A lot of people are assigned boxes or labels in life, usually by themselves or by others. A lot of the time people who don't really know us, will decide for us who & what we are. In school there's usually some sort of group segregation, based on primarily exterior principles. You play sport, you're a jock, you make out a lot if you're a girl, you're a whore, you don't play sport but like computer games, you're a geek.
Gaming has its own categories, though it is entirely innocent. You're a hardcore gamer, oh no wait you're more casual...ah you only play the Sims, well that doesn't count. Overall it's not that offensive to discuss what type of gamer you are. Then thereís gaming topics outside of what adorns our shelves, focused on heavy hitting taboos & controversies, such as violence, sexism & sexual orientation.
But for every topic that has been written or spoken about focusing on sides & hearing arguments from people in various camps, there doesnít seem to be much recognition for people who donít fit into any labelled system, either by choice or simply naturally. Thereís an assumption (that can sometimes be undoubtedly accurate) that people who donít really scream ďIím geek/jock/nerd/boring/*insert ethnicity*/loner/hardcore gamer/gay/straight/ ectĒ automatically are exempt from feeling neglected, demeaned or misrepresented.
That really isnít the case at all.
I can only really focus from here on out on myself & try & explain my own feelings. Thereís a great freedom in not fitting a mould designated to you by society, but that doesnít mean you donít sometimes suffer feelings of hurt or exclusion even if thereís nothing obvious about you that would provide reason for small minded or unsure folk to actively or passively make you feel like youíre a black sheep.
Being a woman amidst sexism I read many articles, especially on here regarding the sexism that is quite prominent in whatever shape within the gaming world. I despise degradation in general, regardless of your gender. But sometimes itís not always black & white. Sometimes there are many facets & for every wrong done by someone, the rights are overlooked. Playing devils advocate can get you in more trouble than adhering wholeheartedly to one side of an argument. I see sexism in gaming alone, but in truth I have had very little thrown at me. In fact I canít recall a real moment where a negative judgement was passed over me based on the fact that I play games & have a pair of (crackiní) boobs. To be honest, Iíve asked guys Iíve met if they play video games & found it weird when they say no. So while itís not the same as the ďoh lol you must only play girly gamesĒ or ďshow us ur tits, not ur crap shooting skillzĒ, Iíve made a judgement based purely on a gender.
I could & have played games in the past where the designs of females were quite atrocious & reeked of designers who havenít had the best luck with women or have some issue with them, but itís never really made me bat an eyelash, unless it goes somewhere further. Yet people might say to me that unless I feel the same disgust on the same level as them, I have no real right to talk & that I am doing my own Ďkindí no favours. Not speaking up against EVERY issue does not correlate with disinterest or blindness, but in fact gives me more fuel & passion for issues that I do speak up against. Yeah you can highlight every single example of sexism within gaming, but if one example is that too much cleavage was shown in one scene of a game, then youíre wasting time that could be use to focus on games were more disturbing moments are found. Nothing is cool about House of the Dead: Overkill decision to have a butchered giant vagina as a boss. Focus on that nastiness against women and not on Bayonettaís hairy (clothed) ass.
House of dead image is too vile, so have some Ace Attorney cuteness
My sexuality is me Gay, Straight or Bi. Those are the main sexual orientations & theyíre pretty basic in their meaning. Right?
Well no, there is so much more than those 3 & so much more contained even within those alone. The only way someone should be labelled is if they themselves chose to be. See Iím pretty gay. Like G-to-the A-to-the Y. But automatically people will assume that that makes me 100% lesbian or if I say Iím gay but am open to being with a man, I must be bisexual. I donít label myself because none properly fit, gay is the closest but I like who I like.
No Glowbear. You must only ever pick one for life. Only ever one!
Tossing aside the ridiculousness of telling anyone what they are, thereís a snobbery within the world of people who are similar to you but judge you because aesthetically or politically you do not share the same principles. I was talking to someone about certain gay gaming characters and they said that games need to cater every sexuality. Now thatís fair enough but I decided not to fully side with that & ask ďwhy must games put so much emphasis on sexuality at allĒ. Suddenly I was told that because I was not a furry or whatever and didnít Ďlook gayí, that I would understand. Iíve been in situations where Iím in a room full of gay women, who all look the alike & assume Iím straight based on the fact that I donít look like them. Ostracisation is not limited to those that arenít on the inside, but also to that seemingly arenít on the outside.
Mass Effect is a game that may have lapsed in male gay representation until the 3rd part & then given one option to appease, but if you strip that away & focus on how it showed sexuality in general, itís pretty cool. A big song & dance is not always needed to earnestly represent a Ďgroupí. To even say group adds segregation. Mass Effect managed to have a host of characters become intimate with each other with different genders and races & not make a big deal out of it. The world didnít care. No one picketed or marched when Liara and Female Shepard got together, no one even made obscene schoolboy gestures. Not highlighting something can be more progressive than getting sensational about it. Being yourself without forcing rainbows out of your ass (though if they come naturally thatís pretty sweet) is healthier all round.
Pasty Hate I have never suffered any form of racism based on the colour of my skin, but I have heard some awful unintelligent, effort lacking nonsense because Iím Irish. Most of it is in jest, most of it is lame, and some of it is down right offensive. Anyone can suffer bigotry based on their geographically origins or the look of their face, thereís no one rule or legitimate subsection. Yes there are degrees in which certain acts of bigotry are more harmful and long-lasting, certainly more abhorrent, but taking a step back from extreme examples, everyone elseís plights are not susceptible to less importance.
PhilKenSebben did a nice blog post which can be found here regarding all things racial in video games. I gave my own two cents, focusing on something I could talk about and be aware of internally, as opposed to the broader more common areas of racism that are evident and discussed more eloquently by people other than myself.
The basics of my participant in his write up was focusing primarily on accents and how little effort people put in to do an actual Irish accent. Thereís also this mentality that Irish people are stupid or elongated drunken fairies. Alas I am not a fairy
So just because someone is outwardly reflective of those that usually suffer some form of aggravation or abuse, doesnít mean that they aren't ostracized nonetheless. Behind closed doors and all that. When we talk about the taboos of video games, there can be some that exist and hold as much meaning even if theyíre not harked about. Just bear in mind, the unstigmatised can be stigmatised.