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About a week ago now, a video was posted on the Feminist Frequency Youtube channel, titled “25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male.” Anyone paying attention to the gaming community lately probably knows that this is a pretty charged topic. At the time, I attempted to write a response to it, but eventually scrapped the work due to it being dull, and poorly organized.

The thing about a “25 benefits” or whatever video is that it has no core to grab onto, and thus no central thesis to build a response around, at least, not in a written format. It becomes either pot shots, or bullet points, neither of which really work to address the substance and retain audience attention. Videos, where you can just present each point as said then respond to it in a natural and unscripted way, are at least more entertaining.

So, yesterday I found a response video by Mr. Repzion on youtube. I opened it, and ended up annoying the crap out of my friend sharing my thoughts on it with my friend via Skype as I watched. Reading over what I said, I think I managed to address a lot of the broader issues, and would like to share those thoughts here.

The body of this was directly copied and passed from Skype, with minimal editing for formatting purposes (removing timestamps mostly, and taking out some insults that just detracted from the point). And though this is a response to Mr. Repzion’s video, what I’m saying is not meant to be directed at him specifically. The video just offered a focal point to build around.

Also, I apologise if I forget to remove any insults directed at Repzion. I’ve had varying opinions about him and his content over the years, and I’m admittedly not always fair to him. Please, check the video yourself and ensure that I’m not misrepresenting his position.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD-zQKvnl04&list=UU228Y4vvOMPieeT_XYTbe-A)


 

So the repzion thing.‏

I told you about that Sarkesian vid about a week ago. This is his response to that.‏

Oh goodie T.T‏Shit, I just noticed, this vid is 34 minutes…‏

So I’m not gonna do it all -.-‏

Okay, so Repzion’s first argument against the claim that Male gamers experience privilege (that is, male gamers does experience certain harassment of insult that female gamers do). His argument, basically “I was made fun of in church for being a nerdy gamer.”‏

What the fuck does that have to do with anything?!‏

You weren’t made fun of because of your gender, and that’s what’s relevant here! If you were a girl, you still would have been made fun of. In fact, it would likely have been worse if you were a girl, because of the social stigma against girls in gaming (also, the religious stigma against girls doing basically anything fun, since we’re talking about a Christian church). And that’s what feminists are talking about when they talk about privilege; it’s not that you necessarily had it easy, but you had it easier.

He goes on about people insulting him for being a gamer for a while, not seeming to realize that it is not at all relevant.‏

“I wouldn’t call my upbringing in that environment a privilege…”
Again, privilege doesn’t mean you had it easy. It only means you had it easier. In this case, the idea is that you had it easier than a female in the same situation would have. They would have been mocked just as much, if not more if they were in your shoes.‏

From the Sarkesian vid: “The following is a checklist of some of the concrete benefits male gamers receive…”
From Repzion’s vid, “Key word here, ‘concrete evidence’.”
Wow, with misquoting that good, Repzion could be on Fox News!‏

“Remember guys, it’s ‘concrete evidence’.” No it’s not. Holy fuck you’re so stupid you can’t even say two words in a row without getting one wrong.‏

Okay, he responds to the video’s first point, which is about harassment. Repzion: “Your definition of harassment is not the legal definition of harassment.”
Oh, and as we all know, the law is totally flawless!
Also, just because it’s not a crime, doesn’t mean it’s perfectly fine (fuck, I can’t believe I rhymed >.< Oh no! I did it a third time! If I keep this up I’m gonna start cryin’! I can’t helping rhyming on every line.)‏

Like, I can treat you obnoxiously, and while it may not be illegal, I’m still a dick for doing it. Now imagine that as a problem throughout the gaming community. Wouldn’t that be something we should address?‏

And I’m not even necessarily saying it is a large scale problem in gaming. I’m not really convinced it is, and I have trouble definitively standing on either side of the fence on this one. There’s not exactly a large pool of data and study done on gaming culture yet (and most of what does it exist is just trying prove over and over that, no, videogames do not make people into fucking murders. I can’t believe that’s still a fucking issue).‏

But Repzion hasn’t said anything about whether harassment or sexism exist in gaming yet. All is agreements seem to be saying, “even if it does exist, it’s not a problem be…” and then he gives a stupid reason. No, if it exists, it’s a problem. So what we should be concerned with is whether or not it exists. And both feminist gamers and anti-feminist gamers are acting wrongly in approaching this. One side seems to take the existence of sexism and harassment of women in gaming on a large scale for granted, and the other takes for granted that sexism in gaming doesn’t exists. You cannot take for granted the main topic of the controversy! Let’s get some fucking science in on this, because science is fucking awesome!‏

