Back in my time, gaming was a guy thing, like G-I-Joes or Transformers. Females had their Barbie doll games, and males had their first person shooters, real time strategy, and roll playing games. Girls don’t fight wars, control armies, or save fantastical realms from destruction. They play with pink things and you know… accessories while making cookies or something.
Fast forward to today, and you have females transforming the norm, moving in on our turf. They play Halo Reach, Call of Duty 3, Street Fighter 4, Star Craft 2, World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What is this world coming to?
It isn’t the single player games that bother the loud-mouthed, men-children out there; it’s when women go multiplayer and shoot machine guns just like the other guys. This causes some rather ungentlemanly responses. Take a look at the web site Fat, Ugly or Slutty and you’ll get an idea at what I’m talking about. The site was created by female gamers as a place to chronicle their ill treatment from the opposite sex. When we were kids it was harmless fun to say that girls have cuties. Now days, men-children all over the world, have diarrhea of the mouth towards woman via message chat or in-game voice chat:
These aren’t the worst of it. Every time I read through Fat, Ugly or Slutty, my skin crawls with revulsion. I can only imagine what a girl must feel when it is personally addressed to her. Why do some men think they can say such horrible things? What crosses through their tiny little minds when they use this abusive language? This isn’t the first time this has happened in human history.
Back in the 60s, the work place was a man’s world. Women were simply hot secretaries that brought you coffee and copied your memos. All the while men sat around like packs of wolves, cat-calling and making rude gestures. Just watch the Emmy award winning show Mad Men to get an idea of this. Before the 60s it was considered taboo to think of women as voters wearing pants. I think you see where this is heading.
Women have been fighting for their right to do whatever they feel like doing. It has been a long and difficult fight against the chauvinists, but there has been some real progress. We need to remember that once upon a time, there was a very real reason why women couldn’t hunt after mammoths, protect their tribe, or lead armies into conquest. They were too busy raising children and cooking mammoth meat to do anything else. Their bodies and minds were made to do this more efficiently than men.
It is wrong, however, for man to assume that this is all they are capable of. The technological advances of civilization have freed women greatly. They don’t need to spend hours and hours on a meal anymore. You can thank Percy Spencer, inventor of the microwave, for that. Daycares can handle the raising of a child so that moms can go to work. And when those moms get home… they can relax by sniping at strangers in Battlefield 3 on Xbox Live.
The world is changing too fast for the chauvinistic men-children out there. Guess it’s about time they grow up. I say they because the truth is, most men aren’t babbling morons when speaking to a lady online. It is the anonymity of the internet that causes the jerk within the men-children to bark out hate and sex mail towards their female peers. Even strapping young men like me get barked at by bullies. The best solution is to ignore them.
Game designers need to take a proactive approach in helping us ignore them. Perhaps we should all connect online with our Facebook accounts. Having real names floating above avatars could cause the men-children to shut up. Of course, it could also just make it easier for them to stalk their prey. Anonymity does have its perks you know.
Better fixes include making it easier for someone to block a person’s voice while playing a game. A one click button dedicated to this very thing would be nice. Just point at the moron and click. Boom head shot! Their sweaty voice is out of your life forever.
You should have the option on Xbox Live or the PSN Network so that you can only receive messages from friends. And if your friends are calling you slut… defriend them.
The best thing developers can do is moderate their games better, especially in the FPS genre. Any bullying and they get banned. This can be expensive I know, and may lead to monthly charges so that paid moderators can keep the servers clean. here’s a compromising model. Sell the elite membership of your game by saying it will be heavily moderated. Any none members can test their luck in all the wild servers out there. Something we already do. As the gaming community grows and more ladies join in the fun, I have no doubt services like this will be added.
The Neanderthal notion of women in the kitchen fixing mammoth meat isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The best we can do is bully the bullies back by pretending they don’t exist. Maybe their children will get it, or their children’s children.
And all of this brings me to my plea to female gamers. Don’t give up on gaming. If you are tired of being berated on a poorly moderated games, there are other options out there. Here is a list of games I’ve played that don’t have nearly as many men-children.
Team Fortress 2 (the spunky and cartoony FPS characters leave little room for boorish morons to scream at you. And its free on the PC.)
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (A single player gem one of my female friends has fallen in love with. She isn’t the best gamer out there, but she loves playing this one.)
Minecraft (There are a lot of great, heavily moderated servers you can join. I recommend escapecraft.net.)
StarCraft II (For the war commander in you. It takes considerable concentration to control an army. This means a minimal amount of time for trash/slut talking and or bullying.)
World of Warcraft (Haven’t played it, but from what I here there are a lot of busy moderators on there.)
That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Feel free to add other chauvinistic-free games to the list in the comments below.