Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gender Negotiations in Gaming Commentary

One commenter says, "How about a nice female character with strong and positive attributes that I can relate to and feel proud of?"

Another says, "How about a nice cup of Shut The Fuck Up?"

Iris Ophelia entered that fray today with her post on New World Notes, "How 'Knights of Pen & Paper' Spoils a Cute Concept with Offensive Characters." So far the post has been warmly received, if, that is, you like your cup of "Shut The Fuck Up" as hot as your coffee.

But before you either rush to defend or attack Iris, know that she does not stand alone.

Felicia Day, for example...

Backing up, I feel like most of the hatred wasn’t even directed at ME personally, it was at this general IDEA of some “Gamer Girl” type, who, in the perceived mind of these guys, disenfranchises gamers? I dunno. Clearly a segment of guys on the internet HATE “Gamer Girls”. This is the part I don’t understand, why they are so frikkin emotional about it. They hate on this type of girl who “pretends” to game for attention. This archetype they can somehow factually attribute to a few women (then paint the whole gender with the brush) that exploit them for attention, cheapens their hobby with “casualism”…who knows. The irony here is that the “Hot Gamer Girl” is there because….guys click on them/watch them more than non-hot girls. So yeah, talk about creating their own problem, lol.

I know, for ME, when I started this road with The Guild, I had NO women to look at who were not wearing bikinis while they gamed. There was no “relatable” woman/girl figure for me to look to, and that’s why Codex, Clara and Tink are EXACTLY NOT THAT: Because that’s not who I personally gamed with, that bikini-chick. I gamed with moms and angry college students and shut-ins. So to be accused of pandering Girl Gamer, of BEING A CASUAL (whatever the EFF that means)…well, it hurt. But the comments from MY viewers, who didn’t wanna be bullied, that made my night. So thanks to all of you who commented, even if you didn’t like the video, who defended “casuals” and “girl gamers”. Whatever label you slap on it, it’s just another way to hate.

And Cat Valente...

And if you want to see the ugliest fandom has to offer, all you have to do is be a woman and say something negative about a popular SFF property. Bonus if it’s male-authored and male-directed. Shit on urban fantasy all you want. But Game of Thrones is holy.
The fact is, to be a woman online is to eventually be threatened with rape and death. On a long enough timeline, the chances of this not occurring drop to zero.

And Becky Chambers...

If I play a game in which women have been pushed to the sidelines, and I were to ask the developers why that choice was made, the rationale of “that’s just how it is in that world” is not good enough. That’s not a reason. That’s defaulting to the status quo, and it’s lazy. And boring. And unnecessary. If a game sells itself as an escapist experience that will make the player feel like a hero, the developers should remind themselves that sometimes the player is a woman.

Anita Sarkeesian, Jennifer Hepler, Susana Polo, Kate Beaton, Jade Raymond...and many more.  So consider your approach accordingly.  It's all about strategy, right?


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