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The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.

First, a developer—a woman who makes games who has had so much piled on to her that I don’t want to perpetuate things by naming her—was the target of a harassment campaign that…

This is really strong.

OK, I am getting super annoyed with men talking about this framing the discussion as being in a history where women only recently started playing games or contributing to the industry.


It’s like figures forcing you to concede that adult women make up roughly half of gamers have just made you move it back ‘Oh, well, they didn’t used to’ or ‘They only used to play girly games/casual games’. STOP. NO. I KNOW YOU THINK YOU’RE HELPING, BUT YOU’RE NOT.

We have always been here and we have always experienced shitty levels of sexism and exclusion when we have tried to do so.

The difference is that the Intenert has made the fact that we game and talk about gaming and critique gaming and write games impossible to ignore. That is why the backlash has become so vicious. Erasure by simply acting as though we aren’t there isn’t possible anymore, so the tactics have become more direct.

Look, guys, I appreciate that you care and that you want to show your outrage (and pat each other on the back for being so powerfully outraged) but you really need to be aware of how you can still be and are perpetuating the culture that begets this.

Stop painting us as new. Stop painting us as taking someone else’s toys.  Stop pretending that the sexism of the ‘old days’ was OK, because only boys played. No. Girls played. Women played. Women have always played. The sexism was there not as some kind of natural consequence of only supplying to boys, but as a consequence of the massively sexist culture in which we still exist and in which you partake.

I’m 48 years old. I’ve been a gamer since the early 80s, back in the days of Space Invaders and Pac Man, and have cycled from hardcore to casual gamer and back again several times (usual depending on additional factors such as the age of my PC and the state of my wallet). As I pointed out on a separate post some time back that was going around about this “surprising” sudden increase in the number of 50+ women playing, this increase should not surprise anyone.

This ‘increase’ is merely the cohort of my teenage age-mates and near-peers who were in their low 20s or so at the time of the introduction of the first widely popular home computers and consoles - the Apple IIs, the Vic20s and Commodore CBMs,PETS and 60s, the IBM PC 2, Nintendo, Atari, ColecoVision, etc - aging gracefully upwards while still doing what we have always done - GAMED.

I will bet there is, yes, some overall increase in the size of both the 50+ gamers and the cohort I’m still down in. This would be all our peers who hadn’t gamed prior to now, who have now started becoming grandmothers, with grandchildren for whom gaming is as widely accepted and practiced an activity as TV watching was in our own youths. Grannie starts helping grandchild play through levels of their current obsession on their tablet or Wii or whatever and next thing you know Grannie has a gamepad of her own.

It should not surprise anyone that women game, and in significant numbers. We have always gamed. We have always participated in creating games as well, which is where there’s always been a saddening disparity between the number of women employed by the industry and the number of women who make use of its products (which is, sadly, also true of a huge number of other industries). Anyone who thinks that women gaming is a recent phenomena must have spent their entire life to date living under a rock with blinders on.

Though judging by the comments I’ve seen male gamers make about female gamers, that last actually seems appallingly possible.

Gaming as an identity as the original article frames it is one that has actively excluded women, as well as POC, from the very beginning. We were there playing all along and nobody wanted to acknowledge us.
A whole whole lot of the time there has been active hostility.

What’s happening now is not something new, but more of the same. White men have been aggressively territorial about gaming all along. The difference is that you’re starting to notice it.

Like, sure, has the last week been particularly horrible for the gaming community overall? Yes. Yes, it absolutely has. But let’s not act like this all started five-to-ten years ago. This has been the case though many of our childhoods: being told we can’t be into video games, because we’re not boys, being told what we can/can’t play, having our parents buy into this.

Gaming is, in a lot of ways, a bit like LEGO when it was introduced, and LEGO now: when it premiered, it was a family activity and pretty unisex (I mean, look at some of the old Atari ads, they weren’t shy about showing girls playing games: 1, 2). And then, somewhere along the way, it turned into something with a heavier male focus (like in this “Maybe Atari Girls just like Atari Boys" crap; which turns what could have been really rad focus on women in development into the "women into guys doing cool geeky stuff" argument instead, and why? WHY?), and because of that heavy male focus, people now somehow assume that a female presence in gaming (or girls wanting to play with construction toys holy shit what?) is somehow this revolutionary thing where we’re trying to break into a clubhouse.

We’re not breaking into any clubhouse, we laid the foundation for and helped you build this clubhouse. All you did was steal the key, remodel it, and then change the damn lock, and will only let us in now if we can pass an aptitude test.

We’ve been here from the beginning, and many of us have been here our whole lives. And you’d do damn well to remember that, gamer guys.


Nicki Minaj is not a woman who easily slides into the roles assigned to women in her industry or elsewhere. She’s not polished, she’s not concerned with her reputation, and she’s certainly not fighting for equality among mainstream second-wave feminists. She’s something else, and she’s something equally worth giving credence to: a boundary-breaker, a nasty bitch, a self-proclaimed queen, a self-determined and self-made artist. She’s one of the boys, and she does it with the intent to subvert what it means. She sings about sexy women, about fucking around with different men. She raps about racing ahead in the game, imagines up her own strings of accolades, and rolls with a rap family notorious for dirty rhymes, foul mouths, and disregard for authority and hegemony.

While Beyoncé has expanded feminist discourse by reveling in her role as a mother and wife while also fighting for women’s rights, Minaj has been showing her teeth in her climb to the top of a male-dominated genre. Both, in the process, have expanded our society’s idea of what an empowered women looks like — but Minaj’s feminist credentials still frequently come under fire. To me, it seems like a clear-cut case of respectability politics and mainstreaming of the feminist movement: while feminist writers raved over Beyoncé’s latest album and the undertones of sexuality and empowerment that came with it, many have questioned Minaj’s decisions over the years to subvert beauty norms using her own body, graphically talk dirty in her work, and occasionally declare herself dominant in discourse about other women. (All of these areas of concern, however, didn’t seem to come into play when Queen Bey did the same.)

"Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there, though."

I carefully avoided the car commercial aesthetics or the army recruitment video aesthetics. I avoided making a movie about an army with ranks. I avoided making any kind of message that says war is good. We have enough firepower in the world. I was very careful how I built the movie.

One of the other things I decided was that I wanted a female lead (Babel’s Rinko Kikuchi) who has the equal force as the male leads. She’s not going to be a sex kitten, she’s not going to come out in cutoff shorts and a tank top, and it’s going to be a real earnestly drawn character. One of the decisions we made as we went along in the process of the movie was, let’s not have a love story. Let’s have a story about two people…

I have been offered movies that have huge budgets that have war at its centre and I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ I have two daughters and I wanted to make this movie for kids. It’s my lightest movie and yet it’s one of the most precise, adult exercises in world design I’ve ever made. It has the craft of a 48-year-old (del Toro’s age) and the heart of a 12-year-old.

What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers…it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true.

-Guillermo del Toro (via timetoputonashow)
"I’m going to tell you what a demon once told me: It is okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. It’s okay to do what’s healthy for YOU. When someone hits you, it’s okay to hit back and then ask them what the hell they expected. It’s okay. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy. You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”. You have a right to say “Let me feed that back to you; tell me, how does it taste?” You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours."
-SonneillonV (via sonneillonv)