DOUBLE STANDARDS – Female Gamers and Men’s Spaces

I am looking for help from people who know gaming and know the gaming community on this. From the way it looks to me, when a female gamer makes this kind of complaint, it looks for all the world to me like an insistence on special treatment. It looks like they have entered a men’s space, apparently without any invitation, and now demand that it fit their requirements and preferences. How far wrong is this impression?

She starts with:

“Though 47 percent of all gamers are women and though many of us are equal in our skills and drive to the men, we are often not welcome.”

Sounds like the gender discussion for the last 40 years, in reverse. The difference of course being that the gender discussion has real world effects on the lives of real people. But moving on…

Her complaints sound familiar. She complains of really rude and hostile language, and it is really rude and hostile.

“What happened to Sarkeesian is not unique. There are websites, like Jenny Haniver’s NotIntheKitchenAnymore.com or FatUglyorSlutty.com, where (mostly) women share the abusive messages they’ve quite loudly received over the years on both console and PC. Messages posted to the site include such gems as “BITCH I HOPE U GET BREAST CANCER N DIE YOU SLUT,” “you fat fuckin tomboy go kill yourself,” or “go in the kitchen stop playing video games it’s for men not for pussys.” I’ve had plenty of my own to share.”

But then I hear that that kind of language is just the norm, even between male players. I know from other sub-cultures than men calling each other bitch hand wishing breast cancer on them has a basically playful, rough-housing tone, the modern equivalent of ”See you in Hell, Johnny Reb!”.

So in other words, she goes into a male space and when she is treated equally, just like a male player, even if in terms tailored to her and her perceived individual vulnerabilities – and apparently those are some real vulnerabilities for her – well, that’s not good enough. It’s sexist and misogynist. They’re being mean to her and she’s going to tell.

And she didn’t invent this attitude. This attitude is standard as women move into male-dominated spaces. It’s immaterial if these behaviors are adaptive to the environment or if they are just arbitrary – if Missy doesn’t like them, they will have to change. And we have history on this by now, the history on this has been that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. It’s called gynonormativity.

“This is something I’ve heard plenty: Oh, these are just misguided kids. But according to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is more than 30 years old, and 68 percent of gamers are over the age of 18. So to chalk all of this ugliness up to immature boys who just need to “grow up” does nothing but turn a blind eye to the very real problem—a problem that leads some young women to avoid voice communications, hide their gender in their profiles, or give up on online gaming altogether. “

Note how the writer doesn’t object to the Peter Pan shaming language in this, she just thinks it’s an unsatisfactory excuse. She just applies her gynonormative expectations to these male gamers’ behavior and when those don’t get honored, she sees misogyny.

Anyway, help me figure this out. I can’t see how someone can want to run with the boys and then expect people to pity her when she comes crying. Well, yeah I can; we all know things work.

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  • Tovsain

    I would hesitate to call video game environments “male spaces” – while they do tend to be disproportionately male, it isn’t a “boys being boys” scenario, where the guys just communicate with courser language when Women aren’t around.

    What it is, is typically a pseudo anonymous environment with a ton of people, many of whom are silent. So you get vocal people, especially kids/teenagers, saying offensive things just to get a rise out of people.

    Now, Women are, when they complain, asking for special treatment, in the sense that there’s all sorts of racism and homophobia also being thrown around just to get a reaction out of people – and sexist comments against Women are one of the few things people will actually speak up against, instead of just ignoring the offender. But I think it’s important to make the distinction that they aren’t going into a “Men’s space” and asking to be treated differently, they’re going into a “*hostile* space” and asking for it not to be hostile to them, when there’s an implicit assumption among any other demographic being harassed that they’re just supposed to ignore harassment.

    Now, being a Woman online is certainly more visible than most other qualities, which I’m sure leads to easier avenues for directed insults – but any even semi closeknit group I’ve seen will usually ostracized anyone being a jerk anyways.

    There can be issues with gender being a more convenient attack vector than a lotof other traits – but online games are the internet + anonymity + tons and tons of people you’ll never see again. People are assholes either way, so it’s largely a matter if what offensive thing they’ll say, not whether they’ll say it.

  • Clarence

    The same perspective from a more problematical approach:
    http://theredpillroom.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-male-social-matrix-back-to-sandbox.html
    A bit gender-essentialist, but there’s alot of truth in there speaking in generalities.

    Now Tovsain:
    Online video game environments aren’t “all male” environments true. But they tend to be occupied mostly by males and, more importantly – they tend to be competitive. That’s part of the fun for the males and females who play in them. However, when you get competition, you tend to get a less “sociable” milleau and one more focused on winners and losers and skills instead of inclusion and fun.

    THIS is what whiners like the above are trying to change with their gynonormativity. They don’t understand it, and if they get what they want, the competitive aspect will be removed and men will simply go elsewhere.

  • dungone

    The fact that video games have become a frontier for feminism blows my mind. Sometimes, reality is stranger than fiction.

  • debaser71

    The fact is that when I am play games and I am using my female model characters (pvp advantage with the smaller profile…) people are NICER to me.

    Also, in my mind most 20 somethings are kids. So it is easy to say, “most of the assholes in gaming” are kids.

    Sorry to add nothing at all…this topic just irks me.

  • Druk

    “the average gamer is more than 30 years old, and 68 percent of gamers are over the age of 18”
    There is no evidence linking that 68% to the vocal, horrible comments. There’s no reason to think that the attitude of gamers is uniform across all age groups.

    Also, “47 percent of all gamers are women” doesn’t say anything about how much women play per week compared to men, or what types of games they play. (If hypothetically 99% of women gamers play only single-player games, and the remaining 1% only play for 5 hours a week maximum, then multiplayer games are still overwhelmingly “male spaces”)

    For the most part, I haven’t participated in games that have the horrible communities lately. The only online game I’ve been playing is League of Legends, and they have this absolutely awesome player-run Tribunal that weeds out the worst of the viciousness. I would love to see similar systems adopted by other games, and maybe this problem would solve itself.

