96 thoughts on “Laser Time – #1reason FUN!

  1. I was just listening to the scat episode and thinking that Cheryl should be on again. It’ll be interesting to hear you guys get seriousish.

    1. I also think of Cheryl when I think of scat.

      Now that I’ve put that down in words, I’m pretty disgusted as well.

      1. That was real sexist. You need to take her out to dinner first.

        And on that backwards sexist remark, I am glad it was light hearted and not over the head

  2. Thanks for this episode, love that you all are taking on a topic like this. The whole “do you play games” issue isn’t just insulting to women gamers, it is belittling to gaming as a whole. Assuming “women don’t play games” takes games as a medium of art and storytelling and reduces it to “a guy thing”. One of the worst examples of that question I’ve seen was a me3 co-op game (normally a great community) were a guy sincerely asked a girl on the team if she plays video games. As she was playing the game, and had a significantly higher score than him.

    1. Again, just want to say I really enjoyed the episode, I would be be interested in seeing this topic expanded to include sexism as seen in videogames themselves. Could that be why the industry and communities around gaming have this bend towards a certain type of behavior, because of the objectification present in the media itself? I know it is a topic that has been covered before, but I would like to see the laser time crew view of things, especially with your ability to keep topics light-hearted.

      Also I am curious as to what the women (and men to a lesser extent) in the group think of franchises like No More Heroes, in how they use sexism to parody and bring attention to problems and tropes present in gaming history. Is this seen positively, or another example of jokes on a topic just feeding into to a culture of discrimination?

  3. I guess a lot of people that don’t like girls playing games are the ones that grew up as an outcast and ridiculed by girls especially for being a “nerd” so i understand where a lot of the bitterness comes from when they see the same people all of a sudden loving the same thing they love but without the social stigma. The other side to this, are the young kids that are hard to defend that do it because they are immature.

    Also, there are plenty of “GRLLL GAMERZZ” these days that advertise the fact that they are OMG A GURL, which some people berate them on and others defend to the high heavens. I have played many games with these types, they give a bad name to girls worldwide.

    I think another divide is that there is a lot of publicity surrounding how girls are treated in games which really does nothing but escalate the problem seeing as they arent the only people picked on in games, how many times have you heard people scream out f****t or make fun of people because of their race or religion, these examples rarely make news and the people that this happens to feel resent toward females for making it a special case all about them.

    I’m not saying it’s justified to harass people because of their sex but the way it is handled only worsens the situation. You want to shut people up, do it the way everyone else does, beat the shit out of them in the game and throw some insults back.

    1. I think sexism in video-games gets more attention (not by much in my opinion) than racism or homophobia because if a women is playing a video game with voice chat they are going to be harassed, its not a question of if but of when. So while race and sexual preference is more ambiguous and might not get immediately targeted for additional shit-talk, we have an entire segment of the gaming population that are essentially barred from participating in a certain type of games.

      I also feel (and I may be wrong) that the “gamer girlz” type of people are a much smaller part of the overall female population than others like to make it seem. If you were to compare the amount of sexist people who use that stereotype to undercut female gamer’s credibility with how many people actually act in that way, I think there would be disconnect. Also when you think about that, that type of persona can be developed as a result of the current levels of sexism, if you get asked if you played games over and over again you might start over exaggeration the way you approach the situation.

      Sorry if I am coming off as confrontational, I think we have all been in the situation you describe being ridiculed or picked on for what we like, but I think its important for us all not to turn that bitterness onto an entire gender. It would be great if multiplayer communities called people out for being jerks, not for being girls.

      1. No I was just saying why i believed people act bad toward women online, and that the way it is handled only fuels the irrational hatred of the groups mentioned above. I get how shit it is to feel secluded and hated online, women that write articles on how they tackled evil masculinity is only doing more damage in the long run, you can’t change someone online with that type of publicity. If you want to be respected in these peoples eyes it’s not going to happen by calling them on the abuse which only makes them indignant.

        1. ok – firstly, I actually agree with you. I really do actually. Which is why if may politely troll (or counterargue – but the internet likes to think that playing devil’s advocate is trolling – that’s a whole different social dynamic)

          We cannot psychoanalyse every adult male and deduce that their generic douchebaggery – and in this case douchebaggy behaviour towards the opposite sex is caused by not being hugged enough by mum or because meanie girls pointed and laughed at them as children. It could be likely, maybe, not the best excuse and certainly only true for everyone. I know you said it doesnt justify their behaviour, I know you made a point on it, what i’m saying is past trauma and past behaviour can only explain so much bad behaviour before we can only call it bad behaviour regardless of its origins.

