Girl gamer? What about boy gamers?

 

 

I know, women who play video games are seen as mythical creatures or legendary items – you know they’re out there but still need to gawk when you find them.

Whatever the reason for this fascination, it appears to be a phenomenon that dissipates as gamers age – men seem to realize that girls aren’t quite as mysterious as they thought, and women feel less of an urge to seem alternative and different by being “girl gamers”.

 

 

 

Which is why I’m actually quite unimpressed with this Kickstarter project - GTFO: A Film About Women in Gaming. The filmmaker is a self-confessed “outsider” writing about what she decries as constant abuse against women.  When asked if it was a movie about trolling, she writes:

 

No. GTFO will cover an array of topics, with trolling being just one of them. The film will also address: the portrayal of women in video games, the history of women in gaming, the experiences of women in the industry itself, the culture of games, the discouragement of young girls from participating, and more.

 

One of her main inspirations and sources is a hilarious website, Fat, Ugly or Slutty, where women can post the lewd, sexist or otherwise trolling comments for all to see.  It is meant to be a humorous site, where women can laugh at the ridiculous comments that men make – usually when they lose.  

 

 

Although the filmmaker states that it is not a film about trolling, I seriously have my doubts considering the highly negative and critical stance she has on the topic.  In her interview with GamesIndustry.biz, she said:

 

“I didn’t think there was still an industry that in 2013 everyone was just fine with being really really sexist,”

 

I think gamers in general are forced to be rather thick skinned.  It is far too normal to encounter trolls – women aren’t the only ones who are threatened or harassed.  Regardless of gender, if you play online or with others, you will be called all manner of names.  It’s just a matter of being tough enough to not take it seriously.  Or just realize that The Oatmeal is probably right on this one… 

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Author:Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!
  • Admiral Chief Achievement

    Heh, Oatmeal rules

    • Trevor Davies

      My day won’t be complete if I can’t use “dickpickle” at some point.

      • AndriyP

        That tweet was probably sent by someone craving for a dickpickle?

        Hows that sentence?

        • Trevor Davies

          You complete me :P

      • Sageville

        I was rather partial to using the term “Cock-smoker” in my youth.

  • Admiral Chief Achievement

    Also, lulz @ DAT TWEET.

    A winnar is her

    • Ultimo_Cleric_N7

      A winner is you

  • KingKappie

    dammit, I still need that achievement!!!

  • AndriyP

    All this feminism on LG all of a sudden…. you guys lost the keys to the dungeon where the kitchen is located???

    :p

    • Sargon

      This is ganna hurt a really really bad…

      • AndriyP

        Im prepared, got my crotch guard!

        • Sargon

          Crotch guard – engage? :P

    • Trevor Davies

      Next thing you know they’ll be wearing shoes & wanting to vote ;)

    • Sageville

      I’m curious, what is the article about?

      Is there actually active female hating online? “Down with women, etc…”

      …or is it the sarcastic types of comments such as the usual “barefoot, pregnant, kitchen” chirps / Sexualization of gaming characters…etc.

      I think there is a difference, personally I don’t see the first scenario online, only the second.

    • Johan Fourie

      I’ll just leave this here…

  • Deon Steyn

    Offline play = No possible trolling or harassment.I will always prefer this.
    Nice one Rae.

    • Rince da Ref Lvl2

      You know, I think I know this bloke who may agree with you. OVG, Hooooooo!

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    *sigh* You know what all this makes me think of? Highschool. Seriously.

    There is no “hate towards woman”. There is just “hate towards people”. But everyone chooses to ignore the rest and only hit on the sensitive subject all the time.

    Like the media saying video games are bad while in actual fact it’s poor parenting where a 13 year old is allowed to play a mature game and no one seems to think there is anything wrong with ignoring the age limit.

    Same here. People choose to focus on what is being thrown at woman and then say “look at how woman are portrayed in games! This is why woman are treated bad in real life because people are told to!”

