Constantly entering my dreams, gaming is a large part of what makes me happy and is a significant of who I am as a person. But I do not identify as a “gamer”.
For many, the term immediately serves as a reminder of Gamergate, the 2014 raid encouraging violence and harassment toward women for criticising the gaming industry. It was a momentous occasion for gaming, and not in a good way. Suddenly, gaming communities were featured in mainstream news articles scrutinizing gaming culture. The already commonly-held-belief that video games can cause aggression gained momentum, as gamers made headlines for their death threats toward women.
I learned to be silent in the first online gaming community I ever experienced, which happened to be from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I had played the game a lot with my siblings, and I would watch my brothers play online and talk to strangers. When I eventually became pretty good at the game, I decided to give this a try. I was only 11 years old, but I immediately adopted a behaviour that I still stand by to this day: never leave your mic on.
JUST AS I LEARNED TO BE ASHAMED OF MY GENDER AS A CHILD, BOYS LEARNED THAT THEY COULD DO AS THEY PLEASED.I’m 23 now. I exclusively use the name “Ash” as a gender-neutral shortening of my full name. Gaming has been a large part of that decision. Yet even with this protection in place, I will sometimes be harassed by men who ask if I am a woman. I think that the mere fact of the name being neutral can give it away; some men seem to be constantly searching for the women who hide in their gaming circles.
When this is the community it stems from, it is no wonder that women avoid the label “gamer”. But even worse than the word “gamer” is the phrase “gamer girl”.
The second entry for the term on Urban Dictionary describes it as “the chick that goes on voice chat . . . to act all ditzy and flirty”. I have never encountered a woman who does this, and I find it hard to imagine that the abuse one would receive for being a woman — and worse, a dumb woman — is something anyone would actively seek out.
Interestingly, the entry goes on to say that the alternative to the gamer girl is the girl that plays games, who “will sometimes hide her gender and play as a male in games . . . that require an avatar.” Even though the entry acknowledges that women often camouflage themselves while gaming, it does not indicate that this is for any particular reason.
It couldn’t possibly be because when a woman tries to use voice chat and rebuffs a man’s advances, he turns around and claims she was flirting with him and acting stupid. It certainly isn’t because of men like the one who had written that entry in Urban Dictionary.
The gamer girl myth is prevalent in most gaming communities, despite there being very little evidence that anyone acts this way. Search for the term, though, and you’ll find forums and animated videos in which men mock this kind of person relentlessly. Meanwhile, there is very little acknowledgement of the harassment that is so plentiful, that you can hear a personal anecdote of it from any woman who games.
There is no perfect solution to fix the gaming community, but the last thing we need is for women to go even further off the radar. Zoe Quinn, the initial target of Gamergate, still receives threats to this day. To her critics who tell her to simply go offline to avoid threats, she says, “[we can’t] cede the internet to whoever screams the loudest at the most people, and just hand over this amazing technological achievement to the nastiest people.”
Imagine if gaming communities were spearheaded by women, and harassment was kept under check. It’s a world that feels so far away from ours that I don’t even dream about it. But I want it so much more than whatever game I’m going to play when I get home tonight.
There a lot wrong here, this reads like someone who's paranoid that everyone's always after them, AND it's clear that it's putting all blame on one group and acting like their group has never done anything wrong, so by default this makes it hard to approach this person in reality for a rational discussion.
Says Women leading gaming communities would suddenly act like a magic wand when we have seen women who would not do it justice. Not to mention some communities run by men have done all they can to bend over so are you saying those don't count and ALL men are inheritly sexist? Only Women can not be sexist?
She seems to think that most women are hiding even though stats, for consoles at least, show a different result with women openly choosong their gender, girl names, and cam streams for YouTube or twitch where you can clearly see them, but this person acts like it's an epidemic. Like there are assassins sent out by Mencorp to kill them.
Not to mention gamer was already an underused tag for women BEFORE gamers gate, in fact Is argue more bio women gamers call themselves gamers POST GG then before. Because most people will do the opposite of what they are being told not to do. Also she speaks for all women, apparently.
Anyway there's other issues but I wanted to see what the community's position on this was, as this will be a controversial enough thread as is. What's your position? Do you agree or disagree with the writer, Ms. Ashley Gomez?