Friday, June 13, 2014

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Comment of the Week: What Happens When a Sexist Gamer Tries to Justify His Sexism to a Smart Gamer

Controller floral

This week New World Notes was inundated with mansplaining gamers who didn't like Iris' entirely non-controversial belief that E3 should have more diversity (starting with gender), and their cascade of patently wrong statements (confidently stated nonetheless) was so thoroughly off-base as to make a response almost impossible. Fortunately, a much smarter gamer dude who goes by the name Aracdia Codesmith came along, and recounted his experience with one of these mansplainers in the wild:

I had this discussion just yesterday with a young man who confidently asserted that 95% of gamers are male. When I provided the real figure (about 55% and shrinking), he blustered that he meant that 95% of "real" gamers were male. I helpfully corrected him with a breakdown of just how many women were playing "real" games like Call of Duty and consoles, the surprising representation of women in guild leadership positions in MMOs, and the astonishing growth of the demographic over a very short period of time across ALL genres of gaming. He started flailing around pathetically, with no evidence, that women console players were all playing Wii and the statistics didn't matter anyway -- since they were a minority, they didn't have any right to comment, I guess. Then he threw in a slam at Andrea Dworkin and I knew what species of mouth-breathing Australopithecus I was dealing with, and I knew he lacked the brain capacity to learn and change, so I bowed out.

And here comes Codesmith's killing blow:

Let me be blunt about this: anybody who thinks gaming is a white male thing at this point in history is being deliberately obtuse. The boys' club was NEVER 100% boys, and it's just going to get less and less so.

This is true. Though I do disagree with Mr. Codesmith on one point: The reason why young men confidently assert that 95% of gamers are male is because other male gamers who know better don't set them straight. Someone that far in the dark is not going to listen to a knowledgeable woman like Anita Sarkeesian (because of, you know, that whole hating and fearing women thing). So it's the duty of men who respect women and support women gamers to step up and confront ignorance like this, and make the facts plain.

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Ciaran Laval

World Of Warcraft apparently has 84% male players whereas Eve-Online reputedly has a staggering 96% male players.

http://www.redcentricplc.com/virtual-worlds/

However the larger issue is why aren't more females seeking a career in the computing industry?

The industry itself gets a large share of the blame for this but the roots of the problem with schools and colleges who don't seem to appeal to females.

Nalates Urriah

Changing minds is not a simple task. As Codesmith found out, the young man was simply not going to change his unfounded opinion. In his mind he is right and no one shall change that belief with mere facts.

Debate in general now follows the rules of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Discovering truth is not the point, it is to win people to your point of view, right or wrong is no longer the issue. This style of discussion seems to be spreading to all levels of human communication. Thus there is no way to convince the young man how far from reality he is.

Dave

What is the point of this article other than to beat over the head the misinformed 'mansplainer' (that term in and of itself is annoying), who not only being a pretty petty tool for a straw man argument but also becomes the representation for most male gamers. Just because you don't know the exact statistics of how many women in the world play games doesn't make you sexist. Clearly he is closed minded but the quoted person is not woman-bashing, just because you may be averse to artificially coming along to E3 and insisting that they install some kind of diversity protocol doesn't make you sexist.

If so many women are playing games that glorify some of the old pathological mens gender roles in video games with their hyper violence like the aforementioned Call of Duty, then what is the point of having more women on the panel of the E3 show? what is it going to change or make anything different about the industry? We need more diversity because everyone else has some kind of moral superiority to the white male who apparently runs E3 is both sexist and racist?

I find this blog has a distinctly sexist bias of it's own in that it seems to imply that if more women were making games their would be more emotional sensitivity or less violence in the industry. Or that it takes offence to big titted sexually objectified women in video games, but doesn't take offense to men's gender role models as meat headed violent soldiers who more often than not are purposelessly destructive, and that's largely all the role models that young boys and men get.

The language of this article is ridiculous:

"The reason why young men confidently assert that 95% of gamers are male is because other male gamers who know better don't set him straight. Someone that far in the dark is not going to listen to a knowledgeable woman like Anita Sarkeesian (because of, you know, his whole hating and fearing women thing)."

So not only have you equated a ' mouth-breathing Australopithecus' as a fair representation of all or most male gamers, but also you need to throw in the comparison of how smart Anita Sarkeesian is, in comparison to all the male gamers who are apparently all woman hating and fearing, what!?

And here comes Codesmith's killing blow:

"Let me be blunt about this: anybody who thinks gaming is a white male thing at this point in history is being deliberately obtuse. The boys' club was NEVER 100% boys, and it's just going to get less and less so."

Who the hell thinks that in this day in age of overly liberal obsession with diversity, political correctness and white male bashing?

A.J.

"Who the hell thinks that in this day in age of overly liberal obsession with diversity, political correctness and white male bashing?"

Gee Dave, you could have saved us all a lot of reading if you just would have opened with that line.

Mmm-hmm.

Emperor Norton

LOL I love how Dave shows Nalates Urriah point in action.

