In August, Penny Arcade posted a strip about “dickwolves” committing rape. Whatever the point of the joke, rape was used as humor. This got some pushback, to which Penny Arcade gave a [RAPE TRIGGERS] non-apology that may have included the word “apologize” but not in the sense of an actual apology.
As it turns out, Penny Arcade is now selling a “dickwolves” t-shirt. Yes, Penny Arcade exploited rape culture for a cheap joke in August, and is now set to sell t-shirts glorifying rape culture:
(Trigger Warning for attempts to coerce laughter through foul language, Dungeons, Dice rolling, contempt for Hydra’s bodily autonomy,Dragons,)
Next post from Tycho:
2. [Our new] Dickwolves shirt.
Wwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllpppppppppp! I’m done.
Gabe is now officially just mocking the entire populous’ offense with and attempt to forget the issue. LOL TRIGGER WARNING ok now buy our rape shirts.
Here he goes out of his way to mock people with PTSD. I am sorry, there is no fucking way you can do that straight-faced and not look like a total asshole.
I could kind of see the Dickwolves as a straight-up joke of wolves made out of dicks mascots as a hockey team, but Gabe and Tycho aren’t even pretending to give a shit. They are bold-facedly telling everyone in the world, “Yeah, fuck your problems and concerns and post-traumatic stress disorder. I’d rather make money.” People who have been raped are now their new beating stick. They are celebrating the “Dickwolves” connected to the PR from the rape comic. What the jesus fucking shit.
It was clear from the apology strip that they didn’t even bother to find out what rape culture is, choosing instead to mischaracterize the idea as “if you read about rape, you might become a rapist,” rather than the use of rape as humor trivializes rape as the traumatic assault it really is, and that a culture where rape is not taken seriously means that rapists are not taken seriously which means that rape survivors are especially not taken seriously. Selling t-shirts glorifying rape humor is exactly the kind of rape culture-supporting bullshit I expect from the so-called “gaming community” these days, so I can’t say that I am disappointed.
I have no expectations that (cis het white male) gamer culture* is capable of handling itself with maturity or any awareness of its own oppressive bullshit, but I would really appreciate it if they’d at least stop and think for ten seconds about how their behavior makes gamer culture a not just unwelcoming, but actively hostile space for women, people of color, trans people, people with disabilities, etc. who are unwilling to go along with the thousands of cuts made against them by people who think they’re edgy, big, and clever.
Seriously guys, rethink this bullshit. Stop mocking mental illness (PTSD), stop mocking the reaction to the use of rape as humor. Stop trying to sell rape culture. Try to understand what people are saying instead of just amping up the offense because it gets you pageviews and sympathetic laughs from guys who think that gaming = deep misogyny. Plus that part where your fans trolled everyone who criticized you, and I don’t recall that there was much criticism of this behavior from you. It seems pretty clear where you stand, I just wish you’d reconsider standing there, you know?
* I’m a gamer, I’ve participated in gamer culture. I know a lot of gamers get it and are not immature douchebro assholes, but the culture itself is almost defined by being a douchebro, and seems almost to be a defense mechanism against acknowledging or listening to any viewpoints beyond the cis het white TAB NT male perspective. This is why gamers on XBox Live focus on harassing women with rape jokes and, why a lesbian was banned from XBL for saying she was lesbian in her profile, why this kind of thing is so pervasive all over the place, and why any critiques of this bullshit gets such hard, aggressive, defensive pushback. If none of this applies to you, it’s not about you. I am sorry if anyone feels like I am mischaracterizing them, but I am talking about real trends.
Edit: Don’t bother trolling, you’ll go straight into spam. You have the entire rest of the internet in which you can be an asshole. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here, etc.
Edit 2: People responded to these strips because that prompted the reaction. In the past, there wasn’t a Border House or a Geek Feminism blog or this particular blog, or really much discussion in feminist blogs about gaming or gamer culture, and thus not much direct discussion of Penny Arcade. This reaction does not mean that people suddenly decided to find PA’s rape humor funny in that particular strip, it means that particular strip prompted people to talk about it, and PA’s dismissive response fueled that conversation. Continued mockery from this past week continues to fuel the conversation.
That anyone is talking now does not mean that no one ever found earlier strips problematic or that they all laughed along with them. It does not mean that no one ever said anything in any context. It does not mean no one cared about it until now. Think about the dichotomy you’re setting up here by demanding that in order to criticize episodic art, you have to criticize every single episode that has been made. That’s what this question implies.
Also, to clarify the first edit: I won’t be approving any comments that qualify as derailing or sidetracking. I especially won’t be approving any comments suggesting that I (or anyone else responding to this) are oversensitive, too angry, reading too much into it, or that not approving those comments is somehow censorship. If you can’t say what you want without descending into personal attacks, you don’t belong here.