To begin, if you just want to get to the experiment and data, and aren’t interested in my humanist bloviating, just skip down to the pictures and you’ll get the gist of it. If you are interested in one moron’s human perspective, then read on and let me set this experience up, all my flawed emotions included.
So … if you are still up here at the top:
I didn’t start out to do “a thing” on the #MeToo movement. I had no plan. I simply started noticing something I’d always noticed before, but never really thought about in a #MeToo context. In short, I noticed how shitty dudes who play video games treat chicks who play them. I always knew it, but I confess it just seemed “normal” due to its absolute and total ubiquity. I figured chicks must be so used to it they just blew it off. Which they do, for the most part. Except, not exactly. That was the revelation. The “not exactly” part.
Short back story: I play video games. Always have. Always will. Since the 70’s. I’m as old-school a gamer as there is, from pre-Pong to World of Warcraft to whatever phone game I’m playing now (WGT Golf, for the purposes of this blog).
Whenever I play a game that I have to make an avatar or “character,” I make a chick character. I make female avatars and have for decades, long before it was “cool” to do so. I do this because, while I am playing, I would rather look at a chick than a dumb-ass dude. Dudes are stupid and ugly. Chicks are hot. Etc.
True? Also yes.
And yes, because of that, and because of my liberal education, I realize that I am now considered a disgusting cis-het white-male patriarch.
Fortunately for me, I don’t give a shit about labels. Additionally, and ironically, my liberal education also taught me that categorizing people into quick-reference hate categories, a.k.a. stereotyping based on sets of detestable characteristics, is a bad thing. I have two degrees totally devoted to studying literature that illustrated how, across time, people who do that are dicks.
It is also interesting to observe that my use of a singularly male bit of anatomy is instantly recognizable as an insult. Nobody likes a dick (even though randy chicks do. And gay guys, etc.). But yeah, nobody protests the slanderous use of “dick” in the name of misandry or anything. We all just nod and go, “Yeah, I hate people that are dicks.” There are no marches or social justice warrior protests about this. There aren’t even any angry fringe man-groups protesting for dude rights or whatever.
I think that is because dudes are not whiny pussy bitches.
WOAH!!! WTF AM I DOING RIGHT NOW!!??!!
Wow, sorry. That just came out. I had to get that out apparently. I tried to start this damn blog like five times, and every time I did, I ended up writing something just like that, only way longer. So apparently I had to say something along those lines before getting to my damn point. Which sucks, because I probably just blew out the whole chick audience, whom I am in total support of with this post. My point is actually a feminist point, believe it or not. Or at least a feminist-supporting point. But whatever. So for the six people left who will read this, I’ll press on.
Anyway, as I said before, I play chick characters (avatars) in video games. Because of that, I’ve always had dickhead dudes trying to hit on me. For decades, I have always just fucked with them and made them look sad and pathetic. It’s easy to do. And fun. It’s kinda like sport. It actually kind of got old after the second decade, though.
In recent years, I have begun to ignore them, or at least the generically lame ones. You know, the Neanderthals that open with something like, “Hey babe. Nice tits.”
Actually, that’s an insult to Neanderthals. Guys like that are not even worthy of a response. That’s what they want anyway, but, I’m like: if you want my fake, video-game hot-chick attention, you need to bring more than that stupid shit.
Up your game, bro.
At best, I assume they are pubescent boys, questing in their nascent sexuality. There is no point in me, another male, being the one to crush them and engender self doubt, self loathing, and life-long insecurity. Women will do all that for them, just as nature intended.
At worst, they are grown men. And if that is the case, they are too stupid for any of my subtlety or, uh, not subtlety, to effect change in any meaningful way, so I stopped bothering with them too. At least for the most part. I do drink, after all.
Occasionally, if I am bored (read: drunk), I’ll engage them a little, especially if there are witnesses. It’s easy to encourage their misbehavior long enough for them to talk about how they want to touch me or lick me or whatever, at which point I then let them know I’m actually male. I will make some gay accusation with the revelation. “I’m a dude, bro, why you wanting to get with me?” Which of course they can’t laugh at because guys like this are universally homophobic, and, well, it’s done. They just tried to sex-up what could technically be termed a cyber transvestite. Oh, the agony.
But now we have the #MeToo movement and “rape culture” and all that stuff going on. Suddenly, my artistry with sarcasm, pedantry, and gross, immature body-part humor once more becomes the shining cyber armor of modern chivalry. Or something.
