Hello loyal VGU.tv readers. Apologies for not having a new VGU reader discussion for you to pore over, I thought this week I’d examine an issue that, admittedly, doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with video games at first glance but which has been affecting many different people within many different creative areas, video games being one such area. That issue is entitlement.
Entitlement can be a tricky subject to broach since it’s something that, at one point or another, every human being inevitably feels. We feel entitled to a raise when we work sustained long hours at our jobs, we feel entitled to an apology when someone wrongs us, and we feel entitled to celebrate occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. However, there’s an ugly side to entitlement as well and the sad fact is many people who feel said entitlement don’t often stop and ask *why* exactly they feel so entitled.
The medieval mentality that men are somehow “better” or “more capable” than women is certainly one such form of ugly entitlement. Somehow, the notion that because men are more physically imposing (i.e. tougher, stronger, able to survive more easily) than women and thus are entitled to make decisions for them and keep them locked down in more supportive “traditional” roles has never really evolved despite the many centuries that mankind has walked the Earth. Female tribe members could not survive without male hunters, Queens could not rule without Kings, and women could not possibly hope to move up in this world without the aid of strong men to help and “support” them.
But you know what the really ugly aspect of this sort of entitlement is? Most men inevitably feel they are entitled to more. Pretty soon you have situations like what happened recently at the RTX video game convention or the myriad of horror stories from this year’s E3. Men feeling entitled to dictate, intimidate, and even sexually harass women all for the simple crime of daring to step into the male-dominated space of video games. It’s the same sort of “old boys club” mentality we see in corporate environments; unfair and degrading at best, toxic and dangerous at worst.
This sort of mentality needs to stop.
It’s dumbfounding to think that there are so many people out there whose viewpoints on how others should be treated are as narrow-minded as those of medieval lords and monarchs. That somehow something as simple as a person’s gender can dictate whether they’re a “superior” or “inferior” person. Women don’t deserve to be harassed and bullied simply because they have the same interests as men and men certainly aren’t entitled to enforce such narrow-minded stereotypes especially if it infringes on a woman’s right to feel safe (as it sadly often does).
If male gamers, game journalists, and game developers want to stop being treated like lecherous basement-dwelling Neanderthals we need to stop treating women like we’re still living in the dark ages. Girls like to game too fellas. I can name a few female friends who could whoop my butt at Tekken or dance circles around me in a game of Call of Duty. Do I feel threatened by their skills? No. Do I feel entitled to degrade, violate, or humiliate them? Absolutely not. I may not be able to relate entirely with the sorts of problems and issues a woman may face, but I know what it’s like to walk into an environment where I know I’m not wanted or accepted as I’m sure most of you do as well. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much that feeling sucks.
I like to think that a majority of guys who purposefully try to infringe on a woman’s right to get her game on aren’t actually hostile or bad people, they just don’t know any better. Ignorance can be just as damaging as entitlement, apathy just as bad as hostility. We need to do more than just “be nice” to female gamers, we need to actively find ways of making female gamers, game journalists, and game developers feel more welcome. It’s easy to say “this is a crying shame and someone ought to do something about it” and then not do anything about it. Let’s try to go the extra mile and show gamers all over, no matter their gender, that we can play nice.
Our love of games is something that should unite us, not divide us. Going to a convention without fear of verbal and sexual harassment shouldn’t be a female gamer’s hope, it should be her right. It’s time to step out of the dark ages guys. The gaming industry is making new technological, graphical, and gameplay-centric breakthroughs every day; let’s show the world we can match their efforts on the more human side of the equation. The real beauty of video games is that they can be enjoyed by all no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, or occupation. Let’s not tarnish that beauty with a misguided sense of entitlement.
What do you say?