I’ve just read blog post shared by my friend Zero Drift, a post originally made by Ernest W. Adams (A Call To Arms for Decent Men), and it’s hit something of a nerve. And not in a bad way, even though I don’t agree with his stance on online anonymity. So I’ve decided to take the advice therein and write my own post against internet biggotry (check out the blog here).
If you’ve ever played an online game, be it on the Xbox360, PS3, an MMO, or any other format, then you’ve probably seen it. The discrimination, hounding, and general nastiness directed at female gamers. Often not even for something they’ve done – they’re abused simply for the fact that they are females. Name-calling, unwanted sexual intimations and requests, even threats of violence or rape, all directed at them by males playing the same game. Often by adult males claiming to be men.
I have a news flash for you; if you behave like that online (or indeed, in real life) then you’re not a man. You’re a child that never grew up, and has carried childish notions of “Girls are gross” in to adulthood with you, resulting in you becoming the maladjusted, socially-inept moron you are today. Not only should you immediately step away from any and all online gaming accounts, but you should probably seek some form of professional therapy, because something’s broken in your head, and you’ll be nothing but a burden on society until you get that fixed, or die.
Sorry of that seems harsh, but this is something that really annoys me.
However, that being said, not all of us are like that. Indeed the puerile idiots that do behave like that are in the minority. But as is so often the case, it’s the vocal minority that draws the wrong kind of attention, whilst the silent majority sit quietly and do nothing. And that’s what’s killing us gents. When someone plays CoD and spouts a stream of bigoted vitriol down their headset at a female gamer we all get tarred with that brush. When a douche-bag sends a lewd, suggestive message to a female player on WoW, we’re all guilty. Why? Because we let it happen.
There’s an old saying I’ve quite warmed to over the last few years – “Evil prospers when good men do nothing” – and it’s never been more true than it is now. With the rise of online gaming, the whole den of misogynistic morons have found a new way to abuse and belittle the fairer sex, often from behind anonymous usernames. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favour of pseudonyms and usernames -in these days of hacking, phishing and Lords know what else, we really don’t need to help the criminals by splashing our real identities all over the internet – but they allow the pathetic little boys to feel big and brave and manly when they shout sexist (or racist, or any other -ist) abuse down the headset mic.
The tragic thing is that we gamers are being viewed as all being socially mal-adjusted bigots and perverts because of the behaviour of a this vocal minority. There are good men out there, chaps who respect the women in their lives, be they mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, other gamers, or just the girl behind the counter that you buy your lunch from everyday. I know they’re out there because they’re the only sort of men I associate with. If you’re a whining little degenerate that gets off on abusing women, then step away boy, I don’t want you near me dragging me down into the gutter with you.
So gentlemen, I call to you today; let’s put a stop to these embarrassing little miscreants.
“How?” I hear you ask (or would if I could hear you through the medium of this blog). Well, here’s a few ideas I’ve had;
- Don’t just mute them:It’s a common problem when playing online. Idiots who think that because they’ve got a headset and microphone every other player in the world wants to hear their petty vitriol. You can almost picture the glee on their faces when they realise there’s a girl for them to pour scorn upon. Muting them is easy, but doesn’t deal with the problem. Report them. This flags their behaviour as inappropriate with the powers-that-be on that particular network. If every decent, sensible player in that game reports that one douche-bag it makes a pretty clear case that they’re not respecting other (as most EULA’s demand) and probably shouldn’t be on there.
- Don’t shout back!: I know how tempting this is. You spend half the game putting up with the abusive drivel pouring from the whole in their face, and finally you snap and start telling them what you think of them, and before you know it, everyone’s got you two muted as you yell insults at one another. That’s not helping.In doing that, you’ve allowed them to drag you down to their level. If you feel you absolutely have to say something, then very simply express your disdain and contempt for their embarrassing behaviour, report them, and mute them. Don’t be bated into an argument with ’em. Let them know (politely if possible) what you think of their behaviour, and leave it at that.
- Lead by example: This one is just as important (if not more so) in real life. There are a lot of impressionable people out there (not all of them the children and teenagers you expect). Show them all the standards you expect to be upheld by upholding them yourself. Monkey see, monkey do, right? Show these people that belittling, threatening, and generally unpleasant behaviour towards women isn’t big, isn’t clever, and is certainly not manly. Basically, don’t be a dick, and show others how not to be a dick!
- Take action: You have a blog? Write your own post about this, or link to the original. Share it around. Rally your comrades and show the world(s) that men aren’t all snivelling wretches who have to justify themselves by abusing women. You moderate a forum? Don’t stand for that sort of behaviour. Ban people, and let them and everyone else know why you banned them. You make games? Take steps to stamp this sort of behaviour out of the gaming community.
This is not a behaviour that is in a moral grey area. There’s no real debate – discrimination is wrong. Threatening and abusive behaviour is wrong and illegal. If you’re seeking to defend this sort of behaviour then you should probably leave the computer alone for a while and have a long hard think about your life and your values.
We’re all gamers, and we’re all doing it for the same reason – to enjoy it. It doesn’t matter what sex you are, or colour, or race, or religion. When you’ve got that controller in your hand it’s all about the game. It’s about time this silent majority made some noise and made it very clear we won’t stand for sexism in gaming any longer.