And yes, I realize chivalry is an offensive idea from a cis-het, white male, patriarchal time of, uh, male patriarchy and misogyny and lots of terrible bad human history stuff that happened before everyone was pissed at everyone, and all humor was removed from the world. I get it. Now everything is serious, and everyone is a victim. This must be taken seriously. Gone are the days of sticks and stones being the real danger. So, this is now.
SHIT, I AM DOING IT AGAIN.
Sorry everyone. Sorry.
Anyway, with that in mind, I found myself playing an online golf game recently—obviously with a chick avatar—and I started to notice the comments I got through the lens of #MeToo and victimhood.
Instead of just laughing these morons off and calling them fuckwits or losers spanking in their mom’s basement, I decided to read each insult as an act of violence, as a small bit of evidence for “rape culture.” I decided to take each one as an assault on me, as if I really were female and simply trying to enjoy a game.
What I learned was kinda sad, frankly. Based on my counts over several months, 10% of dudes are dicks. Like, really just douchey as fuck. Across the globe, too. WGT Golf is an international game. (There is an upside to this story that mitigates that percentage some, but I won’t give that away right now.) Bottom line, though, from a chick perspective, at least the best approximation of a chick perspective I can muster, men are dicks. Not even kidding at all.
Anyway, here is my experience in screen shots:
So to begin, this is my WGT Golf game avatar. I named her Pernie after the character in my novel series (go buy all my books). Note my careful selection of a matching outfit. You have no idea how much game-effort it takes to have a matching outfit like this.
For perspective, and so you can see how tempting my avatar’s sweet digital ass is, here’s me from the back. (Guys, get out your towels).
Anyway, so here’s some pretty benign examples of what started happening right out of the gate.
I noticed this stuff and, in the beginning, it didn’t even register beyond a “how lame are you, bro?” sort of internal thought. I admit, it didn’t take too long to start getting irritating though. I hadn’t actually realized I was doing an undercover chick experiment yet, so sometimes I couldn’t help responding.
I think it was there that I realized I needed to record this journey (thanks to incidental timing with the #MeToo movement taking over the media and social media space).
So as I started to pay attention and record the shit people said to “girl” me, I started to realize what I had before just let pass as being just dumb but not important. From a dude perspective, you’ll recall, I normally just insult these dicks. But as a chick, it does actually shift into something more pernicious because it’s directed AT you rather than being said AROUND you.
I noticed there was a real fixation on my not-real, digital legs:
Uhh, okay you fucking creepers. How gross is that 😉 thing in that first one? <puke>
I poked back, obviously. Couldn’t always ignore it.
Yeah. Uh. LOL and stuff. Fucking weirdo.
Anyway, if that was all it was, I guess it would just be lame and I would have not cared. But nope.
I tried to be nice to that last moron and just point out that he was jizzing over a digital avatar that literally is exactly like every other chick avatar in the game but for a small variety of clothing and hair options. But nope.
At least that “in your cup” thing was marginally clever. Some of these guys were just basic crude. Like rutting animals. It seems impossible anyone could be so stupid as to think an approach like this next one would ever work to attract a woman, in real life or a video game. Which means they’re really just being dicks for the sake of it. I’m not sure what is worse, stupidity on a scale this large, or meanness.
And then there’s this next asspipe. I tried to just ignore him, which prompted him to hit me with “bitch” for failing to acknowledge his witty bit of flirtatious innuendo. Look at that profile picture, too. What a tool. I didn’t blur his face out because it would be great if people who know him recognize him and realize what a shithole he is when he thinks he’s anonymous in a video game.
Sometimes, in my chick-disguise, I really did try to shrug this stuff off, hence the “you need to get out more” and “pixels ftw” comments. I was like, I don’t want to be one of those hyper-sensitive chicks who can’t just “let boys be boys.” So I tried to give these idiots a chance to back off and find their manners once they realized I wasn’t actually a drunk whore with my panties off and my legs hooked over the edges of my monitor hoping that I’d encounter some man ready to satisfy my untethered sexual needs … uh … over the course of, uh, a golf game with shot timers limiting text exchanges to less than 40 seconds between turns. But yeah, no.
So this next guy seemed nice at first, if nosy for a golf round that barely lasts five minutes. It’s not a chat-friendly game. He asked where I was from. I tried to be nice, so I answered, vaguely, “California.” He then asked what California was famous for (wtf?). The following ensued, again, me trying to be polite while giving him a gentle nudge toward just STFU.
