Oppression and Gamer Girls

I’m not much of a band-wagon person, and, geeze, we seem to be a long way away from horror games, but closer, perhaps, than we might be comfortable with. You see, horror is all about atmosphere. Horror is all about fear, repercussions, and cost. It’s about misunderstanding, loss, and fury. it’s about the best, and absolute worst, that humanity has to offer. I read an interesting blog post or two by this girl —–> http://isobeldebrujah.wordpress.com/ Go read her, she has some interesting things to say.

Right, where was I… oppression! There’s a bit where she’s talking about the Christian community’s struggle with Gay Rights Advocates (I should also mention that it’s not just the Christian community. In fact, it might not be mostly them. It’s a section of the community at large. Christians are just more vocal, and an easier group to point to under a banner). I put it that way, because they do seem to be having a hard time accepting the concept, but that’s to be expected when things aren’t going your way. It’s not a united front, not all Christians hold those beliefs, the ones that do may feel that they have very good reasons for what they’re doing, etc. Another time, another place, there’s a HUGE can of worms in differences in opinions within groups. Like science, religion is not a monolith and shouldn’t be approached as such. By the same token, neither is society. Within our society, there are various groups that occasionally come into competition with one another. Shocking, I know. Where it gets really sticky is in the flipping about of perspectives.

Perspectives, as we all know, are relative. Any good game designer will tell you that you need to know what experience you’ll be creating when you create a game, so you’ve got to get used to projecting different perspectives from yourself onto hypothetical beings. It can make you feel a little bit out of sorts if you do it too much, because the world becomes disjointed and disconnected. Things become less sure than they were before. Then again, that’s the real world. When you sacrifice the needs of the few for those of the many, you’re still destroying entire worlds. Think about it. Everything you are. Everything you’ve seen. Everything you’ve heard and loved. The entire world you’ve created and understand depends entirely on your existence. Once you’re gone, it’s gone. Every being is a world onto itself, with its own internal logic, assumptions and mechanics. The inside of two people’s heads can diverge more than Mario Kart did from Doom. Makes sense, right? You’re asking, what does this have to do with oppression?

Well, everything, really. We all understand why people get upset when society tries to shut them down. We know… or we should… why stopping people from expressing their love for each other is a dick move. What I thought stuck out in this particular post was that members of the Christian community were feeling oppressed for expressing their opinions. It seems a bit ridiculous when you think about it. One woman felt that refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple was okay, but felt oppressed when a few people boycotted her shop. Dumb, right? Well, perhaps, but let’s take a closer look before we dismiss this human being, shall we?

From her perspective, she’s doing the right thing. She’s expressing her opinion and acting on her beliefs. In return, she’s losing business and I wouldn’t be surprised if she got a bit of hate-mail, too. If you’re racist and you want to be a bigot about it, you might feel similarly when someone tells you you can’t use that kind of language. It’s essentially the same situation. You are telling them they can’t defend or act on their beliefs because part of society says it’s inappropriate or hurtful. I have to wonder how many married Christians feel that members of the LBGQT movement are destroying something they felt was precious. They’re encroaching on their sacred tradition and DOING IT WRONG, like watching someone else play Tetris.

You’ll notice I said The same Situation. That does not mean that it means the same thing or that it excuses the behavior. Marriage entered the public sphere. It stopped being a sacred right when it linked arms with the state and skipped merrily along, robbing countless individuals of half their stuff and some court fees. You’ll notice that we have to make concessions to live in society. We have to be civilized. That means, I won’t club your sister over the head and seduce her, and you don’t eat my baked beans without asking. So, how do we decide which rules should be obvious and which are debatable? Well, life and limb are pretty standard, but there’s also the greater society.