  • http://operatoroscillation.wordpress.com/ operatoroscillation

    Telling someone “I hope you get breast cancer” isn’t mere roughhousing. Clearly, somebody is pissed off. The problem is that she is quote mining these guys and not providing any context. What set these guys off? Why were they behaving this way? Nobody ever acts that way toward me when I use a female avatar. So already, she is being manipulative and dishonest.

  • Aych

    I find it interesting that a lot of these articles which are critical of computer gaming’s ‘male dominated’ nature like to elide the fact that in the not-too-distant past, a lot of women wouldn’t have entered a computer room full of low-status males even if you paid them. But now? Men owe women special efforts for inclusion.

    While we’re at it, let’s scold male lepers for selfishly excluding able-bodied women from their fancy fancy colonies. Those limbless bastards owe women something, dammit!

    Over and over again, it’s like this: Men construct a table. Women stand aside, refusing opportunities to help in the construction. Men sit down around the completed table. Women demand seats at the table that they didn’t help to build. Men give some women seats at the table. Women complain women haven’t been given enough seats. Men give women some more seats. Women start complaining that the table is too wobbly, the seats are uncomfortable, the paint is too dark, etc etc. One man tells the women to shut up. Women start complaining about all men’s table manners. Etc.

  • Ginkgo

    Thanks guys, I really appreciate alll the varying perspectives. More reactions on the morning. Sometimes time is the main ingredient.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    @operatoroscillation: “Nobody ever acts that way toward me when I use a female avatar. So already, she is being manipulative and dishonest.”

    I think the entire outrage-esque situation is dishonest, or at least the result of some skewed perceptions. The gaming community (especially online games with a competitive element) has some pretty vile people in it that will say anything to “troll” or upset other people; those people take competition way too seriously and say horrible things. However, they’re probably not as common as they seem to be.

    The problem is that on, say, a given game server, one or two people can be saying that stuff in a general chat channel where there are hundreds of people; others might pick up the “fight” and start flinging insults back, but for the most part it’s limited to just a few people among hundreds – if not thousands. And, depending on the content, some people may jump in to defense (and they will, especially if they think the person being insulted is female), while others will silently “report” the offenders, who will later be suspended or banned. Needless to say, the vast majority of people who play games don’t say anything to anyone outside of a close group of friends.

    Competitive games with no real social element, of course, are a little different. If someone is playing Counterstrike (a game where you pretty much just shoot people on the other team in the face) or a game like that, insults seem to be non-stop from everyone. Xbox live has a horrible reputation for it (a much deserved reputation of assholery), but it’s not particularly misogynist. In fact, the women who play such games seem to scream into their microphones just as much as everyone else.

    ***

    What I think is happening is that some women are coming into gaming (and some are only hearing second hand accounts from these women – and making a lot of assumptions), hearing a few jackasses say insulting things and then saying “all male gamers are misogynist” while (as is typical) ignoring that the same things happen to the men who play.

    There are creepy (and I don’t mean awkward or shaming-style “creepy”) dudes who will send unsolicited and sexually suggestive private messages to assumed female players, but they’re infrequent and get rebuffed constantly. There are also some players who do have some pretty legitimately misogynist views. However, my experience is that gamer culture itself isn’t really that way. I encounter vastly more homophobia in gamer culture than I do misogyny, end even that isn’t something I’d attribute to “gamers” so much as a small group of assholes who like to talk.

    At any rate, it all just seems like a lot of panty twisting and White Knighting to me. I think there’s something to be said in striving to make online gaming spaces more civil (death threats and horrible insults get really tiresome), but pretending this another fight in the “gender war” it seems some feminists (and non, I suppose) are interested in perpetuating is just maddening.

    Part of me wants to verbally slap them and say, “well, maybe you should have come around back when people started using racist, ethnic, age-related and homophobic slurs instead of waiting until sexist insults started so you could damsel it up and pretend it’s all about you. Thank goodness females are inherently more important and people will rush to *their* defense!” The other part, which I value more and think is more realistic, just wants people to focus on the actual subjective problem – wish is other people treating each other like shit – and working on that instead of turning it into a selfish, in-group pity party.

  • http://markley.weebly.com/index.html John Markley

    Spot on, Ginkgo. A few months ago, someone told me- in the comments section of an article I had written for a gaming website, not even the sort of competitive environment where adrenaline is pumping and tempers might be expected to run high- that he/she hoped someone would break into my house at night and cut my throat while I slept. It never even occurred to me to consider it a big deal, much less a manifestation of some grave social injustice.

    I don’t think the sort of nastiness everyone else in that community has always been expected to put up with somehow becomes a horrible outrage when it’s directed at ME, or that I’m uniquely entitled to protection none of my fellows have ever gotten. Some women think that they are. That’s most online “misogyny” in a nutshell.

  • Valkina

    I am not trying to assume that I know who men are treated in video game community,I live that to man.But I that I throw in my 2 cents,share some things taht I have notest.

    I think it is woman hypersensitivity who plays big role in this.And not just in Gaming but in real life.When I first started gaming,some people will giving me wery harsh criticism.My usual reaction was to file bad about my self and my gaming scil,and think that there did not want me around.But I did not make any complaints to the people are right any articals about it.My reaction was “if I get better,there will want to keep me around because my skill”. So my reasons was to grow thicker skin,and develop my skill.After all this were just words.And around that time I start noutesing that they trited new male gamers the same way.And then I that maby this has nothing to do with me bing a women,and everything to do with them just scaring people.If the runaway at the first sign of hostility,that this people are not persistent enough to become good at it,and stay all night doing the that Boss from now raid boss.And when I start getting better at it
    ,always come prepared,never worgat flask ore food baff,ore to properly socket and enchant my gear.Everybody become nicer to me.And oddly it help me in real life as well.I stop being so sensitive and become more laid back.Life just seems become less stressful.

    When it comes to gaming community being hostile to women.I never hade to deal wit sexyal harassment,and people did know my real gender.Because my brother just to tell people that I am his sister.And one of the reasons is I think,because the request special attention for simple thing of playing video game.Even tho everybody else is doing the same thing,but when she does it is some who bether and more special.What I noutest if I woman has an attitude”I am just here to play the game”. Nobody will have problem with her.

