Nerds Are Just the Worst, Am I Right? Sexism Narratives in Gaming

Dear readers, in a world full of unjust wars, women being stoned to death, journalists being murdered and sent to prison, children being denied education, teenagers shooting each other in the streets, corporations buying off politicians and talking against renewable sources of energy, and the icebergs melting and getting ever closer to eating Florida, it’s good to know that there are people out there who care about social justice. People out there who tackle these big issues and try to spread the justice. People out there who have the courage, the white hot passion against wrongdoings to point out that men who like nerdy things are . . . *sobs* sexist sometimes. DUN DUN DUN. And when I say sexist, I of course mean that if stoning a woman to death for going against tradition is a 10 on the scale, what Western nerds are doing is like a -2, at most. But it’s totes a problem. Something tells me that the SJWs chose to set the crosshairs on nerds over, say, metalheads because they didn’t expect nerds to rip them a new one once they started talking down to them from their soap boxes. But talking about how much nerd culture sucks is the new thing to talk about, because it’s not like there’s anything more important to discuss.

Okay, I’m a nerd. (And a woman, what, how do I even begin to deal with the misogyny?) I actually identify myself as a nerd before I identify myself as a woman or black or any of those other things because I feel like my actual personality should have more to do with my identity than demographic information. So this is very much my identity, and these people are attacking my identity, which according to their own logic, is just the worst thing ever. Someone needs to start back pedaling and apologizing for insulting my character. But nerds are misogynists because Mario games . . . and liking sexily clad women (because straight women don’t like Mario or sexily clad men in their media, of course), and . . . it’s a problem . . . I guess . . .

Just look at this shit. This is going to be a long one, by the way. I’m actually tackling all 25 points at once, so forgive me for the length. The benefits are invisible, by the way. They’re subtle like that. Their invisibility just couldn’t be attributed to them being insignificant, though, it’s because sexism. They’re really obvious, if you know about sexism. Honestly.


DAILY EFFECTS OF MALE GAMER PRIVILEGE

I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.

Well, I have breasts and a vagina and a brain telling me that I’m a girl, and I can also be completely oblivious and/or indifferent to the harassment that my fellow women face. So this is clearly not something you need a penis to do.

I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.

I’ve never been told that video games as a huge nebulous concept aren’t for me because I’m a woman. Plus, what is so fucking wrong with a company having an intended demographic and someone pointing out what that intended demographic is? More males play console/PC video games than females. That is the objective fact of the matter. Game companies have 18-34 year old males as their target demographic for the most part, the same way that Twilight has lonely housewives and teenaged girls as his target demographic. And like I’ve already said, only an idiot would say that video games as a whole are not for me because I’m a girl. I’ve been told that specific games or specific genres aren’t targeted at me as a woman. And yeah, some of them aren’t, the same way that certain games or certain genres aren’t targeted towards men as a demographic. This is, of course, not even mentioning the fact that periphery demographics exist within gender in gaming the same way they exist for every other demographic not specifically targeted but that likes the game anyway–you don’t have to be a certain gender to enjoy a game even if that game wasn’t directly marketed at you. It’s like how Adventure Time’s periphery demographic is college kids even though it’s not technically “for them.” So yeah, no one has ever told me this. When I say that gaming culture is not “for” SJWs, I’m not referring to the fact that SJWs are women, I’m referring to the fact that gaming culture is not something that them, with their more often than not sensitive dispositions, would enjoy.

I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.

Do you know what SWATting is? It’s when someone gets the cops called on them as a “dangerous individual” and subsequently gets brutally and violently arrested in their home, sometimes on camera. As of late, this has been happening in egregious amounts to gamers. It is a terrible thing to do to someone, and it has happened to a majority of men. I’ve seen two instances of this happening to woman on a huge list. Not to mention, that posting your contact information can lead to way more things than just stalking or sexually harassment. That opens up the door to every crime ever. And I don’t know anyone, man or otherwise, dumb enough to post their actual contact information online besides an email, which is rare in of itself. This is a dumb thing to do for anyone, and people know that. But, yeah, go ahead and post that information if you want.

