Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greg Christopher I Would Genuinely Like To Understand What You Are Trying To Say

So people are talking about sexism in games.

Some of it makes sense to me, some of it doesn't.

But it's really important.

And: I want to understand the point of view of seemingly intelligent, responsible people who are saying things that do not make sense to me. I don't want to debate to prove I'm right, I want to understand things I do not yet understand.

So: Greg Christopher, I am inviting you to come here and explain what you think. And, if you like, vice versa.


-If the other guy asks a question, you have to answer. No rhetorical questions, no grandstanding, no "I can't believe you would ask that question", no bullshit joke answers for the crowd, no "oh come on, you know the answer to that." You answer the question, you answer seriously and succinctly. Then you wait for the next question and/or ask one of your own.

-Beyond that, you try not to make any other statements (so do I). This is hard (and asking a question often involves making a statement), but the point is to understand that which is not understood. If you feel the question is leading or unfair, you can clarify, but basically this is not a debate this is an attempt to understand where the real, base-level differences are between whatever you think is the way for male human beings to fight sexism is and what the way I think the way for male human beings to fight sexism is.

-I erase any interjections from everybody else.

Lemme know.



Alright: Here we go.

Obvious question: Why are 2 guys discussing this?
Answer: I haven't read any women saying anything as confusing as what I've read Greg saying. I repeat for the stupid: Every single woman I have ever read or heard anything from on this topic has been capable of making her position easily understood. I want to understand Greg's point of view because it is unclear. That's why I'm doing this. Not to get some specific actions or recommendations or collect data, but to understand what an actual other human being thinks. I do that other stuff on here, too, once in a while. Not today though.


  1. Who is Greg Christopher, and where is his website/blog, assuming he has one?

  2. Wow, I'm not surprised that you want to know wtf he's talking about, because I cannot for the life of me understand where he's coming from. How is it sexist if I discuss the fact that I find a girl attractive, but not sexist if a female does the same thing?

    If sexual attraction is not the point, why did the cosplay girl (presumably voluntarily) dress up with a tiny skirt and breast-cups?

    I'm flummoxed by this whole POV - but then, I took "Studying the Writings of Dead White Guys" in university instead of Women's Studies.

  3. I know it's never really a point of clarification to quote Nigel Tufnel. but: "Well, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy?"

  4. so we get to read but not discuss? I mean, I don't even fully know how to interpret "My keyword was drooling" - but this point, as expressed by Greg, is suggesting almost a language barrier: " Sexualization is the reduction of the woman purely to a sexual object. I choke a bit on the Mandy/Satine reference because they cannot be reducing themselves in this way." Okay, so women are not capable of sexualizing eachother, um, got it.

    Because in Greg's next point he says "That they (women) sexualize themselves and put out their own sexuality as the most important thing they want to highlight about themselves is itself sexist and sexualized. "

    So according to Greg, women can't sexualize eachother, but they can sexualize themselves, which is sexist.

    I am thinking this debate can go fuck itself (heh), but then that too would be sexist.

    Goodluck on this one Zak, but I think this is an uphill battle with ice skates on (ya know, a slippery slope).

  5. "All that being said, I think there is a place for sexualization in the form of pornography, a subject that hits home for you. But it should be contained there and used for that purpose. It should not infect other parts of culture where it is inappropriate to present people in that way. "

    Yeah, keep what you find attractive hidden away from society. It must be private, divorced from the outside world, and should probably cost something to offset the shame. Sexiness should be seen (discreetly) and never heard. God Bless Puritanica.

  6. "2. Sexualization is the reduction of the woman purely to a sexual object. This is why I choke a bit on the Mandy/Satine reference because they cannot be reducing themselves in this way. "

    Why the fuck not?

  7. I'm not sure, but I think this whole issue might be the failure of smart guys (or those who think they're smart) who write RPG blogs to admit that they might be a little over their heads when talking about an issue like sexism in games. Not being a women, seems to be the obvious factor, and one which you've already pointed out. And you, unfortunately, being a) popular and b) a gamer involved in porn, are going to get dragged (unwittingly, I'm guessing) into any debate that involves the word "sex". Which probably sucks.

    My wife suggested a simple and practical idea that might encourage women gamers to talk about sexism in games. She said "you guys have blogs right? Why don't you just get a bunch of bloggers to ask women to write posts about sexism in games and feature their articles on your blogs."

    Simple, practical and smart.

    Maybe this whole thing could be swayed in a constructive direction, with the people actually affected talking about the issues and offering real solutions and ideas. I think that would be nice for a change.

    Who knows, maybe nothing will come of it, but there is some virtue in trying. I'm going to put up a post tomorrow and see what happens.

    By the way I don't really understand what Greg Christopher is saying either.

  8. @john

    I personally ask women I know to say what they think about game stuff all the time, and have featured entries where I do that, click "players". The "Why won't you play with us?" entry started with that.

    The only woman who I know who would feel comfortable discussing the issue on-line and in-depth with strangers in writing is Mandy and she does that on her own blog. (And last time she did it she royally pissed off a fellow feminist.)

