By Shelby Horton
Being a girl in the gaming world is a fight that never seems to end, and one that you can’t just seem to win.
As a female gamer I’ve dealt with the sexism, stereotypes, rape threats, and the cruelty of “Gamergate,” an online guys club dedicated to harassing and threatening female gamers. When you try to tell them “enough!” you’re told to toughen up because it’s part of the gaming culture.
The culture started out as an all-boys club, but times have changed. The gamer industry now has female game developers, designers, and competitive players.
I am not a “girl gamer.” I’m a gamer. I shouldn’t need to wear my gender as a label.
Gender shouldn’t matter when you’re activating your “finisher” move, by ripping the bloody heart of your opponent in Mortal Kombat. But some people believe gender affects your gameplay or how knowledgeable you are in games.
Girls are at the fault of this as well: female gamers know woman who carry the title “girl gamer” as a way to seem more attractive or desirable to the opposite gender.
Licking an Xbox controller while taking a selfie does not make you a gamer.
You’re a gamer after you commit hours of your life to get to that final boss level. Even if you’re defeated by that boss, you start again and do it all over again.
Female gamers are not what society makes them out to be, they are not over glorified sex symbols, or pictures of shame.
A strong gamer can handle a few insulting stereotypes. But just because you’re a female gamer, it doesn’t mean someone behind a screen has the right to threaten your life.
Thanks to groups like Gamergate, Redditors, and 4Chan, female gamers have come to fear for their lives. Independent game developer Zoe Quinn felt the ultimate backlash that came with being a woman in the game industry.
After the release of her game “Depression Quest,” it was so successful it attracted the attention of Gamergate, a group that attacks female role models in the game industries, with constant berating on the Internet, and eventual physical attacks.
Quinn was constantly threatened to be raped, murdered and forced to watch the deaths of those close to her. This caused her to have to live with friends, change her phone number, and send her pets to other family members for their protection.
Some woman in gaming have taken a stand against this harassment, such as Brianna Wu, who was forced to flee her home after numerous death threats. Including an incident where alleged member of Gamergate, drove a car through Wu’s house.
Wu started a legal defense fund for the woman being attacked by members of Gamergate, and continues to speak out against them.
My gender should not affect how I am perceived in the gaming world, no matter if I’m playing “Sims,” or “Evil Within.”
I should not be slapped with a stereotype or have to fear for my well being just because I picked up a videogame controller. and loved playing video games.