I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.

Um . . . yes you will have to prove your gaming cred. If you come into a new space, you will need to prove that you belong there, no matter what your gender is. If you just randomly enter a closed group on COD live and people don’t know who you are, you are going to have to prove that you can play Call of Duty. Granted, sometimes you’ll have to prove your gaming cred because of your gender, but this works both ways. Remember what I said about demographics? If you are not the stereotypical audience for a game, chances are you’ll have to prove that you actually know what you’re doing, just like you’re going to have to do for any other thing ever. Someone who looks, talks, and acts like a hillbilly cannot just walk into Silicon Valley and be taken seriously, because that is not the usual type of person who works in Silicon Valley.Can you honestly tell me that men who go to feminist conferences aren’t put under more pressure to prove that they belong there and that they know their stuff than women? An FPSer is going to have to prove that he can play a puzzle game that requires intelligence over just blowing things up (women are generally deemed the target audience for said puzzle games, by the way. Oh no, people think we’re smart). A woman is going to have to prove that she can play Call of Duty. The same way a man will have to prove that he can play any game targeted mainly at women. Just like an older gamer will have to prove that they can play video games at all, because old people are stereotypically bad at it.

It’s not a fucking problem, that’s just how it works. If you go into a culture, you must show that you belong there, and it really just depends specifically on what you are doing on what you have to prove for what reasons. That’s how being part of the “in crowd” works. It’s not a gender thing any more than its an age thing or an individual interest thing. Plus, fake nerd girls/fake nerd guys exists. Plenty of people pretend to be stuff they aren’t for whatever reason. Ever since nerd culture became ironically cool, more people have become “fake nerds.” You know, the people who wear hipster glasses and ironic retro t-shirts but who couldn’t tell you the plot of a single 90s cartoon to save their life? The people who think that “nerdy” means wearing quirky dresses and tripping sometimes? Those people. We’ve got to weed them out somehow.

If I enthusiastically express my fondness for video games no one will automatically assume I’m faking my interest just to “get attention” from other gamers.

See what I said about fake nerds above. And, yes, there are plenty of guys who are fake nerds too. People, men or women, are not automatically assumed to be faking interests, it’s just that if we’re having a conversation about what made Bioshock 2 sub-par and you clearly do not know what you’re talking about even though you act like you do and are clearly lying and flailing for vague things to say about it, that’s when people we start judging you. If you say you play games all the time, but then prove that you don’t know two shits about how to work an X-Box controller, that’s when people start judging you. It’s like how lots of women pretend to like sports because the guy they like likes football. Or like how a guy pretends to actually care about romcom movies that his girlfriend likes. It’s disingenuous. As it turns out, if you’re actually into what you say that you were into, you are fine, because “proving yourself” is literally just as easy as being yourself.

I can look at practically any gaming review site, show, blog or magazine and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented.

Okay. How is this a privilege again? I can go onto BET and find black people out the wazoo, that doesn’t mean I like BET. And if “having the voices of people ‘like me’ widely represented” means more articles about how X Game is sexist and whatnot, I’m okay with it being a sausage-fest. Also, I already feel represented when I go onto these sites and read the magazines because they are made for gamers. I hear the voices of gamers. I am represented just fine in that capacity. I don’t go onto gaming review sites to hear from women, I go onto gaming review sites to hear from gamers. You know, people who I actually have something in common with. I do not care about their race/gender/anything else that social justice warriors love as long as they write good articles about relevant things. My top three favorite video game commentators are guys because they say shit that I agree with/find entertaining. I’m not going to automatically feel more represented by someone because they look like me. I don’t understand why that notion is even a thing. I just continually point out that Sarah Palin exists every time someone tells me that having a women in X field would help me as a woman be more represented in my views, but apparently it hasn’t sunk in yet.

