Women and Video Gaming: Growing out of a Hostile Adolescence

The issue of women and gaming has been rearing its head more and more lately, and it’s well past time to make a statement on it.  We’re going to keep this short because it’s actually pretty simple, despite the endless articles caused by endless situations that would never have happened if the people the ugly events happened to hadn’t commited the shocking offense of not being male.  So-

Video gaming strongly tends towards being a male playground.  It shouldn’t, of course, because once you get past a certain age and realize that girls don’t have cooties, and again when you reach another age and realize that women don’t owe you sex, they should stop being “they” and start being “us”.  That’s how it works, except in gaming it doesn’t.  There’s a very loud segment that’s happy to hang a metaphorical “No gurlz alloud!” sign around their hobby and then be vile douch-nozzles to anything female that enters their area of effect.  Almost every woman involved in gaming, whether fan, pro-gamer, or developer has her share of stories, and the further into the gaming world women venture the more numerous those stories become. To top it off, if they put up with it then it’s never going to get better, and if they talk about it they invite more and worse abuse while also adding the “attention whore” epithet to the crap that was already spewed their way.

It’s true that “the plural of anecdote is not data”, but only up to a point.  Get a large enough segment of people with a consistent level of experience and you’d better believe you can start identifying real problems rather than isolated anecdotal assholery.  The harassment and devaluation happens day in and day out in all parts of the industry, and while it’s never going to stop entirely it’d be nice to see the frequency reduced to levels that don’t make sane gamers ashamed and embarrassed of the social psychopaths who infest the hobby.

We need to be better than this.  That’s as complicated as it gets.

References as to why-

Mighty No 9 Kickstarter fan backlash over the new community manager.
The harassment of the developer of text-adventure game Depression Quest.
Stupid gropey dudebros at E3.
Capcom’s Cross Assault, where “sexual harassment is part of the culture” is a direct quote from a team coach.
Tropes vs Women’s internet backlash.
Bioware writer’s death threats against her and her children.
#1reasonwhy Twitter campaign about the crap shoveled women’s way.
Natural Selection’s female marine design being newsworthy (and slightly controversial) because it was 100% non-sexualized.
The path Whitney Hills has taken in the gaming industry.
The difficulty of getting a female lead in a game, because of the belief that they sell worse.
And on and on and on.