Texas Battlefield 3 launch LAN bans women from attending

Battlefield 3 logo next to a man in military combat gear.

A large launch party and LAN for Battlefield 3 is being held in Texas, and women are disallowed from attending in order to protect them from misogynistic insults.  While the original text in the FAQ has now been removed, the FAQ declared that women are not invited with the following statement:

Nothing ruins a good LAN party like uncomfortable guests or lots of tension, both of which can result from mixing immature, misogynistic male-gamers with female counterparts. Though we’ve done our best to avoid these situations in years past, we’ve certainly had our share of problems. As a result, we no longer allow women to attend this event.”

After being called out on this behavior on Reddit and on Kotaku,  the text was removed and replaced by declaring the event as a ‘gentleman’s retreat’.

I wanted to get this post up for discussion as soon as possible, and as a result I do not have a lot of personal commentary to add.  I will say that preventing women from attending gaming events doesn’t solve the problem with misogyny and hate speech towards them.  Instead, it puts the blame on the women for even being present, and removes the obligation for men to be decent human beings who respect women gamers.  It basically is saying that the organizers either don’t want to put the effort into policing language at their event, or don’t trust the men to be mature and responsible enough to adhere to event policies.

Kotaku’s Owen Good said it well:

This is a large, private event and its organizers certainly have the right to associate with whomever they please. But given what I usually hear over my headset in military shooters like Battlefield, I wonder if this party would so outwardly ban any black gamers from registering. Because it would be so, you know, uncomfortable to hear them being insulted.

 

Or maybe the answer here is to forbid that kind of obnoxious behavior, and kick out anyone who breaks the rule, $49 registration be damned. Or maybe this event is more about the comfort of the organizers than the participants.

I certainly wouldn’t want to go to this LAN party anyway at this point, but is the answer to creating a welcoming space in gaming for women to segregate them and forbid them from attending game launch parties to prevent misconduct?  I certainly don’t think so.

[via Kotaku]

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76 Responses to Texas Battlefield 3 launch LAN bans women from attending

  1. Hirvox says:

    If it was really a “gentleman’s retreat”, there would be nothing to worry about. Assuming that your attendees are “immature, misogynistic male-gamers” is a cynical, misandrist viewpoint.

    • Pai says:

      Well, a ‘Gentleman’s Club’ is just a fancy name for a strip joint, so I guess ‘Gentleman’s Retreat’ is a fitting euphamism for a misogynist LAN party.

      • Hertzey says:

        The definition for “Gentleman’s Club” depends on where you are from. In England it is a place where men gather, drink a little, play card games and relax. In America it’s a strip club. With technology growing and video games becoming a large part of our culture I could see the gentleman’s clubs (in England) accepting LAN parties.

    • DrObvious says:

      Texas rednecks taking the same view about gaming that moslems do about mosques. Declare women evil because many men are pathetic and insecure.

      Or maybe in this case it’s because they know women can stomp them at games. That’s the reason women have been barred from most sports throughout history. Poor widdle boys can’t handle getting punked by a gurl.

      • Skipjack says:

        While I’m sure everyone is aware of the subjugation of women in most major religions and cultures, it’s pretty crass to use this situation as a platform to toss out some spurious, casual Islamophobia. Just sayin.

        • Ronny Nunez says:

          DrObvious was probably trying to get at the actual physical separation of men and women that go on in mosques and making a parallel, but yes, it was not put very well.

    • Rob B says:

      No one’s making any assumptions about the behaviour of the attendees. The organizers are making all those assumptions by assuming the men can’t handle it, but are blaming women as the troublemakers. All male gamers should stand up and call bullshit.

  2. Brendan says:

    Wow. It seems to me like the solution to keeping “immature, misogynistic male gamers” out of your party would be to ban, y’know, MALE GAMERS.

    • DysgraphicProgrammer says:

      Yes, because it’s totally OK to paint all MALE GAMERS with the same immature, misogynistic brush. Not all of us are jerkwads, you know.

      • Tateru Nino says:

        Without painting anyone with any brushes at all, it *is* as workable and as fair a solution as the option that they actually chose. Flip a coin, exclude a gender.

        Obviously, it isn’t right – because exclusion based on gender just isn’t. What it is, is no *worse*.

  3. Amber says:

    Seriously… what?

  4. Tateru Nino says:

    Ladies, you’re not doing anything wrong, so you’re not allowed to attend!

