Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Painting Munky has Entered the Fray

Today Kotaku posted an article by 17 year old Jessica Cernadas from NPR's Radio Rookies regarding the lack of respect female (video) gamers seem to receive.  Kudos to you, Jessica, on actually putting yourself out there and getting a news radio article published!

Now, I do recognize that some of the issues brought up in this interview are real and DO happen, I have to disagree that they happen as often as this particular piece seemed to indicate. 

Maybe I just blocked when it happened to me.  Maybe I am lucky and just haven’t been exposed to it as much as other girls.  Maybe I just don’t see gender when it comes to games.  Or I don’t care because I realize that it’s all a part of the genre.

I think in articles like this, the lack of respect women are receiving is being sensationalized, and is probably not nearly as big an issue as it has been made to seem.  Or at least not as big of an issue as it USED to be when there were even fewer female players.  

It seems common knowledge that there is a higher percentage of male gamers then female and that the gap is closing quickly, but how many times have you been online and heard guys teasing, provoking, and calling each other derogatory things?  In my experience I remember more occasions of that happening than being belittled, flirted with or prompted to show my tits.  Even when it has happens it just fuels my desire to completely annihilate my adversary more and it’s just the same as teasing, provoking, and calling me derogatory things.
It doesn’t seem like it would be particularly effective to hear my feminine voice over online play telling a guy that his mom loves playing with my balls nor him telling me he’s going to punch me in the cock so hard my junk’s going to turn into a vagina.  When you are trying to beat someone competitively, you use the ammo that you think will be most likely to throw them off their game. 

This is the same shit that some girls do to each other in competitive settings just maybe not as publicly or loudly as in a gaming setting.

No one pretends that the gaming industry is a representation of gender, racial, sexual or religious equality.  Or at least no one should.  It’s a worthy goal.  But even just general society hasn’t reached the point of pure equality in any of those areas, as great as some of the steps taken to achieve those goals have been made.

Just for another point of view, Extra Credits on the Escapist has an interesting video on this topic.

I know I can’t cover all the facets of this subject and there are definitely things I haven’t even thought of.  What do you think?  Is this a big deal?  Are you guys just throwing tan bark at us in the playground for our attention?  Are girls propagating a double standard?  Or is it true aggressive disrespect?


  1. Being a guy who is old and married, I really don't tend to put a lot of thought into the 'girl gamer'. My only real experience was a night of annoyance with a girl gamer who constantly sang into her mic while playing Modern Warfare 2. I finally had to mute her. I'll have to keep an eye on your blog for a different point of view. It will be interesting to hear about gaming from a female perspective!

  2. Actually, I never thought about the issue until it is thrust into my face like an angry pitbull. When I was running around playing Metroid, I never thought Samus was a girl but at the same time I'm not one. I assumed, it being the character I was playing, it was a straight white male stuck inside the 2d suit. It was MY alter ego killing Mother Brain. Now, in all games it appears, the issue of delving deep into the character's psyche is a thing we need to focus on. I really don't want to... I want to let the world fall away when I play a game. I want the issues of the real world fade into the background as monsters and aliens explode. I don't want to think about "is my character homosexual?" or "What does Samus feel about this?" I want release from reality.
    On the flip side of the coin we have the opposite of this thrust into my face. Women made unrealistic to the point of hilarity. Over the top gay characters (I'm looking at you DragonAge). I don't want to be hit on in a game. While romance in a game adds a nice layer of RP, its not with a normal female (or male) but a system of give gifts - get nooky.
    Its annoying... lets just go back to killing the monsters....

  3. @The Inner Geek - Anyone abusing voice chat like that is really annoying to everyone! I think one of my favorite games to play online was Mech Warrior on Xbox because people got really creative with the voice filters, and you couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl most of the time.
    Do you remember if she was singing any song of note or just making up some crappy la la la thing?

    @Big Bad Garou - That's really interesting! Do you feel like finding out that the character wasn't what you assumed ruined your game experience?
    Hehe I see and agree with you about lady game characters being overly sexualized, but I think (maybe not to the same extent) that a lot of males are also given the bigger then life treatment. Big huge muscles, tight shirts-pants, over-sized guns. Are we just more comfortable accepting males with an unrealistic representation over females?

  4. @Painting Munky - I don't remember the tune, but it was one that the radio had already wore out for me. I never played Mech Warrior on the Xbox. I hear there may be a new pc version coming out though!

  5. Not at all. I think it actually added a little to the experience but it would have been the same if Samus took off the helmet and was a cat or a Nazi zombie cyborg.

    Wait. I'm confused... aren't all of us men big muscled wearing tight shirts with over sized guns? ^_^

    Oh, and while having this conversation with one of my gay friends, he made an interesting comment. "If someone came up to me and said I can relate to you because I played a 10 hour video game where the main character was gay, I would punch them in the face."

  6. @ Big Bad Garou:

    Of course you're all men with big muscled wearing tight shirts and over sized guns! It must be that we'd have no interest in you if you weren't ;)

    I can see why your gay friend would feel that way. No one likes to have assumptions made about them. But maybe the hypothetical person who came up to him would never had even tried to enter a conversation if they hadn't felt that they had at least a little connection thanks to having the experience in the game?

  7. I would hope humanity would be better than that...