When media critic Anita Sarkeesian started work on a series of videos chronicling sexism in video games, she was met with a backlash that proved her point. Running the gamut from misogynist to ableist to homophobic to misogynist, anti-Semitic, and racist (actual comment: “you’re a bolshevik feminist jewess that hates White people”), the vitriolic responses were a severe example of the extent to which sexism continues to thrive in gaming. But the hateful diatribes were familiar to many female gamers, who are liable to experience gender-specific bashing every time they get online.
Luckily, this abuse does not go undocumented, and there are a handful of groups—both online and IRL—that offer resources for people experiencing homophobic, sexist, or racist hate from other gamers. The movement of feminist folks standing up and asserting their right to be present and safe in gaming culture is growing. When another player on Call of Duty tells you to get back in the kitchen, you have the right to publicly call him out.
Below is a list of resources for holding misogynistic gamers accountable. Check ‘em out!
Fat, Ugly, or Slutty: This site is sort of Hollaback for gamers. Women post screenshots of abusive and sexist messages they’ve received online, allowing women to call out attackers for misogyny, threats of violence, and just plain bad grammar and spelling.
Not in the Kitchen Anymore: An awareness-raising project featuring audio recordings of one girl gamer’s experiences with harassment while playing Call of Duty. Because obviously, a girl playing a war game is just weird, right?
Women in Games International: On a different note, WIGI is an organization that works to promote the inclusion and advancement of women in the games industry by speaking out against and combating some of the specific obstacles faced by women trying to break into the field.
#1reasonwhy and #1reasonmentor: The Twitter hashtag #1reasonwhy took off last September as a platform for women gamers and game creators to share their reasons for why there are not more women producing video games. It’s still in use now, and in addition to tweets fitting the first description, it’s also filled with news about women in gaming and links to incidents of harassment. #1reasonmentor is less active nowadays, but was started in response to the #1reasonwhy campaign to help ladies in the game industry make connections with each other and beat the odds against them.
GirlGamer.com: A social networking and news site specifically created as a hangout space for girl gamers, mostly consisting of forums. Not explicitly feminist, as near as I can tell, but having a safe, targeted community space is just as important in many ways as actively advocating against sexism.
What are other good gaming resources? I’m sure there are ones I don’t know about—add them to the comments!
Photo from Fat, Ugly, or Slutty?
For a great article about sexism in gaming, check out Game Changer:Why Gaming Culture Allows Abuse… and How We Can Stop It in our Micro/Macro issue. Also, read guest blogger Lillian Cohen-Moore’s whole series on feminist issues in gaming culture.