    Should I now go and say “Look how men are portrayed! They are all mysterious, built like a brick house, and asshole jock like! They are teaching woman that, that’s how men must be! I’m going to cry now because I can’t be like that!” ?

    Pffff

    • AndriyP

      I agree with you, have my upvote!

    • Admiral Chief Achievement

      Admiral Chief approves of this rant

    • Sargon

      But, to be fair, there *is* rampant sexism in broader society and saying that that everyone is hated on equally just isn’t addressing a really deep seated problem. I see your point here, but it doesn’t cut it. We like to *say* that we’re all equal. But we’re not. Not really. And that is that. I’m not saying that men are better than woman or some such. But I’m saying that Men = Woman is just not true out there in the “real world”. There is sexism everywhere and it ought to be eradicated. So should all forms of hate and trolling.. but there seems to be a special candour in hating on woman.

      No one is suggesting we cry about it. But we’ve gotta face the music on this one. Besides sexist hate, the only other thing I see about as often is remarks about sexual orientation. And this isn’t peculiar to the gaming industry. Just take a look at any of the youtube comments. We’re desensitized to specific forms of hate.

      P.S. If there is an age rating – parents should be responsible for enforcing it. I agree with you on that sentiment entirely. Thirteen year olds should NOT be playing a game like CoD – ever. Period. Final. Over.

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        Agreed with you entirely. My rant was a little more narrow viewed. But I do get tired of all the childlike behavior.

        I would bet that most of the sexism in the industry is from the consumers. Not the developers. When they create a woman they create her in the best way they can. Same for a guy. They take the qualities of each gender and emphasise them to make the characters larger than life. So a guy is built like a pro wrestler, woman are built like models etc etc etc. It’s not sexism,

        The sexism comes from consumers who throw insults around and yes it happens. But I’d bet that most of it comes from underage gamers playing games that, at their young age have no right playing and they think it “cool” to abuse anyone. Not just woman. They just have a much heavier hammer to swing when it is a woman because they can throw out comments that would be a lot more hurtful than any comment thrown because of the sensitive nature of many of the “topics” used for insulting.

        We are not all exactly equal no. You are right. Obviously violence against woman is a very sore and tender topic and I sympathise and understand how harsh it is when violent, sexual comments are made towards woman. Especially online. There is nothing that makes me more angry.

        But I do believe that the way it’s being approached is not quite right. It’s being hyped, not dealt with. It’s being thrown all over the media and blasting the industry instead of being constructive. Mud slinging if you will.

        I am by no means so blind to say there is no sexism. There is. But the perpetrators are angry and hateful in general. You will notice that those same people are the same people who throw out racial slurs, sexist comments, sexual orientated comments etc. They are angry at the world in general.

        • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

          That is because it is easier to throw blame than to actually come up with a viable solution, as seen with the recent school shootings where violent video games were gonna be burnt. This is just general behavior for Modern Society. Those in higher up positions are too busy with greed and war that when social issues do hit the fan, then they need a quick scapegoat … But hey … instead of changing the world we need to change ourselves first

        • Sargon

          Alright. I see your point of view a little better now. I suppose a short post doesn’t really do service to our real political/social views. :)

          That being said… I also agree with you about developers. They do try to do woman as much justice as they can and I can’t fault them. It is certainly more to do with the fanbase/players slinging insults than anything else. But I don’t think the industry is doing enough to combat it. If you attend a Premier League football match and you throw racial abuse around at a game – you get banned *for life*. Regardless of the lost revenue. So too should Steam et al provide very REAL consequences for hate (be it base on gender, sexual orientation, etc). If a gamer complains to his/her parents about being banned from a service FOREVER – the company could provide his/her parents with a copy of the language used. Sorted. Developers aren’t responsible for a lot of the problem – but they’re not exactly doing their part to really curtail it. I am not certain it is all underage gamers though – as I’ve heard racism and sexism come from adults in my office as well. It’s a lot more pervasive than we like to admit. Yet I think that 13 year olds are less likely to understand just how vile their behaviour is.

