|By Elizabeth Weitz|
As a woman who writes about pop culture I am no stranger to harassment. On a daily basis I receive at least 3 emails filled with hate about my gender, my intelligence and what should be done to my various orifices as a punishment for merely existing in a world dominated by “penises”.
And usually, I can laugh it off and delete the emails before they are able to make a mark on my psyche. But after seeing the horror show that my fellow chicks in the gaming world have to go through just to play video games, write about video games or wax philosophically about the concept of gender in video games, it’s time to stand up and say “WHAT THE FUCK DUDES?”
I don’t think I have to say that threatening to rape me (or any other woman), threatening to physically harm/kill me because I wrote something disparaging about a product/game/movie/person that you like or issuing some kind of a pop culture fatwa on my family because I wouldn’t review your shitty web comic is wrong because you guys know it’s wrong.
But why does it feel like I have to?
I know that a lot of what has come out in recent months concerning the misogyny in gaming has struck a nerve with the typical basement-dwelling trolls who enjoy swimming in the anonymous muck of their every horrible fantasy and throwing a handful of it onto the web, but the backlash that I see from men who I had always thought of as reasonable human beings is what shocks me the most.
Dismissing the level of harassment that “We who have vaginas” have to deal with and implying that we are being “Overly sensitive” about the issue is tantamount to the belief that we deserve what we get because we aren’t “Man Enough” to handle it.
If you really think that I, or any woman who dares to write about video games, comics and pop culture in general deserves to be constantly threatened or maligned for being part of that culture, then sir I must say “FUCK YOU”.
I have played video games since I was the first person (note, I didn’t say girl) on my block to have an Atari 2600, I was the person who dominated my local Mortal Kombat competitions in the mid-90s and kicked the ass of every dude who dared to challenge me, and I am the person who married the Gaming Professor JUST SO I COULD HAVE ACCESS TO EVERY FRICKING GAME SINCE THE 70s!
But wait! That’s not all!
I have grown up loving comic books, worked at a video store in my teens just so I could have access to a plethora of films that I never would have seen had I had to pay to rent them, got involved in GURPS, gone to tons of cons and found my dream job as a pop culture journalist.
So yeah, I do know what I am writing about dickheads (sorry about that, I get a little passionate about having to constantly prove my Nerd Cred even though I am part of the generation who began it back when being a Geek meant getting harassed everyday by the cool kids at school).
You know, the last time I looked there wasn’t a “No Girls Allowed” sign hanging on the door. In fact, there’s no door at all. Like Tangina Barrons said in Poltergeist, “All Are Welcome, All Welcome, Go Into the Light”.
And we girls did…down-low slash and all.
And frankly, we deserve to be there.
Women bring a different perspective to the culture. When we write and talk about our shared passions you get to see things from another viewpoint, maybe one you didn’t consider. When more girls go into programming you get games that that are inclusive- which will ultimately increase the number of female gamers -and when girls venture into a male dominated industry (like comics, gaming and pop culture journalism) you turn a stagnant enterprise into one that is richer and more complex.
A win-win if you ask me.
So let’s stop saying stuff like this:
and especially this:
Because when you do (or, more importantly, don’t call out those who are doing the threatening) you are allowing a culture of violence and misogyny to persist and giving woman a reason not to be there.
And trust me, that’s not a virtual world you want to live in.
So shut the fuck up already.