Most recent comments
Jogging og blogging
Are, 9 måneder, 2 uker
Liveblogg nyttårsaften 2016
Are, 9 måneder, 1 uke
Reading in dark times
Are, 11 måneder, 1 uke
Moldejazz 2016
Camilla, 1 år, 2 måneder
Dørskilt
Karoline, 1 år, 3 måneder
Halifax
Tor, 1 år, 4 måneder
Sony Smartwatch 3 review
Tor, 1 år, 4 måneder
Numerikk, takk
Tor, 1 år, 4 måneder
Topp tur
Camilla, 1 år, 6 måneder
Tolkien reading day
Tor, 1 år, 7 måneder
50 book challenge
Camilla, 9 måneder, 3 uker
Five years ago
Tokyo
Tor
Controls
Register

Women and video games

I have never been a great video game enthusiast. I never got to play them when I was a kid, and I only really discovered SNES when I met Tor at 16, at which point I devoured Super-Mario and all things Zelda and Secret of Mana and Illusion of Time, and finally Chrono Trigger, but never made the transition into the real first person shooter games. It never appealed to me. I have never really seen that as a loss.

Recently, however, someone suggested that boys were better at Portal because they were more used to navigating in 3D space because girls played Sims instead. I was a little annoyed that my potential Portal prowess was questioned because of my gender (I have never played Sims for any length of time, although I must confess to a lengthy addiction to Master of Olympus); but it connected with another thing that has been buzzing around in my brain lately. Namely, this:



It is Anita Sarkeesian's newest project (remember the videos on Lego and the Bechdel test?), and it is being funded through Kickstarter.

Because it is true that video games, for some reason, was a male domain when I grew up; and there is no doubt that a large part of the industry assumes it will continue to be. Over the last few years I have been reading the occasional article on how the video game industry is slowly discovering there is a whole other gender out there. But I would like to know more about how it is actually reacting to this (whether it is by relegating the puzzle games to women and leaving all the rest for the boys, say; with a shrug saying "women simply don't like the other type of games"; or whether my prejudices are all wrong). So I think Sarkeesian's project looks very, very interesting.

Hence my dismay, or rather my irate anger, when I realised how her Kickstarter video had been met. The most disgusting haters on the internet crawled out of their maggoty lairs and spewed the most nonsensical, dimwitted (frequently illiterate) and downright venomous misogynistic vitriol over the comments pages. And then proceeded to edit her Wikipedia page and try to get the Kickstarter project taken down for terrorism. That's right. Read all about it here and (because www.feministfrequency.com is down at the moment, hopefully not hacked, and I want you to have something to read in the meantime) here.

Boys may be better at Portal because they are more used to navigating 3D space in video games. I have not seen any research, but I can imagine that is probably true. But if so, there is a reason why that is true (think about it for a moment, and it may come to you; and if the female characters are not enough, have a look at this). But when a woman sets out to look at one of the reasons, she is met with a concerted, poisonous campaign of harassment by (what I can only assume to be) pubescent boys (heaven help us if these are grown men).

And I am all the more annoyed because the fact that I have not had the same training in navigating 3D spaces means that Tor is probably better at Portal than me. And if this keeps up, it will probably be true of future generations of women, too. But the point is precisely that this is not a trivial matter: real skills come with video games, and we are missing out. Anita Sarkeesian may (at the end of her research) point to some of the reasons why that is so. And for some reason these fuckmuppets find that appalling.
Matteus, Are, Tor, Jørgen likes this

Comments

Christian,  13.06.12 06:12

I'm not sure I'd mind being called a titwizard...
Camilla,  13.06.12 09:38

... a "fucking titwizard"?
Camilla,  14.06.12 00:16

at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. An excerpt:

I feel compelled to react to one particular theme: That men are poorly represented in gaming too. They are. Men in games are often represented as huge, muscled heroes, essentially weapons of war with biceps, gruff and focused and all-powerful. It’s not an accurate representation of men at large, indeed not. Because it’s a power fantasy. It’s aspirational (as much as very many men may have no desires to be anything like that). It’s about being big, and strong, and in control. Oh boo hoo. Yes, it is daft, and cliched, and tiresome. But to compare it to the default representation of women in games – either huge-titted, scantily clad sexual fantasies, or helpless, pathetic and weak – is deeply erroneous. And yes, of course there are exceptions to both, although I can immediately think of vastly more exceptions for the better presentation of men than I can women.

But to say that the topic of female representation in gaming is deserving of investigation is not at all to suggest that the representation of men is not. In fact, were someone to do the research into this, perhaps start a Kickstarter to fund a video series about it, I’d absolutely be a backer. I’m fascinated to learn more about how my sex being portrayed in this way affects my understanding of myself, and other men. I’m sure there are consequences, both in terms of a negative sense of self in the comparison, and in skewed expectations of being a man based on what I’m being told I should aspire to. Perhaps even, studying the subject from this angle could reveal even more about the portrayal of women, and even address some root causes of it. Sarkeesian’s project in no way precludes this being studied. And I’d be willing to bet a fair amount that a man launching such a study wouldn’t be on the receiving end of hundreds and hundreds of calls for him to be raped or killed.
Matteus, Tor, Christian likes this
Camilla,  06.07.12 17:41

What online harassment looks like.

There is now a game out there which consists in "beating up Anita Saarkesian".

Seriously, I hope you are reading these.
Camilla,  06.07.12 18:45

What happened to the world while I blinked?

"I raped you"? Really?
Tor,  06.07.12 19:12

Denne saken, pluss sjikaneringen av Louise Mensch og intervjuer jeg har lest med norske politisk aktive kvinner som forteller om slibrige tekstmeldinger og denslags, har fått meg til å innse at det står langt dårligere til med likestillingen, både i Vesten og i Norge, enn jeg har pleid å tenke.

Hva kan man egentlig gjøre med slikt? Man kan åpenbart straffe folk som kommer med konkrete trusler via sms, men hva med anonyme trusler på internett, eller slibrige, men ikke egentlig truende, tekstmeldinger? Sjikane er vel forbudt, men det er sikkert mye lettere å dømme én person som sender hundre meldinger enn hundre personer som sender én hver, selv det sikkert føles minst like ille i det andre tilfellet.
Camilla likes this

I don't know whether you clicked the links in Helen Lewis' piece (the last link), but this was one of them:

I don't think I'll ever play Gears of War; who creates a rape feature in a game, anyway?
Ben,  07.07.12 01:27

The only reasonable thing I can think for you to do is get Portal and see who gets through the game fastest out of the two of you.

Even if you lose, you'll have experienced Portal, which can only really be a win.
Camilla,  07.07.12 10:34

(of things to do after PhD).
But the foundation for the experiment is skewed: Tor has already played it.
Camilla,  07.07.12 22:57

This is spot on, too. A comic illustrating the evasion tactics which are somehow always deployed.