When I go to a gaming event or convention, I can be relatively certain that I won’t be harassed, groped, propositioned or catcalled by total strangers.

Well, I can’t. But–here’s the thing–neither can guys. Anyone who acts like guys aren’t treated this way during nerd conventions clearly hasn’t actually been to a nerd convention. There is some weird idea that people who are wearing costumes are inviting more explicitly sexual contact. (Have you ever read Disney Land stories about how people wearing the Mickey Mouse outfit–not even something sexy, the Mickey Mouse outfit–get groped by patrons, men and women, all the time, all day? That’s not even mentioning the guys dressed as Gaston or Jack Sparrow or Navine who get actively groped, kissed, and asked for sex by mainly women.) Anyone who isn’t ass ugly (which isn’t even a consistent rule seeing as how lots of costumes involve masks) has a chance of getting sexual attention at a conference. The last con I went to, my guy friend was dressed as Deadpool and he got groped by girls all fucking day. So I agree that this is an issue–the notion that people invite this on themselves just because they’re wearing a costume–but do not even start to act like this disproportionately effects women over guys. Any man who has cosplayed as Cloud Strife knows what I’m talking about.

1.) There tend to be more men than women at gaming conventions. That’s just how the demographics played out–just like there are more women than men at book signings for the most part. Women, in that sense, are seen as rare. 2.) Gamer guys tend to be nerds. Nerds oftentimes are not masters of social interaction. A gamer girl is a fucking godsend to many a gamer guy because “OMG a girl I can talk to and not come across as totally lame OMG.” So while you may have some socially awkward idiots propositioning you, the second you make it clear you’re not okay with it (assuming you aren’t okay with it–I know plenty of girls who like that kind of attention at conferences), you will have a million white knights at your beck and call talking down the guy who pissed you off. So it’s not like all the gamer guys are chomping at the bit to treat you untactfully. It’s less sexism and more “I don’t talk to girls that often.” It’s more sad than offensive, at least to me, and it’s not all that common anyway (costumes seem to be the thing that make people act like dicks, and costumes aren’t as common at gaming events).

I will never be asked or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender.

Wait a minute. Just . . . just . . . what . . . afja;fkjagafai;f. WHAT. AGDSK:J. JUST WHAT? YOU WON’T–WHAT.

I am sorry. This made my brain implode for a moment.

You will never be asked or expected to speak for all others gamers who share your gender, huh? You do realize that you are essentially saying that you will never be asked or expected to do what you are doing right now. And what many a social justice warrior expects you to do in order to further the cause? So you will be never be expected to do what people as of late expect you to do. And you will never be asked to do what you are currently doing? Okay. This is made worse by the video version of this list read off by multiple, rather dead-eyed men, and one Asian twelve year old who really shouldn’t grow out his mustache ever again.

Is this list not speaking for all male gamers? Is this list not trying to say what all male gamers experience, ie, speaking for the male gamer experience as a monolith? Is this not you, as one man, saying “This is what being a gamer is like for men.” Not some men, but just men. To get away from this, has Anita Sarkeesian not set herself up as the voice of women in gaming? Has she not presented her findings as what all women feel? Has she not been invited to speak at colleges and conferences specifically to provide the “voice of women in gaming” for the conversation? And has her contribution not been lauded by social justice warriors as a good thing? I haven’t seen one of them talk down to Anita because she’s trying to represent all women. People fucking love her and support what she’s doing (don’t ask me why).

But no, this is bad. And also something that men never do. :Gljka;dkjf;afjkafolda

I can be sure that my gaming performance (good or bad) won’t be attributed to or reflect on my gender as a whole.

