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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

and let it be known

Props: How to Apologize on the Internet for a Gender-Related Mishap


Yesterday, Matthew Inman‘s The Oatmeal was embroiled in the quickest of internet controversies: he published a comic that’s purpose was to illustrate his personal experience that female gamers who are playing badly don’t get called out on it by their male teammates, while when he screws up, he is “eviscerated” with foul language and threats of violence. Naturally, this particular perspective on online gaming culture, particularly in first-person and third-person shooter culture, doesn’t skew with most female gamers’ experience, or, at the very least isn’t the dominant trend in their experiences. And many people told him so. After clarifying his intentions when writing the comic, and the presumably hearing from a lot more people, Inman apologized, admitted the comic was “stupid” and made a significant donation to a worthy, gender-related charity.

So, the story’s over, and it turned out in a pretty satisfying way, so you might be wondering why I’m even talking about it. And it’s because I look at a lot of controversies over harassment in gaming and other aspects of geekdom every day, and not all of them turn out to have even remotely satisfactory resolutions. And let it not be said that I can’t laud a good outcome when it happens, even if most of the others are bad, so lets talk about what went right here.

Inman’s brief comic (NSFW language) went up yesterday, and it’s pretty clear that responses came fast and furious. He updated the comic a little while later clarifying that he didn’t mean to imply that female gamers were bad at games, rather that this trend of responses to bad players of both genders was one he’d noticed in his recent and limited experience playing Left4Dead on Steam.

I was implying two things:

  • When girls play, often times no one takes them seriously.
  • If they screw up, often times the room is filled with lonely dudes who say things like “LOL that’s okay! Will you marry me?”    If I screw up I get eviscerated.

In short: a terrible female gamer gets away with way more than a terrible male gamer (like me).

It seems that this response missed the point of complaint for many people, and I’ll make a good guess at what that point is right now. It’s twofold: the hypothetical “lonely dudes” in his comic, the ones complimenting the hypothetical “terrible female gamer” are, indeed, assuming not only that she is bad at the game (rather than that she’s simply making the dumb mistakes that every gamer makes sometimes) simply because she is female and that, because she is female she is emotionally fragile and easily crushed, and deserves to be treated differently from other gamers. It’s all well and fine to say “man, I wish people would compliment me when I screw up” but the fact is that it is unequal treatment based on the idea that one sort of person is more vulnerable and cannot be expected to be as competent as another, and that’s not what female gamers want. It is not unreasonable to believe that women can be as competent as men at video games, because we can.

Here’s the second fold: What Inman’s comic illustrates is a perspective based on his personal experience, which is understandable, but is a perspective which many female gamers (part of the subject of the comic) feel is not indicative or at the very least not totally indicative of their own experience in online gaming. Many women out there have attempted to play in online communities and experienced sexual harassment, unreasonable criticism, insults, threats of violence and threats of rape regardless of whether they’re playing well or poorly at the time.

And, in short, Inman seems to have realized that. Which, considering the state of the average Internet dialogue, is nearly shocking. This is not the point where the original poster, having made a joke based on projecting limited experience across a larger spectrum, usually acknowledges that their experience may have given them a skewed perspective. In fact, it’s usually the point where the OP starts trying to point out why their personal experience trumps or is more valid than the personal experience of the larger group trying to share the different perspective their personal experience has given them. It’s usually the point at which the whole thing breaks down in to personal attacks and becomes a horrible internet mishmash that you have to force yourself to disengage from.

But it wasn’t in this case. Inman instead, put out this apology:

Based on [my experience playing Steam for about a year], and primarily on playing Left4Dead, I noticed that anytime a girl was playing everyone acts REALLY nice to her (even if she throws a molly at the team and sets us all on fire).  That’s where the inspiration for my last comic came from.

Outside of Steam, it sounds like it’s still pretty horrible for women to play games.  Is this true? A lot of people are talking of rape threats, sexism, harassment, and a lot of other awful things.  I’m a guy and I barely talk into my mic, so I’ll concede that my view of things is probably very skewed.

