For over a dozen years, since Xbox Live first started allowing gamers to play video games online, I have personally experienced sexist behavior at the hands of other players. When I was young and new to online multiplayer gaming. I was told that video games are for guys only. They have guns, monsters, violence and sexual themes. Obviously themes that only big, strong men can handle. With all the swords, fantasy fights and dragons, no girl should ever be interested in them.
It’s a pity that I’ve had to endure insults, harassment, and online attacks just for enjoying playing video games online. My message out there to all those lovers and haters is to remember, it’s only a game. Online gaming should be a fun and safe place for all gamers- even women gamers.
Men Only: Even if You Can Play Well
Men feel somehow entitled to video games. They assume games are made only for them and it is because of their unique interest that women should be excluded from this special club. There have even been tournaments that have officially banned women from playing even though it’s been shown that women can be true gamers. There are women who rule over competitions and tournaments, like Katt Gunn. It’s on record that women can indeed outplay floods of men without breaking a sweat.
But despite this fact, many men still consider women bad players, or when playing with a team, will cost the team the game or will need immediate constant assistance. As a player, I often hear, “Someone, help girl,” when referring to me. Yes, I was reduced to being “girl” and it was always assumed that I’d needed help. God forbid if I played great. I’m accused of cheating because they insist that I couldn’t have possibly done better than them. No girls can play video games well!
Girls Play Games for Themselves
If a girl plays a video game, it has to be for some reason, other than their personal entertainment, right? Many believe that the only reason a girl plays video games is for a guy’s attention. Fake gamer girls crop up all over the gaming community, all in hopes of getting some mouth breather’s attention and affections. Spending a ton of money on games and consoles for a man’s attention is all worth it.
This is all obviously INCORRECT!
Not only do video games cost a load of money, but not many women would subject themselves to the harassment and assault that often comes from guys, merely for a chance that they may get some attention. Granted, there may be girls who do. To each, his own. No hate from me there. But for guys to assume that every girl is playing just for their attention, is absurd. To that end, there’s usually two ways that men will treat a women who is a gamer: Guys will either obsess over you, or loathe your presence.
The Lover. The Hater.
The “lover,” assumes you’re there to impress and attract them. I will receive unsolicited messages asking how I am, offering help, and wanting to know how I’m doing. It may sound innocent, but believe me, it gets becomes really weird, really fast. These messages progress to become increasingly personal, such as inquiring if I’m single, paying compliments such as “I’m not like other girls because I like games,” and just ultimately trying to flatter me. These online stalkers soon up the ante by asking for my real name, phone number, and yes, even nude pictures. They try to woo in the most immature and bothersome ways, and short of blocking them, there’s no stopping their messages or trailing along after me throughout the game.
Sometimes the “hater” starts off as a “lover” and then turns when you don’t respond how they figure you should. However, more often than not, they start out full of venom. Their goal is to belittle. My experience with haters involves them questioning my skill and making it clear that I’m not good at the game (whether I am or not), telling me that the game is guys and I’m just making myself look stupid.
Some even go as far as threatening me. They will harass until I block them, and sometimes they will even get their friends to jump in on the bandwagon. Once they put a target on you, they continue to take their shots non-stop.
True Gamers Play Any Games
No matter how well I play, I find a lot of disrespect from male gamers. So it goes without saying that if I don’t play the “manly” games, I’m a fake. Again, who the hell cares what games people play? I’ve been scoffed at for playing Sims, Farmville, and Solitaire despite that I also like to play Halo and Call of Duty. The former are not considered real games my some. Too weak. Too easy. When I do play games like Halo or Call of Duty, I obviously am only doing so to impress (those lovers and haters out there).
If a game is not centered on violence, blood, and guts, it doesn’t seem to count as a real game. To each his own, but just because you play an action or gore based game, it doesn’t make you a better or ‘real’ gamer.
I’m All Woman and All Gamer
I won’t pretend that I wasn’t impacted by this type of sexism long before the popularity of internet gaming. At a young age, my brothers and I played video games together and I’d hear endless negative comments because of it. They were the same comments I was force fed when I went to play outside in the dirt, climb trees, tied my hair back and dared to throw a football around.
“That’s not for girls. That’s a boys game.”
Over the years, I’ve been told much of the same in some shape, form, or fashion. Either stay “all blue” with games and other ‘boy’ things, or “all pink” and keep it girly. For some reason, there seems to be opposition with someone actually liking the two! I am just one of many women who has a vast spectrum of purples when it comes to my interests. Just this morning, while I was gaming, I had cupcakes in the oven.