I found this video via Skepchick. I watched it last night before I went to bed and had an odd Street Fighter/Cyberpunk-themed dream. Oh, internet and subconcious, you mischievous duo, you!
So, MovieBob does a weekly five minuteish video blog for Escapist Magazine. He recently did one called “Not Okay”, which takes on sexism in nerd/geek culture, and he cites specifically a recent example of sexism in gaming culture. I couldn’t figure out how to embed the video, but clicking on the image will take you to the Escapist Magazine website where the video can be viewed. Go watch it, then come back!
The specific subject that MovieBob talks about is an incident involving a man named Aris Bakhtanians, who was confronted for publicly verbally sexually harassing a female player who he was coaching in a video game reality show. In brief, Aris defended his actions by saying that sexual harassment is part of the fighting game community, and that if you remove sexual harassment, it is no longer the fighting game community.
Here’s where MovieBob attains Super Bigot Fighting Hero status. MovieBob doesn’t take (much) time addressing the specific instance for which Bakhtanians was criticized. Instead he opens up a dialogue about the argument itself – its weakness, its lameness. He points out that this excuse is used to justify many forms of racism, sexism and homophobia. He takes to task similar arguments like “It’s just how things are” and “This is the last place that it’s okay to talk like this.”
He anticipates some of the comments that would be coming his way by addressing the “Free Speech/First Amendment!” rallying cry. He explains that free speech as a legal right ensures that you get to speak, but does not guarantee the right to make people hear you, agree with you, to be unchallenged by other people’s speech, or to protect you when your speech is used to cause harm to someone.
He closes with an appeal to the gaming community, but which can be applied to ANY community: We can’t just brush incidents of bigotry under the rug so that our opponents see a cohesive, happy-smiley, nothing to see here unit. To paraphrase, “Our opponents don’t win when we admit there are problems in our community. They win when we fail to address these problems.”