Microsoft sexualizes teen girls during Game Developer Conference, liberal feminist confusion ensues

Surprise! Gaming is a sexist industry that pornifies women. Through a particularly hypocritical post, even for Jezebel, it has come to light that Microsoft hired women in sexualized Catholic schoolgirl outfits to dance at an afterparty hosted by Xbox in San Francisco during last week’s Game Developer Conference.

https://twitter.com/xeni/status/710889941387976704?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

Women connected to the industry are, rightly, pissed.

https://twitter.com/BadNewsCentral/status/710886163767173120?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

One woman who attended the party, named Kamina Vincent, a producer at an Australian games studio, told Jezebel that she spoke to one of the “dancers,” who told her “they had been hired to speak with attendees and encourage them to the dance floor.” Vincent correctly pointed out, “Decisions like these reinforce that women are decoration instead of a part of the industry.” You know, just like the video games themselves do, and just like pornography itself does: position women as decorative things for men to look at, use, and abuse, but never to view as full, equal human beings.

Brianna Wu, a video game developer who has been subjected to ongoing harassment by the man-children of Gamergate, told Jezebel:

“The problem is not the women. I am a sex-positive feminist and so are most women in the game industry… They are just trying to make a living. The issue is, this is wildly inappropriate at a professional networking event.”

Indeed. And so with that, we are left to wonder what, exactly, is an appropriate space for women to be paid to sexualize teen girls for the titillation of men? Both Wu and Jezebel, as a whole, are supporters of the sex industry — they advocate to legalize prostitution and treat pornography as something empowered women “choose.”

So the obvious question here is: What is the difference between a woman dressed in a sexualized schoolgirl outfit at a Microsoft party and a woman dressed in a sexualized schoolgirl outfit in a strip club? Or in porn? Why is Playboy “okay” but not this?

The analysis doesn’t fly. As I wrote earlier this month, you can’t have both objectification and liberation. You can’t say that turning women into sexualized objects for male pleasure contributes to inequality and excludes women from participation in traditionally male-dominated spaces (i.e. life) but then say it’s totally acceptable in other spaces and, more generally, in society-at-large. Where is the invisible line drawn?

As Wu’s colleague, Anita Sarkeesian, points out, objectification dehumanizes women — not just some women, but all women. Treating women as things that exist for men normalizes male entitlement, which, in turn, creates rape culture and, more generally, a misogynist society. “It’s important to remember,” Sarkeesian says in a video addressing male entitlement and objectification in video games, “that sexualization is not just about the amount of skin showing, but is instead connected to the question of whether or not a costume is eroticized for the express purpose of titillation.” The effect is to reinforce a worldview that “defin[es] women’s social role as vessels of sexuality and men’s roles as consumers or patrons of that sexuality,” Sarkeesian says.

Schoolgirl costumes, in particular, sexualize teen girls. There is absolutely no way to deny that this particular form of imagery centers around male domination and sexual abuse. But beyond that, I’d like to know what exactly the problem is here, according to Jezebel and Wu. I mean, according to their own analysis, we’d have to conclude that the “dancers” at the Microsoft party “chose” their profession freely and were paid for their “work.” At what point does this become a problem for women in gaming and in what way does it contribute to sexism? I’d really like to know.

It’s this very compartmentalization that allows porn culture and rape culture to flourish. At some point, outlets like Jezebel and feminists like Wu are going to have to acknowledge that their own analysis is not only full of gaping holes, but is part of the problem.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Polly MacDavid

    I hate this whole “choice” ideology. As a former dancer/stripper, I can tell you that nobody in the business “chooses” it “freely”, i.e. like they wanted to take off their clothes for idiot men since they were little girls! Most little girls want to be other things … like maybe ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL. The ONLY reason ANY woman goes into ANY kind of “sex work” is because there is ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER WORK AVAILABLE. Especially work that pays the bills. If all your choices are bad choices, that NEGATES the whole argument of “choice”.

