Gamergate and the subsequent fallout has led to a very toxic atmosphere in gaming. In fact, it seems like nothing really came of the whole thing other than a polarizing effect. Some female gamers have become a bit more vocal in their belief that the industry is sexist. Unfortunately, a number of men have responded with rape threats and excessive trolling.
This has given rise to the “social justice warrior”, a man who denounces those who make rape threats and agrees that the industry is sexist. Some claim that these SJWs are merely trying to ingratiate themselves to women for some much-needed loving. That is an amusing claim, because I think most of us guys know that tactic just doesn’t work.
I don’t think any of us would disagree that some games are sexist. It’s easy to gain perspective if you put the shoe on the other foot. Growing up, I loved the jiggle physics of the Dead Or Alive games. I would play Bloodrayne over and over, just to hear that delicious sucking sound. But if you put a fighting game in front of me full of oiled-up men with graphic, detailed bulges swinging in ultra-high detail, then maybe I wouldn’t want to play that game.
I think part of men’s knee jerk reaction to the angry claims of feminists is that video games have been a “safe space” for men. It is true that men, especially white men, had it made for a very long time. But in my lifetime, I sure haven’t felt that way.
In the media, the white man is an object of ridicule. Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are idiots. Ray Romano was a weak, whining man. In our lives, people look at us and assume that we are racist, sexist, and that we are holding everyone else down. Every single day we feel like we need to apologize for things our grandfathers did.
Gloria Steinem recently asked “What happened to men?” While she celebrates the fact that women have finally achieved near equality in the workplace, she noticed that modern men are more like boys. She seemed grossed out by the very idea of an adult man wearing an Iron Man tee shirt.
This attitude leaves me incredulous. For all my life, a “man” was defined as a tough guy who never cried. But all of those guys had traits that women say they hate. Mike Tyson is an ear-biting rapist. Mel Gibson is a racist drunk with anger issues.
But as a man, if you are respectful and safe, women wrinkle their nose. If you are aggressive and bold, you are a douche. There’s this ultra-thin tightrope a man has to walk to achieve modern manliness and most of us guys just can’t get it quite get right.
All I’m trying to say is that the vast majority of men are more than willing to accommodate women in the gaming world. Just keep in mind that being a man right now has never been harder.
Photo: Global Panorama