    Other than my group--which, practically speaking, has zero experience of sexism in gaming (it's just us) outside maybe high school, which I already posted about, using what they told me--I don't know any women personally who play. So I feel like, at least here at DNDWPS, we're doing all we can to give voice to the gaming women we know on the subject.

    But, more than that, this specific interaction is about me trying to understand a specific point-of-view I've never heard espoused by any woman.

  9. Prediction: "answer... succinctly" is not in the cards.

  10. @Nate

    Don't tell me whose point of view I do or do not have the right to investigate.

  11. @Delta

    So far so good, actually.

  12. @ZakS

    Yeah you're right, sorry for complaining. Good luck with your investigation.

  13. Greg's answer to question 7 seems a little naive. What about the many MANY women posting photos of themselves on purely for kicks? They're all psychotic?

  14. @ Mark - clearly they were damaged as children and any open celebration of one's own sexuality and sensuality is a just a product of this trauma.

  15. "9. Men cannot self-sexualize very well, in my experience. I suppose it can happen in the homosexual sense, but I am not exposed to that very much at all."
    The Idea that gay men are more sexually wired than straight men is obnoxious and recurrent idea. I know this is (slightly) off topic to the conversation at hand, but I feel like it highlights the entire paradox of the value system that you are investigating. Men can objectify woman but not them-self, woman can be used but cannot by definition leverage their sexuality AND be sane, Gay men can objectify them-self but straight men wouldn't recognize it or know how (really?). Like there is something special about being gay that turns on sexy in your brain. There isn't. Their is something in the MALE brain that wants to fuck. Gay male sexuality is male, not gay. What makes it gay is being unchecked by woman's (slightly) more cautions sexual needs and desires. The fear, for example, of being seen as a slut is far more real for woman than gay men. But that's just a social stigma.

  16. I find this pretty interesting. Can't say I can understand where Greg is coming from, at all, but then again, I've not experienced much sexism is gaming either. Plenty of girls are in my various groups, and the only complaint I've ever really heard about group behavior from any of them is when the archaeologist feels left out due to all the programmers talking Linux.

    And yeah, the idea of gay guys somehow being different in their sexuality in any way but the most obvious one I find utterly alien. And, of course, it raises the question of where bisexual guys are. Do they semi-self-objectify, and semi-recognize gays who do so? Is there some sort of sliding scale of understanding and self-objectification, presuming something akin to the Kinsey scale of sexuality is true of sexual orientation? What about transexuals and transvestites? Does a straight guy who dresses like a woman self-objectify himself?

    That said, I do find the insight interesting, if mostly incomprehensible. But that might just be perspective. I admit we have a society skewered along gender lines, but I hardly find anything wrong with embracing our sexuality, and sex as a completely and openly alright way to enjoy yourself, regardless of gender. Responsibility and all that, of course, but I find the idea of invalidating a woman's choice to be sexual, or act in a sexual manner, far more sexist than simply accepting that they, like men, have a sexual drive.

    And how is commenting on a woman being attractive and fuckable somehow imply that's all she's there for? Even presuming I have no interest in anything but sex with said woman from a current point of view, that doesn't mean I think that's all she's good for. I find Scarlett Johansen a stunning actress, but I'm not an actor, I'm not a director. Where I to meet her, having sex with her would most likely be somewhere in my mind. Acting with her on stage would not. Doesn't mean she's not a great actress, just means it's not relevant to me at that point in time. Hell, her turning out to be an intellectually stimulating and interesting person would just make me want to have sex with her more!

    Is it still sexist if the fact that she's NOT just there for sex makes her sexier?

  17. Wow, the number of straw men in this comment thread is staggering. Good thing I don't have a match, we could burn the whole place down. I now see exactly why Zak wanted to limit comments to only the two of us, there is so much hostility and misdirection that it staggers the mind.

    I don't have time to write a lot at this point, let me just reply with a general point.

    The fact that I am taking the feminist lens on sexism down to a microcosm level (at Zak's request) does not mean that any behavior labelled sexist in such an analysis is !evil! and must be expunged. I am merely categorizing behavior. I have not, in my entire discussion with Zak today, made any policy or behavioral suggestions. I am simply taking a framework of intellectual analysis and applying it to a problem.

    Now I did make one yesterday. The suggestion that I made yesterday, that gamers should spend less time fawning over sexualized imagery of women and treating rape like a joking matter may be up for debate, so if you want to defend rape as being really funny or you want to label someone who is requesting art with women whose bra cup is less than DD as being a prude, feel free. How does that straw man feel? ;)


    this thread serves no purpose unless y'all are gonna play fair.

    However, if I delete it then people will just race all over their OWN blogs calling each other names which as just as unproductive and it spreads like a virus.

    I'd ask that everybody chill until Greg and I are done and respect that fact that some aspects of his position (and mine) are yet to be fully explained and THEN start whaling on each other once it's over.

    The point of all this is to know more when we're done than when we started, not to free-associate and speculate.

  19. @Greg Christopher

    There is a certain social stigma associated with sexism, in that it's mere presence is bad and to be expunged, so the clarification that you are not inherently drawing that parallel definitely changes possible interpretations. That said, apologizes if I seemed snide or aggressive, wasn't my intention. My questions were legitimate, no matter how silly they might sound. I'm genuinely curious.

