Friday, April 15, 2011

Being A Female Gamer Is Rough

Especially if you're good at a game and play at tournaments. BurnYourBra, great gamer tag, is one such player. She's an African-American female who's pretty great at Street Fighter. Recently interviewed by DMG, Dominion Method Gaming, she talks about the trouble with trash talk becoming racist/sexist comments and how they are affecting the gaming community. The fighting game community in particular.

An excerpt:

BurnYourBra: At tournaments players talk [crap] to each other. That's just the way tournaments are. People get hyped. Players get salty when they lose, which is fine. But there is a difference between trash talking and calling other players disrespectful names. For me, I've been called a dyke, a butch, a slut, a bitch... I was even called a black bitch to my face along with being called a lesbian, a gorilla, and a monkey. Now I know people are going to say that as a player in the community, you have to have a thick skin. I do, but that doesn't mean that I won't speak up about the names I've been called.

DMG|jason24cf: So I'm pretty sure you have heard a lot of heckling while you compete.

BurnYourBra: Let's just say I've heard enough, *laughs*. But, I know I will continue to hear rude comments. That's just how it is unfortunately. I just want people to understand that there is a difference between trash talking and being an asshole.

I'm glad that someone is candid about the issue. In general, female gamers get the brunt of the verbal assaults. It goes beyond trash talking when you call someone a bitch, whore, and the c word that rhymes with runt, when you get beaten in Halo 3 multiplayer. That crosses the line of being rude and disrespectful. It's the same if one guy calls another a few expletives in a serious manner. (Can anyone else tell that it's already become a pain for me to keep this entry PC? lol)

BYB goes on to talk about how she doesn't like to distinct herself as a girl gamer nor as the top US girl gamer for Street Fighter. She sees all of her opponents as just that. There isn't a gender classification for the person she needs to compete against. But she also doesn't trash talk and call them vulgar names if she looses. She does the sportsman like thing and shakes their hand when it's all over. Her perspective is from the fighting game world where a lot of stereotypes run amuck. That only Asians people can play fighting games well. That it's a male dominated field. That any girls playing need to be Asian and pretty. More stereotypes then what I'm use to seeing at FPS tourneys. BYB and many other gamers don't fit those roles, and they get knocked for it.

Despite that growth in gaming and the market has been geared towards more female gamers (yes social network games and puzzles do count), there hasn't been much progression in the attitudes of gamers to include women. To test this out, just this morning I went on XBox Live to play a game with my headset on. For anyone that knows me, I NEVER do this unless it's with a close group of friends. If there are any outsiders, the headset is off.

It took less then 5 minutes to be called an f***ing bitch for winning a game of Uno.

Seriously? You're going to call me a B for winning Uno? Ok. Let's try another person who sounds more like an adult. Nope. I got the whore/whale comments.

As much as I'd love for women to push forward into the hardcore gaming world, regardless of age/gender/appearance, the problem is that we keep getting pushed back by our male counterparts. I wouldn't even call them peers because peers don't verbally assault one another. They help everyone to achieve their potential. It's part of the reason I stopped going to Halo tournaments. I use to be decent at Halo. Enough to win a few matches and placing second on one tourney. Back then I was still a teenager (yeah Halo is just THAT old) and had my brother and father with me and boy the trash talking was insane. Pops was cool though. He'd stand right behind the person I was playing against and would make it known that he was my dad (who's over 6'5" and looks like he could bench press a car). If that didn't instill the fear into no trash talk, nothing would. And from what I hear and read, not much has changed. Short of going into a life-altering gender change, what else can be done to allow women to be seen as peers? It's hard to say. There may never be an answer to this question, which is why gaming will continually held back until people's opinions start to change.

Aside: I realize that I'm recycling images used from a previous female gamer post. The problem of finding appropriate pictures that don't show extremes, in comparison to the stereotypes of women in the gaming world, is so prevalent that even 10 pages into Google Images and still nothing generic.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    My name is Catherine Meyers, I'm the admin of a web blog directory, while reading your blog and it's reviews and impressions about games, (and this great article about Burnyourbra, funny nick hehe), I was wondering if you might be interested in a link exchange (no money involved), I would link you in my directory so people that visit it, will also visit your web and in exchange you put a link to my website anywhere you like in your blog. Please let me know if you are interested and the best of luck with The Geek Spot.




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