which we as a culture have been striving to overcome for decades, with success limited by the contention that these jokes are harmless and just part of free speech. But these jokes aren’t harmless; they parallel a reality we haven’t left behind, where guys rape drunk girls as a matter of course, race matters all too much, being gay can get you killed, being an immigrant means you have no value…. Like jokes about school shootings, it’s too soon; the injury is still a regular occurrence, and there’s no reciprocal threat to the historically privileged class.

  • Chandra White

    I wasn’t trying to say that women haven’t been on the internet. Women (in general) and rape victims (to be more specific, but not exclusionary for lionheart) inhabit it completely differently. More literally it would be like speaking over the phone because the only way to switch paradigms between Man-land and Woman-land is if you’re transgendered, or if a man is raped.

  • Chandra White

    We’ll, my post was aimed at those men on the forum trying to understand the problem better, getting a bunch of replies of varying levels of aggression, and still saying that they didn’t understand. This wasn’t at all men. That’s why the first line in my post says “for the men desperately trying to understand.” I could have said it was about rape victims feelings, which would have included your men, but not the women who haven’t been raped.Many to most women feel the terror of the possibility of sexual assault daily, while most men can walk the street with out any concern. Because of this, many men will never be able to understand the paradigm that causes people to be enraged by this off the cuff comment. Victims pretty much get that regardless of gender.

  • Chandra White

    And the problem of domestic abuse fits nicely into the rape-culture problem this whole debacle is about. Addressing problems of rape-culture addresses the problems of all victim’s regardless of gender, and regardless of marital status. Rape Is a huge problem in domestic abuse too and because of the culture that allows these comments to be normalized rape between domestic partners isn’t even always seen as rape.

    Rape culture normalizes prison rape too y’know. That’s a huge men’s issue, right? Bad in women’s prisons too, but completely ignored by society outside of jokes and the media trying to use it to deter crime through the threat of rape.

    Now I’m trying to get someone who doesn’t get it to get it. Damnit!

    Just because something offensive is offensive on multiple fronts doesn’t mean we should say “well, it’s pointless. I mean he can’t list two, or god forbid three, groups in an apology. That would be madness!” That means the comment needs even more recognition for the subtle poison it is.

  • Miriam Breslauer

    The audience was too heavily male and poorly represented the gaming public. That is how the presenter thought the joke was OK when he said it. I doubt very much that that joke would have been used if the audience had been closer to 50/50 men/women.

  • RodimusBen

    You’re failing to make the distinction between public and private conduct. The fact is that many people make crass jokes like this in groups of friends where they know no one’s going to be offended. The transgression was about context, not content.

  • RodimusBen

    To me, that’s what seemed like happened here. A personal apology might have been a bit better, but the point is that the responsible company admitted that the behavior was inappropriate. That sounds like “awareness” to me.

  • Dave

    True! And that’s why continuing conversations like this are so valuable: they highlight the problem, model a solution, and discuss how the solution could be improved even further. It’s also worthwhile because every time an “official” source acknowledges they were in the wrong, it confirms the legitimacy of people’s concern — something that is frequently dismissed by trolls as overblown or unimportant — so the more the event is discussed, the wider this awareness is spread.

  • Matt Pattavina

    no, but it is suggested that he was killed because he was dressed in a way that appeared as if he were already a violent criminal.

  • Anonymous

    Anita has never been in interested in open dialogue. Just assertions with little to no evidence backing up her claims.