The latest episode of Tropes vs Women was posted earlier this week and it was widely received positively with women (and some men) who have been talking about this subject. However, there were some people who were incredibly upset. The people I’m talking about are the gate-keeping male dominated trolls who believe that the video game industry is “just fine” and doesn’t need the feminists ruining their fun.
They sent so much hatred to Ms. Skeesian that she had to report it to the police and leave her home in order to feel safe.
It makes me angry and I’ll tell you why.
I am a gamer.
I grew up on video games. My very first memory is my Uncles Matt and Andrew getting extremely upset that I was teething on their Atari joysticks. The year was 1985. I was a year old, ignorant in the ways of Pong, but that joystick controller was perfect to teeth on.
That was just the beginning. It only escalated from there with the first Nintendo system, purchased by my parents for Christmas one year. My mother says that’s what started it all, when she gave in and allowed us Mario, That damn dog from the duck hunt game, and Lolo in to our lives.
What she fails to mention, is that when the Super Nintendo was purchased, even she fell with us; sharing our love of Mario Kart (we wore out two cartridges), B.O.B, Super Ghouls and Ghosts, Earthbound, The Secret of Evermore and my brother’s personal favorite: Chrono Trigger.
Mom wasn’t the only one to fall into the spell of the Super Nintendo. Dad was right there with us, his favorite game being Earthworm Jim. If you knew my father at all, you’d know that the game fits right in with his personality.
Why am I telling you all this? My family is made up of gamers. My mother is a casual now, My father sticks to MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, my brothers are RPGs and First person shooters. I fit in with the whole family. I don’t discriminate one form of game from another: I play them all.
Except for horror. I draw the line at Slenderman. I kind of want to sleep sometime in the future.
I game. I’ve been gaming since the majority of the current generation of bottom feeders were in diapers. While I was playing Earthbound and breaking a fourth copy, they were learning to say the Pledge of Allegiance in first grade.
I am apart of the 48% of women who game and closer to the average age of 31 than I’d like to admit.
I’d love to see a world where female gamers are not attacked on a daily basis with threats of rape and other forms of brutality, just because they kicked ass at Call of Duty and someone resented it so much, that creating an online anonymous twitter handle to spew their hatred seemed reasonable.
That kind of behavior is dangerous. It poisons the community that they claim should be taken seriously. Once a community is poisoned, it’s hard to get anyone to take it seriously ever again. It would be laughable, if I wasn’t so scared.
I’m terrified of speaking when playing Call of Duty. I play under a gender neutral name. Why? Because the second I speak to tell a team member anything, I’m flooded with messages and IMs asking me for nude photos, to sit down and “STFU”, telling me to go back into the kitchen, or that if I headshot them, I’m going to be raped.
That last one is used as a way to control the fear nearly all women have being that venerable and what’s worse? It’s tossed off as a “God don’t get your panties in a twist, I was just kidding” way.
There’s nothing that says joke when it comes to the abuse these sociopath assholes toss off those words. With the screen between them and their intended target, the woman they are spewing their venom-filled “Just kidding bro” mantra at, leaves them with a sense that they’re not hurting anyone because they can’t see that person’s reaction.
Or even worse, they like the reaction they get and relish in the fact that they have heaped an enormous amount of abuse on a woman that reminds them of all the girls they’ve mooned at from afar, or have turned them down.
This is usually when they fall back on their mantras that are so well-worn, it almost seems like a vaudeville act from the 1920s.
“Women don’t play video games!”
Well, you’re wrong. I do.
“Women are only playing them to get guys!”
Hah! No. Sorry. I’m there to blow off steam from my seriously shitty day and becoming a target in your need to prove that your penis size is much lager than a cocktail frank.
“You’re not a real gamer! You just pretend to be one for the attention!”
Pardon me while I laugh in your face. I’m not there for you. I’m there for me and my stress relief. Being a badass bitch takes effort and even I get tired at the end of the day.
While the average male gamer is being exploited for their money, I’m off to the side, pushing through stacks of games using my carefully honed taste, to find that one game that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being exploited for my tits.
I want to see an Assassin’s Creed character that’s fully clothed in that badass armor. Why? Because women are not that hard to animate. If the average male artist can spend hundreds of hours on a single character where the most important feature is that her boobs jiggle just right, they can make me a character with armor that makes sense.
Women like Anita Skeesian give me hope. They’re strong. They won’t let the mass of 4chan devotees defeat her. After all, she wouldn’t be getting this much hate if she was not making her point real and very valid.
There’s another side to the hate that’s being spewed at women (and some men) who share the view-point of Ms. Sarkeesian: The comments section where one can find people placing the blame directly on Ms. Sarkeesian, and not on the people who are issuing the death threats against her.
She has a right to speak out about the type of abuse that her point of view is attracting. She has the right to reasonably claim that she is a victim. Why does she have that right? Because she is a victim.
When commentators on those sections come right out and say that she’s “playing the victim to get more attention” they’re part of the problem.
She’s not playing the victim. She is the victim. There’s a huge difference and because Ms. Sarkeesian is choosing to use what’s happening to her to speak out about the type of abuse that most -if not all- women have experienced just because they dare to play video games.
To accuse her of that, is to accuse us all. To say that we’re responsible for the abuse that’s heaped upon us just because we picked up a controller, is cowardly.
So when I hear about the kind of abuse that she’s getting, the fact that she had to leave her home in order to feel safe – it makes me sad, angry and fearful for the state of the video game community where this kind of abuse is just accepted if you voice your opinion.
It dosen’t mean that I’m going to stop playing video games. It just means that I’m going to get even more selective about what games and systems I support. I’m going to get even more selective about the types of people I let in to my gaming world.
You’re afraid of me? Good. I’m not going anywhere. I have been here since the 80s, I have walked with my siblings through the history of gaming and found that I’m not alone. I have never been alone.
Women are everywhere and we are coming for what’s ours. You can either walk with us, or get out of our way.