    But by all means, finish your discussion with Zak before you tackle us. I suspect his detached approach might yield more insight for all involved.

  20. @ Reverend Mort

    Fair enough. No apologies necessary. I can understand the assumption of negativity, but I can also see how that same assumption has tainted our conversation on race in the USA because everyone is afraid of getting labelled "racist" that they cannot talk openly about issues of real substance. So it is a mixed bag when you discuss these things.

  21. 12. There are a lot of subconscious processes that cannot be expunged even by a very smart person.

    Pointless essentialist tangents among them, apparently...

  22. Greg, Zak, I support what your trying to do and agree that it has value. The worst thing progressives do is bicker over ideological points and fail to find common ground in frustration, so the tone of civility your taking in trying to suss out your respective understandings is admirable.

  23. @ Huth

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  24. I have no comment. I've heard this guy's point of view argued ad nauseum. I'm going to go back to reading my Conan books. Carry on...

  25. @Greg

    I'm having difficulty figuring out why that discussion even exists. You laid out your moral praxis, Zak just doesn't want another flamewar, and now there's twenty-odd comments about what constitutes sexism by, as mentioned, two dudes. As I can't see the stakes, i'm not sure what the impetus to keep posting is...

  26. @ Huth

    Why does any discussion exist? because it interests the people involved in the discussion.

  27. That is what I am wondering about, yes.

  28. @ Huth

    Don't know what to say to that, so I will just recommend that you watch the movie Phenomenon when Travolta's character talks about how he is reading several books a day and one guy asks him why he is doing it. What he says is the best answer I can give.

  29. I'm... probably not going to watch any movie where Travolta plays American Jesus, so you can spoil that for me. You know. If you want.

  30. I cant find a script, but basically he says

    "What have you ever wanted to know?"
    - "I don't know"
    "think about it"

  31. Would someone direct me to where Greg or Zak has each given their own definition as to just what 'porn' or 'sexualization' does or does not mean to them? I am lost on the basics.


  32. I regret that my reply cannot possess the full intended sarcastic weight without free use of IMG tags.

  33. @biopunk

    sexualization wasn't defined but it think we agree it is when a subject is displayed and someone implicitly or explicitly points out they're fuckable.

    porn is likewise undefined. But I'm assuming it means "images whose primary purpose is to abet solitary sexual gratification" until further notice.

  34. I don't know why, but all this is reminding me of a quote from Henry Miller, from Sexus:

    "The world would only begin to get something of value from me the moment I stopped being a serious member of society and became- myself. The State, the nation, the united nations of the world, were nothing but one great aggregation of individuals who repeated the mistakes of their forefathers. They were caught in the wheel from birth and they kept at it till death- and this treadmill they tried to dignify by calling it "life". If you asked anyone to explain or define life, what was the be-all and end-all, you got a blank look for an answer. Life was something which philosophers dealt with in books that no one read. Those in the thick of life, "the plugs in harness," had no time for such idle questions. "You've got to eat, haven't you.?" This query, which was supposed to be a stopgap, and which had already been answered, if not in the absolute negative at least in a disturbingly relative negative by those who knew, was a clue to all the other questions which followed in a veritable Euclidian suite. From the little reading I had done I had observed that the men who were most in life, who were molding life, who were life itself, ate little, slept little, owned nothing or little. They had no illusions about duty, or perpetuation of their kith and kin, or the preservation of the State. They were interested in truth and truth alone. They recognized only one kind of activity- creation. Nobody could command their services because they had of their own pledged themselves to give all. They gave gratuitously, because that is the only way to give. This was the way of life which appealed to me: it made sound sense. It was life- not the simulacrum which those about me worshipped."

    Maybe its the whole aspect of trying to use the language and symbols of equality to hamper someone else's freedom to choose who they want to be, by telling their way of being is something to be pitied and looked down upon, since they are victims of society and don't even know it, apparently such severe vistime that they don't realize it...

    But again, I have no opinion on the matter. Back to watching Real Sex 7 on HBO....

  35. Tangentially related to this dialogue, but if there's a discussion on sexism (& entertainment) you might also consider some parts of Tina Fey's article in this week's New Yorker as food for thought:

    "I have observed that women, at least in comedy, are labelled 'crazy' after a certain age... I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they're all 'crazy'. I have a suspicion -- and hear me out, because this is a rough one -- that the definition of 'crazy' in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore....

    This is the infuriating thing that dawns on you one day; even if you would never sleep with or even flirt with anyone to get ahead, you are being sexually adjudicated. Network executives really do say things like 'I don't know. I don't want to fuck anybody on this show."

    Summary here.

  36. Thanks Zak.

    So sexualization, in this context, is the male saying: "the female is sexy" and treating her as a means of self-gratification that is irregardless of her behaviour or manner of dress?

    This totally the male projecting on the female, who is in no way reciprocating, or even cognisant of the male's behaviour?

  37. @biopunk

    not exactly, we were also discussing the pros (me) and cons (him) of self-sexualization.

    emphasizing fuckability, by any party, is what we're calling sexualization.


    please don't pour fuel on the fire just yet.

  38. @delta

    yeah, pretty fucking tangential. nobody in this conversation is gonna be shocked to hear sexism exists. even -gasp- in Hollywood.