          The fact that these kinds of people insult other people by singling them out for a difference, is the problem.
          In the online world, that difference by first port of call is your gender.

          If these people think that having a vagina somehow implies that its ok to single you out, then these people wont have much problem in victimising you out for your ethnicity or sexual orientation or hell, for something else that is inconsequential and trivial but extremely harmful nonetheless. A lot of feminist blogs argue that sexism, homophobia and racism are all part of the same problem that they are speaking out against.

          There is also, nothing ever wrong in speaking out and calling out. It may cause more damage than good, but at least we know about it, and the damage it causes should be seen as a symptom of what is wrong with gaming culture and mysoginy in general. I dont particularly like or follow or sometimes even agree with sites like the Mary Sue or Jezebel, but it is essential that they continue to speak out.
          Why? these problems have existed for ages, finally there are those who are brave enough to speak out against it even when we get trolled, abused and attacked and put down for it. Let them get indignant, if they are unwilling to learn from their mistakes it is they who will get left behind.

          And please remember that the feminist argument is not about calling men evil pigs and women are better. That is mysandry and like mysogony, helps no one, especially other women.

          Feminism argues that because we have made unequal levels of perception for both genders (or all genders), we have created a vicious cycle in which women AND MEN have been imprisoned into unhelpful social prisons and norms.

          The fact that gamer guys are stereotyped as virginal zit faces with napoleon complexes and low self esteem as much as the stereotype that the female gamer is fat ugly or slutty (or nonexistent as Carolyn pointed out) is dangerous and caused by the very things that demand women get back in kitchens and men act like they’re all Captain Americas (which makes no sense because there will only ever be one Cap).

          The levels of sexism in the gaming industry are toxic because it is discouraging a whole demographic from injecting new ideas, points of view into the gaming world and keeping them mute means that men will also be forever victims to the ‘face down, eyes up’ male protagonists that are also projecting stupidly ridiculous stereotypes about fictional male characters. Sexism is dangerous to everyone, women cop it more overtly but what it does to the male psyche is also insiduous. I believe i have argued this before on here.

          I have written all too much and I sincerely apologise for the TL:DR. I hope this didn’t come out as a rant.

  4. Hearing the girls opinions on rape-jokes and humor in general really grinded my gears. Hope Chris doesn’t really take it to heart…

      1. I just hate when people spew bullshit psychology. Making rape jokes does not create an enviroment were rape is more accepted, if anything, the opposite is true. When rape is a more tabu subject of conversation it is less likely that someone who has been a victim of rape will admit that it happened or talk about the terrible experience. Carolyn does not seem to know how a rapist thinks. If rape was even less “accepted” that would only make it more enjoyable for the rapist, you see, a rapist gets of on causing another person mental harm, that’s the idea of rape. I also take offence when someone who is not funny and does not understand how humour works tells someone who is funny what is and what is not ok to joke about. I ALSO do not get why they thought it was a good idea to make podcast void of humour and nostalgic value (first part, second part was fine i guess) when that is the only reason to listen to it. Is this like one of those intentionally bad albums that artists who feel they’ve gotten too popular release to scare of their fans? This is like a bizzarro version of Talkradar, it’s exactly the opposite of what I wan’t from podcast by chris…

        1. To quote Brett Elston, “I can’t even begin to tell you how wrong you are…”

          This episode did have humor in it. I laughed my ass off a few times during the sexism segments (I wasn’t laughing at the actual sexism stories). Humor just wasn’t the focus. Also, I didn’t take it as Carolyn attacking Chris about his jokes, just her saying that people use that kind of humor as a crutch at times or they use it to spew hateful speech (which does have an effect btw) under the guise of comedy.

          1. Yes, it could have an effect when it comes to hatespeech as in racism or homophobia but not when it comes to a criminal act such as rape.

  5. Nice job being balanced lots of men are very nice to women and yet have to deal with being vilified in the media as rapist and sexist pigs. Also the “Do you play games” thing is something other women say to women who play games. Many of the sterotypes women deal with come from other women as well. How about someone stand up and speak for men who also deal with issues and have no voice. I bet just for asking for help about body issues or feeling bad I’ll get belittled because that’s how men get treated. It’s just as unfair but in a different way.