Once again, it depends on the genre you are playing and who you’re playing it with. You cannot say this about the entirety of video games or the culture. There are plenty of gender neutral games (Mass Effect, most games where you can customize your own character, first person narrative games, nostalgia games like Legend of Zelda or Pokemon, scroller games, etc.), where your talents aren’t judged on the basis of gender at all because gender doesn’t really come into play there. You may hear “Girls aren’t good at Halo,” if a girl sucks at Halo. You’ll also hear “Guys suck at Portal.” And the people who say that are generally made fun of as idiots even within the gaming community. This is like when Anita Sarkeesian tried to make some huge point about how gamers are sexist by bringing up a particular sexist plot point in a particular game whilst simultaneously ignoring the fact that gamers hated that plot point. But people will be nicer to you and tolerate you infinitely more if you’re a girl who sucks at Halo or any other game than a guy, so . . . female privilege in gaming, then?

My gaming ability, attitude, feelings or capability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.

Is this a comment about period jokes? I can’t really tell because it’s beating around the bush so fucking much that I’m wondering if they time traveled back to Victorian England to get someone to write this point. “People will not making PMS jokes at me as a guy.” There, what the hell is wrong with you? Also, I’ve been on X Box Live before. Telling a guy that he must be on his period because he’s terrible at playing is an insult I’ve heard. I’ve also heard plenty of boner/jerking off jokes used as insults, and those are also natural biological functions. And there are of course the myriad, of “You just need to get laid.” comments. People don’t take them all that seriously. It’s trash talk. You trash talk while you play the game, you’re friends when it’s over. I trash talk too, particularly during fighting games. (I call people “bitch” a lot, oh no, a sexist slur). So, yeah. I just don’t get this one.

I can be relatively sure my thoughts about video games won’t be dismissed or attacked based solely on my tone of voice, even if I speak in an aggressive, obnoxious, crude or flippant manner.

Excuse me a minute. HHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. HHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. HA. HA. HA. Okay.

Go and tell that to the whiners on Halo who are so widely despised that Red vs. Blue has multiple episodes making fun of them. If someone is dismissing your opinion for dumb reasons, stop talking to them. That seems pretty obvious. And if you’re being obnoxious, I doubt it’s your gender that gets you laughed at.

I can openly say that my favorite games are casual, odd, non-violent, artistic, or cute without fear that my opinions will reinforce a stereotype that “men are not real gamers.”

What . . . ? I don’t . . . what? Women like certain games, therefore them liking games reinforces the stereotype that they aren’t gamers. I guess. What? I don’t even know what this means. Women who call themselves “gamers” because they play Bejeweled and Angry Birds on their iPhone are dismissed as not real gamers, but so are guys. There are fake rivalries between the groups of people who like certain genres or games better than others (Call of Duty isn’t a real game, bro! That doesn’t take skill. The genre I like takes skill!). Retro gamers will make fun of current games, people who like strategy games will make fun of shoot-’em-up players, etc, etc. And they’ll all say, “You’re not really a gamer unless you play X.” But, in the end of the day, that’s just fucking talk. They are all acknowledged as gamers. Hell, even people who only play Bejeweled are acknowledged as gamers as long as they’re good enough at it. That game still has tournaments, man.

When purchasing most major video games in a store, chances are I will not be asked if (or assumed to be) buying it for a wife, daughter or girlfriend.

Okay. I’m just going to throw this notion out there. What the fuck is privilege? Because if this is all it takes . . . I just don’t get it. How is buying something and having the cashier think that you’re buying it for you and not for someone else a “privilege?” So a menial retail worker who get’s paid $7 an hour at Game Stop makes assumptions about my purchases? Oh no. What that one person thinks for half a second before I leave and never associate with them again is such a fucking drag on my day. Sometimes people think things about me that aren’t entirely accurate? Oh fucking no. It’ll take me two second to say “No this is for me.” if the cashier actually bothers to outright ask me if I’m buying a game for someone else, and that is just so damn difficult because that just might start a pleasant conversation with another human being about things I like to talk about, and I can’t have that. Just . . . I don’t get this, guys. I just don’t.