Alright, so he’s kinda incoherent for a bit, but I’ll try my best to make sense of it. First he talks about trash-talking, seeming to imply that, any time a female gamer does experience something she interprets as harassment or sexism, it’s just standard trash talking. Again, this is just taking for granted the exact thing we’re trying to figure out.‏

Then he goes on to talk about how gaming has, for a very long time, been male dominated, and then he goes back to trash-talking. Okay, that was… completely pointless.

He mentions how he and his girlfriend play Dota, and how when someone says his girlfriend sucks “because she got a higher K/D ratio then they did”, that’s just trash talking. Does he really think this is what female gamers are complaining about? I mean, I may be a bit guilty of making an assumption here, but I’m pretty god damn sure that’s not what this whole thing is about. I think woman are smart enough to know the basics of trash talking. But even if you think my assumption there is unjustified, he’s making the assumption that the “harassment” female gamers are complaining about is just this trivial trash talking. That is also completely unjustified. Again, taking that women aren’t harassed based on gender, as a foregone conclusion.‏

“I face the exact same type of treatment…” But here’s the thing, you’re taking you experience as universal. What feminists are complaining about is the treatment that you DON’T experience. And yes, it is understandable that you could be ignorant about it. You don’t experience sexism against women, you don’t engage in it, and you might not play with people who do engage in it. But you have to recognize the intrinsic bias in that. That other people may experience what you don’t. For example, most white people have never experience unfair treatment from police because of their race, but there’s a large body of evidence to inform them that other races have experienced unfair treatment. The problem with gaming is, as far as my research has turned up, we don’t have the large body of evidence needed to draw conclusions.‏

Next he claims that videogames are intended for a male audience. Frankly, this is true; the demographic is still majority male, and the publishers and developers (as idiotic as they can be sometimes) know this, and market to this, for the most part. However, this doesn’t mean we should let women be discouraged from the hobby; we should, if we are interested in diversity and equality (which I believe we should be) be welcoming of different demographics into gaming culture.‏

He references things like Dr. Phil, saying it is intended for a female audience. But there’s a big difference between gaming a Dr. Phil; Dr. Phil is a TV show, run entirely from the supply side, where as videogames are a broader field, where the demand side (the consumers, gamers) have power. There is such a thing as Gaming Culture. There is no Dr. Phil Culture. Also, nobody should watch Dr. fucking Phil anyway; pop-psychology is just… bleh.‏

“Specific toys are intended for a specific gender.” So if a boy wants to play with a girl’s toy, we should discourage that? No, that’s stupid. Let the kid enjoy the toy. Hell, Smash Bros. is generally aimed at guys, but my sister likes it, and that’s awesome because it means that me and her get to play together. I love that! I try to encourage her to enjoy more video games, because video games are fun.‏

“I created a female player in Runescape, because I knew that if I asked other players for [stuff] they would [give it to me].” This is supposed to prove that the opposite of sexism exists. But 1) that attention female Runescape characters get could easily make someone uncomfortable playing the game, and 2) it just demonstrates sexism. It’s different treatment based on sex. Regardless of which way you interpret that as flowing, it’s not a good thing. If you believe gender equality is good, then you must admit that this is bad.‏

Talking about when he plays a game with his girlfriend, “As soon as she flips on her mic, guys are like ‘Oh my god! A women in videogames!’ They get all horney…”
Do people seriously not see how this could make a women uncomfortable?! Like, Jesus, this is fucked up! If a women can’t use a mic without guys acting noticeably horny, that’s gonna make a lot of women uncomfortable, and not feel welcomed!‏

He also brings of instances where people say “You’re a girl, you must suck because you’re a girl.” And he says this is just typical trash-talking. But here’s the thing, that’s not just typical trash talking. That’s a clearly a gendered insult or attack. You never hear them say, “You must suck because you’re a guy.”‏

‎”If women can have their television shows, like Oprah, then why can’t man have their videogames?” It’s stuff like this that makes me uncertain what Repzion’s position actually is. Is he saying that women aren’t harassed in the gaming community, or is he saying it’s okay to harass them because videogames are a guy thing? This argument leans towards the latter, which is blatantly sexist. How about this, how about man and women can both watch Oprah, and can both play videogames? Also, there’s not a problem of men being harassed because they watch Oprah. There should not be that same problem for women who play videogames.‏

Next Repzion makes a point I actually agree with. The video on Feminist Frequency claims that men don’t have to worry about being harassed or feel uncomfortable about putting their personal information online. This is obviously wrong. I could put my dad’s name, phone number, email and addresses right here, and he would yell at me and tell me to take them down. Nobody feels comfortable with their personal information online.