  • Somebody

    Well speaking as a male gamer, I personally don’t like hostility in my gaming culture. Whether it is directed at women, newbies, homosexuals or anyone really.

    I came here to play, not to trade insults, and some proper sportsmanship would make it more fun for me.

    P.S. If you’re interested in doing research in role playing games have a look at http://forum.rpg.net/forumdisplay.php?3-Tabletop-Roleplaying-Open If you dig through there’s all sorts of long discussions to look at.

  • Shoutybloke

    RPG net is deeply hostile to anyone critical of feminism.

  • Aych

    This issue speaks, once again, to the hallucination that a “male dominated space” must therefore be “pro-male” and friendly to men. And that’s a total fallacy.

    I can think of a lot of male-dominated places which are not friendly to men. The Russian army is very male-dominated, mainly due to conscription. But every year, plenty of men in the Russian army get hazed to death. So how does that make the Russian army a male-friendly place?

    What’s funny is that it is well understood that the reverse is not necessarily true. Conservative women’s organizations and anti-abortion organizations led by women are not necessarily called “women-friendly” organizations so why is the reverse assumed to be true?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/telaran JDCyran

    @Aych – “Conservative women’s organizations and anti-abortion organizations led by women are not necessarily called “women-friendly” organizations so why is the reverse assumed to be true?”

    Because patriarchy, of course. Since all men are part of the oppressive system, they don’t understand the plight of the oppressed, nor are they oppressed, and so any appearance of oppression among themselves is actually reinforcement of the patriarchy. By reinforcing the patriarchy, they are solidifying those spaces as male only and actually promoting their own welfare, as a class.

    Women, on the other hand, understand oppression, being the primary victims of it, but sometimes they are so hurt by the patriarchy that they are blinded to the harm it creates and may work against their own interests out of fear or confusion. So when women are actively running and participating in such patriarchy supporting organizations, they aren’t women’s spaces because they only exist thanks to the painful oppression that patriarchy has burdened them with.

    /hissssssssss

    Of course that was sarcastic, and I don’t know if anyone would actually make that argument (I certainly hope not), but I bet someone, somewhere in the more radical feminist blogosphere might insinuate a similar (though probably less caricatured) line of thinking. Something like “the women have been tricked and/or pressured into it (potentially by their husbands), therefore it’s not a women’s space” and that “if men didn’t like it and weren’t supporting it, they’d change it, and since it’s all male, it’s clearly a men’s space.” You know, despite the death by hazing.

  • Hackberry

    Interesting post Gingko. Gaming is a spot where “PC” is simply not a big factor, yet. If a gamer is pissed off with another gamer they can let them have it without restraint, at least it was that way a while back. In some ways this reminds me of the workplace in the 1960’s and 1970’s when men treated each other in a rough and tumble manner and suddenly women were introduced into the mix. At that point the men treated the women just as they had treated the men for eons and what happens? Whamo! Sexual harrassment, workplace harrassment etc. Laws are put into place at lightning speed to “protect” women. LOL Not a thought to “protect” men prior to that? ;>) The world is made to protect women and to encourage men to provide, protect, and compete.

    Great post Aych!

    “Over and over again, it’s like this: Men construct a table. Women stand aside, refusing opportunities to help in the construction. Men sit down around the completed table. Women demand seats at the table that they didn’t help to build. Men give some women seats at the table. Women complain women haven’t been given enough seats. Men give women some more seats. Women start complaining that the table is too wobbly, the seats are uncomfortable, the paint is too dark, etc etc. One man tells the women to shut up. Women start complaining about all men’s table manners. Etc.”

  • Copyleft

    I wonder if there’s an analogy to the national-culture level: the notion of “diversity” rather than a “melting pot.” Should a culture be expected to transform itself to accommodate new members, or should the new entrants be expected to transform themselves to fit into the new setting? Probably a bit of both.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Dungone, almost as insane as women going onto the battlefield, huh? Can you imagine anyone would make such a choice?

    I assume yall have read Renegade Evolution’s series on the subject?

    http://theger.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/sexism-in-gaming-a-recent-example/
    http://theger.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/sexism-in-gaming-part-one/
    http://theger.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/sexism-in-gaming-part-ii-sometimes-the-stereotype-fits-all-too-well/
    http://theger.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/sexism-in-gaming-part-iii-sexism-in-the-gaming-industry/
    http://theger.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/1635/
    http://theger.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/sexism-in-gaming-vi-a-friendly-warning/

    If Ren says its real, then it is. I bow to superior knowledge. (admittedly, I don’t know from gaming)

    I might have missed one of those, not sure. But she devotes one post to sexism from women too.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    I’m in moderation due to all my links, please post. Its Renegade Evolution’s series on the subject.

  • Schala

    “The fact is that when I am play games and I am using my female model characters (pvp advantage with the smaller profile…) people are NICER to me. ”

    Haven’t had a problem either. Heck even if I reveal I’m trans, it only gets me opportunities to meet other trans people (and I have, before).

    The homophobic people even usually abandon trying to shame a trans woman. It’d be like trying to gay-shame Lafayette from True Blood – it’s a lost cause. He’s proud.

  • Copyleft

    I’m a non-online-gamer (tabletop gamer from the old days), so my only PC gaming experience has been Warcraft–clearly NOT a representative sample of gaming.

    But after making my first character a male and getting constant duel challenges, insults, and /spit and cruder comments, I made a female character… and the game experience was very different. No, I wasn’t hit on… I was left alone! As a result, most of my WoW characters since then have been female.

    Gamer culture (at least, from what I’ve seen of it) _is_ pretty dominated by the teen-male mentality, regardless of whether it’s numerically made up that way. But is that something that needs changing? I dunno. Anyone up for fixing Reddit or Twitter to get rid of all rudeness, hostility, and immaturity? Maybe build a space elevator while we’re at it?