          Anyway – there are ample ways to try to tackle the problem. But the first step in any revolution is to piss people off. Articles like this help educate and irritate. It’s something. It’s certainly better than nothing, innit? I’d take mud slinging over passivity any single day of the week.

          Anyway. I’m glad you responded with the post you did. I think better of you. Have an upvote. ;)

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            In this I agree with you. Developers have the power to do something. The problem is the man power that is needed. The sheer amount of requests that would come through would be huge! And a lot of it would simply be some random banter like “hahaha we pwnd you n00b” and then people wanting that player banned because “He/She was mean to me boohoo”

            Meanwhile you have someone who is being verbally attacked and in the most disgusting ways. They log a legitimate complaint and it gets lost in the thousands of stupid complaints. The real issue is that we as a community need to start being pro-active in this. We need to actively decide to name-and-shame, so to speak. So that people know who the ones are. Maybe that would make it easier for developers etc. When they can see where legitimate complaints are then they can crack down.

            I agree with you though. If developers had to ban players from an online service for racialism, sexism etc (After investigation and having proof of course) then it would go a long way in curbing the trend because people will think twice before doing so.

            Naturally we don’t live in a perfect society and there is no easy way to solve this.

            Making people aware sure is a start. But I worry about whether it will have any real effect other than just to make people more angry?

          • Sargon

            Booooom. Great post. Good questions. Good discussion on the issue. Gamers should be taking screenshots and putting it on developer forums, websites, facebook. Totally agree that we need to be active! I’m angry and it was a first step in having this discussion. So it does serve some purpose. ;)

          • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

            Developers are doing their role though, I feel they are trying really hard to portray strong female characters. I strongly agree with your point that online activity needs to be monitored much more strictly … but so do parents. Kids shouldn’t be online playing these games in the first place.

            I do agree that articles like this is good. But we need to start looking at the roots of problems. Instead of scapegoating or looking at things with a narrow view. Some one get’s killed, condemn the murderer..but why was the murderer freely walking the streets?look at the police and justice system, why are there so many loopholes which would’ve prevented this murder in the first place.

    • Rince da Ref Lvl2

      Agreed, it’s the typical sensationalist bullshit that we’ve been forced to believe exists. Yes, it does in some corners where the sunshine hasn’t yet licked over, you know, those areas where evolution hasn’t yet been allowed to do its bit. I have to say I don’t get it. What about the way men are portrayed. ‘I ARE man, I ARE muscle, I ARE MARCUS FENIX…

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        haha. I’m sorry, I know this is a serious topic and all. But that last line just completely side swiped me.
        “I ARE man, I ARE muscle, I ARE MARCUS FENIX…”
        Hahaha. Had a good laugh. Thanx

        • Rince da Ref Lvl2

          Haha, I think it’s a topic that fuels itself, so yeah, needed to add something light to it. Though I note I did get a thumbs down for it! ;)

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Wasn’t me. So have an upvote to counter

      • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

        Lol why do men in games have such thick necks …. how is this mutation possible

        • Rince da Ref Lvl2

          My point exactly. Men are also portrayed as fucking brutes of force, yet because that stereotype is accepted (especially by men themselves “I ARE BIGGER than you type thing”) it isn’t really discussed. An let’s all be honest here. The kind of people we are talking about who swear and degrade women/men online are the 12 year old kids who should be monitored. In real life, as in, outside in the street, a CoD player wouldn’t last long if they went around saying ‘I fucked your sister/mother/hamster last night. They would either get beaten up by the REAL thick necked chaps, or have a few well planted feet between legs. Any man who needs to point out the sex of their competitor, FOR ANY REASON, is a fucking coward who realizes their own skills are balanced on the pre-notion that having bigger muscles means that turning left in Forza will be easier than if you didn’t have big muscles. No boys out there, hitting the a button HARDER doesn’t make a difference.

