February 27, 2007

Get some new material, guys–some that isn’t sexist.

Filed under:Gamer Culture, Gaming Women, Sexism — Lake Desire @ 10:47 am

Valkyrie of the Frag Dolls posted a fun list on her blog: The Top 10 Most UNORIGINAL Things You Can Say to a Girl Gamer. Why do I love her list so much? I’ve heard most of these lines more than once, and usually the man or boy saying it is beside himself with his supposed cleverness.

3. Get back into the kitchen and make me a … (sandwich, turkey pot pie, etc.)
We know you’re lazy-ass gamers, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t the same. Go make your own damn food.

This one stings. When I played Final Fantasy XI back in the day, a friend and I tried to start a linkshell for women. When recruiting outside the auction house, where avatars often make food, some wanker told me to shut up and synth him a pie. Hardy har. Apparently in his manly wisdom he was able to determine that there was no need for a women’s space in FFXI.

4. You must be fat and ugly.
Yep, 300 pounds with warts all over. Gimme a break… do you really think you can hurt our feelings with this one? We all get together and have sleepovers laughing about this one.

Female gamers are accused of being one extreme or another: hot or “fat and ugly.” Fat people are hot, too, yo. And people. Don’t forget that!

5. Girls don’t play! / I didn’t know girls played games. / You’re not a girl!
Most of these comments aren’t even intentionally harmful, but this is about as stupid as it gets. I’m sorry your world has yet to expose you to the unicorn myth of girl gaming but, please, this is as insulting as it can get because it is not based on being mean. It is based on stupidity.

Valkyrie is right. This is a myth–and one I believed for years! Spreading this idea really isolates geeky women from one another. I could have been friends with so many awesome gaming girls when I was a teenager if I hadn’t believed I was the only one.

My advise to the people who spout these lines is a bit different than Valkyrie’s. Instead of challenging yourself to come up with better insults and pick-ups, how about treating women like humans instead? How about acknowledging your privilege, the power you have in geek culture, and use it to make the environment more inclusive for the rest of us?

Via Jade Reporting. Did I ever mention I’m an editor there? JR is awesome–we compile links to anything related to gender and gaming.


February 8, 2007

Relax, gentlemen.

Filed under:Gaming Women, Personal, Videogames, Wii — Meghann @ 3:18 pm

This is Meghann posting. If you need to be refreshed, I posted one other time on here about being a cheerleader (or more formally, a “navigator”) in the horror gaming world. My fear and love of horror games usually leaves me happily on the side lines. With the introduction of the Wii and games like wario ware (which I love on gamecube) and the ever popular Wii Sports, I’ve crawled out of hiding and been participating a lot more.

It seems people I know are acquiring Nintendo Wii’s left and right. Fortunately, this means I don’t have to dig into my pocket to purchase my OWN Wii when I have a large pool of people to mooch off of. Is this morally right? I think so.



January 20, 2007

Killer Betties: Call for Bloggers

Filed under:Gaming Women, News — Lake Desire @ 10:58 pm

Killer Betties is looking for more bloggers. See!


***Must be female.

***Must be interested in video games.

***Must be able to write so that others can understand what you are saying.

I like how open Killer Betties is to new bloggers. It’s kind of intimidating starting up your own site (at least it was for me), so they’re giving quieter and more shy folks a chance to talk games. Also I imagine there’s built-in support from your fellow bloggers if your post gets linked on Kotaku or something. (Ouch!)


December 29, 2006

Lake Desire Loves Her Wii, and So Does Her Family

Filed under:Gaming Women, Videogames, Wii — Lake Desire @ 12:00 am

My mom is awesome. On November 19, she got to the stores at 6 in the morning, and waited in the rain at Best Buy then Toys R Us. Both sold out. On a whim, she tried GameStop at Southcenter Mall. There, she bought a Wii, one of the last. She felt like a celebrity walking around the mall with a Wii–people tried to buy it off her!