    • Rachel

      Exactly. So glad you got out of it and you told your story here. I have to add though, I think women can also get into the industry because of their socialisation to be objects for men. I was drawn to the industry because I desperately wanted men to want me. I had issues with men from sexual abuse in my past, and my father objectifying women, and girls, including me, since I was young. Obviously all this was compounded by society’s treatment of women. So on the surface I “chose” the “profession” in an attempt to reconcile my feelings about myself as a female in the world wanting men to want me, to make me feel “good”. But that good never lasted long, and I felt used and more unwanted than ever, trusted men less with the number I saw with wedding rings on just gawping at us like horny dogs, barking orders In an entitled manner. I was one of the lucky ones that could choose to strip, and could choose to leave, but it scarred me deeply.

      Regarding this article – well said Meghan. The compartmentalisation is exactly what allows this to carry on and I’m so sick of all the excuses people (men mainly) come up with to make it seem all ok. When are they going to stop believing their own lies, especially when there are obvious issues with their logic.

    • melissa

      I hate the whole “choice” ideology too. every big liberal feminist media is promoting this crap. one minute they’re applauding porn, prostitution, BDSM, “submissive feminists” and the next minute they’re applauding things like the hijab/niqab and these bizarre “modesty”/”purity” doctrine. its almost like mainstream lib dem feminism is going out of its way right now to normalize ,promote and defend every anti-woman idea they can find, under the guise of “choice”. i couldn’t bastardize feminism more if i tried. i honesty feel bad for this generation of women and girl having their subordinate status in society re enforced by the same people that were suppose to be liberating and humanizing them.

      • northernTNT

        Multiculturalism and intersectionalism will be the death of feminism. They are simply euphemisms for patriarchal rule in tones.

        • guest

          Intersectionality is a concept coined within the Black feminist movement. I think it’s an important concept to help us realize that people can experience discrimination due to more than one identity (e.g., Black, lesbian woman) or to experience privilege on the basis of several identities (e.g., white, straight man) or privilege in some identities and not in others (e.g., white, straight woman OR white gay man). We can’t throw out intersectionality because some people are trying to co-opt it. We need it to realize our own mix of privilege and discrimination to keep lines of communication open with others who can be our allies.

        • Melissa Cutler

          I disagree completely, and I’m curious about how you arrived at this conclusion, if you feel like elaborating.

        • If by “multiculturalism” you mean cultural relativism and by “intersectionalism” you mean identity politics, then yes.

          The problem is not the presence of non-Western cultures in the West, rather the problem is that both Westerners and non-Westerners wants to blindly stick to their culture because it is their culture instead of working to together to determine what is the best way for human beings to behave towards each other.

          As for intersectionality, it seems like pointing out the obvious to me. Yes, there are hierarchies in the world other than male dominance over women and yes they are interrelated but this is not news to leftists. This has been known since the days of Utopian Socialism (nineteenth century and earlier). So in my view, intersectionality is not a particularly impressive idea, but it is not harmful.

          The problem is identity politics (which simply put, is the idea that you are whatever roles society forces onto you). Intersectionality is only a problem when it is combine with identity politics, causing movements to split up into smaller and smaller groups because there are people who think of themselves as “poor, black, disabled lesbians” (for example, I do not want to pick on any particular group) rather than as simply human beings who are being subjected to oppression.Instead of allying with others who are oppressed by capitalism and patriarchy, people who think this way insist that only those who belong to ALL of the categories that they do, those who are poor, black, disabled AND lesbian (again, just an example) can understand their situation, which works out to be a very small portion of the population that is unlikely to form an effective movement.