    Gah.

  5. Madotsuki says:

    Hey, the gamers use ethnic slurs and homophobic insults too! Let’s ban everyone but hetero white men from attending! What a great way of showing consideration for discriminated players!
    I read this and was going to bang my head against the wall, but U was afraid I’d damage the wall. How come Other M gets more flak than a WWII pilot, but things like this (REAL discrimination against REAL people) go COMPLETELY unreported? It makes me feel these 15-25 hetero males won’t actually stand up if it means admitting they’re wrong. (I AM a 15-25 hetero male but besides the point).
    I have little hope for these people changing. Luckily with all thay warfare glorification some might enlist.
    Wow, what a horrible thing to wish on someone…
    I’m sorry…

  6. Tateru Nino says:

    I don’t believe that misogynistic or homophobic slurs are tolerable *anywhere*. No, not even in a “Gentlemen’s retreat”.

    As it stands, however, there is very rarely any penalty for poor behaviour of either sort.

  7. Lima Zulu says:

    Ah, the good ol’ protection from subjugation by subjugation routine. “We don’t want you treated badly, so… we’ll treat you badly to protect you.”

    Worst of it is, this is about as far as society has progressed in about a hundred years. :(

  8. Korva says:

    Is it just me, or does the original text paint the women as the “uncomfortable guests”? It’s not just the fact that they turned it into a Boys Only Club, but also the phrasing. Kicking out the wankers when they act up would be the only sensible and decent solution, but I guess they can’t be arsed to do anything but pander to the all-important “target audience”.

    Good point about the question of whether non-whites and non-straights will face the banhammer next.

    • Tateru Nino says:

      “Is it just me, or does the original text paint the women as the “uncomfortable guests”? ”

      You’re quite right. Apparently the appropriate cure for misogyny and sexual-harassment is to keep women from going out into places where men or boys are. Sheesh. That’s all very blame-the-victim.

  9. Jonathan says:

    I can’t quite find the words for how incredibly stupid this is or how angry it makes me.

  10. Sabrina says:

    If I’d written the software they were doing this around, I’d write to tell them their license to use it has been revoked. I can’t imagine EA doing such a thing here, though.

  11. Urgh. While I had no particular interest in this game anyway (Well, possibly a mild interest, as Battlefield: 2142 was pretty fun), there’s no way I’m buying it now.

    I mean… What idiot thought this up? “You’re going to be insulted, so we’re banning you from attending”. Even if they don’t realize that that’s not the way to fix the problem, don’t they get that it turns off potential customers and sets up a feedback loop? (The potential customers, of course, are mostly the female gamers, but there are also people like me (A straight, white, male, and thus the audience they seem to be trying to get), that will refuse to buy it on principle. The feedback loop is slightly less obvious, but think of it this way: If you alienate everyone but the misogynistic idiots, then they’re the only people buying your games, so they’re the only ones that will talk about or play them, so no-one who isn’t one of them will be interested in having to deal with them, etc.)

    • Jonathan says:

      I’ve just got to point out that this is nothing to do with the game’s publisher or developer, so it’s not really grounds for refusing to buy the game. We need more people who won’t tolerate misogyny, racism and homophobia playing these games!

      • thr33phas3 says:

        It doesn’t have to be about the game’s publisher, but it could be – especially if the publisher stepped up and did what Sabrina suggested, or (perhaps less harsh and easier to consider) at least published something condemning the choice the event made. That would be something, at least.

      • Skipjack says:

        Yeah, if you’re going to boycott the game you’d be better of doing it on the basis that its another military FPS where you play as the heroic americans slaughtering a bunch of sinister middle eastern people. there’s even a line in the trailer where a bunch of US troops walk down an Iraqi street and one asks “why is this part of the world so fucked up anyway?” and everyone just shrugs and laughs. It is so achingly unaware of the context it has rammed itself into its hard to believe this isnt all some sort of very deft parody of the link between war games and contemporary propaganda.

      • C'nor (Outermost_Toe) says:

        Ah. Hadn’t known that. Well, might buy it if I can a get it for a platform that will actually run it Thanks for clearing it up! :)

      • Tateru Nino says:

        One of the things that is overlooked is that there is no such thing as an ‘invalid purchasing decision’.

        ANYTHING can be grounds for refusing to make a purchase. Don’t like the developer? Don’t like the publisher? Don’t like the advertising? Don’t like the bust size of a minor character? Don’t like the way a third party promotes some event loosely related to the game? Don’t like your husband’s haircut? Don’t like your chair? Don’t like the prime-minister?

