I figured it was about time to add my two cents to the most recent gender ‘conversation’ happening in the gaming community. You know, the ‘conversation’ that has involved a female game critic and a female game creator being physically threatened and harassed. The harassment has gotten so bad, they have had to stay over at friends houses in fear for their lives.
Come on people, really?
Its hard to know where to start with an issue like this. I was raised by my mother and father. Both of them are gamers. The first rule of our home was: Games are about having fun.
The reason why I have not really addressed everything going on up until this point is simple; the real life rule of our house is also a rule of Random Encounterz. Games are about having fun. It does not matter what hangs between thine legs, what your skin color is, what religion you believe in or what culture you happen to come from, as long as your here to have fun.
I think that all conversations regarding improvements to video games or the overall geek culture should revolve around how we make things more fun. I rarely have experienced harassment based on my gender in the gaming community. When I have, its usually when I begin discussing my gripes with the gaming community and someone comes along and dismisses what I have to say.
For the sake of clarification, I’ll list my gripes here:
- The female form is used as decoration way too often.
- Women present in many games don’t have characters.
- There is not enough women as playable characters.
- There is not enough moderation in online games to control harassment
- My gripes and criticisms of games and/or the gaming community are dismissed because ‘not many women play ‘real’ games’ or because I’m ‘not a real gamer girl’
Up until recently, the dismissive comments were usually ‘The vast majority of gamers are men, so video game publishers will continue to advertise and appeal to the male audience. Its only good business.’
Because I am a minority, I’m not worth listening to? Dafuck?
I feel there is a difference between the gaming community and the business of creating games. In my community, I want to feel like I am respected and what I have to say matters. Its a bit hard to feel that way, when your essentially told ‘I don’t have to listen to you because you don’t represent a majority of our community.’
Very recently, the dynamic of these dismissive conversations has changed. The Entertainment Software Rating Board Statistics reports that 40% of gamers are women and 67% of American households play video games. These statistics should blow a massive hole in the ‘appealing to male customers’ argument.
If only that were true…
The Entertainment Software Rating Board does not discern the difference between Candy Crush and Battlefield 4. This has led to the argument that a vast majority of ‘gamer women’ are not in fact, gamer women at all. Either Candy Crush is not a real video game, gamers who play Candy Crush are not real gamers, or the girls playing video games are ‘posers’ and not ‘real gamer geeks.’
I think the one that bothers me the most is ‘your not a real gamer girl.’ On a few occasions I’ve been dismissed because there was no proof that I am a ‘real’ female gamer. Are we going to start demanding resume’s now? What kind of games do you play, how well do you know these games, do you wear glasses?
I almost wish I did not wear glasses so I would not fit in with the stereotype.
I thought we wanted more women in our community? How exactly can we make the gaming community more female friendly if the criticisms of women already in the gaming community are dismissed (and worse.)? In the past few months the very act of a woman creating a game or criticizing our community is putting them in harms way.
I am just, baffled. Truly baffled. Criticism is not something that is inherently bad. As I understand it, its a tool intended to explore how to improve something. You can love something and still be critical of it. When I say ‘I wish there were more female playable characters in video games’ I am NOT also saying ‘I hate male playable characters in video games.’
These so called ‘men’ feel threatened because of some female strangers opinion about the games they love and/or the community they love. They say its an attack on their masculinity, that somehow a woman being critical of them threatens their maleness. This gets to the core of what bothers me (other than people being afraid for their lives). Yuji has the woman he loves (that would be me 😛 ) criticizing the things he loves and his own personal work on a daily basis. He is very much a dude, he’s not ‘whipped’ and, to be perfectly blunt, he comes from a culture that’s generally more misogynistic than my own. So how can Yuji ‘handle’ this kind of criticism? Its actually a foundation for our relationship, a key element in the respect we have for each other. He respects the fact that I can see things that he can’t, so my criticism only strengthens him. Even if he does not agree with me, his ideas are stronger because he has been able to think about them in a different way. I value him in an equally similar fashion. Through this criticism, we are both stronger.
Yuji is not the only man that I am critical of, or is critical of me. My best friend Bryce, my brother Barrett, and my father Brian are all critical of me as I am critical of them.
Now that I think about it, all the men in my life are like this.
So the people threatening these women? Are they really ‘men’ as many cultures define ‘manliness’? I don’t think so. Based off my observations and understanding, strength is a core element to masculinity, and there is nothing strong about being threatened by the opinion of another.