Something I’ve noticed as people on forums I frequent go round and round about the disparity between male and female in the gaming world is that when we talk about the people playing the games we are very us vs. them. “They” are the rude, abusive assholes. “They” are the enemy. “They” are bad people.
They are human too. Maybe not as enlightened, maybe not as evolved, but they are still humans who can think and feel. They may not be people we enjoy associating with, and they may not be the sterling examples of humanity we wish to hold up to the world to show the people who do not game that we are good people who think and feel and show compassion, but they are people just like us. They are our shadow selves, the dark corners of our collective identity as gamers.
“Fake gamer chick” wouldn’t be a thing if we did not allow it to be. If there were not women who deliberately sought out the trappings of gamer culture and turned it into sexually objectifying memes, and if there were men who did not let them objectify their guild members and friends in such a way, it would not be discussed. It would be dismissed with the same level of scorn as people who wear those “Nice story” shirts (which I loathe like poison, by the way).
Yes, I have probably been gaming longer than most of the people spewing abuse behind anonymous gamer tags. I am well aware of the under-representation of strong females in gaming. Samus Aran was the first strong woman to be featured as a main character. Kings Quest IV featured a self-rescuing princess. Rosa, Tera, Celes – eight and sixteen-bit badasses. Lara Croft, with her triangle boobs, kicked butt and took names. The Final Fantasy franchise has featured tons of strong women over the decades.
All of this is beside the point of this post.
We, the gamers who are feminists, feed the cycle by demonizing the ignorant cowards who spew abuse and sexist memes. They too are human. We do not know why they think it is acceptable to abuse other thinking, feeling, sapient and sentient creatures the way they do. We cannot speak to the depths of self-loathing such behavior indicates.
Perhaps we hate them so because they remind us of our own inner demons, the little voices that tell us we are “weird” or “live in a fantasy world” or “don’t have a life” or “can’t get laid” or whatever our fears are. Perhaps if we confronted our own issues, they would be less of a problem.
I pity them.