It’s a trend recently. I’ve been asked to tone it down, don’t say that, don’t say it that way, don’t be so angry.

It is – to me – a conundrum how others seem to think that what I say and what I write is somehow theirs to decide, especially when it has to do with games or feminism. “You are too angry”, they say. “Don’t express yourself that way, you’ll scare away all the women from the games biz”. I think the policing of my official twitter and Facebook (heh, official, sounds like I’m the next big thing :P) is frankly both disturbing and to some extent unwarranted.

Whenever I go off the deep end, which I admittedly do now and again, I usually don’t point fingers. I’m not saying “that person is stupid and ridiculous, zie should DIE!”. I generally say – as I did to day “Det skall bli så JÄVLA skönt att få semester så att jag kommer undan ifrån alla dessa JÄVLA MÄN ÖVERALLT!!!”, followed by “Lätt frustrerad över alla priviligierade mansmänniskor som går omkring med kuken i vädret och tror att det gör dem bättre på att fatta beslut”. So, no one named. I never do. And in this case I was referring to the general state of the games biz, which I think many of us can agree on consist mostly of men. In translation, for those of you not up to scratch with your Swedish the first tweet reads something like “I’ll damn well enjoy vacation, so that I can get away from all these damned men everywhere!!!” and the second one “Slightly frustrated over all the privileged male humans walking around with their dicks in the air, thinking that that makes them better at making decisions.”

Now, my frustrations are not imaginary, nor are they unattended to, so please, no well meaning advice on how I should DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I’m already doing something about it. A lot more than most men. So there. But that was not my point. Nor was my point the specific tweets that I sent out today, but that we women – we self-identified as women – can not express ourselves the way we like on the internet. Or, well, we can, but not if we want to be taken seriously, or not be punished.

There are studies showing that men can express themselves basically however the fuck they want, while women can’t. Men can retain their believability even if they make factual errors, use personal attacks or harsh language. Women, using the same strategies are punished, not only by men, but by women. Say something factually wrong and you are discounted from knowing anything ever again. Or at least for a long time. Use personal attacks or foul language and you – as a woman – will be disliked by everyone and never get back into the community. It’s not that I encourage that kind of thing, I think we can all be civil on the internet and respect one another*, but the punishments for using foul language and personal attacks differ between self-identified men and self-identified women.

Men also have the upper hand when it comes to space in online conversations, or at least had – things are changing pretty fast. But my point is that high status, high dominance conversationsists usually can say what they want, when they want, without interruptions, while low status, low dominance conversationists usually can’t. I also experience the “questioning” as more intrusive, and more source demanding as a woman, than when I post as a man (*gasp* le woman dares to use a male alias?! Where, where!?). When I post as a man, usually the things I say are taken as fact. When I post as a woman, I have to defend my views to a higher extent. This also varies with where I post, and what I’m posting, of course.

In general, I’d also say that women tend to stick to the same policing as men. “Don’t write that, you can’t say that, that’s not nice”, but my experience has been that whenever I say something that some men don’t like, I get a nice or not nice nudge which basically comes down to “you have no right to express your opinion or your feelings, because I don’t like what you are saying”.

I’m not sure where this insecurity from others comes from. Personally, I can disagree with someone without wanting to silence hir, or for that matter feel that it is my civic duty to tell that person what to write.

* No, writing that I want to get away from all the damned men is not disrespectful. Being frustrated is not disrespectful. Saying “I want to get away from this stupid person” is disrespectful. I love my co-workers as much as it is humanly possible to love co-workers but most of them are men, and most of them do not have the same basis for comparison as I do. On occasion it is nice to hang out with women. As a self-identified woman. Because we all have the experience of being women. So there.