Wonderful fights between narcissism and worthlessness

So Did You Guys Know Penii Totally Aren’t Cool

on September 5, 2012

to shove into people’s hands. Because at least one dude wasn’t aware.

[TW: Discussion of rape, rape culture, sexual assault]

Almost a full day on from the original blog post, it’s probably safe to say you’ve been inundated with news about the incident of a woman at a post-PAX party having her personal space and wishes violated that lead to direct sexual assault, with security shrugging the incident off. The initial blog post by the victim (http://www.explodedsoda.com/2012/09/boundaries-and-penis-incident.html?spref=tw) is very concise, and the author, Ky (@explodedsoda), has been the best person about everything, handling all facets of the assault, including reporting it to security and then to the Internet at large, with 20 tons of grace. Seriously, she is the best person.

But one detail that came to light post-posting was that Mojang, the company responsible for the event, had hired women to be at the event and engage with the men in attendance, to be fun and, as at least one report had it, “flirty.” Given the events we’re discussing and the culture that leads to them, I’m remiss to say they were hired to flirt until I can find something official on that, and I couldn’t with my level of Googling. But there were apparently women there hired to talk to men, which is problematic all on its own, but discussing that aspect now? Also problematic.

Ky has updated the blog post in the wake of Internet coverage to clarify that PAX had nothing to do with the event and that Mojang had nothing to do with the sexual assault, which I couldn’t agree with more (again, 20 tons), urging focus to remain on the criminal who assaulted her. It’s dramatically important to distinguish between blame and forces, and it just may not be the time to attack Mojang’s policy of hiring “Floor Babes.”

This seperation strikes me as a clone of the rape vs. rape culture seperation; people can support rape culture and still NEVER be in ANY WAY responsible for or DIRECTLY supporting of the act of rape. Rape culture supports rape, but anyone who laughs at a sexist TV ad or comedian, inadvertently or otherwise, is only supporting the culture and does not support the physical act of rape, so they do remain blameless when someone is raped by a rapist, even if they don’t care about rape culture (that would make them an asshole, not a rape supporter). This is a tremendously difficult issue to broach, because, in a way, drawing that distinction only draws it for blame and does leave a connection between rapists and ordinary people who support rape culture. But I think it’s vastly important to still say, someone who supports rape culture does not support rapists. And Mojang, in hiring women to be accessible for men’s pleasure and entertainment, supported a certain atmosphere at their event, but I agree with Ky that they remain blameless for the sexual assault. The only one to blame is the man who assaulted a woman. That’s it for me; it’s that simple.

Going forward, there is definitely a discussion to be had about the practice of hiring “Floor Babes” for events. There were literally women at an event being paid to interact with men in a fun way that, to many who are most at risk to see women as only exisitng for their sexual pleasure, will be seen as flirting. It helps assholes (not all men, assholes) to view ALL girls at the event as being there for them, not because they’re into videogames, or PAX, or the specific event, or having a good time with friends, or meeting new people non-sexually, and potentially not you. Always up for a conversation, and attention. BUT. That in no way makes Mojang or any of the women who take that job responsible in ANY WAY for what a man might do based on the narrative in his head, and it certainly doesn’t make Mojang or those women responsible for what happened to Ky. They have 0 culpability. I also worry that having this discussion now, while we are still discussing what occured, is harmful. I think it’s most important to discuss the safety of women at events, in gaming culture and elsewhere, and why it can’t be taken for granted as it can for men. From Ky’s post: “This is more common than people think and could happen to anyone you love, anywhere, anytime, in any community. A girl should be able to go and sit alone at a party and not be bothered, or go where they want and dress how they want and not be treated like that.”

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