That being said, I apologize to any female gamers who I offended.  I didn’t mean to perpetuate the idea that women are treated more nicely while playing games online.  It sounds like in a lot of cases the opposite is true.

In short:  I’m sorry for making a stupid comic today.

Lastly, apologies on the internet mean about as much as farts do in outer space. So I went ahead and donated $1,000 to the Women Against Abuse foundation.

And there’s where this apology goes from businesslike handshake to a high five. One thousand dollars is a non-trivial amount for a guy who makes a living off of internet .jpgs, even a successful one like Inman, and it’s significantly beyond what I would have expected in an apology for one .jpg that was uploaded to the internet. I’m a believer that there’s no fault in reasonable ignorance, only in continuing to act on it once it’s been pointed out to you. So here’s some props from me to Inman in this instance, for issuing a contrite apology that actually communicates a sense of thoughtfulness and willingness to respect the perspectives of others on the Internet, the place where sincerity often goes to die, and then putting his money where his mouth is.

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  • http://www.raingeek.com/ James Strocel

    He doesn’t deny his own experience, but he still took responsibility for his speech. Well played, Mr. Oatmeal.

  • http://twitter.com/FroWillis Sarah

    Inman did GOOD. He clearly learned the rules of apologies. I will now use him as an example of how to deal with any sort of accidental offending. Mistakes happen, it’s how you deal with them that show true character. 

    That and I’m happy I won’t have to stop reading The Oatmeal any time soon :D

  • Anonymous

    I have had similar experiences to Inman’s. Guys seem to be more forgiving to female players. Are they “lonely dudes”? Maybe. Maybe they’re just 14 and venturing out into the waters of intergender relationships for the first time with the floaties of anonymous online gaming to help them. Obviously we all have our own experiences and they can all be different. There is no denying that there is a ton of disgraceful behavior in online gaming, but there is in life as well. It’s no secret that attractive people are treated better than unattractive people. This is basically the online equivalent. I think something that is overlooked is that it’s not a male/female thing, it’s a immature jackass/decent human being thing. ME3 recently caused me to wade into coop gaming for the first time in a while and I was quickly reminded of why I haven’t done so in years. While still getting the hang of things, I was called names I’d never even imagined before that for even small errors. 
    Broad generalizations never fit every situation, but just because the comic isn’t true in every case, doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of cases where it is true. I like that he clarified his opinion as distinctly non sexist, but I feel like there was an overreaction. 

  • Frodo Baggins

    I respect the apology, but the donation seems… I dunno, uncomfortable. Like, if he didn’t say something dismissive about women on the internet and get called out, he wouldn’t have donated to the cause? If he used the c-word, would he have had to donate 5,000? I think it’s better to keep charity and etiquette disentangled.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think he would’ve donated to the cause, but only because he hadn’t considered donating. I pretty much only donate to causes when I’m reminded they exist.

  • Anonymous

    Of course there are cases when it is true. However, the comic was labeled “When A Girl Makes A Mistake”, not ‘When My Ditzy Sister Kimmy Makes A Mistake’. It’s the generalisation that turns it from an observation of stuff that actually happens to a frustratingly sweeping statement about women with potentially negative consequences.

    For comparison, have you seen this XKCD comic? http://xkcd.com/385/

  • Anonymous

    I applaud the way Inman dealt with the feedback on his simplified criticism of online gaming, but I sorta feel this article, in praising his collected way of reacting, does not do Inman’s perspective justice. I don’t believe in the credo that those who don’t have it that bad may not complain because there are people who have it worse. Women don’t like being treated like special, fragile snowflakes, but isn’t the fact a man is expected to “man up”, “tough it out”, and “take the hit” on an individual level just as damaging? Between not being taken seriously and being treated as dismissable, there is a field where both genders are treated as human, and I feel men have just as much right to make a point for being placed on that field as women, regardless if they have it worse or not. It’s not a competition.

