This has been preying on my mind for quite some time now, puffing me up slowly to the point of exploding. So NOW IS THE TIME! Here is the explosion in rant form. Fair warning: it, like most forms of my self-expression, contains (significant) profanity. It all started with DOTA2 tournaments. I’m not knockin’ DOTA2, I totally love that game (as those who know me will tell you,) but I came across an exhibition match of DOTA2 (not an exhibition from VALVe themselves mind you) being played entirely by women. 5 on 5 all females of the species. And they were attractive, dressed in tight shirts and it got under my skin in a BIIIG way. Not because I have a problem with tight shirts on women – I think people can dress however they damn well please – but because it dripped of two things: sexism, and bullshit.
The bullshit caught me off guard at first, likely because I am a man and haven’t had to live under the bizarre and incredibly sad scrutiny that women encounter on a daily basis. If I were a woman, it’s possible the order would have been reversed. But the bullshit was the first thing I noticed. This was a VERY OBVIOUS attempt at grabbing the attention of “the nerds” by showing them hot women doing a thing they like. It’s the equivalent of pinup soldier girls that you used to see on the sides of planes, only these weren’t artistic expression and a way of holding onto your culture: these were living breathing women. Being turned into extensions of the computers they were sitting in front of for the benefit of the tournament organizers. How dumb do you think I am? How fucking dumb do you think your tournament viewers are? I was insulted that I (as their intended audience) should be so easily appeased.
And then! The sexism hit me squarely in the face. Are these women second class citizens? Second class gamers? Why all females? In professional football (soccer) there is a pretty decent case to be made for playing men against men and women against women. The physical size of most male players and the aggressive physical, sometimes almost violent, nature of the sport means a more level playing field is achieved with gender separation. Do I think that’s right? Ehhhhh maybe. I don’t know if I’m qualified to comment on it. But! Is there some sort of reason why a male gamer and a female gamer would be unevenly matched in a professional eSports competition? Please: if there is, someone send it to me because I would LOOOVE to see that data. And so if there’s no reason to be separating the genders, then why do it?
Video games are here to stay. Short of someone dropping bombs and putting us into an irradiated Mad Max wasteland future, video games are going to continue to grow. And eSports will continue to grow, and that’s GREAT! But why can’t we start out with a new level playing field? We have an amazing and unique opportunity here to allow all genders, sexual orientations, and races to become COMPLETELY EQUAL behind their keyboard. So WHY THE FUCK ARE PEOPLE CLINGING TO OLD FUCKED UP SEGREGATING WAYS? Let’s take this fresh start, and MAKE IT A FRESH START. If I meet a woman who righteously beats my ass online, great! Good for her. Who cares that she’s a woman though? She’s just a person playing the game. Just like I am. She could be a 40 year old asian lady, or a fucking GIANT TOAD for all I care.
But gamers like their little fence they have built. We sit in our clubhouse and shout “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” and when they show up we make them feel like shit with comments about sandwiches and kitchens and “no girls on the internet” because we feel safer that way. Well guess what? It’s 2014 and fuck all that shit. I will put a rocket squarely into your face whether you’re a transgendered black woman from New Zealand, or the straight white christian boring guy down the street. Let’s knock the wall down! Let’s all enjoy games together! TOGETHER! JUST AS PEOPLE. Because that’s what we are. We’re people.
Now let’s turn people, into gamers.