Opinion

Attention: Female Gamers Are Real Gamers

The Trials and Tribulations of Women in the Virtual World

By Lucia Rossi

Sexism in the gaming world is very much alive and is an issue that needs to be addressed.

In CSI, Bria Jordan, a female gamer, has witnessed this sexist behavior first hand in the classroom.

When Jordan brought up an incident where someone assumed she didn’t play video games because she is a female, a male student responded “Well, yeah. All girls who play video games are attention whores. They don’t really like video games. They’re fake gamers.”

He tried to save himself by telling Jordan that she’s “an exception. You play real games,” which started a discussion about what a “real game” is and why it’s stereotyped as something only for men. “Call of Duty” was the example of a “real game” because it was assumed that women only play to impress men. Most women find this statement offensive because it isn’t true.

“You can play Candy Crush Saga all fucking day and I’ll snicker at you, sure. But that doesn’t make me a ‘better and much more real’ gamer than you are,” Jordan said. “We just have different interests. And that’s okay. Just because somebody has a vagina, or is attractive doesn’t mean they’re pretending.”

“Call of Duty” causes serious harassment issues. Polygon did several case studies about women in the video game industry and their stories about cyber-bullying, sexism, and harassment. Nicole Tanner, a former editor of IGN and one of the founders of the all-women podcast “Girlfight,” was shocked at the demeaning comments left on YouTube for their panel at Pax.

Some read, “I thought they would put some fucking hot girls up there to fucking look at. AM I RIGHT?” and “Only 1 out of 5 is hot, and that is Jessica. The rest need to be in the kitchen.”

Brianna Wu, author of the Polygon article, leads a development studio that makes games and regularly has been threatened with rape.

“Women are the niggers of gender,” one email to Wu said. “If you killed yourself, I wouldn’t even fuck the corpse.”

Wu did not write the article to evoke sympathy, but to share what successful, powerful women in the industry actually experience because they love video games.

Clearly, it is time for the gaming culture as a whole to face the reality of sexism in the industry. Who is really to blame? The insecure, ignorant, sexist, and undereducated men? Or the gaming industry for not providing strong, fully clothed female protagonists and avatars? Perhaps it’s both.

There was a study done in the journal PLOS One by Michael M. Kasumovic and Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff who discovered that there is a prominent link between the hostile behavior towards women from men who perform badly in games.

“Dominance is tightly linked to fitness in men…low-status and low-performing males have the most to lose as a consequence of the hierarchical reconfiguration due to the entry of a competitive woman,” the study said. “As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards [women] by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank.”

People make up myths about women and their behavior regarding sexism that need to get straightened out, like how women are too sensitive. In reality, there is a severe amount of hostility and criticism towards women.

There is the myth that women get special treatment because of their looks when in truth, it is men who give the idea that a woman’s value is determined by her appearance.

There is also the myth that women should just ignore, laugh off, and not take harassment personally, when that is actually the kind of behavior that can do a lot of damage to people and cause long-term effects.

Lastly, there is the myth that video games are just for men, but really, they aren’t. Women love video games too, even the “real” ones, get used to it because it’s not going to change.

Consider these myths debunked and don’t cry when we kick your ass online.

 

Advertisements

Categories: Opinion

Tagged as: , ,

2 replies »

  1. That must me why the discussion forums and trade press devoted to gaming spend so much time devoted to discussion of the mobile scene and hidden object games, because all gamers are the same. Yes, people can be fucking assholes online. This does not mean that a company making a huge investment into a first person shooter can’t get into trouble if they decide to market them to my mother, who spends an awful lot of time playing solitaire and angry birds.

  2. There are absolutely such things as ‘real gamers’. Let me put it like this: a real hardcore sports fan watches every game he can, whereas the casual sports fan watches a couple big name games here and there and maybe the playoffs if his team makes it. A hardcore gamer is someone who makes time to play games, rather than just playing games when it is convenient for him. I’ve got an emulator loaded up with Final Fantasy Tactics Advance on the side of my screen as I type this.

    There are also women who play to impress men. Being a gamer is important to a lot of people, because most gamers are not like other people and like to be around other gamers who they can safely be themselves with. Thus the identity takes on importance, and because there are some girls who do in fact lie about it, people are going to be more suspicious. For example, imagine you could claim to be transgender and instantly receive a fat stack of cash (10,00 dollars let’s say) – even though there are many legitimate transgender people, and they deserve our respect, it would be hard not to suspect sometimes that it was done for the money. Saying you’re a gamer as a girl gives you attention and respect instead of money, so it’s done less frequently, but the comparison is still valid.

    Next, notice the caliber of your ‘demeaning comments’;

    “I thought they would put some fucking hot girls up there to fucking look at. AM I RIGHT?” and “Only 1 out of 5 is hot, and that is Jessica. The rest need to be in the kitchen.”

    When was the last time you saw someone say ‘get in the kitchen’ and not be joking? That’s your queue to realise that these comments are only semi-serious, and are sort of joking about the idea that already exists that hot women should be advertising things and on-screen. Alternately, they may just want to look at hot women and don’t care much about their achievements; if they were men they wouldn’t suddenly be more interested in their achievements either I assure you.

    as for Wu:
    “Women are the niggers of gender,” one email to Wu said. “If you killed yourself, I wouldn’t even fuck the corpse.”

    From reading the greatest site ever, Encyclopedia Dramatica, I can tell you that this is clearly a man from 4chan trolling. ‘the niggers of gender’? That’s fucking hilarious. It’s also quite emphatically not a threat.

    ‘There was a study done in the journal PLOS One by Michael M. Kasumovic and Jeffrey H. Kuznekoff who discovered that there is a prominent link between the hostile behavior towards women from men who perform badly in games.’

    Did he see if men who lost games were then hostile towards : other men, transsexuals, asexuals, etc? What i’m trying to get at here is…honey, someone lost a game and he’s angry. Why does this relate solely to women? What does this have to do with sexism? Do you not play any competitive games? If you did, you’d see that salt flows towards women AND men from losers. It’s just about venting that rage.

    ‘People make up myths about women and their behavior regarding sexism that need to get straightened out, like how women are too sensitive. In reality, there is a severe amount of hostility and criticism towards women.

    There is the myth that women get special treatment because of their looks when in truth, it is men who give the idea that a woman’s value is determined by her appearance.’

    Men receive more online harassment than women and don’t complain about it.

    additionally, it is women who place extremely high values on physical appearance. Last I checked, men placed value on who could get the finest woman… which is to say women validate men completely. More realistically this is just a symbiotic effect, not men dominating women.

    ‘Consider these myths debunked and don’t cry when we kick your ass online.’

    Name to me 5 games you have beaten, and which game you last played competitively online. I’ll wait.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s