Repzion’s position here is pretty much the same, though he gives it from the perspective of someone who actually does have to deal with their personal information being online, and who receives a significant amount of internet attention, positive and negative. I’m happy I’m not in that position, and that’s part of why I prefer to work in a text only format.

“There are in fact people who fake their interests.” Okay, so we’re getting into the “fake geek-girl” thing. Yes, I acknowledge that, on a basic level, this is true. But it’s not so simple, especially in gaming. There is this perception of gamers as “hardcore”, and if someone doesn’t know the game, they won’t be accepted. In certain gaming circles, this is not entirely false; I think most gamers know the anxiety of trying to get into a really competitive online game, liking the game but knowing that there is a tough learning curve. It is understandable that a person would exaggerate their interest, in an attempt to be accepted into that games internal culture. This doesn’t mean that the person should be rejected when they’re found out, or that we should be suspicious of people who “don’t look like they belong”.

If you find out that someone has put on a façade, think about why they did it. It may change from situation to situation, and some people may actually have no interest in the game. But if someone is lying in order to be accepted by a gaming community, most of the time they will like the game, and just be unconfident in their skill or ignorant of what gamers are like.

Next, he responds to a point about how men get to see their gender widely represented in the gaming media. His response, “Well of course, because gaming was always a really big male dominated thing back in the day…”

Again, this is true. I think most people get why the gaming media is male dominated. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to change that, now that more women are interested in gaming. Obviously this would change naturally over time, but there will be a significant lag affect, because most people who get into gaming professionally would start out as gamers as children. If we want the gaming media to represent a proportional female prospective, it will take decades for that shift to happen. Alternatively, the current, male dominated, gaming media, and gaming culture as a whole, could be more encouraging of women in the field, in order to balance things out sooner. Admittedly, this may cause a situation wherein the female perspective in the media is not as savvy initially (give that many may not have been gamers as children), but it is still a more balanced model, and would be corrected within a generation.

Next, he responds to a point about how men get to see their gender widely represented in the gaming media. His response, “Well of course, because gaming was always a really big male dominated thing back in the day…”

Again, this is true. I think most people get why the gaming media is male dominated. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to change that, now that more women are interested in gaming. Obviously this would change naturally over time, but there will be a significant lag affect, because most people who get into gaming professionally would start out as gamers as children. If we want the gaming media to represent a proportional female prospective, it will take decades for that shift to happen. Alternatively, the current, male dominated, gaming media, and gaming culture as a whole, could be more encouraging of women in the field, in order to balance things out sooner. Admittedly, this may cause a situation wherein the female perspective in the media is not as savvy initially (give that many may not have been gamers as children), but it is still a more balanced model, and would be corrected within a generation.

Feminist Frequency vid: “I have will never be asked, or expected, to speak for all other gamers who share my gender.”

Repzion’s response: “Anita Sakesian for example, isn’t she speaking for a lot of women.”

And Repzion just proved the video’s point. As someone who’s watched all of Anita’s videogame related videos, I don’t recall her ever saying she’s giving anyone’s opinion but her own. However, Repzion seems to expect she’s speaking for a lot of women.

Though I’m just jabbing at Repzion. For the most part, I actually agree with him here. I don’t think it is expected by gamers that anyone, male or female, represents anyone but themselves, at least not in a casual or social context (obviously a politician is supposed to represent their citizens, as much as that feels like a joke these days).


 

Alright, this is where I stopped. I was only about a third through the video at this point, but this was never really about one specific video. At this point I was already finding that responding to a lot of things would just be repeating myself, and there wasn’t much more to add. I still haven’t watched the entire video, so if there’s something more interesting in there I might give some addendum to this, but frankly I don’t want to get into any kind of personal war with anyone here.

Repzion, if you read this, don’t worry, I’m not just some troll trying to badmouth you. I have no intention of talking about you again. However, if you, or anyone else reading this, want to discuss it in the comments, I’d be happy to.

Don’t Lose Your Way

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