        It’s always up to the individual to make the call as to whether they purchase something or not purchase something. It’s a matter of personal opinion and of personal priority and of personal means. The *reasons* for how you feel and how that affects your purchasing decision might not be reasonable, might not be logical or might not even be sane – but how you *feel* is… well, how you feel is how you feel.

        You or or me or anyone buys or doesn’t buy based on our own, personal, subjective criteria, and that’s as it should be.

  12. Giest4life says:

    I…I have no words to express my thoughts on this

  13. Nathan says:

    It would seem fair for the original post to make clear that this LAN is in no way supported by or associated with EA or DICE (see the comment above this one).

  14. Udo says:

    This is as fucked up and as backwards as it gets. Why do they cater to “immature, misogynistic male-gamers” at all? If this is really such a big problem, why hold the event in the first place? Or why not just ban antisocial people outright and be done with it? Every other event in the gamer community works just fine without this bullshit. This is exactly the same reasoning as banning, say, black people on the grounds that they might cause unrest among the white KKK attendees who might be present.

  15. AngryAnt says:

    Wait, so it is implied that female gamers do not curse and insult their opponents? Hee hee!

  16. bickle77 says:

    I’m boycotting the Battlefield franchise because of this. It’ll be shit anyway.

  17. Katie says:

    I’m of two minds on this: It’s a private party. Period. They can say ‘Clothing Optional’ if they really wanted to. I don’t care.
    HOWEVER, the fact that they made this ridiculous statement just underscores the fact that the culture of the whole gaming community needs to change. It’s not like I need to be sheltered from vulgar language and insults. I’m not some wilting Victorian flower whose delicate sensibilities needs to be protected from the uncouth nature of Men. Serioulsy. You’re not being chivalrous. You’re tools who are simply too lazy to properly manage an event and too cowardly to even own up to what you said.

    • B says:

      I really enjoyed this response. But I don’t think they’re trying to be chivalrous at all, I think they’re just too lazy to handle a few people who can’t stand the heat but won’t leave the kitchen.

      Really though the best way to change the gaming community is for top female gamers to organize events and show how it’s done. The serious gamers will go wherever the good competition is.

    • Ohma says:

      I think it’s funny that if it *were* a clothing optional ‘gentleman’s retreat’ I’d be on the verge of cheering them.

      On a slightly more on topic thought though, in my experience the pervasiveness and severity of trash talking in groups is more or less independent of what sex or gender they primarily are and is much more influenced by the group’s collective idea of what normal behavior is. With video game culture we’ve got a lot of weird stuff that’s stuck around since arcades were a thing (and longer but whatevs), I think trash talking in it’s current form can probably be traced back to people who felt like they had to defend their score on an arcade machine they usually played on or else someone might score higher and therefore be allowed to monopolize the machine (BASELESS ASSERTION).

  18. mgarrett says:

    We have had the old boy’s network for years, and now we have young boy’s network – bunch of zombies…

  19. Thist says:

    As a member of the female gaming population this insults me to the bone. I’ve been to hundreds of high population LANs which includes running a high demand over night LAN center and I have never been uncomfortable with the “omg girl” comments. These comments are simply part of the environment and if they do get out of hand there isn’t a girl gamer that I know of who couldn’t stand up for themselves.

    There have been huge strides over the last 5 or so years to open the video game world to the female population and so far they’ve been successful. But things like this deminish any progress that we may have accomplished.

    Truly bad form gentlemen.

  20. Shark says:

    At least they know their market. Not saying I like it. I really wish the games industry was not marketed to a 12 year maturity level.

  21. B says:

    Since I’ve never been to this particular LAN party, I don’t know if the group in question really is full of misogynistic idiots.

    What I can say is that there’s a lot of research showing that men in general are more comfortable in antagonistic environments and with rude, insulting language. For example, Susan Pinker cites this as one of several reasons that even though far more women complete culinary school than men, far fewer women stay in the profession as chefs: kitchens can be extremely aggressive, rude places to work.

    It’s come up in this thread already that rude gamers don’t just insult women. They insult everyone. In my experience this kind of smack talk is part of just about every all-male competitive endeavour, and gamers are probably the worst of all.

