My name is Safire and I’m a regular on UKCS server 1 and I occasionally play on the other servers too. I’ve played on UKCS for over 3 years now and have met lots of really lovely people. The only negative thing that has kept cropping up, week in and week out (sometimes every day) for the past few years has been the attitude of some men towards women in game. The sad thing is that many of the men saying these destructive things are regulars on UKCS.
I think it’s important to talk about this issue and perhaps some of the men who haven’t really thought about the negativity of their attitude towards women will stop and consider acting differently next time they are playing an online game with them.
I’m going to go through some of these negative attitudes and show why they can be damaging.“It’s because you’re a girl!”
I think this picture aptly illustrates my point of the attitude towards women gamers and women in general...
If you’re a woman and you aren’t that good at a game, or you have a bad day and don’t do very well, it’s because you’re a woman.
If you’re a man and you aren’t good at a game or you’re having a bad day then it’s because you aren’t good at a game or you’re having a bad day... Your sex is not brought into the equation.
If you’re a woman and you’re good at a game it’s often insinuated that you had “help” or gave out sexual favours in order to get to the level you are at. Or that you are in some way “masculine”.
Basically that’s saying, unless you are a man, man-like or you have had help somewhere along the line from a man, then it is not possible for you to be good at a game. “Hahahaha, u pussy!”
There are people who use language such as: “Don’t be such a pussy!”
“You’re such a girl.”
And if a man is acting in a way other men perceive to be “effeminate”, you hear language such as: “Faggot...”
“You’re so gay”
This gives out the impression that femininity is a negative thing. That it is something weak and cowardly and even repulsive and something to be avoided. Femininity in all its forms is not and never has been weak, cowardly, repulsive or something to be ashamed of.
“Are you hot???”
There is an attitude that women who play games can either be hot/”girly” and bad at the game or ugly/”masculine” and good at the game.
This is just dumb.
What a woman looks like and what her personality is like has no bearing on how she plays a game.
I have found that other women can perpetuate this myth. There are some women who try to disassociate from anything they consider feminine because they think it’ll bring down their reputation, and this leads them to call other women gamers who don’t feel the need to hide or be ashamed of their femininity “sluts” or “attention whores”. Misogyny is ingrained in our world and many women feel they have to deny their femininity in order to be taken as seriously as men.
Also in regards to women’s personalities, if a woman isn’t particularly sweet tempered she is automatically called a bitch or it’s assumed she’s on her period. Of course there could be no possible reason for a woman to be angry or upset other than because she’s hormonal...
Women can be lovely and we can also be horrible, but that’s because we’re human just like men and our individual temperaments are no reflection on our sex.
Some women play games to meet men, and to flirt and socialise rather than to play the game. They are no better or worse than other women who play games. They are not “sluts” and “whores” and women who are there mainly to play the game are not better women than them.
“If I were a girl I’d try and get as much free stuff as I could xD”
There is a common misconception amongst gamers that all women gamers are after free stuff.
The other day on server (unfortunately I didn’t keep a record) a guy asked if anyone would like a free fall crate. Several people, including myself said, “Sure”.
Someone else asked me if I was after the new medic mask, I said “Yes!” and he offered to trade with me.
A man on server responded with:
“I wonder how many naked pictures you have given out to get free stuff.”
And another guy responded with:
I had no intention of taking the medic mask for free, just the crate as it was offered as such. I paid for the medic mask and afterwards, despite the trade details being shown IN GAME, the same men said:
“I’d like to see the naked picture you just gave for that thing”
For a while I felt utterly sick and like I never wanted to play again, I felt like every guy I’d ever met on UKCS might secretly be thinking that I do that... that I take naked pictures and give them out to get free stuff, and that there was the likelihood that a bunch of male gamers were more likely to believe other male gamers than me - a woman.
There are some women (and men I’m sure) who do exchange items for naked photos (which is their choice) but they’re in the minority and I’m not one of them and I don’t want it to be assumed that I do it just because I’m female.
I went away and thought a lot about what happened and how uncomfortable it had made me feel and I came to this conclusion:
If a man offers a woman free items and she takes them, (even in return for a sexual favour) that is ultimately her choice but he has as much responsibility in that situation as she does. She however will be the one who gets abuse for it.
After that incident the other day, I became very aware of the amount of times men were given free items in game and how this was never commented on. If a man takes something for free his actions are not held against his whole sex. His sex doesn’t even come into the equation.
