Let’s get one thing straight: this article will neither mention GamerGate or Anita Sarkeesian (except for just then, but I promise this is the last time).
What I do want to talk about though is the rise of the lady gamer. For a long time, women haven’t been prevalent in gamer culture except as the princesses that need rescuing or the sexy vamp who lures the main male characters into making bad decisions. Those things are changing and with women now making up more than 48% of the gaming market these days, it’s time to let go of some of the stereotypes and embrace each other as a community.
Now, women face a pretty harsh reality when it comes to gaming. If you’re a female gamer, yes, you are going to face substantial harassment just because you’re a lady. Fellas, if you want to feel kind of what the experience is like, mute your mics and play a female character. You’ll definitely get some creepers, you’ll probably be hit on, have someone threaten to rape you, maybe you’ll even get someone stalking your character. Sometimes, it’s not even a guy that’s doing it! Thousands of female gamers have had the misogynistic comment at their local game store from the guy who really doesn’t believe they’re buying “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” or have to prove themselves to be “real gamers” by knowing unending amounts of trivia.
This is usually the part where someone chimes in with their “not all men business,” and this is what I want to address.
Gentlemen, we know that not all men are out to make women feel uncomfortable in this space. Some of you are courteous, incredibly respectful, and a blast to play with. In the US alone, there are 150 million gamers. Let that number sink in. Let’s say 1% of those people are the bottom of the barrel awful people we’re talking about.
That’s 1,500,000 people.That’s more than the number of people who attend Comic Con San Diego, New York, London, and E3 COMBINED, as a matter of fact, it’s more than 4 times that amount. In the US, that means there’s 7,500 harassers for every region in World of Warcraft.
This isn’t about all men, this isn’t about a majority, but it’s about a minority who have enough numbers to impact our gaming lives to the point where some women refuse to play online, which is a frakkin’ travesty because online play is amazing and being part of a solid squad is awesome.
If women want to tell their stories, let them. It feels good to vent. Tell your stories too because harassment gets to all of us. In the end, we’re all part of the community, we all love playing games and we should accept each other.