    My suspicion is that this is a group of guys who enjoy being aggressively insulting to each other as part of their competitive play, and that they’ve had a few women who reacted very strongly to it. And the reality is that although there are some amazing female gamers, they’re just vastly less numerous. It’s easier to make it a boys-only nasty party than to kick out all the hardcore competitive guys and turn it into a circle of small respect and sensitivity.

    One of the real problems is that the initial announcement was written with barely more diplomacy than the “misogynistic idiots” it referred to. Rather than saying “we’re a group full of women-haters so we’re kicking out the women” it would have been wiser to rename the event itself to something guy-centric from the start.

    Deeper still is the issue of whether banning women is an acceptable solution. At first glance it seems universally stupid. Assuming that you accept the idea that some groups of people enjoy interacting on a superficially nasty and insulting level, if indeed the problem is that the only people complaining were a subgroup of the women present, maybe there’s another way to handle it–such as making the event invite-only, or making it abundantly clear before signing up, that it will be far from a warm and cuddly environment.

    The unfortunate truth is that it’s organizationally far easier to just ban women than to put work into better solutions. It’s a lazy (even passive-aggressive) response.

    As for the insulting environment itself, I think it’s acceptable as long as the insults flow freely and without distinction. There’s a big difference between “all the guys treating the girls like crap” and “everyone treating everyone like crap.” Or to be more specific, if the only insults are misogynistic, it’s a problem of sexism. But if people are being insulted in every possible way, then it actually achieves a strange kind of relativist equilibrium.

    • Jenna says:

      This.

      My friends are all guys, some more ridiculous than others, and I can tell you that when they get together – particularly around something competitive – they all revert to the fourth grade. But with bigger vocabularies. And of course, the reality about them is that no matter how rude they get at gaming events, they are absolute sweethearts.

      Does that mean it’s okay to be nasty and insulting all night long? Probably not, but I know what to expect, and I roll with it. When I get tired of the 1000th “your mom” joke, I just do something else for a while.

      I.E., I would probably be fine at this event, “misogynist idiots” not withstanding. It’s a shame that, instead of letting me take responsibility for my own comfort level, this event decided that for me.

      • Tateru Nino says:

        I am pleased that I know *no* men like this at present. I *have* known men like this in the past, but have long since excluded them from my social circle. By my own choice – not a choice made for me by others.

    • Skipjack says:

      The issue you are overlooking here, the huge elephant in your wall of handwinging text, is that gamers do not “insult everyone”. The insults thrown around are based around denigration, typically by invoking a marginalised group such as non-whites, non-straights and non-males. The fact that the people making these insults tend, as a group, to be white, straight males should be enough to make you realise this is about more than women wanting a “warm and cuddly environment.”

      What this event reflects is the underlying chauvenism and misogyny that is still at the heart of gaming culture, be it games players or games makers. Women are under represented as characters in video games with the sole exception of appearing as scantily clad nymphs for the titillation of a straight male audience. If they are characterised at all they tend to be either a “frigid bitch” or a playful sex kitten. As a consequence, few games draw much interest from women since the entire medium is presented in such a way to make it clear that this is a Male Space. When women do venture in, their treatment is shocking. Either aggressively hit upon or insulted specifically for being female and with specifically anti-female slurs (rather than the fanciful wide ranging insults you imagine) gamers as a community make it clear that women are not welcome in video games.

      Of course there are exceptions to this, and some communities are really pushing for more inclusiveness in gaming. This site is a prime example of this. But what this specific situation, like the recent series of embarrassments surrounding the marketing of Duke Nukem Forever shows is that at its heart gaming is still anti-woman in the most explicit and unashamed of ways. This is the problem here. Not whether the statement should have been worded differently. Not whether women should expect male gamers to make space for their timid minority by being polite in their presence. The problem is that by banning women from this one LAN event, the organisers have made an overt display of the misogyny and male hetero privilege, laying bare for all to see the message that is at the very heart of gaming culture for anyone who isn’t a straight white male: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

    • SGx says:

      Skipjack got there just before me, but I agree with them entirely. Listen to the insults being thrown around. Even when targeted at another male player, the insults are still sexist and/or homophobic. The most common form of insult in-game is to imply that a person is a member of a minority group. You can’t shoot straight, you’re a woman. You’re playing that class badly, you’re gay. That insult might have been aimed at someone who has the privilege to just shrug it off, but it’s hateful on a much wider level. I don’t want to hear that when I game, and I doubt there are many people who do. Accepting it as something that just happens isn’t a great option for those people.

