I’m going to cause controversy with what I’m about to type. Frankly no matter what I say here, there’s gonna be heat. I have no fear.
In my previous article, I discussed my thoughts on EA’s inclusion of a number of international women’s teams in FIFA 16. A worthy inclusion, as others besides me have pointed out. As I usually do with my articles, to help share my thoughts, I shared it through N4G. Being a small site, it’s always good to be able to converse with other outlets and readers.
The response to my article was big, far bigger than I thought it would be. Generally I get maybe a passing couple of views, sometimes a good number if it goes up at the right time. On this occasion, I posted at just the right time and seemingly about the right topic, a topic that has been discussed in some way or form a fair amount of late come to think of it.
Reading the fifty or so responses, many of which were short and to the point, I came to the conclusion that despite the many people who were supportive and liked EA’s decision, there were far too many who didn’t. Yes, some for the right reasons, but many weren’t.
The point is, gamers are immature.
Let me be specific. Not everyone falls into that category, thankfully. In the real world, there are far more polite, intelligent and respectful gamers out there. Too many to count. I’ve had the pleasure of playing along side them, meeting them at my workplace, trading stories about how we grew up playing Mario and the like. We’re a fun bunch.
Those I’m questioning are more a vocal minority out beyond the gamepad, yet my concern is that they are verging on the majority in the online, forum, social network scene. A group that’s grown up in basements, spending most of their casual retail job earnings on everything they can get their hands on, playing at all hours ‘shooting the shit’. They type before they think, because it’s so much easier hiding behind a screen or a firewall than saying things in person. These are the gamers South Park took the piss out of, to put it another way.
Let me make myself perfectly clear. I am not talking GamerGate. These are simply guys who believe in saying whatever they want no matter the consequences, because they don’t understand what those consequences are, let alone the impact their words can have on another person, female or otherwise.
A bit hypocritical typing all this myself, sitting at a laptop, right? No, it’s not. Let’s, to start, take an example or two from the comments to my article post on N4G. The seventh person responded with the following:
“Upskirt anyone? Or upshort rather ;)”
Whilst another suggested:
“I like that they are adding cheer leaders now.”
There were some good comments, in fact the very first response was:
“Once they add Female teams on FIFA or PES that will be the day I’ll start buying those games”
But of course, someone had to bark back by saying:
“So he can check out the tit physics – going for headers all day long….”
I’m perfectly happy to state here and say in person to whomever typed the ill-advised comments above that they’re juvenile. I’m also just as happy to have a frank discussion with them as to why comments like this are inappropriate and unwarranted. What I won’t do is criticise or comment back in a similar fashion, because doing anything of the sort means I’m falling down to their level of behaviour.
The thing is, they won’t listen. They’ll either comment again in a similar fashion, probably to this very article once they figure it out, tell me to shut up, have fifty or so people like their smarmy remark then log in to Call of Duty to laugh about it. That’s the kind of world gaming has become, and it’s a scary one at that.
That’s why I’m posting this. I’m tired of being a gamer, a journalist, a writer in general, watching the world I love become embroiled in constant controversy as a result of the outnumbered, who see themselves as powerful entities with the sole intent to say what they want without considering others around them.
And in case you’re about to say ‘but you’re a dude, what would you know?’, here’s fellow blogger Melody on her thoughts on the issue:
“This kind of behaviour really is par for the course, anytime things differentiate from the constructed ‘norm’ of video games there’s an onslaught of sexism. As a female gamer it tells me that there is no place for me, unless I want to be raped, killed or rescued. It’s constantly a barrage of negative reinforcement that side lines people of the female persuasion.
The few moments when 50% of the population is recognised, such as in this game, some gamers wonder why they’re ‘intruding’ in their space. Hurr durr, don’t these wimmin know that sportsing is only for guys. They forget that they’re not actually anywhere near the standard of the players displayed in the game of either sex.
Thank fuck that people are calling this out for what it is, small minded idiots afraid of losing what little status they have in society to people they perceive as weaker, lower or generally a sub-human. The only recourse we have is to call this shit out and keep producing these games that only scratch the surface of including half the population, not even starting to address POC, LGBT and people with disabilities.”
The truth is, immature or not, gamers are in an enviable position where change can influence the world around them. Strong female characters, equality across the fan base, creating worlds where people can feel safe to explore and imagine. No where else can you find an opportunity like that, and we shouldn’t allow the minority to try and ruin that for the rest of us.
And yet, here I am typing about it, and somewhere in the world right now someone else is doing the very same. More than one, most likely. That’s where we are right now, and it feels terrible. So I’ll be outspoken, I’ll share my opinions freely without fear and I’ll be sure to tell people where I stand against their immature, inappropriate behaviour. Whether they like it or not, I’ll tell them, and whether they want to listen is up to them.
Will it make a difference? Only one way to find out.