Why Female Gamers Deserve Respect
When you are finished gawking, come back and ponder the results.
Far too often female gamers are associated with sexual exploitation, and in some cases female professionals in the gaming industry are subjected to ridicule and even harassment simply because they are women.
Video games themselves have a long history of exploiting women, possibly due to the large concentration of young males who make up the game development community. A woman in a game must necessarily be sexy, and when she is not (take Portal, for example), it becomes the subject of criticism or amazement because of its rarity.
In gaming it was a long-held perception that women only played casual games, the kind you might find in your phone’s app store. After all, the topics that most games covered were not the topics the stereotypical woman enjoyed watching in movies or on television. But women are a diverse bunch, and just as there are men who are only casual gamers, there are women who stay up all night trying to get the last achievement in their favorite first person shooters.
The Ultimate Disrespect
I decided to write this article after reading about an incident that happened a few years ago. When Ubisoft was preparing to release its now critically acclaimed game Assassin’s Creed in 2007, one of the producers of the game, Jade Raymond, acted as the spokesperson at several gaming events. That in itself was not usual. Game producers are expected to do this, and she was only doing her job.
Despite the normality of it all, her name and face quickly began appearing all over the web. Why? She is young, and many men apparently considered her to be attractive. People began to question why Ubisoft chose her to do interviews, pose next to Assassin’s Creed posters, and show up at promotional events. Were they whoring her around to get post-adolescent males to purchase the game? Did she sleep her way to the top? How could a young woman possibly have anything to do with a game other than being a booth babe?
These were the questions people were asking, and one man in particular went so far as to draw a lewd comic of Ms. Raymond performing sexual acts for men in hopes that they would buy her game. One can only imagine how offended she must have been and how disappointed she must be with the people who claim to be fans of her game.
Is It Surprising? Not at all. Many of the female faces of gaming are deliberately attractive. That is true of other industries, especially ones that fall into the category of entertainment. But Jade Raymond was not a “face” of the game but rather an actual business woman with programming experience and a knowledge of the game, which she tried to share. Unfortunately, far too many men could not get over her appearance, no matter how plainly clothed she was.
Why It Happens
The fact that men find certain women in the public spotlight attractive is not and should not be a problem. After all, every time one of those male Twilight characters appears, teenage girls and even older women drool and scream. That is a natural part of human existence. But attraction and admiration should not supplant respect and dignity.
If anything, gaming is an arena where gender should matter the least. There is nothing about gaming that would make the experience different for a man or a woman, and in the online gaming world, the only thing that would even confirm a gamer is actually a woman would be the sound of her voice.
The men who cannot control themselves and feel the need to objectify a woman have neither dignity nor respect for themselves, and one can probably trace that back to the lack of respect they have for their own mothers. That is why the word “sexy” so often accompanies the words “girl gamer” in YouTube searches. It is because so often, some men cannot associate women with anything other than sex.
Why We Love Women Gamers
Not all men disrespect women gamers, but they still have a tremendous amount of admiration and affection for them. They are unique and admittedly a minority among the masses of women who do not game (or at least do admit it publicly). They share a common interest with men, something that is often elusive in relationships and even platonic male-female friendships. For that reason, we love women gamers. We understand them, at least a little bit more than we understand the average woman. They deserve our respect and all the experience points they can amass.
Travis J. Hampton has been gaming since the Commodore 64 days. He is also a writer with several years of experience in web hosting technology, such as the services offered by dedicated hosting company 34SP.com.
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