Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Those Photos Of Gamers With Buttcrack? Not Cool.


The geek community is quick to rally around those who need our support, which is one of the things that makes being a part of it so wonderful. We stand up when we see a wrong committed against one of our own and a lot of the time that wrong involves bullying.


When cosplayers are photographed and then made fun of because they don't have the body to fit the costume, we cry foul. When women are treated as sex objects because they choose a sexy costume, we cry foul. When little girls are bullied for liking Star Wars, we stage a full-on revolution. Yet when a guy makes fun of a bunch of Magic players because their buttcracks are showing, we make fun of them, too?

I first saw the pictures in question and did a double-take, not because I was shocked at the images, but because I was shocked at the attitude. This guy went to a Magic: The Gathering  tournament and then posed behind a bunch of players who really needed to pull up their pants. The players were oblivious to their low-riding pants, and to the guy taking their pictures.


At first, you might think it was funny, but in truth it is incredibly nasty. If this had been women, the cries of sexism would have had us all deaf by now. It this had been cosplayers with costumes revealing a bit more than intended, likewise. Yet here we have a bunch of gamers, all guys, many of them overweight, and they're being mocked.

This is wrong.

The double-standard here is mind-blowing. These pictures are making fun of people, stereotyping a group in a nasty way. It's that simple. Yes, you do see a lot of buttcrack at game tournaments when people have been sitting and are so focused on their games that they're not paying attention. That doesn't make it any more okay to pick on them as a group than on women whose cosplay outfits have ridden up their butts to show more buttcheek than intended.

This is wrong.

The  pictures have made the rounds of the nerdverse and the nerdverse has let me down by choosing to mock and bully their own rather than stand up in their defense. Bullying is bullying is bullying, no matter the target. Next time, let's remember to stand up for each other no matter the target in the bully's line of sight.

8 comments:

  1. Not really sure which cheek to take this on...bit of a bum deal all round.

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  2. The difference is clear to me: your cosplayers are dressing up on purpose. These Magic players are oblivious. It isn't pleasant, having to catch these glimpses that are so common, and there is MUCH that can be done to prevent these views from being public. The point is, this highlights the lack of social awareness that these gamers have.

    "Bullying" is never right, but some of these guys just need to take social cues and protect themselves (and others) from this embarrassment. I worked at a FLGS for 3 years, and can confidently say that the majority of the "Butt-crackers" were the guys that were hard to interact with. They just didnt get it. This didnt make them bad people, but they were definitely a unique class of individuals.

    Gamers, in general, are a unique class of individuals. But when you go outside, the SECOND you step outside, you put yourself in the hands of the society you are entering. You may not fit in socially, but have the decency to cover up.

    THAT's what this article was about...making fun of people who don't. Hopefully someone learns something from it.

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    1. You make my point in the very last sentence. It was about making fun of people which, I just can't abide by no matter the reason.

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  3. Thank you Nicole. Been fighting with a lot of people over this. Mostly because people don't seem to understand this particular wardrobe malfunction. As an overweight male who used to play in Magic tournaments, let me know what's going on.

    1) You can't talk outside the game. No one from outside the game can talk to you. So they couldn't react to a dude taking pictures of them, and none of their friends can tell them to pull their pants up. If something like that happens, you forfeit. This was a qualifier for a professional tournament with a big cash prize.

    2. This particular wardrobe malfunction is easy to happen if you're big and/or tall. It's embarrassing, we know it's embarrassing, and there's not much we can do about it. It's hard to help it.

    Here's a breakdown of what happens. If you're a big guy, it's difficult to find clothes that fit properly. Shirts ride up easily. Every seen Comic Book Guy on the Simpsons? It's why I rarely buy t-shirts.

    Well what about a belt? Because pants sizes are weird for big guys. You can either go with the belt under the belly, which means your pants ride low giving a high chance of crack, or you go around the belly, which will add several inches to the waist of the pants and create a very odd tent that can create very unfortunate optical illusions. So most of us go with under the belly.

    Suspenders? Yeah...it's a stereotype as bad as neckbeards and CBG Bellyshirts.

    The only option I've found is the one I've taken - spend a crapload of money on cheap clothes.

    If you shop at actual Big and Tall stores, you're going to pay $50-80 for a shirt that's the same quality as the ones that go for $15 at Walmart. But they fit properly even if they have to be replaced annually.

    I didn't get a job to be able to afford to buy dress shirts and suit jackets until then. In summer, I buy expensive short-sleeve sport shirts.

