Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gaming as a woman

Hello, friends. I’ve ran out of things to do at work so here I am again.

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing Advanced Warfare with a friend. Everything was going well, I was kicking ass…so I pulled out my sniper class because normally I’m pretty awful with a sniper rifle & I hadn’t used one yet on this particular game. Now usually, if someone is sniping, they’re in one spot not moving around (unless 1. they’ve been found or 2. they’re running around the map quick-scoping). This photo is a message I got after I whooped a whole team’s ass:

Now you may wonder “with a gamertag like YankECowboy, how would they know it’s a girl!?” Because my clan tag is “LADY."  Makes sense, no? So I went like, 25-3 during this match (which is AWESOME by the way). This guy was super pissed because I probably killed him the most out of everyone on his team; he was just really bad all together.

When you’re sniping in a video game (not moving from one spot), or even sitting around with a rifle, you’re known as a “camper.” I’ve never really considered myself a “camper” especially when I have an objective to complete. My style is run and gun. Always has been, probably always will be. (In fact, it’s how I got my nickname “Yankee Cowboy” but that’s another story)

So anyway, there I am lying on top of a high building, picking people off as they jet pack around and use their lame-ass exo abilities. I was on a five-kill streak but was finally spotted so I moved. I died 3 times the whole match and trust me, I felt TERRIBLE after the game was over because I know how much it sucks to be killed by a sniper.

*see photo above* This guy was PISSED. He also sent me a voice message just like, raging all over the place because I was a female. He didn’t even sound like a kid. He sounded like a grown-ass adult. I understand frustration in video games, believe me. I normally get easily frustrated in general but video games are something else. It was incredible to see (and hear) a grown man acting this way over a video game.

Hearing “get back in the kitchen; women don’t play video games; I’ll rape you; I bet you’re ugly (no I'm not)” bullshit all the time is tiresome. Don’t get me wrong, I try not to take it to heart but it's annoying. Luckily for me, I can let it roll off my back. Why are you so mad, bros? Is it because I’m a woman and I’m better at a game than you?

I remember growing up, I had (almost) every console imaginable. I grew up playing video games. I was never bullied or made fun of or told to “go back to the kitchen” when I played. My male and female friends would come over and play all the time. I had dolls and things of the sort, and I did play with them, but my main focus was video games (and also maybe Pokemon but let’s keep that between us).

I’ve even come across rude men on PC gaming. Luckily, they’re much less rude there than they are on other platforms, I’ve found. The instance above isn’t the first one I’ve run into on PSN or in general.  When I game on XBOX, people are filthy and I mean that in every sense. They’re just…vile. I've run across on few on PSN but this guy's been the most adament about telling me to make him a sandwich.

A lot of the men I come across just LOVE to throw around the word “rape.” I mean, sure, it’s just a word…but equating it to playing a video game is a little much, I think. It’s distasteful, really, to say it to anyone of any gender: “You just got raped!” or “get raped, little bitch” (I’ve actually heard that one before…gross). Don’t get me wrong, video games were my first love and I’ve put a lot of time into them over the years, as I still do, but I don’t take them as life-or-death seriously. I don’t feel the need to insult others who are better at a particular game than I am because I’m not a giant douchebag. I’m just like “hey, good game” not “u fckin suck go bak 2 tha kitchen bitch”…

A lot of women play video games these days so here’s my question: what’s the big issue with women in gaming? I never knew that playing video games was strictly for men since I’ve been doing it basically out of the womb. 

What do men have against women in the gaming industry? I understand that the gaming industry is run mostly by men but I don’t understand what the harm is in letting women into it, not only playing but MAKING them? What are they so afraid of? Do we blame this on parents, the people who began the gaming industry for over-sexualizing women in games, or society for gender roles?

I’m genuinely curious. Parents? Maybe. Teach your kid not to be a little twat to people and it might be ok. Society? Probably. Girls play with Barbie dolls, boys play with trucks and guns. The early video game industry? Likely. Over-sexualizing women, putting them in scantily clad clothes and giving them ridiculous measurements; showing women as damsels in distress that need to be saved by men. All of these most likely contribute to the issues we see as a gaming community.

Never in my life growing up did I think “I bet when I get older, guys who play video games are gonna be douchebags.” No. I figured it’d be the same. Everyone would get along, we’d be “good game” after it’s over but it’s not like that. I very rarely ever get praise for playing well as a gamer but always seem to get scolded for being a woman who does well.

1 comment:

  1. Well, they have to express their machismo somehow, right? But I'm told it is anything but sexist, misogynist or anything else that might betray male privilege or male superiority.

    When I was in college I got hooked on a network game (way back before graphics were anything other than complicated ASCII code) and was playing one weekend when another guy logged on and started talking trash. Naturally I trash talked back, and apparently I used a word that made him check the computer labs in all the dorms to find me and physically assault me. He got a good shot in, too, knocked my glasses off. The campus cops refused to do anything about it apparently because of the word I used.

    I learned not to assume trash talk is just that. Some people are willing to follow up their words with action.