Diamonds in the Rough and Those Other Girls: Conflicts Between Female Gamers

By guest contributor Rawles

Rawles is a lifelong gamer and huge nerd. She enjoys World of Warcraft, select RPGs, fighters, and numerous games where she gets to shoot things, but she’ll play pretty much anything once. When not gaming, she spends a lot of her time writing deconstructionist meta about narrative structure and imaginary social politics from the future (in space) over at her LiveJournal.

The Border House was first brought to my attention a few weeks after its inception by a friend of mine. Not a self-identified gamer herself, she recognized how relevant the site was to my particular interests, not least due to the many rants I’d directed towards her about misogyny and sexism in gaming culture.

One of the first posts I read was Why The Border House Has a Need To Exist and on the very first sentence, which notes that the site was advertised at wow_ladies on LiveJournal, I flinched. I didn’t even have to complete the paragraph to know how that went. Surely enough, the last few sentences were paraphrasing a commenter immediately questioning the value of Border House and noting that they should look to be gamers first and as such read the same news and opinion sources as men.

The post itself easily answered the question of why this blog needs to exist, but the thing I found myself considering was why that sort of response was what I expected and why it was among the responses received and that have been received, often from women, with regard to numerous and sundry focused groups for female gamers.

Women gamers are already bucking or subverting perceived traditional gender roles, right? The perfect targets for this sort of thing, right? But unfortunately, institutionalized and internalized systems like sexism can’t be overturned that easily, even amongst those who are being marginalized. One of the keys of oppressing a people is to convince them of their own inferiority, and what I realized, unfortunately, is that many female gamers suffer from what I’ve seen called Diamond in the Rough Syndrome.

At its most basic level, Diamond in the Rough Syndrome is when a woman who is engaged in what is perceivable as a progressive action or non-traditional role takes the position that while she is a girl, she is also different, special. She’s not like those other girls. It is the compulsion to distance oneself as strongly as possible from anything traditionally associated with girls, regardless of its actual quality or worth.

I credit it for why in any discussion including female gamers, women will always come forth to incredulously, indignantly, virulently reject the idea that they would ever do something so worthless or ridiculous or terrible, for instance, as choose their character race in WoW based on which one was prettiest or care most about romance subplots in an RPG or exclusively/primarily play “casual” games or be introduced to games by men in their lives.

Diamond in the Rough Syndrome is the natural outgrowth of a society that devalues femininity.

Obviously, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with women who don’t care whether their character in WoW is pretty or who don’t bother to play out romance subplots in their RPG of choice or who can’t make it through a game of Bejeweled because there aren’t any heads to make explode or who found games all on their lonesome.

But in their needlessly intense kneejerk rejections and dismissals of these innocuous feminine-labeled behaviors, they implicitly or explicitly demean Those Other Girls who do care whether their character is pretty or who emotionally invest in which person their PC will fall in love with or who are badasses at Combine or whose boyfriend got them to start playing Xbox. Those Other Girls and those behaviors are no inherently less empowered or less worthy of being respected and the only reason to think so (or unthinkingly act so) is because society’s biases still have a hold on us, even in our attempts, intentional or otherwise, at progression.

Those Other Girls are rejected because they are seen as too much girl and not enough boy. Sometimes it’s just a flat dismissal of femininity, in general. Sometimes it’s the mildly more nuanced dismissal of femininity under the erroneous idea that there’s some watermark that makes an acceptably progressive woman or an acceptable woman gamer. Either way, it boils down to the reduction of anything marked, validly or not, as female.

The answer to my initial question is that there are women gamers who don’t and won’t see the desperate need for blogs like this until we’ve all surpassed the training that makes us feel that being an empowered woman means being traditionally masculine and rejecting what’s perceived as exclusively feminine. Until then, we’ll all still have to watch women gamers be incapable of seeing value in a space like this. To many, women who want to speak up for gender equality and who desire a place where they can be heard and considered and respected, well, they’re just more of Those Other Girls.

Because for those who demand to be “gamers first” without acknowledging or realizing that absent widespread gender-aware discourse throughout gaming culture “gamers first” really just means being defaulted to male…the biggest crime of Those Other Girls is calling attention to the fact that they are girls.

