61 thoughts on “Sexism & Gaming – RecklessTortuga

  1. I agree with you on the drawbacks. That’s my biggest problems w/ironic/sarcastic comedy and when people act like poes. However, I don’t think RT’s style of comedy will propel sexism and racism (however, I do think that “hipster”/ironic racism and sexism is becoming a problem). I think RT’s videos will most likely fall for the 1st drawback of being too outlandish that the day-to-day sexism and racism is looked over. It’s kind of like how it’s difficult to call out moderate racism/sexism/homophobia because some people will just point out the Phelps family or KKK to demostrate that they’re not r/s/h, and then say to stop being so PC and learn how to take a joke.

    • Really great points, you’ve perhaps articulated my concerns better than I. I’m not sure how to approach the onslaught of ironic racism either… :/

  2. Things like The Online Gamer are seen by most as a joke, and are not taken seriously. I feel like it is only perpetuating the issue because most people do not view it in the same way that you do, as a statement against sexism. Remember, a lot of people who watch youtube videos are young (between 10-16), and they are generally not watching videos for insights into the world. It is merely an entertainment medium for them. Unless the videos have a more explicit message about how the behavior is wrong and undesirable (possibly explaining the effects of the behavior as well) I doubt that the message will get through to the majority of the younger viewers who are watching the videos. :-/

    • Totally true! *BUT* I would urge you not to underestimate the way our minds unconsciously process social information. They are taking away more than you might think, even though they definitely aren’t criticizing it the way you and I are! :)

      • You’re right about that, but we don’t really know what they are taking away from the video. Although the processing is unconscious, what they focus their attention on, and what they value more can have an influence on what they unconsciously process. So, individuals who endorse sexism would look at the guy in their last video and potentially look at that as a funny situation, and nearly wholly ignore the reactions of the females on both a conscious and unconscious level. Furthermore, even if sexist individuals realize that people get turned off by that kind of behavior, the video is still showing them behavior that they can easily use via anonymous media like the internet or in online games. Being an avid gamer, I have seen this kind of thing time and time again. Girls cannot play and talk if they don’t want to get criticized for their sex.

    • Hey Mark- as a fifteen-year-old I feel that I can say with some degree of accuracy that people in your stated 10-16-year age range are fully capable of appreciating the humor of RT’s video while also taking away a positive message against sexism. In fact, videos like this are (in my view) sometimes a better way to target the aforementioned age group- videos that are a bit more blunt (like Laci’s, as much as I love them) are sometimes discredited on the grounds of being too “preachy”.

      • “Nicolo:
        May 7, 2011 at 10:00 am

        Hey Mark- as a fifteen-year-old I feel that I can say with some degree of accuracy that people in your stated 10-16-year age range are fully capable of appreciating the humor of RT’s video while also taking away a positive message against sexism. In fact, videos like this are (in my view) sometimes a better way to target the aforementioned age group- videos that are a bit more blunt (like Laci’s, as much as I love them) are sometimes discredited on the grounds of being too “preachy”.”

        Nicolo, you foolishly assume that every 10-16 year old is as intellectually competent as you are… When, in fact, the majority of the children in your age group are more interested in “fitting in”, “being popular”, and materialism.

  3. I would really like to think that no one is stupid enough to watch that video, then want to act that way. It seems unlikely that any one would…

    I think the biggest problem with it. Is that the kind of people that it’s about, might not get it. They may think it’s just a funny video. Or in other words, it’s so simple that they might not understand it.

    Other than that, I loved it. Hilarious and a clever way of pointing out how idiotic such behavior is.

    • Woah! That was really interesting. I think they’re trying to make the same point….perhaps more successfully! Thanks for sharing gene.

      • Anytime Laci. :D I’m not the type to participate in that sort of thing, love the ladies don’t make them feel unwanted; but I still thought it was an interesting perspective shift. I felt a discomfort watching it that I hadn’t really felt before and most guys haven’t experienced? It might make onlookers more likely to step to defend someone going through that instead of just listening silently.

      • I believe this one to be more effecting in getting the message across.