          The radical left and radical feminism (by contrast) strive to unite as many people among the oppressed as possible. Thus this type of thinking is toxic to the left. However, it is possible for communists, anarchists and radical feminists to fight against other forms of oppression (like racism and homophobia) without allowing the movement to break apart into smaller and smaller groups until each individual decides that their experience is super unique and that no other human being will ever understand it, at which point, there is no movement at all. The problem is that people are trying to make political movements revolve around their personal “identities” instead of taking part in a broader struggle to understand and change the world. The idea that oppressions intersect is simply amplifying that problem.

          Then there is the fact that liberals use the label to attack anti-pornography, “sex-negative”, gender abolitionist feminists (on the grounds that they are all “middle class, white feminists”, even though several important contributors to these movements were poor and/or non-white) and brag about how superior they are because they focus on intersecting oppressions instead of making oh-so-horrible statements about women as a whole. Just because there are issues that are specific to subsets of women (for example, black women face the specific problems of being groped by police officers and white washed in the mainstream media) does not mean there are no problem which impact women as a group (for example, sexual harassment and beauty norms in general).

          In the end, it comes down to whether an idea is being used to unite people (with similar objectives and ideologies) to change the world for the better or create unnecessary conflict and division through the promotion of excessive individualism.

      • verucasalt

        How many left wing radical feminists openly oppose Muslim women who claim to ‘choose’ to wear Burqas?

        I think if we oppose BDSM as a choice, don’t we also have to oppose religion as a choice, all major religions are patriarchal institutions. OR If we fear shaming muslim women, why do we not fear shaming BDSM women? I don’t have the answer just curious what others positions are? I would say I dont want to challenge muslim women, because I dont want to give the racists an excuse to abuse them, but equally I would say I dont want to challenge BDSM women, if im going to give right wing misogynist men an excuse to abuse them (call them filthy sluts who are asking for it or whatever) . And there are arguably more misogynist men than there are racist men (maybe?) . In both cases the patriarchy has screwed them over. And us because we cant challenge women either without causeing harm to women by men. This drives me mad. Anyone got any answers?

        • Melissa Cutler

          Regarding the intersectionality of women living in Middle East cultures and feminism, I found this article from National Geographic on women in Saudi Arabia really illuminating: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/saudi-arabia-women-text

          Also, since you asked, I do, personally, oppose patriarchal religious institutions quite vehemently.

          I’m not sure what you mean by the suggestion that “we fear shaming” certain women, but please understand that it is entirely possible to be quite critical of patriarchal institutions while still standing with the women who are oppressed by them. My activism’s purpose isn’t to “challenge women” into changing, but to challenge patriarchal institutions and ideologies.

          • verucasalt

            Thanks very much for the link. This is indeed very illuminating. Its fantastic that some Muslim women are able to challenge one of the most oppressive patriarchal institutions on earth with a surprising degree of success. Now if we can just overthrow capitalism too…. 😉

        • melissa

          Shaming women is never the answer. at the end of the day we’re all the victim of circumstances. beliefs and “choices” don’t just form in a vacuum. women didn’t wake up one day and decide to flock to misogynistic religions. this is not about challenging women, but challenging anti-woman ideas. one can say can call “modesty” and “putity” codes anti-woman, without shaming women. my father is Muslim btw. i was born and raised Muslim my whole life. challenging these misogynistic ideas is nothing new to me. misogynist women stridently defending these things is nothing new to me either.what is new is “feminists” apologizing for, if not siding with misogyny under the guise of “choice” and “intersectionality”(similar trend with BDSM and sex work).it’s incredibly frustrating. intersectionality as i understand was about being inclusive to women from different walks of life, but it seems to have devolved into identity politics(remember how liberal feminist were calling celebrities that opposed Amnesty’s proposal on prostitution,”white feminists”?), drowning out other women’s voices and playing apologists for misogynistic culture. what we should be doing is supporting the very few progressive Muslim feminist voices that challenge these things over the dominant conservative cultural norms(even when some women “choose” it). these people are generally the minorities among minorities, and western feminists do a massive disservice to these people when they call the hijab a “feminist statement”, when they wear the hijab to show “solidarity”. just like the feminist railing behind sex work and BDSM, they’re horribly misguided. and the very few feminists that do challenge these ideas get labeled “Islamaphobe” and de-platformed(i believe Julie Bindel,Maryam Namazie,Kate Smurthwaite,Ayaan Hirsi Ali are some this has happened to)everywhere by the very same people that are suppose to be supporting women.some call this the “regressive left”.i think this is the cultural phenomenon radical feminist need to be challenging.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regressive_left