    As an analysis of Inman’s comic, I’d say he missed the point in that he seems to blame women for the better treatment he noticed them getting and portrays them as if they inherently like it and feel entitled to it. He could’ve handled that better – way better – but the cons of being treated like a man are not nonexistent and worth pointing out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=48611001 Neal Johnson

    Webcomics take a small aspect of our experience to lampoon.  The common situation is that girl gamers, when outed as such, are treated atypically, whether that be excessive abuse, or fawning attention.  Ideally they’d get treated just the same as any other.  That being said, I still can get a ton of abuse in online gaming just by not doing someone else’s favourite build or strategy, or, for no reason at all. 

  • Anonymous

    The difference between this and the XKCD comic is that the Oatmeal comic is not making fun of women. If anything, it’s making fun of men as Inman pointed out in his apology. He was just pointing out a double standard. People are reacting like the comic is implying that all women suck at games and it’s high time we started calling them out on it. I didn’t read it that way, not in the least. I’m not sure how it’s dangerous. No one is going to read this and go, ‘He’s right! It’s time I start treating women gamers worse!” When I read it, I blushed and went, ‘Damn. that’s totally what I do.’ and I’m sure MANY other guys did the same thing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BJ65LLJI6OOKT7NR4SLMWO2XZA Dazee

    I found the comic funny, because I knew he wasn’t saying ‘Girl gamers are bad’ and was saying ‘Bad gamers, if female, can be treated differently when they make a mistake’.
     
    I’ve had somewhat similar experiences. Now, I’m talking about a setting where these people know one another on some level, not some random team up, but I feel it still applies. It’s less with me being the girl that makes the mistakes.. though it has happened.. but I’ve been in Guilds where a known ‘hot/cute’ (deemed so by other members) makes so many mistakes.. and like ‘OMG don’t you know how to play your class!’ rage level of mistakes, not just your average ‘oops’ that everyone does once and awhile. Then they’re practically coddled with types of statements in the comic above. I get treated differently, mainly because I’m not single, not just having a boyfriend, I’m engaged. I also don’t flood the Guild website with flirty pictures of myself. I feel the need to add that I don’t find anything wrong with that, simply pointing out that I am TREATED different because of it.
     
    What bothers me the most is, they’re never gonna learn. They’re not going to care about making these mistakes, they think it is alright, that it’s no big deal. If I feel like getting philosophical, it probably isn’t a big deal. But I’m not, I’m talking about the task at hand. It only takes a few “LEARN HOW TO ‘insert what you suck at here’” before you start learning how to do that. Now, I’m not saying chew girls out because they make a mistake, you shouldn’t chew guys out either. What I’m saying is… I found the comic funny because I’ve seen it happen. Anything else is just me starting a rant that I don’t wanna finish because in the end I’ll end up talking about the Ninja Turtles being aliens and how much I hate that or why I don’t care for FPS or something else completely derailed from the original topic because I’m a rambler!

  • http://profiles.google.com/gnomer.denois Jill Oliver

     Agreed. I’ve seen the same things in MMORPGs where “flirty” girls or girl with cute voices get coddled when they make mistakes and end up being horrible at the game with no idea that they are so. Really would help them to get constructive criticism so they can be better than to get a bunch of “participation awards”. Personally, I’m such a perfectionist for myself that while I’ll forgive a lot of errors made by my raid members, I beat myself up enough. I did try pvp one time and one of the random people kept yelling at me to “quit sucking” with no advice on how to do so, so I decided that it was more amusing to just recount how it was the first time in history a guy told a girl to quit sucking.

  • http://profiles.google.com/iandavidosmond Ian Osmond

    That’s not a difference.  The XKCD comic is pointing out the double standard: that a man who’s bad at math is just seen as bad at math, while a woman who’s bad at math is seen as proof that women, as a category, are bad at math.

    The difference is that the Oatmeal comic was perceived as making fun of women, and women explained that their experience was totally different.

    And then, that he listened and UNDERSTOOD and apologized.

