Usually I keep myself away from -ism discussions. Racism, Sexism, Fashism - when you talk about topics like this, it is just a matter of time, until one person gets batshit insane and blows a maybe good discussion to pieces. However, I recently stumbled upon something (and realized something afterwards) that made me step into the ring now. Yes, this is another one of the little rants about sexism in videogames - but please, bear with me for five minutes.
I stumbled over a site called "Fat, Ugly or Slutty". A site I actually didn't know. While following the sexism debate that started with Anita Sarkeesian's project (which I actually find good in thought, but very bad in execution) only in a passive way, I never heard of it. It's a collection of insults towards female gamers, that specifically aim at their gender. Comments like "stupid slut" while showing some people how to play CoD right or... well... let's say more amorous messages ("u down for a creampie u look like it"). After hearing how sexist (or gay-hating or trans-hating or racist etc.) the gaming industry and the gamers are something made "click" inside my head after I read the posts on FUS.
I am a male white gamer, so I am entitled as one can be (whatever that means). I was never a ravid online player, even games like the "Modern Warfare"-trilogy I almost only played alone. I enjoy these experiences. But from time to time a game gets it's hooks into me and I start playing it online too. I played, for example, "Team Fortress 2" a good bit online. "Left 4 Dead 2" also. The list goes on... And while I was reading the comments on FUS, I found that I have gotten quite the same comments in my time.
See, getting insulted after dominanting a round or a player may show that this person is an asshole - but not necessarily a sexist. It's like assuming that the guy that calls me a "dick" after a game is a sexist. Not to mention that you don't really know what the gender of the person on the other side of the line is, getting insulted after a round of online gaming is nothing that is restricted to women at all. I don't mean to say it's a status one must silently accept, all I'm saying is: this is nothing new and it's not harassment - it's getting treated by an asshole how an asshole treats people and everbody get's his share here. I don't know if it's even possible to play online and be good at the game without getting one of those messages afterwards, because some little kid can't deal with the fact of not being number 1. But if you get such a message, well... it simply means you are being treated like anyone else. If you are called a "cumdumpster" or "dick" is most likely the only thing that'll change, but the principle at work stays.
What I want to get to is: no, us gamers, as a collective - we are not sexist. There sure as hell are gamers that are also sexists, but isn't restricted to one gender or ethnicity.
As for the gaming INDUSTRY: well, I don't believe they are in fact sexist either. Sure, there are people working there that are sexists - but I refer here to the paragraph above. The companies and designers simply do what they think will sell the most and I can't blame them for it, because they have to live of off this. I play "Game Dev Tycoon" at the moment and I have to do the same thing there, albeit on a much smaller scale. But there are many jobs tied to a company and everybody like getting paid, so they do what they think is right. They thought "Bioshock Infinite" would sell more when they have Booker DeWitt alone on the cover. Is that sexist? Well, hardly. They didn't do it with the intention of removing Elizabeth for the sake of it, but because focus testing showed it was more attractive to customers, thus garanteeing more buyers.
Because that is something that many seem to forget these days, when talking about this stuff: there has to be an intention for it being sexism. And I honestly can't see that in the industry from my point of view. These people do what they think is best for their company. If anything, they are egoistic. But considering the way the industry goes right now I can't blame them for that either. Everybody tries to stay afloat.
There are also many things I could never understand how anyone can see sexism in. I read posts of people that were angry over a "Diablo III" ad, which read "Sorry for May 15th" (the Diablo III release date) and under that were two buttons: "Tell my boss" or "Tell my girlfriend". Maybe it's just me, but I don't see anything offensive here. Of course one could argue that it could have been worded "Tell my partner", so that it would appeal more to both genders. But small errors like this that someone in PR did... well, I can't say I find them very sexist. Everybody makes mistakes in his or her job and I can't imagine that if the person responsible for this ad would have come up with a better phrasing, it would have been used. Who knows, maybe a woman did design this ad? But, like I said, I can't find anything offensive in this thing. Maybe this is the point where I sound like a complete asshole, but when it comes to incidents like these I can only shake my head. At some point it simply has to stop. It can't be that someone cries at every oh so little instance and gets heard (because, of course, this is the internet, where always somebody is crying over something completly ridiculous).
It's a simple conclusion to come to, really: neither "the videogamers" nor "the industry" are sexist. It's individuals in these groups that are and that are pulling us down. And if you see someone that is really like that, strike them down with all you have. I always read of "the big problem" and somehow never was able to see it, because all I can see are individuals that are acting up. Yes, there are many individuals - but they are still single persons, not a grouped movement. The gaming community is huge, we are Legion. And the more people get together, the more assholes will be there. That just happens and no one can prevent it.
But please don't act or talk like it's a problem the whole community or industry has. Don't talk like every male gamer out there, or even a majority, or every higher up in the industry, is a ravid sexist that will slap their female coworkers on the bum and call them "honey". Like EVERY female gamer is almost verbally raped, just for being a female gamer. Because that is certainly not the case. Thanks to the "reports" about violent videogames or stuff like the sex in "Mass Effect" us gamers have already more than enough heavily bleeding stigmatas, and the mass media doesn't miss ONE chance to hammer another nail in. We don't need any more! Much less do we need some sort of civil war raging amongst ourselves. So just think what actually happened and what you are accusing of before you accuse. And if someone is an asshole... treat them like they deserve it. Because it's not fair to let a group bleed for the comments of "IAmBeast998".
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