Sexist Comments from Video Gamers (Trigger Warning) » Sociological Images

Last semester, some of the men in my class pushed back at Anita Sarkeesian’s application of the Bechdel to the 2012 Oscars. I can only imagine what they might say about this latest venture of hers.

Whereas some had heralded “cyberspace” as a “great leveler,” it appears to replicate the prevailing inequalities of RL (real life) or “meatspace.” Gaming is no exception to this rule, at least as far as gender inequality is concerned. The images in this post are particularly indicative of the problem, and perhaps more so. Here reality is augmented to the extent that male gamers take liberties they might not otherwise FTF (face-to-face). Is online game space being claimed as male? Should women cede that space because it’s “not real” and therefore “doesn’t matter?” I think that discussion of this belongs in this blog because of the online dimension seems to exacerbate the preexisting social condition. What do you make of all this? (Note that the image above is one of the more tame. More importantly, note the trigger warning below.)

[Note: Trigger warning for sexist, demeaning language and violent imagery.]


If you’re a regular reader of Soc Images, chances are pretty good that you also know about Anita Sarkeesian’s project to look at sexism in video games. Sarkeesian, who runs the fantastic Feminist Frequency site, attracted a large amount of hateful online attacks and harassment after starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise a few thousand dollars for a project looking at sexism in video games. If you aren’t aware of the story, check out any of the many media stories about her experience.


Sarkeesian’s project looks at stereotypes or sexist imagery in the design of the games themselves. My coworker Darren D. let me know about a website that highlights another element of sexism in the gaming community: the demeaning or threatening sexist comments gamers often send to other players, especially those they believe are women. Fat, Ugly or Slutty collects examples of the sexual harassment and sexist attacks that are an unfortunately common part of female gamers’ lives.


Many of the comments sexualize and objectify the women by suggesting they should be sexually available to other players or open to comments on their appearance:

via Sexist Comments from Video Gamers (Trigger Warning) » Sociological Images.


In my own opinion, as far as Sarkeesian is concerned, fellas (or should I say “boys,” because you’re certainly not acting like men), don’t shoot the messenger. Either you’re proud of the behavior and should be able to defend it (intellectually), or you should be seeking to change it where you see it.

Facebook Won’t Like This LinkedIn News | Wired Business |

Happy Reid

This is the “business casual” of serious social network news.

LinkedIn might be the uptight suit of social networks, but it seems it wants some of the casual, after-hours club flair that is Facebook. Witness the news LinkedIn will add notifications, a productivity-undermining feature that lets you know when someone views your profile or “likes” something you’ve shared.

The notifications, which consist of icons and color highlighting in LinkedIn’s navigation bar, ape a very similar feature on Facebook. LinkedIn rolled out the notifications on its website, but says they will soon come to its iPhone, iPad, and Android software.

It seems odd for a workplace social network to deploy such an intentionally distracting feature. “You’ll never miss a comment or update to an engaging discussion about a news article or trending topic on LinkedIn,” the company says of notifications – as though that’s a good thing.

via Facebook Won’t Like This LinkedIn News | Wired Business |

What the Facebook FTC Settlement Means for Social Media

As usual, Mashable has the scoop. But read on, because they do really seem to minimize the news, even as the first paragraph is meant to capture your attention.

On Tuesday the Federal Trade Commission officially rapped Facebook’s knuckles in a broad-reaching settlement on privacy, alleging the social network misled its users on what they were sharing and with whom. The settlement, which lays out a number of specific rules the service must now abide by, requires Facebook to be much more transparent about its privacy practices going forward.

via What the Facebook FTC Settlement Means for Social Media.

Bonnie Stewart on Klout’s Rationalization of SNS Influence » Cyborgology

Last week, a member of one of our sections of this course gave a thorough presentation of the service Klout, which measures the subscriber’s social network influence. This blog post at Cyborgology, one of the suite of blogs at The Society Pages, commenting upon a piece in by Bonnie Stewart, also a previous contributor to Cyborgology, critiques how Klout helps shape our online interactions. This is an example of the deeper analysis of these technologies, particularly as they appear in this last segment of the course.

Stewart criticizes the idea of rationalizing our online interaction (i.e., submitting them to greater efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control). She also notes that Klout is limited in that it fails to measure how our online actions influence (i.e., augment) activity in the offline world. Finally, she discusses how knowledge that Klout exists influences the way people behave online, making them more inclined to act in such a way as to improve their score. Cyborgology editor Nathan Jurgenson recently described this tendency  to view our present actions from the perspective of the documents they will eventually produce as “documentary vision.”

via Bonnie Stewart on Klout’s Rationalization of SNS Influence » Cyborgology.

Both the commentary by PJ Rey and the original article offer rich analysis employing concepts such as rationalization and augmented reality. Though I am not a frequent Foursquare user, one of my friends in RL made a big deal about displacing me as mayor of a venue we both frequent—I had inadvertently displaced him while he was away on business. Klout may not only induce us to act in ways to improve our influence scores, it may do so in a way that separates online and offline activity (digital dualism), ignoring the latter. Both are worth exploring.

Using Digital Dualism to Sell Cars » Cyborgology

This is the video we saw in class on September 8.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What do you think? Which is “so sad”? What about research findings that suggest that people’s offline (IRL) connections are enhanced or augmented by those they map online?