Video Games and Feminism Should not Mix
Dictionary.com’s first definition of the word feminism says that it is, “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” I support the cause; women are still not treated equally today. However, some advocates take it WAY too far. A few of these women take their cause to the form of journalism. One such example is Kotaku writer Patricia Hernandez. Her articles put her views and aspects in video games. One of her articles asks if it would be rape if a male player kills a female player online. After seeing people in gaming forums and on Tumblr talk about this “writer,” I felt that it was time to share my two cents.
As a gaming writer, enthusiast, and a female gamer, Hernandez’s articles confuse, shock, and slightly enrage me all at the same time. I think that playing games on or offline with a male protagonist or cast is not supporting sexism or the rape culture. Being a female player does occasionally give me unwanted attention, but instead of giving them the satisfaction of getting me annoyed or flustered, I simply ignore them; sometimes I block them if I have to. I only report players for harassment as a last resort, and thankfully that has only happened once in my four years in the Xbox Live community. Usually, when players teabag each other, it is known as “trolling,” giving people in the lobby a hard time by messing with them and overall ruining the online gaming experience; or they could just be sore losers and winners.
After the E3 press conferences last week, a friend sent me an article that Hernandez wrote about the lack of female presenters at the Sony conference. There are not many female game developers, programmers, directors, and presidents that are acknowledged. One exception is Epic Games in Cary, North Carolina. In the credits of the Gears of War series, every member of the team involved in production got to have a picture with a message (usually a thank you) shown on the bottom of the screen. To my surprise and delight, there were several women involved in making this outstanding series, and loved everything about it. Also, 343 Industries, the company responsible for the new Halo trilogy, has a woman as their president, and she spoke at both the Xbox One reveal and the Microsoft conference.
If you are a fellow female gamer insecure about playing online, here’s some advice for you:
- Get some guy friends to play online with you! If you get killed or teabagged, your friends will avenge you!
- If you really want to play popular online titles such as Gears of War or Call of Duty (both of which are mentioned in different posts by Hernandez), trying playing older titles in the series. Players rarely go back to an older title if there was one recently released, especially if they have the same online modes as the predecessor.
- Arcade and indie developers do not usually include online playability in their games. Show them some love!
- I know from personal experience that online voice chat is not supported on the Nintendo Wii, and someone can not send you messages unless you both add each other’s Wii numbers.
- Relax. Video games are meant to be played for fun, so don't let one player ruin your entire experience.
As a gaming writer for not only this blog, but my college newspaper, I feel that one of the most important things about writing is to understand what you’re writing about. And sometimes, you need to keep your opinions and biases in the back of your mind (I’ll admit, I’m not good at that). So called video game “journalists” such as Patricia Hernandez are reasons why I am reluctant to read some video game articles written by women, especially when they talk about how a protagonist in an upcoming video game slightly resembles an adult film actor. I feel that women in this generation believe that the feminist movement is dying, so they are just making outrageous claims, making younger girls not take them seriously. One of my goals as a female writer is to show that video games are made to bring fun and happiness to players of both genders.