          • verucasalt

            I agree with all of this, its very well put. Identity politics is a massive issue. What I mean by ‘we fear shaming’ is that shame is a word so often used by liberal feminists to (in turn) shame anyone who criticises their ideology. Challenging libfem theory , for example on BDSM, often results in cries of ‘slut shaming’ or ‘king shaming’. Which in turn shames radfems as ‘kink shamers’ and we end up in a vicious cycle where all feminist debate feels shamefully misogynist (men must be rubbing their hands in glee). The problem is that if libfems (or any woman) says they feel shamed, are we not to take their word for it? It is true, as you say, that many women have few to zero choices about how they may behave and asking them to make moral choices they cant would not only cause unnecessary anguish, frustration, hurt and shame, it would likely hand even more control over to the men responsible. But I do think we need to challenge and debate with women who do have more freedoms than others ( we cant rely on men to do anything!) If their choices and ideology harms other women further ,unnecessarily, thats a problem. That’s not to say we shouldn’t focus on the root causes (men) , but rather precicely because so many women have been co-opted by misogynists under the guise of feminism (the ‘feminist’ porn industry for example) that we need to ask these women to think about how they see themselves: are they helping or harming other women. It matters. When every criticism becomes a panic about ‘shaming’ or racial prejudice it silences debate and helps no-one. I think all feminists need to have good faith, at the very least, that NO FEMINIST wants any other women to be oppressed, least of all by another woman, no matter what they believe or what harm they do to others. But we must remember that plenty of women do have power, however limited patriarchy makes that, and it is the responsibility of those women to claim that for all the woman who don’t. Challenging patriarchal institutions and ideologies is of course top priority, but one of the best ways to do that is by asking other women to help. Solidarity. Unfortunately that risks women feeling shamed. Even when that is never the intent.

  • JingFei

    Brianna Wu is a trans woman. She grew up with all the white male privilege possible; millionaire parents gave her $200k to start a videogame company. And now she feels like she can speak for women in gaming and game design, as well as exploitation? I know there are a few trans women out there that understand why prostitution and sexual objectification are harmful to us all. But I find ( at least on Twitter), this pro-sex industry, pro-sexual exploitation is quite common within the trans movement.
    As for the rest of the article, just gross. Games, Animation, Entertainment industries are all so toxic to women. Sexual harassment is downright commonplace, and it’s easy to see why. I’m a huge video game fan and I’m just so sick of it.

  • I went to a high tech office Christmas party once where the company hired professional dancers, both sexes. (They also had two bands and a DJ going simultaneously in three different areas – it was quite the bash.) I was jealous of the women’s outfits – they were fun. This is not that.

    (Also, the dancers weren’t up on platforms, they were on the same level as the rest of us – it was the bands who were on stages.)

  • Excellent observations, Meghan!

  • lk

    Update: Xbox chief Phil Spencer emailed a letter to the Verge in response:http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/18/11262888/microsoft-gdc-2016-party

    It says: At Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was not consistent or aligned to our values. It was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. I know we disappointed many people and I’m personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards. We must ensure that diversity and inclusion are central to our everyday business and core values. We will do better in the future.

    • Meghan Murphy

      How strange. If this goes against their values then how did it happen?

      • Yisheng Qingwa

        They lied.

    • Snobo

      So who’s getting fired?

