Anita Sarkeesian, one of the bigwigs from a group known as Feminist Frequency has managed to get her face on the front page of more gaming sites than Commander Shepard over the last few weeks. She has also managed to rile many gamers into bunching up their panties and casting their opinions about her online; most of which would put her in the same league as Hitler. How did she achieve this? Simple really, she put together a Kickstarter to raise funds for the creation of a series of videos called Tropes Vs Women In Video Games, in which she’ll express her views on the way women are treated in video games. For some reason this seems to have been seen as something of a war-crime by many gamers who have turned their local forums into their battlegrounds.
I’m quite interested in seeing these videos for myself when they drop, some time this Autumn. Personally, I don’t think that sexism is really an issue when it comes to video game characters though. The typical big-titted chick is no different to the muscle bound physique of the stereotypical, phenomenal-cosmic-power dude, in my opinion. Are Chun-Li’s breasts really any more exaggerated than Zangief’s hairy fucking shins? Is Tyris Flare really showing more skin than her counterpart, Ax Battler? The man wears nothing but boots and cacks… and he can barely even fit into the damn cacks. This kinda thing happens to both sexes all the time in gaming. It’s nothing new, and at this stage, it’s nothing unusual. In fact, in a lot of cases, the women have a lot more charm to them than the brutish men do.
There are, of course, a few overly sexed characters out there that are just taking the piss. These characters grab a lot of the limelight because of this, but is there really any harm in them? Duke Nukem has been the center of more sex scandals than Bill Clinton, yet a lot of people seem to be missing the joke. In his ridiculously derogatory way, he’s laughing at men just as much as he is at women. His over-the-top body, his deep voice (complete with are vast array of bad language and cheesy one-liners), his humongous arsenal of weapons which are dwarfed only by the size of his ego, and the fact that every woman within his games wants to have an unholy amount of sex with him as soon as they lay eyes on him- this is all to be taken with a grain of salt. Why? Because Duke’s an idiot! He’s supposed to be an idiot- laughing at the “man’s man” of old 80’s/90’s action movies. He’s the type of character that’s not supposed to be taken even remotely serious, because he’s purposely as politically incorrect as he can possibly be. When playing as Mr. Nukem, you are meant to laugh at just how much of a douche he is. He’s not something to aspire to be.
Regardless of whether of not I agree with what Anita Sarkeesian has to say in her videos, I’ll look forward to watching them, because I love to see other people’s take on video game culture. There are however, two things that annoy about the controversy surrounding these videos.
The first thing is the reaction it got from the gaming community, all of whom want to see her head on a stick. This bugs the shit out of me! A woman expressing what seems like an honest and decent opinion should not call for such outrage. From what she’s said so far, I find that there’s nothing wrong with her views, and I cannot understand why other gamers are kicking up such a fuss about it. She’s not going down the usual bullshit path about playing GTA makes people steal cars, or CoD is a training ground for assassins. No, she ain’t doing anything of the sort. She’s simply saying that video-game-women are shown in a lesser light than the men. She says that she’s been called in to the offices of game developers to chat about how to make female characters better. If this is indeed true, and if she can actually aide in creation of better characters, then this should be a good thing for all involved… including the whiney little fuckers who are cursing her name to hell online! However, only time will tell if she’s actually got anything to say that’s truly worth hearing, or if she’s just pulled off a fantastic publicity stunt.
Sexism is a huge deal in the gaming community, more so than in actual gaming. The more I think about it, the less I really care that Axl Stone is more prominent on Streets of Rage’s box-art than Blaze Fielding is. Such issues seem pretty damn irrelevant when put against a backdrop of women being verbally abused every time they pick up a joypad, for no other reason than their being women. This is happening on a day to day basis across Xbox Live. For some reason enjoying a game of Res E 5 and being a girl is held a some form of bullshit sacrilege.
All you have to do is a little googling to see sheer amount of sickening after-game mails that have been sent to female gamers from young boys, young enough to hold a joypad, and grown men old enough to have more fucking cop-on. These guys don’t seem to have a problem sending a girl a message saying how they would rape them. Don’t these morons have any idea what a message like that means, or how it could effect someone? Do these close-minded, ignorant fucks really believe that this is a civil or humane way to behave?
There are plenty of guys out there who wonder why gaming is so damned male orientated, and why there are so few girl gamers kicking it about online with the rest of the world. Well, lads, you now have your answer. Why on Earth would anybody want to put themselves in a position where they’ll get rakes of hatemail because of their gender? Why would a woman want to speak out over the headset, when a gang of men will verbally abuse her with the usual clichés about how she must be fat, ugly, slutty and a lesbian because she enjoys a spot of CoD? Why would anybody bother, if it’s just going to end up in bullshit like this?
The truth is, there are tons of female gamers out there. They can shoot as straight as the next player, they have fires in their bellies for the win, and they enjoy the carnage of an online match just as much as anyone else. The sad thing is that a lot of them are driven into hiding because of the hostile aggression forced upon them from other players. Forced upon them as people, as opposed to their chosen characters. A lot of girls have generic gamertags, male avatars, and simply don’t switch on their mics in an attempt to hide their gender.
Sexism is alive and fierce here, and it’s not only insulting to women who just want to play some games, but it’s insulting to every gamer who has a brain in their head. There’s a special place in Hell for these men who believe they are above female gamers, and that it’s ok to spew such aggression just because they wear their reproductive organs on the outside. That does not make you a better player- it just makes you a bastard! It’s things like this that make a proud player like me ashamed to be part of the gaming community. I’d rather not be lumped in the same category as these sexist pigs. They give video games, and those who enjoy video games a bad fucking name.
In conclusion, worry a little less about the views of one woman who wishes to show the bad points of how female characters are portrayed in games, and worry a little be more about the men who are running this community’s name through the fucking mud from the comfort of their own goddamned armchairs. Get off your armoured high horse, and look around at the sexism that’s really happening!