My First Bad Experience
I’ve been promoting my game, for a little over a year before writing this. Since I started, I’ve received generally glowing reviews, lots of good laughs, and fun helpful feedback and suggestions. There are hundreds of images, that I’ve gone through.. but the first time I post a sexy female character, I have an army of “feminists” (I use feminists in quotation marks, because I’d hate for the word to become synonymous with “angry sexist”) seeking me out, taking over my posts, and just spamming angry comments.
Normally I’d never get involved with people like this. But it’s hard not to, especially when they seek you out to do and say horrible things, then go out of their way to continue doing so. But I still have to promote my game, and after dealing with a lot of it.. I came up with some really good things.. But it was a long journey to get there.
The post was only active for a few days, but I feel like it generated a lifetime of ridiculousness, which gave me some really useful insights.
It’s hard to go through it all, so I’ll just start at the beginning.
I was offended to have people snap judge and then attack any women demonstrating her own sexuality as “cis white male fan service”, “sexual objectification”, and then call her “disgusting”. I believe sexuality is an inherent part of human nature, and it’s okay for people to demonstrate their character traits in their character portrait. (a strong man flexing, a silly character goofing off, a lazy one relaxing, and a sexy one giving you the smolder) But it only took a few minutes to start receiving angry comments.
There’s a lot horribleness to unpack, in just one comment, so I’ll start with what bugs me the most. The hypocrisy of it all. For someone who doesn’t like assumptions and people crudely boiling things down and just focusing on sex.. to take one look at a picture and dub her a “sex object”, is mind blowingly offensive and hypocritical.
We spent countless hours developing our characters. Each of them have an elaborate backstory, steeped in mythology, and inspired by stories dating back thousands of years. Those stories are incorporated with our worlds lore and rolled into both the character design and game dynamics of that character. Creating a hero that is both unique and new, while still staying true to their roots.
Inara is the goddess of wild animals in Hittite–Hurrian mythology, dating back almost four thousand years. One of the most prominent stories from her mythology, she uses her feminine wiles to both gain allies and set a trap to finally take down the dragon Illuyanka, both avenging her father and defeating a foe he never could. A quintessential example of feminine power and a woman who is both capable and in command of her own sexuality. This picture was even designed by a woman, and posed and styled after a real flesh and blood woman. The first thing some feminist is going to do is tell me she’s disgusting, boil her down to “man candy”, tell me it’s sexist, and then continue on about how she should put on some more cloths?
It’s very difficult for me not to get angry here.
What’s startling to me is how widely accepted and supported these ideas are, and how relatively intelligent people, focused on the issue, could act like this. It wasn’t just one person making these kind of comments either. The vast majority of comments I received on this post were of this nature.
I’ve been a staunch supporter of equal rights my whole life, and even identified as a feminist for a little while, till the feminists went bat-shit insane. It’s a sad day when the people who are supposed to be campaigning against sexism, become so overtly and frequently sexist.
But that’s just the very tip of this ridiculous iceberg. It’s not just about what you do, it’s how you do it. For someone to take one look at a picture, and lay in with sexist tropes and buzz words to try to classify everything as some stereotype to mobilize a conditioned hate group against us? Let’s look at the “cis white male fan service” comment a little more in depth. An impressively horrible comment, usually said with immense disdain. It manages to be sexist, racist, discriminate based on sexual orientation.. and demean several women (the artist who drew it, and the woman who posed for it) all in one tiny little line of text.. in the name of women's liberation. A mindlessly regurgitated set of buzz words designed to vilify and trigger a preconditioned group into aggressive hateful action. Racism and sexism is not any more okay regardless of the group you do it to, or the context you do it in.
The level of fanaticism was really impressive. One person posted close to 50 comments on a single post. Another posted the same negative comment every few hours FOR DAYS. Once one person labeled the drawing as sexist, we had people coming out of the woodwork “to give us a piece of their mind” or attack us in some way.
I’m impressed by how people can make such ignorant comments with a straight face, and so much authority. People saw this one picture.. and felt the need to tell my wife that she should give up as an artist. Another person had a forceful discussion with me about why I should fire my wife, after a year of work, and then followed up that discussion with a gif of someone getting slapped in the face, with a subtext “sometimes the truth hurts”. People insulted us, tried to start rumors, and made up all sorts of crazy shit.
An administrator of the forum reading the post was nice enough to contact me and let me know I could just block the people continuously posting ridiculous stuff. I rarely use facebook.. so I didn’t know that, but it’s a shame I actually had to block people because of this. I like an open discussion, but on the other hand I don’t like to waste a bunch of time and have people try to ruin my projects or flood my posts with hate mail. I just don’t have the time or the energy for that much sad irony, especially not with disingenuous people with ulterior motives just looking to pick a fight.
It took us about 4 months to finish the game, and get the final proofs ready, which I posted online to see what people thought. It only took a few seconds to get our first comment... “I’d pay money not to have to see this horrible artwork again”.
So this guy either had us followed, or he just happened to see my post.. and with hardly enough time to even look at the pictures or have any reasonable considerations, he managed to type out an angry comment and hit enter. It was scary fast, and just sad.
In the end we only had like 3-4 people we had to block… but we actually got stalkers from posting a single picture, mostly because people disagreed with me about how and why we created our own character.
There’s something really wrong with our community. The level of intolerance, coupled with hyper emotional, ultra aggressive reactionary behavior… is not recipe for good art or an open discussion. (especially not in an industry based on fun, and playing with ideas)
I think it starts with awareness and people being mindful. I’ve always been a staunch opponent of racism and sexism, wherever it may be, even if it’s within my own community.
To all the trolls out there: You are not King or Queen of the internet and no one is obligated to listen to your opinions.. no matter how loud or insistent you are about them. You're entitled to your opinion.. but constantly posting it on my stuff is an entirely different form of entitlement, and at that point I have no interest in what you have to say.
I honestly do care, and I always try to incorporate any information that I find to be reasonable and possible. I also allow for people to have different opinions and preferences from my own.. because I believe that’s a reasonable, polite, and ethical way to act.