And she kept all of this a secret until Christmas, when she gave it to me. She could have sold it for much more than she paid for it! At least I got her to play–and I have Nintendo to thank for that, as well, for designing the Wii with nongamers in mind. As much as she loves watching my younger brother and I game, and cheers us on, she won’t pick up a controller herself anymore. (It’s too bad, because she was the person who taught me how to play Nintendo. She could speedrun Super Mario Brothers before speedrunning was even a concept.)

My family loves the bowling on Wii Sports. My mom, always a source of Mystery Science Theater-style video game commentary, said, “”There is no reason to go to bowling alleys anymore. Bowling alleys are going to go out of business.”

She also got me Twilight Princess. I’ve never been a rapid Zelda fan–the first game and Link’s Awakening on the old GameBoy are the only ones I’ve beaten (it took me ten years to beat The Legend of Zelda, no joke), but I enjoyed Ocarina of Time back in the day (until I got stuck on the Water Temple) and make it through most of Wind WankerWaker. Twilight Princess, though, is sooooo fun. I love games where you can play as animals. And Midna is way cooler than Navi.

As if a Wii weren’t enough (I’m spoiled, I know), I got DDRMax2 for PS2 and, from my brother, Final Fantasy III for DS. Too bad I left my DS Lite back home, so I haven’t been able to play FFIII yet. Looks fun, though. I loved the job system in FF5.


November 29, 2006

Women in Games International Mentoring Survey

Filed under:Gaming Women, News — Lake Desire @ 1:37 pm

Via tekanji, you all should fill out the Women in Games International Mentoring Survey. The mission statement:

Women In Games International works to promote the inclusion and advancement of women in the global games industry. We believe diversifying the game development, media, academic and publishing workplace results in not only a more equitable space, but also better products!

Also from tekanji, a new series on The Gamer Beauty Myth


November 7, 2006

Double X-Factor

Filed under:Gaming Women, Gender, Online Communities — Lake Desire @ 11:51 pm

Erin Hoffman is a game journalist I was previously unfamiliar with, but I think I’m going to keep an eye on her work from now on. She wrote a piece for this week’s Escapist called The Double X-factor, that is pretty on point about how women are treated in gamer communities and why we are a minority in the game development industry. For example:

The reality, alongside the reality of the largely over-25, non-dyed, non-Jazzercised female population in the industry, is not glamorous. It involves a steady, patient, unflinching

process of slowly coaxing more young women into game development through direct mentorship – the same challenges faced in the even slower process of getting more women into boardrooms. This does not mean hiring someone of inferior talent simply because they are of a diverse group, as some automatically assume diversity to imply, it just means getting them in the doorway to begin with, and that means reaching out through game content and human resources. What some (white, male, 20-50-year-old) developers need to fully comprehend is that a larger talent pool is not scary.

I’m glad the Escapist is featuring articles about women and games actually written by women these days, but I’m unhappy with some of the images they chose to accompany the article. On the second page is the shot of a woman with a tiny tiny waist stipping before a white man. She had no face. A quote from Hoffman is laid over the image and reads:

God forbid a woman should want to play something to do with sex – someone call Nathaniel Hawthorne, stat.

This editorial choice makes it look like Hoffman is arguing women are only interested in sex to be sexy for men–from the gaze of the male gamer, we’re another console accessory. And I think it’s fair to say Hoffman is arguing something rather contrary, with quotes like:

The problem is that if your body type or personal style differs from the Hollywood femme-du-jour, you get called a dog – which, considering the source of these comments, is pretty damn ludicrous on its own – and if you’re attractive, it isn’t much better. Guys on the internet even seem to think they mean well in drooling over an attractive woman associated in any way with the industry, and it can be flattering at first, but in the end, it’s the same old debasement, the same old problem in a nicer wrapper: You can only be worth something as a woman if you are – scratch that, if your body is eye candy.