Earlier, I said that portions of society SOMETIMES come into conflict. That was a bit of an understatement. There is a constant social dialogue going on. If these issues were settled, then we wouldn’t be debating them. The fact is, we’ve still got swaths of the population that don’t agree, loud ones (we’ll talk about advertising another day). They’ve got the right to dissent, but, equally, to be dissented against. It becomes especially tricky when we’re changing something that wasn’t originally ours to change. If you’re going to be almost as popular as CoD, though, you’ve got to be ready to change, something CoD has lost sight of… Right, oppression. What I’m trying, rather inelegantly, to say, is that I can see why a group would feel oppressed for being told they should be okay with what’s changing and for being shouted down for expressing their opinions. I don’t know that we can label all anti-gay-marriage Christians as hate-mongers any more than we can say that about ourselves. I’m not sure that most even qualify. I’ve got some pretty good Christian friends who feel one way or the other about the issue, and I’m not about to tell them they’re wrong. I will, however, line up on the other side of the issue when it comes to discussing it. I believe in love. That’s enough for me. If churches want tax-exemption as part of the state (that’s a haha joke, btw), then they’ve forfeited their rights to a totally private religion. You’re in the public domain now. Kid gloves off.

I also mentioned bigotry earlier. I can understand why you’d feel oppressed. I can’t suppress the bile long enough to provide an impassioned defence of your right to be an ass. Sorry.

Speaking of being an ass, I want to address something that seems to have become an issue: [FAKE] gamer girls. At another point in time, I want to talk about how we treat girls on-line… although, I’ve never run into any of it, really, so I might need to see what’s up on the X-box LIVES and the forum boards before I write that. I’ve been lucky. I treat people with respect, generally, so it’s not really a problem for me. It is for others, though, and you know who you are. Although, I’m sure if you’ve got the mental capacity to still be reading this, you’re not a raving, rabies-driven, girl-hating lunatic. Frankly, we’re not doing a good job making our community welcoming to some of our female peers. Honestly, we’re not really accepting them as equals. Jokes are jokes, and I’ll argue for the right to make a good… GOOD…. joke any day of the week, but it goes too far. It becomes too serious. Too real. It’s not cool.

This whole thing about fake gamer girls is ludicrous. Girls play games. Sure, maybe not all the girls who work the booths at cons are h-core, or even into games (or maybe people like to think that because the thought of an attractive girl that can stomp you on-line is even more intimidating), but that doesn’t mean girls don’t game. I’ve worked in a few bars, and I can tell you, unequivocally, that most female bartenders aren’t flirting with you in earnest. It’s a job, like working promo for a booth. That doesn’t mean they don’t flirt. That doesn’t mean other girls don’t flirt. If I were to tell you that Batman wasn’t real, would you then conclude that there are no more heroes? How about if I said that Neil Patrick Harris isn’t a womanizer, would you doubt the existence of them? I’m off point here. As someone who likes women and likes games, I’m telling you, we need to get over this. Girls game, they can do it well (My older sister still holds the old house Wave Race 64 record), and if models want to include gaming paraphernalia in their sets, why complain? Why are people complaining that they’re being manipulated by pretty women into buying games when Master Chief has his face plastered all over Doritos and Mountain Dew? I’m having trouble seeing the issue here.

I’ve got no argument. I could say that gaming is growing up. I could express my love for it as an emerging medium of artistic expression that needs to be shared. I could even discuss shifting perspectives and the power of group-think, but it’s not worth it. Bottom line: girls game. They’re slightly over half the population. Show some respect. We’re improving, but we can always do more. You, dear reader, may not have this problem, but I’ve seen a lot of fear and resentment lately over it. I mean, I’ve seen enough forums with a totally bewildering understanding of either sex, so confusion isn’t really surprising, but our first reaction should be curiosity and patience. It should never be fear or hatred, unless quick-time events are involved.

I’m just going to leave this here… http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/harassment

When you’re an ass to someone on-line, you aren’t cracking everyone up. You’re not being hilarious. You’re being a jerk and making people uncomfortable. *sigh* That’s enough ranting from me today. Time to get back to even-handedly poking at the gaming industry…

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