  39. Point of order -- Greg said, "Most people want a pretty stable home life, a stable monogamous relationship, to raise children, and build a little happy life with white picket fences and all that shit..." Later, "Just google 'happiness demographics'". The first result leads to a blog based on a Pew Research survey from 2006.

    Of the things mentioned, that survey supports married people being happier, on average, than unmarrieds. It does not support the idea that having kids makes you happier.

    "People who have children are no happier than those who don't, after controlling for marital status."

    Link here.

    In fact, (of those in the marriage x parent status analysis), "Single parents of minors are least likely to say they are very happy with their life."

    Link here.

    Perhaps that's also overly tangential.

  40. @Delta

    That's not tangential and I would've pointed it out, but we're not mostly arguing about what will usually, statistically happen, but rather about what possibilities someone's allowed to pursue.

    After all, if we were gonna pursue the consensus idea of happy, we'd stop playing D&D.

  41. "Do you realize that ... ?" is not a question, it's an assertion statement in question form. (-1 Pedantic, ignore me, it's a great discussion, keep it up please.)

    It seems like the disconnect here is as Greg identified - but did not internalize? - that pick-your-poison theoretical exploration of this topic (post-modern, Vienna school, Marxist, etc.) may well describe social behavior at the social scale, but it has *no* necessary relation with individual choices, per Zak.

    I've seen plenty of damaged people making bad decisions. I've seen plenty of exceptionally healthy people making great decisions that make them, in context, statistical outliers. These two observations, *regardless of their frequency*, do not invalidate each other.

    If you need to apply the social-theoretical lens to make your everyday decisions, you are making a social-theoretical error. Sorry, it's a Catch-22. I read a book, "African philosophy" category, can't remember the title or author... but it explained the difference between "racism" and "racialism" effectively. I can't help seeing the theoretical side of arguments like this as aligning with the racialist mode of thought: "there are exceptions to the rule." Because if you're arguing trends with someone who's knowingly arguing absolutes - where an anecdote *is* data - you're going to lose.

    "What's the rule, what are the exceptions?" And after you're done defining those, do you realize that the assumptions underlying the analysis are the real problem? I've known enough sex industry people (all women, go statistics!) to know that there are interesting, mundane, sane and unsubjugated reasons for that career choice. Emphasis on *industry*.

    All of this seems less about feminism and sexism than it is about myopia and respect... respect for hypothetical people who, numbers considered, are real. Sometimes.

  42. @Zak: I agree that you're not arguing that, but my reading is it's pretty close to Greg's core position. ("I am not really interesting in labelling individual behavior bad or good", etc.)

  43. @jon

    I'm not stupid. I realize the difference between the "statistical realities" arguments and the 'individual liberties" arguments and am attempting to figure where the twain overlap in the mind of mr what's his name. He may be doing the same.


    maybe. let's not start stuffing straw in the flannel just yet, ok? Patience.

  44. @Zak

    Stupid didn't cross my mind, and I get the point of the exercise - it's really interesting. Frustrating and interesting. (Sorry I'm not a good writer.) The honest discussion is great and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

    Lousy attempt #2:

    The area you're trying to clarify seems like Flatland to me. My gut says there's a missing dimension to the discussion, but I don't know what it is. To my mind, the issues parallel the obscenity debate; there's a lot of messy thinking, in the SCOTUS and everywhere else.

    Something about the way the debate (in general, not here) is framed makes me uneasy. It seems like the common ground is probably outside the frame. I think you're right to try to define the subject first. I just doubt that the common ground or point of understanding is somewhere between the two viewpoints I see developing. Maybe (probably?) it's just *my* misunderstanding, I don't know.

    All that said: I'd love to see this kind of activity in politics more often. World would be a better place.

  45. Well, as an FYI: Greg is married, a father and does have a young daughter, so (IMHO) there is a greater likelihood that his argument is rooted in being a protective dad and husband.

    That 'protectiveness' can easily, and often, come across as 'over protective' or 'patronising' to a casual observer.

    I know Greg has his limits. I'm not anywhere near understanding what they are, but I don't believe Zak is all "do what thou wilt", in that mistaken Aleister Crowley kind of way, either...

  46. @biopunk

    I actually have one child of each gender. However, I have never argued for creative control to protect them. I have asserted that I will exercise my rights as a consumer and not buy it.

    I am interested in what you mean by my limits.

    Zak, i have to take the kid to an annual checkup today. Will reply in a few hours when I get the chance.

  47. I read a quarter of the way down that page and it occurred to me that there was a distinct confusion between the meanings of the words "sexist" and "sexual." The first is a belief or position that there is an innate social hierarchy based on gender. The latter means "having to do with getting your hump on." The concepts are not intrinsically linked.

    I can think about women sexually all day, and frequently do, without being sexist. I can even "drool" over women, who in no way gave me permission to do so, without being sexist.

    Conversely, I could have zero sexual interest in women for one or two reasons yet be totally sexist by believing them to be second-class citizens.

  48. Sorry Zak, Will do. Hard to contain it. Off to take a cold shower...carry on...

  49. I'd be lying if I said I understood half of what you two are saying over there, but I'm finding it fascinating nonetheless. Carry on!

