I was working very hard on procrastinating on the internet, when I ran into a video with a list called “25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male”. I immediately thought that they might have special male groups where they share World of Tanks and League of Legends free premium day/extra XP coupons, so I clicked, determined to infiltrate the world of manliness for the sake of FREE STUFF.
Instead I ran into this:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E47-FMmMLy0]
Aw, man. No free stuff. Worse: I felt vaguely insulted. But since it says that one of the invisible benefits of gaming while male is “I can look at practically any gaming website, show, or magazine and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented,” while another one is “I will never be asked or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender”, I’ll try to even the balance a little and add a female voice on a blog to represent women more, while not speaking for all other gamers who share my gender.
Yes, I put those together to show how that there’s a bit of a contradiction in what they say. This response, though, is mine, personal, and doesn’t aim at the “female perspective”.
I have no idea what crazy online multiplayers these guys are playing, but I have never revealed my gender online – in fact, I usually have 0 clues as to what genders the others players have. I don’t think it’s important, I never gave a damn – and even nicknames like “FairyPrincessTwinkle” can actually belong to a guy with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Depending on the game, I either get cursed a lot (League of Legends – variations of “NOOOOB, IDIOT NOOB, UNINSTALL LOL, NOOB!!!!!!”), or not (World of Tanks, where people don’t give much of a damn). I don’t take it personally.
Here’s how I see the gaming community: there are gamers who are morons and who curse all over the place and treat people like crap. They’re very vocal and therefore very noticeable. On my side of the world, Polish players tend to be associated with this type of a behavior, so in a way it sucks more to be a decent Polish player than a decent female player. Anyways, I’m not sure if there’s a vocal woman-hating minority that’s separate from the vocal everybody-hating minority, but I never checked. To me it’s enough that they’re morons and I absolutely love the mute and report buttons. I could marry those buttons.
Mind you, I don’t go around randomly saying “I’m a chick” in the middle of multiplayer games, nor do I voice-chat except with friends. I kinda hate voice chat in general. And phone calls. And other such. Let’s not do voice. Let’s do writing. Writing is cool.
To continue with the list: people in general think that women can’t play games, or that they’re not allowed to play because games are intended for males. Well… things are changing. I know a number of gaming chicks and while there’s the occasional shocked individual when it comes to me playing Tanks, it’s not that bothersome. In fact, I’ve noticed that I have a certain advantage when it comes to playing games. Guys are overly impressed and I’m automatically considered “cool”. I’m not complaining, I think they’re cool for playing games, too.
Which brings us to the point on the list where people think chicks are gaming to get guys. As far as I know, nobody ever assumed this about me or about my friends. But there will always be someone who thinks that you do something you like to get attention. Let’s talk about cultural capital and the world of popular culture, in which people obviously quote popular culture in order to increase their personal worth in the eyes of their peers and–second thought, let’s not talk about it.
Moving on through the list, we reach this gem: “I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.” Somebody never went through the lessons of not revealing personal info online. It’s not safe to do it no matter what your gender is, guys! You don’t want your boss to know you curse like a sailor mid-game, nor do you want someone to stalk your home for being an obnoxiously bad player.
Next: “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.” So can I.
Next: “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.” I can’t be sure of that. By the way, neither can you.
Next: “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.”” Well, obviously. But you can always be considered gay. If you want to have a stereotype battle, know your stereotypes.
Next: “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.” I… don’t give a shit about what other people assume. Like, really, I don’t. If I did, I’d have to worry about the chicks in cafes thinking I’m one sad, lonely little thing for always sitting at a table by myself.
Next: “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.” Have you seen what people think girls would like to play? Now, that was an invisible advantage these guys missed: as a male not having companies think they should make it in baby-blue and adding toy cars everywhere in the scenery to suit your tastes. Honestly, I prefer people not catering to me.
“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. 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.” – =)))) wtf is this shit. Listen, I’ve never witnessed this, nor have I heard of anyone to whom it happened. If the mute-report-block dance is too mild for this, you can always go through the bitch from hell routine and pay back in kind. In case an idiot sends you his FREE porn pics, much fun can be had by all – except him.
“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.” No, they won’t. If you were a woman with actual proof of what you say, I might listen, not laugh my head off at you.
“Because it was created by a straight white man, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer.” No, it won’t. That’s why you had to disable the youtube comments.
This list contained 25 items about which I personally have never given a damn – in some cases, I’ve only heard of the things described because they’ve been discussed on some random corner of the internet. You can’t treat them like they’re common things which happen to every woman everywhere – and you can’t pretend that as men you’re always respected, because you are not. You know what actually is a constant problem that I encountered as a daily basis? Rude players picking on others. I nearly quit playing League of Legends because of the toxic attitude… and then I discovered the mute and report buttons.
Yeah, we should be sensitive to each other’s issues, but making a sappy list of puffed-up issues (and it’s amazing how problems always come in round numbers!) isn’t that sensitive or helpful.