Gamers, It's Time to Evolve -- and Accept Women as a Major Part of the Audience

Categories: Geek Speak

Sarkeesian.JPG
If you can look at those images and argue she doesn't have a point, go ahead and punch yourself in the face.
In the past week, two important, interrelated gaming stories broke in the mainstream media. The first was a relatively innocuous-seeming demographic trend report about adult women overtaking adolescent boys as the largest segment of gamers. The second was about feminist game commentator Anita Sarkeesian being forced to leave her home due to death threats.

See also: Penny Arcade's dickwolves problem is part of a bigger issue: misogyny

If you think these two stories are unconnected, you really aren't paying enough attention.

The bigger, more important story of the two is the hatred and misogyny directed at Sarkeesian. For the crime of being a woman who expresses a critical, feminist-based opinion about video games, she has been harassed, called every vile name you can imagine, threatened with rape, murder and worse. Her haters have gone so far as to create a video game where the object is to strike a picture of her until the screen goes red. Oh, and they also accuse her of making up all this harassment, on top of calling her a con artist, a liar and a person who is wrong on the Internet.

It's sickening, and it makes me ashamed to call myself a gamer.

I know, I know -- #NotAllGamers! But if we're being honest, it's too goddamn many of them. Hell, one sick fuck exhibiting this kind of behavior is too many, and it's way, way more than one. I don't really want to associate with a subculture that insists that any challenge to "the way it's always been" is tantamount to a declaration of war, thus justifying any and all tactics in response. I don't want to be associated with people who think that pointing out "Hey, women don't really get a fair shake in games" justifies calling the person with the temerity to say it a "cunt" (or worse) and wishing she'd get raped (or worse). Those people are the absolute worst humans on the planet, and when they are busy vomiting hatred and stupidity out into the world as fast as their keyboards will allow, they make all of us -- #YesAllGamers -- look bad. Worse, they're holding all of us, and gaming as a whole, back.

See, here's the thing: Games are going to evolve. Any hardcore gamer who's been arguing for years that games are art needs to understand that. It is at the very core of the argument that games are art. Art is not static. It reflects the world it is created in. It speaks to its audience, and in doing so it speaks about its audience. And that's partly why this angry, seething mob of asshats is so fucking pissed at Sarkeesian -- they know that when she critiques the casual misogyny in all too many games, she is, in a very real sense, criticizing them. More to the point, she is criticizing their casual acceptance of violence against women, of women being used as sex objects, as background decoration and as convenient plot devices.

To understand what's really got them upset, though, we need to return to that first story: Adult women gamers outnumber adolescent male gamers. If you're a guy who likes his video games full of opportunities to beat hookers with a bat and his subculture full of bro dogs who you can laugh about it with later, you see the big, decorative hook coming for you. The gong is ringing, and it rings for thee. Your time is almost at an end, and that scares you fucking stupid (not that it's too far, as you are clearly pretty fucking dumb to begin with).

Fifteen years ago, Sarkeesian would have been ignored. Gaming was almost exclusively a boys club, and anyone who didn't like that ... well, whatever. The money was all coming from young, adolescent boys and the games -- and culture -- largely reflected that. Now it comes from everywhere. Your sister games. Your mom games. Hell, your grandma probably games.There's a good chance none of them are playing what you are, but they are gaming. In another generation, two at the outside, everyone will game, just like everyone goes to the movies now. And the boys (make no mistake, it's all boys) who like things the way they are -- dumb, violent and degrading to women -- can see the writing on the wall, even if they haven't realized quite what it says.

Allow me to translate it for you -- it says you aren't that important, and you should probably get used to that idea.

Don't worry, though, because it's going to be okay. The world is going to keep spinning. Sweet games are going to keep getting made. Twenty years ago, we were all playing Resident Evil, convinced that the future had arrived. Today, you boot that up and it feels like you're playing a wax cylinder on a goddamn hand-cranked Victrola. The future is going to be the same, only more so. Games are going to be more and more artful, and that means there will be more and more serious critiques of them, from feminist perspectives, from racial perspectives, from all sorts of places. It's going to make the games better, not worse. And if you engage in those critiques, and allow yourself to learn instead of vomiting bile and random, baseless accusations at the first sign of an idea that you disagree with, it might even make you a better person. Games are going to evolve. The only question is, are you going to evolve with them?

Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.





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44 comments
Nathan Landers
Nathan Landers

profile made a month ago... professional dildo... can we say sock puppet shill? s-h-i-l-l. good!

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

^^^so what you're saying is that you like to remain in the closet?

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Evolution requires millions of years.

Andrew Emit Schabbing
Andrew Emit Schabbing

there arent basements in south carolina... the water table would flood them... and my mom has a colostomy bag, so have fun with that.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Yeah. like the Mentally ILL that Fuck Themselves by Voting for Obozo & anyone with a 'D' next to their name !!!

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

^^^more reason to increase funding for the mentally ill

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

Andy, when I'm done with your mother, she'll bring it down to the basement for you.

Kedhrin Gonzalez
Kedhrin Gonzalez

The author of this article is very off point with this statement: "To understand what's really got them upset, though, we need to return to that first story: Adult women gamers outnumber adolescent male gamers. If you're a guy who likes his video games full of opportunities to beat hookers with a bat and his subculture full of bro dogs who you can laugh about it with later, you see the big, decorative hook coming for you. The gong is ringing, and it rings for thee. Your time is almost at an end, and that scares you fucking stupid (not that it's too far, as you are clearly pretty fucking dumb to begin with)."

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Barack Obama is DESTROYING the Economy & STEALING ALL your 'Disposable Income' for his Communist Heathlcae & @PattyCalhoun wants to Talk about #Gamers ???

Billy ThePoet
Billy ThePoet

If the point, as the article states, is that adult woman like to game as much and increasingly more so than adolescent boys, then shouldn't we ask ourselves why would games change? Obviously the adult female demographic is ever growing, and based on playing games that portray a "casual acceptance of violence against women, of women being used as sex objects, as background decoration and as convenient plot devices." So maybe the games won't change, after all, because maybe, just MAYBE there's no right vs wrong, black vs white, man vs woman answer that wraps up and puts a bow on this. Who knows, MAYBE the real issue is why our society, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, are attracted to such violence in their entertainment?

Tanda Powell
Tanda Powell

Go gettum bitches! It's OUR time to rule!!

Andrew Emit Schabbing
Andrew Emit Schabbing

this is retarted... we have accepted you since the beginning.. who else refills the cups? NOW MAKE ME A SAMMICH!

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

I can't imagine you have a fulfilling life outside of a basement when you continue to respond days later. Pr

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

And your continuous bigotry is proof of you fitting the feminazi stereotype to a tee.

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

Little Sherman, your emotional knee-jerk assertions are anything but the ways of supposed "rational beings. In actuality, your continued CAPS-LOCK tinged replies are collectively just further proof of you, in particular, fitting the stereotypical basement dweller to a tee. This entire exchange has been nothing more than an exercise in mere projection on your part, Sherman. You're just too ignorant and butthurt to realize it. :D

gofastgo
gofastgo

Or another suggestion, read a book, go to a library, do something worthwhile, gaming indeed.

RustyShackleford
RustyShackleford

How 'bout we just work on shutting down the games industry altogether? Allow any of the programmers with genuine talent to move to more legitimate fields, and force the customer base to move out of their parents' basements and into the real world.

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Lol now you know what goes through the minds of every thinking individual that reads about your "oppression" lolololol

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline

Just came in here to read all your butt hurt comments from your mommys computer in her basments.