    Yes, I feel better about myself. I like dressing nice. But I wish I could just spend $15 on an Avenger's t-shirt and $10 on some khaki shirts and look okay. Frankly, I think I'd get less stares with buttcrack than when I go grocery shopping in a suit.

    The thing is, this is bullying. Like Nicole said, it's no different than publicly shaming cosplayers of the wrong body type for their costume or people who can't afford high-end costumes. It's a horrible thing to do and it can seriously crush someone.

    I spent my entire childhood being bullied. If I weren't damn near the only person in my high school who understood computers, my life would've been even more hellish than it was. I can't imagine what kids go through now.

    Do you know where I found acceptance? At the local game store. I could go, hang out, play games, have fun, and socialize without anyone judging me by what I wore or how I looked. Bathe regularly and no one cares beyond that.

    To do something like this in the place I, as a child, considered a sanctuary from the body shaming and bullying makes me so angry that I believe this is the first time I've been able to write about it without several dozen f-bombs. It's not right for this guy to have done it, and it's not right for people to continue to pass it around and laugh at it.

    And if you're one of those people, shame on you. I hope you read this and thing about what kind of harm this can do.

    Oh, anyone says "They didn't show their faces so who cares?" Three people were identified and outed in the original Reddit thread by friends who also attended. Imagine what it's like for those kids to be shamed like that and realize that pain and humiliation is what you laughed at.

    Darryl Mott Jr.
    Ain't It Cool News Tabletop
    Gamer's Tavern

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    1. Darryl, thank you for this comment. I do hope that people read your words and understand how hurtful pictures like these, and more importantly, the attitude they convey are harmful.

      Gamers should support one another, not rip each other down. And to think that this kind of thing could hurt kids already trying so hard to find acceptance is heartbreaking.

      Thank you so much for posting this comment.

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    2. One thing I don't know if I pointed out is that mental issues are common in gamers because of the reasons of acceptance outside of physical appearance and lack of judgement I mentioned above, on top of the escapism. I personally have some form of depression (still working on an official diagnosis of which type) and anxiety disorder. I've also known many people on the Autism spectrum who are gamers because it appeals to them.

      These sort of actions make it difficult for people with autisim, bipolar disorder, depression, and other issues to trust that they're in a safe environment. As a kid, the game store was my only source of real social interaction outside school (even though I had friends, there were far more bullies and I rarely got to enjoy our interactions).

      Losing that safe environment for social interaction and anchor to the outside world, I don't know what would've happened. Best case scenario, I wouldn't have developed any social skills until well into my adulthood. And the worst case is probably as bad as you can imagine.

      THAT is why this page has me so upset.

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  4. Thanks for this post. Shared it on Facebook, with the following:

    "I actually feel ashamed about being one of the many people posting that link. Even if something is funny to you, publicly making fun of other people's bodies isn't cool, it's a form of cyber bullying and it was sad to realize I was doing it, too. Doubly so since I devote a good deal of my working time to dealing with issues like that and making the internet a better place."

    It's weird that even after being more or less a geek for 20+ years and working to dispel myths and preconceptions about geek and gamer culture, I still wasn't immune to this. Rather, I found it hilarious and pretty much insta-shared it. Sure, the reasons I (and most of my friends) found it funny were self-ironic: geek culture has its own quirks, and most of us have these "been there, done that" experiences. Still, it's easy to forget that the people being mocked are, in fact, people, and don't find the public mocking of their bodies amusing at all.

    Again, thank you for posting this. It's always good to strive to make the internet a better, safer place with less bullying, hate and ridicule. Good job, and I've learned my lesson here.

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    1. Regardless of what I said in my reply to this earlier, I don't blame people who laughed and shared it as comedy at first. I can see how someone could find humor in it. Most people who shared it didn't think about it first, including some very close friends.

      This is the same challenge many other groups face, and I'm guilty of it myself at times when it comes to women and minorities. I've laughed at and shared jokes and photos that were sexist and racist before without realizing it because I didn't think about the full context.

      So I don't blame people like you who shared it when they first saw it. I applaud you for admitting you were wrong in doing so and for letting people you shared it with know you were sorry for having done so. Ignorance isn't a bad thing. It just means you don't know something. And you can't blame someone for not knowing something. You have to teach them. My ire is directed solely at those who, when shown their ignorance, refuse knowledge.

      So again, I thank you for realizing what was going on and for making amends. If there were more people like you in the world ready to listen and try to understand, we'd be in a much better position as a society.

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