I don’t want to talk much about the recent uproar within the gaming community concerning misogyny and hate because I’m just so tired from it all. I’m exhausted from all the reading and feeling disgusted and angry about this sorry state of affairs.
If you don’t know, earlier this week there was quite the revealing show of misogyny from “gamers” in response to the well-made, level-headed argument made by Anita Sarkeesian in her most recent video, Women as Background Decoration. I do however feel an obligation as a life-long “gamer” to at least say something about it because all the hate, anger, and general disgusting-ness borne out of it is unacceptable.
First off, I want to say that I agree with Miss Sarkeesian’s premise on the abuse and sexualization of women as background props in so many popular titles. I hadn’t even realized it was going on, and at first wanted to argue with Sarkeesian’s premise. However, the video rings true, and all it asks is that writers and others who partake in the interactive-media we blissfully shovel down our throats all year to take a minute to consider how female NPCs (and females in games in general) are handled and represented when it comes to simply serving a trope.
It’s important to take a moment to reflect on how people and ideas are being represented via media. It’s not only video games that do it. Just about every form of entertainment in media we consume is dripping in sex appeal, and often is tied to violence against those sexualized women. The takeaway from this analysis of women as backdrops for video games could have been a healthy debate on how we can more cleverly design game worlds without over-simplifying and using the very real (worldwide) issue concerning the abuse of women. Instead it turned into a firestorm of hate, bigotry, misogyny, ignorance, and some serious threats against people’s lives.
I never truly knew that such a level of hate and misogyny existed in the world, let alone my favorite past time. I’d seen it somewhat before here, but didn’t realize just how widespread and strong it was. I’ve always thought of fellow gamers as introverted, friendly people like myself. This past week has proven otherwise. Yes, I too always thought of video games being primarily played by males, but not because I desired it. It just seemed to be the way things were. Who cares who’s playing games as long as we’re all enjoying them? It’s one more person to talk to and relate to about a hobby or passion.
I think (and truly hope) that only good will come out of all this. With all the bashing and yelling and hate, Miss Sarkeesian’s video has not only received much more attention than it would have initially, but it’s essentially proved her point about the abuse and intolerance for women in the field of gaming. In fact, this whole event has revealed the horrible people that are out there and exposed them to the world. This hate is no longer hidden on forums and comments, but out in the open for everyone to see. I want to see us as a community not to just move past this, but learn and grow from it, and do better.
This post has already gone on much longer than I intended, but I felt it was my onus to at least state my stance on it somewhere, anywhere, publicly on the internet. I truly wish Anita Sarkeesian all the best and look forward to future discourse on the topic.