Lets say you’re playing your favorite video game online when all of sudden you hear something other than people telling each other how much they suck… the faint sound of a girls voice.
A Girl? Can’t Be.
At first you might be wondering to yourself “Is that a girl talking into her mic?” Your mind starts to race when you hear it again and now your mind shifts gears to “Is this someone’s mom yelling at them to get off the Xbox and do their homework or is this an honest to god female gamer?”
Crossing The Line
Now, there’s the usual banter that goes on between gamers online and then there’s the stuff that crosses the line, for real. Harassment of female gamers is on the rise and big media outlets are starting to take notice. The New York Times published an article a few weeks back shedding some light on what some of us have considered normal behavior when interacting with a female gamer.
The article focused on a handful of incidents where sexual harassment of female gamers led to real world repercussions like the EVO Fighting Tournament pulling its sponsorship from LevelUp because of comments made by two of their online commentators.
Do What You Can
One incident even involved a female gamer dropping out of a game tournament because of repeated sexual harassment from, of all people, her coach.
All of us as gamers can help stop harassment like this from continuing. Game developers are doing their part by improving the ways gamers can report other gamers in-game because of behavior that not just crosses the line, but leaves it in the rear view mirror. It’s up to us to use the tools given to us that can stop this.
Girls Are Gamers Too
Fortunately, groups and organizations are popping up all over the country to support female gamers. These groups aren’t there just to keep girls safe from harassment when playing video games but instead, they’re there to help girls embrace their gaming identity. They help to bring together the entire community of female gamers to show that it’s ok to be a girl and a gamer too.
The D20 Girls Project
A few weeks ago, I attended Wizard World Chicago 2012, or as it’s also known, the Chicago Comic-Con. At the con, I was lucky enough to get to meet and talk to one of the board of directors of one such organization designed to bring together the community of female gamers, The D20 Girls Project.
Jondi “Ruby Red” Soper met with me and the crew from Planet Arbitrary for an interview on the Retro Video Game Podcast. In the interview, we discussed all things video games and talked about the issues facing female gamers. We also got her response to the article in the New York Times and also got some great information about the D20 girls.
So guys, the next time someone pulls off an incredible quick scope headshot on your ass when playing a little Modern Warfare, try to keep one thing in mind – the person that just made you look like a chump just might be the girl next door, so think twice before turning on your mic or sending that hate filled message.
You can also check out D20girls.com to find out more about the D20 Girls Project or to join!