        Even though it starts as a funny thing “Like most gamer scenarios”, it ends in a dark place.

        It also demonstrates the abuse that Girl Gamers go through, in a what would happen if Gaming was a Predominant Girl Sport.

        • I have never experienced sexsim at SAC and I do not think that women require special treatment to protect their rights, though my major is female-dominated and I would be interested in learning if women in different majors that are male-dominated experience sexsim.Although women have come very far, I think it is still necessary to study feminism, especially to break down stereotypes. I have been taught in college that a “feminist” at its most basic definition means that one believes men and women should have equal rights. However, because of the stereotypes associated with feminism, there are few men and women who would admit to being feminists, even if they agree whole heartedly in equal rights. I therefore think its important for all students to study figures like Virginia Woolf in order to fully understand such concepts and to demolish preconceived notions.Aside from resistance to the term feminism, I do not think experience at the SAC depends on gender or that there are legitimate difference between how men and women are treated here. However, I will always be grateful to one professor who had a dress code during seminar our freshman year because it made me realize that women should not dress to impress their male classmates, but to look appropriate in a professional setting and to therefore be respected. I realized through her policy that the media brainwashes even intelligent women to value sex appeal, and that this can potentially harm a woman’s success.I don’t think preferences should be given to ensure that there is a diversity of genders because I think the statistical gender representations that occur reflect our changing society. I think in some ways the feminist movement caused our culture to compensate for the opportunities women missed out on for centuries, and this has resulted in a rise in women’s performance in school / higher education, and a decline in men’s participation in higher learning.Overall, I have not experienced that St. A’s represents degrading gender stereotypes. I find that people tend to be down to earth and not concerned with conforming to how the media typically portrays gender roles. I think the acceptance toward gay, lesbian and transgender people also conveys a widespread tolerance of sexual identity and individuality.I don’t think gender issues need to be reflected in the curriculum because I do not think it is a problem on campus. I think the Woolf section of the Sophomore humanities program sufficed because it provided a brief history, the opportunity for discussion and debunking feminist stereotypes, but it did not overwhelm students with feminism/ gender sphere issues. I think overwhelming students can sometimes have the opposite effect and cause them to be resistant.

  4. I don’t think it helps, it’s kinda like “preaching to the choir”. We think they look ridiculous, they think they are cool (it’s kinda like looking at one of those over the top religious events, any normal person would think “wow, those people look stupid”, but they like it, and it works for them..)

      • My thought is that you do not. If a person is 100% against listening to your point of view there is nothing you can do to change that. And forcing them to listen does nothing but foster animosity.

        • well first things first, you prove to them you are worth listening to and do not attack them…you have to earn their trust then you can start to show them things they don’t normally see maybe they change…

  5. My comment isn’t on racism or sexism exactly but on bigotry in general. Coming from my perspective, I’m in a wheelchair, and some people who talk to me aren’t even realizing they’re being bigots. I understand that some are just trying to be nice when they ask if they can help me with something, but I can’t stand some of the condescending attitudes I receive. It’s a matter of lack of education really, and people who aren’t taught how to approach someone correctly can come off as stupid.

  6. Although I understand your concerns about the idea of making issues such as racism and sexism funny, I think you may have overlooked one of the most potent effects of humour.
    Comedy has a fantastic ability to break down barriers and bring everything down to a level playing field, as the aim of humour is to make everyone laugh. As such, making it funny shows that these topics are just not a major issue or taboo to people, making the atmosphere around such subjects more relaxed and open. In effect it can be a way of rebeling against sexist, racist or other prejudiced attitudes.
    I myself am gay and have found humor to be a fantastic way of making people, who wouldn’t normally, discuss homosexual issues openly in everyday conversation.
    However, in my opinion, a fine balance needs to be established because if missused comedy can become offensive, like most other mediums.

    • I’m totally with you.
      Comedy is a great conductor…

      But what happens when the message you are
      sending across isn’t clear…

      I don’t think gamers will see this as a notice of flawed behavior as much as a spoof…

  7. Ok… Wow… I just saw the video.
    The one from Reckless…
    I have about two dozen Gamer Friends…

    Even though… Hmmm… They Sorta Act like this..
    The video is exaggerating.. “Over 9k much”???

