I don’t often repost other people’s stuff, however, I am pretty sure that I cannot top Miss Representation’s concise, clear and targeted response to the issue of sexism in the gaming community. If you’ve been around this blog for awhile you will know that I am a girl and I game. I’ve written about sexism in gaming before, and talked about some of my experiences in posts like Gaming Love: Gamers Against Bigotry or Gaming Love: I’m Feeling Very Into Mute. Suffice it to say, I think its VERY important that sexism be confronted directly in the gaming community – and that when it is not, it makes it unpleasant at best for women who game, but a damn nightmare or worse for many of us.
I’m a long standing WOW player and from time to time, the sexist bullshit has pulled me down so far that I just switch games. Like now, for instance. I haven’t logged into WOW for a couple of months and a big reason for that is I just cannot be assed to deal with sexist bastards. I’ve been playing more single player games (Skyrim) or GW2 of late and I have to say that the GW2 community is FAR more accepting toward female players. General chat is not continuously bombarded with hateful sexist speech, rape jokes and all the crap that demeans and diminishes female players.
All that said, I was playing a bit last night and because there is such a LACK of sexist gibberish in general chat, my eye was instantly caught by a bunch of players talking about the Dragon Bash Festival … which they changed to the “Cunt Bashing Festival”and went into some detail about gang banging women … with or without rape (confusing I know but asshats are often illogical). Anyway, it made me sick and it made me sad, and once again I elected to log out and go read a book.
This sexist garbage is serious shit. It’s NOT ok … and for you guys that indulge in this sort of ingame behaviour – you have GOT to realize that your hideous behaviour matters. It impacts on people, real live people sitting on the other side of that computer screen. Not only are you treating women like shit, you are also creating a permissive culture where it is acceptable and even funny to demean, demoralize, diminish and sometimes terrorize women. You teach young men that this is okay behaviour. You teach young women that this is ok, no, better than ok, it’s “fun”.
It’s not fun. It’s not funny. Women play video games. We buy them with our money, same as you people with penises do. We want to play them with the same abandon that you do.
Please read the Miss Representation synopsis of the current state of play and support their iniatives. It takes less than 2 minutes to write a tweet and let other people know that you are not on board with a gaming culture that is sexist and overrun with ignorant women hating men. If you don’t think that there is a sexist women hating gaming culture, I encourage you to read each and every one of the linked “negative and hateful replies” to Sarkeesian’s tweet.
Earlier this week, at the biggest video game conference of the year – the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) - Microsoft unveiled a number of new games for their Xbox One video game console. After the presentation, Anita Sarkeesian, of Feminist Frequency, correctly observed that none of the games featured had a female protagonist. Her one tweet elicited a slew of negative and hateful replies from male users who inexplicably seemed to take offense to her statement.
Their vitriolic and sometimes violent words, as Sarkeesian says, reveal “the male privilege and male entitlement endemic in the gaming community.” In fact, during the very same Microsoft event, the tech company introduced a game by making an oppressive rape joke themselves - in front of a massive audience – for which they were later forced to apologize.
As video games have become one of the dominant forms of entertainment globally, with the top titles regularly out earning even the biggest summer blockbusters, it’s increasingly important that we challenge the messages these games and the larger community around them send to our girls and boys.
Let’s not forget that the aforementioned sexism is reflective of a larger American culture that continues to demean and degrade women. For instance, this same week, Republican congressman Trent Franks claimed that pregnancy rates are lower for women who have been raped, while others in Washington decided not to substantially overhaul a military system that allowed at least 26,000 sexual assaults to occur last year.
The issue of misogyny in gaming is particularly troubling because – contrary to stereotypes – at least 45% of all gamers are women and girls. How can our leaders, in corporate America, the media and beyond, continue to ignore and demean half of our population? And how can so many sit idly by when the women and girls they love continue to be disrespected and disparaged?
It’s time for all of this to stop.
On Monday, U.S. late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon will launch his annual “video game week,” where he will spotlight – to an audience of millions – many of the titles that debuted at E3. The producers of his show have explained that the intent of this week-long celebration is to broadly represent the rise of video gaming culture. Which means, they should be critical of the rampant sexism on display and certainly include the voices of women and girls.
Yet, based on early reports, the show doesn’t plan to promote any games with a sole female protagonist.
Tweet Mr. Fallon (@jimmyfallon) and his team (@LateNightJimmy) to ask them to stand up for women and use their influence next week to challenge misogyny in the gaming community. By encouraging a better representation of women in video game culture, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon can help reverse the troubling trends that were on display this week.
- Miss Representation