  • JE

    Read this earlier and when I closed some steam game an ad popped up for some free to play MMO so I decided I was going to be all empirical about this. In the process of downloading now. Going to chose a feminine sounding user name (suggestions?) and a female avatar. Usually when I try an MMO (usually last a few days before giving up) I usually don’t interact much with other players (probably why I give up) so I’ll have to consiously avoid that. Once I have some results I’ll do a short write up.

  • Ginkgo

    There it is Daisy. thanks for finding that.

    Ihave read as far as the thrid one, and I see the problem. In the thrid one she corectly describes gaming as a safe place for guys who have been mistreated in very gendered ways and specifically because of their gender, for not measuring up to the gender expectations put on them. They are themselves victims of sexism.

    They construct a safe place for themselves, but somehow she insists on seeing that a sexist. She would have reached a more accurate conclusion if she hadn’t gone in with one in the frst place.

  • dungone

    Dungone, almost as insane as women going onto the battlefield, huh? Can you imagine anyone would make such a choice?

    I’m not sure if you were being sarcastic, but the lack of women’s effort to enroll themselves in the selective service (all the while pooh-poohing it’s significance) is exactly what I think is at a sharp contrast to the kind of rocks they’re managing to turn over to find sexism everywhere else.

    Some of the links you gave are really difficult reading for me. Props to anyone who can actually get through it and understand what the hell she’s writing about. My general impression of women who I have seen complaining about various facets of “geek culture” is that they tend to deride the guys for all of the awkward things that make them low-status males, while failing to acknowledge that they, themselves, by virtue of being in that community, are low status females themselves. Take Rebecca Watson of “Skepchick” fame and the awkward Elevatorgate scandal she promulgated. It’s really hard to point this out to a woman like that who doesn’t seem to realize her own sense of entitlement that, hey, maybe you’re running into a lot of low-status (and thereby inexperienced & awkward( men because you’re also low status. I tend to view it as a sort of self-hate and denialism that tears up their community from inside out.

  • Ginkgo

    Renegade Evolution has the advantage in that setting of being a virtual male – which does not make her nay less female – but she is perfectly capable of handling herself in highly competitive and generally hostile settings. I didn’t see her compalining about nay of that.

    She did complain about the sexism of the way the female characters present as hypersexual. If you find other people’s sexual fantasies – and gaming is all fantasy, after all,and pretty sexual fantasy too – too damned bad. Really. And Ren personally has no room to complain about anyone else’s sexual fanatasies, and has foughgt lots of battles to get her own respected, at least to the point of being tolerated, and she doesn’t have much excuse for not seeing the parallel..

  • dungone

    She did complain about the sexism of the way the female characters present as hypersexual.

    It’s like complaining that pornos aren’t family friendly but refusing to watch anything else because it sucks. There’s so many video games out there, but the complaint is that the best ones were created by artists who indulge in unrestricted hedonism. Don’t like women dressed in lingerie-armor? Go play with a flight simulator – millions of men have spent billions of hours enjoying those. It’s funny how, from all the complaints, it sounds damn near like the only games that women ever want to play are the ones featuring scantily clad women whose target audience are teenage boys heading through puberty. There’s only one solution to this and that is for women to actually create video games themselves and throw in all the Fabio romance novel adventure plots that would fill their hearts’ content.

  • Paul

    Does Anita Sar-whatever her name is even play video games? She strikes me as just another Womyn’s Studies major looking to make a name for herself and is going after the gaming community because it’s low-hanging fruit, being full of men that society generally distrusts anyway

  • dungone
  • Sailor

    This is OT but I am looking for the post where a study was qouted that found a significant amount of women provably sexually abused as young did not report having been raped and that four times as many men as women who had provably been sexually abused as young did not report it. I am also wondering if anyone knows about good studies about rape of men and sexual assault of men by women and rape and sexual assault in lesbian relationships? I also read about a study the other day that found amongst male rapists that had been sexually abused as children over 60% had a female abuser. If anyone knows where I can find the last study also it would be very useful. Sorry, for the OT questions but I thought I might get some good help here and did not know where else to ask.

  • Ginkgo
  • Sailor

    Thanks Ginko, that was exactly the post I was looking for.

  • Ginkgo

    You are more than welcome, and welcome to the blog, by the way.

  • Sailor

    Thanks for the welcome. Your blog is very, very good. It has great analysis and highly rational discussions of extremely controversial topics in a respectful tone. That is well done indeed. I`ve actually posted here before under a different name or two. Sorry if that is a problem but I do it sometimes for the sake of maintaining web anonymity.

  • Aych

    Gingko: She did complain about the sexism of the way the female characters present as hypersexual.

    Okay, so let’s make a video game where the lead female character is a pear-shaped, 300-pound butch lesbian voiced by Rosie O’Donnell. That’ll sell like hot-cakes. Ka-Ching!

  • IogSotot

    Hello, I’ve been lurking for a few weeks and decided to put my two cents in here.

    Lines like this: “This may sound like I’m trying to validate my geek cred. I shouldn’t have to prove anything, you’re right, but there are those determined to limit my rise in the gaming world. Though 47 percent of all gamers are women[*] and though many of us are equal in our skills and drive to the men, we are often not welcome. The gamers who still aren’t ready for us resort to online harassment to belittle, silence, and drive us away from their precious boys’ club,” do not leave me terribly sympathetic to Meléndez. She does in fact have to show geek cred; gaming outsiders have been ignorantly slamming games and gamers for decades, and she presumably does not want to be lumped in with them.

    Also, the notion that there is a Gaming Patriarchy enforcing some kind of glass ceiling (What???) on female gamers is nonsense to me. I’m not sure how there can possibly be one for the average gamer of either sex; there is not really much of an “up” to reach. What “rise in the gaming world” does Meléndez wish for? Is there some call for doctors of sociology in the industry? That seems an unusual stepping stone.

    I agree with other posters that sexism among gamers is not worse than the hostile treatment gaming trolls generally provide, if there’s any meaningful difference. By her admission in that very article, only a minority of the fraction of XBL gamers who interact with her are rude.