You know, when I go out and buy The LEGO Movie on DVD because I love that movie to death and want to own it, I’m fairly sure that the cashier at Target doesn’t think I’m getting it for me, because that’s a children’s movie and I’m an adult. When my white mother goes into a black beauty parlor to go get hair products, I’m just going to assume that the workers there don’t think she’s buying for herself or anyone she’s related to. When my guy friend who loves Zooey DesChanel goes out to buy a 500 Days of Summer poster and a box set of New Girl, it’s understandable that someone might not think that he’s getting those things for himself.

How is people making assumptions that aren’t 100% accurate, that they usually won’t even give voice to in their 60-second interaction with you, a privilege? Because if it is, literally everyone who has ever bought anything has this privilege. Literally everyone. I have female privilege because when I buy a book, people assume it’s for me to read and not a friend. I have black privilege because when I buy a music book, they assume it’s because I’m going to use it. I have youth privilege because when I walk into the electronics section people think I know what I’m doing. This is a lame point that I’ve ranted about for far too long now.

The vast majority of game studios, past and present, have been led and populated primarily by people of my own gender and as such most of their products have been specifically designed to cater to my demographic.

I don’t care about the game studio thing. That probably has a lot to do with less women studying the computer science necessary to develop games, and I would hesitate to say that less women doing compsci. is automatically the fault of sexism. A very specific type of person likes coding. I fucking hate it. My guy friends fucking hate it. Maybe that specific type of person, is a type of person that more often has a penis. I don’t know. And we’ve had some pretty damn good games from all of those evil, male-led game studios, so it’s not like the quality suffers for it. If you want more females in the gaming executive world, fine, but don’t act like it would make gaming a better place just by having them.

Once again, what is so fucking wrong with having a male demographic that you target above other, smaller, demographics? If that’s the case–more people who work in literature are women, on both the writing and publishing sides of things. More fiction books are catered towards the female demographic because women are statistically more interested in books than men. Using this logic, that is just terrible. I don’t see anything wrong with that. And this is of course, totally ignoring that being part of the main demographic for something doesn’t mean you’ll like it more than someone in a periphery demographic or that someone in the periphery demographic just isn’t going to enjoy it. No gaming exec. is going to tell the marketers to stop using gender demographics in their marketing–that will lose them money because you’re essentially telling them that they should work harder to appeal to a group of people who isn’t interested in what they’re doing. It’d be like a McDonald’s exec. trying to get on the good side of vegetarians. Yeah, some vegetarians like Mickey D’s but I can’t imagine it would be enough to directly start marketing toward them.

Plus, there are plenty of games that are either gender neutral because you can design your own character or marketed directly toward women. I do not understand why gaming companies acknowledging that more men play games is a bad fucking thing. You’re essentially coming into a situation that people in your group are minimally interested in and complaining that people don’t cater to your minimal interest more. That would be like me complaining about how death metal isn’t an accessible musical genre to people who only kind of like death metal. Why is this thing that I indulge in less than another group of people catered more to them than to me?! Why isn’t Twilight more catered toward the male audience, that’s not fair!

I can walk into any gaming store and see images of my gender widely represented as powerful heroes, villains and non-playable characters alike.

SO WHAT. I don’t get this. I guess I’m just one of those people who needs to “educate herself” more, because I honestly do not get what the big deal is. How is having more NPCs with male character models (I’d like to see the study that shows there are more male NPCs than female, by the way) a privilege. Oh, really, little boy who only says one line over and over? Your father’s the milliner in town? Why isn’t it your mother? This game is sexist. Also:

Powerful hero: Tomb Raider, Beyond Good and Evil, Silent Hill 3, Bayonetta, Portal 1 and 2, Legend of Zelda, The Last of Us, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Bioshock Infinite, Resident Evil (lots of them)

Villains: Silent Hill 1 and 2, Portal, Bioshock 2, Resident Evil, The Last of Us (kinda), all the Mass Effect Games, Metroid, Arkham City

NPS: every game ever

Yeah, that wasn’t difficult. Princess Zelda and Laura Croft are two of the most iconic characters in all of gaming, for crying out loud. Once again, I do not care how “well represented” women are in a game as long as the game is good. This is not me saying that women shouldn’t be characters in games or anything like that. It’s me saying that a woman doesn’t have to be in a game for it to be good. A woman not being in a game isn’t automatically a flaw worth taking off points for. And if you want more women characters in games, that is fine and dandy. Put them in there, and make them interesting. But I do not need them. Just like I don’t need black characters or anything else. Unattractive people aren’t very well represented either even though they make up large parts of the population, are you going to start a campaign saying that more ugly characters should be in games?