39 thoughts on “Diamonds in the Rough and Those Other Girls: Conflicts Between Female Gamers”

  1. This is a fantastic post, and the same sentiments could be applied to other “nerd” cultures like comics (which I work in) and things like Sci-Fi. Not only is there the Not Like Those Other Girls from women themselves, but the same idea is used as a compliment from men within those cultures. You’re Not Like Those Other Girls. You’re special. You “get” it. Getting that sort of approval feels good at first, but it’s backhanded.

    The fact is, being a “girl gamer” shouldn’t be a negative. Just like being a girl anything shouldn’t be. We shouldn’t have to deny our gender to be taken seriously. Or treated equally.

    1. Oh it’s absolutely true that this is a prevalent attitude throughout pretty much all of nerd cultures. I actually just recently spent some time contributing some quotations for a friend’s paper on being a girl in comics culture (specifically reading superhero comics) and so I definitely know that one. And, well, it’s probably obvious from my bio quote that I am very into Sci-Fi as well.

      I’ve been on the receiving end of those “Not Like Those Others,” not just with regard to gender but with regard to race and various forms of activism. When you’re young it’s especially pleasing because it makes you feel special. So it’s a pretty easy trap to fall into and you can age without realizing that what seemed like a compliment to you was a dismissal of a part of your self and a whole bunch of other people besides.

  2. This post immediately made me think about my daughter and how the future generation will look at gaming in terms of gender-defining roles. She enjoys the Dora games for DS and KOF 11 with me, and we’ve played with the Champions Online hero creator as well (she’s big into super heroes, Raven and Bat-girl specifically). She doesn’t consider playing games to be something that boys do or something that girls do, it’s something that everyone does.

    On the other hand she had the same opinion about Soccer, Football, Baseball and Hockey up until entering pre-school where she was informed by some of the boys there that those sports were for boys. Of course, parents always play the most important role in a young child’s life and now she has the (IMO) more healthy idea that such sports do not belong to any one gender and wanting to practice Soccer daily does not make her “like a boy”.

    At any rate, it’s my opinion that within a generation the term “girl-gamer” will all but disappear and the 12 year olds coming to XBL will be utterly confused by the mysogyny spouted by the 20 somethings (who are currently teens).

    1. At any rate, it’s my opinion that within a generation the term “girl-gamer” will all but disappear and the 12 year olds coming to XBL will be utterly confused by the mysogyny spouted by the 20 somethings (who are currently teens).

      Well, I’d certainly like to hope that will be the case, but unfortunately social change doesn’t tend to happen that quickly. There are things people say on Xbox Live that some might think you’d have to go 50 years into the past to hear, and yet.

  3. I checked out your blog. So how about that movie… what’s it called?… Oh yeah, now I remember!

    Avatar! ;)

    1. Thank you for that, I checked her Blog and now I know that I don’t have to spend my time/money on that horrible horrible movie.

      1. It is not a waste of money. The special effects and animation are well worth it and will blow your mind. You will actually forget at times that you are watching special effects. I disagree with some of Rawles points, but the plot does have its problems. Overall, the movie is very much like Dances with Wolves and/or The Last Samurai in a sci-fi setting.

  4. Great post, Rawles. :) I hope to read more of your insight in the future. :)

    These issues of internalised sexism can be difficult to unpack for many people, including women who fully support equality. When you come to the realisation that, yes, you have those issues to unpack as well, it’s like someone threw a bucket of cold water in your face. I used to be a lot like the women you describe, putting down other women gamers, specifically of the type that I perceived to be attention-seeking and “flaunting” their sexuality to gain approval from male gamers. It took me a lot of self-examination to understand what I was doing and why. To be honest, I still struggle with internalised sexism, though it’s in different ways, and it’s something that I try to keep aware of.

    1. I think it’s something we all struggle with because our culture is just so horrendously sexist all the time. So you just find yourself falling into these traps where something seems like a natural reaction (and because of the world we live in…it actually is) and one day you have that epiphany that the place it’s coming from is sexist as all get it out.

      In line with what you said, in my experience, the one that we all have the worst time catching each time (though I think I’m getting much better at it recently, thank goodness) are the wide range of reactions to other women that are fundamentally based in slut-shaming.

      I actually feel like I have a whole post in me about this and the way it interacts with WoW and the concept of the “Guild Princess” somewhere.

  5. Man I’ll admit it. I’m pretty guilty of the “You’re not like those other girls” thing. The sad truth is I’ve never actually met “those other girls” I’ve only met cool people who like games and happen to be female.