    Finally, it’s interesting that Meléndez advertises her association with a female-only gaming group, considering the blatant hypocrisy in this context.

    *The ESA’s stats are derived from NPD retail and may be unreliable or misleading. The ESA has a PR interest in the presentation of their consumers. This applies particularly to the contention that the average age is over 18; the under 18 demographic is one of the most active gaming demographics. It is possibly the most active one, as determined by viewing site demographics for Gamefaqs, IGN, and Kotaku.

  • http://stonerwithaboner.wordpress.com Stoner With a Boner

    yup, misandry isn’t real….

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/06/angry-ex-girlfriend-goes-ballistic-rips-off-mans-scrotum/

    so, I can go to mainstream media and hear that my body is canon fodder and disposable…..

    Just a slab of unfeeling flesh ripe for the laughter of the more “enlightened” womynz…..

  • Schala

    “This applies particularly to the contention that the average age is over 18; the under 18 demographic is one of the most active gaming demographics. It is possibly the most active one, as determined by viewing site demographics for Gamefaqs, IGN, and Kotaku.”

    They’re the most active in part because they got the most free time. But the over 18 have been sold to gaming for life. The under 18 might just be doing it to pass time and later abandon it as they develop other hobbies. If you still play videogames by the time you’re 30 with any kind of high frequency (a few hours a day, if physically possible), you’re hooked forever. You could go weeks without, but you’re going to be “one of the gamers”.

    Those core gamers Nintendo says it wants to attract – and is unlikely to attract given it’s focus on kiddy-friendly content and easy silly (often nonsensical) games (ie Warioware). Also, it’s hardware is 1-2 generations behind, makes them more affordable, but not more attractive to core gamers.

    It makes them more attractive to parents of potential-new-gamers, not to the ones who are hooked and decide what kind of content is going to be made (they have more dollars, make doable suggestions more than the kids, and often have the company go beyond it’s limits (ie Square-Enix the ever-more-innovative company – does that for core gamers, not trendy ones).

  • dungone

    @Schala, why would anyone want to attract a demographic that offers such diminishing returns? You mean, the people left over after the vast majority of other players lose interest, who nevertheless don’t have time to play much, either? And to boot, they have drastically different tastes from everyone else and don’t enjoy any of the “trendy” games? You make it sound like a niche market of pale-skinned navel gazers.

    Look, I’m a software engineer. When Diablo 3 was coming out, some of my coworkers shifted around some major project deadlines and took out vacation time to play the game as soon as it came out. So yes, there are some pretty dedicated gaming fans out there well into their 30’s. But I seriously doubt that the Diablo team was banking on people who take vacation days to play it as one of their major revenue streams.

  • Aych

    The complaints about the gaming sort of reminds of what happens when a strict vegetarian traveler goes to rural Central Asia.

    Basically, if you go to a typical eatery in the countryside of Uzbekistan or Kazakstan or Mongolia, there are perhaps a handful of things on the menu which don’t have meat in them (one of them is bread.) You’d better get used to eating pickled cabbage and yoghurt because you can’t exactly order a leafy fresh salad. Dinner in rural Mongolia is the same thing every night: boiled lamb with maybe a boiled potato.

    So if you’re a strict vegetarian visiting those places, you will need to make some adjustments. You can survive, but be prepared to do stuff like compromise on your diet, schlep your own food with you, and go to the market yourself to do your own cooking. That’s just the way it is. If you don’t compromise on ‘meat is murder’, you are going to be miserable. It’s simply not reasonable for a strict vegetarian to go to Uzbekistan and complain that the cuisine doesn’t honor their dietary preferences.

    I mean, they could make that complaint, but it means they truly had little idea or preparation what it was that they were getting into.

    As privileged westerners, sensitive people on the left are constantly urging us to have great mindfulness of other cultures; we should do everything we can to prevent native cultures and values from being steamrolled by our own. But when it comes to women entering male spaces, the same people start informing us that the ‘culture’ in those spaces is barbaric, backwards and inferior.

  • Hackberry

    Indeed Aych. But here is the rub. When women complain is it seen as a call to action and when men complain it is called whining. Just imagine that a male went into a feminine space (not unlike the woman going into the masculine gaming space) and asking for more football and beer. LOL He would be seen as a selfish idiot who was only thinking of himself. Somehow this woman is not seen in that light.

    I found the following quote on the web by a woman who had written a letter to the editor. I was struck by her reference to “dependent feminists taught us empowerment” by asking for others to give us what we wanted! LOL

    “As a woman who has managed businesses, when I look at Sandra Fluke and the Obama campaign railing against the so-called “Republican war on women,” it reminds me of my naive college days.

    Dependent feminists taught us to be empowered women, reject the family structure (marriage) and then demand that others pay for our birth control, abortions and child care. Government dependency would replace self-dependency or need of family/husbands. This “Julia” model has never worked and is bankrupting our society.”

    http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/letters/dependent-feminism-is-bankrupting-our-country/article_34d906d8-ea8c-593f-b39c-4fbf7b0ec736.html

  • Atzcer

    Hey there. Been lurking this site for a long time, and since you want input from someone who’s familiar with the gaming scene I decided to leave a comment.

    Yes, theres considerable harrassment going on in online gaming. Whenever someone did something wrong, there was a good chance that someone will start insulting said person. It is then usually assumed that the person is male, which leads to the expected choice of words (fag, little bitch, etc..). When it is known that the victim is female, you will of course hear female-specific insults (fat, get back to the kitchen, etc..). This is very dominant in online shooters, where usernames can be changed in an instant
    and the anonymity is big.

    But I’ve also had different experiences playing together with women, for example the guild I was part of when I played World of Warcraft. We had a considerable amount of women there, and we had a big guild chat via microphone. There was no harrassment, and it was a pretty friendly atmosphere. Another example is the community I’m currently in, which has a considerable amount of women in it, as well. Again, no harrassment.