Hamlet Au

"World Of Warcraft apparently has 84% male players whereas Eve-Online reputedly has a staggering 96% male players."

Cieran, I think that WoW citation is outdated, probably referencing Nick Yee's research from 2006. Nielsen did some research around this in 2008 and found this:

http://www.shacknews.com/article/58076/nielsen-estimates-400000-female-world

In a chart comparing the PC game usage of females and males aged 25-54, World of Warcraft was the most-played "core" game for females, with over 428,621 unique female players estimated in December 2008. The statistic is even more impressive when considering that an estimated 675,713 unique male players of the same age group logged into World of Warcraft during the period, indicating that the WoW gender gap may not be as large as some imagine.

Dave

"LOL I love how Dave shows Nalates Urriah point in action."

You want to explain that? Given I didn't take any issue with the facts that there are many female gamers, but disagreed more with the offensive generalisations of the post, or the ones prior such as the subtle use of titles like this 'Were There More Female Presenters or Severed Heads on Stage at E3 Yesterday'. Why that comparison? Subtly implying that all the male perspective of the computer industry is synonymous with the severed heads, perpetuating some of the extremist views of bad feminists (I make that distinction as opposed to good ones, I myself am a pretty knowledge feminist but I'm also a masculinist), that men are inherently violent and only responsible for the world's 'patriarchal' problems and the answer is to hand over the baton to women, despite the fact it's more true to say that both men and women's traditional roles have their limitations and both sexes staunchly instilled 1000s of years of culture that supported those very roles.

I agree the games industry could do with a huge change, but the fact that there are so many female gamers (45% by the sentiments of the article), and the games industry has hardly changed at all, surely you should be arguing that gender aware people beings regardless of gender, who want to create positive progressive representations need to be at E3 etc, not just some sexist insistence that there be more women. Having a female speaker there is just as likely to spout the same crap as any male speaker, it's just sexist to demand they be female regardless of their message. Hence we need something more than just along these sentiments:

"So it's the duty of men who respect women and support women gamers to step up and confront ignorance like this, and make the facts plain."

Ridiculous, it's not a terribly shocking or important fact for one. I can't imagine most female gamers care any more about it than the average male gamer, though they are just as responsible. Comparable is the fashion industry in SL, a huge proportion of it is slutty and overly sexualised yet it's dominated by women, I suppose that's the population of men's singular fault too? Men should take it upon themselves to 'educate' the women that actively choose to act that way? Show me as many women who care about men's issues as men who have campaigned for women's rights and representations and you would blow my mind.

There's so many stupid gender divisive sentiments in the post it's ridiculous.

Cake

I originally was going to ask Hamlet to clarify if those were actual females,or just female avs. Turns out,the article states they are real females playing *as* female avatars.

Thought I'd throw this in there, for anyone wondering.

Cyber Placebo

Anyone interested in this post, this 2013 TheESA study might open a few eyes (p3): http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/esa_ef_2013.pdf

Deoridhe Quandry

It's amazing that "There is lots of diversity in gamers and games and the people who make them should reflect that." gets so quickly translated into "You just want to bash white men."

It's almost like they're willfully obtuse in order to try to retain the stranglehold on the industry.

Orca Flotta

As a woman I have to say something most of my fellow girls won't like to hear:

In this day and age of openness and equal opportunities, if you wanna be in the gaming industry you can. If you wanna sit on discussion panels go ahead, if you wanna have something to say just say it. There's no mouthbreather holding you back. All they can do is grumble and mumble and talk uneducated bs. Oh, you can't attend this or that college or school since it's not "appealing for girls"? Huh? What's that even supposed to mean? Paint of the walls not pink enough for you, sweetie?

I still guess if we don't see many women in important positions in the gaming industry it's because they aren't interested.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Orca, while society may be more open, much of the talk of equal opportunity is lip service and many will try to get away with as much bigotry as they can get.

Meaning the the mostly-male game industry, they just might pick other men to be on panels. Sometimes it's not even bigotry but ignorance because all of the people they "know" are guys like them.

It's kind of like how a few years ago in the PS2 era there were female staffers and reviewers at most of the video game magazines...but now it's all dudebro-gamers. Thanks a lot Microsoft for elevating marketing to the dudebro-gamer demographic so much.

Carla

I have to agree with Orca, what great societal barrier is there to women being in more important positions in the gaming industry?


Fred

Obvious flame bait is obvious..

Three articles about some sort of male conspiracy in a row just becuase we did not agree with the first post, geez..

Dave Sux 420

Dave pls go. Drudge Report is over there.

DavetheDon:P

How about no and you actually come back with a logical come back.

Someone needs to check the confusion here between the stark difference between actual sexism and just not knowing every statistic about the gaming industry. It would've been alot more intelligent to actually make a post on the demographics of the gaming industry! not just dedicate it to some smart ass beating down a straw man.

Arcadia Codesmith

First of all, while I try not to get hung up on pronouns, and I take the generic non-gendered "dude" in stride (it's a little jarring, but in some contexts perversely flattering), "him" and "his" are not exactly correct in reference to Arcadia.