    *shrug* live and try and learn I guess.

  6. This post is so awesome that just about all I can do right now is squee! I love the term “diamond in the rough” that you’ve coined for this. :-D

  7. Really fantastic break down of female gamers’ internalized sexism. I used to be like that, too, until I learned better, though sometimes I still have knee-jerk reactions. I guess this attitude is so rampant among female gamers because for a long time it was a really male-dominated activity, and being a woman who played games was special–dudes would fawn over you and shit (“You play video games? That’s so cool!!!!11″). As soon as other women come into the picture, you’re not special any more.

    And being “one of the guys” or whatever may have a ton of benefits, but those benefits can and will be revoked as soon as you have an issue with something.

    Anyway, great great post. Looking forward to seeing more from you! :D

    1. And being “one of the guys” or whatever may have a ton of benefits, but those benefits can and will be revoked as soon as you have an issue with something.

      I think that’s absolutely true and true across the entire discrimination spectrum. You can be Other as long as you’re suitably meek and nice about it, but as soon as you draw attention to your differences in any way you’re perceived not only as causing any discrimination yourself by not properly subsuming yourself in the majority, you’re additionally pegged as being unreasonable/oversensitive to take issue with discrimination and, my favorite, as though you’re “reducing” yourself by acknowledging important parts of your identity.

  8. This is a wonderfully written post which is spot on in regards to that kind of attitude prevalent among some girl gamers.

    I had the exact same “wince” reaction when I heard about the announcement of The Border House on wow_ladies on LJ (the fail there is it’s the reason I can’t read the community anymore).

    I’m going to link to this post from my blog, but I was wondering/hoping you’d allow me to also archive it there as well? I have some readers who don’t often click links, but I do want them to read this one and would like to enable that as much as possible. =)

  9. Well, I think you just covered part of the post I was going to submit! :D
    Very well said, and I agree with most of it! However, one thing I think is missed here is how the female gender itself becomes defined by some of these women as “fatally weak”. More than just associating with masculine traits some move on to embrace many forms of misogyny.

    I think it’s being a part time PVPer and a Raider, but I see many “diamonds”(Oh I adore this!) go out of their way to call names, to belittle females not in their clique to the point of true game and possibly life impacting harassment. It’s not just a distancing personally but a persecution and destruction of a part of themselves in others.

    What they say and do to men they deem weak is almost worse than the females they disprove of. I must say, it irks me to hear a “Diamond” slurr a man she defeats with things like “Lady boy” or other allusions to their being homosexual or little girls. It’s not uncommon to see that type of “Diamond” hound a player, but more likely a ‘weak man’, across the game, the forums and in any place they can get to them, if the person dares to tell them off for being belittling.

    And often even if they don’t do the above, many times a “Diamond” is the first to toss out the “You hit like a girl!” or “Stop QQing like some little girl with a skinned knee!”. (altered to be more forum appropriate.)

    It’s like they have to hate girls more than the boys to make up for being female. That by attacking anything perceived as weak, they become stronger. This of course leads to backlashes that then encourage this behavior in them by feeding into their hate.

    So yes, while Diamonds and Other gamer girls are a few categories to Diamonds, there are a few sub sets that give a worse name to the whole.

    All in all, I personally prefer to remain mostly genderless online, as it avoids some preconceptions/assumptions. In theory.
    /my two cents

    1. “And often even if they don’t do the above, many times a “Diamond” is the first to toss out the “You hit like a girl!””

      Seriously. I wrote about that a bit WRT Zoe from Fanboys. In the movie she’s usually the one busting out those phrases, calling her guy friends “ladies” and “girls” in order to insult them (she also uses “This is gay” at one point). It’s fucking annoying… but in a way, disappointingly realistic.

    2. one thing I think is missed here is how the female gender itself becomes defined by some of these women as “fatally weak”.

      I don’t really think I missed this. I feel this behavior is covered by my commentary on the reduction and violent rejection of femininity. I didn’t mean that in the sense of just within themselves at all. That’s why I discussed how it’s both an implicit and often explicit rejection of other Those Other Girls. And rejecting what is perceived as female in general absolutely extends to the rejection of men who aren’t “manly” enough (though that leads off into a whole other side of the gender roles by which men are constrained and homophobia etc.).