    1. I hear what you’re saying, but the positives of being a guy far outweigh the negatives. There are things that we can do, as guys that will not reflect poorly on our entire gender; women don’t have that luxury. Take Carolyn and Cheryll’s stories on LT. If I was a game journalist and went into a preview event and didn’t understand the controls immediately, I would be seen as an anomaly. “Most guys get the controls, this one is just not picking it up.”

      But if a woman who is a game journalist does the same thing, it suddenly becomes “Oh of course she doesn’t get it, she probably doesn’t play too many games.” This extends far beyond games.

      So yeah, I don’t disagree that men have to go through some serious bull shit in life, but it’s nowhere near the same degree.

      Obviously, this is my opinion.

    2. “Also the ‚ÄúDo you play games‚ÄĚ thing is something other women say to women who play games.”
      _

      You’re ignoring the context with which they were talking about that question. They were usually asked not only in bewilderment, but in several cases where the girls had already made it clear that they do.

  6. I am as much of an open-minded, equal rights-supporting liberal as you are going to find, but I really think sexism in videogames is getting over-played. I acknowledge that this sexism exists, but at the end of the day, there are people in this world dealing with REAL problems. If some douchebag online is harassing you over voice chat, tell him he’s a jackass, or just mute him. Is it wrong of me to think that a woman in that situation has both the ability and the reason to stand up for herself?

    If a game has a joke that upsets you, then don’t laugh at the joke, or stop playing the game. I can only have so much sympathy for healthy young employed people in America complaining about hurt feelings and inappropriate jokes when there are women in other countries (such as my home country) getting acid poured on their faces for having the gall to wear jeans. That’s not to say Americans can’t complain about anything, but there comes a point where you need to put it in perspective. Maybe it’s just because I lived in Pakistan until I was 5, but the complaints Americans in general have have a tendency to scream “We’re out of touch with the rest of the world” to me.

    I did appreciate that this podcast stayed fairly lighthearted throughout, though. I’d like to see more of that than the dramatizations I commonly witness.

    1. I think it’s completely fair to say that Americans love to complain about our “first world problems” and I appreciate your perspective as someone who was born outside of the US. However, sexism and the hurt feelings that exist arguably do lead to “real” problems too.

      Sexism, on a universal level, is ultimately responsible for creating a society where women are seen as less important than men. This in turn leads to things like the suppression of women’s rights in places like the Middle East, genital mutilation, female infanticide, rape as a weapon of war, the sex trade and human trafficking. Would these female-centric crimes gain more attention if they affected exclusively men?

      Thanks for your comment and glad you listened.

    2. Sexism is not a “first world problem”. Do you actually not know what that phrase means, or are you intentionally distorting it in order to grind your axe against Americans?

      The barrista not making your latte properly is a first world problem. Stepping in dog crap in your $800 designer shoes is a first world problem. Treating women like second class citizens is a GLOBAL problem. Women being mistreated in the games industry in the U.S. and women having acid thrown in their faces in Pakistan are different points on the same continuum. Just because one woman is in a worse situation, it doesn’t invalidate the problems of the all the women who don’t have it quite as bad.

      The fact that you think sexism boils down to “hurt feelings” shows how out of touch you are with reality.

  7. I wanted to say how amazing you guys were. Not just Carolyn and Chryle (cause you always are) but Brett and Chris too in discussing this in a poignant and funny way.

    I wrote too much already. But thanks. As someone who is coaching a lot of very young girls (and boys) who love playing video games on how to stay strong in light of the horrifying abuse they get online – its nice that you are throwing a bit of light on the problem.

    Seiously, although I wanted more live action cartoons, this was pretty cool too.
    (and holy shit I love Unico too!!!)

  8. I don’t think bitch and whore are comparable to racist slurs. Both are used as insults by both men and women regardless of what gender the person they dislike is. They’re like “asshole” or “dick.”

    1. I disagree. “Bitch” and “whore” are typically targeted at women specifically. If you’re a “man-whore” it’s seen as being more funny than insulting. Even if someone is calling a man a bitch then the idea is that they are weak or whiny because they are acting more like a woman.

      1. Pretty much. Good on them for calling out assholes, but the notion that this issue is solved via community outreach through forums and twitter is insane.

        You shame someone if they disrespect you to a degree you find uncomfortable. Assertive actions will always trump passive aggressive nondescript post-analysis.

