It has been going on for years.
Female Gamers get mocked, harassed, abused and ridiculed.
The Geek community has made a huge launch to abolish abuse of female community members.
It is time that the Game Community join this movement.
I am a Girl. I am a mother. I am a writer. I am a Gamer.
Back in the early 80’s I would ‘role play’ Thundercats with my brothers and the other neighborhood kids. Or G.I. Joe (Gotta hand it to them for making chicks badass, too bad they were still side characters). I was very much a tom boy, out kicking ass and not taking any crap from the bullies and boys in the area. Thankfully this was not discouraged by my parents and I was never pushed to be anyone other than myself. The girl who loved make up but would kick your ass if you picked on her little brothers.
I would spend mornings before school at a friends house playing Super Mario in the NES. I knew all the tricks.
I was not formally introduced to pen and paper games until High School where a group of us discovered The World of Darkness. Vampire, Werewolf and Mage. This was after a personal family tragedy that left me doubting my own self worth and the young, strong me was forgotten.
I would hear comments from the male gamers under their breath about how “It figures.” My character description was an attractive woman, confident in her own skin.
Introduce LARPing. OMG! I was in heaven!
A society filled with women notoriously drenched in low self esteem because they are not the Cheer Leader body type. Who have decided to handle that with an overly aggressive attitude against anyone who might threaten “Their” position as a woman among the boys and men of the group.
Women are competitive against other women by nature. It is our need to be the best possible mate match that drives us.
Some women will deny this by saying “I don’t care what other people think of me.” but when you are being honest with yourself you understand that you can’t get away from the desire to be “attractive”. Whatever that means to you as a person.
I am not fat. I am not horribly disfigured.
So naturally the aggression I received as a female in a “mans world” was from the other women who had discovered this wonderful world of make believe. Ignored, back biting, rude rumors flying. Accusations of ‘sleeping my way to the top’ because I was friends with the guys who started the group and took time to help with the running of things.
I just wanted people to like me.
I will admit I had my own share of aggression due to feelings of social inadequacies. I know that this attitude did not help me gain friends and fellows among the other women of the group. I like to think that when I return to a LARP community I will be able to look at the other players and say “Sup” with a friendly nod and only receive a nod and “sup” in return. (Personal growth and all that stuff)
Enter MMORPG’s and the Wonderful World of EverQuest.
At this time I moved from Seattle Wsshington to a tiny little town called Northome Minnesota. Talk about Culture Shock!
EverQuest became my social outlet. My husband (Boyfriend at the time) and I would take turns playing on the one computer we had in 1999 early 2000.
Our son was born in May of 2000.
So new boyfriend, new place, new baby, new everything. I was feeling disconnected from everything and escaped into EQ. My life became Work, baby, EQ.
Over the years things changed and I spent time in many other MMO’s.
Star Wars: Galaxies, Minions of Mirth, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Asherons, Call, Anarchy Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, E.V.E Online and I am sure I am missing some here.
As you can see I have become a fan of the MMORPG world. I love the stories. I love the social interaction with other people from all over the world. I love that we get the chance to make our own stories in these worlds and share them with others.
What I don’t like is the harassment from other players telling me I am not good enough to join their group because I am not in the top 100 on my server. What I don’t like is logging into voice chat and hearing a dozen male voices go “Oh My God!” when I just say Hello.
What I don’t like is when they find out I am female they start explaining what basic terms mean or that I would be better at my job if I used THIS equipment instead of what I currently have on.
The need to correct my game play when all I want to do is figure it out without the condescension.
As a mom I also get the “We don’t want her in the group because she will have to go afk.” (SO Sorry I am interrupting you by taking care of my kids and practicing good parenting, but that is a different blog about Parenting as a Gamer)
How often has a female player made a male character in order to avoid criticisms? I know of a few.
What can we do as a community to change the Gender Bias that plagues our game play?
Should we be given social tools in game to ‘silence’ players who are offensive? How would abuse of this be handled?
Can speaking out against the Problem help? What about the players who don’t understand what they are doing wrong? There are those who honestly do not see the damage they are doing. They really don;t understand that asking for a pic to prove you’re a female is insulting. (What does this do to a transgender person?)
Want to join the community in speaking out against Gender Bias? Join the hashtag #justagamer on Twitter and tell us your story.
What are other gamers saying about the issues we face?
@Ever_Cae and @EverCast_Show
She was the awesome behind the hashtag #justagamer.
Leave a comment and link to your blog about being #justagamer.
If this post does one thing, I hope it gets you thinking about how you treat other players in your gaming community.
Most started out as a bonding of outcasts from main stream society. Now we are the Main Stream. We need to be better than bigoted Gender Bias AssHats.