    • txask

      Their values are diversity and inclusion but NOT respect for women. Sexual explotation? a joke! We’re gonna tell those b****es what we think of them

    • lk

      Update part 2: http://news.xbox.com/2016/03/18/a-message-from-phil-spencer/
      The link contains the full email that Phil Spencer sent out to Xbox employees to address the “unfortunate events.”

      The email is incredibly generic and says some stuff about inclusivity and diversity…it does not explicitly say anything about the dancers in school girl outfits or sexism.

  • lapis

    While many women have that fear of appearing to be a prude, Wu, who is trans and socialized as a boy is sincerely a fan of objectification.

    This is how Wu portrays women in art and games:

    http://boingboing.net/2009/08/24/crossed-genres-cover.html

    http://1u88jj3r4db2x4txp44yqfj1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/brianna-wu-standing.jpg

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      Dang that is shitty art.

    • TranswoMON

      Wow….. Thank you for that link. I actually face-palmed upon seeing the “art”

  • Snobo

    “Pro sexual empowerment.”

    She obviously has no idea what those words together even mean, but $100 says if you asked her, she’d blather some nonsense about choicey choice.

    Jez etc talking about sexypowerful “choice” of the women hired to serve as decorations at this thing deflects responsibility from the organizers as much as blaming and shaming the women would.

    • Yisheng Qingwa

      HE. Brianna Wu is male. Men cannot be women.

  • Melissa Cutler

    What gets lost in the whole “choice” rhetoric is that what may be the choice for a select, privileged few is most definitely not a choice for the vast majority of women and girls who are sexually exploited and that the choices of a few really do impact a wide scope of other women. Libfems’ inability (or, rather, unwillingness) to look at the bigger picture is maddening.
    It’s especially astounding because many of these same libfems (esp trans activists) are vehement that any one woman’s choice to speak critically of trans politics is violent and literally killing trans people. But yet when it comes to a woman’s “choice” to be exploited for male titillation, they see that as happening in a vacuum. Their response is “one women’s choice doesn’t effect other women!” Well, which is it? Why is the trans-critical person’s choice seen as violent and impacting the world in a grand scope, but the self-exploiting woman’s choice is seen as nothing but individually empowering? Do our politics and actions affect other women or not?

    • Cassandra

      A thousand “likes” for this comment, Melissa. The doublethink of libfems is breathtaking.

    • TranswoMON

      THIS!!! Oh my god this is awesome!

    • oneclickboedicea

      And there you have the lie, we are either individuals or we are herd animals. Lib fems dance backwards and forwards over that line depending on the audience they are talking to. That women support an industry that thrives on slavery and rape as just work like any other is the ultimate betrayal of other women who have no choice in slavery or rape.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    Brianna Wu is just another autogynephilic male minimizing and promoting the exploitation of girls and women.

    • corvid

      It’s not enough to them to appropriate a skewed vision of our bodies, is it. No, they have to appropriate our liberation movement too, turning it inside out into a patriarchy-supporting morass that shuts out the only real feminism that exists.

    • corvid

      When I say “a skewed vision on our bodies” I’m specifically talking about Wu’s potrayals of women in game art.

  • Yisheng Qingwa

    Wu is male.

  • therealcie

    Yuck. Also ew. Did I mention yuck and ew?
    Brianna Wu’s video game characters are stereotype “hotties.” Her beliefs are a good example of what is wrong with sex positive “feminism”.
    Shame on Microsoft. This is gross and inexcusable.

  • therealcie

    Any time someone spews the tired “sex sells” line, just replace the word “sex” with “misogyny” and you have the truth.

    • Melissa Cutler

      THIS ^^^

  • Helen Staniland

    Yes, it’s an excellent question and does get to the heart of the matter. We *know* that objectification is bad for women despite the new liberalism ‘choice’ rhetoric, but they’ve been tripped up here. Why is it suddenly bad in this situation? Great article.