      I don’t really think what you’re talking about are a different subset at all. You’ve just provided a (very accurate) listing of some other behaviors in which women like this tend to engage.

      The reason I didn’t really go into extreme examples is because I wanted to help women who might find themselves doing the more subtle versions of this (“Ugh, why does anyone play stupid pretty Blood Elves! Blegh, brainless!”) to be able to identify this behavior in themselves. And when you use extremes that are obviously awful, people are less likely to unpack their own similar issues because they go, “Ugh, good thing I’M nothing like that!”

    3. Oh, as an addendum!

      I personally prefer to remain mostly genderless online, as it avoids some preconceptions/assumptions. In theory.

      I was actually addressing the fallaciousness of this theory in my last sentence. You can’t be genderless online. Particularly not in spaces like gaming culture. What’s usually happening there when you don’t disclose that sort of thing is that most people are mentally defaulting you to the majority. Even if they don’t say so, there’s a good chance that’s what they’re doing. So while you might be avoiding some preconceptions/assumptions, you’re submitting to a whole bunch of others and specifically avoiding any chance of overturning any in the way that you might by being yourself while also being your gender. Which, that’s your choice and you should do whatever makes you comfortable. But you’re not actually avoiding or sidestepping the whole thing, you’re just engaging it from a slightly different angle.

  10. Border House absolutely needs to exist as a balance. I never heard the term “Diamond in the Rough” before, its apt.

  11. As an aside, I want to validate that female gamers who like violent and “hardcore” games aren’t all doing it to get in with the boy club. Some of us genuinely like that stuff.

    I am one of those ladies that wants to play a big muscular avatar, so I choose female orcs in WoW instead of the prettier races. I prefer muscular women because I am one and that’s what I physically identify with. I’ve been gaming my entire life so I like a challenge, and yes, lots of violence to blow off some steam at the end of a stressful day. I don’t to any of this to ingratiate myself with male gamers or to “more like a boy,” but simply because that’s my natural proclivity.

    I am SURE the original poster didn’t mean to imply that this type of gamer are all male-wanna be’s, but I had to clarify when the only mention of my group is that “there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with” it.

    Keep on blogging, sister!

    1. All of us here are avid gamers, so I’m sure that the author did not mean to imply that women who make avatar choices that are not stereotypically beautiful want to do so to they gain acceptance amongst male gamers. My feeling from the post is that she wasn’t putting down avid (or “hardcore”) women gamers for their choices, only saying that women gamers shouldn’t put down other women gamers for making choices that don’t conform with the “hardcore” mentality or that are stereogypically feminine. The vibe that I got from the post seemed to me that we should be building bridges with women gamers, instead of making barriers, if that makes sense?

    2. Indeed, I absolutely did not mean in any way imply that women who like hardcore games and playing Orcs and whatnot are boy wannabes. If you look at my bio, I really love games where I get to shoot and blow up things myself.

      To be 1000% clear, I was specifically addressing the behavior on the part of some women who enjoy those things wherein they adamantly reject or deride the contrasting “feminine” behaviors. I explicitly state that there is nothing at all wrong with those preferences on their own.

  12. I dig this post and it breaks my heart to see women slam “girly” interests as inferior, especially as a ploy to get in as “one of the guys” and all the adulation and privilege that entails.

    On the other hand, I think it’s important not to lump all angry female gamers as the Diamond type described here. Not all people with an angry kneejerk reaction to certain stereotypes are doing so out of internalized misogyny, but justified anger in being type-cast by men.

    I think it’s fair and permissible for a woman to be angry when she’s slapped with the assumption she likes certain games or roles on account of her femaleness. I’m one of those who would hotly denounce this stereotype when it’s applied to me, not because I feel belittled by traditionally female roles, but because I don’t appreciate people assuming they know my style of gaming just because all my chromosomes all match.

    I validate women gamers who want to play out romantic interests and play casual games. That’s great! I never slam ‘Those Other Girls’, nor do I see a reason, too.

    But I DO have a problem with men who instantly type-cast me as a casual gamer or a healer/caster class on account of my femaleness. I will angrily point out that these men don’t know me and shouldn’t make assumptions.

    So yes. Some of us are angry. Justifiably angry, I think, because no one likes to have assumptions thrown at them based on their sex. I’m one of those pissed female gamers, but my anger is directly entirely at stereotyping men and not female gamers or their choice in gaming.