I discussed a conversation I had with one person, and I believe I quite carefully stated that he represents a small and shrinking, albeit vocal, segment of the population. I see how that gets blown up into a "straw man" argument by disingenous, devious manipulators lashing out against straw feminism, but it's disheartening to say the least.

I didn't consign this man to the Australopiticine genus on the basis of one flubbed statistic. It was the fact that when confronted with real data, he immediately pivoted to "you can't trust statistics" (except, apparently, the ones he provided), with a full press charge that the stats had been doctored to be "politically correct" -- despite the fact that they came straight from an industry trade group. His entire demeanor towards me went from condescending to insulting to worse as the weight of evidence backed him further and further into the corner.

He, in short, very much failed to live up to the "sapiens" in "Homo Sapiens sapiens". I suppose it's remotely possible that he would fall into the hominid family, but Australopithicus was the closest relationship I could establish with any degree of confidence.

I hold human males as a whole to a much higher standard.

Deoridhe Quandry

I have to agree with Orca, what great societal barrier is there to women being in more important positions in the gaming industry?

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/11/1reasonwhy-brings-game-design-discrimination-to-light

Pep

Kirsty Wark (who should know better, but demonstrated a deep and humiliating lack of understanding of technology; she should stick to the arts) recently did a "documentary" on females in gaming. I laughed scornfully at most of the emotional irrational arguments expressed, but one moment stood out for me. The screen was showing ranks of gamers at some massive meetup, males with attitude hunched over keyboards wearing functional black headsets of sufficient size to prevent them from pulling their hoodies over their heads, and just as some female whinged that "they don't take us seriously", the camera focused in on a sole female gamer - wearing shocking pink fluffy headphones . . .

Pep (thinks the programme's editor was showing what he thought about the subject.)

Hamlet Au

Pep, can you more clearly explain what you mean? Only gamers wearing hoodies should be taken seriously?

Look

Hamlet, I guess he was trying to say that when those males are taking videogames seriously, shown females were just using gaming as yet another trendy hobby which they likely will dump when it go outta pages of magazines, but meanwhile trying to bend existing order to suit them.
It's like when your dad takes your car just to go down to the shop to pick parts for his one, but he adjusts driver's seat and mirrors anyway, switching stereo to oldies, tilting steering column, and you spend week restoring your sweet settings(not sure how Americans are familiar with this, with all those new electrical things around).

Arcadia Codesmith

The long-term trend line of women in gaming has gone nowhere but up since the advent of the computer game. This isn't a fad.

And while some companies are continuing to cater to a perceived core demographic twenty years out of date, others are more than happy to soak up all that lovely new revenue, with little more change or effort required than a baseline level of respect for all segments of their customer base.

It doesn't take a decade of sensitivity training to add female soldiers to a war game (who look like soldiers, not porn stars in camo). All it takes is a desire to maximize profits. And bless capitalism's shriveled little black heart, that alone makes change inevitable and irreversible.

Wolf Baginski

I think it is quite possible that, despite the high number of female players, measured over all games, there are still relatively few in some sorts of game. Add the way that women are squeezed into a rather ugly male viewpoint in too many games, and I can see why they can be missed as players.

I understand that at E3 the only significant female action-game character was Lara Croft, who has an awkward history as a game character.

I think the thing that so many people forget is that the playable characters in games are exceptional people, and at that level you can find historical examples of women.

But Lara Croft or Larry Croft: which version do you want to play? That franchise has developed a lot, and has a good writer. I'd expect to see something a bit smarter than a FemShep staring raptly at a dancer in a strip-club.

But maybe I'm just weird. Maybe no true man would think like I do.

Or maybe the peoblems in the games just aren't talked about, either in advertising or by the critics. Take the original Saints Row, and the clip shown in Women as Background Decoration at about 11:40. Nobody mentions that you're expected to steal prostitutes from other pimps. It's just described as "parody" and "black comedy".

Is there something akin to the idea that one joints starts you on the fatal slide into hard drugs? The game starts with the cheap thrill of fast driving or a Hollywood-style gunfight, and by the time you get to see the inner sickness you're already hooked.

If you play such games, and enjoy them without questioning what you're expected to do, have you already been seduced by the Dark Side?

Pussycat Catnap

"As a woman I have to say something most of my fellow girls won't like to hear:

In this day and age of openness and equal opportunities, if you wanna be in the gaming industry you can. If you wanna sit on discussion panels go ahead, if you wanna have something to say just say it. "
*****

Go interview at some tech companies and then come back here and say that with a straight face. So it again at ages 30, 40, and 50.

Agism is also rampant in tech, but it hits women much harder. If by age 30 you have not carved out a non-coder role for yourself in an organization... consider going back to school after the next round of layoffs in a bubble-burst. By 30 for women, you had better have managed to become a project manager, marketer, analyst, visual designer (NOT game designer), or manager... or you can start seeing your prospects dwindle very fast...

I'm glad I'm not a coder - both the men and women face some rather harsh biases over there. I work in tech, and I can see it in the offices I've worked in, going on all around me.

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