Warning: This post is a rant because – after years of feeling strongly about this issue but deciding to stay out of it – I’ve finally cracked.
It’s sad that it’s 2017 and I feel the need to have to write a post like this. As progressive and inclusive we think (or claim) western society to be, it seems some people still hold archaic views about women’s motives for playing video games, and in particular, streaming their gameplay online.
It’s been a long time coming that I pen something on the topic, but today has tipped me over the edge. After seeing an article shared by PC Gamer about getting started as a Twitch streamer, on Facebook, I couldn’t help but look at the comments. I knew what sort of stuff I’d find and yet I couldn’t resist.
Firstly, the top comment on the thread was pertaining to women only streaming on Twitch to ‘show their cleavage for some cash’. As an ex-Twitch streamer (I decided to stop because of the sexism I experienced), this riled me up. I never once even showed my face on a Twitch stream, nor did I try to earn any money through it. I have worked hard to get into a good career so money was not a motive for streaming my gameplay.
Truth be told, I was building an online community; I have a blog (obviously) and run monthly non-profit gaming events to help grow the gaming industry in my area, so to me that was an excellent way to immerse myself in the gaming community and make new online and real life friends.
Annoyed and bored, I couldn’t resist commenting on the PC Gamer thread and pointing out/questioning the sexist remarks. This resulted in some reacting with a laughing face (yeah, sexism is fucking hilarious right?). I then received some pretty derogatory, explicit replies about me ‘looking young’ and ‘being a snowflake’ and one kind specimen even decided to ‘educate’ me about what men want from women – I won’t repeat it but you can guess it involved sex. I reported the comment to Facebook.
As someone who is very supportive of the video games development industry and indie studios in particular, I find it incredibly worrying that outdated keyboard warriors with strongly sexist attitudes still exist and roam freely within our gaming community. At the monthly video game events community (Manchester Gamers Unite) that I run with my male friend, the majority of attendees are male and I have never experienced such outdated attitudes – it’s purely the online trolls who are out to make you feel shit.
I would carry on challenging these people, but frankly I think they are so narrow minded that I will be wasting my time.
When these low lives finally accept that women genuinely enjoy gaming, and aren’t just streaming to appease the male eye, do hit me up and I may even start a channel again. Until then, I’ll be playing games, blogging, running video game events and getting the fuck on with my life.