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.
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
- unequal pay in the workforce, or
- how last week, the MS gov. came out and blamed working women for the poor educational performance of today's youth because they don't stay home to raise their children,
- or how a social studies teacher told graduating female students to "Stay home and...that your greatest role in your life will be that of wife and mother."
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,