- A recent Parade article listed “25 Online Games That Women Enjoy,” including Solitaire, Candy Crush, and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Adventure, to name a few.
- Many felt it failed to capture the scope of female gamers and their interests, and instead fed into stereotypes of what women “should” like. For instance, when listing Bejeweled Classic, the author wrote: “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Am I right, ladies?”
- That article was shared on Twitter by E3, a move that prompted a ton of backlash from people in the gaming world who said it should know better than to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about women in gaming.
- E3 apologized soon after and deleted its tweet. Parade has also removed the article, though web archives of it exist.
What the Article Says
E3 apologized Tuesday after sharing an article about games women enjoy that many felt perpetuated harmful stereotypes.
The official Twitter account for E3, which is a major trade event in the gaming industry, posted a tweet earlier in the day that read: “Great list of games women gamers are playing — any of your favorites make the cut?”
That post linked to a Parade article titled: “The Games We Play! 25 Online Games That Women Enjoy.” In it, the author, Nicole Pajer, said she surveyed game developers, pro gamers, and everyday players to create this list of 25 “free online games for women.” Then she proceeds to list off her results – many of which aren’t even free.
Number one on the list was Sodoku, followed by Sayonara Wild Hearts and Candy Crush. Other notable mentions were Animal Crossing, Sims 4, Star Chef, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Adventure, Just Dance, Solitaire, Tetris, and, of course, Bejeweled Classic, which she listed with the line, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Am I right, ladies?”
She also included Overwatch on her list, writing that “Women like it since it has a lot of female ‘heroes’ to portray, giving them the chance to hold their own amidst the boys, and for its fantasy element.”
While she did say that online games have no gender attached to them, she added that these are some of the games “female players tend to gravitate towards.”
After E3 tweeted out that list, a lot of people in the gaming world were pretty shocked and offended. But to be clear, the issues weren’t about the quality of these specific games, and there’s nothing wrong with people who do play and enjoy them.
The problem for many was that this list doesn’t capture the full scope of women in gaming and their huge range of interest. Instead, it feeds into stereotypes about what women “should” like. As a writer for Kotaku put it, reinforces the idea that women, “would rather shuffle jewels or go dancing than blow off demons’ heads with a shotgun.”
Under E3’s post, some in the gaming space like Naomi Kyle and Trisha Hershberger responded with gifs representing their reactions to the list.
ew ew ew ew ew ew ew pic.twitter.com/zyH0alVANs— Trisha Hershberger (@thatgrltrish) August 18, 2020
Meanwhile, iJustine took a more sarcastic approach.
When Meg Turney saw the tweet, she wrote: “Whomst the fuck wrote this shit.” Then followed that with: “Okay I don’t want to @ her bc I’m sure she did try her best, but the author of this story has a tweet from a couple days before asking if any #videogamesexperts want to help with a story w/ no replies so I guess that’s how we ended up at having Solitaire be our favorite game.”
The tweet she’s referencing has since been deleted, but not before users could snag a screenshot of course.
Ultimately, Turney and plenty of others focused a lot of their frustration at E3, arguing that it should know better than to share something like this.
After seeing the backlash, E3 deleted its tweet and issued an apology, writing: ”We messed up. We are taking down the post and apologize for perpetuating a harmful stereotype. We will do better.”
A spokesperson for E3 also told Kotaku, “We posted a story that does not reflect what we believe and know to be true—that women and girls make, play and excel in games of all genres. Video games are for everyone, as the unequivocal voice of the gaming community reminds us all.”
Still, many were confused by how this even happened in the first place. Ms5000Watts, for example, said, “ don’t even understand how an official E3 twitter could think that posting it was ever ok. Anyone who has spent even 10 minutes in the gaming world knows that in 2020 that would be a bad article. It’s real weird.”
I’ll be honest with ya man. I don’t even understand how an official E3 twitter could think that posting it was ever ok. Anyone who has spent even 10 minutes in the gaming world knows that in 2020 that would be a bad article. It’s real weird— Ms5000Watts (@Ms5000Watts) August 18, 2020
Parade, for its part, has taken the article down, though web archives of it exist. According to reports, for a while, the link instead directed to a list of “26 Best Games To Play With Friends For Fun While Social Distancing.” However, now it seems to direct just to the site’s homepage.
See what others are saying: (Kotaku) (Digital Trends) (ScreenRant)
JoJo Siwa Fans Caution Against Labeling the Star’s Sexuality
- JoJo Siwa was featured in two TikTok videos Wednesday that many felt signaled her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- One showed her dancing and lip-syncing to Paramore’s “Aint It Fun,” along with members of the TikTok group Pride House LA. Siwa specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us,” which is also the caption of the post.
- The second video showed her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
- The 17-year-old entertainer has not directly addressed speculations about her sexuality, prompting many to caution against labeling her.
JoJo Siwa TikToks Trigger Sexuality Speculations
JoJo Siwa fans are urging the public not to label the 17-year-old entertainer’s sexuality, especially when she has not explicitly done so herself.
The request came after Siwa became a trending topic Wednesday when many speculated that she had come out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The speculations stem from two TikTok videos she was featured in. The first was posted on choreographer Kent Boyd’s account. It features him and other members of the TikTok group Pride House LA, which includes several stars from Disney Channel’s “Teen Beach Movie.”
It showed them all lip-syncing and dancing along to Paramore’s hit song “Ain’t It Fun.” Siaw specifically mouthed the lyric “Now you’re one of us.” That lyric was also the caption of the post.
Later in the day, Siwa posted a video on her personal TikTok account that featured her lip-syncing to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” a song that has long been heralded as an LGBTQ+ anthem.