I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.

So? If I go to the YA section in my local library and pick out a book at random, I will almost always get a book with a female main character. Just like if I flip to BET, I’m guaranteed to get a show with a black lead, and a female lead on Life Time and a male lead on Spike. Demographics are not bad. They’re not. Also, unless it’s a story game like The Last of Us or something like that, people don’t care about the main character. Do you think anyone cared that Chell from Portal was a girl? The main character in Bioshock could have been a woman and it would have changed nothing. The whole point of video games is that they’re an interactive medium. You are the main player character. You are the main character. That is you. You are the one doing things–you relate to them because you are them. You are in their shoes, controlling what they do, sometimes what they say.

There are male gamers who design female characters to play. A lot of people playing Mass Effect will play fem-Shep because it’s generally agreed that her voice acting is better. Having the main player character be male by default is either a.) the work of an executive catering toward the main demographic, which is males, or b.) the artistic view of the game developer. While I agree that media executives have a stick up their ass and don’t want anything new or slightly different, the ultimate decision to have the main character be a guy is not an inherently terrible one like this list would have you to believe simply because it more often than not does not effect the game. And in games that have more of a story to them where the main character is actually a character, who are we to say that having them be a guy was the inherently wrong choice because we have gender quotas that need filling?

I do not have to carefully navigate my engagement with online communities or gaming spaces in order to avoid or mitigate the possibility of being harassed because of my gender.

Tell that to all the guys who avoid playing X Box Live specifically because they don’t want to deal with the harassment they get there. Also, tell that to anyone who joins a gaming forum for a genre they don’t like.

I probably never think about hiding my real-life gender online through my gamer-name, my avatar choice, or by muting voice-chat, out of fear of harassment resulting from my being male.

Tell that to male gamers who prefer to play female characters, or the female gamers who play male characters. Women are not harassed because they are women any more than getting comments about how your dick is small is you getting harassment because you are male. You’re just a person who is getting harrassed, and, as it turns out–shock of all shocks–people tailor their insults in gaming just like they do in real life! Trolls know how to push your buttons based off of certain things specific to you, who would have thunk?

When I enter an online game, I can be relatively sure I won’t be attacked or harassed when and if my real-life gender is made public

See above.

If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.

Yeah, I’m sure it won’t. “Cocksucker. I bet you’ve never even been laid. You jerk off to this game, don’t you? I bet the only titties you’ve ever seen are your own, fatass. No girl would want you anyway, they’d just laugh at your micro-dick. Why don’t you put your sister on so I can show her a real man? You’re just a fucking pussy ass bitch. I’d tell you to blow me, but you’d like that wouldn’t you, faggot?”

Yep, none of those things have anything to do specifically with invoking maleness or masculinity (or lack thereof) as an insult. You could say all of that to a woman! These are totally applicable to women as well. Women are totally asked all the time if they masturbate to video game explosions by people trying to trash talk them. It’s only when women are told horrendously mean things that it’s an issue!

While playing online with people I don’t know I won’t be interrogated about the size and shape of my real-life body parts, nor will I be pressured to share intimate details about my sex life for the pleasure of other players.

Yep. The size of a man’s penis has never been brought into question in this setting. Not once has anyone even brought it up, man or woman. And not once is it ever implied that a man doesn’t get laid or that he doesn’t have a girlfriend when he says he does. And when he insists that he does, it’s not like people ask for “proof” by asking what they do. That never happens. It’s only a thing that women deal with.