  22. Lymaree says:

    Men can’t or won’t control their sexual impulses…so women must wear burkas.

    Men can’t or won’t control their mouths…so women can’t attend.

    Nice parallel, guys. But for heaven’s sake, let’s not make the immature misogynistic jerks themselves uncomfortable by perhaps requiring them to adhere to standards of common public decency and behavior.

    I suppose they’ll also be allowing pissing in the corners, public nose-picking, and lighting one’s farts for fun as those are also likely to increase the comfort level of their target market.

  23. Ellen says:

    Why cant the men be banned? Its them who misbehave. Dont punich women for what men do.

    • B says:

      For one thing, the event is run by men and primarily attended by men, and most of the women weren’t even there for the gaming. The only way to hold a women-only event would be if someone else organized it. And maybe that would be a good idea.

      • Sonic says:

        yes- exactly! Separate but equal! It worked so well with whites and blacks, right, because power is evenly divided between the two races…oh wait..???

  24. So unbelievably full of fail.

  25. virtual.jess says:

    It seems they have offered an explanation of their decision-making process. Unsurprisingly, it is full of fail http://www.powersgaming.com/showthread.php?789-The-quot-Misogyny-quot-Statement..-The-Truth-About-What-Really-Happene

    • Elena says:

      It’s even more sickening when you read this update. It’s not about a bit of trash talking or people getting offended; someone actually behaved so unpleasantly towards a particular female attendee that he head to be chucked out. So the answer is to ban women? You couldn’t stuff more fail in there if you tried.

    • Salem says:

      Why is it full of fail?

  26. Skipjack says:

    “Afterwards, we had to make a choice. Since we didn’t know this “Joe” guy before he signed up, how could we keep this from happening again ? Sure we could deal with it if another “Joe” showed up, but honestly we come to these events to have fun and relax, not to police morons like Joe. ”

    If anybody out there needs a refresher or an introduction to the notion of “privilege”, this is it. Women also want to go to these events to have fun and relax and don’t want to have to deal with morons like Joe. The difference is that men have the privilege of being able to ignore Joe because they are never the target of Joe’s abuse. By banning women, people like Joe can still come to the events and spout all the vile, abusive shit they would do anyway, and the men can still enjoy themselves because since there are no women around, no one has to be bothered about an abusive misogynist.

    Women don’t have that option. Were they allowed to attend, they would be potential targets, as they are everywhere, of people like Joe. They would have to either complain to the organisers (something which they clearly see as a huge imposition), attempt to deal with it themselves, or just silently bear the abuse being directed at them. There is no option for women to just put it out of their minds. This is true also for non-whites and non-straights, not just in gaming but throughout all of society. The ability to “solve” problems like homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and racism by making the victims disappear is exclusively available to straights whites and men. This is what privilege is, folks.

  27. Samia says:

    “I wonder if this party would so outwardly ban any black gamers from registering.”

    I just want to say that as a female gamer of colour, I am not cool with these kinds of attempted comparisons between sexism and racism and that they make me feel extremely ostracized and unwelcome in progressive spaces. The subtext of these types of statements seems to be that sexism is more otherwise acceptable than racism, and that is a severely flawed point of view. So while I absolutely agree that two wrongs don’t make a right, comments like Owen’s are not the way to go about proving one’s point.

    • Jonathan says:

      Unfortunately, there does seem to be a sort of hierarchy of bigotry and many people are willing to accept discriminatory language or behaviour towards one group that they wouldn’t towards another. The purpose of making such comparisons is not to suggest that one kind of discrimination is more or less acceptable than another, but to explicitly demonstrate that they aren’t.

      • Samia says:

        Owen’s remarks fall into the extremely squicky territory of “we wouldn’t even do this to BLACK PEOPLE!!!!!1″ which was recently lambasted by a blogger (http://cotton-gotta-pick-itself-1863.tumblr.com/post/7604722447/you-cannot-supplement-black-people-every-time-youre).

        Whatever the purpose of these attempts at comparison, using the experience of USian black folks as some kind of lowest common denominator for oppression is extremely offensive and harmful. It is also uniquely erasing to women of colour who experience both sexism and racism as intertwined entities. There can be no hierarchy for those of us who navigate multiple oppressions, so the idea of comparing a ban against black people vs a ban on women is not something that should be seriously entertained on a progressive blog IMO. Just my $0.02.

