...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hey Gamer Guys, We Need To /Chat

Men, I think it's time to pull up some chairs and we have a serious heart to heart. Because the kind of  shit I'm blogging about today has been going on for too damn long.

For those of you who know me, either in the real world, gamer world, or just through my blogs, you guys know that, while I rebel against societies restrictions on "moms", I am not a part of the feminist movement where I remove my bra, burn it, and think all men on the planet suck. In fact, I like guys a lot. Most of my besties are males, and have been since I was a tiny tot. I can relate much more easily to men than I do to women. I've always been this way, and maybe it has been a part of why I have always enjoyed gaming. I get the same sort of euphoria when I rock out a raid with my fellow guildies and we take down that mother fucking boss for the first time. However, I do believe that we guys and gals are equal, and should be portrayed as such. While men and women are different, I'd like to think that evolution created us this way so that we compliment one another. Where one's weakness lay, the other picks up, and vice versa.

That doesn't mean that because we females may not generally be physically as strong as men, doing Strong Man contests and shit, that we are weak. In fact, anyone who has witnessed a female dealing with almost ten months of carrying around a child in her body then forcing a full fledged mini human into the world via her girly bits would laugh outright at such a ludicrous thought.

And yet...

Usually news stories don't bother me enough to post about it. But this one does. And while it is not as important in the real world compared to

this discussion with you is related all the same. And while other women out there are fighting for the causes above, I realized today as both a female *and* a gamer, that this is a platform I do need to fight for.

So here is what I saw today, while catching up on Current Events:


Misogynist gamers are at it again, attacking Anita Saarkesian for making a simple observation. Perhaps all the excitement at E3 has made their thumbs twitchy. There’s nothing particularly surprising here. Hopped up on adrenaline and “fiero,” they invoke the patriarchal battle-cry.  Of course, Saarkesian is the easy scapegoat. She has been for some time, the villain in social media’s version of a juvenile battle between the sexes. The tweet:
Thanks #XboxOne #E3 press conference for revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) June 10, 2013Saarkesian, as usual, was met with an onslaught of misogynist attack.
Some of the antagonist responses are so offensive, crude, sexist, and disgusting that I’d rather not post them here. Visit Saarkesian’s Tumblr to see her screen captures of some of the worst.
Apparently, “women don’t belong in video games” and “in general, men are better at battle rolls [sic] and other battle type stuff.”
Worse: “What did you expect? Cooking and cleaning games at console launch reveal?” and “maybe if women were more interesting and capable at life there might be more female led games, like super floral arranger.”


I took a look at the tweets that was creating this firestorm. I recognize, fellas, that many of these, if not all, are trolls. But that's not the point, and I'll get to that in a bit. For now, I just want to show you some of the tweets that really pissed me off (and frankly, should piss you off as well):

Now guys, what I want you to do is this this. First, I want you to go back and reread those tweets. Read them very carefully. And while you do, I want you to picture yourself in the shoes of a woman who loves to game just as much as you do. I want you to think of a female friend. A guildie. A wife. Sister. Cousin. Someone you may know who loves the same types of games that you do, but does not have a penis.

I'll let you be for a moment while you do this.

Now if you come back and say "Hey SRM! I don't know any female gamers" I say to you Bullshit. Absolutely, without a doubt, bullshit. Because here's the deal guys. There was a study done that just came out and the numbers say it all.

The Entertainment Software Association released its report, "2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry" on the official opening day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. The ESA represents the video games industry, operates the E3 Expo trade show, and owns the ESRB, in case you didn't know.According to the freshly released report, adult women represent a significant percentage of the video game-playing population than boys age 17 or younger. Nearly half of all video game players are women, according to the report. Women make up 31 percent of the video game-playing population, while boys 17 and under represent only 19 percent of game players. Women are 45 percent of the entire game playing population and 46 percent of the time are the most frequent game purchasers.


I really wanted to make sure that last paragraph caught your attention. Because that is extremely important, men. Nearly HALF of the gamers out there are female. 45% of gamers have a vagina. 45%. Vagina. Female. Your wife, sister, mother, daughter, cousin, friend, next door neighbor.... this stat needs to be slammed into all gamers heads again and again until any gamer could type it with their eyes blindfolded.

We femme gamers haven't just all of a sudden popped out of the woodwork screaming "EQUAL RIGHTS, BITCH!" Some of us have been here since the beginning. Our population may have grown over the years to become the 45% population that it is today, but gaming is not a man only universe, nor has it ever been. You guildies of mine know that I have been rocking the MMORPG scene since EverQuest pretty much launched!

We have been around! And our numbers are growing. We are with you guys, learning the moves, the stats, the rotations, cooldowns. We femmes are right along side you males, working as a team, staying up late at night to go over and over and OVER a fight, wiping until it all clicks and we take that boss down. We're right there with you on Ventrillo or TeamSpeak, screaming VICTORY IS OURS, FUCK YA!

We femmes are there, doing that daily rep grind, reading the forums to better ourselves, spending hours at the dummies, fine tuning our spec, our buttons, our parse.

We're right there with you! And yet...

  • How many of you have watched gen chat and seen the phrase "There are no girls in MMO's" bandied about?

  • How many of  you have seen in chat or forums, once a girl gamer speaks up, that others tell her to "get back in the kitchen" or "it must be her time of the month"?

