You should be listening to Leigh Alexander.

14 10 2013

Because she’s right.

“The most disappointing thing for me about “gamer culture” isn’t really that there are a group of vocal product-gobblers who think that an entire medium belongs to them. It’s that there are so few people who are willing to interrupt them in that perception.”

I mean, I’m a straight dude: I get it. It’s hard to do it. It’s hard to stand up to a crowd of self-righteous “gamers” and call one of them out for being a jerk, especially when you  (and they) know they can probably just drown you out, bury you under a mountain of stinky wet carpets woven of their baseless claims and decibel level, supported by what seems an infinite supply of supporters. But it’s time to start.

Half of the gaming community is made of up women and it’s time to stop pretending otherwise. Games that have stellar mechanics, creative settings, and beautiful emergent gameplay can and do have shallow, sexist portrayals of women. Why does Lara Croft have to be hyper-sexualized and whimper as she climbs to Hero? Why can’t she be like almost every male protagonist ever who starts out a bad ass? I don’t know, but I do know that we need to start talking about it. Tomb Raider had some great mechanics and looked great, but it and games like it still present women in lame ways, using old and insulting tropes.

If we don’t talk about the representation and perception of women in and around games, it will never stop being disappointing…and I don’t want that. I don’t want anybody’s daughters to grow up in a world where their parents can’t in good conscience share video gaming with them. Right now, how could you?

“Here’s this fantastic mode of escapism that many people enjoy which will constantly depict women in ways that are either underpowered or in roles where they’re easily replaceable with inanimate objects.”

“Here’s a scene where other players will viciously berate and chastise you should they learn that you’re not straight and male, or best-case demonstrate perfect insensitivity. (Though, to be fair, they don’t have to know anything about you to just randomly use derogatory language that’s aimed at females.)”

“On second thought, maybe you’d like to try books.”

Gah. If I have a daughter, I really want to share gaming with her because I love gaming right down to my core. There are games that have hit me in ways books only wish they could. The games need work though, and the community needs a massive reality check.

I wish I knew what that could be.

Anyway, watch today’s Errant Signal; it’s relevant (if not directly) and very good.

I’ve been burning time working, relaxing, and playing Path of Exile…which is fantastic if you have mega Diablo 2 nostalgia and Diablo 3 left you wanting for that. I considered doing a video for it, but other than a quick “Check this out” it’s not really worth the trouble I think. I’ve got another Don’t Starve episode on the bench that just needs me to pull the Encode trigger….but, you know, encoding means no Path of Exile so…. 🙂 I’ll get there.

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