  50. @boradis


    Please stop it.

    Again: you will have all the time in the world to bait Greg and piss him off when this is over (tough preferably from somewhere other than my blog). Until then, allow him room to try to explain his position.

  51. NOT SAFE FOR WORK but perhaps relevant.

    I haven't read ALL the comments--I got about half way down here and decided to post.


  52. Sigh...also here:

    How tedious this all gets. Again NSFW.

  53. @Zak and everyone else, I'll try to stay out this for your health and sanity and my own. I'm off to cam or something until we have that Role Master game later today.

  54. "... but I don't believe Zak is all "do what thou wilt", in that mistaken Aleister Crowley kind of way, either...

    @biopunk - Since Crowley's DWTW doesn't mean "do whatever you want," I suspect you're misusing the concept, here.

  55. @james


    Really guys? Are we really gonna have a tangent about 'what was Aleister Crowley on about?' here? Really? Take it outside, please.

  56. I am just deeply curious to hear the answer on how sacrificing to have children versus sacrificing to have a promiscuous sex life differs.

    As both purposefully childless and monogamous I will admit it piques a certain curiosity to hear such a view spelled out.

  57. @zzarchov

    i, too, sit here at my painting table with (multigamously) baited breath.

  58. Oh hell, sorry about that Zak!

  59. Wow, much less trolling today than yesterday. I am impressed with your powers to control the masses, Zak. Are you a Sith lord?

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. I have satisfied the part of me that enjoys "camming" for the day so I basically read the whole conversation happening between Zak and Greg.

    As a full grown woman in a healthly, stable, long term but yet open (in very specific ways) relationship, who has no drug, alcohol, or eating disorders, and as a full grown woman who chose to live very far away from her close-knit traditional though liberal family and who still speaks to mum, dad, lil sis or lil brother nearly everyday--in order to maintain, expand and explore that open and very sexual relationship I am greatly offended by Greg's constant condescension and patronizing comments. He may feel he is "technically" correct when he assures us he is a feminist but as an intelligent, independent minded, modern female who ASSUREDLY does not place her "whole value" in her sexuality but simply embraces it's powerful place in her personality and therefore her life, finds his type of feminism simply out-dated and actually dangerous and unhealthy for young women. I'm never going to tell a girl she should act, dress, or speak a certain way, despite the fact that I do and it works for me--all I should do is tell her there are pros and cons of the lifestyle choices I have made and be honest and candid about those pros and cons. It's just silly to think women aren't thinking about their "long-term" happiness when they consider these "deviant" choices. Who/what is dictating the terms for, and definitions of "long term happiness" and by what right? Tradition? Tradition has kept women and men bound in unfair and hurtful positions for centuries. He is missing some very very important aspects of a modern and relevant discussion about sexism in any context.

  62. P.S:

    By full grown I mean that I'll be 27 in a few months, the same age my mother was when she had me--after 7 years of marriage--and a few years older than my father when I was born.

    Aside from all that other obvious "adult" stuff you'd notice if you knew me or read any of my interviews.

    I feel the need to stress this because the echoes of ageism in the discussion are hitting me pretty hard too.

  63. @everybody

    I'm sure everyone here understands that my Sith powers do not extend to controlling Miss Mandibles and therefore I ask you to grant me a little leeway in this regard.

  64. @Mandy

    To the degree possible, I'd ask you to hang tight til Greg's done.

  65. @Zak

    Noted. Just wait 'till I start school this spring. Your Sith powers will be greatly appreciated.

  66. Now, while we wait for Greg to get done sleeping, I figure I'll explain to anyone reading why it seems we're off on a tangent.

    My idea is this:

    Sooner or later, Greg answers the question "Is it as ok for someone to want to pursue prolonged hyperpromiscuity as it is for you to want to have and raise a baby?"

    If he answers no, well, I think that pretty much tells us all we need to know, and we're mostly done.

    If he answers yes, then the next point is:

    The pursuit of prolonged hyperpromiscuity requires-, or is at least, greatly abetted by-, the production of sexualized imagery in the adult half of the public sphere.

    i.e. having fucking discussed and having sexy pictures of people in art and film and on websites and everywhere else makes it easier for the people in those pictures to have sex.

    For example: the girl in a chainmail bikini photo might attract the attention of someone they want to fuck via the chainmail bikini picture, the painter of a chainmail bikini painting might attract the attention of someone who thinks this chainmail bikini picture is sexy, and, in general, the author of any sexiness in this world might attract the attention of those whose idea of sexy is congruent. Therefore the public display of different ideas about sexiness aids them in their respectable life goal of hyperpromiscuity.
    But, oh no, sexualized imagery! Invading, say, a website about gaming! Won't this turn off some women to gaming since it suggests it's a boys club?

    And I will say, yeah, maybe, but when breeding gamers like Greg put pictures of their kids playing D&D with them on their blogs, it might turn off homosexual or lesbian gamers and promote the idea that gaming's just a straight married old guy club.


    And then Greg will say, Wait, but the idea that women can't do certain things is widespread and serious, whereas the stereotype that only married guys with kids play games is not widespread or serious.

