I’m about to talk about a bit of a touchy subject but it’s a bit of a hot topic right now so I feel that it’s worth talking about at the very least. You see, gaming has been facing pressure from the outside from way back when. Every so often there’s a person or a group of people who claim something insane about games, usually based on misinformation and lies and then the people who enjoy gaming have to try to explain that it’s just not the case. However the other side of these debates ALWAYS likes to paint gamers a certain way and the whole thing ends up becoming a stupid rage war.
Before I get into the boogeyman of 2016, misogyny, let’s just look at the 2 other big gaming controversies.
So back in the 80s Dungeons and Dragons was hit with a whole bunch of religious groups and politicians attacking it for being satanic. There was a whole bunch of bullshit being thrown around and even a number of tragedies being exploited in order to try and prove a point. It got to the point where a woman named Patricia Pulling formed a group called “The Brotherhood about Dungeons and Dragons” or “BADD” for short. They claimed a whole bunch of insane shit about the game and then launced an extensive media campaign. The whole thing goes on for way longer than I’m willing to write about but a quick google search will get you the full story. Either way, it’s safe to say that in 2016, Dungeons and Dragons isn’t going to turn anyone into a Satanic loon.
As video games started to get a bit more popular this fucking guy pops up and starts making claims about violent video games. He claimed some insane shit such as games were “murder simulators” and he, like Patricia in the 80s, exploited a number of tragedies (mainly school shootings in America) to try and prove his point. However a long term study came out in the US published in the Journal of Communication that not only gave a strong argument against this idea, but criticized the methodology of anyone who somehow found positive results. Anyway, gamers banded together and Jack was eventually told to go away and since then I’ve basically never seen the violence debate unless it’s a shit-rag newspaper trying to point fingers for some kind of horrible event. The good thing is that nowadays these shit-rags are usually ignored.
Fast forward to 2016 and we have our big new gaming controversy, SEXISM! This is a weird one though since back in the day people within gaming would jump to defend but today the sexism issue is being pushed from within the gaming media. With the rise in use of the internet and websites being paid per click of an article a number of gaming media outlets have jumped on this controversy and culture of outrage in order to generate revenue for their site. Almost EVERY article every written on the topic is easily picked apart and destroyed by even just a basic knowledge of games but it still has managed to find some traction.
The big figurehead this time is Anita Sarkeesian, yet another person claiming some insane shit about games, starting her own group and exploiting tragedies to push a point (Marysville, noticing a pattern here?) So what I’m going to do now is just quickly take what I feel are the 3 big arguments of her and her ilk and tell you why it’s a load of crap.
#1: Games Make you Sexist
So the way I understand her arguments is that if I play enough of this shit I’ll eventually become a woman-hating misogynist right? Well I’m not really sure how that’s possible since we just talked about a similar issue a few paragraphs ago. This argument is pretty much the same as the violence one but with a word changed and if it didn’t work there why would it suddenly start working here?
I’m pretty sure that your attitudes towards women would be more based on your upbringing than anything else. My father was a sort of chivalrous bloke who had a great deal of respect for my mother and any of his female co-workers/friends and that attitude has been imprinted on me. I don’t think that anyone is going to play a game like Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 and then have something click in their mind which suddenly makes them believe that all women are sex objects that only exist to be photographed on a beach, the idea is insane and it’s even more insane that anyone subscribes to that idea.
#2 Gamers are Sexist
One thing that people like to harp on about during this controversy is “harassment”. Apparently Anita and others get thousands upon thousands of tweets and nasty messages daily to their social media accounts for doing what they do. I doubt this is true though and depending on how much you believe internet rumblings, there’s an argument put forward that some of it is fabricated in order to keep her in the spotlight and others relevant to the topic. I’ve seen people say things like “omg you suck” or “Hey, you’re wrong and here’s why” (Also considered harassment) and even a few trolls clearly baiting with things like “uh huh huh huh get raped” and while 2 of those 3 things must be very annoying for a content creator, I don’t think it’s the kind of daily mind-fuck that she and others make it out to be.
The truth is, gamers are some of the most diverse and open minded group of people I’ve ever encountered. Sure you have a few dicks who may be actually racist, sexist or whatever but that’s clearly, like I said before, more of an upbringing thing than anything else and these people just happen to be gaming because gaming is a HUGE hobby now, it’s going to attract a couple of undesirables.
People who enjoy games don’t give a toss about ANY of that, they only care that you game. There aren’t any people I can imagine who jump into an online game and think “Oh god I hope I don’t meet any girls today, idiots”, it just doesn’t happen. Hell, in Japan I see tons of women playing all sorts of shit in the arcades and there are no shortage of women in game stores perusing the shelves. No one bemoans this either because it’s neat so see the demographic grow, it’s cool to have more groups because that means we have more people from more walks of life potentially making games and exploring new and interesting thing. The idea that people want to keep gaming as a “boys only club” is preposterous and is being wilfully ignorant of the MILLIONS of people who aren’t like this.
#3 The industry is sexist
This is the one that riles me up personally, whenever anyone claims that the games industry has a problem with women or other minority groups working in it. It’s ALWAYS based on misinformation and ignorance and yet the easily available information is being wilfully ignored to push a narrative that just isn’t true.
Women have been enjoying jobs in this industry since it started and have seen a great amount of success. Back in 1979 Roberta Williams, the woman in the above picture founded Sierra Entertainment and was responsible for giving us the classic Kings Quest Games. Michiru Yamane, a Japanese composer who has been working in games since 1988 is the mind between a whole bunch of the Castlevania music, all those classic tracks that you like to hum every now and again came from her. Bayonetta, a character that’s muched loved in the hobby was designed by Mari Shimazaki who has also worked on Soul Calibur 5 as a character illustrator.
Let’s just put the put the cherry on top of this cake by talking about Koei. Koei have a development team under their belt called Ruby Party who are comprised ENTIRELY of female developers making games aimed at the female market. A huge company, like Koei, believe that the female market is important and large enough to warrant it’s own development team to target it exclusively and yet on the other side of the world people like Anita Sarkessian are trying to argue that games are trying to keep women out?! What dimension are you from where that is true?
Women have been a welcome part of this industry since the beginning. They are working in all capacities from developer to music/art to PR. Even female gamers like itsHafu and LegendaryLea are being noticed, welcomed and even becoming highly popular. From what I’ve seen, the idea that the industry is sexist is pushed by either journalists fishing for clicks or indie developers who got panned for making shit games although it’s mainly the former.
Gaming is a wonderful hobby to have, filled with interesting and friendly people from all walks and it’s a damn shame that there is a significant number of folks willing to buy into the current gaming boogeyman spiel. If you DO believe any of this stuff that gets put out by gaming media or any other 3rd party agitator, I BEG you to dig a little deeper, research gaming and its history and just find out exactly how stupid and wrong these people are. It’s not perfect, but gamers are a cool bunch generally speaking.
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