    I don’t think this will help fix the problem.
    This type of video, would probably Alienate Gamers.
    It wouldn’t help much. I really need more time to study this… However this is my preliminary answer…

  8. I have enjoyed Reckless Tortuga for a long while and I think they are hilarious. While I know they make a satirical statement on sexism and racism I and I only see it as a positive. Here are the reasons: It makes a point without being preachy. It shows the ridiculousness of such behaviors to the point of absurdity. I do not think people would seek to emulate these behaviors except in the aspect of comedic imitation, in which case I would have no problem with it. And those who do wish to emulate these behaviors as perceived desirable character traits will immediately betray themselves as the bigoted people they are and will be publicly scorned by those around them. Those are just my thoughts. Have a good one!

  9. I think the video you posted can give the wrong vibe, most people are pretty dense. In getting the equality issue across omgitsgene’s video does a better job because of the reversal. People tend to see their bigotry when it gets turned around on them or someone they can identify with.
    And along with pete275, the video you posted is more of a preaching to the choir type of video, the people that would get the satire probably don’t watch those types of videos because they don’t discriminate, at least to the extent, that the masses do.
    Along a similar vein, is when you see people cracking jokes about a minority or sub culture, as me and my friends do, as more of a mockery of the bigots as opposed to an actual statement. I have gay friends, and currently live with my baby sister and her father(who happens to have a live in BF atm), and there are jokes constantly made about gays or straights or women, etc all as a mockery of bigots. When we go out in public we still make these private jokes but they are probably lost on others because they might not necessarily know that a portion of our group is gay and making the jokes as well, as a mockery. But it’s all in good fun amongst ourselves so we don’t worry about the ignoramuses that don’t get it, if they take issue with what we say or take us too seriously we don’t have an issue with setting then straight, nonviolently of course.

  10. I liked the video! But it was over the top and while the point was good, I really do think the people who act like this wont get it..

    The biggest problem with being a female and online gaming is not the abuse. There’s actually not a lot of that going around, and what ugliness does pop up is easy to shrug off (not that it should be happening!).

    I’ve found, personally, one of the biggest problems is theres seemingly an ingrained thought that ‘girls cant/dont game’ even in guys who are kind and otherwise respectful. I’ve found this can lead to being ‘pampered’ and getting free stuff and help – and while this is kind hearted in nature, it’s unecessary, stifling and makes me uncomfortable – right to male gamers seeing you completely seperate from the game and not really including you i the shared hobby.

    For instance, I just had to quit an online game I really enjoyed because I’d log on wanting to play with the group of guys I’d made ‘friends’ with, suddenly I’d be asked sex/relationship advice, they’d want to know about my personal life.. They were never cruel, but.. I just wanted to log on and game with them! I wanted to discuss the game, my hobby, learn and have fun. They were able to do that with each other but not with me, it seems. It made me feel out of place and excluded.

  11. i don’t think people will mock this behavoir because they think it’s funny… it would really surprise me if that actually did happen

  12. So plopping a personality down in front of someone, showing them what reality is like, and watching them squirm as they drown in their ignorance and denial isn’t the way to do things?

  13. Hi Laci, I think that the way RT does their work is good. We learn in a fun way how we should’t behave. BUT there’s a catch. Not everyone is getting the message right. And if somebody is sexist/racist they won’t realize that they are doing something wrong. Even if the content shown is extreme compared to them. I guess there’s no universal way to adress the entire audience, because people are wired differently.
    PS: Watching your videos changed my life, thank you! Keep up the good work, good luck in your life, BYE :))

  14. I hate it when I play Black Ops and I have to play as a guy. Why can’t they have an option to play as a chick? Just sayin.

    • Because the Special Ops team was a fully male at that time? I don’t think it’s trying to be sexist, just historically accurate.