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Whatever you skinny, basement lurker. You couldn’t turn left in Forza with the assistance of a personal trainer. You weakling….

            #IAmKidding
            #Seriously
            #Trolling
            #IFeelBadNow

          • AndriyP

            FATALITY!!!!

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Hehehe

          • Rince da Ref Lvl2

            0-o :( I feel broken now…

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

            Sorry #BroHug

          • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

            They wouldn’t last a second in the streets speaking that way. SO they think they are cool playing Call of Duty: Black Ops? well let’s see how they enjoy Call of Duty:Black Eye

            these young kids needs to be taught some hard life lessons

  • http://twitter.com/mathuthe Mathias

    Didnt we discuss this already?

  • Trevor Davies

    Boy gamer? I’m a MAN gamer!

  • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

    Bleh …. such stupidity. Why do people Insist that women are displayed negatively in games…..Some of the strongest characters in gaming are freaking women. Let’s look at a few shall we, starting with some of my favorite females (not exactly lead characters though)

    1. Beatrix – Final Fantasy 9, A women dedicated to her country and queen, whose strength is only matched by her unwavering will. She was a character who protayed a stronger will and a stronger sense of justice than most of the male leads, not to mention she could one hit kill your party with Climhazard lol

    2.Millenia – Grandia 2 , A fiesty and some times hard as hell chacter. A hard exterior that hid a soft soul, a soul born from true darkness ended up SAVING the entire world and sacrificed herself for the one she loved … yeah, Female characters are just damsels in distress right …

    3.Aerith- Final Fantasy 7, Seriously, I love this character. in the dark and gloomy slums, despite all odds, she planted seeds of hope for the denizens of the slums. A kind a gentle spirit. If you played this game you know Cloud and even Zack would not be the heroes they were without her.

    4.Kaine-Nier, A foul mouth and scantly wearing swordswomen lol, an easy target for feminists. yet after subsequent play throughs and deeper insight into the story, we see the inner demons she has faced and the struggles she overcame and the reason she is the way she is, sacrifincing herself for her friends. She is a much stronger character than the majority of males leads ….

    Well that’s just a few of my favorites

    /End Rant

  • AndriyP

    Ive grown tired of these articles….

    In any field where the one entity is very dominant will foresee any other entity as a threat,joke etc not only in gaming and male vs female gamers, its the same with work environment, political environment and racial issues too

    Whenever i hear one or the other cry foul they are just looking for exposure plain and simple

    Be it a guy telling someone they havent even played a game to try to pick them up or mock them why does this cause am uproar? If you have an issue with this then stop talking about it and go play games so you can show off to the guys that indeed you are a gamer

    • Sargon

      “If you have an issue with this then stop talking about it and go play games so you can show off to the guys that indeed you are a gamer.”

      I suspect the very point is that a woman shouldn’t need to have to show off to the guys that they’re *indeed* a gamer. That is the problem here. And that is exactly why articles like this are so necessary. The basic assumption IS the embedded sexism. No woman ought to be required to provide evidence for their gaming ability just because of their gender. And that this problem is everywhere (“work environment, political environment”) based loosely on power dynamics should hint and just how pervasive the problem is. Of course they (they?) are looking for exposure. It’s the only way to try to correct for the disparity in power in these areas. We’re all responsible because it’s everywhere. And that 13 year old CoD players are using this language (as are adults too – granted) is really problematic as these are the men (boys?) of the future. If they think woman are required to provide “evidence” that they’re gamers now – what the hell will this say of their futures as business professions etc?

      • AndriyP

        I see what you are saying, indeed that is the way the world revolves, to me its jsut better to prove something than run around talking about it and causing a stir with line’s like:

        “I know, women who play video games are seen as mythical creatures or legendary items – you know they’re out there but still need to gawk when you find them.”

        Seriously?

