Gamers, Gender, and Snack Time
The old "feminism ruins video games" rant rises up yet again.
Feminists in the industry will often assert that female gamers are subjected to incredible hostility in the male-dominated world of games.
The male-dominated world of games will often assert that feminists are stupid and don't belong in the industry in the first place.
Illustrating both points for us is @eccentrikhat on Twitter:
Calm down there, Bowser. What people really hate is toxicity in gaming, the same kind of toxicity that's displayed in this tweet and the string of replies.
Let's break this tweet down:
Women are made to feel unwelcome. Ask any woman who games online what happened the first time she spoke on the mic.
Female gamers are not “treats” for other gamers to partake of like a plate of brownies at snack time. We are human beings who want to play video games because, shockingly, it's a hobby we enjoy. Female gamers don't log thousands of hours online because they want to be anyone's cool glass of lemonade, we do it because we want to save worlds and sail across galaxies.
Women are not looking to “co-op” with male gamers in the bedroom (gross). We met you online because we're looking for teammates, not sex. Keep your dreams and your fantasies to yourself so we can all just enjoy the game. When all we want to do is to shoot guns, kill aliens, and loot the corpses of our enemies, male gamers are harassing us out of those spaces. Call of Duty is not a dating sim, gentlemen.
Feminism in games is a rare treat that you don't seem to understand. Feminism is not "anti-men," but pro-everyone. It's about giving everyone, regardless of gender, the same level of respect and decency. When you say you don't want feminism in games, we hear what you really mean: the only women you want in your games are like the sex workers from GTA. The only strong characters you want to see are male characters. Any other type can GTFO.
Women do not exist for the sole purpose of being pleasurable to men and we are so very tired of being treated as such.
Right now, there are numerous female-identifying gamers who won't turn on their mics or share any detail which could give away their gender or orientation because they've all had bad experiences. There are those who won't be left alone until they get their male partner involved because male gamers won't respect bodily autonomy but they will respect another male's “ownership.” “No” clearly doesn't mean “no” until it comes from the man who's already staked his claim. Even having a gamertag that is remotely feminine usually means receiving at least one NSFW image in your messages that, literally, no one wants to see.
As for it being “the dream,” men, please, get over it. Because we hear you there, too. When a man’s girlfriend turns out to be the more talented gamer, they feel threatened and emasculated because the mindset that women should be inferior gamers is still very much present in gamer culture. We have seen men explode at their own wives on Twitch streams and then defend their actions to the chat.
This needs to end. Women are not treats, in any setting. Women do not exist for the sole purpose of being pleasurable to men and we are so very tired of being treated as such.
When you encourage a hostile environment, we all lose out on so many benefits of having women in gaming. Women who play games, design games, write games, and promote games, all need to be celebrated and held up but too many of them are held back, muted by toxicity.
And this only covers a smidgen of the tribulations female gamers experience. LGBTQ+ and POC gamers receive their own helpings of toxicity that I cannot begin to address. The dehumanization is depressing
Want to know what's really a rare and refreshing treat for gamers? Respect.
Originally published September 25, 2020 on adelechapline.com. It has been edited and updated for publication on Substack.