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Above is a tweet I made this afternoon in reaction to the fact that none of the games presented at…
So I have some rage that needs to be exorcised on this point. I need to rant and hoo boy is it going to be a long one. It’s not an exhaustive critique but it’s still pretty long.
First of all I’m thrilled that outside of the Xbox One conference some female centred games have been on show elsewhere at E3. That’s great but not what I’m here to talk about; what I’m angry about are the attitudes on show in response to Sarkeesian’s perfectly valid observation. Let’s break it down.
So firstly there’s this persistent attitude that women just don’t play or buy games. Which is total bullshit asrecent figures from the ESA reveal that women make up just under half of ALL players and half of the time they are the most frequent purchasers of games. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it does not make sense to ignore a huge chunk of your consumer base like this. So this in conjunction with the ‘nobody cares’ sentiment expressed in some of the tweets and the belief that women don’t buy games in ‘significant numbers’, this is just insulting. So 47% is nobody? Women don’t count? Fuck off. Gaming hasn’t been just a boys’ club for a very long time now despite the persistence of the belief that it is.
One tweeter says there are ‘more important things to complain about’. Yeah, the current abysmal representation and under presentation of queer, transgender black & minority ethnicities is a huge issue. However, being a white, cisgender woman I’m not exactly the one to talk at length about this. However I will say there is a great deal of intersection between gender representation and other areas that are under or simply not represented. The issue within games reflects the issue within western media as a whole and THAT’S HUGE. To say there are ‘more important things’ is a simplistic, ignorant view of the matter and derailment. A few other tweeters said that the protagonists gender shouldn’t matter and I agree it shouldn’t but the fact of the matter is that it does. Games don’t exist in a vacuum and they are indicative of power structures within wider society.
A few other tweeters said that female characters weren’t ‘relateable’ to ‘typical gamers’ (I.E. men. We already know this assumption of who typically games is fallacious). This argument makes no sense. If female characters aren’t relateable to male gamers then how have female gamers been enjoying the vast majority of AAA games the past few decades? Sense. Your argument makes none. Besides, the assumption male gamers can’t empathise with anyone that looks different to them is really reductive and insulting thinking. Male gamers are totally capable of this and more.
Interestingly one tweet blames the lack of women in the industry for the lack of female protagonists (this particular tweeter also calls Sarkeesian a ‘dumbass’ for absolutely no reason. What a nice chap). It’s a bit more complicated than women simply not choosing to go into the gaming industry. The tweet that says ‘women don’t belong in video games’ is a pretty indication of why so many women don’t. The #Onereasonwhy tag is an even better indication, shedding light on the experiences of all of the women already involved in the games industry. So it’s not like there isn’t a female presence within the industry itself. And women not going into games goes beyond them simply not being interested; we know a great deal of women are in fact interested in games, its the boys’ club mentality and hostility that makes them stay away.
There are also tweets telling Sarkeesian to make her own game. Okay, that could actually be interesting! That said it shouldn’t be up to her to make a game where she is represented. Why can’t AAA game developers, the people who ALREADY have the resources, the work force, the technology and the know-how make a game with a female protagonist? Why should it be up to Sarkeesian to build a game from the ground up? God, if you don’t want any women in your precious games, why don’t you make your own games tweeties?
On a similar note, there was also one tweeter who said ‘Calm your tits! There will be a new Tomb Raider eventually, and a Mass Effect with a femshep. You women are nuts!’ God, we gave you Peach, isn’t that enough!? YOU CRAZY FEMINAZIS ARE SO DEMANDING. We gave the gays and the transgender people Kanji & Naoto! WHY ISN’T THAT ENOUGH FOR YOU? God, Disney gave the black community Tiana, why is that not enough? I’ll just be over here with Rapunzel, Merida, Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, etc, etc, ad infinitum. I like Lara Croft but she is still a well to do, attractive, educated, straight, white, cis woman. That’s pretty alright for me (4 out of 6 isn’t bad) but she does not fill the void of representation for all women that play and enjoy games.
You can call us entitled for wanting better female representation but the thing is we are actually entitled to have the works we enjoy reflect the people that we are and our experiences. We don’t want to get rid of male protags. We just want more female protags and we want them well-written and to better represent us. You can tell us to shut up all you like but we won’t. We won’t go away and we will not be silenced. We are half of the total people that game and we aren’t going anywhere. Why does that scare you so much?
SERIOUS SIGNAL BOOST (steubenville rape trial, westboro church, etc)
“Anonymous” hacker who outted the students of the Steubenville Rape Trials. He is now being punished for bringing the young girl justice. The FBI showed up to his house with assault rifles and made him and his family get on the ground and took possession of his computer and is now pressing charges. THEY’RE PRESSING CHARGES BECAUSE HE ‘HACKED’ an account to save a girls life. Also involved in Westboro church hacking.
Please help out as you can. You can find this all over google with interviews with Anderson Cooper and Roseanne Barr and others such as:
Facing indictment from the Federal Government for relation to the hacking and hacktivism of http://www.rollredroll.com/ during the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio. Exposing the corrupt and paying the price.
I feel like every man who has ever tried to convince me to take some rando shouting “Hey girl, nice ass” at me as a compliment sees it this way: You’re sitting outside some Italian café in a Betty Draper dress sipping a prosecco when all of a sudden your dainty neck scarf flies off in the light breeze. Joseph Gordon Levitt, wearing a linen suit with a pocket square and no socks with his penny loafers, steps off his Vespa and hands it to you while saying something witty about how it’s almost as beautiful as you are. You then both ride off into the sunset, laughing as Dean Martin plays in the background and the director yells cut on the espresso commercial that is your life.
In reality, it’s you getting yelled at by a bunch of sweaty men standing outside a bar at eight in the morning, telling you about how fuckable you look in your sweatpants when you’re just trying to get a bottle of milk in peace like a goddamn human being. And it is the opposite of a compliment.
And sorry, even if you’re JGL, shouting “nice tits!” at me, wolf whistling, or driving up next to me and beeping your horn will never be flattering. It’s creepy and degrading and makes me fear for my safety.