Ed – The following is a rebuttal to postings on the League of Legends forum where participants put forth a range of misogynistic opinions on the treatment of females in gaming.
Posted by Houston Noble on Facebook – December 7, 2013 at 6:01pm
#1 “Why do you feel compelled to inform people of your gender in a video game? I’ve been gaming online since the early 90s and I can’t remember a single time where I said “btw I’m a guy”.”
That’s because it’s automatically assumed you’re a guy, and therefore, one of “them.” You had a male user name, or a gender-neutral one, like “Inyc.” Nobody knows what the fuck that means. However, with a user name like “May Kitsune,” it’s very easy to assume that the person behind the name is a girl, and therefore a target for ire.
The point here is that not many girls actually tell people outright that they’re a girl. It’s really very rare that I ever see someone declare themselves a girl for any reason. It’s usually after a round of heavy questioning that the truth finally slips out, and the girl is subjected to ridicule, disgust, and neolithic remarks like “get back in the kitchen.” It’s like coming out to a homophobic family – do you really want to reveal this chunk of personal information to people that you know are going to despise you? It’s not even ever necessary to come out as a girl while gaming, either, since in a lot of games you get matched with completely different people.
#2 “Guys get sexually harassed too! People call us “gay,” “faggots,” and “queer” if they don’t like us!”
Yes, but nobody says “you’re a man, get back in the factory” or “make me an income bitch.”
This is indicative of an different issue, namely homophobia. This one (thankfully) is finally starting to loosen its twisted grip on the hearts of asshole teenagers everywhere. It’s not dead yet, but it’s going away. The difference is, these insults aren’t slung at you for the crime of being a man, they’re slung at you for the crime of being a GAY man – again, the crime of not being one of “them.”
“They” are assumed to be straight white teenaged males. “White” isn’t so hotly contested anymore, and “straight” is getting worked on. “Teenaged” hasn’t ever really been an issue, since ageism never really took off. “Male” is the real problem.
#3 “I assume people are PEOPLE on the internet! I don’t care if you’re a guy or a girl! You need to stop focusing on gender differences, that’s the source of the problems, right?”
I’m glad that you aren’t concerned with slinging sexist remarks (or at least claim you aren’t – this one was proposed by the previously mentioned “Inyc” back in #1). I’m also glad that you claim not to be concerned about differences in gender online.
That really doesn’t mean anything, though. Sitting on the fence is fine for you, but you can’t say that everyone needs to sit on the fence with you, because some people don’t have the luxury of stepping back from the issue like you.
Women, for example! I’m sure that many women playing games would like NOTHING MORE than to play the god damn game without people being assholes to them. The problem is, the assholes are dragging them off the fence and involving them whether they want to be involved or not. They’re the ones focusing on gender differences – and being hateful about it, no less – but the women are the ones you blame for getting involved.
That hardly seems fair, right?
And you know, I hate to call them out for doing what they want without hurting others, but they’re not helping the situation by remaining neutral. You can’t stop a crowd by standing there with a riot shield… you have to push back. Maybe a bad example though. Whatever.
#4 “There’s a mute button, just ignore them.”
Again, this doesn’t help solve the problem. It’s a great feature, but it must get old having to use it every time someone is being an asshole. Sitting on fences, etc. Just see the above response, really. The mute button is a great system, but it shouldn’t be the go-to response for this kind of behavior.
#5 “Change your user name!” or “Don’t type in chat!” or “Leave the server if you don’t like it!” or thousands of variants
Victim blaming. It’s not okay to do this. It’s certainly easier to tell one individual to do something than to tell an entire group of howling imbeciles to do something, but that doesn’t make it right.
This isn’t a good sign. Already I’m getting tired of wading through pages and pages of rancid misogynistic horseshit.
#6 “Grow a thick skin! Don’t let the assholes get to you!”
Again, shouldn’t be necessary, and again, is victim-blaming. “It’s your fault if you get offended by these assholes, because you don’t have a thick skin. Grow one and deal with it.”
Look, we’re not talking about the fucking water cycle here. We’re not growing crops. These assholes aren’t a natural weather system, and women shouldn’t be asked to put on their “bullshit suit” every time a shitstorm rolls around. We can change this behavior. We should change it! And the first step of that is to acknowledge that it can be changed.
The trickiest part of this argument is that sometimes women advance this one as well, the ones who have grown those thick skins. They’ve adapted to this insane psychotic environment, and that’s great for them, but it doesn’t help solve the problem. It’s a coping mechanism, not a strategy . It’s defensive instead of offensive. Start offending some people.
#7 “Women are naturally submissive. It’s their role in life.”
If you believe this statement then it’s going to take more than a hastily-written post on gender equality in gaming to change your mind. I hope people advancing this argument one day open their minds a little bit and pay attention to things like societal conditioning and social roles and other things that have “social” in the title. They’re important!
#8 “All of society does this, why bother trying to change it here?”
If you’re making this argument, I want you to look through some history books and read about the Women’s Rights Movement, or the Civil Rights Movement, or the Gay Rights Movement. They’re not all called by those names, but you know what I mean. The Women’s Rights Movement is still going on today, and I’m not really surprised – it’s fighting with thousands of fucking years of human history. It’s gonna take a while. Racial equality is still going too, and homosexual equality is at the tipping point, where people start growing up feeling like gay people have the same rights as straight ones do.
My point is, at one point all of these divisions were as integral to our society as sexism is now. For hundreds of years we enslaved or looked down upon African-Americans, or anyone with darker skin, and now we’re past a good chunk of that. And do you know how these things are defeated? By analyzing each and every facet of our society and seeing if it still fits with our ideas of equality. If it doesn’t, we throw stuff out until it does.
Sexism in video games is one of those facets, and we need to analyze it and try to throw out the bits that don’t work. Nobody ever claimed that this would solve sexism forever, or even solve sexism in video games entirely, but it’s a necessary part.
No single human being can hope to take on an entire issue and expect to win promptly. It takes time, and lots of people chipping away at the little stuff until the larger structure can no longer support its own weight.
Now, because I command it, nobody will make these arguments again. This is my decree as Lord of the Internet. Violators will be IP banned.