What Got Me Pissed Off: 37 Things Gamers Say by IGN
Was not expecting to get pissed off today by a simple Youtube video, but I guess stuff happens like that. IGN is a channel on Youtube used to promote different video games and other aspects of gamer culture. When I saw the title of one of their older videos, I thought it sounded like a fun video to see and I’ll admit I was enjoying it….until about 23 seconds in. In case you don’t feel like watching the video, a guy dressed up as a girl comes on screen to throw in some “girl gamer” sayings (one of them created the title of this article) and ultimately creates a giant sexist hole in the entire video.
I wouldn’t say that I’m well-educated about feminism as some of my friends but I’ve heard many basic arguments about it from them as well as from many social-justice blogs that I follow. This section of the video contains the worst sexism that I have seen in a long while and, seeing as this video is from 2012, I hope that this is not an on standing belief held by the staff of IGN.
It got me thinking about my own experiences with sexism in the sphere of gaming. Of course, any female gamer is aware of the use of sexualisation of female characters that has been apparent in video games from the very beginning. However, being a female gamer in the gaming community can be just as offensive.
The ever common retort, “go back to the kitchen”, as well as being told to go back to more “girlier games” is often commentary that female gamers are faced with while playing in online multiplier environments. I myself, luckily, have not had such things said to me while playing but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feel threatened.
One of my close guyfriends, while teaching me how to play a Smite, brought up that he did not believe a lot of women played the game he was teaching me. When I asked why, he said that he just didn’t think that they were very apparent in gaming culture. This offended me and ultimately ended that days session. According to a statistic that I found, about 45% of gamers are women. This is almost half of them, yet video games are considered mainly male.
One thing that I’ve noticed is that being female in gaming is considered weak. It’s not uncommon for smacktalk in gaming to consider such slurs as “fag” or “girl”, which both contain feminine tones. In my own personal experience with Smite, an over-zealous teammate was bothering me so I told him to “calm your tits”; a common phrase for me to use when someone is having a temper-tantrum. The teammate then replied with “WHAT TITS?!?!”, obviously very offended for the rest of the game by the fact that I may have been implying that he had breasts (which I was not, to me tits=nipples which I’m pretty sure everyone has?).
Threats to their “manliness” seems to be a common pseudo threat to male gamers. Being compared to femininity in any way is a stab at their prowess in video games according to them, which is a belief that needs to be wiped out. One thing that I stumbled upon in my feminist rage was the group known as FragDolls, a group of female gamers put together by Ubisoft to promote their games as well as to show a positive female presence in the world of competitive gaming. These women are good role models to the female gamer society and also show the guys that we can kick-ass at video games too.
Being a woman is not credited to weakness, just as being a man is not credited to be weakness. In the virtual gaming world, we are on an equal playing field where our physical size, shape, or even anatomy should make no difference in how well we play video games. The sooner that video game companies and male gamers realize this, the sooner we can have a happier gaming environment for everyone.