      • Historical accuracy goes out the window when your mowing down 100 enemy combatants a mission on your way to stopping a deadly nerve toxin being distibuted by brainwashed sleeper agents blah blah blah…

        The reason you are while male super soldier #23 is because that character is supposed to be a blank slate for you to project yourself onto. This means the player character hits the broadest demographic and why in most games we have the areyan thing going on.

        Its a tragic trend in games that the story is dictated by whom the game is going to be targeted to. In this case and in many others male 17-25 white etc.. If they thought that more women would buy Blops then you would be playing as a female.

  15. I’ve watched this series before as well, but the way I see it is like cutting scenes from movies with Chuck Norris saying funny things and putting them in with other scenes made depicting more realistic situations. That is why it is funny. And how do you think does this latest episode in particular differ much from the other online gamer eps.?

    The things he said are all things you’ll hear from trolls. Concerning the newer, younger generations, Isms aren’t so much the issue anymore as much as the growing community of kids who are starved of attention and belongingness. Isms come from the desperate want for things to be simple and black and white (no pun intended) in an environment that gives feelings of helplessness, and therefore also denial. But the internet is limitless and gives total freedom to anyone. There really isn’t anyone to stop you from doing anything short of removing your content/posts, banning you or blocking you. Even if a community hates you, there are rarely any consequences. The internet exposes our strong willingness to fit into a group just for the sake of being in one (and it’s important, which is why we do it), as well as generations of neglected kids who are searching for an identity.
    Trolls are not necessarily racist, sexist, etc or any MORE racist/sexist than the average person of their age and background. They are just desperate for attention. What sets younger generations apart from the older generations is that youth today are building their identity on the internet or through it (twitter, facebook and blackberries anyone?) and many other ways that are so different from their parents, grandparents and so on. It would be pointless to point the finger at the internet as so many older generations do, but to address the ROOTS of the problem which has always existed but is now highlighted by how common it is. I was hoping to avoid writing a long post this time, so I’ll stop here. But in summary, reckless tortuga is making fun of an online community and trend that people have either hated(while recognizing how ludicrous the behavior is) or imitated it personally themselves.

    Man 1: Is it a racist?
    Woman 1: is it a sexist?
    Teenager 1: No, It’s a troll!(-horror-)

  16. As a person that watches online gamer, is part the gaming community for a long time, and plays in a professional way. I can honestly say, some the things in online gamer are not over exaggerations. With that being said, we cannot generalize the gaming community into one group. The gaming community is split by the games they support, and with each game has different personalities. I belong with the StarCraft community, and I can say that the degradation of women is hard to find. Though, ironic sexism describe by Tiger-Man is sadly found in our community.
    I also been to MLG (major league gaming tournaments in the United States) and I have met many people in and out of StarCraft community. This gave me experiences in how other communities are. Sad to say, the other communities are more degrading to women then I thought. In many occasions I heard women from other communities (even though I love to state games of those communities, I really don’t like to put anyone on the spot if they are not present to speak their side) say, “I’m not that good, because I’m a women” which is different from my community in which they usually state, “I’m not that good because it’s hard.”
    With all this being said, I’m not saying the StarCraft community is the best community in the world and all the others have nothing but sexist, racist people in them. In every community, there is always going to be tossers, wankers, and bloody idiots. If you do feel like you’re being harassed in a certain community don’t quit because of that. Go online and you can find groups that will accepted you for who you are. For example, there’s a clan, PMS (Pandora’s Mighty Fighters)/H20, that is heavily women, and have divisions in PC, Xbox, and PS3. You can find people there that won’t harass you every time you’re in a waiting room. So then you can finally play a game that you like at ease.