  9. After listening to this, it definitely made me go back and review my interactions with women-not even in a video gaming context, but in hobbies where women are a minority. This episode was very enlightening for me, keep ’em coming.

  10. Great episode. I think the off the cuff remark of “do you play games” is a recurring mannerism I’ve noticed. This seems to come up a lot to this one woman who works in a game shop where I live. Now granted I have been in places, not even game related where an employee is just there for a paycheck but she has been working there for a few years, gives public demos and has talked to customers about her experience with a game someone may be inquiring about. Yet (and always the 14 to 20 age range) still ask “do you play games”. I’ll never be asked that question in any game store when in actual fact those browsing are more likely to not IE parents, friends, partner buying for someone else.

  11. Is the fact that the only reviews I remember seeing Cheryl do on GR were music games, especially dance games, because of sexism, either because women like games that don’t have complicated controls, or she was given those games to review because that’s women’s work?

    I’ve never known a female who liked to play video games. I grew up in the Midwest, though in a bigger city than Brett, and don’t know any women who grew up before the Playstation who played at all.

    Dan Amrich’s wife Kat worked at Gamepro for years, and she says she has a hard time using a control pad. Maybe it’s just that she plays computer games more, but it seems unlikely that a guy working at a gaming magazine would ever say the same thing.

    Why the big push to pretend that men and women are the same thing? Why is it wrong to think that men and women think and do things differently? Stereotypes don’t get made up out of nothing, and you’ll have members of any group who aren’t the same as most of the group, but that doesn’t make what’s usual for a group go away.

    1. Stereotypes sometimes come from the “kernel of truth” side of things where the stereotype came from an exaggerated idea about a group. Sometimes they are completely made up, based on propaganda or false information. It’s not about thinking men and women are “the same thing”. It’s about treating everyone equally and not having preconceived notions about a group which can sometimes even overpower what you already know to be a fact about the person. You may even see conflicting information that contradicts the stereotypes you have and just end up thinking that the person who conflicts with that stereotype is the exception and not the rule. Take your own example about Cheryll; she reviews a lot of music and dance games (I haven’t checked, but for the sake of argument let’s say you’re correct). What about Sophia who works at Radar now or…you know…the other woman that was on this podcast? Carolyn played and reviewed a ton of different kinds of games at Radar, not just because she did it for a living, but like most game journalists, she did it because she is genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about games. I really don’t like the implication in your post that women are just not as good at games and those fancy controllers that come with them. It’s just not true.

  12. Yeah I will be passing on this one, like the Mass Effect rant episode.

    I could give a rats ass what happens to women, sorry to be frank, because I am not one myself, I hate white knighting and I feel that regardless of sex or color, you should stick up for yourself rather than do some passive-aggressively Twiter campaign while you could just as easily file complaints against the people responsible for any types of sexism involved.

    Sorry, but like a person said above, this all strikes as First World Problems to me while women are getting massacred for lesser shit in other countries. Still love the show, but white-knighting bothers me as much as being ranted at for either shit I don’t care about (like the ME episode) or shit I don’t have control over, like sexism.

    I’ll jump back in for the movie episode.

    1. I can tell you didn’t listen because there’s no way someone could listen to people talk about how empathy is important and then act like such a dick.

    2. There could not be a worse attitude to have. God forbid you actually attempt to better yourself in the slightest way.

      1. don’t worry guys, i’m sure he’s just too preoccupied with all his donating money to charities and volunteering in the peace corps, that he’s just totally spent when it comes to things happening in his own country that he could be helping by simply not denying that it matters.

  13. i feel like i can’t even speak properly on this subject, because i wanted to talk about everything you guys were talking about with you. gaaaah! what a great topic. i have a few female friends and they ALL berate me for not playing ENOUGH video games, and comics.
    anyhoo… this was a very great ep.
    me and my friend Tai were just talking about their not being enough female representation in comics, games, and the animation industry.
    we recognize that with out that representation these industries are bound to hit a big wall really fast.

    i love how somehow chris always is able to twist a lasertime subject into a talk about animation.
    i’m going to keep asking for that animation podcast until you give it to us. XD
    call it Frame by Frame or something. idk… give cheryll and caroline a podcast on this network. i think it’s safe to call this a network now, what with 4 different series right?

