Thursday, March 07, 2013
Gaming While Female
In Internet games, that is. Alphabet Hotel found these two sites which reproduce some of the comments players who are deemed to be women or girls get.
The first one is called fatuglyorslutty.com. The name is shorthand for the most common slurs. The other site is called notinthekitchenanymore.com, and the name also refers to those "make me a sammitch bitch" and "who let you out of the kitchen" jokes.
I don't play any of those games the sites describe so I have no idea about how common these comments are and whether men get somehow the reverse of these insults. But I doubt the latter, because men are more often treated as individuals (though there are racist and homophobic exceptions to that rule). In any case, there is no reverse slur meaning whore or slutty for men (that would be badge of honor) and I'm pretty sure that ugly and fat are not insults aimed at men, either.
With the warning that I have no knowledge of the actual frequency of these kinds of insults (they are collected in a few places in large numbers but may not be common for any one female gamer to receive) and so on, it's worth looking at what they consist of.
After reading several pages of them I can divide them into groups. The two main groups are the kitchen jokes and the sexuality insults. The former "put women in their place" in the guise of a joke. The latter argue that the gamer in question is either sexually promiscuous (slut, whore, slag) or that the gamer is not sexually attractive (ugly, fat). Some of the latter group sound frightening or violent but most are just overall statements about an unknown woman obviously being a slut, ugly or fat.
I think all that shows a real lack of imagination. People should create better insults, and in gaming they should relate to the game. But it also shows that generalization I've written about before:
Women are viewed as spoonfuls of their sex and so insults about the sex seem appropriate. You can't do that with men in gaming, both because men are the majority and also because men are insulted not as men but as individuals or as members of a racial or sexual minority. It's that spoonfuls-of-vagina idea which makes the insults so boring and so predictable, after a while.
This post has a minor link to my previous post about How To Fight Politely.
P.S. I'm aware of the custom of initial hazing in some male groups and I get that a female gamer who survives through this kind of hazing might be accepted as a member of the group afterwards. But the hazing is sexist in itself.