Every time I fire up one of my favorite games, I feel a sense of apprehension to say hello to my fellow gamers via voice chat.  An overwhelming majority of the time the response to my ‘hello’ is ‘OMG GIRL’ or some similar variation.  Since I am a lady that enjoys gaming, a lot of people have asked me what my thoughts on #gamergate are.  If you are not familiar with #GamerGate you can check it out here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy.  I believe gamers being hateful is the problem, not gamers being sexist.

Game culture is turning into something that is degrading and negative.  If someone accidentally pulls the boss, or is not doing enough damage, it is open season to criticize and ridicule that particular individual.  Sometimes gamers need to step back and realize that the game is supposed to be fun.  We need to stop hating on each other and realize that people have real lives, real jobs, and real things to do   Hiding behind the screen, gamers often don’t treat each other like people. Bullying is never the answer.

Why do gamers feel that calling someone names is appropriate? Gaming should not be about if you win or lose, are a girl or boy, or if you are the best or not.  I have found myself immersed in the group from time the time, joining in to taunt or yell at someone for messing up, and in retrospect I feel terrible about it.  We have no idea who that person is, or what their story is.  Maybe they are new to the game, or just had a shitty day.  The point is, it does not matter, and no one should be treated the way gamers sometimes treat each other.  

When gaming I have been called the C word, I have been told that ‘women don’t belong, and to get back into the kitchen,’ and commonly: ‘you’re a stupid b****.’  This language is terrible but the point is, I am completely numb to these harsh comments.  It is commonplace to be spoken to in this fashion when gaming.  My original thought about #gamergate was “get over it.”  However, stepping back I realize that we should not be bullying each other, and it is a problem that we are just used to it.

As a community, we should embrace each other and enjoy the fact we get to play with people all around the world, and in all different walks of life.  Where did this hateful attitude towards others start?  If you saw someone in real life, you would not treat that person the way you do in game!  If we fix the root of the problem, and start having more positive conversations with people, the exclusion of women will lift.  No one should feel ashamed to play a game they enjoy.  

I urge you to think twice before you scream vulgarities at that mage who let his polymorph break, or that hunter who has his pet on taunt.  We all share the love of the game, whether we are the best or not. That is why we are playing! If as a community we start treating each other like we are people, than #GamerGate would not never have become an issue.

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