For the most part, guy gamers are a welcoming lot. Most of the time when I find myself in a lobby with “GIJane,” “Mocha_Mandy,” “annies_gotta_gun,” and the rest of the [G!RL] clan the guys in the lobby are very hospitable and things end up being a lot of fun. In fact, if I’m being honest some of the best times I ever have in FPS games have been, hands down, when female gamers come into the lobbies. This environment creates a much more universally fun aspect to the experience of gaming by bringing in an “unexpected” social environment.
Nevertheless, why is it that so many male gamers are disrespectful towards girls in online video game lobbies, especially FPS games, before and after a match? Is it because some guys think that first-person shooter games are gender specific, and that girls should stick with playing stereotypical “girly games”? Or, is it because there is an allure of invisibility to the world of gaming; one which provides hecklers with an opportunity to say whatever they want without the repercussions?
These Moms will top the boards in Black Ops.
In my experience, negativity typically begins in the FPS realm as certain guys feel the need to give condescending “gameplay tips” or make Duke Nukem-esque comments (and we all know how things worked out for that guy's career...). This is especially true when there is a female gamer at the top of the scoreboard. Male gamers HATE to lose to female gamers.
I don’t get it... getting outplayed should bother us, but it should bother us in a way that makes us want to get better, not hate our competition. This is especially true when the hate is simple based on differences of gender. Just because video games hold a “male dominated” stigma doesn’t mean male gamers should get infuriated to being bested by female gamers. Look, my wife has never once thrown a spatula across the kitchen in a fit of rage because I made a great tasting dinner... she just says “damn, good job!” and enjoys the spoils of my success at the grill. Correspondingly, I have never once thrown a controller across my man-cave when she scored higher in a free-for-all than I did...I just say “damn, good job!” and sit back to listen to all the trolls with lower KDR’s when we get back into the lobby.
Now, it’d be easy to say that sexism in gaming is “just teenage boys making stupid comments”, but I believe that to be a misguided and oversimplified notion. You see, gaming isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Gone are the days of video games being reserved for middle school children who are good at math and computer science and are forced to sit at the “nobody” table. Gaming has evolved and with that evolution has created its own niche and become popular amongst a much wider age bracket than the video games of yesteryear. Correspondingly, the typical “average age” of the modern gamer is now between 15-28. Now, let’s don’t get all Chris Hansen "To Catch a Predator" here. These observations are not to say that all 28 year old men in a Call of Duty lobby are putting down, degrading, and hitting on 16 year old girls... but if you're a gamer who has a sense of maturity about you (no matter what your age) and you are tolerating those who disparage girl gamers, what does this say about you? And what kind of precedent does this set?
All in all, nobody likes to be patronized, nobody likes masochism, and it is inarguable that the world of gaming would be a much better place if these two mindsets were non-existent. But, alas, negative attitudes do exist, and the only way to stop stupidity is by taking action: kick out of the lobbies those to choose to show off their lack of knowledge, or simply press the handy “mute” button so that the only person they can talk to is their ignorant selves. Obviously, the only thing these types of comments do is make it even more difficult for girls to recognize themselves as gamers...is this really what we want as the future of gaming?? I mean think about it, without female gamers, we would never have situations like this…
Extra geek cred for appearances by a rapping Seth Green,
Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff and Stan Lee.
At the end of the day, we all have the same goal: to have fun playing our favorite games while striving to possibly find ourselves at the top of a scoreboard every once in a while. So, I leave with this: as a guy, it has always been my personal observation that things work out much better in the long-run when you leave a lady remembering you as the provider of a good experience... why should this rule be any different in the world of gaming?