Reading about the whole Anita Sarkeesian thing, which I’ve mentioned in my last two posts, has led me down a dark and twisted path of looking at harassment in video games. The BBC has a short radio documentary about it here, which mentions the main online namers and shamers, Fat Ugly or Slutty, and Not in the Kitchen Anymore (both of which are pretty hilarious in a frustrating way, go check them out if you haven’t already).
A chunk of the real problem, as I see it, with the frankly disturbing behaviour of some male online gamers, is one of entitlement. One of my favourite blogs, Dr Nerdlove, recently talked about that in the context of dating, over here. Jennifer Haniver of Not in the Kitchen anymore, talks in the above BBC doco, about how it sometimes seems like a male she’s interacting with in-game is just really angry that she even exists. They are really angry that she exists, and that she has the gall to be there and be unavailable – because, you know, every woman should be available for any man’s sexual enjoyment, that’s what women are for, right? (At least that seems to be the view of the guys who habitually harass female gamers). Many times on Fat Ugly or Slutty, a post contains a string of messages, that start out almost sweet (except that they are demanding some sexual favour like a naked picture or a blow job), and when it becomes obvious that compliance has a 0% likelihood, the messages quickly degrade into a tirade of expletives – usually centred around the victim’s supposed fatness, ugliness, or sluttiness, hence the name of the blog. This kind of attack points it’s anger directly to the woman’s body as the source of the problem.
Ick, I need a kitten or something now.
I also have to mention that Haniver is really quick to point out that this is a distinct minority of players who are being total asshats and ruining the community as a safe place for women. While ranting against this stuff, it’s really important to remember that men collectively are not the problem.