Gaming Podcasts That I Ignore

This is mostly a list for my purposes of gaming podcasts that have engaged in transphobic or homophobic bashing, typically when discussing JRPGs.  This kind of bashing is sometimes subtle or overt, but to such an extent that it is obviously an intentional opinion.  Both podcasts listed here have fully grown adults behind the microphones, so they have no excuse of youth or ignorance behind them.

Podcasts which have engaged in bashing:

The Player One Podcast

Gamers With Jobs

By bashing, I’m talking about a number of badly phrased critiques.  For example, when talking about a character, a person might say the character is “girly,” “impossible to tell if they’re a guy,” “revoltingly androgynous.”  Obviously, this is bashing the concept of a man or woman who does not fit neatly into gender portrayals.  When talking about a plot, there might be talk of “emo gay trash,” or “girl’s slash fiction,” or “too much feelings and emo garbage,” or “aimed at girls.”  Obviously, this is can be seen as homophobic and sexist since it’s calling a plotline “gay” and saying that plots for women are bad.  The commentary about how things are “disgusting,” “revolting,” or worthy of violence is even more uncomfortable when combined with this rhetoric.

While I agree that JRPG character designs can be ridiculous and that plots can be ridiculous in any genre, I have a particular hatred for this style of juvenile insults.  Much like the archetypal X-box live teenager’s insults, this bashing has no meat to it.  If the only complaint about a character design is that it doesn’t look manly / womanly enough, then the only substance to the complaint is that the character doesn’t fit a narrow heteronormative ideal for a man or woman.  If the only complaint about a plot is that it’s “written for women,” then why is that a bad thing?  Isn’t it sexist to say that a plot is bad for being “womanly?”  If an emotional plot is badly written, what merit is there in saying that it’s “gay” because a guy is the one being emotional?  How is that any different than the stereotypical homophobe whining about crying being “gay?”

I suppose my main deep irritation with this kind of casual homophobic / transphobic language is that most people who engage in it claim that they’re not being homophobic / transphobic.  When you use the same language, the same metaphors, the same complaints of a homophobe / transphobe, you are reinforcing the very same structures that say that this behavior is normal, proper, and acceptable.  When you argue that you’re just joking and people shouldn’t be sensitive or that it’s just one person who’s doing the joking and not you, you’re still saying that this behavior is normal, proper, and acceptable.

So, I don’t listen to these podcasts, because I want a world where that language is unacceptable.

  1. Rav’s avatar

    The sad thing is that a lot of the times the things that people are doing the “HUR HUR GIRLY” jokes about have stuff that’s far more hilariously _bad_ about the games (or good, for that matter.) And then you’d be actually talking about the game and game design instead of being stupid. Then again, I think most complaints are knee jerk “I don’t like the look of this, and don’t care to learn more” instead of actually thinking about why they’re disliking stuff.

    I mean, heck, there was a guy on a message board who honestly thought that Meg Ryan was the hero of FFX. As in he found a photoshop of Tidus with her face on him. And posted whining about how people could possibly think that a guy who looked like that could be a hero. And he didn’t get why people were offended. It’s this massive blind spot.

  2. yukie’s avatar

    I had it up to my nostrils with the ‘too girly/not enough girly’ push/pull malarkey in high school. Who decides these things? Masculine and feminine are largely constructs.

    Said podcasters would likely suffer critical neuron shutdown if they met P, who is six feet three inches tall, bricklike in physique, a mechanic – and so damn gentle and calming in presence that his pet mice lived to an unheard-of three years old and his rabbits to nine years old. Less stress = old fart mice and bunnies.

    Th part that bites is that half this junk is not even CONSCIOUS stupidity. It’s just total and utter cluelessness. People with no idea that their language is reflective of the ways society is deeply flawed.

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