So, clearly, I was not being a snarky bitch, right? The turns are short. Timers run out while you type stuff, and you can miss your shot and lose. So, I was short, but polite, right?
At least I beat his stupid ass. (Liberal irony that one of the douchiest misogynists hated my femininity because the worst thing he could project on me was that I was both female and associated with Trump … uh … narrative blown, much?)
So anyway, I started getting tired of this crap. I actually have so many more screen shots. I thought I would use more of them, but I’m looking up this post as I write it and it’s already long as hell. But bottom line, the more I endured this crap, the more I was over it. I stopped trying to be polite and even stopped trying to be clever. I just started shitting on these people, like, as a reflex.
That one is not even American. It’s easy to hate Americans these days because of how much this country has turned on itself and carved itself into little sub-categories that we can all agree to spew venom at. But this guy, I realize in retrospect, might have simply been making an observation given where he is from. But chick me was already on auto-hate.
I have to tell you, I was surprised how much and how instantly I filled with loathing for these dudes once I did that writer/artist empathy thing where I try to inhabit someone else’s experience—and yes, I understand that empathy is not real, and no man will ever know what it’s like to be a woman, and “don’t tell me what to do with my body,” etc., etc.. But yeah, my hate factor just ignited instantly after a few months of this shit.
But anyway. Yeah. The whole thing … just lame as hell.
I got tired of screen-shotting all that crap after a while and just returned to my normal approach to playing . But I have stewed on what this all meant for a while. I started several versions of this blog post. Sometimes super feminist me wanted to rail against how primitive our stupid species is. Other times I went the other way and wanted to point out it’s probably not an accident that every society on the planet is “patriarchy” … and then go into hard power vs soft power, and bring up Wuthering Heights and all kinds of rational stuff, which would make this post into a damn book. So I won’t.
I have found a healthy balance now after some reflection, perspective on how I shit on these guys and yet also empathize with them, based on more nuanced and contextual evaluations. Which leads me to the mitigating upside that I discovered and mentioned at the top of this long-ass post. I think it is important.
By not posting this in the heat of my hatred for douchebag men, I continued to advance in the game. Got more levels. Just played, not so politically charged about it all. In doing so, I discovered something that a premature posting would have denied me. Denied us all.
I also could have posted early and shared in the outrage of the #MeToo movement. I could have capitalized on it and got shares and exposure. Got paid in ad revenue or cross-pollinating book sales or freelance work. But I would have missed something really interesting, and I think essential.
The essential, human revelation:
Now that I am level 90 in the golf game, the misogyny stuff almost never happens. Like, maybe once in every several hundred games. My 10% number falls apart completely in the established community.
Meaning, these dickheads, even if they are ultimately unintentional misogynists, seem to inhabit only the lowest, newest levels of the game. Meaning, the guys doing this are not invested in the WGT gaming community. They are the guys who just signed up. Under level 50 for the most part. (Each level takes exponentially longer to get.) Example below, note the level underlined in red.
I got most of these douche comments in the beginning. I noticed them while I was new to the game, level 10 to 30 or so. But as I hung in there and got better in the game, more invested in the skill sets and the game gear, etc., the product of that time and effort moved me into a different tier of players.
The community of “regular” and “good” players gets smaller as the lazy, the incompetent, the impatient, and the shitty fall out. They lose interest by the nature of not being invested in the game. INCAPABLE OF EARNING THE RESPECT OF THEIR PEERS.
The game is no longer full of shitheads. In fact, it has been several months now since anyone said anything douchey to me, where early on I was getting it several times a day, pretty much every day in the beginning, at the lowest levels.
It made me wonder why they do it then.
While my data pool is small, I believe there is a direct and causal relationship between the level of inclusion and value a male has in a community and his inclinations to be demeaning to women. Men who feel valued and powerful don’t treat women like shit. Men who do not … do. (Not really a new revelation, fairly well documented in psychology stuff I’ve come across, but, well … this is modern proof.)
The only reason I am finally posting this is because I got my first douche comment in five months or so today, and it actually made me laugh, reminding me that I had started this project several months back.
After several exchanges where this idiot was very chatty but seemingly polite, he suddenly shifts from commenting on the good shots I had made that were wrecking his gimp ass game, to a sex question. Which I also wrecked:
He left. LOL. What a little bitch.
Or, wait, I’m the bitch. Or something.