Thursday, August 19, 2010

In which I invite flames upon flames.

We recently revisited an old argument in my Guild Wars alliance: the subject of language. It was angering and tiring to me, because it was the second pages-long thread we've had in the officer forums that centers around the use of the word rape.

I really, truly do not get those who just casually toss that around. "lolololol we raped them lololol" Then someone complains and they're completely offended. Lighten up! We're all adults here! You know what I meant! It doesn't mean anything, and you know it.

Yes, we are all adults here, which means I expect you to be able to express yourself a little better than that. And yes, it DOES mean something. I am lucky -- I'm not a rape victim, and I've never even been in a situation where I felt threatened. But even the thought of it is enough to make me flinch, and it is really beyond me why *anyone* would find that appropriate to joke about.

Think about it. No, seriously. Take a second to think about the actual act -- someone being violated in that way and not being able to do a thing about it, no matter how hard they try. I don't care if it's never happened to you and you don't know anyone who has been a victim. The concept alone should bother you.

If you've ever used the word in that concept, I really, sincerely want to hear from you, because it seems like basic human compassion to avoid using that in a joking tone, for two reasons. One, it's simply not funny -- it's a completely unacceptable form of slang. Two, it's entirely likely that you will say that in guild chat, alliance chat, local chat, a forum, whatever, and it will be read by a rape victim. That person went through one of the most horrifying things you can go through, and now they're sitting there watching you mock the experience and turn it into a joke. Sure, you can make the standard excuses: that's his/her problem, not mine. Don't read it if you don't like it, blah blah blah.

Or you could, you know, show (again) basic human compassion and just find a better way to express yourself. Because it's not funny, and it should never ever ever ever be used in that context.

While I'm at it, the same goes for calling something "gay." I'm sorry, did you seriously just take someone's sexual orientation and turn it into a slur? NICE. I don't care whether you agree with it or not, using the word gay as a derogatory term for something you don't like just makes you look like a tool in dire need of a thesaurus. (If you still don't get where I'm coming from, substitute the phrase "sexual orientation" with "skin color," "nationality," or "religious affiliation." Still wanna tell me to lighten up and that it doesn't mean anything?)

Stop being cretins, people.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you are having this trouble in your guild. But even tho it's hard, just keep fighting the good fight. It's important and you are setting an important example. That word needs to be erased from gamer culture for good.

  2. This kind of language cannot be challenged enough.

    I'm happy to see this coming from a guild leader. I'm new to MVOP (Emma Gemini et al.) and you can expect me to speak up when I see sexist or racist language. I will not tolerate it, primarily because it is entirely hurtful to people, and also because I play to have fun and I won't let careless people ruin that.

  3. /applaud

    I think some people think that it's meaning has culturally degenerated, but I disagree. There are consistently too many real reasons that keep it's meaning from becoming more trivial.

    It really shouldn't be treated so lightly or be tossed around like that.

    I'm a bit culturally stunted with the other part. I have friends who are gay, and they'll use the term in the same way many MMO players use it. I always opt to stay away from the term.

  4. Mobly, it's a tricky thing, because in a sense, I'm speaking about things I have no firsthand experience of, and that's always dangerous.

    But seeing something described negatively as "gay" has always bugged me. I don't know. I just feel like the whole thing is a touchy enough topic without turning the word into a generic slur.

    *Definitely* a personal opinion thing though -- as evidenced by your friends. :-)

    (However, I stand by the rape thing. Disgusting.)