Women in Games: a rant.

I don’t really understand what the fuss is all about.

Today I read a refreshingly straightforward blog post about what women want in female protagonists. I highly recommend reading it for yourself, but what it boils down to is we want to be portrayed as humans with personalities like any male protagonist is. It really doesn’t seem like it should be a problem, but the comments … oh, the comments.

I eventually navigated to this post through a link that Deputy Editor of the New Staesman Helen Lewis retweeted about what women who are serving or have served in the armed forces think of modern FPS games. (Clicking on THAT link, I warn you, may lead to a tangential path of vaguely related but equally interesting blogs and articles.) Helen Lewis is pretty much a fantastic person all around, but to cover the basics: she’s a smart lady who plays video games and can write and is fortunate to have acquired a tough skin to deal with people who want to push her out of the video game world.

I mention her not just because she led me (somewhat … okay, entirely indirectly) to write this blog today but also because, through her writings, has a law of the internet in her name.

Lewis’ Law: The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.

I think a large part of the reason that Anita Sarkeesian gets so much hate is because she’s not so great at articulating the things she means to say and she repeats a lot of phrases that come off as antagonistic to members of the boys’ club of which she speaks – she’s by no means wrong, and their comments serve as evidence to her cause, but I believe that her vocabulary rubs her audience wrong, including supporters of her cause.

But as a woman, and as a gamer, (and as an avid player and lover of The Longest Journey series, which everyone should play, featuring one of the richest plots and not one but SEVERAL strong female protagonists), I truly don’t believe that this movement is trying to change something that would negatively affect anyone. The first story I direct y’all to today iterates this point: There’s nothing wrong with sexy. There’s something wrong with immersion-breaking eroticism for the purpose of arousing guys in the hope of attracting more guys to buy the game.

In AP Microeconomics, we recently covered the Production Possibilities Curve model. Stick with me here for a minute. The PPC is a graphical representation of two resources any given business/economy/individual/constructive-in-some-way group can make, what’s efficient and inefficient, and what cannot be done. It shows how many products of X you can make when making none of Y, vice-versa, and every possibility in between. The only way to increase productivity from an efficient point on this graph is an increase in technology or the acquiring of more resources to use.

Female gamers do not want to decrease the quality of games. They don’t want to bring misery to the traditional male gamer. They want better technology and better resources – they want the quality of games to improve. A lot of people on both sides of the debate are throwing punches because they feel like they ought to, but what we’re really fighting for should only positively affect everyone involved. Almost any teenager-father pair who plays World of Warcraft can tell you that dads love playing chicks. While it doesn’t really apply to WoW, because WoW handles gender neutrality/irrelevance very well, that signifies that men could only benefit from more quality female prevalence in games.

And while that’s my strongest point and my English teacher last year would tell me to stop here, I’m going to go back for one more minute. Last Saturday, Helen Lewis wrote this for The Guardian (a prestigious place if there ever was one) defending Grand Theft Auto V for its quality and still stating that she wished it served women better. Even so, commenters continued to attack her for judging only on the women’s side of things what was obviously a “man’s game,” telling her she should have played the game for the game’s value rather than with a feminist eye … and completely ignoring all of the good things she said about it in the article. This is why this issue is an issue. One side doesn’t listen to the other and starts slinging mud, and then we’re all in a huge fight because we’re not even paying attention to the issue we’re fighting about.

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The days of yore.

But first, an unrelated story about today.

My first period class today was a design class. It’s an elective in high school which  means the majority of people are taking it for an easy credit and not because they have any kind of interest in design. I’m not one of those people. I sit with a friend of mine, a fellow senior who I have worked with for the past year and a half or so on our school newspaper, and today our new project was to cut a bunch of shapes out. We’re imitating Henri Matisse, I believe his name is. In any event, in the scrap box, there were copies of a 2002 edition of our newspaper. I took two, not actually realizing that they were OUR newspaper, just thought I’d have fun with newsprint as I am a budding journalist. (Don’t tell Mom that!) While talking, we came up with the idea to have a group of us go to the movies once a month or so and come up with blurb-like reviews of the movie. That way, when Deadline Day came, we’d have a variety of movies reviewed by a variety of people. Boost our social lives, strengthen our bonds, etc, etc. Our editor in chief loved it, a couple of other members heard it and adored it…

… Then I get home and feeling distraught for other reasons already, a member who was present when I discussed the idea with our editor (and loved it then, might I add?) texts me and tells me that two people who’ve never been interested in joining newspaper wanna do a movie and TV column. Oh … okay.

And our editor in chief doesn’t seem to care. Oh well. I went for it.

 

Moving on, I thought (for some reason I can’t recall now) about when I was younger and had more friends. There used to be a girl who lived next door to me named Ashlyn. She sprouted my social life, really. I’d had sleepovers before, but that was nothing. She took me to the skating rink on a Friday night and we didn’t get home until eleven or midnight. We went almost every weekend. I used to go to Central Market on Thursday and Friday nights; there was live music and organic food and classic sodas and all of those things were fantastic, and I didn’t stop going completely. But Rollerland West had skating, Monster Energy and dozens of people my age. And I stayed out late. It was a beautiful time. In a couple of months I stopped using baby skates and learned to inline – to really rollerblade. It was a great feeling.

Newspaper is my only honest source of social interaction aside from my boyfriend, who I love dearly and enjoy spending time with but … one notices the absence of others. I was hoping this would be a fun way to hang out with people. Shot down, I am discouraged. So easily negated from a friend who I thought enjoyed the idea as well as I did, I am not exactly the assertive type to fight for my position.

This post is equally strong feelings about missing having friends to do stuff with and about the feeling of rushing around the rink, over and over again, drinking too much Monster and getting nervous about talking to the cute boy, singing in your head or at the top of your lungs as loud as you could manage to every song you knew.

You read the paper or the e-paper and you hear about these kids partying or doing something crazy or stupid and you wonder why they do it, and some of them say they love the rush. Monster’s not healthy for you, but oh, what it did for me. I miss everything. But it’s good to remember, anyway.

It’s not fair.

Today was such a great day. So many awesome things were done and I even was nice to Douche-Boyfriend, and then he goes and depresses my mom again. Can you please fucking stop it? We were having a perfectly great day.

Then he was shitty, and then later on our dryer broke, and I’m having a hell of a time trying to write this dumb paper. Everything is very frustrating. I wish it would do me a favor and stop.

 

We deserve happiness … why is it so hard to achieve for us?

 

I hope everyone out there is having a better weekend …