    And I will say, yeah, but the stereotype that having kids is normal and good and healthy and other stuff isn't IS widespread and:

    if every time I see a chainmail bikini it subtly reinforces (to some idiot somewhere) the idea that women are just meat for fucking or discourages women's participation then could it also not be said that

    every time I see a person displaying their happy baby picket fence family it subtly reinforces (to some idiot) the idea that the right good and healthy thing to do is have a family and be a breeder or discourages gay and lesbian participation.

    And he'll say "well I'm sorry, they have to deal, this is how life is for people not like them"

    And I'll say "Bingo."

    But it will take a while to get there.

    And, Greg, I am sure this statement is riddled with questionable content from your point-of-view, which is why I'm trying to take it one step at a time, so I don't derail the whole conversation by trying to have it all at the same time.

    i.e. Don't respond to this if you can help it. We'll get there.

  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

  68. I wish I could get more people I know to post in these discussions, so that we can get the 'Pictures of babies is just subtly reinforcing the idea that women are just meat for baby-making' side of it.

  69. @huth

    +1 but shhh! before the Sith Lord quiets us.

  70. @Greg: You've since touched on it. It was mainly your use of the word "vice" that made me question what your "limits" were. (Those "limits" in regards to what you considered a healthy sexuality vs. an unhealthy one.)
    I thought I had recalled that you self-identified as 'atheist', but couldn't find that comment until tonight, so I was unsure of where your views on morality are based.

    @Zak: I am not baiting. I'm honestly trying to comprehend the rationales behind your tête-à-tête. I am trying to understand the context behind both of your usages of
    the terms sexual, sexualized, and sexism.
    Like boradis pointed out, it often becomes fuzzy.

    @James: "in that mistaken Aleister Crowley kind of way" = "misusing the concept". We are on the same page here.

    @Zak: no worries there.

    @Mandy: Awesome! 27 is the best time to go back to school. I am sure you will enjoy it.

  71. My wife went back to school at 30 (before she became meat for baby-making). She was pretty nervous, but it ended up being extremely great for her.

    I also kinda dislike Greg's assertion that we men who appreciate sexualized imagery have to work diligently to appreciate females as complete equals. But we unruly masses have been force-choked into submission, so carry on, by all means.

  72. @eyebeams

    I want to know what Greg thinks because his position is unclear. If you question my motives, you get deleted.

  73. Z,

    I didn't post to exhibit something to the internet. I did it to say something to you in particular, the easiest way. (I may or may not repost my reply elsewhere -- wasn't the original purpose of it, though). I regret if you misunderstood that, and thought you could manage me accordingly.

    In any event, you can contact me outside of the fishbowl format through any of the means listed at

  74. @eyebeams

    If you want to restate whatever you were trying to say without questioning my motives or insulting Greg, I will answer whatever questions or arguments you have.

  75. @ greg

    In fact, atheism is the natural state of human beings. You have to teach someone religion. So it is definitely not something that is naturally problematic.

    *Cough* Weeellll...

  76. @eyebeams

    Again, if you question my motives, you get deleted. It isn't complicated.

  77. @biopunk

    This is an Irish pub. No arguing about religion.

  78. Forgive my ignorance and nitpicking, but why do assume gays and lesbians don't want to have kids? My quick google showed 40-50% want to have kids, and arguably it would be higher if not for economic/political restrictions and conservative fear mongering about letting "teh" gays" anywhere in the remote vicinity of children.

    I don't mean to deflate your line of reasoning but perhaps just using those who don't want kids in general would make for a stronger argument. especially considering such numbers are growing.

    Its not really what you two are discussing at the moment but maybe this blog will help show where greg is coming from.

  79. @cancerdog

    I would use the example of a heterosexual suburban married couple. This is the stereotype. Not just "anybody with kids". I'm not stupid.

    It's Greg's responsibility and privilege to explain his bizarre and difficult-to-understand statements, not someone on some other blog who makes really easy-to-understand statements.

  80. ahh, now I see where you were going there, apologies.

  81. Zak, I love the fact that you are perfectly willing to have a normal (non-flaming) discussion with someone who disagrees with you for the sake of understanding their point of view.

    However, and I know this might be considered baiting (sorry), if Greg is discussing the general public, why doesn't he see that sexualized people, specifically women, are what sell in the market? That this sexualized image, being the first thing we see, draws us to the product, hoping to make a sale? That this is a reaction in society as a whole?

  82. @Mercury War God

    I am 100% certain he does see that, as does everyone else and their blind dead deaf grandmother and it is unbelievably bizarre and condescending that you don't realize that and realize it has fuck-all to do with justifying my point or his.

  83. @mercury


    argue with greg somewhere else.

