EDIT: Her name is Jennifer not Jessica and this is why I write posts in the evening and review them thirty million times before I publish.
So Jennifer Hepler is a writer at BioWare and said some things about games which I disagree with but we’re not going to go there. She suggested a “skip combat” button in games. Since the schtick here at TeamV isn’t about critiqueing games as games, but as part of a dialogue with society and a method by which we as humans learn about the world around us, I’m not going to discuss the part where I disagree with her.
I’m going to discuss the part where, out of all the writers who gather ire at BioWare, and of the types of comments they have flung at them, Jennifer Hepler gets bullshit thrown at her in a unique way, and I am disappointed that I haven’t seen major outlets commenting on this.
See, it’s not just that people disagree with Hepler. I mean, hell, I disagree with her. But it’s what people are calling her. “Fat bitch.” “Obese cunt.” These are insults flung exclusively at women, and they are all breeds of problematic. When Gaider came down on the “Straight Male Gamer” nobody called him a fat bitch. Because people insult men differently than we insult women. They insult men as human beings, getting on their case for what they have said and done specifically. But they insult women specifically as women, and see little else worth noting.
Why is the use of weight as an insult a problem for women? It’s a two-fold issue. One, it says that being overweight is the worst possible thing a human can be. I mean, hey, at least Hitler was skinny, amirite? Fatness is viewed as a character flaw, and that’s kind of stupid, considering how much human bodies really want to hang on to fat. And two, it says that a woman’s appearance is the primary source of her worth. She isn’t worthwhile for her brain, for what she can create, what she can do, whatever. There’s a sense that the things women do aren’t worthwhile unless the woman is also attractive. And when she’s unattractive, it doesn’t matter.
Son, this is objectification. This is reducing a human’s worth to a mound of flesh and judging their physical makeup instead of the things they produce.
I’m not saying I think Hepler is right in what she said (in fact, I think she’s quite wrong — games are games, and if you want to skip over combat it’s probably because that combat is a piece of shit at which point you have failed at doing the base thing of a game which is making it fun — whoops, sorry, done with my rant there). But if you’re going to bag on Hepler for what she said, bag on her for what she said. Say “That’s dumb, here’s why.” No need for attacks ad homenim.
Guess what, Internet? I agree with you that what she said was dumb and incorrect. But you know what? You are fucking pieces of shit for how you expressed your differing opinion. Is that an attack on your character? Sure, but you’ve shown yourselves to have terrible character, so that’s what I’m calling you out on.
Gaming culture, wise the fuck up, and do better. Gaming journalists, wise the fuck up and call this bullshit out for what it is. I’d love to not have to run this blog because I’m having too much fun not getting distracted by your stupid shit.