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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