  17. Well, that was satire. As a method for delegitimizing ideologies it’s certainly been demonstrated to be effective though one certainly cannot rule out idiots misinterpreting it (Huck Finn is 125 years old and people are still trying to censor it). For this one specifically, I think it likely will be effective in that it showed the consequences of actually behaving like that offline – weird looks leading up to a walk out which is usually not what teenage boys are looking for from girls, and hammered home that being disrespectful gets you exactly nowhere in the last scene. I think a lot of the bigotry online or in gaming communities is contextual – i.e. how many trolls, /b/tards etc. would actually tits or GTFO someone in a situation where they were not anonymous, and how many of them are even sincere in what they’re saying and not just being, well, trolls? I also think most not suffering from low self esteem shrug off abuse from anons anyway (and anyone who’s been online or gaming for any length of time should know better than to feed trolls) so I don’t think this should be an issue for anyone acquainted with the block button.

  18. I adore the Reckless Tortuga because I see all of the deeper messages that they offer. I think that most people who gets caught up in the humor of their audiance does not however. But, some approach to talking about these things is better than none at all.

  19. racism and sexism will always be prevalent in the online/gaming community for many reasons. first in the face to face world both racism and sexism are heavily frowned upon, but in the virtual world people can hide behind screen names and thousands of miles, this allows people to avoid the scorn but still have all the fun. Also many people see the virtual world as testing ground for the racist jokes, and if the response the community is positive then the jokes can be said in front friends, because in today’s society if a racist/sexist joke is funny it’s perfectly acceptable. its also a lot easier to be mean to someone you cant see, and dirty looks aren’t very effective through comments or a microphone. i think i had another point but i got distracted and forgot, oh well. Until to you can place personal guilt on people for being mean they wont stop.

  20. It seems to be popping up more and more, the idea that if you wanna talk to someone, use their own way of talking. Racists tend to respond better and take the message to themselves more if you deliver your statements with fire and flames. Equally, you get through to a christians a lot easier if you deliver your arguments in a sort of sermon, rather than in a form suited for a lecture at a university.

    That people would find this appealing… I dunno. Its a slippery slope, to say the least. I dont think that people, who are not of that mindset, would “convert” to a bigoted mindset because they saw an entertaining video about bigotry or depicting bigoted people, but it has a high chance of reinforcing the bigotry of those already bigoted. One should know, they wear their ignorance and outlandish behaviour like a badge of honor.

  21. The point about it being so outrageous is kinda null because a person who objectively watches it can see the stupidity of the sexism and yet the over dramatic portrayal stimulates the idea that “well I ain’t that bad in comparison” so they continue with their more subtle sexist attitude. I constantly tell my friend that “Because im a girl” is NOT an excuse or a reason for a behavior(seems to upset her sometimes because well…she doesn’t know any other reason for the behavior or she just thinks im calling her dumb)

  22. Racists themselves already use ridicule. They don’t respond to reason. In fact, sometimes an idea is so rediculous that the ONLY way it can be adressed is through ridicule.

    For example, William Lane Craig once did a lecture where he tried to prove that the Resurection of Jesus happened without ever pointing to a single piece of evidence outside of the New Testiment itself.

    I did a line-by-line satire of craig (and admittedly my Craig impression isn’t nearly as good as my Kent Hovind impression) where I used exactly the same logic to prove that the events of the Tim Burton Batman movies happened.

  23. Also, I don’t think it’s an exageration. I suspect that most of the things the guy said is something actual Trolls have said directly to female players.

  24. Have you seen the Sascha Baron Cohen movies “Borat” and “Bruno”? Like with these movies, and the web series you described, I find that there will always be people who miss the joke and aren’t able to see the satirical aspects of it all. Some will be offended and some will actually take it seriously and laugh because they actually think the literal is in fact what is humorous. The offensive nature of things like this stem from flaws in society and I think exposing that is necessary. But like I said, some people will miss the joke. It’s like people who would go around quoting Borat because they saw it as funny rather than understanding that it’s actually funny because of how not funny it is in real life.

  25. It’s not just women either. Now, in theory, you’d think someone who grew up in a multicultural city like Melbourne would be immune to Culture Shock, wouldn’t you? But aparantly not. When I was new to Youtube, I make the mistake of arguing with some Anne Coulter fans, and I very quickly found out that, in some parts of America, not only is Racism not automatically considdered evil, but some Americans are SO racist they absolutely loathe other blonde blue-eyed white people who happen to have been born on a different bit of dirt! I think that’s when my grudge against Republicans began.

