Skepchick Quickies, 7.20


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Anonymity brings out the shithead in many. All forms of ugliness. That’s why, as much as I play video games, I rarely play them online with strangers – or I mute anyone I don’t know. Being male, I don’t get nearly the grief that a woman would get online, but having been “online” since 300 baud modems, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
    I doubt it’s going to change until (maybe) online etiquette is part of early education. With so many “it’s part of online games, get over it” and “it’s online, not real life, deal” responses I’ve seen in such articles, that much is clear.

    1. It is like the joke:
      Q: What is a group of anonymous assholes called?
      A: An internet.

      Really, all people need to be report-happy when it comes to this crap. If someone is bullying in a game, screenshot and report them asap.

      Also, don’t hesitate to use any “block” features available. As a guy, I am quick to block for much, much less than what is described here.

    2. Jason Lanier wrote a fairly interesting book called ‘You are not a Gadget’ in which he discussed computer technology and some of the issues that society and technology were facing. Quite a bit of the book was about the interet, and I believe he discussed the problem of people trolling or generally being dicks, the main reason because of the anonymity that the internet provides. His solution was to remove the anonymity aspect of it and have all internet users have unique identifiers that are tied into their actual names.
      There are obviously pros and cons to removing the anonymity aspect of it, but it definately has some appeal of removing the trolls and other f-wads. I think the problem was so acute in South Korea that they actually did implement that system:

  2. Completely unrelated rant: I get really tired of people describing weapons as “phallic”, especially if the weapons are practically sized (I’m not going to venture into the Freudian territory of the impractically oversized weapons common in anime; a la Cloud’s “buster sword” in Final Fantasy VII).

    You know why swords and spears are phallic? Because if you want them to be effective, they kinda need to be. Give me a shape, other than phallic, which is going to be effective at most of the things you use swords and spears for. Other than broadly phallic, what are you going to use? A serrated brick?

  3. Another story, related to the “Show us your tits” thing.

    A number of years ago, some of our friends were pressuring my now-ex for “Hall boobies” on video chat. Now, she likes them well enough, but not in a booby-sharing way. So, we talked for a bit, and gave them Hall Boobies. Well, more accurately, Hall Moobies. Big, ol’, hairy Hall Moobies.

    They stopped asking after that.

  4. The procrastination piece is so spot on.

    The only way I get stuff done is by breaking it down into manageable steps and then setting separate deadlines for those.
    Of course, once you’ve failed to reach a final deadline, getting started again when there’s no more deadline pressure because you’ve gone with a temporary emergency fix is that much harder.

  5. The rape case has me infuriated. Not so much at the accused (who naturally is despised anyway) but at the bullcrap decision not to prosecute because a jury might not convict. How damn lazy is that? Or, is the prosecutor just so inept that he’d be unable to prove it, even with the documented conversations?

  6. The ‘block’ or mute features in an online experience whether it be Xbox Live games, World of Warcraft, etc. are a must for everyone, not just the ladies (though they do get the brunt of the unbridled 14-year-old’s id).

    While I’ve witnessed some of the most over-the-top racist, sexist and homophobic stuff myself, I mostly ended up being accosted by ‘beggars’ and gold sellers when I used to play WoW.

  7. I was just talking to a friend yesterday about Netflix… I really plan to join someday, after I finish watching all the Nova and Masterpiece Theater episodes and the Kurosawa flicks on my Tivo. I’m sure I’ll get around to it someday.

  8. One thing I gleaned from the rape article and its follow-up piece: The myth of the singular reaction is still alive and well. I’ve known… way too many women who have confided in me about their rapes. And the one thing I learned very early on is that just as there’s no “one way” to act during an assault, there’s also no single script for the rape victim after the assault–not in the immediate aftermath, and not in the years subsequent.

    I’ve known women who immediately went to the cops, or who sought support from friends but never told anyone in authority. I’ve known women who buried it for years, and then were still only capable of talking about it when they were knee-deep in their cups. One even dated her rapist for a few months after the assault.