        • Rawles says:

          Agree 100,000%.

        • Skipjack says:

          This is a really helpful post. I’ve always felt a bit uneasy about the appropriation of one marginalised groups struggle to quantify those of another, but I wasn’t really sure why. Now I know!

          That said, this article has clearly attracted a lot of commenters who are new to ideas like privilege and marginalisation and in particular to the idea that women are still significantly discriminated against. In the US at least, the black community’s struggle toward equality has been particularly high profile to the stage where it is generally understood that racism is not acceptable, at least in public or shared spaces, that you cannot assume those around you are likely to be cool with you making racist comments etc.

          I know this is a can of worms, but I’m not convinced the same point has been reached in gender relations. Assuming I’m not full of shit, isn’t there some use for introducing people who will be at least familiar with the idea of racial discrimination to ideas of gender discrimination by using the issues they are familiar with? I get that creating a whole hierarchy of marginalised groups is a really bad thing to do, but I guess what I’m saying here is rather than looking a the the racism against black people as some lowest common denominator, couldn’t it also be seen as a sort of ubiquitous example of a successful struggle against oppression and marginalisation?

          • Samia says:

            Given the continued oppression, dehumanization and segregation of USian blacks, I’m not sure where to find the “successful struggle against oppression and marginalisation.” Do voting rights denote success? If so, the women’s movement could be characterized in exactly the same way (and they frequently are, often by people who think sexism is a thing of the past).

            I completely disagree that racism is somehow less acceptable than sexism. The sexism I face is very often racialized, because I cannot separate my femaleness from my brownness. Similarly, the racism I face is different from that suffered by men of colour. Racial stereotypes are very closely woven into the restrictive gender roles and sexualities foisted upon people of colour.
            This is a very, very fraught and complicated issue and I urgently warn white progressive folks in particular not to fall into the trap of glibly comparing sexism to racism. This is one of the ways that “sexism” comes to mean “sexism against white women.”

            Personally, I have no need of an ally who thinks it’s okay to simplify my (and others’) lived experience just to prove some kind of point to a (probably white) Feminism 101-er. I am not sure why a potential teaching moment is more important than someone explaining that the “lesson” itself is oppressive. I don’t think it’s up to non-racialized people to decide what racism is or isn’t like, just like people who don’t experience sexism can’t rank it against other oppressions. The best we can do is acknowledge that both are bad things and go from there.

            Pointing out that both sexism and racism are oppressions? I’m fine with that. But the constaint refrain of “I bet they wouldn’t do this to BLACK PEOPLE” creates the false impression that racism has somehow been solved. I have heard this line of bull in multiple “feminist” and queer spaces now. This is one of my favourite blogs, so I wanted to explain how I feel because I think the writers here are particularly open to feedback.

            • Korva says:

              Thank you for this post. It made me think, too — I’ve been guilty of this line of thinking myself at times. I’m not from the US, and I don’t think there’s no racism in my country, but … yeah, regardless of one’s location, the “lowest common denominator” style of argument is a sign of my own white privilege and must taste very bitter to no-whites.

    • Sif says:

      Samina: Do you think people should not point out the fact that they’re only banning women from this tournament, and not male poc or homosexuals, despite the fact that gaming tournaments throw around racist and homophobic slurs all the time?

      I’m not trying to be contentious, just curious how you think it could be addressed in a proper manner.

      • Samia says:

        It’s perfectly valid to point out that arbitrary discrimination against any class of marginalized people is wrong, and that we should all stand together to fight kyriarchy. Any direct comparisons between oppressions are going to risk trampling over people’s lived intersectionality, IMO.

        Now, the following is pure speculation on my part, but I think it’s safe to assume that this gaming group is largely white. If these dudes were expecting prospective female attendees to be mostly white as well, then it is likely that they enacted their sexist policy out of some paternalistic idea of chivalry. This idea of women-as-delicate-flowers does not tend to be applied on a class level to people of colour or queers, but it *has* (in the US at least) historically been used to keep white women out of white men’s affairs. It’s the kind of infantilization that white men have used to keep white women on a pedestal of sorts.

        Consider the patronizing fake-chivalrous reasoning these guys used to defend themselves. They’re not the same kind of justifications historically used to keep black men and women out of white-run gatherings. Jim Crow was not enforced because white politicians believed black folks to have delicate sensibilities. This is another reason I would shrink from direct comparison– in my opinion, the attitudes spawning discrimination here are different and they come from a different place. So comparing levels or types of wrongness like the OP tried to do is kind of pointless as well as harmful.

