I wrote an article attempting to identify some of the unearned benefits and privileges my fellow male gamers and I are afforded simply by virtue of being male. Please check out the full article in context over on Polygon.
- I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.
- I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.
- I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.
- I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.
- If I enthusiastically express my fondness for video games no one will automatically assume I’m faking my interest just to “get attention” from other gamers.
- I can look at practically any gaming review site, show, blog or magazine and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented.
- When I go to a gaming event or convention, I can be relatively certain that I won’t be harassed, groped, propositioned or catcalled by total strangers.
- I will never be asked or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender.
- I can be sure that my gaming performance (good or bad) won’t be attributed to or reflect on my gender as a whole.
- My gaming ability, attitude, feelings or capability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.
- I can be relatively sure my thoughts about video games won’t be dismissed or attacked based solely on my tone of voice, even if I speak in an aggressive, obnoxious, crude or flippant manner.
- I can openly say that my favorite games are casual, odd, non-violent, artistic, or cute without fear that my opinions will reinforce a stereotype that “men are not real gamers.”
- When purchasing most major video games in a store, chances are I will not be asked if (or assumed to be) buying it for a wife, daughter or girlfriend.
- The vast majority of game studios, past and present, have been led and populated primarily by people of my own gender and as such most of their products have been specifically designed to cater to my demographic.
- I can walk into any gaming store and see images of my gender widely represented as powerful heroes, villains and non-playable characters alike.
- I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.
- I do not have to carefully navigate my engagement with online communities or gaming spaces in order to avoid or mitigate the possibility of being harassed because of my gender.
- I probably never think about hiding my real-life gender online through my gamer-name, my avatar choice, or by muting voice-chat, out of fear of harassment resulting from my being male.
- When I enter an online game, I can be relatively sure I won’t be attacked or harassed when and if my real-life gender is made public
- If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.
- While playing online with people I don’t know I won’t be interrogated about the size and shape of my real-life body parts, nor will I be pressured to share intimate details about my sex life for the pleasure of other players.
- Complete strangers generally do not send me unsolicited images of their genitalia or demand to see me naked on the basis of being a male gamer.
- In multiplayer games I can be pretty sure that conversations between other players will not focus on speculation about my “attractiveness” or “sexual availability” in real-life.
- If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing.
- Because it was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer.
IMPORTANT, NON-ART POST TIME.
This list hits so close to home. Every point’s a gut-punch reminder of mistreatment I and so many friends have endured. The final plunge from insult into disgust is #25; not disgust at the article or radicalbytes, but at how true it is.
I’m forward enough that I don’t get as much of the in-your-face sexist pushback I used to, but it’s been replaced by much more subtle acts of bias that are no less venomous. Sexism permeates the gaming community (and industry) so fundamentally women don’t have to be harassed or blatantly insulted to experience being the unwelcome company, being othered.
Very often, men will disregard me when talking about games. They focus on my husband, Coey, and any input from me is quickly dismissed or even ignored entirely. He has blatantly attempted to include me in conversations many times, even swing conversations over to me when the topic is more my area-of-expertise/genre/series, but it rarely sticks. This happens at conventions, gaming stores, plainly in public, even with people considered friends. At cons, we’ve had many be drawn to our booth by a piece of gaming fanart I made, but then I’m typically left out of the conversation I initiated. People assume the fanart must be my husband’s. When I reveal it’s mine, they’re surprised and even lose interest all together. Coey’s had people fawn over his gaming tattoos, but when he mentions [insert gaming tattoo I have that’s relevant to their convo] they have no interest. One of the most insulting parts is the marked difference of our treatment before and after he transitioned. Before he started identifying and passing as male, we were both regarded identically in these situations.
Those who do include me seem insistent on noting of how “special” I am. Remarks toward Coey’s on how lucky he is to have a wife who games. Surprised comments about how not many “girls” like [insert game series/genre/etc]. They’ll humour my opinions and comments on the community/industry, but take them with a grain of salt. Rarely is real effort or care put into considering what I have to say, until Coey backs me up.
I’ve been treated and received as one of the exceptions, in which I take no pride.
My experiences aren’t unique in the slightest.