        I can honestly say for comments like that woman gamers are seen for what they are because they are asking for it themselves, it makes them happy being seen as “mythical creatures or legendary items”

        Hey some attention is better than no attention amirite?

        • Sargon

          “because they are asking for it themselves”

          Careful with this language.. as it evokes a certain *other* argument entirely (where woman “ask for it” because of the way they dress). One that is very very charged in South Africa. I know you didn’t mean that. But language is powerful!

          Anyway.. there are multiple ways to read that sentence you quoted – one being that *men* view *woman* as mythical creatures or legendary items. It may be summing up a perspective rather than actively endorsing the position and giving it the thumbs up. It could thus be critical, not supportive.

          • AndriyP

            Indeed there are different ways to read my my sentence, that was what i was going for because there are different ways to read the sentence i referred to.

            I like gaming, and im in no way sexist, im slowly unravelling the gaming world to my lady at the moment, im starting slow with a Nintendo DS that she fell in love with, but as long as there will be uproars from women about the “sexist” industry i will continue mocking these articles.

            Its relatively simple with this example(gaming) you either a) game for the love of entertainment or b) waste the time one could be ranting about sexims in gaming than actually playing games

            Enjoyed talking to you, im often seen as a sexist on LG when htese articles are posted because of my mocking but for once someone saw past my jokes

            PS i dont always express myself that well in words, i come from far away and Engrish is not my mother tongue :P

            You seem to understand though

          • Sargon

            Yeah man. I can see you’re not actively sexist. We’re just disagreeing about what degree of activism we should be taking up. Your mockery is a form of criticism which, while valuable, I don’t think is as effective as activism etc. But at least it is still a form of engagement!

            P.S. Good luck with your girlfriends exposure to the wide world of gaming. There is nothing better than sharing interests – especially when you can sink hours and hours into a hobby like gaming instead of fighting over the electricity bill (thanks Eskom)!

          • AndriyP

            Haha tell me about it, spent a good 5 hours yesterday on the couch opposite each other with me playing FF4 on my DS and her playing Anno on her DS

            Its really much better these days to stay indoors and game than go out a lot

            And Eishkom, lol thats why i got a DS because the place i live is on a verrrrry unfortunate grid :(

        • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

          I think she is just pointing out the perception … I don’t think she is actively supporting that view. You can’t exactly generalize female gamers that way. Everyone, male and female, just wants to enjoy the games

          • AndriyP

            Yes pointing out the perception, but not exactly helping the cause now is it?

            I play games often, and sometimes my friends make fun of me and mock me for some of the titles as i mock them,. but i never say oh its because you are *insert race here*
            So why should it be different with boys and girls?

            We will only get over such an issue when we stop fuelling the fire. There are more and more women opening up to gaming but some are never happy with the progress and have to point it out constantly thats why we have an article like this every few months

          • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

            I agree with you, was just pointing out Zoe’s comment. but it is true that change needs to come from both sides, this is the case with race and gender. we have come far , as individuals and as a country in terms of race, yet there are still people that are quick to call racism. But throwing fuel to the fire is good. There are legitimate cases of sexism and racism, and people need to be aware of it, the only frustrating part is that they are looking in the wrong places, and I don’t think there is really extreme cases of sexism in the gaming industry

  • GooseZA

    *yawn*

    This whole thing is getting REALLLLY old. You’d enjoy gaming and life a lot more if you cared less about what people thought / said and just played the damn games.

    Sure, nobody likes dealing with assholes, but we all encounter them at some point in all areas of life. They’ll always be assholes. Campaigning on the internet isn’t going to change that. Do what you love to do and the assholes can go suck it.

