Another article popped up on my radar while browsing around, which was published almost a day ago on a website called ComicsVerse. The author, Sam Schenerman, wrote about sexism in games. Fair enough, but the guy immediately covered his “privileged status.” That caught my eye and after scanning through the piece, I wanted to break it down with a few of my thoughts. Grab a seat.
Lets’ start with the opening.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge my privileged status. I am a Jewish (White in appearance) college-educated male in my mid-twenties. Opportunities in all walks of life have been wide open to me in comparison to people of color and women.
And we’re off. Privilege cards laid on the table in less than 50 words. I’m not going to hold this against Schenerman, so let’s see what he has to say about sexism in gaming (that hasn’t already been covered by other outlets). He talks about how gaming has gone mainstream, which is true. The medium has exploded in the last decade or two.
But in order for readers of this piece to find out more about sexism in gaming, Schenerman directs them to another article on the same website that looks at Deadpool and other comics. I’m not going to write about how gaming (the medium I’m passionate about) is perfect. It’s not. But I have a feeling this piece is going to blow things out of the water, so let’s continue.
This is particularly the case in gaming culture, where misogyny and sexism are rampant. Recent flare-ups like GamerGate are just the most visible form of this discrimination.
Firstly, GamerGate, if I remember correctly, was about ethics in video game journalism, which came into question. A number of people were shown to be acting in a sexist manner who was also part of the movement, which then led to media outlets branding all gamers as sexist pigs. I’m not even joking. (Some more links.)
And they’re not always private or covert: this summer, the feminist Anita Sarkeesian was publically harassed at a Vidcon Panel. These are not isolated incidents. They are indicative of a regressive culture that is harming women and girls everywhere.
Wait. What?! Anita Sarkeesian was “publically harassed” at Vidcon? Jeez. Must have been terrible. Someone shouting from the audience? I’d hate to endure that. Wait… no one said anything to her? Odd. So what happened? YouTuber Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin sat through the panel? That’s it, he said nothing? At a public event in which anyone attended the convention could sit through?
That’s right. Anita Sarkeesian was “harassed” at a panel she was speaking on by a person who sat there and said nothing. It’s now apparently harassment to sit on a chair during a panel in which anyone attending can sit through. But that’s not all. Sarkeesian (the victim she is) aimed straight for this YouTuber and called him a garbage human in front of everyone. It’s all on video. Remember: she’s a victim without “privilege”.
This woman apparently lacks privilege and receives hate online — that’s essentially what funds her — but has the ability to call someone a shit head during a panel. You literally couldn’t make this up. But that wasn’t enough for Sarkeesian. She had to target Steven “Boogie2988” Williams. Does this sound like a victim to you? Or perhaps a bully? Williams is arguably one of the kindest men on the planet and did not deserve this kind of treatment. But of course, it fails to tarnish her reputation with the media.
Lastly, Anita went on the offensive against Kotaku’s Laura Kate Dale for a solid piece she wrote about John “TotalBiscuit” Bain dealing with online hate. Rich Stanton from Kotaku then apologized, because of course, he did.
"Anti harassment" expert harasses transgender journalist as she interviews left-wing games critic about how to combat harassment.
— John Bain (@Totalbiscuit) August 16, 2017
It just boggles the mind.
Side note: if you have no idea who Anita Sarkeesian is. She’s a fraudster who received a bunch of coin from donators to create a series of videos (under the FemenistFrequency brand) explaining sexism in gaming. She not only failed to complete this series but continues to talk out her rear end about a topic she knows very little about, abusing others, and refusing to engage in debate with critics (I wonder why).
Gamers are bad
Schenerman continues to talk about harassment during multiplayer game sessions.
Every day, innocent women are verbally harassed during multiplayer games. They are sent lewd messages, questioned constantly on whether they’re “real” gamers, and barraged with date asks. As if this weren’t enough, whenever they defend themselves, they are ridiculed and dismissed with comments such as “go back in the kitchen” or “make me a sandwich.”
This is a somewhat fair point. There is harassment online and it usually comes from younger players when not thrown about in jest. But the same goes for men. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been called a prick, fuckface, and cock in League of Legends, for example. My partner receives unwanted attention from men outside the front door. People are idiots, regardless as to whether you’re playing a game or not. People just need to grow a backbone. Sticks and stones.
The idea that gaming is a space solely for white males is ingrained in our culture. No matter how many times someone points out that more women own game consoles than men, there will be those who simply ignore them. If they’re women, it’s because they’re obviously SJWs and self-serving attention whores.
Erm, no. Gaming is not a space solely for white males. And it’s not ingrained in our culture. I know plenty of black males who enjoy games. My partner, who happens to be both black and a female, enjoys playing games (both online and offline). Not once have I experienced a time where someone was told they shouldn’t be playing a game because they’re not a white male.
Zoe Quinn is another name who has spent time with Sarkeesian. She’s also one who plays the victim card. Sure, she likely has received some hate online, like many other people, but she’s what we’d like to call a professional victim. As one who apparently doesn’t have a voice or a platform, she took to the internet to join other weak humans in boycotting The Last Night, simply because the developer threw down support for GamerGate.
If you laid down with MRAs, abusive ex boyfriends, LITERAL NAZIS, et all, you deserve fleas.
— 💀zombië queen💀 (@UnburntWitch) June 12, 2017
The developer, Tim Soret, isn’t a sexist and no he likely didn’t send hate to Sarkeesian, Quinn or anyone else, but he tweeted support for GamerGate with regards to journalistic ethics and also stated that he’s against feminism (in its current form) due to it being skewed and toxic. Which it is. He supported an egalitarian approach — valuing both males and females as equals. Strange how that should lead to his game being boycotted.
But Quinn is a victim, of course. It’s fine for her to say people “deserve fleas” and bash others online, but when it’s her on the receiving end it becomes harassment.
Due to a misguided perception of gaming as a space for white males, many haters heap vitriol on feminists. Critics of sexism in video game culture are doxxed, harassed, intimidated, and threatened daily.
I cannot seem to locate a source to a study that looked into harassment against women in video games. I’m (genuinely) interested to learn about this daily occurrence and how it affects millions of women. If there’s a study with adequate proof that gamers are sexist in general then I (as a gamer) would like to have a gander. Like I said, I’m against anyone receiving death threats, but anything under that should be brushed off.
Victims like Zoe Quinn are driven from their homes and often lose their jobs. This is a serious issue. Gender equality affects everyone.
Sure she is. Perhaps they are playing the victim card to make money and are wrong by most accounts, which is why she dropped the lawsuit against her previous partner, and they all fail to engage in debate with the opposing side. As someone who remained on the sideline, it was painful to see them bottle down on receiving harassment, make points against others and fail to back them up.
For better or worse, money talks louder than anything else in our market driven world. If women can make their voices heard more — and men finally decide to hear them — then video game companies will listen.
I’m confused. What do women want, exactly? They can already purchase video games. I don’t see the issue and how this relates in any way to harassment received online by anyone (both male and female). Perhaps some people simply need to grow up or require parental guidance when hitting the “multiplayer” button on the main menu?