  • Anonymous

    Let me be more explicit: XKCD is pointing out a societal double standard that has a negative effect on how people view women. It is a genuine societal problem. The Oatmeal was pointing out a double standard that is humorously frustrating to the author and other guys. The Oatmeal WAS NOT IMPLYING that women are bad gamers ONLY THAT bad female gamers are treated differently than bad male gamers. This IS a fact. It DOES happen. And it happens OFTEN. Making an observation, pointing out a situation which exists does not make Inman or his comments sexist. As Dazzee said above: “I knew he wasn’t saying ‘Girl gamers are bad’ and was saying ‘Bad gamers, if female, can be treated differently when they make a mistake’.”
    I understand that threats are made against female gamers. It sucks and I wish we had more tools to rid ourselves of those people, but threats are made against men as well. I have had people threaten to kick my ass, do unspeakable things to me and any pets I might own. It happens. I feel there is an overreaction here and we should be putting effort into ridding the gaming community of those who treat ANYONE that way.

  • Anonymous

    I am really, really impressed with this reaction. Good job, Inman. You acted like an adult and grew from an unfortunate situation. I wish all things on the internet could happen like this. 

  • Anonymous

    Agreed with Parrotbeak… it’s not like he was anti-women’s-charity before (I assume).  Seems more like a case of “You know what, you’re right, and I apologize, and let me find a way to show you that I mean that, and I’m not just typing a fauxpology.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Fitzgerald/100000045257462 Michelle Fitzgerald

    I think you missed the part where he said ‘the comic was perceived as’. You can’t put something out there into the world and say ‘This is what it is and only what it is.’, because people will come in with their own views and ideas.

    He chose very poor wording on his parts and I am certain it was gleefully grabbed upon by the many misogynists that troll the internet. I think that is why he apologized. It’s clear he didn’t mean it in any way that is unkind and it is certainly a matter of just not knowing much beyond his own personal experiences.

    I suspect you have no idea what it is like to have people describe in graphic detail how they want to rape you. I’ve had such pleasant experiences. Not to mention the wealth of sexist comments I’m inundated with. ‘Get back in the kitchen.’ ‘Go make me a sandwich’, ‘Girl’s don’t play video games.’ and people constantly wanting to know if the gender of my character aligns with my real life gender.

    Sure, I’m sure there is the occasional gal out there who does get let off easy plenty of times, but in my own personal experience it’s never been like that. HELL some raiding guilds in MMOs wont even accept female applicants. How is that for a hostile environment for you?

    Please. Do not compare the random threats you get with the actual active harassment women suffer. Go check out the website: http://fatuglyorslutty.com/ for an example. Yes. I’ve been actively cyber stocked and harassed, that is way different from someone saying they’re going to kill you for messing up in Call of Duty.

  • Anonymous

    The second half of your statement is rather hilarious considering that Inman did do a comic where he called Queen Cersei a “c*nthammer”.

  • Frodo Baggins

    YOU’RE SHORT FOUR LARGE, INMAN!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VITWQIHLPFDLC4DZUGOZUQMCE Calvin Wallace

    He shouldn’t have apologized….. the feminists won. 
    http://avoiceformen.com if you guys really want to know the red pill… 

  • Victoria Eden

     …What?

  • Victoria Eden

    I love The Oatmeal!

  • http://twitter.com/theomniarch Adil Kurji

    You may have missed the point… He apologized because his experience wasn’t normal AND presenting it as such did more harm than good against the more regular appearance. Now in these cases its quite easy to say “Sorry, that’s not what happened to me. Oops and/or Shrug”

    This move shows that he is willing to put his money where his mouth is, he is serious about his apology. Not sure how well that would have gone if he skipped that step.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Oh god, this “red pill” crap is, like, the tagline on their site. I’m sure Andy and Lana Wachowski are real pleased about that.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Shoo, MRA!

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna


    but isn’t the fact a man is expected to “man up”, “tough it out”, and “take the hit” on an individual level just as damaging?”

    Absolutely and I actually get that from his comic when he says “ If I screw up I get eviscerated.”  

    Abuse in online gaming is problematic for both genders.  For guys it’s usually homophobic remarks or virgin shaming and for girls it’s usually verbal sexual harassment or slut shaming.  For those who condone this kind of behavior, their argument is usually “I have the right to use this sort of language against you and you’ll just have to deal with it or you’re a sissy.”

