Gaming Like A Sir: We Are Gamer, Hear Us Roar
A man defending feminism, I must be on my period.
If you give me a few moments of your time, I’m going to make you hate yourself. Borderlands 2 developer, Gearbox caused a few waves recently by joking about some sexist things. To succinctly sum up the situation, a Gearbox employee said that there would be a new character skill tree aimed at “girlfriends”. Basically a retard mode so that the manatees we have in our lives can try join in on the sophisticated fun us gamers have.
As I started writing my iPod shuffled to Mandy by Barry Manilow. The mood is right. Now gather around in delectation and delight as I show you the precipice we stand on. We have a decision to make, either way is fine, but we must make this decision consciously.
Feminism is awful. There’s a lot of sisterhoods, cropped hair, ill-fitting jeans, double standards and unwanted body hair. You think you might be a feminist, but if you’re a normal human being who wants equality for all you’re an equalitarian. Feminism has been widely used to describe two conflicting things and it’s time we separated them.
When most men think of a feminist, they think of something awful. We think of a she-beast who wants only to make us feel bad for who we are. Men are too sexist and controlling, girls conform to archetypes and don’t fight for what they deserve. The feminist looks at you and sees either a monstrosity or weakness. These people serve only to make us hate ourselves and they need to go.
Most women I know, at least the ones I’m proud to have in my life, want equality. Chivalry is neither mandatory nor is it condescending, it’s nice. A woman can get a job or take care of the home, either is equally acceptable. There seems to be this idea in feminism that when a woman needs a man, she is weak.
Bullshit, we need each other. It’s a partnership. Gender will always be a universally divisive metric. Feminism refuses to admit those differences while misogyny takes those differences and calls them inferiorities. Equal in their wrongness.
I am a man, you are a woman. Let’s be friends.
Now I don’t want to actually talk about Gearbox and its foot in mouth moment. It was a single comment by one man on a huge team and the sad reality is that the majority of the girlfriends in the world couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the games we play. In an odd move, the mode is a really nice one.
I can think of a half dozen different scenarios in which a mode for inexperienced gamers will be cool. What I want to discuss today though, is the industry reaction to this nonsense. Whenever a new “controversy” comes along, the entire observing internet splits in half. Half are suddenly hardcore lesbians, and the other half become misogynistic pre-rapists.
Now I have an offensive sense of humour. I’ve used pornography to describe piracy and I’ve compared the qualities I look for in games to the characteristics of the perfect woman. I love wildly inappropriate jokes and all things brimming with offensiveness are funny. It’s fashionable to be so liberal you can make racist or sexist jokes and take it in good humour. Sometimes we take it too far, like when I told my Asian friend to stop squinting at me, or when I took a camera to the kitchen and made a wildlife documentary about a female friend in her “natural habitat” as she cooked.
I am unashamed of my humour and apologise to no one because I do it consciously, deliberately and carefully. The gaming industry does not yet have that privilege.
Gaming is a notoriously male dominated industry. Chalk it up to some of those gender differences I mentioned, but gaming in its earliest form was the domain of only the most buck-toothed, glasses wearing, pants worn around the nipples, never had a girlfriend kind of nerds.
Then we matured, we became a frat-house. The image of a gamer became a guy doing a chick doggy-style, resting a beer and some chips on her back while playing Call of Duty. As much as that might sound good in a dark part of your heart, most of us know the difference between fantasy and reality. The same way our women can dream of Ryan Gosling but still love our sorry asses.
This brings us to the precipice, gaming is now main stream. Even the CoD-tards are looking to deeper and more thoughtful experiences as they mature. Gaming is opening up to the ladies and it’s exciting, but also terrifying.
For many men, gaming was their haven. A place and an activity for men to be men, to indulge our most unrealistic fantasies. It was the modern day equivalent of a gentleman’s club. Now suddenly our sisters are playing games, our wives and girlfriends want to learn, and even our mothers lose their pensions on Farmville or can thrash you in Peggle.
It is scary for us men, in a world where men need to curb their natural, unclean bastardness, we’re losing a haven of that immaturity. It makes us nervous but it’s healthy, it’s time for us to let go, grow up and become better men.
I want to one day play games with my wife and have it be as normal as watching a movie together. This will only happen if we demand a change. Make sexist jokes, be a bastard, but let’s move it away from gaming. It stings too close to the truth when we joke about misogyny in our little industry, at least for now.
So next time there is sexism in a game, next time a friend jokes about how retarded a girl is at a game, punch them in the face. Punch them verbally, emotionally, and physically. Shut that shit down.
We are losing something, we’re losing a place to be with only men and to feel comfortable just being savages. It’s okay to admit that you’re going to miss it, but there will be other way to do that. Go camping, play pool in a bar, play a sport. I want gaming to grow up. It’s time to make that decision consciously, never apologise for what we loved, but be man enough to move on.
Unless you’re a bitch?