    1. This post is amazing, and I agree with this response. A little off topic, but I have a personal tidbit to share.

      I would probably consider myself someone labeled as “Those Other Girls.”

      I am a girl. Outside of gaming, one of my passions is fashion. I went to college and got my degree in fashion design. But, I hung out with the “gamer” crowd, and yes it was mostly guys, but there were a few girls as well. These girls praised their sexuality and were very much, “Look I’m a girl and I play video games.” I didn’t want to have to do that to get attention. I wanted attention by my skills playing video games within that particular circle.

      But the thing that overshadowed my skill was that I liked “stereotypical” girl things; getting manicures and pedicures, watching romantic movies, the need for my shoes to match my purse…I like that kind of thing. I can’t help that I have a hobby I want to try to make a career out of.

      But, I also had the issue with friends outside my gaming circle, and in my fashion circle. When someone asked what I did over the weekend and say, “Oh I played [random console game] this night, saw [random romantic comedy movie] the next,” and they would be hung up on “You played a video game?” It seems even with women that don’t play video games they view it strictly as a stereotypical male activity, but that’s another discussion I’d imagine.

      I personally felt like I didn’t fit in enough no matter what; too feminine to be a gamer, not feminine enough to be a fashionista.

      This is, of course, my own personal experience

    2. Not all people with an angry kneejerk reaction to certain stereotypes are doing so out of internalized misogyny, but justified anger in being type-cast by men.

      I wasn’t assuming that was the case. I have a lot of my own very justified anger and I would never tell anyone else that they don’t have the right to be angry about being stereotyped.

      I was specifically addressing that reaction when it involves deriding the feminine labeled behaviors.

      That’s why I specifically said: “come forth to incredulously, indignantly, virulently reject the idea that they would ever do something so worthless or ridiculous or terrible”

      The key part here is the characterization of the feminine labeled behaviors as negatives. Not the anger itself. The anger at being stereotyped isn’t what I was addressing here at all. It’s a whole different topic. I was talking about the ways in which women choose to express their own preferences by demeaning contrasting ones.

      I apologize if that wasn’t clear.

      I only have a problem when part of your angry kneejerk reaction is to dismiss and demean contrasting behaviors, instead of just stating your own.

  13. It’s hard to address such a complex and difficult topic as the above in the space limits of a blog, and this post does a fantastic job of presenting a problem–Diamond in the Rough Syndrome–in a way that challenges typical assumptions about gender and feminism.

    I do struggle, though, with what reads as a somewhat binary description of women who fit the Diamond in the Rough symptoms. Often, what makes us so angry is not that some women, for example, pick characters based on how pretty they are but that some women refuse to cop to that rationale for their choices. We want authenticity, a genuine, even if complicated, relationship between a culture and its participants, and when we see women (or men) act in contradictory ways without recognizing and owning up to the contradiction, we get mad. We’re not like ~that~ kind of women, we insist. It’s not, after all, that some women pick pretty characters but that some women pretend the decision is empowering.

    It’s a hard path to tread and a very, very narrow and smudged line between taking a stand for feminism and looking like the kind of woman who would throw other women under the bus. Even this post seems to pop back and forth across that line. Perhaps we need, then, to rethink where we drew the line in the first place.

    1. I’m not sure that second-guessing women’s reasons for choosing certain characters (for being pretty or whatever) is an entirely productive route. If a woman is self-aware enough or comes to the realisations of why she was choosing certain characters–this is a different thing. A woman may feel that choosing pretty characters is empowering, and they may not be “pretending”.

      I think the point of this post wasn’t to draw lines between women gamers who make whatever avatar choices they make. I feel the main thrust of the post was to say, “Putting down women gamers for choosing stereotypically feminine games is not cool”. I see this post as a call for unity and acceptance of women gamers of all kinds, rather than drawing the lines you’re talking about.

    2. It’s not, after all, that some women pick pretty characters but that some women pretend the decision is empowering.

      Okay, the disconnect I’m having here is the assumption that picking a pretty character is inherently disempowering.

      Telling a woman she can’t pick a pretty avatar because you find it not empowering or that she has to admit to whatever reasons you’ve decided that she must have for doing this is to rob her of her agency, which is the exactly opposite of promoting gender equality.

