Gender bias in gaming. A conception that might seem rather stupid than serious, yet it succeeds in pointing out one of the most controversial topics in the history of gaming.
In this column discussion, we’ve documented some of the chat done by my friend Sarah and me with our psychology professor. We talk about the complex relationship between women and video games...
Sarah: I’m a gamer, a skilled one. I’ve been playing games since I was a toddler; it has been and always will be my passion.
Prof. Joseph: Being a female gamer isn’t anything you should be hassled about.
Sarah: I’m aware of that, but it’s not like I can control it. Sure, I can play without a mic and act as if I’m a normal male dude, but the second other gamers hear your voice, get ready for some infuriating pestering.
Prof. Joseph: Sexism is a very knotty topic, but can’t you just steer clear from all that mess and keep your gender off the record?
Sarah: I do, but sometimes you have to. For example, that one time I was applying for a guild and...
Prof. Joseph: A what?
Sarah: A clan. A group of players in one team.
Prof. Joseph: Carry on.
Sarah: I wanted to apply to one of those, one of the requirements was to have a mic and do some sort of interview with the guild leader. Basically, when the person on the other end hears my voice he considers two possibilities…
One, he assumes I’m an 8 years old male gamer. The discussion usually ends right there, and I’m left alone on the chat saying “Hello?” “Hello?” till I realize I’ve been disconnected and to my surprise blocked.
The other and most common assumption is that I’m a girl. This usually results in hysterical laughter followed by some really lame kitchen jokes. And as always I find myself alone in the chat room.
Now my question is: Why? Why can’t I play as a normal person, why do I have to suffer these absurd and nonsensical comments?
Prof Joseph: Unfortunately, sexism is very common in online games, there’re some deterrents you can make – to a certain degree of course – to prevent these lowlifes from bothering you. Yet it won’t end the problem.
Me: Yes, sexism has been around for quite a while. But usually it’s viciously driven off in most fields. Why has it remained in gaming?
Prof. Joseph: There’re no restrictions.
Sarah: Getting banned seems like a practical one..
Prof. Joseph: Correct, but I mean physical restrictions. What would happen if sexism is done on the streets? Jail time.
But online? You’re hiding behind your computer screen; technically, you’re not doing anything illegal.
Me: One last question, kinda unrelated to the topic but, why do people actually create fake female accounts?
Sarah: No offense, you males make yourselves look bad. You don't really need any help in that department from us gals.
Prof. Joseph: I’ll stand by what Sarah is saying; that’s a very complicated matter to discuss, so let us just leave it to that.
Me: Thank you for your time.
The discussion went on for another good twenty minutes, but we only documented the hot topics.
As a verdict I’d say that there is something you can really do to make those immature comments stop. I’m not suggesting cropping an image in a certain way is going to stomp out sexism in games overnight, but let’s at least start somewhere.
Were you ever one of them? What’s your experience of sexism in gaming? Share with us in the comments below.