  • Niki

    A bit off topic, in the sense that the above article is discussing the women dancers, but as a women developer the women I am most horrified for is the women developers that were at the party. I can’t even imagine a way to more clearly state that women are not welcome as developers. Just the day before this I saw the Stackoverflow developer survey. Stackoverflow is probably the most used web site by developers in the world. They estimate that 0.4% of developers in the world answered the survey, which is significant. Of these only 5.8% were women. I’ve often heard that women make up 20% of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) jobs and this is bad, only 20% but this is inflated because of a couple of areas where there are a lot of women, biology and pure maths, for example. In real tech stuff there are very few women. It is so hard to be a women in this industry. And tech, and I mean real development of technology, is so profoundly important to our society and culture, and it is almost a women free zone. This is totally heartbreaking to me. Lets teach more girls to code and then they won’t have to work as dancers and strippers. So to conclude f**k Microsoft.
    Oh and here’s the link to the survey, http://stackoverflow.com/research/developer-survey-2016#developer-profile-gender

    • lk

      “I can’t even imagine a way to more clearly state that women are not welcome as developers.”

      Yep! It must be challenging to work in that industry as a woman because there seems to be this constant underlying message of: you’re not really wanted here. There is such a disconnect though because Microsoft is always doing these teach girls to code and being involved in things that help more women get into the stem field.

      • Rachel

        Definitely. “You’re not really wanted here. Unless of course you’re here to sexually entertain us.”

    • Lucia Lola

      My heart breaks for them. This is more than a slap to the face. They deserve better.

    • Tired feminist

      There’s also that study about women developers being rated more highly if no one knows they’re women: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/12/women-considered-better-coders-hide-gender-github

      “Looking for an explanation for this disparity, the researchers examined several different factors, such as whether women were making smaller changes to code (they were not) or whether women were outperforming men in only certain kinds of code (they were not).

      “Women’s acceptance rates dominate over men’s for every programming language in the top 10, to various degrees,” the researchers found.

      The researchers then queried whether women were benefiting from reverse bias – the desire of developers to promote the work of women in a field where they are such a small minority. To answer this, the authors differentiated between women whose profiles made it clear that they were female, and women developers whose profiles were gender neutral.

      It was here that they made the disturbing discovery: women’s work was more likely to be accepted than men’s, unless “their gender is identifiable”, in which case the acceptance rate was worse than men’s.”

      ***
      I mean… shit. They controlled even for REVERSE BIAS. Think about that.

  • northernTNT

    Whatch the libfems squirm 🙂 … all it is is patriarchy wrapped in pretty pink and blue ribbons of “equal length”.

  • northernTNT

    We are desperately needing to separate “sex is fun” from porn and prostitution. I hate hate hate that sex-pos has the negative connotation. We SHOULD be positive about sex that is positive for us, personally. What a shitty bunch of labels we have. 🙁 Sex-pos should be anti-porn-anti-prostitution. Only non coerced sex is positive.

  • Cassandra

    Part of me is shocked that Microsoft would do this, yet part of me is not. Scantily clad women would have been bad enough but they had to go and make it about schoolgirls. Nope, no rape culture here! No porn culture here! JFC.

    We are living in a time of fierce backlash against women’s liberation from this shit. Liberal feminism IS the backlash. It’s astounding to me how many women have fallen for it.

    • Rachel

      Ah so well said. You hit the nail on the head there – we are living in a time of fierce backlash, and it’s getting harder and harder to fight the more this shit is accepted and normalised. The more women and girls are becoming decorative objects for men to gawk at use. Liberal feminism is making it harder to conquer too because it’s legitimised by other females. I’m not religious at all, but God help us.

  • TranswoMON

    Great article!!! Its so maddening to see this sh-t still in the gaming industry. And then to be somewhat defended by a trans person? >_<

  • Polly MacDavid

    It’s about time that women stopped caring what men think. Now THAT is TRUE liberation.