  84. damn,i must apologize in advance again but because i'm an obsessive loser, i have to add that you might have an even stronger argument on the societal and global level beyond just considerations/laws ect.

    each new kid places another strain on already diminished and dwindling global resources, a perfect example being oil. we are past peak and it seems that the single largest known reserve has been over reported by 40%,not to mention a bucket per barrel in getting that stuff.
    population estimates place our exponential growth easily within this century at numbers requiring more arable land dedicated to food crops than what exists globally.not counting dire food/water issues we have already.

    then you have pollution and climate change which are becoming increasingly hard to counteract or even mitigate should we actually get serious about such problems.

    but yeah pretty much all of our worst most globally devastating problems are either caused or greatly exacerbated by overpopulation. a problem that unless we want either to purposefully exterminate large numbers of people or wait around for plagues and natural disasters to do it, the only way to save society humanely would be to just stop having kids in general.

    now i'm probably just way out there , but it seems your position is the one most able to save/preserve society in the long run.

    again apologies,

  85. @cancerdog

    While I totally agree that overpopulation appears to me to be a very real problem, I do not want to go out on a tangent about whether the specific evidence you present is right or wrong.

    All that has to happen for the argument to move is for Chris to admit to the fact that -some- inconvenience, no matter how small, is caused by new babies. This will establish a principle that his desires require some sacrifice, as do those of all people, and then we can move on.

  86. @ Mandy

    Actually, it seems like you didn't read what I said at all. I have been focused precisely on the pros and cons that you say you would discuss with her. I am narrowly bound to answering Zaks questions, I am not promulgating a position of my own. As such I have to answer in generalities a lot and I lack the ability to choose my own examples. I am not complaining about that but it is unfair to judge my comments outside of that context. Zak asked me very specific questions about self sexualization that require me to take broader theory and apply to individual choices.

  87. Awaiting Mandy's Will save roll to see if she can prevent herself from responding to Greg's post. DC of 75 due to the wording of the first sentence.

  88. Sorry Joe, had to use that wording. I wrote a whole argument where I repeatedly stated that I was just evaluating the choices and not making a judgment, then she critiques me for telling people what to do.

  89. No need to apologize man. I just figured that as a married man, you'd know better than to word it like that. Shit, I'm 40 and single, never been married, trained or housebroken, and even I know there are better choices of wording. :)

    Thx again for taking part in this very interesting discussion.

    DC now 95, BTW. :)

  90. Just because I do something doesn't mean that I don't know better, Joe

  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

  92. Ya, that was a pent-up second hand rant. My apologies.

  93. For informational purposes only, I'd like to point at that over the course of its history the United States has violated "the right of a parent to raise their baby" pretty regularly if the parent fell into certain categories -- if you were young, female, and unmarried circa 1950, say, or if you were a Native American pre-Civil War.

    It's extremely unusual for everyone to get their kids taken away from them, but it's pretty common at least in the West for it to be perfectly fine for the government to do that if the parents "aren't good enough" for some reason.

  94. @Greg, I thought the whole point of this exercise was for you to clarify your own position, which you have been dancing around for quite awhile now. You're not really considering the pros and cons of both lifestyles under fire in the debate you're just trying to convince Zak of the cons of one vs the pros of another. There's a big difference.

  95. @ Mandy

    I thought so too. I think I have made my position clear, the conversation has evolved into Zak trying to push me to agree to a particular set of premises, which I have been refusing to agree to.

    @ Oddysey

    Good point. I had forgotten about native americans, but even then it would be limited to conquered peoples. I presume you are talking about people losing custody to the state in the 1950 example, but even then it would be a limited portion of the population. I was saying I don't know of many societies that completely remove this right for all parents.

  96. @Greg...Unfortunately neither Zak nor I feel you have made your position clear at all. If he did he'd stop asking questions. If I did I might not feel so discriminated against by your statements. I cannot speak for any of the others here who are following this.

  97. @ Mandy

    His questions are no longer about the original issue, so I don't track your logic here. That you would feel discriminated against by me is humorously beyond my comprehension.

  98. This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. @Greg

    His questions are leading to establishing certain basic facts that you both can work from--discuss the real issue from that established and agreed upon platform.

    Like Zak keeps telling me and everyone else here, have some patience. This is a complicated issue. There is logic at work here.

    The fact that you can't even imagine why I'm
    offended by what you claim is your well stated position just proves my earlier point that you're not considering (totally missing) some important aspects of the whole sexism, feminism, female representation or self representation, etc issue. If you want me to start going into detail about that I will but I think Zak would prefer I don't derail the line of reasoning he is currently engaged in with you. Also Zak is more efficient at getting to the point that really matter than I am. So I trust him to represent my views here from now on.

    I apologize for interrupting in the first place, but I felt a female presence in the discussion was completely absent--and that didn't seem appropriate.

  100. @greg:

    A trend I keep noticing is that you will state contradictory facts about what you think. Zak (as far as i understand) is trying to understand what you think.

    It seems to go like this:

    G: "X is harmful to society"
    Z: "So your belief is X is wrong?"
    G: "Not at all, I personally believe X is fine, to each there own"
    Z: "So your belief is X is ok?"
    G: "For society, X is harmful and not as good as Y"
    G: "Can you clarify"

    If something is bad for society, you are either against that practice or seeking the downfall of civilization. Thus it seems like you are hedging your bets and avoiding stating what you really think, because like all opinions its going to sound bad and offensive to one group no matter what it is.

    That is just my 2 cents.

  101. Wow, totally edited out 3 lines there:

    G: "For society, X is harmful and not as good as Y"
    Z: *confusion*
    G: "Can you clarify"
    Z: *analogy that winds back to the same place*
    G: *restatement of same contradiction*

  102. @greg


    now you're fighting. I erased it. Greg, if you think zzarchov's statements above are too provocative, I will erase those as well. AGAIN: y'all can fight with each other later.