  • Anonymous

    I had a great laugh when I read:

    “Many women out there have attempted to play in online communities and experienced sexual harassment, unreasonable criticism, insults, threats of violence and threats of rape regardless of whether they’re playing well or poorly at the time.”

    As an internet denizen of 10+ years I don’t really hear/read vulgarity anymore. It is the ambiance of the net. But, i can tell you, that ambiance is there on a daily basis – every time I play with young adults and below. To get offended by it is like being offended by the moon (stop mocking me, moon!), and there is little more to do about it than /mute, or /leave guild.

    Now why is this a gender issue? The fuel of a potty mouth is finding out what gets you most offended. If I typed into a message chat how awesome I think my old man is, when do you think the homo/who’s your daddy jokes would end?

    Should I be offended by mean spirited gamers? Probably.
    Do I have the time or energy to indulge their hate games? No.

  • Frodo Baggins

    If he said, “I support women’s groups,” then paying a thousand bucks would be putting his money where his mouth was. But saying, “Sorry I hurt your feelings, I said something stupid that I shouldn’t have” doesn’t come with the implicit promise of financing an organization that provides services to victims of abuse. It’s a nice act, regardless, so props to him for doing it. I just think the use of charitable donations as a Forgiveness Tax sets a weird precedent. Words should make up for words. You can’t put a price tag on inconsiderate statements.

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

     The slight difference is that women at times will have the language escalate from vulgarity to online stalking, offline stalking and assault, especially if they stand up for themselves. Having been at one time the victim of a stalking that eventually became rape, that possibility is ever-present in the back of my mind when I run afoul of someone with a vulgar and insulting mouth online – what if this asshole can find me. Of course, now I own guns, so I’m not as worried as I was when I was young, but still.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for articulating why I feel uncomfortable with Mr. Inman’s donation. I couldn’t quite figure out how to say it myself.

  • http://feywood.dreamwidth.org/ Ehlyah

    Yeah, but never point out on twitter that you feel one of his comics is homophobic (re: using “gay” as an insult, IIRC), because then he’ll mock you and point you out by name so the senseless hordes can pound on you for a few hours.

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-100000045257462:disqus I understand everything you said and my goal is not to diminish your experience in anyway. Those are things that no one should have to go through. Ever. But I disagree that the threats that I and other men receive are somehow less important or our complaints less valid. I can handle myself physically in a fight and yes, I do brush these things off as the ramblings of immature jackasses and that’s my choice, my personality. I understand why others would not brush them off so easily. However, I am involved in my local roller derby league and know a lot of women who can handle themselves as well as most men, are their complaints less valid as well? And what about my small male friends who couldn’t hope to defend themselves physically? Do they not count either because they’re men? 

    I showed the comic to several of my female friends and they all laughed. Why? Because they all said it was true and had experienced it before. Every time they play? No. But often enough that they got the joke. Inman took a liberty that people take when creating observational humor: he assumed that the audience understands that this is a situation that happens a lot, but NOT every time. He does comics about things people post on facebook. People don’t post those types of things on your wall every day, but it happens often enough that most people have experienced it and relate to it and that’s the point. 
    Experience colors perception. Having been through what you’ve been through I can easily see why you feel this way. Your experience and the experiences of those around you have led you to your conclusions. My experiences and the experiences of those around me show me something else. You feel he is making light of the problem, I feel that this is a case of people with a hammer looking for a nail. Who is right? I have found that the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

    Again, not diminishing your experiences, but my point is don’t assume that all gamers are like those who abused you. They are gamers, yes, but they are crazy whackjob gamers. They exist just as the coddling guys from the Oatmeal comic exist. One does not preclude the other.  