  • Lisa Sheeple

    This is why I avoid liberal feminists like the plague, they are in fact contributing to the marginalization and further violence towards women. This is not a choice, its an industry that coerce’s women/young girls into doing something they would rather not do but must do to gain employment, acceptance or belonging. Just look at the game GTA V, what the hell has the gaming world come to when you beat up prostitutes for money in a game?

  • Meghan Murphy

    We do not support transphobia or bigotry, no.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Please explain how the system of prostitution is acceptable to you but not Microsoft’s decision to hire women in sexualized schoolgirl outfits to dance at their party.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Ok. I’m genuinely confused now. Is she a transwoman, in which case she is male, but also trans, or is she simply female?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh ok. Actually it is unacceptable to speak to other commenters this way and you’re on your way to being banned.

  • Cassandra

    Someone born with a penis is male and always will be, no matter how many times toxic, misogynist MRAs like you say otherwise.

  • Lucia Lola

    Yep. This is where I entered into the fray, sotospeak. It was from this environment that I have exited and it was from that environment that I realised the hypocrisy of “sex positive” feminism was just too damn high. It’s this garbage specifically that started me thinking that I just might have gotten it wrong and it was from there that I discovered this website and the intelligent people that contribute and frequent it.

    I still shudder from time to time. What the hell was I thinking?

    • Rachel

      I know, it’s hard to imagine that you could ever think like this yourself, but you’re definitely not alone in that. I think many of us have been through it. I sure have

    • JingFei

      A lot of us started out buying into it. It’s so hard not to when it’s modeled all around you that fun-feminists are “cool! pretty! confident! approachable! popular! etc etc” and women disagreeing are; gross, militant, sad, ‘can’t get a man’, angry, man-hating, forever-alone etc etc.
      It’s hard as a teen to go against what you have been funneled into, and not towing the liberal-feminist line can bring a lot of hostility on you. I learned that whenever I would make a comment on Facebook that was more rad-fem, I’d be the only one challenging a post ( like “sex work is work! It’s the same as being a bank teller!” ). Any deviation from the narrative would be met with at least one comment of resentful rage. First from men, then their lib-fem handmaidens who for some reason couldn’t accept someone might have a different opinion.
      No regrets though. I’d rather be on this side, critically thinking than stuck on the other side.

    • therealcie

      I did the same. Back in the early 2000s, I did affiliate marketing for several porn sites and convinced myself that doing so wasn’t a problem.

  • Lucia Lola

    Compelling argument.

  • corvid

    Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all change reality with our thoughts? I’d become an ostrich, I already have a long neck!

    Why are you so obsessed with forcing women to accommodate the Brianna Wu’s of the world while they are free to promote our exploitation?

  • Bleep

    Didn’t Xbox have a similar event, with a similar scandal, only a year or two ago? Didn’t they have a bikini-babes scandal at an Ideas in Gaming conference, and swore they would rethink their approach? Maybe this is what I’m remembering http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Meter-Maids-Bikini-girls-TechEd-AUTechEd,11167.html

    I think Microsoft is probably #sorryNotSorry . I think to admit that porn culture is ruining women’s paychecks, relationships, mental health, lives is #scarySoScary for Jezzies.

  • lapis

    Microsoft hired dancers wearing revealing schoolgirl clothing for a Game Developer Conference afterparty.
    Not only are they sexualizing young girls (the ones who have to wear school uniforms in their daily life) but they’re further alienating and pissing off the women in the industry, showing their true boy’s club colours.

    Wu is biologically male, grew up male, objectifies women in art and games, is pro-prostitution, and claims to speak for women in the video game industry.

    But the thing you reacted to was me referring to this person as trans, not a woman?

  • Elisabet

    This compartmentalization used by so-called “sex positive” feminists essentially says: “Objectify/sexualize/hate/rape/humiliate that *other* woman, not me!”. The sex-positive view essentially means that they don’t mind if other women are subjected to objectification and pornstitution, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their own lives. They don’t mind the sex industry, in fact often celebrate it, because it gives them the illusion that the sex industry and their own lives and work are somehow completely separate and don’t bleed into each other. Then when it happens, they can put on a face of righteous fury because it wasn’t supposed to happen to *them* it was supposed to happen to *other* women, women who so willingly in their empowered state signed up for it so the proper women wouldn’t have to deal with it.

