miércoles, 3 de diciembre de 2014

Letter to Gamergaters

As a girl and as a gamer I have followed the #gamergate stuff since it began, I just find it very interesting. Yeah, I am a feminist, I have always been. No, I'm not the crazy "all teh menz r rapists" type. Why am I a feminist? Since I was little I have always had boy friends (as in friends that are boys, not boyfriends) and liked "stuff for boys", like videogames or super heroes. I have never felt less of a girl because of this stuff, so if I'm not wrong, then the rest of the world must be wrong, right?

I will be talking here exclusively from my point of view and from my experience, so if other women you have met are actually the evil beings you describe I can't know.

I saw a comment a while ago under an article about gamergate, I can't even remember the site so I can't link it or put a screenshot, but it was about this guy. He had always had it hard with people, been an outsider, even bullied I think. He always found refuge in videogames, so he was going to defend them. It was actually well written and felt honest, not like a tantrum like people might think.

From what I have read, and popular articles have addressed in more aggressive ways, the people (not all, I know) on the other side of the "battle" are scared games will stop to be the way we know them. That this women, who in the past were the ones that bullied them for liking games (because apparently only one type of woman exists), now want to take part in the gaming world because it is what's popular now, and want to modify it to their liking. These people (not all I know), feel invaded in their territory, in their safe space.

But I highly doubt that the type of girls who bullied you when games weren't popular are the same who want an in at them now. (I mean, we can't never be sure, but it just doesn't seem likely)

Look, as a boy, yes, you might get bullied for being a geek, but if you don't like sports and instead like videogames they are still "stuff for boys". But as a girl you only get one type of girl to be. And that is the girl who likes makeup and barbies. Look at any toy aisle, boys get a lot of colors while girls only get pink. Look at the Koopalings or the Wonderful 101, there are a lot of male types, but only one girl. Girl is another type in whole.

Yes, in an ideal world it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't matter wether you are a boy or a girl, black or white, gay or straight, or any other physical trait. Maybe we are taking the wrong approach and should be acting more in the "ideal world way". But we don't live in an ideal world. We live in the real world, which is still full of obstacles. That's why feminism was called feminism (and led to the horrible misconceptions we have today) because subhuman women were the ones trying to get human status. But I'm not here to discuss feminist history.

What I want is precisely for girls to have choices just like boys do. For a girl to be able to get a Christmas present from a distant relative that isn't automatically a doll. But in this instance specifically, for games to be both for girls and for boys.

I don't want girls to stop liking pink altogether, I want girls who like pink to be able to buy pink and girls who don't to be able to buy blue without social stigma. I want girls to not automatically be expected to be housewives, but girls who want to be housewives be okay as well. For boys who want to be stay at home dads be okay. To not get a "whoah you are a woman engineer" but for it to be something normal (there are a lot of careers that might not be appropriate for a girl not because of the work there is to do, but because of the environment).

You say games are aimed at boys because those are the ones who play them, but how can we get girls to play games if very few are aimed at them too? Yes, girls can like shooting and violence too (I certainly do), but it can get pretty uncomfortable (at least from my straight point of view) to watch semi-naked women dancing in front of you all the time. If you are a straight boy, imagine watching semi-naked men dancing in front of you all the time. Imagine looking for a cool character for your avatar and only finding very inappropriate for your job ones, watching a movie and that the only male character was an annoying one with a couple of lines. Imagine wanting to role play (not an D&D, but pretending to be a character from somewhere), and only having one choice (the girl), instead of three or four characters (the leader, the geeky sidekick, the junkie). Imagine that your role is always to be rescued, to be a trophy.

You make the ideal gamer girl one who shuts up about her gender and just plays, but even that girl might go to a con and get a lot of "a woman!" comments. And if she wins at a tournament she might get "no way!" comments, as if physical strength meant something in videogames.

For us to have games be for everyone we don't need to disappear violence from games, or make "girly" games of dress-up and fashion. But we do need to eliminate the specific elements that alienate certain people away from them, so that they can enjoy them too. There might be instances when some stuff is okay, I always defend games are made so that you can do things you can't in real life, but there are a lot of moments when certain stuff isn't justified.

I wish I had the resources to make a violent and cool game that isn't misogynistic, just to prove it to you. (I think Borderlands is doing a good job in this department nowadays, but at first there was only one playable female)

Maybe you don't want games to become more mainstream, maybe you like them to be a niche thing only for you and people like you. Maybe is the only place you can be exclusive. And if that is the case there is nothing I can do to defend my point of view.

But no, we are not here to take games away from you. We are not here to change them all forever. We are here to open eyes and expand the gamer world, so everybody can have a part in it. So everybody can have the option of being a true gamer.

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