Complete strangers generally do not send me unsolicited images of their genitalia or demand to see me naked on the basis of being a male gamer.

I’ve known some of my male friends to get unsolicited pictures of a woman’s breasts before, so it’s a two way street you’re barking down, first of all. Secondly, it’s all about how you deal with these things, alright? I’m just going to go out on a limb and assumed that women are asked for nude pics more than men are. That seems about right, seeing as how women are generally deemed the more appealing gender by both women and men. So finally, a more gender specific thing to talk about.

So, call this a problem all you want. It’s annoying. If it stopped happening, no one would weep for its absence. But to act like this is some kind of soul-crushing harassment that just ruins someone’s entire day is not accurate. One time, when some random jerkoff wouldn’t stop asking my female friend for a picture of her breasts, she took a picture of her boyfriend’s chest and sent it to him instead, and it was hilarious, and we made fun of that guy for years afterwards based on that one incident. I am a sarcastic bitch a lot of the time. While I don’t tend to play multi-player games, when someone oh so politely asks for me to show them my tits, I simply tell them to show me theirs first. And if they don’t stop, I make fun of the mental retardation it must take to be unable to find actual porn on the internet. People who are hurt by this kind of thing just should not be in the fucking kitchen. That’s all I really have to say about it. Stuff like this can either be bemusingly sad and a source of potential hilarity, or it can make you cry sexism. And if it makes you do the second one, this just isn’t for you. Are you the kind of person who can laugh about these things, or aren’t you?

In multiplayer games I can be pretty sure that conversations between other players will not focus on speculation about my “attractiveness” or “sexual availability” in real-life.

Well, seeing as how nerds/gamers tend to find me more attractive than I personally think I am, I’m okay with this when it happens. Second–isn’t this totally ignoring the widely held stereotype that male gamers are fat, sweaty, unattractive neckbeards living in their parents’ basements, who are 29 years old and still a virgin? This is a stereotype widely held by the outside world, men and women alike–and one consistently invoked in all these talks about “nerd entitlement” on the social justice side of things–and one invoked by nerds themselves against someone they’re trash talking. So this ultimately seems like a far more negative aspect for men than for women. Female gamers are ultimately valued by their male cohorts, and there generally isn’t any overtly negative stereotype about women who like games. But two of the most prevalent ideas about nerd culture and gamers in particular are that males within it are unattractive and perpetually single. Forgive me for thinking that the guys have it tougher in this respect.

If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing.

Because it was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer.

HAHA. Ha. Ha. Haha. Ha. I don’t know about you guys, but I think I might have taken this less seriously than I would have if a woman had written it. I wouldn’t take what the women said seriously either, mind you–stupid is stupid–but I actually think I respect this one even less. So, yeah, it’s the exact opposite. The video reading of this looks like a bunch of dead-eyed actors chosen for their diversity and fashion sense reading of a prompter just off screen, and the list comes across as a guy who really wants to get laid by one of them hot feminist gals. This is the impression I get from many an outspoken male feminist, by the way–someone whose girlfriend is one, or at least the girl he wants to be his girlfriend is one. I wouldn’t take this list seriously if it were penned by Joss him-fucking-self, but this point is abysmal.


It’s all made worse by them then going onto say this in the video:

This list doesn’t mean that male gamers are always treated well. Sometimes we are bullied. Sometimes we are subjected to online nastiness. But it’s not based on or because of our gender. . . . We need to address it as a community.

Once again, women are not subjected to “online nastiness” because of their gender either. Insults are tailored to fit the person. Women receive different insults than men–that doesn’t make the insults men get the “default” insults that everyone should be getting but they don’t because sexism. Insults toward men are just as tailored. There’s a reason a girl will never be insulted by someone telling her that he had sex with her mom. There’s a reason a man will never be insulted by being called a whore. There’s a reason rape threats are directed at women whereas threats of a more generalized violence are directed more often at men. Men and women tend to react to things differently–a half-hearted rape threat will piss off a girl more than a threat to beat her up will. That doesn’t mean that she’s getting insulted because of her gender, she’s getting insulted based of of what her gender dictates would insult her more, and the same happens to guys. Guys are actually harassed more on games and on the internet than women are–is that misandry?