    Those other women, so empowered through their “work”, they will receive support from sex-positive feminists so long as they exist only within the bubble of “sex work”, a dimension so different from the one non-sex-work women work and live in that it can’t be perceived of as any kind of reality. Men are allowed to keep their own little class of women who are only there for their sexual pleasure, so long as men don’t extend that entitlement to the madonna, the proper woman, the woman who works outside the sex industry and demands to be seen as different than those who do. But you know, they support those other women’s *choice* to be *empowered*, of course. So long as that empowered choice doesn’t touch their own lives in any way.

    It is in every way so delusional and disgusting that I can’t even deal. This whole thing reveals so clearly how sex-positive feminism is mainly about throwing other women under the bus.

  • oneclickboedicea

    How can you think that is an appropriate response?

  • JingFei

    Brianna Wu is *not* female. She is a trans woman, but “female” = female biology. There’s nothing wrong with being trans, but I don’t get why I’m seeing more and more militant activists insist trans women are “female”.
    For example, Gynaecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the *female* reproductive systems. A trans woman would never seek out a gynaecologist. Because her reproductive systems are in fact, biologically male.

  • Misanthropia

    As I said, liberal feminists are finally biting themselves in the tail. And they are the PR department of the patriarchy. In their world nothing has to change, nothing has to be challenged.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    If Wu is female how can Yisheng be transphobic?

    • Hannah

      Haha, brilliant. Their doublethink is revealed every time they speak.

  • TranswoMON

    Care to elaborate, or just drop the “bigotry” bomb and walk out?

  • “So sexual objectification is only inappropriate at a professional networking event, but its okay everywhere else?”

    It is only inappropriate if wealthy, important, powerful women are there, duh! All non-white, working women love having butts and boobs shoved down their throats. This assumption (which is the basis for the liberal feminist argument that radical feminism is “white feminism”) is in no way yet another example of the racism implicit in sex positive thinking. *Sarcasm*

    To be clear though, I do not think liberals are conscious and deliberate racists. I think they are trying very hard to be politically correct, but by focusing so much on the roles imposed onto people (as a result of their biological sex, skin colour and other “identity” traits) that they fail to see every human being as a unique individual who does not necessarily conform to stereotypes or trends.

  • Hiri Nurmi

    This just isn’t true for Maths, and it’s not true for every other subject apart from Physics and possibly computing too

    https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/teacher-stereotyping-means-higher-marks-girls-says-oecd

    Many other studies showing this. There’s now a profoundly pro girl and anti boy bias in education, at all levels.

  • corvid

    Let’s recap the “transphobia” on offer here:

    – pointing out that male biology is male
    – pointing out that female biology is female
    – pointing out that trans culture is NOT acting in the best interests of female people when it is supporting the commercial rape industry and pornography

    ???

    • TranswoMON

      Yes? I agree. Soooo, This is weird, you’re preaching to the choir here :). and those points are not really the transphobia i was referring to, but fine points all in all.

  • verucasalt

    Yep. It really shouldn’t be hard. And yet somehow it is. I’ve now given up trying to debate libfems about race, religion, porn, prostitution or identity politics for fear of shaming. There is an ever growing section of feminism of limits for discussion . Its too depressing. Thankfully I found this site. The quality of thought and discussion is much more illuminating.

  • Alienigena

    Have Feminist Current contributors ever engaged with media outlets like Bitch Magazine which seems to have both feet on the sex positive bandwagon? They have an infographic describing what sex positive means. Very much in the ‘everything is a choice’ feminism camp. https://bitchmedia.org/article/oh-joy-sex-toy-what-does-it-mean-be-sex-positive