Escapist takes the brave stance of defending a billionaire's right to free speech

I've never had much experience with the Escapist, personally. Years ago, I remember coming across it when StumbleUpon was still a big deal. Gaming has been one of those hobbies that I'm really into but never had the capital to be up-to-date like everyone else. So the content Escapist was putting out reached a bit outside of my sphere. (Are they the people who did the live-action Super Smash Brothers thriller? That was alright.) Really, most of my information about the site has come since they decided the best way to maintain relevance was blatant pandering to the lovely folks of GamerGate. The result was several of their key creators parting ways, to be replaced with people venerated by this particular hate group. It'd be like Yahoo! trying to outpace Google by producing only the kind of content suitable for a KKK pamphlet.

It's not really surprising, then, that someone at the Escapist felt a billionaire needed to be defended from the evils perpetrated by video game journalism.

The lead-up

A few days ago, the man famously associated with a game called Minecraft--known colloquially as Notch--found a woman on twitter who made him mad and threw a bit of a fit.

See, there's this term called 'mansplaining' that has been in use for awhile by women who've dealt with your average, self-important male. The term refers to the situation in which a woman's knowledge is second-guessed by a male who feels the need to explain something to her or lo she may never possess his great wisdom. These situations generally happen when a woman hasn't asked for anyone's help, let alone their opinion. Often, the thing the male is explaining to the woman is something the woman has far more knowledge about, whether academically or through lived experience.

Say, for example, a woman has just made a general statement on Twitter about a piece of computer hardware. As has been biologically proven in study after study, a male somewhere is alerted that a woman has spoken without his prior approval, and the male is directed to her Twitter feed. He explains to her what she already just said, or maybe explains something else about what she just said, which she already knew because she has a career and degree in whatever she said. The male will then wait for praise and adulation as he has just imparted his objectively better knowledge upon this poor, ignorant woman.

In the case of Notch, a woman tweeted a joke about a picture of a statue of a man and a woman, focusing on how it could humorously represent the act of a male 'mansplaining' to a woman. She later tweeted a picture of a reply she received, in which a male 'mansplained' to her why her joke was incorrect because she was not aware of the name of the statue.

Notch's Fempiniondar went off and he later found his way to her mentions, explaining to her that 'mansplaining' is a sexist term which silences men through the shaming of their gender.

And then the internet fought.

Lines were drawn and sides gathered. On one side, you had decent people: some women, some feminists, some males, and some people who rightly thought it was hilarious for a billionaire to be mad about a term describing the kind of people he's obviously ok with being part of. On the other side, you had the accounts that make Twitter a terrible service: some GamerGaters, some Men's Rights Activists, some very angry males who've long felt that a woman existing gives them the right to send her explicit threats over the internet, and a Notch who started a new hashtag with a hateful slur against women. To be honest, the participants in that side all kind of blur together; you could likely apply all four descriptions to the same account chosen at random.

For what felt like weeks, Notch continued to double down with his anger against women describing a very well-documented male behavior, receiving support from such polished publications as Breitbart. In classic Oppressed Internet Commenter fashion, he continued to equate the problems women face in a society that constantly blames them for their own rapes with the problems he faces as a billionaire who 'mansplains' things to random women on the internet.

The articles

There were two. At least, the Escapist author cites two articles in this strange ramble declaring game journalism to be a joke.

The first was from Destructoid. It very aptly documented the bizarre cry for attention coming from Notch's Twitter feed's virtue signaling to other OICs.

The second was from VICE. A shorter, but still poignant, exasperated laugh at a billionaire decrying the oppression of men who 'mansplain'.

The Escapist

Boy howdy did the Escapist get mad.

The article opens up with a very cynical hatred of the game journalism field as lacking the qualifications necessary to be considered real journalism. This passage includes the declaration that the woman Notch went after is a hypocrite, as are VICE and Destructoid.

