Hey, Gamers – Time To Step Up

June 13, 2012

Read this first.

Hey, Gamers. I’m a gamer. I’ve owned every Nintendo system since the NES. I’ve owned every major console since the NES except the Saturn and the Jaguar in one fashion or another. I played Half-Life when it was new. I stood in line for the midnight release of every World of Warcraft expansion. I’m a huge fan of beta programs and I was a longtime member of the Neverwinter Vault community (a lurker, mostly). I always watch the E3 coverage. Same thing with PAX, the German games con, and the Tokyo Game Show. I still play the classic Bioware western-style RPGs on a regular basis; Baldur’s Gate, Baldur’s Gate II, Planescape: Torment.

I’m also a guy. I’ve been a guy my whole life, and I don’t just mean that I’m male-identified and cisgendered, cissexed. I’m part of the guy culture – nerd, geek, D&D player, boardgamer, sci-fi reader, beer drinker, anime watcher. These things aren’t necessarily endemic to guys, but it’s part of a certain kind of male-oriented culture, a certain kind of guy culture. I’m part of that. I’m a Man on the Internet. I have been nearly my entire life.

Let me tell you something. I’m fucking disappointed in the rest of you.

You know what I’ve wanted since I started playing games and hit puberty? I’ve wanted a girlfriend I could play games with and have a nice, rewarding sexual relationship with. I’ve wanted a significant other that could a part of my gaming hobby since it’s a big part of how I think and how I interact with the world. And when I see people I’m attracted to (men and women now, since I’ve realized my pansexuality) doing well in any game, I’m more attracted to them for it. It’s difficult, though. It’s difficult because game culture is misogynistic, it’s sexist, it’s disturbing. Women are sexualized to the point of irrelevancy in games (from being dressed in revealing outfits to having vocal tracks filled mostly with groans, grunts, and moans). Men are turned into hulking monsters of muscle and hatred. This happens even in places where it makes no sense (for instance, think about all of the crack military team members who were women and were sexualized…largely for no reason at all).

These things? This portrayal of genders and sexes in video games that turn women into sex objects and men into powerful avatars? It keeps women from being interested in gaming. It keeps non-straight people from being interested in gaming.  These are the kinds of things that Anita Sarkeesian is going to be examining in her video series. It’s part of what she does at Feminist Frequency. She is, on some level, interested in getting more women into gaming.

And instead of supporting her, what does the gaming community do?

They organized and attacked her for it.

This isn’t a “few bad apples”. This was an organized attack on her. This was people coming together and planning together in open gaming forums and bragging about how vile they were. 

Remember my post about Poisoning the Well? This is what that looks like.

Let me reiterate a point for you from that article. A really important one. So guys, gamer guys, listen.

You’re preventing all of us from getting laid.

The gamer chicks out there that love gaming? The ones that want to talk to you attractive guys who can do 100% damage in UMVC3 after landing the right hit? The ones that think it’s hot that you have a perfect speed build for Neverwinter Nights? You’re scaring them off. You’re making it harder for them to get laid. And, by extension, you’re making it harder for us to get laid as well. So you keep making fun of each for not having girlfriends and not having real sex and needing sexy pixels and when you do, remind yourself that the reason you don’t have a girlfriend that loves your hobby is because you’re a sexist jackass.

Now, you guys that didn’t participate in this?

You’re preventing all of us from getting laid.

Now, you’re probably confused about why this is, right? You didn’t do anything!

Well that’s right, you did nothing.

When people organized to attack a woman and post sexist, awful things about her you did nothing. When gamers sexualize women and say misogynistic things around you, you do nothing. When people lament the loss of booth babes because men are entitled to have women parading around in sexual outfits for their amusement…especially when said parading is totally unrelated to where they’re doing said parading…and you say nothing.

Women are turned into objects, are disrespected, and ignored by gaming culture and you say nothing.

This is just as much your fault as it is theirs. The awful people are actively poisoning the well and you, the passive people, aren’t stopping them when you see them approach the well with their big batches of poison.

I’m fucking disappointed in the lot of you. We’re not children. We’re incapable of understanding this. We’re grown fucking adults and we’re all capable of understanding the idea of respecting other people. Not treating them all like guys – that whole idea says women cannot be respected as women and must be turned into men somehow – but respecting everyone. 

Oh, one more thing – this goes for everyone. Respect LBGTQ people. Respect women. Respect people of color. Respect atheists. Respect theists. Respect old people, and young people. Respect people who are neurologically atypical and people who physically atypical. Respect intersex people. Respect the other white guys around you. And, overall, respect yourself. Respect yourself to hold yourself to a higher standard. Respect yourself enough to hold the people around you to a higher standard.

If, for no other reason, respect everyone around you so there’s more women and LGBTQ people in gaming. Respect people so that, at the end of the day, we can spend our nights getting laid and playing Marvel Vs. Capcom with our lovers.


4 Responses to “Hey, Gamers – Time To Step Up”

  1. “We’re grown fucking adults”

    This is the most tragic part of all of this. The reasonable men and women involved in this issue aren’t the problem. A substantial amount if not the majority of the vitrol advocates for equality in gaming get is from children and teenagers hiding behind a veil of anonymity.

    So no, not everyone on the internet is an adult, and no, they typically aren’t remotely interested in acting civil. They are, however, interested in how much drama and outrage they can create. Reasonable people know the only way to distance themselves from it is to not participate in the discussion. Trying to fight it is like trying to push an airplane into space.

    • Luarien Says:

      No, the reasonable men and women are still the problem here when they don’t speak out.

      On the rest of what you said, there’s two parts to this.

      One, the vast majority of these people aren’t kids or adolescents at all. They’re grown ass men who think they are entitled to be able to act like this. Entitled to women’s bodies. If you don’t believe me, look at Men’s Rights Movement. There’s a reason why the Southern Poverty Law Center has determined the largest segments of the MRM are hate groups.

      Two, even if it is adolescents, they’re adults in training. They’re not children anymore. They’re grown ass people. They learn from us, they emulate us. If they come into our forums and start acting like little assholes, then we have an obligation to tell them to knock it off and tell them why. If they don’t correct their behaviour then we ostracize them. We ban them. If we do not act as part of the social solution, however, we’re part of the problem. We allow misogyny, racism, classism, ableism, and all sorts of social phobias to exist unchecked and thrive.

      So it doesn’t matter if they have no interest in acting civil. It is incumbent upon us to make them act civil and to act civil to one another. It’s not at all like trying to push an airplane into space, it’s more like trying not to be an asshole to everyone we meet. Online interactions are just as real, emotionally, as offline interactions. This is the new public space. This is the new street corner. We need to treat each other with respect here as much as we do anywhere else.

  2. Hey, would you mind if I reblogged this? It’s pretty much awesome.

    • Luarien Says:

      Totally fine. The only thing I ask is to include a trackback link – due to a medical condition I can’t work anymore so I’m trying to generate traffic here that I can turn into revenue eventually d:. Thus the donate button and such.

      But yeah, feel free to reblog anything you want from me. It’s my work, but it’s for you.

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