While not strictly related to topless equality or nudism, yesterday I came across this article, titled “The Cost Of Being A Woman Who Covers Video Games” and it so moved me that I wanted to repost some of the highlights here. Please head to the link above to read the whole thing yourself, and you might want to follow the author on twitter: @MIDImyers
Ten years ago, the gender imbalance in the video game industry was not seen as a problem to be solved so much as a mundane and largely unquestioned reality.
Essentially, it’s an article that covers some of the seismic shifts that have happened in the gaming space, and more specifically in the feminist-and-other-minority-representation space of critically analyzing video games and how their narratives both reflect and guide a certain subset of our culture.
When mainstream sites tried to tackle topics that were commonplace in indie spaces, especially the ways that games framed gender roles and sexuality, the response was often angry blowback from readers.
Given that I have been playing video games since preschool, and have received targeted backlash and accusations of being a “fake nerd” since at least the first year of Youtube’s existence when I started to review and let’s play video games, I certainly know first-hand what sort of toxicity used to be and remains a constant factor in both “gamer” culture and in the games themselves. When the article mentions how frequently “rape” used to be utilized as a standing for “defeated” in everyday gamer speech, that brought back a surge of memories of just how true that was–the ubiquitous treatment of heavily emotionally scarring speech as a “cool and edgy” way of flavoring how much you liked or hated parts of a video game.
This rhetorical division played into generations of gender-based stereotypes that see objectivity as inherently “masculine.” Criticism of a game’s tone and narrative was seen as more subjective and therefore intrinsically biased, as well as more “feminine.”
This part of the article highlighted something I’d never quite thought of that way, but which makes perfect sense. Just look at how a faux sense of “objectivity” has taken over many other situations and cultural sectors that are predominantly voiced by toxic male figureheads- atheism and the alt-right, for instance. How many so-called arguments in those spaces can be boiled down to essentially “my argument is more rational than yours, because I pretend that there’s no such thing as identity politics to cloud my judgement” (says the straight white cis male who is so accustomed to his default priviledge that the mere consideration of viewpoints other than his own feels like an attack- “To those who are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression” -anonymous)
Anyway, I just wanted to jot something down quickly to hopefully inspire some of you to check out the full article, even those of you not particularly interested in video games. 🙂 Again, please check it out here: https://kotaku.com/the-cost-of-being-a-woman-who-covers-video-games-1840793836
Otherwise, I hope to see you in today’s weekly livestream I’m about to start!