Monday, June 18, 2012

What the...?

A few weeks ago I read an article linked by a friend on Facebook titled, "'The Demise of Guys': How video games and porn are ruining a generation." Basically, the article discusses some of the negative impacts of video game and porn addictions. Now, I can understand why men would feel a little defensive about this article given the title; certainly not all or even a majority of men suffer from either of these addictions. Still, I was shocked when I read the comments posted on this article. This article had nothing to do with women, other than to point out that video games and porn addictions are not conducive to a successful and healthy relationship. And yet it was a common pattern throughout the comment dialogue to attack (sometimes quite viciously) women. Many of these hateful comments expressed this basic sentiment: "If women  _______ (stopped whining, stopped expecting communication in relationships, would stay in the kitchen, were more attractive, or my favorite, would "give it up" more) then men wouldn't need these outlets."  Seriously, people? Disturbing. Oh well, right? Brush it off as trolls being trolls. 

Until I found this: A female video blogger and pop culture critic recently started a Kickstart campaign to fund her newest project of "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games." And the backlash was much worse then the comments I found on this article. In fact, several online video game forums organized online attacks against this women, including changing her Wikipedia article to include racist, sexist, and just all-around offensive language, and flooding her youtube channel with equally hateful comments. 

And all this made me think. What is the deal with this link between video games and misogny? Really, what makes some of these video gamers so defensive, but more than that, so prone to verbally attack women? As a disclaimer, I know many men who play video games who are respectful men and good husbands. But the fact that so many men defended their video gaming by attacking women in the first example, and so many video gamers attacked this woman just for wanting to point out some of the sexist tropes in video games in the second, strikes me as not just coincidental. 

So am I opening this up for your discussion (I mean for the 6 people who read my blog). What do you think is going on here? 

Here are the links so you can do your own research:


John said...

The positive side of all this was that the video producer raised tons of money for her project after receiving all that abuse. So the lesson I take from this is that most internet trolls are video game addicts even if most video game lovers are not misogynist internet trolls.

kkGoulding said...

This is a correlation that I've also recently noticed and wondered at. I'm starting to doubt 'the coincidence', as well, for various reasons. I wish I understood the source behind these individuals' issues with women. That's mostly what I wonder about, but I guess that's normal for me to jump straight to 'family of origin' and how someone projects their internal struggles onto others. What vital relationship did they miss out on in their lives? Did their father never teach them the correlation between being a real man and treating women with respect? Did their mother never impress upon them the value of women in their lives?

And really, what in particular attracts the misogynistic man to be a gamer? Is it just a basic love of gaming at first, but then being drawn into the 'community' of it all? Is it the appeal of being found 'in good company'?

I don't know, but I wonder. I've been pretty bothered by this lately. Just some thoughts.

Donna Bardsley said...

I read about this over the weekend, and was so shocked because gamers are generally regarded as such an upstanding, respectable community of unmatched character and dignity.

Bwaahahaha. Ahhhh, anyway... Seriously, reading through the comments on her Kickstart campaign page-- I thought my head was going to explode from the irony of it all. Talk about proving someone's point. Yes gamer trolls, your ruthless comments attacking Anita's gender, appearance, and intelligence in the most offensive terms possible have totally convinced us of your non-misogynist views!


My 2 cents: 1st--loved that it backfired on them in a huge way and ended up getting her WAY more support than she even asked for. 2nd-- when the reaction to the mere announcement of an intention to research sexism in gaming results in such vitriolic backlash, well, she's probably right on then.