That image has nothing to do with anything aside from the all-too-appropriate flavor text: A chain reaction of nuclear insolence.
As wonderful and bonding as I believe gaming to be, there is an ever-present darker side to gaming culture at large. I shy away from writing about these topics, as, time and again, being female and bringing up anything like this has often resulted in negativity to the writer. But, as yet another prime example of negative behavior is in the news, I asked myself: who is it better for not to say anything? By never talking about it, who does that help?
I have been mostly fortunate in my gaming experiences. But there have been regular occurrences over the years, things that have let me know we somehow aren’t all equally viewed, and that’s troubling.
On the lesser end of the scale, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a gaming store (not my local GameStop, thank goodness; everyone there is awesome) and have been talked down to and asked if I’m looking for something for a male relative. It’s patronizing and insulting. Why not just approach everyone equally? I don’t want special treatment, I just don’t want to be talked to like I’m an idiot.
It doesn’t seem like a huge request. And yet.
In the games I play online, I already know most everyone I’m playing with. In the cases where I haven’t, I’ve been on the receiving end of some eye-roll-inducing behavior. One particular incident comes to mind where I was playing the original Destiny and there was a team of six of us attempting the Vault of Glass raid shortly after it released.
Most of the team was fine. There was one person who kept blaming me for the team failing to complete certain tasks. It’s ironic, as that person was responsible for our lack of progress on at least two occasions. No matter what I did, he kept blaming our failures solely on me. And no one on the team said a word. I finally spoke up in defense of myself (and pointed out we were experiencing at least three known glitches that prevented progress at that time), but he wouldn’t cease his barrage of rudeness towards me. I finally just told the team I needed to be done for the evening and logged off.
I think that is an example of the way females have been taught to deal with negativity of this kind: back away. Avoid confrontation. And I think, while it certainly works sometimes, it’s part of a larger issue.
Too often when I read articles about negativity towards females, even when those articles are approached from a positive we-can-make-changes angle, the response from some people is laden with vitriol. People tell the female to get over it and stop being so sensitive. There is rarely a call for people to hold the offending party responsible.
I simply don’t understand it.
As a female who loves games, gaming, and has made lifelong friends through those avenues, I never want special treatment. I’ve only ever wanted to have an even playing field. Manners are free and readily available. Kindness is always an option.
I feel like the internet is a wonderful and amazing thing, but it also offers a certain contingency this veil of anonymity that allows toxicity to flourish. Again, I don’t understand.
As I type this out, my stomach hurts. I am already worried even saying these things will result in something negative, even though I’m more or less saying I’m hopeful things can change. I believe things can improve all the way around. If we are all brought together by a shared passion for gaming, can that not grow into a shared respect of one another?
Kindness has been on my mind a lot this week. It can be elusive or effusive. We have control at all times to exercise it.
I would never for a moment say the majority of my time in the gaming community has been negative. But has it been free of negativity? Absolutely not. It troubles me that when some people bring certain things to light, namely, how they have been treated, they are often ridiculed. I don’t find that acceptable at all. We need to be supportive of each other and seek understanding. Ridicule benefits no one.
I don’t for a moment think anyone who reads this is of the negative mindset within the gaming community. But I encourage all of us to speak up and support those who could use it. If you’ve been fortunate enough to have never experienced negativity from the gaming community, I’m genuinely happy for you. I know that looks sarcastic, but it’s meant in all sincerity. But I will say, just because it may not have happened to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t out there and running wild. Let’s try to do our part to curb it when and where we can. We are all in this together.
Kindness, kindness, always kindness.
With that I ask: what will you be playing this weekend? I’m still in a gaming slump of sorts, but I really, really want to get back to God of War, and I’d love to finally play A Way Out.
I hope your weekend is lovely. Cheers, friends.