  • Life Lessons

    Awesome. Thank you Mr. Inman. That is exactly how anyone should respond. Well done sir! I shall now have to purchase some of your material. :)

  • mildred louis

    I commend him for how he handled this but am also terribly confused as to why people are upset over the comic. As a female gamer who tends to try to hide their gender over all when doing online games, I’ve witnessed this kind of treatment as well (not my being the receiver of it, mind you, but have had more than my fair share experience in which I’ve witnessed female gamers who’ve likely taken advantage of their sex as a means of being ‘excused’ for their poor playing ability). This just seems to be a moment of utter over-sensitvity when the female community seems to, at large, be under fire in many other ways. Again, I think it’s awesome what he did but it seems like a simple matter of miscommunication or a not perfectly executed joke on his part.

  • Anonymous

    For my own edification, do you know of multiple references to these times?

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

     Use the google, Luke. :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/cherubicwindigo Laura

    Thank you, Mary Sue! I’m so freaking happy things turned out like this. I saw the comic before any clarification or apology was added and honestly it totally crushed my entire day. I had to go take a freezing cold shower just to jolt myself out of my funk. This comic is not that bad *at all* compared to some things I’ve seen on the internet but this it represents the general attitude of a lot of male gamers I talk to. They think we get better, special treatment because we are female. Worse, they think I actually *like* being proposed marriage or told how “hot” or “beautiful” by some guy I’ve never seen in real life. This totally undermines my complaints about the vocal minority who are calling for my rape and death because I dared talk on the internet about video games while having ovaries. I don’t want to be treated differently *at all* (with the obvious exception of “accepted” gamer lingo, calling each other “f-gs” or talking about how they just got “raped”). That kind of hate talk is still not cool with me.

  • Anonymous

    Somebody pokes fun of men with a cartoon and the internet feminist go
    all berserk because they think it is anti-women. Seriously, I can’t
    belief what world I live in. This comment is gonna be deleted, isn’t
    it?

  • Anonymous

    The donation seems kind of weird to me. I feel like its an excessive penance for the mistake he made, almost as though hes literally paying for forgiveness. Either way its for a good cause so i guess it doesn’t matter too much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000363934871 Brooke Stenz

    i just want to point out, that if this girl was actually supposed to be a “terrible” gamer she wouldn’t be calling in her 4th airstrike…..i think he covered it up after getting called out on it….*GIRLS FOR GAMING!*

  • Anonymous

    Sexism is almost always negative for *both* sexes. Trying to argue ‘It’s not anti-men, it’s anti-women!’ or ‘It’s not anti-women, it’s anti-men!’ is pointless. When sexist assumptions come into play, NOBODY WINS.

    *Of course* assuming that all men become drooling morons when there’s A Gurl in the vicinity is bad for men.

    Assuming that all women tee-hee foolishly whenever they screw up is also bad.

    Assuming that all women “get away with” things that they shouldn’t because they’re Gurls is incorrect and the sort of attitude that leads to resentment. So-called ‘benevolent sexism’ is often tied to severe strain in male-female relations. It is, again, bad for BOTH men and women. It sets up false expectations on both sides. It teaches women to expect less of themselves and hampers their abilities to learn and grow. It teaches men that they should not treat women as people, but as some special, alien entities to whom different rules apply. Surely you can see how those ideas can go horrifically wrong on both sides?

    And, no surprise, anyone who’s having a hard time tends to resent being told how easy they’ve got it when they don’t. That’s also true for both men and women. :)

  • Anonymous

    I think that the apology was quite sufficient and that the donation shouldn’t be considered in any way obligatory (because that is a LOT of money).  Though the donation was a great thing to do.  What matters is the recognition that his experience isn’t representative of other peoples’, and that the comic doesn’t fit how female gamers are typically treated.  And the clear note of sincerity.  Sincerity means a lot.

    I just don’t want guys to get the idea that financial compensation is required for inadvertently doing something sexist.  Recognizing and acknowledging when you’re wrong is a lot more important.

  • Velexia Ombra

    I play online games with a female name, and I can tell you, from personal experience in literally every game I play… I get treated better when they think I am a girl.  I have never, once, ever had a guy, or any player treat me poorly because they think I am a girl.

    I get free stuff, I get tons of flirty messages, I get more friend requests, the works.  So, what “I” am not seeing, is women being abused by sexist males in games.  Not once.  Not saying it doesn’t happen.  But for all of those people ragging on Inman as hard as they are, they need to lay the hell off.  His experience was legitimate, and common, and each comic he makes will speak to the audience it was intended to.