  • How many of you have been reading through gaming forums for info, only to stumble upon a girl bashing thread?

  • How many of you have seen femmes kicked out/ refused entry to guilds/groups/raids because they are female?

How many of you have spoken up on our behalf?

As a female gamer who has almost 15 years experience of gaming ( not including console games... if I added that in we're talking 25 years experience) I could yell and curse, and bitch about this issue. But you know what guys? It won't do much good. Specifically because of the fact that I *am* female. My voice won't matter. It won't change a thing. But, your voice can. As a male gamer, you have the POWER to stand up to asshats like those who tweet the crap like above. You have the POWER to denounce sexist idiots in gen chat. You have the POWER to stand up for your wife/sister/friend and say "this is fucking bullshit, and we men will not tolerate our femme gamers being stomped on".

Because this is one part where you men have more power right now than we femmes do. We will get there, don't think we won't. But right now, RIGHT NOW, we need you: our husbands, our brothers, our friends, our guildies. We femmes, who work side by side with you in the multi-virtual universes... we need some heroes. Because we will continue to game. And we will continue to kick pixelated ass. And we will continue to push back at the sexist prepubescent trolls who think they are a manly man when they put women gamers down.

But we also know, that without real men standing up and letting it be known that this type of behavior is reprehensible, nothing will change. And frankly, I think it's time it did. Don't you?

From one gamer to another, 


Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Thank you Sister!

Seriel said...

If you want to chat, feel free to message me or log-in (if you can ;)). I would be happy to of course. Can't say, in all honsetly, I see the things you mention. However, I am a firm believer in the /i Troll command.

SRM said...

Sup, Seriel! Miss you.
You know, I was talking about this on another forum, and mentioned how lucky I am to have the guildies that I do. And out of all the games I have played, SOE games are the ones where this type of thing is pretty much nonexistent. I've never had to deal with this on a personal basis, but I've seen it happen to others, on games like WoW, Rift, or gaming forums. Which is why I wrote this =)

you still over at EQ2? Maybe one of these days I'll pop on over and we could hit up some bosses ;) Tell the folks over there I said Oy!

Seriel said...

Yep, still at EQ2 though not quite so often. I still lead raids.

And yeah, I am pretty insulated from all the stuff you mention and I know it's by my choice. I just choose to not give the asshats the attention.

jw said...

This is complex. Really complex. The ESA article obfuscates what games each demographic is buying - I'm willing to bet the people buying CoD-BlOps aren't 46% women (for example). That's not to say it's zero either, and that you shouldn't be gender-blind when you interact with someone. It's just not as simple as "46% women".

The biggest problem for women is the vocal minority colouring the silent majority issue. Muslims on the whole are a quiet and peaceful people that live by the precepts of hospitality. The minority radical ones that blow people up spoil everything. Same goes for women in MMOs - the overwhelming majority are awesome and I don't give a damn about gender, and then you meet the minority of attention hos that are such annoying little brats that I started seeing "Just don't recruit women" floating around officer chat more than once in the guilds I was running.

Now, the whole comic and videogame industry is frighteningly mysogynistic. You can count the number of well adjusted female protaganists on one hand. Hint: "Well adjusted" doesn't mean "Designed to show maximum tits and ass (Lara Croft, Black Widow, FF-Anything, MMO models, etc.)". I don't know the solution to this, but to not even acknowledge it seems a long way in the wrong direction. It's been wrong for so long that it's just accepted - I mean think about it, the Metroid reveal that "Samus was female" should have been a "so what" in a fair world and yet we glorify it as a victory for feminism? Hardly.

Seriously, I can barely think of one female protagonist that behaved no differently to an equivalent male protagonist in the same situation. Mass Effect's "FemShep". And that series had some gender bias issues in the companions anyway.

It's all wrong, and our answers are wrong too. Sorry.

SRM said...

The study actually broke down the statistics. "Women make up 31 percent of the video game-playing population, while boys 17 and under represent only 19 percent of game players. " So while 45% are buying games, 31% of the video game population are females. While not the majority, it's still a higher number than we're given credit for.

you are right about the minority outspeaking the majority. But while there are female attention hoes out there (I've run across them, some alongside gaming with you) I think that they represent an infinitely smaller % than the vocal minority of female bashing jerks out there in the gaming world. So I guess I ask back, if people are willing to whisper "don't recruit women" why isn't the same thing said about the attention assholes that are male? Have we ever heard "don't invite guys"? Of course not. They are still the majority of gamers. But why should the rest of us silent majority of women be punished for a few, when the same does not apply to males?

This issue isn't something that has an easy fix. It will take a long time. And maybe as the next generation of gamers grow up with their parents teaching them gaming etiquette we will have already won half the battle. I know that as a gamer and a mom, I teach my sons what is and is not ok to say in game. X knows straight up I would go postal on hi if I *ever* found out he was writing sexist crap in game or in real life. He has a strong female role model to learn by.

But the second generation also needs to see not only the females sticking up for themselves, but also the men willing to stick up for the females. Else, what lesson are they learning? What lesson do we want to teach? To simply ignore or turn our eyes from this kind of crap? Let it continue to happen? Or to teach our kids, sons and daughters, that this crap is not ok? Not in the gaming world, and not in the real world?

It is definitely something to think about, especially if you have a son or daughter interested in the gaming world.