A Rant on the Treatment of Female Gamers
22Even though this article is from last year, it’s still relevant today. No matter how much a year can change things, Female Gamers are something that hasn’t changed much. Sure, there are many leagues or tournaments catering to female esport teams or gamers, but still, they don’t get the same treatment compared to the guy-dominated mainstream esport scene.
What does gender have to do with it anyway? When females are interested in video games, they might get praise within the gaming communities. On the other hand, once they start playing competitively, the same folks who gave girl gamers kudos suddenly become hostile. Again, “It reinforces a culture of difference and dominance, and that just isn’t the case anymore.”
For one, there’s stereotyping and labeling of female Twitch streamers as “cam girls.” There’s another article that points out how similar those two are, and for some people, that’s all they see. It’s a two-year-old argument that somehow just isn’t going away. People are going to complain whether there’s a face cam or not, or whether they’re dressed conservatively or not. Nobody can satisfy everybody, but being in a male-dominated industry just makes everything harder for the female sex.
Another argument is the “girls can’t be this good” mentality. Why is “playing like a girl” toward males an insult? Practicing something means you get better at it regardless of gender. Why is viewing a girl who’s good at video games a surprise? Anybody who spends enough time playing a game will get better, and it’s a natural thing. However, some small-minded people just can’t accept the reality of females being good at gaming.
Unfortunately, female gamers get harassed. Although it’s not a common occurrence, there are some people, upon knowing that a player is a female, who immediately ask for nudes. In some cases, they go through the motions of asking for a social media account for proof, then asking for naked pictures. Also, it’s been reported that some of these girls’ chats are just populated with trolls and disrespectful comments, and that’s putting it mildly.
Read More: The Distress of a Female Gamer in eSports
It’s easy to ask everybody just to respect each other. Getting people to do it is easier said than done. There’s not one thing that’s to blame for the small-mindedness and rudeness of people. Some complex factors that can cause bad behavior include upbringing, the mood at the moment, various mental issues, general idiocy, and internalized values.
Well, there’s no one solution to this problem until society stops propagating toxic behaviors and mindsets. What’s happening within the gaming communities is just a result of society (in general) teaching values and behaviors that promote and even exalt a certain kind of “man.” Depictions of what a “man” should be are everywhere (TV shows, movies, magazines, and yes, lots of video games). All of these subtle messages by the media say the following: “this is what you should be to become a MAN.”
Yes, females also have this kind of conditioning. It’s already been addressed with the rise of feminism and awareness of some mental illnesses. Keep in mind that mental illnesses can hit anyone regardless of gender, but the media has sensationalized it more with females (e.g., idealizing female bodies too much and so on, leading to becoming a cause for the illness). There’s the whole stereotype about women who aren’t important unless they’re getting laid or are in a relationship.
Consciously, not everyone pays close attention because the human brain interprets things at a subconscious level. Throughout our lives, we’ve been bombarded by these ideas and values that are internalized, subconsciously. It’s a good thing that some people are trying to break the mold and offer other, kinder values, but the media giants are shutting them down. Anyhow, the point is, unless society gets its act right, female gamers won’t be accepted as a whole.
Female gamers are not too different from their male counterparts, except for their gender. All gamers are humans, regardless of sex, and it’s their right to enjoy a game how they want. Why is there a distinction? Why is there a distinct effort to harass and drive out females who just want to enjoy playing a game, and/or sharing it with others?
What any gamer could do right now is to think before they hit enter. Think about how you would feel if they got that kind of message, or if it’s your daughter crying to you about what someone said online. If it’s something that seems hurtful but has to be said, frame it differently. Also, if there’s something you don’t like about the stream, video, or whatever media you’re consuming, instead of sending hurtful and insulting remarks to the creator, it’s easier to press ctrl+w, alt+f4, or click the exit button.