Fat, Ugly, Slutty, or just plain argumentative

There are trash talkers on the internet, and some take special offense to women. It’s not surprising news, but the advent of a blog that aims to chronicle said trash-talking has kicked up a mild furore on the likes of Twitter and Reddit lately.

I was cautious to click on the link at first, with uneducated tweets and vaguely-worded commentary having me imagine a Hot or Not-style cesspit of misogyny for men to sort female gamers into one of the titular categories, but it’s not really so sinister. The site is run by a trio of girls. During online gaming sessions, screencaps of various sexist insults they receive are collected, and these are posted on the internet for others to peruse. The reason for this? “We think this is funny.”

So funny, perhaps, that I wonder if they realise that encouraging such behaviour is not constructive in creating a better environment for the thousands of female gamers who might not find such things so amusing.

"i dont give a fuck what ur fat skanky ass thinks bitch"

Most of the insults pictured on the site are in the form of private Xbox Live  messages, and are a clear response to somebody that wasn’t too friendly. Some of these messages are shocking and hurtful, yes, but certainly not unprovoked.

I’m not saying that unprovoked attacks never happen in the online world, because they do – and Fat, Ugly or Slutty would be a far more interesting site if it did cover such attacks, rather than obviously orchestrated responses for shock value.

Perhaps most questionable of all is the fact that the site’s staff does not report perpetuators of sexist drivel to Xbox Live (possibly because they would implicate themselves in the process). There’s no discussion about why people feel the need to be jackasses on the internet, no big push to end this oppressive sort of gaming atmosphere – the site feels pointless, little more than a gallery of boys manipulated into crude behaviour and then named publicly for taking the bait.

The site is not so much ‘funny’ as it is a serious indication of how much still needs to change in the gaming community; adopting a veneer of amusement doesn’t really contribute to mending the problem, and turning the tables and trolling the offenders back only encourages it. Play nice, kids – all of you.

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11 thoughts on “Fat, Ugly, Slutty, or just plain argumentative

  1. Not actually disagreeing with the above – as I think the potential damage outweighs the good – but I have to say, as a guy, I’m stunned and saddened by what some men (well, prepubescent boys in mind if not in body) are saying to women online.

    I’m aware of the issue of misogyny online and do my best to discourage others from adopting such attitudes but I’m surprised at the content of a lot of these posts.

    If the problem is as bad as this site indicates perhaps there is some value in the awareness it raises. I had no idea that there were enough of such comments to support a website and seeing it has only doubled my resolve to publically chastise and humiliate any person I find online engaging in such conduct – be it to women, homosexuals (I have this real thing over people calling other people gay as an insult) or any member of any social denomination (other than the KKK and neo-nazis ;)).

    But I agree… not everyone’s response will reflect mine and there is a sense of encouraging the issue rather than dealing with it (regardless of the site creators’ intent).

    • Hi Nathan. It’s rough territory for a guy to tread, isn’t it? As a female gamer who has received abuse online (and really – what female gamer hasn’t?), I’d like to say that in my experience, most males online are NOT jackasses. There will always be one or two who make gaming online something to think about twice, however.

      Honestly, though, I don’t think Fat, Ugly or Slutty does a very good job of showing how bad boys can be on the internet. My issue with it is that most of its examples appear to be provoked attacks – naturally, someone with a bruised ego is going to be frothing at the bit to defend himself. But when gendered insults are thrown at somebody simply because she held down her Vent key and happened to have a female voice, that’s what I find really disgusting, and it’s also not the sort of thing I’m seeing many examples of on the site.

      (Agreed with you on the use of ‘gay’ as an insult – thought it was something people grew out of at age 12. Looking at my fellow university students, it’s clear I’m wrong.)

  2. Sorry, I asked on twitter when I should have asked here. Do you have specific evidence that the messages are responses from baiting, or is it just based on your experiences of the behaviours you find as a woman playing on Xbox Live? I ask as I wouldn’t know where to look for that, not being much of an online player.

    • My experiences yeah, but I think it’s also evident in just the way the insults are phrased. “i didn’t ask u for ur opinion bitch” suggests that someone made a similarly hostile remark that they knew the other person would take offense to. Then there’s the fact that most of these are private messages: trolls don’t often take things into a personal channel straight off the bat (disclaimer: I’m not troll psychologist, just speaking from my own experiences again. If it makes any difference, most of my troll experience is with CoD on the PC and WoW, not so much on the Xbox).

      A more generic, unprovoked insult would be more along the “lol only ugly girls play xbox” line. Or something to do with sandwiches.

  3. I’m in two minds about that website. On one hand, it makes me laugh such as sites like failbook or ugliesttattoos do, as I laugh at the stupid people and self-righteously feel glad that I’m not like them, but, on the other hand, it makes me sad for my gender that there’s so many socially inept stupid guys like this out there in the gaming community :/

  4. Hey Katie,

    Thanks for the article about our site, it’s always great to hear peoples’ views on it as FUoS is quite controversial.

    Just to clarify about a few of your comments, as far as us not reporting messages, it’s something we’ve discussed quite a bit. However, when we were contacted by MS, we were warned that they’ve had issues in the past with photoshopped images and “blood wars” with people trying to get other people banned.

    We do look into messages before we post them to check about provocation, and 9 times out of 10 these messages are sent after simply hearing a girls’ voice or being beat by an obviously feminine gamer handle, which is obvious in many of the posts.

    Thanks again for the article and game on,
    Feday

    • Hey Feday, cheers for dropping by.

      It’s a little disturbing that Microsoft are dismissive of such reports. Are you able to shed any light on their reporting process? I noticed that FUoS has a few examples of the same person harassing multiple female players – do you think MS would be more willing to take action if they received multiple reports regarding the one offensive person?

      Also, do you ever worry that having their gamertag displayed on the site might actually be considered some sick badge of honour by some gamers?

  5. Pingback: “Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory” – Bruce Lee | GameTaco

  6. God, that kind of behavious never ceases to amaze me. I have to say I don’t find it the least bit amusing, if that is what it’s supposed to be.
    I can understand the the “shame” element that one might hope would be a result of posting comments in a dedicated blog like that, but unfortunately the unabashed ignorance on display would lead me to believe that they would indeed see this as something to be proud of.

  7. i like playing with the opposite ex on Xbox i don’t get why people need to treat people rude or without respect it is very uncalled for. Yours truly Regthompson5756

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