  103. @jim

    95A. Assumiong you were no longer married, would you kick her out of bed?

  104. No, but then when it comes to that I'm unfamiliar with this concept called "standards."

  105. 95b. If Illona Staller's boobflashing makes you aware of her, and she is desirable to you and vice versa and you meet because you tracked her down after noticing the boobflashing then is the boobflashing justified since it facilitated you fucking her?

  106. That question is so... weird... to my sensibilities that I don't know that answering would have any worth: I've never seen any of my current "I wish I coulds" in any state of undress.

    But no, a politician flashing in public is not justified because it got them laid (even if it gets me laid). There are times where it's just not appropriate (I'm not big on public nudity and I think politicians should carry themselves More Seriously than the average person...).

    (I'm imagining now Ron Paul showing his weiner at a news camera and then going on CNN to explain himself "It's all good, it got me some!"

    ... sorry for the tangent)

  107. @jim

    I will put up with a lot if it gets somebody, somewhere, laid.

    But then, I'm an extremist.

  108. @jim

    incidentally, it occurs to me that politicians behaving formally and seriously benefits only them--as it hides who they really are from us and makes them seem more fit than they may actually be.

    Character is what you are when you're naked, drunk, and telling bad jokes.

  109. If politicians can't restrain themselves in public when trying to fool people into thinking they're respectable, I don't know if they'd be any better at restraining themselves when it comes to backroom deals and corruption and such.

    Not that being all respectable in public is any indication of being honest, but these people have a lot of power over a lot of people's lives... I would at least like to think they're taking the whole thing a bit seriously.

  110. The interwebs are naked, drunk, and telling bad jokes.

    @Zak Do you have a tree of questions laid out in advance or are you winging it for each response (or something in between)? How developed is this campaign and how does it fit in with your views of storytelling, PC experience, and railroading (and have you been thinking about this project in that way)?

  111. @jon

    I have no plan. I am just trying to have something like the kind of let's-figure-out-where-we-differ-and-why conversation you'd have in real life rather than the insane blood circus free-association napalm fest that usually happens on the web when a controversial topic comes up.

  112. Mandy wrote:
    > I feel the need to stress this because the echoes of ageism in the discussion are hitting me pretty hard too.

    I'm curious about this. I thought Greg was in his twenties and I know Zak is around 35 (me too), so it's easy for me to dismiss some of Greg's arguments from my own internalized "agism" — I can't help thinking that clocking around the block a few more times will give him a more sex-positive and sex-culture-positive perspective, especially, especially with Zak plying with him on this matter.

    When you wrote about the suggestions of agism in the discussion, what in particular did you have in mind, since I know you weren't talking about me, and I doubt you were talking about Zak?

  113. Eek! I wasn't trying to hide my identity. I thought if I used the "AIM" option under "Comment as" that it would show my AIM screen name. My name is John.

  114. First-time commenter.

    I think it's interesting watching this discussion unfold because it illustrates how sexism can be addressed in different ways by two guys who both think sexism is a real and important problem.

    I hope I'm being fair to Greg when I say that, going by his 'Into the Fray' post, he believes in-group scolding and/or shaming will be an effective tactic for producing incremental change.

    I have doubts. I mean, I could see how it might work on small children. Would teenagers or adults care? Adult life already abounds in minor humiliations. Adding to them just escalates resentment.

    I just don't think it's possible to finger-wag our way to a better society.

    I prefer Zak's approach: identify common ground; share perspectives and experiences; explore the fringes.

    'Approach' is maybe the wrong word. I don't know if he does what he does as the articulation of a conscious policy, or if he is following his intuitions, or both, or neither. Yet sometimes it seems like he has an anti-approach in that he's not trying to get to a particular destination.

    Also, someone mentioned Scarlett Johansson in an earlier comment. This is one of my favorite WTFSexism movie facepalm moments of all time:

  115. @Ritchie


    I think Greg's approach is A-Ok in a lot of cases. I just think his examples of what constitutes sexism were a little broad.

  116. @ John... If that IS your real name! ;)

    I am going to be in my 20s for about 3 more months.

  117. Greg Christopher wrote:
    > I am going to be in my 20s for about 3 more months.

    Seriously, it's like stepping out of a long bleary darkness into light. You will be all like "what was I thinking that whole time", and everyone still in their twenties will be all like "that dude is like worse than my parents", and everyone over thirty will be all like "welcome home, friend--you made it! Woo!"

  118. @Greg

    Do not post studies proving how most people are affected in x, y, z way by sexualized imagery here. I believe it: Most people are stupid and deserve to suffer. That's an essential part of my counter-argument.

    If you ignore that and give evidence unrelated to my counter-argument, you aren't debating, you are just a troll.

  119. zap, a significant number of commenters doubted my basis in research. I was posting for their benefit, not anything vs you.

  120. Rofl. Autocorrect didn't like your name, dude.

  121. @Greg

    Also, I just re-read all the comments and don't see anybody disputing your (and the research's) claim that, hey, a lot of people will believe anything, even if it's stupid.