        The bottom line is that no one should have to get kicked out of their favourite hobby because they’re part of a marginalized group, whatever that group may be.

        All this said, I am very curious as to whether or not there will be any policies enacted against racist and/or LGBTQIA-phobic speech…probably not. My guess is that male-identifying people from those marginalized groups will be expected to be macho and suck it up. Sigh.

        • Sif says:

          Thanks for the reply. Well thought-out, and you bring up some interesting stuff I hadn’t really considered in the wording of this group’s ban.

          “All this said, I am very curious as to whether or not there will be any policies enacted against racist and/or LGBTQIA-phobic speech…probably not. My guess is that male-identifying people from those marginalized groups will be expected to be macho and suck it up. Sigh.”

          Sadly, I think you’re correct.

    • Sarah says:

      Sadly, although both women and African Americans have been given *legal* equality (jobs, right to vote, own land, etc), there are still FAR too many people who discriminate against them.

      Racism and sexism is still here. And, unfortunately, people are still going to try and compare the two…. I agree w/you whole-heartedly that it is wrong. Neither points of view should be acceptable in ANY way- esp in this day and age.

      It’s as if all the years of fighting for equal rights was for not.

  28. mouse says:

    For contrast, here’s how bioware handled this situation: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/304/index/6661775&lf=8

  29. Korva says:

    So instead of wanting to “deal” with another Joe, they decide to accommodate him. What an utterly brainless asshole move. Again, I have the strong impression that they don’t really view “Joes” as a problem at all. I wonder what would happen if a MAN complained about a “Joe’s” raving hate speech. Ban the men too? Or just issue a statement that if you don’t enjoy raving hate speech as a perfectly acceptable, intrinsic part of an oh-so-manly macho hobby, you’re a cunt and can’t come?

  30. Sarah says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to, ya know, warn gamers that crude/rude misconduct -verbal or otherwise- would get them booted?

    I’m sorry, but the vibe I get from them essentially saying “We don’t want your feelings hurt” is “We’re afraid you can’t handle the heat”

    Bah!

  31. Thist says:

    Their clarification cracks me up. “We’re lazy so we’re going to label ourselves as bigots”. I don’t understand the concept of I want to host an event and relax. Hosting anything is work and you’re not only responsible but you’re liable for your guests actions. Guess they didn’t get the memo.

  32. Tateru Nino says:

    My knowledge of anti-discrimination laws in the USA are a little bit incomplete, so please someone gently correct me if I am wrong, but…

    Isn’t it unlawful to deny access to goods, services or venues based on: Gender, race, creed, disablement or name? I’m pretty sure it is allowable to do so based on literacy, behaviour, dress and so forth…. but isn’t gender-based exclusion unlawful there – cause notwithstanding?

    • Trodamus says:

      That’s kind of complicated. Discrimination isn’t against the law when it’s 1) consistent and 2) serving a legitimate business interest. Obviously 1 is out as this only applies to women, but it would take some lawyering to determine if expecting that some attendees will take exception to other attendees qualifies for number 2.

      They can also get away with a bit more if this is a private event. But honestly, I think this wouldn’t stand up in court and the huge amount of bad publicity would cause them to settle in a heartbeat. Who wants to make some quick cash?

      • Tateru Nino says:

        This reminds me a lot of what a friend of mine used to call “safe discrimination”. She said something like “You can discriminate on as much as you like, on any grounds that you like, so long as you’re pretty sure the people you’re discriminating against won’t or can’t take action against you.”

        • Trodamus says:

          That particular situation isn’t unique to discrimination; see also overly litigious libel, copyright and/or defamation suits.

  33. bblackmoor says:

    Heaven forbid they exclude the people who actually cause the problems.

  34. otakucode says:

    Invite the women, encourage them to attend, and kick out and ban for life every single guy that does anything wrong. It’s that simple. Are you going to disinvite gays and minorities as well because so many gamers are troglodytes? Gaming is not an alternate universe. Bigoted idiots should be singled out, insulted, punished, and excluded.

  35. Tateru Nino says:

    Seems to me, on reflection, that – in the organisers’ lexicon – “gentleman’s club” means “venue for people too immature to not get thrown out of other events for bad behaviour”

    I’d hate to have that particular stink on me if I were a possible attendee.

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