If guys have problems too, some of them presumably specific to them, where’s the 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Female list? If women aren’t the only ones who face issues and guys are treated badly too, wouldn’t it be more fair and balanced to say the benefits that women have over men in the gaming community as well? I can easily compile one of those. Especially if it can follow in the footsteps of this list and reiterate the same five points over and over. But showing an actually well-rounded view isn’t what feminism is for. It’s best to just vaguely say that men have issues too whilst not saying what they actually are and focus on all the times women felt bad. If everyone has problems, a lot, if not most, of them the same problems, presumably of the same caliber (no, I don’t see an action being done “because I’m X, isn’t it?” as any worse than the same action being done for any other reason), then what is the point of this?

And, as everyone knows, bullying and general dickishness is only bad if there’s a specific demographic-based reason behind it. And yes, we need to address it as a community–that community being men, of course, because even though we spent this entire time speaking against gender-based generalizations, it’s still ultimately about how guys suck and how guys are the ones that need to change. Because social progress is not a two-way street based in compromise and understanding, it’s an arm wrestling match. Women don’t need to do anything, they don’t need to change their behavior at all. It’s the guys that need to do all of the changing and compromising. Women don’t need to better learn how to brush off insulting comments, people should just stop insulting them, because that’s realistic. Women shouldn’t show more interests in gaming as it is in order to drill into the idiot executives’ heads that girls like games too, they should just complain about how games aren’t made for them whilst simultaneously giving no reason for games to be made for them.

God, this is annoying. Maybe if the people who said these kinds of things actually liked video games and gaming, I would cut them some slack. But that doesn’t seem like the case. Anita Sarkeesian, the pioneer in “video games are the devil” rhetoric, has outright gone and said that she doesn’t like or play video games, and her boyfriend does the research for her. It just smacks of people coming in from the outside even though they showed no interests before, just to tell you why what you’re doing is wrong. And they are right. Because they went to college. And they took an Intro Gender Studies studies class. Which makes them an expert on how everyone is in the wrong. Everyone except for them.

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2 thoughts on “Nerds Are Just the Worst, Am I Right? Sexism Narratives in Gaming

  1. I’ve been reading you’re blog for a while, you’re awesome. Shame I can’t seem to meet any young people with you’re ability to think critically & challenge some of the ‘liberal’ status quo irl. Keep it up.

  2. DB says:

    I’m a nerd as well, although I don’t think gamer equals nerd persay, I suppose that is all semantics. I am a computer engineer, coder, amateur physicist that loves chemistry and grows exotic things in greenhouses and hydroponically for fun, I don’t play online games that much, because I don’t have enough insane time to keep up with many of them. I have been playing Dragon Age Inquisition lately, which I have enjoyed, but I shy away from multiplayer, in my experience it tends to be flowing with kids, guy, girl whatever and early 20 somethings that apparently have a lot more time than I do to play and will needle mercilessly if I am not up to par. Being as my original multiplayer online experience was MUD’s..I just feel like I am too old, and all the kids are better than me ha, so I tend to look for single player rich roleplaying and strategy games. (also, some of the online rpgs took up way too much of my time, and I find myself to get too involved in some). My experience with online rpgs and sex is that female avatars tend to have in many ways an easier time of things, because so many guys want to imagine having a girl, so they tend to coddle (which perhaps is sexist) or help female avatars more. Ironically I know tons of females that play male avatars for that reason, and tons of males that play female avatars for that reason. Truth is, it is just generally more guys than girls, there is nothing sexist about that, just the way it is, and “stereotypically” (NOT TRUE ALL TIMES), nerdier guys tend to be more withdrawn and shy just like nerdier girls, so it is easier to meet and talk to the other sexes (or same sex depending on preference), in an online environment than in real life.

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