Yes, women have interests our own, be them sex or gaming, that don’t stem from entertaining men!


October 24, 2006

Invisible Girl Gamers

Filed under:Gaming Women, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 9:18 pm

Real Girls Don’t: The invisible minority of female video game players: a wonderful article by E. Cabell Hankinson Gathman. She recalls her experiences in the role-playing club at her high school. She was mistaken for being in the wrong room when she first joined, but her being there made it easier for other women to join the group. She also writes about how casual games, played by many women, are ignored by men.

Sometimes girls are told that they can’t or shouldn’t play RPGs or video games. But more often, I think, they are told that they don’t. The cultural message is sometimes wrapped in hand-wringing and good intentions, but the underlying assumption beneath “Why don’t girls play video games?” is still “Girls don’t play video games.” Technology in general, but game technology in particular, is viewed as a masculine domain. Girls use computers to word process, send instant messages, make a MySpace profile—but they don’t use them to slay dragons. They just don’t. And it’s a lot harder to see what’s wrong with that argument than a straightforward claim that slaying dragons is not ladylike.

Great point about how technologically savy we are. I won’t spoil the rest of the article: go read it.


September 12, 2006

100 Most Influential Women in Gaming

Filed under:Gaming Women, Gender, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 7:02 pm

In anticipation for next week’s Women in Games International, check out Next Generation’s Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women by Fiona Cherbak. My favorite paragraph from the article’s introduction:

A gender-inclusive approach to game design and marketing of games may ensure that most, if not all, considerations to producing games for myriad markets are not overlooked. Games are no longer produced for a niche market of players; they are produced for complex, over-lapping layers of demographically, geographically, socially and culturally-influenced consumer groups. Including skilled women in the game creation dialogue for these markets allows for maximum potential return in game design, production, management, sales and marketing for the growing masses.

Very well put! Gender-inclusive game design benefits everyone.

A decent amont of women of color are included in the list, and the article is even written by a woman (too often men are writing about the elusive female gamers and game designers).

They’re running a follow up article next week, so be sure to E-mail suggestions to Next-Gen.biz of anyone you see missing from the list.

The conference is in Seattle and only 30 dollars for students. I’m half-tempted to go.

Via GayGamer.net


August 22, 2006

Feminists and Pink Game Consoles

Filed under:Feminism, Gaming Women, Gender, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 8:02 am

pink ps2

My friend Maladaptive pointed out in her Livejournal that some people are unhappy with the pink PS2 and PSP. I can see the problem some people have with the pink consoles: making something “girly” isn’t going to cut it when we want things marketed towards us, respectfully, as women. I wouldn’t identify all of the Sony critics as necessarily feminist, though. One LJ writes:

the last thing I want is be reminded of my gender

This comment suggests that there is something wrong with being female, like it’s holding us back from being truly good at video games.

As a feminist, I believe people should be able to choose their own gender expression. And enjoying pink is a valid gender expression, but freedom of gender expression means a person should also be able to like or dislike pink without the social meanings we’ve attached to the color. I love pink. I love pink gamer swag: I can be feminine because there is nothing wrong with being girly.


July 8, 2006

Voice Changing Software for “Lady Gamers”

Filed under:Gaming Women, Gender, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Sexism, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 8:30 am

Harassed in game? Now, instead of reporting the harassment to moderators or challenging the ways the game environment and culture encourage it, you have a new way of blending in and participating: disguising your voice as that of a man’s.

According to Eurogamer, there is a new software available that can change the pitch of your voice in online games like World of Warcraft with TeamSpeak so you can hide your gender.

AV Voice Changer Software is somehow a unique product for female online game players who want to prove that playing online games is not a pastime for men only, and that their talent can make male partners goggle.

This attitude suggests that the status of male gamers is desired, and women must do what they can–such as hiding their gender–to elevate themselves to be like the boys in their own club.