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.

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.


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Winfrey's Words On Sexual Assault Touch The Hearts Of Men And Women

The speech that has the nation talking.

For those of you who missed the Golden Globes on Sunday, January 7, Oprah Winfrey, the first black female recipient of the Cecil B. deMille Award delivered a rather ground-breaking speech on behalf of African Americans and women at large leaving many speculating her potential candidacy in the election of 2020.

In 1952, the annual tradition of presenting the Cecil B. deMille Award began when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association resolved to institute an honor that would recognize an individual's "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment."

It may have come as a surprise that Winfrey's acceptance speech did not touch on any of her previous achievements as many recipients of the award have in the past. Rather, she took this opportunity to share a movingly vivid recollection of a historical event involving the rape of a young African American woman by the name of Recy Taylor.

As Winfrey shared, one evening in 1944, Taylor was returning home from church when she was seized and blindfolded by six white men who raped and left her on the side of the road. She lived to be 97 years old and drew her last breath in her sleep at a nursing home located in Abbeville, Alabama on December 28, 2017.

Winfrey's speech reflected heavily on sexual harassment and the Me Too Movement. Me Too, or #MeToo, sparked recently in October among several other social media hashtags designed to encourage women to speak out and share their stories of sexual violence.

However, what remains undoubtedly most commendable about Winfrey's speech is the fact that while she clearly stands for women, their rights, and the stand against abuse, she continues to remain an equalist. This is seen through her careful and brilliant use of language. While she spoke of our ever-growing strong feminine power, she did not use concrete words. Words that would suggest men as the inferior. In fact at the end of her speech, she did just the opposite. She brought the viewer's attention to men as well resulting in the crowd—comprised of thousands of women and men—rising to their feet for a standing ovation.

Cover Image Credit: abc NEWS

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Reevaluating My Feminism

I am a feminist because I believe in the power of women.

I’ve considered myself a feminist since my junior year of high school. At the time, I barely knew what that meant, only that I wanted women to have the same opportunities and rights as men. I knew what the wage gap was if only the most basic understanding; I knew that certain professions were looked down on for being “women’s work." I also knew that the girls in my elementary school for bullied by the boys for being too girly and too feminine. I knew that femininity was something women were expected to project, but too much meant that we were ditzy, annoying and uncool.

As I’ve gotten older, I've learned that feminism is flawed. The first two waves were racially exclusive, with notable suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony talking bad about black women. The current wave of feminism (third or fourth, depending on your opinion) is trying its best to be inclusive, but it still falls short. I often feel that I am left out of conversations on intersectional feminism. Where is a Mexican woman’s place in the revolution?

Feminism tends to cater to cisgender upper-class white women and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for women who don’t fit those standards. Even the second annual Women’s March catered to those women. There’s nothing wrong with including cisgender upper-class white women, but those shouldn’t be the only women lifted up.

And yet, with all that being said, I am still a feminist.

I am a feminist because I believe in the power of women. If conversations about feminism don’t include me, I will include myself. If they don’t include trans women, women of color or poor women, I will bring them into the conversation. As Midy Aponte said, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, bring your own chair.”

I know that change begins from within, and if I am unhappy with some parts of feminism, I can make the change to be better. I am the change I want to see in the world. I am constantly checking my feminism to make sure that I'm standing up for all women, not just women like me. As Audre Lorde said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

Where my feminism falls short, I will take a step back and educate myself. Where it's not my place to speak on other’s behalf, I will listen. Where it is my path to march, I will.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Madueno

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