    Granted, I also saw the article about the girl who plays Magic The Gathering (and rocks it), so let me reiterate that I know there is a flipside to what I see, and it is a problem… but lay off this guy, seriously.  He was highlighting something that actually happens.  The issue here is that women are treated differently than men, by men, and by women, and men are treated differently by men, and by women… Except that is fundamental to our existence.  Life as a whole is not going to get over it any time soon.  But you can.

  • Anonymous

    Are there any links I could get to read more on this accusation on?

  • http://twitter.com/DeflectorDish DeflectorDish

    In non-speaking gaming scenarios, I find the assumption that my female oriented characters are being played by guys and I get called all sorts of terms that we would associate with men. When people know I am a woman playing, I don’t get treated better, almost worst, like, “UGH, this girl doesn’t know what she’s doing, what a ditz.” It’s equally as condescending and contributes to the idea of traditional gender roles. 

  • Anonymous

    Honestly I appreciate everything that frontline99 is saying in this comment thread.  Thank you for putting it so eloquently.  If I had started on this I probably would have raged a bit, so I am glad someone else felt the same way as I did.

    I showed the comic to my wife who is NOT a computer/console gamer, but she is very liberal and a huge supporter for human rights and a board gamer from time to time.  She even stated it was an article that should not have happened and she did not get offended by the comic at all.  She would even go as far to state that when we play with friends if she goof sup and they are all guys they cut her slack.  Heck I have evne done it to female players in table top games that I am GM’ing.  It happens, guys are enamored with the female mystique.  

    I feel that people were being over sensitive about this and being presumptuous and whiny.  The people that complained obviously never read his whole site as he states it is satire repeatedly!

    Plus are there not better things to report on, like the Amendment One issue in North Carolina?  Trying to ban equal rights for same sex couples.  Great story there that maybe the community could rally behind.  Help get the word out and maybe the rest of the country could help us here in NC rally the awareness that all couples should be afforded the same rights.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VITWQIHLPFDLC4DZUGOZUQMCE Calvin Wallace

    So my opinion can’t be viewed here?  Glad to see feminism is all about gender equality… love it.  My comment was deleted for what reason exactly?  It didn’t cross any boundaries.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VITWQIHLPFDLC4DZUGOZUQMCE Calvin Wallace

     I’ll see you when you get divorced and all your assets taken away from you. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6VITWQIHLPFDLC4DZUGOZUQMCE Calvin Wallace

     Did you even bother to do your research? 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TZFHMCHCUKABNVZYQPNQH7JCWI ceyi ceyi

    while I can see the arguments for both sides, I myself was not particularly offended by Mr. Inman’s comic. However, I am deeply impressed by his sincere and professional approach to the situation. He didn’t argue with people, he didn’t tell them they were wrong- he simply clarified, and then made amends that translated to a real level. For that, Mr. Inman has my deepest respect and adoration, and I hope that he will become the example of good communication and behavior on the internet.  

  • http://profiles.google.com/stevi.ferg Stevi Ferguson

     It happens enough (or there’s enough urban legends about it) that my Redditor husband begged me to abandon my (admittedly scantly used) Reddit account and start a new one with absolutely no connection to my other online identities, lest I run afoul of one of the creepoids and bring them down upon us in RL.

  • Chris Stehlik

    What? Introspection and a sincere apology on the Internet ?  Who are you and what have you done with the real internet?

    (Inman has shown himself to be even more awesome  than previously thought)

  • http://twitter.com/theomniarch Adil Kurji

    A little late, in response, but yes if you look at it as a tax rather than a signal of sincerity in this easy to say shit but not mean it world then correct.  And of course the difference between our interpretations is impossible to determine. 

    More importantly, its a webcomic, not sure he should be held to some standard of journalistic integrity.

  • Lily Queen

    “Flirty messages” are not what I, as  a gamer, am looking for. That’s a sign of unequal treatment right there. Male gamers don’t expect to get flirty messages just because their names are male — nor should they.

