Toxic masculinity in gaming is heavy in the gaming world and toxic masculinity, and in general, is hated in the real world, so why bring it into these beautiful worlds that we venture into as a form of escapism?
Since 1958 video games have been a safe haven and escape from everyday mundane life. Often giving gamers a feeling of achievement and importance. You could save the galaxy as Master Chief, have the strength of a dragon, and witness history unfold as an assassin. People of all backgrounds could experience these highs. However, there are some guys who forget that it’s the 21st century and often go out of their way to exclude females from these worlds.
My first online game was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and I was excited about getting the chance to show off my sniper skills to more people other than my brother. But the moment I turned on my mic, thus telling everyone I was female, I was cursed at, ridiculed, and constantly got asked for my number. I truly felt uncomfortable, and that was back in 2007 when the game came out. I’ve since switched to PC gaming and am encouraged to just stay quiet and mute the others so I don’t have to listen.
But why is it that female gamers have to stay quiet to avoid the hate? For crying out loud what about a female gamer is so threatening? While decent gamers encourage “the more the merrier” and some even want a “gamer girlfriend” the evidence is not supported. My brother argues that video games were first for guys and it was their own safe haven and now that females are gaming more it’s now harshing their vibe. So their argument is “it was mine first so no one can have it”? In other words, gatekeeping…how childish.
What is it about these screens that give people the courage to say whatever they want? I’m sure they all have some sort of figure in their life that taught them how to treat others. It’s almost like the screen gives them liquid courage to act like fools and mistreat others. I don’t know about them, but my parents taught me to treat others like a distant relative; respect and grace.
But I also have the mindset of Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, my good opinion once lost, is lost forever. When we meet (I’m probably in the minority here) I give you my full love and respect. I don’t care about your background, creed, religion, race, or gender. Extend to me the same courtesy and you will have a comrade for life. But these foul-mouthed people burn every bridge and treat others like garbage.
To gather evidence to support my argument, I played recently played Valorant with my mic on and I unmuted myself. I was met with a world of insults. “Go back to the kitchen” “go make me a sandwich” “send me pics of your feet” and an array of derogatory terms. They get a little courage behind the screen and act like complete fools. Oh and God-forbid you are better than them because the slurs get even worse. F-words fly everywhere and you are even challenged right then and there to prove your worth. I’m sorry we came to game, not to prove ourselves to anyone.
And if we don’t accept the challenge, we are scared, thus beckoning the challenge. And it’s even worse if we make mistakes; like most gamers. We are laughed at, ridiculed, and taunted. It simply does not make sense. You have to show them up and there are montages of it on YouTube and it’s quite hilarious but the mouth of some of these guys are so disrespectful it’s not even funny. Even on YouTube, the masses don’t support female gamers. A quick search of the top female gamers, Ihascupquake has a following of 6.92 million subscribers, while Pewdiepie the top male gamer has well over 109 million.
And this is in no way an “I hate male gamers” rant, more so about me hating the hate that toxic male gamers exude towards female gamers. Toxic masculinity in gaming is heavy in the gaming world and toxic masculinity, and in general, is hated in the real world, so why bring it into these beautiful worlds that we venture into as a form of escapism? Once again I emphasize the time we are in, the 21st century; where a toxic personality is shamed, and acceptance is pushed.
To quote my favorite gamer novel Ready Player One, “Being human totally sucks most of the time”. There are already so many cruelties and inequalities in the real world, there’s no need to bring it into our safe haven. Are some men that fragile about their masculinity that the threat of a female; possibly being better than them at the game, causes them to lash out and argue women aren’t worthy enough to game with them?
They all have mothers right? and to quote my favorite badass queen, Gorgo (Lena Headly) from 300, “Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.” Breaking down that quote and even tossing how awesome the Spartans were, women gave birth to men, so for them to just disrespect women as much as they do makes me worried about future gamers. Women won their equality in 1920, and yet it’s a never-ending battle for us female gamers.
Videogames are the only thing that makes life bearable.” Reality is truly cumbersome at some points, with COVID-19, riots, and inequality. Videogames are the escape we need from it all, to travel to impossible worlds and do impossible things. There is no need, absolutely no need to bring such toxicity into the gaming universe. All gamers alike, I urge you to show kindness.
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