We are then told that we should respect Notch due to the threat that he could purchase several game journalism outlets for his own rants about being oppressed. Game outlets which, according to the Escapist, are neo-Puritan for writing about a billionaire's OICing. Comparisons to McCarthyism and religious persecution are made. Further, the author agrees with Notch that a woman simply uttering the word 'mansplain' will utterly silence every attempt at communication a male should ever attempt in the future.

Further down, we're told that the word 'man' is equally offensive to the word 'c**t', and disagreeing means you are not a real liberal. You'll see this argument from OICs all over the internet, how a real liberal is ok with verbally and physically abusing women whenever they open their mouths or touch a keyboard. Some have gone far enough to declare that real liberals support the underhanded discrimination from the GOP and the truly groundbreaking policies of Donald Trump; those males likely have very detailed opinions on the physics of video game breasts that they'd love to share with you.

What really drives the Escapist's point home is when they state--in no uncertain terms--that the Destructoid author is a religious zealot and then derails into a rant about presumably game journalists using legislation to mandate morality. Neither is given much explanation for why these are facts, but I trust the Escapist at this point because I've been told I'm a real liberal and standing against religious persecution for being smart enough to read the article.

The rant ends with the mention of xenophobes and how the Escapist forums are the only place safe from 'puritansplaining'. We also learn that the rant is an example of punditry and not video game journalism, because covering something said by a video game industry billionaire to a video game designer has nothing to do with video games unless you're praising the billionaire for his bravery and video games.

And with that, the Escapist defended a male billionaire from being silenced by a woman who said the word 'mansplain' to nobody in particular.

The sexism

This part's much simpler than the Escapist article:

Is 'mansplain' sexist? Well, no.

Notch and the OICs have claimed that 'mansplain' silences males from explaining things to women. They have done so by using public means of communication--surprisingly, none of them have been banned for 'mansplaining'.

Beyond the loud silence, the term itself is based on a very real, well-documented male behavior. When it's brought up, it's to signal to the male that the woman they're trying to educate is already well educated on the matter which the male is trying to educate her.

Further, sexism is not simply a dictionary definition, which is the main disconnect between males who want to 'mansplain' the word sexism to women, and women who have experienced and studied sexism. A video game, according to the dictionary, is "a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a television screen or other display screen." However, almost every gamer will have a list of games they do not consider to be video games, and that list will be disputed by other gamers for all of eternity. 

Actual sexism against males is hard to define, because the traditional ways in which males have been maligned are pretty much all caused by other males. The draft, for example, was instituted by males for males, and was done so under the belief that women were not fit to do the manly male things required in a war voted for by males. Nursing has been traditionally dominated by women because males saw the role of a caretaker to be feminine, and would make fun of other males for becoming a nurse. The idea of lone males being potential child predators was pushed by males fearing other, unknown males around their children and funding campaigns to warn children of the danger males possess. We've seen this same situation play out with sexual assault against women, where male politicians run campaigns and push legislation based on the idea that other males are a threat to the women they feel they own. In fact, the vast majority of anti-transgender laws currently being proposed are sponsored by males, and they all are proposed with the fear-mongering that a transgender woman is just a male in disguise who wants to creep on or hurt women.

(And, just to note, transgender people have never been a threat to anyone, whether in bathrooms or kitchens or Target stores. This fear-mongering is baseless hate from scared bigots who lost same-sex marriage and needed someone new to legislate against.)

So, no; 'mansplain' is not sexist. It's not a slur, it doesn't prevent males from doing anything, it has no history backed by violence and legislated hate, and it doesn't apply to the entire male gender. 'Mansplaining' only applies to the kinds of males who would 'mansplain' to a woman under the belief that the woman doesn't know what she's talking about on a subject which the woman is quite educated about.

But in the event billionaires, OICs, and males are being oppressed, I'm sure the Escapist will be there to defend them from the evils of women expressing their opinions. In the meantime, the rest of us have Point and Clickbait.

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