  26. This video made me spend the whole of yesterday watching videos on Youtube about racism. it is suprising how many people are subconciously racist and do not know it. The sad thing is when someone goes to another persons country and starts being racist. i mean if you are going to be racist you might as well do it in ur own country instead of coming to someone elses country and tell them that we only sell to Polish people so i cannot sell the bottle of water to you.
    The RecklessTortuga at least are trying to do something (more than i am doing). Even if only 1 person changes after seeing their video it is okay. The rest of us also end up having a good time.
    Thanks for making the video

  27. well, i agree with you on the point that at least the funny videos will be understandable to people who dont have the time for big words etc or heavy philosophical/idealogical discussions (aka: the masses) but I unfortunately do not see it being extremely effective. I am a game developer in the industry and even though my job entails art and 3d drawings, the fact that it has to do with a stereotypically male job, I am constantly judged, put down, and my work is considered less equal. I must work 150 percent more than my male coworkers, and the fact that I am the only female makes it impossible to avoid “make me a snadwich” jokes. now, that being said, they are of course jokes and they are usually hilarious, but the nature of those jokes, being as common as they are, makes it seem like just another joke not to be taken seriously amongst the viewers of the video that you watched. there is a place for comedy, but it cannot be the focus or the subject in the video simply will be seen as just a funny joke without looking at the issue..

  28. look at IT’s always sunny in philly. there always pushing the limits on the issue of racism and sexist and it mos def in a good way.

  29. To be totally honest, I think it would be better to see gamers challenging racist, sexist and homophobic elements in a more obvious way.

  30. From my point of view, i feel as though most people aren’t getting the internal message within the videos, and especially from reading the comments on the video. Most people think its hilarious that he is telling these girls to make him and sandwich, and dont see how stupid it all really is . So many boys at my school, think sexism is funny. And honestly, a lot of the girls cant do anything about it. Its really immature, which i think is the point of the videos. But all in all, i think it is really just causing more problems than solving it. Boys who are like this and see this , probably think it’s funny for the wrong reason.

  31. I feel like it’s effective depending on the education level of the viewer. As a 14 year old girl who is subscribed to your youtube, and has always been in full support against society’s praise of sexist assumptions, it had an effect on me to where I almost didn’t find it funny. The male character actually reminded me of boys that I knew, and I felt empowered to be someone who didn’t meet their standard. I feel, though, that it would be less effective on gamers and people who are sexist for the exact reasons you stated, they will see it as socially acceptable, and/or not find any relation between themselves and the actors. I think that if, after these videos, they did a lecture-type thing, like you do so well, laci, something that is more educational, the lesson could be better absorbed.

  32. I don’t think this approach does work because my brother watches similar things but only because they are funny. Then he emulates the behavior to get a laugh. Mostly with his gamer buddies because the last time he tried it on me…the outcome was not what he was expecting.

  33. I agree with the content of your video, Laci.

    It’s a positive approach in my opinion, since it’s nearly impossible to simply reason logically with racists. The more you try to explain the science and logic of how racism is nonsense, the more they believe you are trying to “brainwash” them because racism is wholly based on fear and ignorance alone. Therefore, only fear and ignorance sustains racism, not logic and science.

    I would also like to add that “gaming culture” is a joke. Video games are meant for entertainment purposes only, nothing more. Taking video games seriously and being competitive is like taking nonsensical reality TV seriously.

  34. Marks: “Things like The Online Gamer are seen by most as a joke, and are not taken seriously.”

    He is 100% correct.

  35. This reminds me a lot of the sexist culture in American comics and how women are depicted (basically, tits, ass, contorting so badly they would break their back in real life). Don’t believe me, look up eschergirls on tumblr

  36. First of all thank you to everyone who participated in this thread. I really enjoyed reading all of your comments as they were very thoughtful. We struggle with the same question posed all the time. Are we contributing to the problem or highlighting it? Not sure but we try our best to say something and still be funny. -Jason (Director, RecklessTortuga)

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