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

wah wah fucking wah. Have a tissue.....DWEEB

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

It's disgusting bigots like you that make me care a LOT less about the plight of women, which is very real, but this spiderman "issue" is not

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

I can't get over what a hypocritical cunt you are. Stereotyping, sexist slurs for women, disregarding someone's opinion because of their skin color and/or gender, you're just a shining example of #FeministEquality

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

And no, people fighting REAL battles for equality, like gay marriage, are not SJWs, they are activists. SJWs live on tumblr in their mom's basemennt mocking everyone else for being basement dwellers

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Hahaha love it when feminists use "bitch" as insult, you pathetic hypocrite. Get raped, cunt

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

BTW, only insecure (predominately) white male Internet dweebs like yourself resort to the silly epithet "social justice warrior," an insinuation that advocating on the behalf of historically oppressed groups is somehow an affront to your "personal liberties." How's this for politically incorrect?: Grow a pair, you little bitch made motherfucker. ;)

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Maybe I should just start tagging all the bullshit drivel written by illiterate, barely-out-of-high-school twats with "ALERT! OPPRESSED WHITE FEMALE! EVERYONR DROP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND CATER TO HER DEMANDS! ANYTHING LESS THAN CODDLING HER IS MISOGYNY"

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Oh dear god, look at your pathetic profile! So, when you mock and demean men for their plights, it's totally cool, but me writing off all of YOUR whiney bullshit is misogyny. #FeministEquality

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Lololol I love how the SJWs throw their ideologies to the wind when insulted. Stereotypes and labeling is fine as long as YOU do it. No neckbeard here! Funny, it seems like all SJWs DO is give us "neckbeards" the time of day. That's all they ever fucking blog about. You're a fucking hypocritical cunt, crying about discrimination while simultaneously labeling an entire group to fit your confirmation bias. Don't you have anything better than the tired old "you'll never get laid" shtick? How pathetic is that attack? "You're worthless if you're single, but I have no idea why men feel entitled to a girl" it's utterly pathetic. And honestly? I'd rather shove a cactus right up my asshole than ever deal with whiney, idiotic, cowardly, PC-policing SJW. I'm sure you're the type of slit to scream "RAPE" just becausd someone looked at you funny. No thanks.

Adam Aedro Drotar
Adam Aedro Drotar

"threatened with rape, murder and worse" just about every time i point out that modern feminism is backwards, illogical and hypocritical this is what I am welcomed with from feminists... give them a taste of their own hypocritical psychotic medicine imo

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

Why not just spare yourself further embarrassment and come to terms with painful reality? You're just bitter because not a single "SJW" would ever give you little neckbearded DWEEBS the time of day, even in a strictly platonic setting. #Friendzoned....or should I say, "FrenemyZoned?" LuLz

Andrew Padbury
Andrew Padbury

Maybe more women should actually contribute to the industry?

Robert Shea
Robert Shea

This is not a story about the issue of gender in gaming, a problem that applies to society in general. This is the story of how unethical practices in game journalism are undermining the entire "independent" industry. When the details about a conflict of interest get pushed and censored to the fringe of discussion, then being shocked when the lunatic fringe latches on to it, shows how little we understand the issues that are actually important to this specific case.

Rodger Sherman
Rodger Sherman

Omg fuck off, way to join the lynch mob of infantile SJWs

Iason Skullsaber
Iason Skullsaber

had to watch this in class. This lady is an idiot who raised money so she could learn about video games....just to cherry pick things to bitch about....never does she bring up actual strong female characters that actually exist. she is just looking to pick a PC fight and point a judgy finger at everyone.

tombattey
tombattey

I'd like to ask a question, because I'm trying to dissect this civilly.


Let's for a moment ignore the fact the calling a game developer sleeping with a journalist who did not give them any actual coverage a 'conflict of interest' is misunderstanding the practice of journalism and misinterpreting the term 'conflict of interest.'


What, in your opinion, is the bigger issue: the fact that a independent game developer might have slept with a journalist to further their career, or the fact that several people are suffering frequent and potentially harmful threats and harassment for raising certain issues with the games industry?


If you could explain the important issue here I'd appreciate it.

ryan.cordova
ryan.cordova topcommenter

Way to prove his point, bro.

ryan.cordova
ryan.cordova topcommenter

Wait, why would you expect a critique of the problems with the industry to shine a light on the handful of strong female characters?

I get it, you have some characters you like. They're hardly the majority, and that's kind of the point.

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