If you’re having a bad day, if you get creeped out by heaping loads of abuse, this is probably not the post you want to be reading. Try the baby foxes instead. If you keep reading this, you will once again be confronted with how women are treated on the internet.
The woman in question is Jennifer Hepler, who wrote for Dragon Age II, among other games. I don’t play role-playing games myself, but this is one of the ones I heard about constantly on Twitter after it came out. People lost hours of their life to this game and went sleep-deprived without complaint…at least until morning. They chattered about the characters as though they were real people. In other words, my friends did exactly what you’d want from a game’s audience.
That wasn’t enough for some people, however. The Mary Sue has a good rundown of the objections of some gamers to the game and to an old comment by Hepler that if what you like about a game is story, you ought to be able to tweak your game experience to maximize the story. In other words, in a world with more games than most people can play, some gamers are upset that one company’s game(s) might be different than everything those gamers have played to date. They might be…inclusive.
The Hepler hatred has been going on for almost a year. It recently flared into bright, shining misogyny, however, first with a thread on Reddit that got enough out of hand to be taken down after Hepler started getting phone calls at home. Then Hepler got a Twitter account. Suddenly people no longer needed to stalk her to touch her.
There were no apologies for the stalking, of course.
But it was all justified, you see.
And there was only one option for that. Of course, it wasn’t Hepler writing the stories these gamers wanted.
Oh, wait. I guess there was one more option.
So, this is a capital offense, then. What exactly was it that Hepler had done?
Oh, noes. Not teh ghey! Really, does anyone think “forced” heterosexual relationships in games are just dandy but homosexual relationships (which are only forced in that they affect how the story plays out) aren’t?
Normal gamers. I see. Can we double down on that?
If women who read fiction that includes gay relationships aren’t “normal” and can’t be real gamers without scare quotes, what are they?
Right. Silly woman. You can’t have romance in gaming.
Yes, the idea that Hepler was couldn’t possibly be qualified for game development played out repeatedly.
So by now you may have noticed some trends in these comments. Let’s just go ahead and make them blatant, shall we?
Yes, you see, Hepler is worthless because she is her female genitalia. Also, the keeper of that genitalia fails to meet some arbitrary standard of misogynistic gamer weenie attractiveness.
Did someone mention she’s fat?
And that she’s a bitch? For the record, a search on Hepler’s Twitter handle and the non-gendered “asshole” returned only one tweet–from Hepler herself.
Then Hepler took note of the sexism directed at her, and things got even more interesting.
When Hepler mentioned her own vagina, instead of others doing it for her, it suddenly had to be denied.
Or that having a vagina meant she was female.
There was concern trolling, of course.
And the denials. Oh, the denials. The people who managed to contradict themselves in the space of a tweet or two were vaguely entertaining, though not how they meant to be.
Some managed it directly in their one tweet.
Then there were the responses to those who stood up for Hepler.
And the obligatory sexual creepiness.
Hepler’s Twitter account was deleted as of last night. It’s not surprising. The only thing surprising about it is that so many people are still going to argue that the hate she received didn’t display a stunning misogyny.