Defending Sexual Harassment

I had no idea there were actually people who would defend sexual harassment.

Maybe I’m a little naive, but I really believe most people aren’t deliberately being sexist jerks when they make fun of a man for knitting, or a woman for working on an oil rig. There are these cultural norms, ya know? They get embedded in your head whether you want them to or not. You have to fight against your own sexism sometimes, and sometimes, you slip.

And while the gaming communities I’ve been a part of have been majority-male, they’ve been fair and decent.

By contrast, there’s this ugly incident in which a gamer actually defended sexual harassment and said it was “part of the culture.” Worse, this person was supposed to be coaching a team of gamers, one of whom was female. She was shouted down when she tried to protest, and she was told to “let the man speak.”

This incident, and how people reacted to it, goes well beyond the vague feeling that booth babes are creepy, or that the gaming community should be, in general, nicer and less sexist.

Yes, free speech in America means you can say just about anything you want. This person has every right to his opinion, and every right to state it.

And other people have every, every right to be horrified by his sexist, creepy behavior, call him out on it, and try to stop it through civilized means. That’s what real communities do, whether online or in meatspace.