No Country for Gaming Women

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
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In my perfect world, every individual, irrespective of their race, gender, sexual orientation and economic status would have equal rights, and the freedom of choice. Women in my opinion have been the subjects of continuous and vicious harassment in the cyber world. Anita Sarkeesian in her video blog titled- Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, discusses the stereotypical roles women are subjected to in video games. The term, ‘trope,’ is a common pattern in a story or a recognizable attribute in a character that conveys information to the audience and becomes a cliché when they are over used. She mentions certain clichés female characters play, such as the, “damsel in distress, the fighting fuck toy, the sexy side kick, the sexy villains, and women as background decoration.” Sarkeesian’s argument has garnered a lot of response, which made her the subject of harassment. For example, certain online groups called for her video blog to be banned, and she received constant threats of rape, violence, and death. When threats of violence and verbal assault are hulled at a person everyday just because of who they are and what you stand for, then we has human beings really need to take a step back and re-evaluate. Sarkeesian also notes that researchers found that gaming can improve problem solving skills, teamwork, creative thought and multi tasking, and the fact that women are being kept out of the gaming world, keeps them away from the positive advantages involved with gaming.

Sarkeesian’s opinion on how women have been put in stereotypically roles in games in my opinion is quite accurate. Why? Because games like Resident Evil, Beyond Good and Evil, Final Fantasy and last but not least, Metriod, continue to have the female character play the roles mentioned above with no consequences. So why can’t Sarkeesian say what she wants with no consequences? Instead she, and many other women, is continuously harassed on a daily basis because they fight for the right to be heard and not to be taken advantage of. This issue of harassment and stereotypical video game is much more than what it seems. The cyber world is a culture dominated by men, which is a result of its earliest users that primarily were men (since women were indisposed changing diapers and making sure their men ate). This foundation already set a stage that put women at a disadvantage because they either were not allowed to be online, or had to base their thoughts on what men decided was right for them.

I was not surprised that Sarkeesian was harassed, but I am extremely disappointed that as of June 2012 women continue to be harassed and threatened, while the government makes concessions for this type of behavior with certain loop holes that extreme game fanatics continue to fall under. Issues like this prove how far back we as human beings even with modern day technology. Our gadgets have changed and advanced but certain minds remain archaic. Women who even dare to have equal footing are not entirely ignored because they end up being belittled, harassed, and condemned by men. If women dare to speak, they are considered domineering and not acting like a female. But really how are females supposed to act? Are we supposed to go back and use our, “Think Pink” book guide or are we supposed to break boundaries like Judith Butler or Bell Hooks and in this context Anita Sarkeesian?

We all do not need to agree with each other, but has civilized human beings, we should be able to understand and respect people’s differences. We should be able to make room for women in the cyber world because quite frankly, women are not going anywhere.

 

Moyo A.

 

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Comments
  1. Quite frankly, one one of the main reasons why I try to conceal my gender online.

    It’s ridiculous the amount of harassment a woman gets online whenever she states her opinion on something, anything, gaming related that some male gamers happen to not agree with. The minute they realize you’re a women, they instantly start attacking your person with threats of rape, violence, and the like, like you stated, which is just unacceptable.

    It’s sad that we still live in a society where certain niche things, like gaming, are completely rampant with sexism and racism because they go completely unmonitored and are further worsened by the ‘aide’ of laws that conveniently save the government or any law enforcement official time from doing any work.

    This is deplorable because it also gives other male gamers who aren’t as childish to resort to such juvenile harassment a bad name because it creates an environment where women will garner a natural distrust of male gamers, and create a vicious cycle of women becoming more and more hostile against male gamers and vice versa. It almost makes me hate to be a gamer in the first place.

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