The Gaming Community, Or The He-Man Woman-Haters Club

The Gaming Community, Or The He-Man Woman-Haters Club

Even in the virtual world, women aren't safe from everyday sexism.
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I love a good video game. Who doesn't? being able to immerse yourself in a highly detailed environment where anything is possible is highly entertaining and a great way to waste time. Whether it's battling dragons in Skyrim, mowing down pedestrians with your car in GTA, or scouring an irradiated wasteland in Fallout, video games give us an opportunity to be someone else for a while or even create our own stories. Video games can also be a powerful medium in which to make a political statement. It is a rapidly changing medium in which to display ideas in a way that is interactive and fun. However, because of video games demographics, it is often hard to get that message across.

Now, what do I mean by demographics? I'm talking about males ages 18-30 who spend their time cursing out 13-year-olds on Xbox Live and using racial slurs when a person of color enters the game while chugging a Big Gulp full of Mountain Dew. Perhaps one of the most disturbing elements of the gaming community is their attitude towards women, especially those who play video games. I have had many a friend tell me that they've gotten rape threats over Xbox Live as well as derogatory statements such as "make me a sammich!" and "go back to the kitchen where you belong!". Even in the virtual world, women aren't safe from violent sexism.

This translates over to the games themselves. It is difficult to find a video game where the main character is a woman; especially a non-sexualized/objectified woman. And when she's not sexualized and is a fully actualized character, the male gaming community begins complaining that she isn't "sexy enough" and this leads to fan art, usually drawn by men, where the female protagonist is depicted having bulging breasts and an 18-inch waist. Take, for example, the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Now, I will admit that I am a fan of GTA; I can't help but go sidewalk surfing and see how many pedestrians I can mow down before the police arrest me. However, the game is blatantly sexist since many of the women depicted in the game are airheads who only care about sex, money, and/or becoming famous. Now, I understand that GTA is a game who's humor comes from satire, but at what point do people begin to internalize this satire and accept it as a universal truth rather than thinking critically about it? When Carolyn Petit, a reviewer for Gamespot, gave GTAV a positive review but called out its problematic depiction of women, fans of the game took up arms and called her a "moron" amongst other things. One commenter even said that a woman's input was useless anyways. Is this really still going on in the 21st century?

The world of gaming is still very much a man's world. I like to think of it as the He-Man Woman-Haters club from "The Little Rascals": a place where boys (not men) can come together and feed off of each others toxic masculinity while calling each other pussies and faggots. I think it's time we begin putting more women into video game design studios where they can share their stories. We need more games where women take the spotlight not as sexual objects for the leering male gaze, but as fully fleshed-out characters who react to the story and push it along.

The future is female, y'all: pretty soon, they'll run even the virtual world.


Cover Image Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on unsplash

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Sexual Assault Isn't Going Away Anytime Soon

Thousands of untested rape kits are still present throughout the nation.
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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and as we enter into the second half of the month, the discussion started in the first half needs to continue. This is the 17th year that April has been observed as SAAM, and since 2010, it has been a Presidential Proclamation. This tradition was continued by President Trump this year, despite his own murky history with the topic. During his proclamation, the President stated, “Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability.” Despite any personal thoughts about the President or whether or not he is the person to be saying this with any kind of true meaning, this statement is true.

This problem of sexual offenders evading accountability goes beyond just the difficult nature of receiving a guilty verdict. The rape kits that survivors take, which are the most valuable form of evidence in a sexual misconduct case sit on the shelves of police stations. These rape kits go untested for years sometimes even decades, meanwhile, the DNA evidence that could be used to convict offenders that are walking free is sitting there without use.

11,000 rape kits in 2009 in Detroit alone were found recently to have been untested. With a large amount like that in one city alone, it is not that surprising that hundreds of thousands are subjected to this around the country as a whole. This is devastating to discover as the rate of people coming forward as survivors of sexual assault are already slim, and if those people’s evidence is not being tested, then an even slimmer amount of people that even get to use the evidence they give. Over the course of the near decade since this has come out, the kits have now been getting tested, although it has let many perpetrators remain untried for many years.

SAAM is to bring attention to these things. SAAM is to increase the discussion about the problems surrounding sexual assault in our country and how it affects the survivors of these atrocities. The odds that someone you know has been affected by sexual assault is much higher than you probably think, unfortunately. Even if, like in Detroit, it takes years for the truth to come out about incidents, it doesn’t mean that we have failed per-say.