  • Men Discontinued

    This guy’s comic is so true!

  • Men Discontinued

     Wow.  You treat him like a puppy.  Does he get a treat now for obeying everything you ask for? 

  • Men Discontinued

     You and me, are the only ones that get it. 

  • Men Discontinued

     Well it happens….

  • Deborah Douglas

    I… I don’t even know where to begin with this. Is everyone that easily
    offended these days? Inman’s comic, The Oatmeal, is not exactly known
    for it’s sensitivity to issues. Most webcomics aren’t. Why we pounce on
    people who write comics that might be construed as offensive to a
    certain group like this is puzzling to me, but what really got me about
    your article is that you think the right thing for him to do was to
    donate to a charity to prove his sincerity. It should NOT cost a
    thousand dollars to make a social faux pas. It shouldn’t cost anything.
    Your praise of that kind of action not only rewards that kind of
    senseless, apologist behaviour, but implies that you know best what the
    financial cost should be, when someone says something you find
    offensive. I don’t believe gender stereotypes should be perpetuated
    either, but sending the message that everyone who rubs you the wrong way
    should bend over backwards to be as sorry as possible just comes off as
    reactionary vitriol. Sorry if this opinion vexes the readership of this
    blog, so I took the liberty of donating 50 bucks to Planned Parenthood
    this afternoon, to cover my ass.

  • Crayven

    Ironically how everyone is so freaking out about this little thing called “free speech” but when he makes a tiny comic about something we don’t like the web explodes with self-appointed moral crusaders.
    Fucking hypocrites, all of you.

  • RocketLaunchingOperator

    I think he was just scared and manipulated into an apology, it’s not a show of character- more like a man breaking down under fear and manipulation.

  • RocketLaunchingOperator

    they should do a comic when someone criticize a man, and he just gets over it, and then a woman receive the same criticism and she posts billions of blogs articles about sexism and how tough being a woman is and how society is unfair and blah blah blah

  • RocketLaunchingOperator

    a guy posts something that isn’t even slightly disparaging to women, a feminist somewhere has her overly sensitive jimmies rustled, the guy is scared into donating one thousand bucks to feminism by an out of proportion shit storm. This is a) proof of systematic female oppression b) proof of femminists being laughable women who have an easy life spending way too much time lamenting HOW TOUGH AND UNFAIR being a woman is?

  • RocketLaunchingOperator

    the day the patriarchy went to far; an internet nerd suggested men might be better at videogames than women. I think 3000 years from now future women will still be oppressed by this cruel act of hate

  • Seriously Now

    Free speech works both ways. He’s free to his opinion, and we’re free to criticize him for that opinion.

  • Tim

    I signed up just to say thank you both (Dazee and Jill) for speaking up and for being, in a word, understanding. As a guy, seeing things that to me seem obviously true being denied or minimised, or being shamed for expressing them, is incredibly frustrating. Sure, Inman’s comic didn’t contain *every* truth that could possibly be spoken about male-female interactions, but show me a comic that does! I wish he hadn’t caved.

    Usually “shamings” like Inman’s strike me as deliberate power plays, which gets me angry, but sometimes I wonder if the women (or sometimes men) doing the shaming are telling the truth and I’m just inhabiting a different universe than they are, since our (physical and moral) senses seem to be telling us such different things! So when one or two people from the “other tribe” (here, you ladies :-P) come along and, not only do your experiences pretty much agree with mine, but you have a sense of perspective about things (shown by your sense of humour), and you obviously aren’t just looking to jump on the “Everything is unfair to my group and it’s all your fault” bandwagon, it’s so refreshing and fills me with such hope that it’s hard to put into words. FWIW, nothing else makes me *want to* understand and fix the extra crap that women are currently expected to put up with more than when I see that understanding coming back from you guys. So please continue being awesome, fair-minded people, and I hope you kick serious ass in whatever games you each play :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507849795 Seanna Tucker

    Woah woah woah. Do you read his comics on a regular basis? Because it sounds like you’re making an assumption.