Part of the lyrics she sang along to were: “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgender life / I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.”
These posts really started all the rumors online, and things picked up when influencers like James Charles, Bretman Rock, and others expressed their support.
Many fans also left comments on the videos saying they were proud of her, and journalist Yashar Ali tweeted, “This feels like a big deal if it is what I think it is…JoJo Siwa is hugely popular with kids.”
“And as someone just pointed out, if it is what I think it is, she’s doing it at the height of her fame when she’s selling out arenas,” he continued.
Despite the wave of praise, other fans feel that it’s inappropriate and harmful to make speculations about anyone’s sexuality.
Many have even shared their own experiences coming out, reminding people not to label Siwa as anything until she explicitly chooses to share that information herself.
While Siwa hasn’t directly addressed any of the responses as of yet, she has retweeted a post that features her video, the pride flag emoji, and the caption, “@itsjojosiwa is on the right track, she was born this way.”
Still, others also noted that she has publicly asked Lady Gaga to collaborate with her in the past, so perhaps this is a signal about that happening soon.
Others believe it could also be Siwa’s way of signaling that she is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Metro) (Teen Vogue)
Google Investigates Top AI Researcher Who Was Looking Into a Previous Firing
- Google is investigating the co-leader of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell.
- While Mitchell has not been fired, her account has been locked because Google said she “exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them with people outside of the company.
- In a tweet, Mitchell indicated that she had been “documenting current critical issues” related to the firing of another Google AI Ethicist in December.
- Sources reportedly told Axios that Mitchell had been specifically looking for messages that showed discriminatory treatment of that fired researcher.
Google Investigates Margaret Mitchell
On Tuesday, Google stated that it is now investigating the co-leader of its Ethical Al team, Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell has reportedly not been fired, but her company email account has been locked.
According to Google, its security systems automatically lock employee accounts “when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered.”
In this case, Google said Mitchell “exfiltrated thousands of files” and then shared them with people outside of the company.
Why Did Mitchell Begin Looking Through Files?
Mitchell’s investigation is related to the ousting of another top AI ethicist at Google, Timnit Gebru, who was fired at the beginning of December.
Before Gebru was fired, managers reportedly instructed her to withdraw an unpublished research paper upon her return from vacation. In an email to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies, Gebru then voiced frustration at managers for allegedly making the decision without her input.
“You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company,” Gebru said in a critique of the decision.
Gebru’s firing led to such a massive outcry from Google employees that Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to investigate the situation.
On Friday, Mitchell indicated in a tweet that she was also looking into Gebru’s firing, saying that she was “documenting current critical issues from [Gebru’s] firing, point by point, inside and outside work.”
According to Axios, sources have said that Mitchell used automated scripts to siphon through messages that potentially document discriminatory treatment against Gebru.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Trump Ban Was the “Right Decision” But Sets “Dangerous” Precedent
- While defending Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, CEO Jack Dorsey noted the “dangerous” precedent such a move set.
- “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday. “They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning.”
- Dorsey’s message came the same day Twitter fully reinstated Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Co.) account, hours after locking it for violating Twitter rules. A Twitter spokesperson later described the lock as an “incorrect enforcement action.”
Dorsey Describes Trump Ban as a Double-Edged Sword
In a lengthy Twitter thread published Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey defended his platform’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, while also noting the “dangerous” precedent such a unilateral move sets.
Twitter made the decision to ban Trump on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex in an assault that left multiple dead.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Trump] from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said in the first of 13 tweets.
Nonetheless, Dorsey described Trump’s ban as “the right decision for Twitter.”
“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey continued.
“[It] sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey described most bans as a failure of Twitter to “promote healthy conversation,” though he noted that exceptions to such a mindset also exist. Among other failures, Dorsey said extreme actions like a ban can “fragment public conversation,” divide people, and limit “clarification, redemption, and learning.”
Dorsey: Trump Bans Were Not Coordinated
Dorsey continued his thread by addressing claims and criticism that Trump’s ban on Twitter violated free speech.
“A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” he said.
Indeed, multiple legal experts have stated that Trump’s ban on social media does not amount to First Amendment violations, as the First Amendment only addresses government censorship.
“If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service,” Dorsey added. However, Dorsey noted that such a concept has been challenged over the past week.
This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same.— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Trump has now been banned or suspended from a number of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced plans to terminate Trump’s account in the “interest of public safety.” Previously, Snapchat had only suspended his account, but as of Jan. 20, it will be permanently banned.
Addressing criticism of the swift bans handed down by these platforms in the wake of the Capitol attack, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe Trump’s bans on social media were coordinated.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.
Twitter Reverses Course of Locking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Account
Dorsey’s thread regarding the fragile nature of regulating users’ privileges on the platform seemed to play out earlier the same day.
On Wednesday, newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that her Twitter account had been locked for six days. The screenshot stated that she had violated Twitter’s rules and would be unable to tweet, retweet, or like until her account was unlocked.
Hours later, Twitter reversed course and fully reinstated her account.
“In this instance, our teams took the incorrect enforcement action. The Tweet in question is now labeled in accordance with our Civic Integrity Policy. The Tweet will not be required to be removed and the account will not be temporarily locked,” a spokesperson for the platform told Insider.
It is unknown what tweet caused that initial ban, as Twitter refused to say.
The latest tweet from Boebert’s account to be tagged with a fact check warning is from Sunday. In that tweet, she baselessly and falsely accuses the DNC of rigging the 2020 Election, a claim that largely inspired the Capitol attacks.