Under Siege: Playing Video Games While Woman

Zoe Quinn is another in a long line of women who have incurred the wrath of gaming assholes. Her ex-boyfriend made sure to slander her and bring 4chan along for the ride because nothing says revenge quite like getting a bunch of thugs to go after the person you feel wronged you (of course, considering he posted revenge porn, created a complete facebook page to revile her, made up a story about Quinn sleeping with a reviewer from Kotaku to get a positive review about her video game Depression Quest even though said review doesn’t exist, harassed her friends and family and acquaintances to get at her…you have to wonder what kind of person he is. Actually, not really. His actions show it. *shudder* Yeah, a real winner girls. SInce he’s gotten away with his assholery this time, can you imagine what he’s going to do to his next unlucky ex?).

So the wish-I-were-still-a-teen thirty-something crowd is bleating that Quinn is ruining video games for women because she’s such a shameful slut. And of course her actions are so female-y men see her example and just assume all women are like that because it fits the stereotypes so well. Yeeaahh, right. Does that mean I get to see how men are treating her and declare that every male gamer is an asshole necrophilic rapist?

Of course not. The harassment and threats, however, are just another example of how men really really hate women intruding on their “space”–which just happens to be the entire world. We show our face and they try to rip it off to prove that no, women don’t belong, and get the hell out. Video games are men’s play, and they absolutely have to stay that way.

Why? Why should half the population be excluded from fun?

I love playing video games, despite the fact fewer and fewer interest me. Shooters are not my style, especially the endless, mind-numbingly-the-same war-themed games (I remember when X-Play had four screenshots of four different games placed together, and they all had the same look, the same palette, the same types of players, and ultimately had the same gameplay in nearly the same places. Same everything, different company. I felt then that producing so many of the same type of game would glut the market and interest would drop, and I still feel that way, because it leads to boring, repetitive gameplay. It’s probably why the teens at a local video game club have abandoned COD and Battlefield within a year of individual games being released yet continue to battle each other in SSB: Brawl with great enthusiasm–a game, I must remind you, that was releaed in 2008).

I love RPGs, with some action-adventure thrown in. I especially love sandbox RPGs like the Elder Scrolls series–and was very, very disappointed that Zenimax decided that the series should be an MMO.

Why? Because I knew how my fellow players would act.

Not all are loathsome human beings, but enough of them are that they diminish my enthusiasm for playing Elder Scrolls Online. I just *love* logging on and seeing the zone chat filled with someone “joking” about killing women and having sex with their dead bodies. Or that the best woman is one with a face so bruised she can’t talk. How do you shut up a woman? With your fist. Yes, yes, an online MMO is OBVIOUSLY the place for this kind of talk. Well, it is for many men, because they know it will drive a few women off the game. That is all they care about, sanitizing their space from the stink of woman. I wish I could sanitize my space from the stink of them and play in peace. It’s why I dislike on-line gaming so much, and why I value the single player game. When I ride Epona across a field shooting at goblins, bash a bunny on the head, or race across the ice to meet a wisp mother, I don’t want some jackass sending rape threats my way. Kind of ruins the moment, you know?

I really want my single player games back. It will never happen because companies see on-line gaming as a cash cow (IF those games succeed, which is so not a given). Even when games have a single-player campaign, oftentimes it is a pale reflection of the robust on-line version. If a woman ventures on-line to play, the harassment they receive is well-documented and explains why many women tend to shy away from competing unless they are in a setting with friends (just Google abuse, video games and women. The number of results, and the stories they tell, are depressing).

Seriously. During what other hobby do men constantly cast rape and death threats at women for simply participating? Sexism abounds in the real world, but it seems like anything to do with on-line gaming eternally drips with oily venom towards women–and worse.

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