(trigger warning: extreme online harassment, torture, rape threats) (skip it)
A smart researcher with a 2.5 million grant once asked me why women don’t play videogames. My first reply was that plenty do. That women, especially women over thirty, were shown by Nick Yee’s and my own demographics to be more active players, with more high-level characters in MMOs than men.
My second response was, “Fat, Ugly, or Slutty.”
Fat, Ugly, or Slutty is a website which collects all the random bullshit women endure in online games. The title comes from the general assumption of internet cretins, that any woman who would deign to game surely must be fat, ugly, or barring the first two, slutty. One of my very best friends, whose career involves studying these sorts of anomalies, has suggested such gamers must hate women.
He’s not wrong, but I think it’s more fundamental than that. I think that the men who say this stupid shit, as well as the women who go along with it, just haven’t spent much time around women.
Cultures, American and otherwise, do a little of the work of separating men and women. It’s maybe not bad to have a tiny touch of awe associated with romance, but dear God. Some of these guys are like unsocialized dogs, barking at every dog, person, and vehicle to pass within fifty yards. It’s a circular problem. Any sane woman who, after her first game, sees messages like,
“get back in the kitchen please. thank you.”
“am sorry 4 asking this but would you send some pics of your bare feet and would you like to see a big cock”
Or a line of messages starting with,
“your nans dead bcz I face fucked her
And ending with,
“ima rip your neck open and fuck the gaping hole ald finish off in your eyes”
“wet?” Will understandably close the game, ne’er to return.
Also, I think I was wrong. These fucking insane gamers probably do hate women. I’m not sure how else we get to the point of casual remarks on ocular penetration.
Right, and, segregation isn’t great. Whether or not it’s institutionalized, it does less than nothing to help us reconcile the wild-ass myths that spread in the absence of actually meeting – let alone being around – another group.
Whether we play with dolls and tea-sets, or Nerf guns and LEGOs, may have something to do with whether caregivers imagine us as future trophy wives or legendary engineers. And there are plenty of men who probably needed to spend more time playing “house” rather than dreaming of building their very own ham-like Schwarzenegger biceps. Women have enough societally-enforced bullshit to deal with, without gaming dudes who feel entirely entitled to inquire as to the penile readiness of their vaginas.
Which is too bad for we, the regular gaming folk, who enjoy diverse company. It makes gaming homogenous. It means an even higher likelihood of encountering prepubescent psychos, over sane human beings.