    • AndriyP

      Amen brother

  • https://twitter.com/WayneBossenger Wayne Bossenger

    saw this video the other day https://www.upworthy.com/a-ted-talk-that-might-turn-every-man-who-watches-it-into-a-feminist-its-pretty-fantastic-7?g=2&c=mrp1 basically its a talk against gender violence but it can be applied to race, sexual and gaming issues talked about above (which can lead to gender issues as well). give the talk a watch above, as i wont do it justice here, but ill try…

    just like gender issues are generally considered woman issues (instead of male and female) or race issues are considered black (instead of white and black) etc where the dominant group isnt considered at all, the same message can be carried through for this topic, where ‘gamer’ issues are thought of as female issues (that is, female gamer problems) and thus the male gamers are ignored…

    part of the solution would be to tackle these issues as gamer issues in general and not specifically targeted as ‘girl-gamer’ problems.

    I do feel like im preaching to the choir here though :) anyway, its an interesting video

  • DiscordianKitty

    I’m really impressed with this viewpoint from someone who hasn’t watched a film but has decided it’s shit already anyway. Especially the bit where the person assumes the filmmaker is lying when she says the film isn’t just about trolling. Way informed as opinions go.

  • H.O.

    I think the reason people “target” women who play games is really simple. Way back when the girls were the ones who wouldn’t really look twice at a gamer. Gamers have been told that they are dorks / geeks / nerds / derogatory-term-of-choice for enjoying games by the objects of our affection / obsession i.e. girls at school, as well as mass media (how many movies or series…?). Games were the escape from that kind of almost-bullying. And now they invade our world! Hehe, maybe that is it, who knows. So I guess I can see why the gaming world is seen as “owned by guys” by some. Still – don’t troll!

  • H.O.

    I think the reason people “target” women who play games is really simple. Way back when the girls were the ones who wouldn’t really look twice at a gamer. Gamers have been told that they are dorks / geeks / nerds / derogatory-term-of-choice for enjoying games by the objects of our affection / obsession i.e. girls at school, as well as mass media (how many movies or series…?). Games were the escape from that kind of almost-bullying. And now they invade our world! Hehe, maybe that is it, who knows. So I guess I can see why the gaming world is seen as “owned by guys” by some. Still – don’t troll!

  • H.O.

    I think the reason people “target” women who play games is really simple. Way back when the girls were the ones who wouldn’t really look twice at a gamer. Gamers have been told that they are dorks / geeks / nerds / derogatory-term-of-choice for enjoying games by the objects of our affection / obsession i.e. girls at school, as well as mass media (how many movies or series…?). Games were the escape from that kind of almost-bullying. And now they invade our world! Hehe, maybe that is it, who knows. So I guess I can see why the gaming world is seen as “owned by guys” by some. Still – don’t troll!

  • H.O.

    I think the reason people “target” women who play games is really simple. Way back when the girls were the ones who wouldn’t really look twice at a gamer. Gamers have been told that they are dorks / geeks / nerds / derogatory-term-of-choice for enjoying games by the objects of our affection / obsession i.e. girls at school, as well as mass media (how many movies or series…?). Games were the escape from that kind of almost-bullying. And now they invade our world! Hehe, maybe that is it, who knows. So I guess I can see why the gaming world is seen as “owned by guys” by some. Still – don’t troll!

  • GooseZA

    “I know, women who play video games are seen as mythical creatures or legendary items – you know they’re out there but still need to gawk when you find them.”

    Oh totally. Because that’s just how “gamer guys” are. The minute we meet a “gamer girl” we are so gobsmacked by the idea that girls could play video games that we just stand there and stare at them. When we finally come to, then we get all insecure about them invading our sacred sanctum of gaming and start hurling abuse at them.

    Please.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zubayr.bhyat Zubayr Bhyat

    Ahh the internet what would we do without you. It’s a given that if you play online you will get abused, male or female. That and people can be myopic at best of times too :(

  • http://twitter.com/HanCilliers Han

    It’s not about being tough, it’s about determining what type of online environment we want to create. IMO we can never stop talking abt the issues raised in GTFO, not until there are lot less abuse. Females are targeted in the gaming industry on many fronts, it’s also a new industry and we have to make a stand with what is ok and what is not.

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