OK, things that weren’t so great this weekend: just one, really (besides the fact that I was brain-dead for my game.) Only a couple of weeks or so after joining a brand-new feminist gaming forum, I managed to discover I was apparently not feminist enough for them.
I’m not kidding. After spending my time dealing with the cheesecake lovers on RPGNet and tilting at windmills on The RPG Site, spending half my life carrying the flag as an engineer and a feminist even in the years where it seemed everyone else was too ashamed to embrace the word “feminist”, it turns out I’m not speaking the language of the movement. I learned that my vocabulary is “slut-shaming.”
I’m told that I was slut-shaming when I described a Penthouse centrefold which a co-worker had once pinned in my office as looking “slutty”. I’d rather discuss in English than in made-up words. I was assured that “slut-shaming” is a standard expression used on “feminist and anti-oppression blogs.” This sounds like the kind of reference which Al Franken calls “the prestigious Internet.” Sigh.
(who has been reading the forum but balked at registering because he didn’t feel he would be welcomed) suggested that I’d been treating the forum as a place where the gals can kick off their shoes and swap stories, while some were treating it like Women’s Studies 303. That’s pretty true, at least as far as what I’d been looking for there. The mods and users of the forum are not bad people; but from the descriptions they give of themselves, several of them are half my age or less, and some of them have had very bad experiences. I really don’t want them harassed (which is why I don’t link here). But I note with interest that a good number of them accept in their favourite computer games iconography which I find insulting to women, and am not willing to put up with. Yet saying that the Penthouse centrefold looked slutty is unacceptable to them. Wheee.
I’m not mad like I was in those RPG Net and RPG Site threads linked above. But I am bummed. Naturally, I still haven’t found a place where I can just hang out with other women gamers and shoot the breeze; and honestly, I think I had something to share that might be useful to younger girls in the hobby. I’ve dealt with a number of the experiences they are going through. But just like I don’t care for the excessive theorizing and redefining of words that often goes on at The Forge regarding RPGs, I don’t want to spend my hobby time rehashing pseudo-feminist theory or making up words.
And regarding words: what’s with making up new terms when we have existing ones that adequately cover the concept? The isms started out covering pretty clear concepts, but have now bred to an infestation. Which phrase is more forceful and clearer:
“I object to racism, sexism, agism, genderism, ablism, and classism –”
“I object to discrimination”?
The first style is at best bloodless and wishy-washy, and at worst a piece of crap circling the toilet bowl on its way down.