    I’d have to agree with you on the “special treatment” thing. These statements about “e- patriarchy” and sexual harrasment come from a position that has absolutely no knowledge on how online interactions (be it gaming or forums) work. I’ve been harrassed a lot back when I started, and I still see others doing it whenever I play. Its part of the whole deal and not restricted to gender in any way.
    However, there is another side of the coin: white knighting. Whenever someone insults a female (wether rightfully or not), there will always be a certain amount of guys who will jump to her defence.

    I hope I could give you enough info on that.

  • axe-sunshi

    The thing about the debate about treatment of female gamers is that the debate is the desired product. It’s not about rationally solving a problem and making the world a better place, it’s about generating debate and emotional reactions. It’s about creating a dynamic where women get to play the passive victim role and white knights get to white knight. It’s about obsessing on personal interractions and emotions and victimhood like women in general are more likely to do. It reminds me of when I was in school and during gym class many of the girls would play basketball or bandminton or whatever as little as possible and mostly focus on just bitching and gossiping with their friends.

    So I think engaging this debate is just a wild goose chase, because it’s not a rational discussion and deep down it’s not meant to be. In the debate so many disparate elements are conflated together: foul language in multiplayer games towards female gamers; sexy female video game characters; female internet personalities getting hate mail. Take out the word “female” in that list and notice how ubiquitous to both genders and unrelated to each other these things are. But with the word “female” it turns into a conspiracy of the patriarchy to rape culture teh womenz.

    What it comes down to is this is like the stereotypical trope about the man and woman in the relationship, but on a more “macro” level, where the woman rants about her problems, but she doesn’t want help, just for the man to nod and empathize; If you in any way criticize or disagree about the narrative feminists have constructed about female gamers then you are just “mansplaining” and “silencing”. They just want white knights who will validate their victim mentality, and will twist around any other stance to validate it even more.

    Notice how in all the discussion, there are never any creative solutions put forth. There is no explosion of feminist-friendly video games in development. No new systems developed to cut down on hostile and bigotted language in video game chats. It’s about mulling on weak examples of supposed oppression. Vain, self-promoting internet celebutards making pointless youtube videos just to complain and debate more and more about the issue.

    I know plenty of men who won’t play multiplayer games with strangers because of the hostile environment. They don’t create a webpage to catalog and ruminate on all the mean little things strangers said to them, they just don’t play the games, or the multiplayer version, and move on with life.

    So, I think this is just one of those curious games where the only winning move is not to play. Realistically, what will happen is that (mostly-male) game developers will develop systems to make multiplayer gaming more family-friendly. (Mostly-gemale) Feminists will “develop” new things to feel like a victim about. Business as usual

    What gets me is the irony of the situation: feminists doing everything to make women play out a stereotypical passive role.

  • debaser71

    Hackberry, I have entered women’s spaces. I learned how to adjust my behavior to fit in better. And by fit in I mean to not have mothers think I’m there to stalk them and their children. If one does a google search for stay at home dads one will find forums full of fathers talking about smiling more, using a higher pitched voice, shaving, etc.

  • Clarence

    Axe-sunshi:
    I wish it didn’t go beyond what you said, but it does.
    You say no solutions are presented, I’d refer you to things like Elevatorgate and the “anti-harrasment” policies being pushed for (and sometimes implemented) at various skeptical conventions. I’d also refer you to resources like this which is more computer/video game related:
    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents
    Now, some of those incidents are really examples of sexism /assholery even by “egalitarian feminist” lights. But others seem to rely on a radical feminist sexual philosophy. And notice the preferred types of solutions and policies (out and out quotas, more expansive and consequential harassment policies, the seeming unconcern with any notion of due process in any of these proposed and implemented procedures) and the distrust and disgust with male sexuality and of male motives that these narratives illustrate.

    They are literally waging war on a male culture they distrust and dislike and few of any consequence in this world (the world of gaming and technology) are calling them out for their selfish, dishonest, or gynocentric behaviors.

  • Hackberry

    Debaser said: “”Hackberry, I have entered women’s spaces. I learned how to adjust my behavior to fit in better. And by fit in I mean to not have mothers think I’m there to stalk them and their children. If one does a google search for stay at home dads one will find forums full of fathers talking about smiling more, using a higher pitched voice, shaving, etc.”

    Yes, having been a SAHD in the 1980’s and 90’s I know what you are saying here. But note the difference. The dads don’t demand that spaces change to fit their wants, they adjust to the new environ. Contrast that with the assault of male spaces where women complain and everyone jumps into their white knight suit.

  • axe-sunshi

    Clarence,
    I was talking specifically about video games and people interacting over the internet, but you raise a good point.

    As for people interacting at conventions etc., implementing strict “anti-harassment” policies are likely to just breed more hostility.

    It’s so ironic how feminist like to complain about how society “silences” women in “male-dominated spaces” just because they are free-for-alls where men are allowed to talk back and criticize women. But then feminists make the rules they REALLY silence others by making these strict rules where people are literally not allowed to say things. On a feminist website I typically get banned instantly just for saying something thoughtful but that doesn’t feed into the echo chamber, the ban happens with no explanation, no debate whatsoever.

  • http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/ DaisyDeadhead

    Debaser… SHAVING??!? Seriously? (boggle) I would have thought the nice beardly-bear type would be considered more cuddly and safe?

    Or is it the “three-day growth” that is to be avoided?

  • Clarence

    More examples, this one from the Atlantic:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/why-we-have-sexual-harassment-laws/261771/

    Here’s a comment:

    “I work in essentially the same field, and I don’t really know that you can make an apples-to-apples comparison with the ID community and sexual harassment laws meant for the average worker. I agree that it’s problematic that application is essentially blind and zero-tolerant, but you’re dealing with a fairly unique subset with its own issues. The problem isn’t sexual harassment laws, per se, but that the laws don’t – and perhaps can’t – account for such shades of grey as you get with the cognitively impaired. I’m not sure there’s a good answer, but I do know that a weakening of the protections against sexual harassment isn’t it.”