There is a culture that tries to make women feel ashamed if they don’t accept unwanted gifts and attention from men. It’s flattering, so they shouldn’t mind, right?
If I say "no, I don’t want something for free"
it’s not because I am playing hard to get, it’s not because I am teasing you, it’s because I don’t want it. Please accept that, because every time I say no, I am told no is not a suitable answer and I feel very uncomfortable.
If you are my boyfriend or a close friend you can buy me stuff as gifts, go ahead! I’ll buy stuff for you too. But if you’re a random guy online, I don’t need or want you to give me stuff. I’m ok, really! I can trade; I have metal and items to pay for stuff.
If you are a man and you are giving a woman free items in the hope that she will like you more and pay you more attention and she accepts them but doesn’t give you that attention and you become resentful, that is YOUR responsibility, not hers. It doesn’t make her a bitch who doesn’t like “nice guys”. Save your items for a woman who really is interested in you and will want to give back to you too and let the one who isn’t interested get on with her life.
“It’s past your bedtime little boy”
Why is it that a lot of men still seem surprised to find a woman in game?
Video games haven’t actually been around that long. I’m 27 and my sister and I loved playing with our SNES when we were kids and the girls I knew in school also had games consoles, just like the boys. So it makes logical sense that girls enjoy games as much as boys and will continue to go on playing them into adulthood if they want to.
The immediate assumption made by some is that you must be a little boy or that you are a guy pretending to be a woman. I usually get comments in regards to my gender/age about once a week, at the least. “Make me a sammich xD”
One of the most common “jokes” I hear/see online is: Get back to the kitchen and make me a sandwich. A lot of men and women seem to have no problem with it. When I told my friend online I found it uncomfortable, she told me that she just laughs and goes along with it and asks the hilaaaarious person saying it what they would like in their sandwich. I can understand why she did that, sometimes you just want people to shut up and go away and standing up and saying “You know I’d really rather you didn’t say that” causes so much drama, and over time you just end up going along with it, but that’s what sexism is intended to do, it’s there to control women and make them feel bad about themselves.
I know that a lot of people who say this joke mean no harm by it, but there are a lot of men with a very archaic attitude towards women and by repeating this joke you perpetuate the belief that this attitude is ok.
There have been some amazing, clever, skilled people who have never had the chance to show what they have simply because they were born female. Women have been oppressed for thousands of years. Women were not considered equal to men, they were barely considered people. They had very few rights and they were owned by their husbands, just a slave - to put it bluntly.
Life isn’t like that anymore, (thank goodness!) but there are a lot of people who would still like to oppress women and I feel this joke, when dissected says “You have no place here, you have no rights, and you belong in the home where you provide for me because you are not as important as me.”
When a guy says “Bitch, get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.” I have seen people laugh and go on to expand the “joke”.
If a woman tries to defend herself, she is often met with:
“It’s just a joke! You take things too seriously. Calm down.”
And again she gets the message loud and clear:
“You have no rights, you have no place here, you are not as important as us.”
The reason this “joke” is so potent, is because women are generally made to feel like they don’t belong online because the internet is a "man’s place", something I hope I have illustrated in this post so far. “Haha, you got RAPED!”
The word rape has been adopted in the gaming community to mean: I completely overpowered you with my skill and you could do nothing about it.
I get why it’s used, in fact I used to say it myself before I learned more about this subject, but I think perhaps we need to stop and think that it’s a very powerful word.
The likelihood that a straight adult man will be raped in his life is extremely tiny, the same cannot be said for women and if you are playing with women there is even a chance they may have been raped or subjected to a sexual assault.
I would personally like the word rape to be removed from the gaming world. There are many other words that could replace it.
I was on server a while back and we were talking about a famous movie star, and one guy said “I would rape her so hard till she bled.”
I told him that was a really horrible thing to say. He could just have said “She’s so hot; I’d really like to f*ck her.”
But that’s not as funny or something, right? Right...?
“You’re a dirty girl ”
Just because a woman makes a joke of a sexual nature that does not give you the right to sex pest her and it also doesn’t give you licence to call her a slut.
So many times I see men making sex based jokes and people just laugh, if a woman does the same thing it’s insinuated that she is dirty or slutty and it seems to bring out the creeps who think she is “fair game” to be harassed because she’s obviously “up for it”. No, just no, to both. We need to make online games places where women don’t feel harassed, belittled, threatened and insulted. The true meaning of sexual equality is allowing men and women in their differences to be given the same rights, opportunities and respect.
Thanks for listening,