    Some became terrified of sex; others seemed to become hypersexual (possibly in a subconscious mentality of, “If I pounce the guy first, he can’t rape me”–this one seemed more common among women who’d been virgins prior to their attack, too). I’ve seen the devoutly religious become atheists, and casual believers become near-fundamentalist in their thinking. I’ve even known a couple who seemed to have virtually no long-term effects at all–it makes them sad if the subject comes up, but they don’t suppress it, nor do they obsess over it, and their conduct overall seems to be unchanged from a before/after perspective.

    What took me much longer to realize is that getting people to understand this–the lack of a “script”–is vital to getting fair trials for rape victims. Because if you think there is a script, then when the victim doesn’t follow it, cognitive dissonance kicks in, and rather than thinking, “Well, my script obviously doesn’t apply here,” they start assuming that the rape didn’t actually happen that way, and that the victim is misremembering or deliberately lying or whatever the hell else they can come up with for why a woman would put herself through that hellish experience.

    1. I have to agree. I’ve also known women who believed the victim wasn’t raped but changed their minds later or were lying for other reasons, I believe as a defensive measure. I believe they realised it could just as easily have happened to them, so they discount it rather than dealing with it.

      It’s cases like this one that seriously make me consider vigilante justice.

      1. Weatherwax: you deserve a medal for your work in the recent flame wars.

        I fully agree with both of you and this is a topic too much for just a Quickie.

        Re vigilante justice:

        When it happens to someone you actually love, the tears and white hot rage and thirst for revenge can be intense.

        The only things that stopped me from doing something completely stupid:

        Justice belongs to her, not to me. Can I take that from her?

        Others depend on me also

        She herself asked me to drop it.

        So ultimately, that raw emotion has no outlet. it leaves you raw and tired and emasculated.

        Decades pass, you can see the hurt spread to all those close to the victim, and the damage that causes, and down the generations…

        I have to stop before I become incoherent.

          1. Yep.

            But any rapist or sexual asaault perpetrator or those who threaten such should live in terror of people like us.

          2. Sorry for choking up in the middle but I must finish the story.

            Fast forward to present: all parties including Her are not only alive but happy and prosperous (She after world class psychiatric treatment and heaps of support from friends and family). Perpetrator has the net slowly closing around him. Had I given in to my impulses, I would have been doing time and would have destroyed at least 3 other lives – more!

            As far too many of you readers, good decent men in pain and sorrow and anger, are now in the same position that I was, PLEASE think on the 3 points I have raised, before you do something stupid.

            Also some of the more extreme feminists that say we can never understand – just fuck off and leave me alone. Sure I hate men too, but not ALL men – that way lies madness.

    2. As a serious procrastinator, I usually treat articles and studies about procrastination in a light-hearted way, but seriously, the lack of immediate payoff (future vs. immediate gain) and the high emotional and physical cost of getting involved in the justice system may explain why some women don’t report rapes, or just talk to their friend about it rather than the authorities.
      That said, Rebecca Epstein did report it, but they chose not to prosecute. The 1st email from the guy sounded like a smoking gun to me; did the prosecution expect that the jury would buy the “My bad, sorry” line and let him off? If he was sincere, then at least some sort of minimal sentence (3-5 years with time off for good behavior, early parole and very intensive counseling? – I have no idea what the standard penalties are) might be appropriate, but if he was not sincere, he could be an extremely dangerous psychopath.
      (Just read Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test. Those people are scary.)

      1. I also saw the email as a smoking gun. If nothing else would convey his guilt for rape, that seemed certain to.

        Stories like these make me nearly despair at reaching justice and equality.

  9. From the comments:
    “Honestly, I’m uncomfortable with the notion that people must actively say certain things before and during sex to avoid rape charges. It’s quite intrusive.”

    Strangely enough, I can’t help but think that an unwanted cock in your arse would be even more intrusive but maybe I’m just a prude.

  10. Don’t get a lot of comments either. Am I having radically different sex than the posters? I find my partner screaming positive encouragements like “Don’t stop” “More” “YesOhGodYes” is helpful for reasons besides preventing rape charges.

    1. “It’s not the chain-mail bikini that bothers me. It’s the stuff that is awkward within the game, like when your character is walking and walks like a guy, or when your female character sits like a guy in a dress.”

      LOL. That never even occured to me. Live and learn.

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