    Now if you read through the comments you will discover:
    A. Conflation. All sexual harassment is the same. “Sleep with me or you are fired” is the same as a hand on the thigh, which is the same as an awkwardly delivered proposition for a date, which is the same as a lingering glance from someone “creepy”.
    B. All male on female, never the reverse.
    C. White Knighting and a total disavowal of female agency.
    D. Zero tolerance is not good because it doesn’t deal with gray areas, but we need it or otherwise there will be more sexual harassment. So falsely accused people and people who run afoul of the more ridiculous or less black and white areas of this type of law are totally expendable.

  • Hackberry

    Axe-sunshi said: “It’s so ironic how feminist like to complain about how society “silences” women in “male-dominated spaces” just because they are free-for-alls where men are allowed to talk back and criticize women. But then feminists make the rules they REALLY silence others by making these strict rules where people are literally not allowed to say things. On a feminist website I typically get banned instantly just for saying something thoughtful but that doesn’t feed into the echo chamber, the ban happens with no explanation, no debate whatsoever.”

    Completely agree. I’ve been banned numerous times and each time it was deemed that I was hostile. However, if you read my posts you would be hard pressed to find any “hostility.” What you would find was a disagreement with their point of view. It became obvious that disagreeing was simply interpreted as hostility. “If you don’t agree with me then you are nasty and must be punished!” This trend held true both in forums and public feminist pages and in academic groups. It is very telling of the maturity of those involved and their degree of brainwashing. I would expect that sort of behavior from a very young child. And that is insulting to children isn’t it?

  • http://paddybrown.co.uk Patrick Brown

    Hackberry:

    I would expect that sort of behavior from a very young child.

    A very spoilt child, perhaps. It’s the sort of behaviour of someone who thinks they’re entitled to go through life without being spoken back to. And they don’t seem to notice that “watch your mouth – there are ladies present” is rooted in very traditional gender roles, or if they do notice they don’t feel the need to challenge it.

  • Aych

    Hackberry & Pat: Not only that, you will recall that it is patriarchal misogyny to believe the theory that women are more emotional while men are more rational.

    But in practice, a woman’s emotion of being offended ought to override rational considerations.

    And if that doesn’t work, it may even be necessary to say that men’s attempts at rational argumentation are a thin veneer for irrational emotions while women’s own emotions are said to be the correct litmus test for truth.

    To wit: In late 2008, Salon.com had a fine example authored by the feminist Rebecca Traister (Obama Boys) in which she argued that male backers of Obama in the Democratic Primaries were simply acting-out on their irrational misogynistic hate which they nonetheless managed to cleverly camouflage behind such greasy ploys as making rational arguments and scoring valid points.

    In contrast, Traister and the feminists she spoke to about the matter relied upon their gut instincts and in-group inclinations. Who could possibly cross-examine airtight proof as that?

    So, in a pinch, a man’s rational arguments are said to be irrational prejudices while a woman’s own instincts are said to be rational arguments.

  • debaser71

    Daisy, where I live there’s a lot of people who really really care about class and appearances. I wrote about this before here. Beards are simply deemed low class (homeless or jobless) and ultra masculine; and we all know what some feminists have done to masculinity. Anyway the rugged man look might be ok to date and swoon over but introduce kids and rugged = manly = predator.

    And for me, I am always with scruff or scruff+. My face has seen a razor once in the past 15 years. I use a buzz cutter thing. Call me neckbeard! And even so, if I am doing kiddie stuff, I’ll buzz down to short scruff. I don’t have tatoos. I am not big and brawny. I don’t ride a motorcycle. I don’t wear sports stuff. My beard is like the only outward display of manliness I have. Call me neckbeard! I love it!

  • robo

    in terms of the “being banned from feminist spaces” thing goes, a feminist friend of mine related how she was banned from a feminist website because she disagreed with an article about female sports. (she didn’t even express herself in a rude way.) If you go to a number of feminist websites which allow commenting, a few of them have commenting policies which allow them to ban people for such things as “disputing the feminist value of an article”. I think the point is to create a safe space for women to discuss feminist issues, but in practice it sometimes ends up creating an echo chamber effect.

  • Ginkgo

    “My beard is like the only outward display of manliness I have. Call me neckbeard! I love it!”

    “Neckbeard’ is as bigoted and stupid as “udderchest.” If either of those features of the species bothers you so much, clue up and stay away from humans.

    robo,
    “I think the point is to create a safe space for women to discuss feminist issues, but in practice it sometimes ends up creating an echo chamber effect.”

    I think the point is to create a safe place for a clique, whatever the people doing it may believe or may call it. It’s high school all over again forever. Remember that old John Mellenkamp song “Glory Days”. Clearly that is not only about football heroes. For some people whatever minimal social skills they learned in high school are the only paradigm they know or will ever know.

  • debaser71

    Bruce Springsteen. I think you need to stop using 80’s music references!!

  • Ginkgo

    The song i was thinking of was the one where the chorus goes “Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is done” but I got it mixed up wiht the lyrics fomr that Springsteen song.

    I wa sout of the country most of that decade, so for me it was a musical wastedland of blown out hair, except for Brit pop. My bad.

    Well, I liked the Pretenders and Pat Benetar. Is that penance enough?

  • debaser71

    Jack and Diane

    And the only penance is Metal!

  • Clarence

    Heeheehee I’m SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO evil:

    Die you rotten, eighties “hair band” hating dogs! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZaiB9jYCxI

    I almost died laughing :)

  • Ginkgo

    Metal.

    I don’t know much about metal. But my son was in his teens ten years ago. I know that I deprived him of a key phase of teenhood by liking his music. He liked Slayer and Slipknot and I knew I was supposed to appalled and dimissive, but I couldn’t; it was good and I liked it.

  • IogSotot

    @Schala:

    Sorry for the delay! Thanks for replying. You do have a point that they have the most time. The 18-25 demographic is also up there and for similar reasons probably. I’m not sure what the average age actually is, but I won’t trust anything from the ESA without knowledge of their stat collection methodology. (Preferably analyzed by people with more expertise than me.)

