Misogyny bad? Spoiler alert: it is.

Okay. I don’t usually write about this sort of thing. Not sure how good I am at it, really. Also, I don’t have anything new to add to the topic. I’ve read four articles about misogyny today, though — three in regards to the SpecFic community and one to the video game community — and I felt the need to say something.

Also, if you haven’t seen my Twitter userpic, then let it be known that I’m a white man. So, this is an outsider’s perspective.

Last bit of preamble: probably some triggering stuff coming up. I’ll put it under a cut just to be safe.

Yesterday, I read a post that showed some responses to a tweet the author made two days ago about the lack of female protagonists in the games presented at Microsoft’s E3 press conference. I stopped reading shortly after because those responses ranged from dismissive to disgusting. And, sadly, it was nothing I hadn’t seen before in the video game community.

Later on, I read a post, which pointed me to two other posts here and here which detailed the authors’ personal experiences with misogyny in the SpecFic community. Now this is still fairly new to me. I mean, I’ve read a few experiences similar to those presented in the latter two posts, but it’s not something I’ve come to expect/dread yet from my chosen genre.

I’ve been a gamer since before I was old enough to go to school (my recent vow to give them up notwithstanding). I’ve been a reader since kindergarten, and the genre that won my heart is speculative fiction. And to realize that sexism is so endemic to both, well…

I want to be angry. When I see injustice, I want to Hulk out and smash. This doesn’t happen. I just get depressed and hopeless for our species. Depression is not motivating, which is why I so often do nothing. Say nothing. Why else do I say nothing? Fear. I don’t want to “rock the boat.” I’m so averse to rocking the boat that I will jump out of the boat and tread water. Also unproductive.

So this is me fighting my natural inclination to fade into the background. This is me deciding to actually have a public opinion about Something Important. It’s really quite simple. So simple that I can state the gist of my opinion in one sentence:

Misogyny sucks.

I would go further and say “inequality sucks,” which it does, but I’m focusing on sexism with this post. Gotta stay focused.

It is not cool that women, half the population of our freaking planet, have to deal with so much crap, not just from two of the things I love, but from society in general. It’s even worse how unnoticed and even accepted it is. Women do not deserve to be ignored or disrespected. Their voices, viewpoints, and experiences are as valid as mens’, and to think otherwise is pretty damn ignorant.

I want women to write stories and make games. I want to read books, play games, and watch shows and movies with women as protagonists. I want them to be heard, seen, and respected.

On a larger scale, I want society as a whole to get its metaphorical head out of its ass, realize it has a problem, and fix it. And the people who are brave enough to say this — and by this I don’t mean random guys like me who have nothing to lose, but the women who are actually affected — should be safe from backlash. The rape and death threats. The horrible names. The pure, unfiltered waste spewing from the underdwellers of humanity.

For my part, I will do better to keep my eyes open, to spread the word, to speak out against misogyny and other forms of inequality that I encounter. Not because the marginalized need me to be their hero, but because I want people to know that this happens and that it’s not okay.

P.S. As I was writing this, Chuck Wendig posted this, which I agree with and can point to as another reason I wrote this post: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/12/why-men-should-speak-out-about-sexism-misogyny-and-rape-culture/


11 Comments on “Misogyny bad? Spoiler alert: it is.”

  1. Richard Mata says:

    I have to put this in. There was an article I read, I do not remember where at this time, but it basically pointed to a group of people (women) that did not feel that a woman should be highlighted as the main character in a game that promotes any sort of violence. I would wager to assume that its probably that same group of individuals that freaks out against violence in video games period. Some gaming companies have had to change characters because of it. Assassins Creed is still deciding whether a female main character is the right move in their franchise. I would think it would be an awesome idea, but there are people that despise that.

    Gears of War, another good example, they were going to put one in their franchise, but that got derailed after it was found that “a female lead character would negatively impact the games sale potential”. Which could also be true. The female gamer populace is around 47% right now. That is huge compared to what it was years ago. But I do not think it is the gamers causing the issues, its the parents.

    • I played a bit of the first Assassin’s Creed, but didn’t care for it. That being said, they should totally have a female protagonist. Why let men have all the assassinating fun?

      47% is a pretty hefty number. I think if the big game companies tried to reach out more towards women, they’d find an audience. Then again, these are the big game companies we’re talking about. More concerned about money and less concerned about taking chances. Indie games might be the answer.

  2. I do have to agree with you and I think that’s why I gravitate towards independent games more often than I do to ones made by companies. Independent developers are more likely to have a female protagonist than ones made by a company. I can’t speak for all women, but I don’t want to be treated better or worse simply because of my gender. I want to be treated like a human being. Again, independent developers are more likely to do so.

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