There has been a lot of talk in gaming news about the hostility facing girls in the gaming community and if you aren’t super familiar with one of the most notorious instances of this then I invite you to look up the Cross Assault video featuring Aris Bakhtanians and Miranda Pakozdi.
When I was a kid, I played a lot of video games – mostly because my parents couldn’t afford cable.tv but also because video games were awesome. While it was not super common for girls to frequent the arcades as much as the guys, there were still quite a few and nobody really thought anything of it – we were all there to have fun. That was the point. I never really encountered quite the level of misogyny I witnessed when I watched the Cross Assault video and it seems like incidents of this nature have really started taking off.
For many who witnessed the Cross Assault video stream live, as did I, we were all treated to what basically equated to real-time footage of a girl gamer (Miranda) slowly being objectified, isolated and relentlessly prodded by a misogynistic tormentor (Aris). However, it was not the first time I had seen this sort of behavior as it is quite common in any online gaming community.
It doesn’t matter what the game is or the demographics of the community, this kind of behavior tends to run rampant the second anyone sounding vaguely feminine takes the mic and it’s absolutely unacceptable. While some like to argue that it’s all part of the competitive environment and that no one is really getting hurt and everyone has the right to say what they want, it all smacks of such narrow-minded and idiotic rhetoric that serves to help no one and change nothing.
Telling a girl gamer that she was objectified because it was part of the “trash talk” element of gaming is like telling a girl in school who has just been assaulted “oh, boys will be boys.” And, while I agree that this is America and you do have the freedom to say what you want, it doesn’t always mean you should – and people should also be free to face the consequences of what they say, and that is the real problem at the heart of this matter. The gaming community is and always has been a welcoming group that takes in anyone, no matter how weird or awkward or whatever. Chauvinism is not okay and should not be tolerated in any civilized community and if we want to see any improvement, then changes need to be made. Offenders need to be held accountable and the conspiracy of silence and apathy must be lifted.