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April 28, 2012

Women Gamers and the Abuse They Suffer

(Thanks to GamingsRapture)
(Some rude language follows, as I'm not going to censor it so that you can see what they really do put up with)

In Thursday's post on movie review misogyny, I mentioned the troubles that female gamers have as well. I don't game online that much, but when I do (mostly first-person shooters), I have noticed that most of the usernames on there are either obviously guys or they're ambiguous. I do sit up and take notice when there's an obviously female name on there, though.

This is not for the reasons you might expect.

You hear stories all the time of the abuse that women get when they play online. Rude come-ons ("Would you mind...showing me your tits?"). Insults because they just happen to be better at the game than the guy saying the insult. ("stfu you fat fucking texas slag, go lose some weight,get a job and make some real friends.")

Some of these are said on the mic you use to talk when you're online. Some of these are actually sent to the woman's inbox on Xbox Live or Playstation or on the PC. It's no wonder that in most of the games where I do notice a female gamertag, she doesn't say anything. It really opens you up to abuse when you do that. Some are dismissive of them as a 12-year-old boy (yes, some women's voices are high-pitched, which is amplified by the mic) and when it does come out that they're a woman, the comments are let loose.

I am lucky enough, probably because I don't play that much, that I can say I've never heard any of this in the games I have played. Then again, I have rarely heard the woman speak unless she's in with her husband/boyfriend and they're talking, so it's not surprising I haven't heard any of the abuse either.

It's sad to say that this has kept many women from actually participating in online gaming.

Others, however, fight to expose the misogyny and shame them into submission.

The two quotes I pulled above were taken from two wonderful sites run by confident female gamers who have some fun while they're exposing the idiocy of the "typical" male gamer (hopefully they're not *that* typical and it's just because there are so many of us out there that there's always going to be a sizable proportion of assholes).

The "show me your tits" comment was taken from a site called Not in the Kitchen Anymore run by Jenny Haniver. I just found this site today and it appears to be all her own stuff. She takes recordings of the stuff she hears and puts them on display for all to hear, with transcripts too for those who can't listen or don't want to. She sounds like an incredibly tough woman to put up with all of this, but sometimes it's best to laugh and mock than to get upset by it. All transcripts say "RMP" (Random Male Player) rather than calling out who it is.

The other comment with the helpful suggestion of going out and making some real friends comes from a site I discovered a few weeks ago (thanks to one of the best bloggers on Game Informer, Oni No Tenshi, for pointing this out to me in a wonderful article on trying to get your female significant other to game).

The site is called "Fat, Ugly, or Slutty" and the title is based on the typical insults that female gamers get. If you're a woman and you're a gamer, it's very likely you will be accused of being fat, being ugly (both because you obviously can't find a're gaming, right?) or being a slut. That last one doesn't make any sense to me because, if you're truly a slut, why would you be wasting time with idiots online who you can't see, rather than going down to the bar and picking up guys there?

Logical thinking has never been the strong suit for these types of idiots.

Anyway, Fat, Ugly or Slutty is the brainchild of one "gtz", or Grace (gtz is her online handle). She and a small staff of supporters document the abuse women take online. Readers can submit what they have had to deal with, so it's not just a personal thing for these women. The examples shown on the site are from a lot of people. The site also doesn't hide from naming names. If "IgnorantGuyGamer" says something stupid, he will be named on the site.

I like this kind of public shaming. These guys shouldn't be able to get away with this shit. It's sad that, in this day and age, women have to either be afraid to be gaming online or have to grow super-thick skin in order to put up with it. And it's not just shooters. They can get it in an online casual poker game! "never play poker again. Your (sic) the worst player I've ever seen ohh by the way close your legs I can smell you from here."

That guy's Xbox Live name is now out there attached to that comment.

(Thanks to DigFest)
I like to think that I would be publicly calling this out if it were happening in a lobby that I was in (and I had my mic on, which I often don't). I did call out some racist guy who was making comments about black people during a Call of Duty game I was playing, but sadly it was my last game of the night so I couldn't tell whether it actually had any effect. That makes me think I would do so in a case like this too.

Guys out there, come on. Stop with this stupid bullshit. There should be no divide between male and female gamers. We're all just gamers. Period. Stop with the misogynist idiocy. If a woman is good at a game, it's not because she's a fat, ugly shut-in who got good because she can't get a man. Realize that hey, she might just be better than you if she's killing you all the time, and she's probably also a perfectly well-adjust businesswoman who happens to have gaming as a hobby.

Or, then again, you might just suck at this game.

Because we already know you suck at life.


  1. Hate to say it, but the ones who spend hours gaming don't strike me as the mature-type anyway. It's good that these women are fighting back. They shouldn't be shoved aside because of gender if they wish to play games online. For the record, I am not a gamer. I have a wii, but it's rarely played for games--mainly for fitness. Have to say though, as a woman outdoorsman who hunts and shoots, sometimes that attitude about women is out there, too, but without the language...just the attitude.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Nikole! Have you been by before? I can't remember.

    I can imagine that attitude can be prevalent in the hunting and shooting field as well. How do you deal with it when it comes up?


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