Something has been bugging me lately. Well, if I’m honest it’s always bugged me but it’s come to my attention more so recently. I’m talking about sexism in gaming, and the surrounding industry.
Now bear with me. I’m not going to pull the whole ‘boo hoo I’m a girl in a male dominated area’ bull, which is used and abused far too much, I’m actually talking about the opposite side. I find that gaming is rife with sexism from the female side of things, that seems to happen without question. These feministic ‘Girl Gamers’ that seem to think that just because they are female, that they deserve some kind of special recognition or treatment, or that they are superior to the average gamer. Things like girl only gaming websites and clans genuinely get to me because these people will claim that a male only clan/website is of course ’sexist’. I honestly can’t understand how in this day and age people don’t understand that sexism goes both ways.
One thing that I can’t get my head around in particular is girl only sites. Whether this is girl only writers or readers or both doesn’t matter but what they are trying to achieve confuses me a little. These people go and make a site, sing about the fact that they are girls, and gamers and *insert empowering, ignorant superiority here* and they want to all get together and write about games as girls and for girls. But, why corner yourself in such a crippling way? By doing this very thing all you are doing is further isolating yourself and if anything, make you look ignorant and insulting. So, these websites will be pink and black, and no doubt have a pink controller on it somewhere, and they’ll rate their games in kisses or something patronising and stereotypical and then what, you expect people to take you seriously? I’m sorry, but all this is doing is burrowing deeper into these stereotypes that these girls will claim they’re trying so hard to get out of, when the fact is; you may aswell be reviewing Dogz and Cooking Mama, because trying to appeal to hardcore gamers from a glittery, flowery website that refuses to include men for no real reason then they are never going to be taken seriously by the vast, vast majority of gamers out there. I don’t feel like I need to use a girl exclusive site. They offer me nothing. I can get everything I need from real, professional (and neutral) sites as I imagine 99% of all hardcore gamers can, and do. Male or female.
Another part of ‘girl gamers’ that gets to me, is not so much sexism, but the attitude that fuels it. They will complain and complain about the ‘abuse’ they receive online, and blame it on everyone else. For example, they’ll claim to be targeted on games such as Halo, or PGR because guys ‘don’t want to be beaten by a girl’ or other players will be crude and rude to them, and they’ll make out it’s entirely sex based, and frankly I don’t believe any of it for a second. I have been on Xbox LIVE for almost 3 years now, and I have spent a hefty amount of time in open, social games during this time. And I can tell you right now how many times someone had genuinely made an attack at me that is actually related to my sex. Twice. Once on Halo 3, and once on Modern Warfare 2. Probably more than 2 years between those comments, too. Hell, I’ve been insulted more in the street by mouthy kids! The thing is, if I was to tell you how many times someone had attacked or insulted me online just generally when my sex is NOT relevant, I couldn’t. That figure is probably in the hundreds, and I imagine any gamer out there that spends a considerable amount of time online would be the same, male or female. The fact is, people online are rude! Tongue in cheek or not, it’s nothing to do with your sex whatsoever. But if you sit there with a paranoid outlook on peoples behaviour then yes, it will look like an attack. But just to you. Anyone who has this attitude clearly knows very little about the Xbox LIVE community OR you want to be attacked, or at least a vague excuse to make out that you are being targeted. I love playing games online, and a massive factor in that is the banter. That’s a giant part of the community as a whole and I’ve had some amazing laughs with it, but if you go into an online game with such a negative head on then you’re never going to enjoy it, and that is no ones fault but your own.
I think another part of the attitude is the fact that these girls seem to feel the need to shout from the rooftops about the fact that they are girls in a giant scream for attention. And it does get them attention, and then they’ll complain about it. I don’t scream about being female. It’s not mentioned in my Bio, I don’t make my Halo armour pink and I don’t use ‘Girl’ or ‘Miss’ as my Call of Duty clan tag. My gamer picture may clearly be of a female avatar at this minute, but this is simply because, well.. That’s my avatar! It certainly isn’t an attempt to shoehorn in my sex to those who may see my profile. All of this isn’t because I’m embarrassed, not at all. The fact is, it is not important.
I’ll openly admit, I do get a few friend requests from randomers down to the fact that I’m a girl, but I always deny these because frankly, if the sole reason someone is adding me is because I’m female and not anything to do with gaming itself, then they’re not the type of gamer I want on my Xbox LIVE friends list. I find it funny when I do get the occasional tone of surprise from someone I’m playing with on something like Modern Warfare 2. Because I’m so comfortable with gaming that my sex is not my forethought when I’m playing, and because of this I find myself surprised when someone is surprised by me! I just don’t sit there in the aura of my own oestrogen based smugness, sitting on the edge ready to play the ‘girl card’ at any moment as a retaliation against anything. I just enjoy it, play, try to do well and have a laugh, which is what gaming should be about. I have to say that stereotypical LIVE-based insults/banter aside, for the most part I get nothing but respect from other gamers and I can only assume this is because I don’t act like I’m better than them, and that I respect them just as much.
On a slightly separate note, I read an article a couple of weeks ago that left me gobsmacked beyond belief. This was by a girl, but wasn’t from a girl gamers site or anything like I mention above. It was actually on a fairly respectable website but I’m not going to link because in all honesty, just a glimpse of that page may cause me to explode with pure anger.
In short, this girl had written an entire article about – wait for it – how sexist Modern Warfare 2 is. She detailed how she spent the weekend at a friends house playing Modern Warfare 2.
“Modern Warfare 2 is a sexist game. If you chose not to play the ‘No Russian’ sequence, the only hint of a female throughout the game is a voice telling you that communications are down between two of the missions” she claimed. I sat, in utter, utter disbelief that anyone would make such a ridiculous statement. This would be like someone complaining about playing a match on FIFA and calling it sexist because there were no women in sight. Not only did this make me think she was a great example of exactly the type of girl the games industry could do without, but she – again – was clearly looking for such a ridiculous point, JUST to complain about it. Making something out of nothing. This is exactly what I mean with wrong attitudes. Look for a problem, and you will find one. But only like-minded, stuck up idiots like yourself will agree.
Later on in her article: “I want to be able to relate to my character and not just lust after them’ she says. Like many, I played Modern Warfare 2 and do you know what? I didn’t once notice the women, or lack of should I say. And not once was I distracted by my own ‘lusting’ after any character. Do you know why? Because I spent my time on it playing it. Paying attention to the story, characters and my surroundings and enjoying the experience as a whole. I don’t play games to pick at faults and I certainly don’t count the amount women in them. I honestly cannot get my head around why people like this play games in the first place, because with an attitude like that I don’t know how they could possibly enjoy it.
I should probably point out that I am not sexist towards women myself. There are several women that I play with, and also some female journalists that I respect massively. In fact, one of those was the inspiration behind my blog in the first place so I certainly don’t have anything against women in games as a whole. I have a problem with attitudes.
To summarise: If I’m playing a game with you then I want to play with people who are good at them and are fun to play with. And if I’m reading about games all I care about is that you know what you’re talking about. I couldn’t care less what sex you are. Hell, you could have no genitals at all! I don’t need patronising, I don’t need you to be sexist towards guys and make me feel like a rare minority, because I’m not. I’m not a girl gamer. I’m a gamer. And if you’d consider yourself a girl gamer, then I don’t have an ounce of respect for you in the world.