Will it ever be game over?

Video games are pretty great. There is an incredible variety in types of game across all gaming platforms that should let anyone enjoy them so long as they find the right game. Unfortunately a lot of video game fans are not great, and you can find just as much variety in fans as you can games. “Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online.”  I have witnessed harassment, often never as anything extreme, typically online harassment that I see is just an immature player venting in an extreme way, and I would be lying if I said I don’t get frustrated and vent my not always nice comments aloud as well. However, that sort of harassment doesn’t even compare to kind of harassment I have seen women receive. I have lots of friends who play games, not just video games, but games ranging from table top games to all variety of video games, and some of these friends have had to put up with some shit to enjoy the things they do. One such example is where I had a friend told to her face that, “It’s alright, you’re a girl, you don’t know that much about how Magic The Gathering works.” That statement was just after not recognizing a popular card, and is one of the much lighter examples of harassment when it comes to women playing or just being involved in games.

A much more extreme example of the harassment of women would be the entire #Gamergate incident from the past year, where the darker corner of harassers decided to rise and give voice to a disgusting number of death and rape threats. Even excluding those threats however it is not uncommon for women to be treated as if they are different within the context of gaming, they get babied, they get ignored, they get banned from content by other players. I once read that lots of women play male characters in games multiplayer games where the option is available in order to escape the “gamer girl label” and embrace the anonymity, which I see as pretty valid considering most experiences where I have seen a woman be revealed as a woman online have resulted in a few of the assholes becoming suddenly vocal.

What do you think, is too much of the gaming community too far gone? Or will diversity spread slowly but surely?

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3 thoughts on “Will it ever be game over?

  1. Although I have never been harassed for being a girl when gaming I do feel like it is a very male dominated environment. I have to admit that when I played WOW and then later Left 4 Dead I never revealed I was a female because I didn’t want to be treated differently. I would much rather be judged based on my skill than sex. I really related to your blog, thank you for sharing.

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  2. I think you make some very interesting points in your blog. I would like to think that diversity will slowly spread, but it could take longer than we would like. The male dominated community in online games could make this transition slower and more difficult, but I do think that eventually equality will be achieved.

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  3. I can definitely say that I’ve played as a male character before. It allows more women to play games in peace, which is the reason that they started to play in the first place. There are a lot of stereotypes that many men AND women embrace and perpetuate, like the one you mentioned with the Magic the Gathering instance. It’s not like guys automatically know the rules of all popular tabletops and video games and women can’t learn them, but members of both genders often claim this. When a woman says this is the case, it solidifies the stereotype in a lot of gamer guys’ minds, which is sad since one person’s opinion clearly doesn’t represent the opinion of a group.

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