    To take this in a different direction, Meléndez is trying to paint a picture of grown men oppressing women through internet trolling, but if a huge segment of gaming trolls are underage, as I think, she’s really reaching by pointing out the relative few who aren’t.

    Regarding Nintendo and the under-18s, I *expect* most of them are interested mainly in MA games. That’s how it was in the ’90s, anyway, and they probably aren’t all going to Gamefaqs etc. solely for Wii and DS games. That said, I do think Nintendo was wise to target the casual demographic this past generation. I doubt they would have turned much of a profit trying to occupy the same niche as Sony and MS.

  • Clarence

    Well, it begins again:
    Notice WHO is the problem in gaming and notice WHO is the innocent victim.

    http://jezebel.com/5938972/a-call-to-arms-for-decent-men

    It isn’t even that I’m against games having more civil rules for everyone (but options to play less civilly if you want) its the hatred and propaganda behind the whole thing.
    Oh, and I didn’t know that until *recently* gaming was a land of Unicorns and Roses, when a bunch of meanie misogynist racist ablest cissexists homophobes of the mostly white and male sex/race invaded and started insulting everybody. The rewriting of history here is disgusting and astounding.

  • Shoutybloke

    I hate that article. It’s one line of a semi-useful idea ( mentoring younger gamers) padded out with two pages of ego masturbation about being a “real man” who protects women, chest beating, and preemptive ad hominim attacks on anyone who disagrees with him.

  • Schala

    “That said, I do think Nintendo was wise to target the casual demographic this past generation. I doubt they would have turned much of a profit trying to occupy the same niche as Sony and MS.”

    Given Nintendo’s recent drop in quality of games (many are simple copy pastes, a shit ton of old game ports, 16-32 bit technology…). Platform games and simple games can have a certain appeal, but given they ONLY get those out, they lose out on the “core” gamers they’re trying to target. Nobody wants to knowingly buy crap. Parents might be ignorant about the crap they buy for their kids, but core gamers usually are not.

  • IogSotot

    This is what I got from the article: “MAN UP LOL.” I wonder how female feminists read stuff like this and not come to the conclusion that it’s paternalistic drivel? I don’t normally wish Anonymous on people, but this guy deserves them.

    Do you all think this stuff is going to have legs outside the femisphere? I think we could potentially see an Elevatorgate-esque event, but I’m not sure.

  • IogSotot

    @Schala:

    Maybe there has been a drop in quality. I’m not going to argue this since the newest Nintendo consoles I have are an SNES and a GBA … BUT twelve of the top twenty sold retail games belong either to the Wii or DS. Wii Sports beats out the original SMB for the #1 spot by about 30 million units. They’ve found a market, whatever you or I think of the games in question.

  • IogSotot

    … er, 40 million units, I mean.

  • Ginkgo

    Everyone, I am loviong this discussion. This is exactly what I asked for and I thank you all! More, please!

  • HidingFromtheDinosaurs

    To give a personal anecdote in relation to those articles linked further up the thread: I used to go to events in costume, but now I don’t. Part of the reason I stopped is that dressing up makes it much harder to avoid the hardly insignificant number of manic women and girls with no understanding of or regard for the personal space of others. They can get away with basically anything and none of the staff, female or male, will do anything to stop them. Attempting to stop them yourself just means risking getting thrown out of the con while they walk away with no consequences. If you search for harassment stories from women at these events, you will find fewer concrete instances than rumor would lead you to expect and that most of these take place in dark, crowded places like parties and raves, where it is often impossible to identify and apprehend individuals (hence the failure of security staff to accomplish anything in these instances). When any kind of unwanted physical contact happens to a woman or girl in plain sight (hallways, panel rooms, all the spaces the event actually occupies) it becomes a major headline on community news sites and the offending man is often ejected from the event (and sometimes barred from future events as well).
    These women are definitely more common in anime fandom than they are at gaming events, but they’re still there and framing their actions primarily in terms of the harm they do to the general reputation of women in these communities is morally bankrupt in the extreme.

    As far as “safe spaces” go, I can’t say I have any left. I have never felt any inclination to engage in the culture of resentment and badmouthing often assumed to characterize such spaces (at least when they are occupied by men), but it was nice to have spaces which were not only centered around people like me (there are a lot of neuro-atypical men in these communities, remember, and they are, or were, generally more accepting of such people), but which were not demonized for being so. The entrance of this self-styled social justice crusade has made those spaces much less safe and much less fun to be in. Fundamentally, they are no longer places where any problem experienced by people like me is seen to matter or to be relevant. As a result, I have recently been drifted away from those communities and into smaller niches (for instance, I no longer go to general anime forums, but I still translate obscure older titles) and into my love of literature (although I don’t really have any community of people with which to discuss such things).

    I am not hostile to the presence of women in these spaces, but I feel that the enormous shift in the focus of discussion to their issues has made them cease to be spaces in which I can find comfort or support. I do not dislike women, but my experiences have made me nervous, and probably a little frightened, around them. I believe that it is the responsibility of women entering these spaces to display more awareness and understanding of those feelings and to make more of an effort to integrate themselves into the community rather than demanding that it change itself to make a place for them.

    Additionally, have you noticed that so many of the people who most loudly decry “male dominated” spaces and “boys’ club” mentalities are often the quickest to form literal girls’ clubs in online communities? Their are plenty of female-only guilds in online gaming (and many of them can be extremely insulting and hostile to men they encounter); are there any which similarly stipulate that only men may join their groups? The whole landscape of our societies gender politics is built on such double standards.

  • Function

    So wait…
    women are 47% of gamers and ALSO an oppressed minority that is “not welcome”?
    So nearly half of gamers are “not welcome” by the other half? Who can make such an argument with a straight face?

    Whenever any group of male gamers I have ever was a part of even glanced at a female gamer, they would generate so much drool that an old guy would start building an arc and put inside two of each pokemon.

    It maybe only personal experiance but
    with all my years ad a gamer i can cout on one hand all male gamers i know that dont WORSHIP female gamers.

    but hey, a girl heard that another girl read on a blog that there was a girl who was called a bitch… so I must be wrong…

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