      You’re right it’s a very complex topic that’s hard to address completely in a million blog posts much less one. But I agree entirely with Brinstar that second-guessing women’s choices in a matter like this is often counter-productive.

      Brinstar is also right that the thrust of my post is not drawing lines at all, it’s a call for people to STOP doing so. Stop going You Are Other because you don’t choose to play the same way that I do. To stop going You Aren’t Empowered Enough because you don’t play the same way that I do.

  14. I’ve been playing WOW off and on since the beta. When I read your article my initial thought was “well I don’t act like that.” I’ve prided myself in being honest about my gender correcting people who refered to me as a he, and belonging to guilds with a significant amount of female gamers and non-neanderthal behaving males where gender attitudes were enlightened enough that women gamers were treated like everyone else, no special snowflake, guild princess or diamond in the rough behavior here!

    But then I started thinking about my behavior a little more closely and I realized that I’m still complicit with some of anti-feminist behavior. When I pvp or raid I find myself trash talking and using word choices that I’d never use in other parts of my life. My sister (who also games) told me she didn’t like me using the word rape casually in pvp as in ‘we’re getting raped by the other team” and I’ve also used my status as a tank in groups to assert myself as the toughest and biggest bad ass, using words like “man up” or “take it like a man” as a way of jockeying for position in the hierarchy of who is the best player in the group.

    So yes, I am complicit in some of these behaviors. I suppose the first step is recognizing the patterns and the next to continue to work on stopping it.

  15. I think your post would be stronger if you also noted male gamers with feminine-labeled behaviors (liking pretty characters, romance subplots, casual games) are also marginalized. Not only some women have these interests, but some men do too.

    This is not “wut about teh menz”, but mentioning this may avoid gender-essentialist interpretations of women’s interests (i.e., that men only have “masculine” behavior, but women can have both “masculine” and “feminine” behavior).

    Of course, most men who like pretty characters, romance subplots, casual games would not want these behaviors to be labelled “feminine”, but this just further supports your point that our society devalues “femininity”.

    1. This post is specifically focused on conflicts between female gamers as indicated by the subtitle. It wouldn’t be a stronger post about that if I discussed the ways that men are similarly pigeonholed by gender stereotypes. It would be a different post.

      And that gender-essentialist interpretation would be purposely ignoring the fact that I am speaking of these behaviors being perceived as masculine and feminine, not expressing a belief that they actually are. Once again, an explication on my general rejection of gendering any behavior would be beyond the purview of this single post about how female gamers who engage in certain behaviors within the culture treat female gamers who engage in behaviors that are perceived as contrasting ones.

  16. I guess my main concern is that this piece, in a (useful, well intentioned, and valuable) attempt to stop certain women from rejecting or marginalizing other women, seems to end up rejecting and marginalizing the first group of women–they are “not like us,” they (but not we) act like “diamonds in the rough.” In doing so, the piece takes on a kind of, um, “We’re feminists here, but we’re not like THOSE feminists” tone–a reverse-diamonds-in-the-rough syndrome, so to speak.

    The argument you make here is important, and the points well, well worth considering. But the effect of it is a little too line-drawing, in my view.

    Happy holidays, all!

    1. Well, if you want to insist that I’m drawing lines the only line I’m drawing is regards to a behavior that I find unacceptable (i.e. reducing perceived “femininity” and all those who engage in behaviors that are lumped under that banner). I’m not sure what you feel would be an acceptable non-line drawing way to call out destructive behavior on the part of other women. I also don’t think that labeling a set of behaviors and then going “until we’ve all surpassed the training” that drives these behaviors, they will continue, is sticking a group of female gamers into a ghetto somewhere and going “They’re not like us!”

      I wasn’t attempting to make a “we” statement about the readers of this blog. I was examining an expectation that I have regarding women gamers, in general, and why I have it. I think if someone reads this here and assumes that because they’re here it’s automatically not applicable to them, that’s more their inference than my intended implication.

      In these comments there have been people here who have said themselves, “Oh, wow. I’ve engaged in this behavior myself.” And that was the point of writing this: to use an extreme example (“Why do we even need a blog for women gamers?”) in order to call attention to a rather ubiquitous mindset that crops up in insidious ways.

      Also, I make a specific choice in the post not to label anyone here, there, or otherwise as feminists much less an acceptable or unacceptable one. I think that’s a self-identification and whether someone wants to call themselves that is tangential at best to the point I’m making here.

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