  14. Hey Chris love your podcasts but this one was pretty boring.I understand that there are problems in the world but I don’t listen to this podcast to hear about them. I like the nostalgia and pop culture stuff that you do. IM not a sexist,I just thought this was a boring episode

  15. I think this was actually one of my favorite episodes. I’m not sure if that is a popular opinion but Cheryll and Caroline should be on more often.

  16. So two points i want to bring up. The first part i thought was fantastic. It was interesting and kind of shocking to hear how Carolyn and Cheryl were treated at press events, which leads us to believe their are much worse stories about other girl gamers. Also, it made me think about using Bitch and Whore as much as i do. Lastly, you guys were SO CLOSE to talking about MLP:FIM and it would actually be relevant…oh well. It was nice to hear from Carolyn and Cheryl again.

    Also Cheryl /)

  17. I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to get kind of prickly when this topic gets brought up. It’s all too easy to feel like I’m being scolded for something that I didn’t do, and get defensive and dismissive as a result. However, you guys handled this pretty damn well. I think the big problem is that we’re in a kind of feedback loop: there aren’t as many women involved in videogames (professionally of otherwise), which makes it easy to make false assumptions about them in that context, which leads to a unwelcoming environment, which drives women away from the medium.

    Also, there’s a specific dynamic that I’ve noticed that I feel compelled to mention. There are plenty of situations when I will be with other men, and wouldn’t dare bring up videogames, because I would be ostracized and made fun of for caring more about Skyrim DLC than college basketball. That situation is far more common when I’m with women. That doesn’t mean that women are more critical than men, it’s just a combination of fewer women playing games and the horrible tendency for humans to marginalize anyone different than them. I have to imagine that women experience the exact same thing, and to also often feel like that in the “safe place” of the gamer community must be pretty damn shitty.

  18. You guys talked about how the next generation will probably be more open about this in general; well I don’t FEEL like the new generation but I guess I’m part of the new wave you guys are talking about. I was actually surprised that this kinda behavior was still going around, a lot of the friends that I have that are girls play games and can probably beat me in most games (since all I play is pokemon and fighting games.)

    Good cast though! I don’t think you should shy away from these sorta topics, hell you guys could talk about cheese or something and I’ll still enjoy the podcast.

  19. Really enjoyed this episode, listened to it with my fiancee and it really spurred a good conversation about some similar issues she’s had in the film industry.

    As for people that tuned out after 20min or didn’t listen at all, or listened and just didn’t care for the episode, that’s totally fine, but then please spare us all your dismissive attitude towards women and these issues if this is how you feel.

    “Boy, girls talking about what bothers them really upsets me. Srry, but I’ll come back when the show is RELEVANT TO ME AGAIN.”

  20. I was a little afraid to listen to this episode because as a female feministy geek I didn’t want to not be able to keep listening to your podcasts if any of you had taken the other side of this issue (and you’ll understand why if you’ve read the comments section on any of the many articles or videos that have taken the woman’s side). I’m glad I did. I think you guys did a good job of addressing the issue but not throwing accusations around.

    Unfortunately, there are so many people who refuse to admit that sexism still exists. The problem isn’t every man or only men. There are many women who have sexist attitudes too because of how the various forms of media have permeated our consciousnesses with this difference of value or with stereotypes. The best way I can see to improve the situation involves everyone checking the opinions and attitudes that we hold and evaluating whether the reasons we hold them are from actual personal experience with people in the world or from things you’ve learned through osmosis because men and women and relationships are portrayed in a certain inaccurate way on tv or in movies or comics or whichever media you choose to consume. I’m thinking the reason this issue is so prominent lately within geekdom specifically is because the people who participate typically spend more time with these media (having hobbies takes time) and less with a variety of actual real humans than a random sample of extroverts.

  21. Great episode!

    Basically flipped my shit when Unico was brought up

    Really enjoyed Cantista’s efforts to be the devils advocate, deffinitely a big help towards making a good show.

  22. Lol and Brett manages to sneak in a Transformers discussion in there, haha that made me burst out in the office,nice. Thanks folks, I didn’t hear about this but I don’t follow twitter. I have had game design classes where the ratio of guys to girls was at least 2:1. It’s a shame what happened to Carolyn at E3 though, wow that’s some bs right there. I play a bunch of games and, yeah I’m a dude, but I get the strange looks when I talk about playing Facebook games. Hey they’ve come a long way and browser games are becoming a norm for delivery.

  23. Great episode! You picked an awesome topic, and Cheryl and Carolyn’s perspectives were really insightful. Please have them on again.

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