The fact that these shelved rape kits are now getting tested despite the long amount of time shows how people are realizing that things regarding sexual assault can no longer be on the back-burner. The movement towards getting justice for people who have suffered these atrocities is not only important for society but also important to continue to let survivors feel like they still belong.

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures

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Trump Deems April As National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Does it discredit the proclamation if you can't spell assault right?
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March 30th, 2018 – The president issued a misspelled proclamation making April the new National Assault Awareness Month.

This is no April fool’s joke, the man known for his distasteful and disrespectful behavior toward women has picked up the where Barack Obama left off in 2010 in regard to Sexual Assault awareness in the United States and even had the chops to mispell the word "assault". This is hypocrisy on a National level, ladies, and gentlemen. It’s Mr. President Donald Trump.

Unlike your friendly winning lottery prank or fake traffic ticket violation placed strategically on your windshield, this is not funny. Most importantly, it is real. It is hard to say why this happened but at the same time, it’s not too surprising.

A Quick History Reminder

Back on November 16, 2018, there was an explosive outburst of accusations of misdeeds towards other high-profile men following the turn of events from the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Amongst the herd of shameless perpetrators, one of the men was the one and only, Mr. President Donald Trump. At the time of these accusations, his presidency was already being hit with a flurry of negative media, but I find it so amazing that one woman speaking out to the public about her sexual assault experience acted as a catalyst for a movement so much greater.

Following months and months after the first outburst, many more women began to come to light about the wrongdoings of powerful men. from newscasting to the newspaper, from New York Times to the Huffington Post...Sexual Assault was a buzzword for 2017-2018 and it wasn't going to left for dead just yet.

As mentioned earlier, in 2010, Obama made that year April the month to be aware of sexual assault. With all the commotion in the entertainment industry and politics it only makes sense to raise our awareness again, right?

The United States of America Official (Typo-d) Proclamation

In the midst of an ongoing sexual assault case involving the 80-year-old famous comedian Bill Cosby and the #MeToo movement. It made sense to bring national attention to the issue when we as a society are in desperate need of change.

What doesn’t make sense is the man who is making the bold claims to raise awareness. For someone who has had multiple accusations for allegedly inappropriately touching women, how can he have the audacity to sign his name to a proclamation of sexual assault?

On top of having diminished credibility in the women’s right movement, he proceeded to release the official document (with typos!). The typos in the official document have since been fixed. Let’s have a moment to dig through his proclamation:

"During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we remain steadfast in our efforts to stop crimes of sexual violence, provide care for victims, enforce the law, prosecute offenders, and raise awareness about the many forms of sexual assault. We must continue our work to eliminate sexual assault from our society and promote safe relationships, homes, and communities.

Together, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to doing our part to help stop sexual violence. We must not be afraid to talk about sexual assualt and sexual assult (first typo) prevention with our loved ones, in our communities, and with those who have experienced these tragedies. We must encourage victims to report sexual assault and law enforcement to hold offenders accountable, and we must support victims and survivors unremmittingly. Through a concerted effort to better educate ourselves, empower victims, and punish criminals, our Nation will move closer to ending the grief, fear, and suffering caused by sexual assult (second typo). The prevention of sexual violence is everyone’s concern."

This is not to make fun or treat this situation lightly at all. Trump's entire marketing campaign was an atrocity. This speaks to us on a massive scale. The fact that a president who "allegedly" sexually assaults women can:

1. Continue to do so and not get punished by law.

2. Assault women himself and then go ahead and raise awareness for the issue.

3. Write and sign a proclamation of raised awareness of sexual assault in America and not even spell check!

While some (most likely few) people appreciate Donald Trump for his proclamation, many people are stuck in disbelief and left with only the choice to let the show go on.

The Real Life Reality TV Show Continues

It's stories like these that make us wary of our political system and government. For a supreme establishment that is expected to perform at the highest of standards and have the best interest of our people, it's situations like this that diminish that hope. We can only hope as a society that change is on the horizon and that hopefully, it isn't too late.

To support the growth of the #MeToo movement the only way people can make an impact in the world is to bring out the truth.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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