No offense to Kahn or her sister but this article just screams insecurity. Why would you let external forces ruin your love for video games? Why would you assume that game developers must cater to your sister?
Kahn outlines three factors that cause women to fall out of love with video games.
My response to the article:
As far as I am concerned, Animal Crossing and The Sims are legit games. Hell, just look at all the let’s plays for Animal Crossing or Lazy Game Review’s extensive but fascinating series on The Sims series.
I am not familiar with Her Story but sure, Gone Home is a game (yet, so is Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties…).
People will gravitate to what interests them. I had male friends who were interested in Halo and Grand Theft Auto. I did not feel upset or otherwise offended that they played these games. Usually, I would just like to sit back and watch them play and laugh at the outrageous stuff you could do. Like beating hookers with dildoes. I tried my hand at Halo but failed and we just laughed about it. We were young and didn’t give a shit. I wasn’t interested into “molding myself into a pleasing shape” (whatever the hell that means) and I doubt my friends saw me as an “object to spurn/pursue”. We just wanted to have fun. Again, gamers can be interested in different games. I would not expect a 12-year old boy to be interested in playing a Barbie-horse game just I would not expect a girl of the same age to be interested in playing Twisted Metal. When playing with others who do not like the same genres, we learned to compromise and find a game everyone can enjoy at some level. Also how is Mario Kart, Angry Birds, or Bejeweled not a game? Who is saying this?
Guys who rag on female gamers are usually immature/socially-awkward morons or trolls (i.e. people not worth paying attention to). In my experience, guys who find out you play games are either indifferent towards it or are excited, usually because you have something in common to talk about with them. This applies to anything like talking about your favorite movies, music, cars, food, etc. (socializing in general). I don’t think mature guys really care if a girl likes playing video games or not.
You stopped playing your DS because of what boys will think of you? Well, that is your insecurity. Me? I’ll still be playing games because I enjoy them with out giving a damn about what other people think of me. Seeking the approval of others gets you nothing, let alone happiness. As for marketing, marketers know exactly who they are marketing to. If Kate Upton helps them sell apps, so be it. They will make commercial after commercial without thinking about how you feel. Why? Cuz money!
The thing that really gets me is that the writer assumes female gamers want the same types of games and there must be “games for women by women”.
The Kahn’s sister is 17 who is primarily interested in One Direction, Cooking Mama, and wants games “4girlz” that you can play on your browser/phone (which do exist, btw) where there is no killing/rape/assorted violence/sexy stuff what so ever.
I’m in my early 20’s and enjoy games like Deadly Premonition, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, and Okami among various other titles. As music goes, my taste is somewhat eclectic but I like rock and metal which can have violent/sexual themes.
But were both girls so me must have the same interests, right? No!
An anonymous person wrote a recent article for The Guardian which is a pseudo-response where they feel like the trouble with games today is not about gender or race but lack of variety (which I agree with at some level): http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/10/video-games-diversity-problem-runs-deeper-than-race-gender
While Kahn and her sister are entitled to their opinions, I think her article exemplifies the inane effects of inserting gender politics into an entertainment medium. They complain about the lack of games they like and how gaming culture is a boy’s club while expecting others to fix the “problem” and cater to them without contributing anything of real substance.
Rabid ecstasy, 1997
Heh, I found this video by Vee that sums up his thoughts on this mess of an article, while making some good points.
Rabid ecstasy, 1997
“Oh my god! The gaming industry is not catering to us! What do we do?”
“Sorry I can’t be inclined to comment because I suffer from acute D.G.A.F Syndrome.”
“Frankly, I Don’t Give A Fuck!!!”
*flips table and dons some sweet shades*
Rabid ecstasy, 1997
Harmful Opinions did a really good video response to the second article. I really enjoyed it.
I think just making good games isn’t going to bring about the women in gaming parity that most people idealistically want. If you look at the genres men and women play, you’ll see that the difference is night and day. Sure there is cross over, but on average; an action game is going to appeal to men where women like resource management games. I think from this data, we can infer that the problem is more a kin to “How can we get more men into romance novels”. Is there some women who turn away from games because it seems like a men’s thing? Yes. Are some women turned off gaming due to over sexualized women? Yes. Do some women not play games due to a female lead characters not being as numerous as male protagonists? Yes. Do these three facts combined adequately explain the disparity between the number of male & female gamers? Not in the slightest. Many problems in gaming are shared by other forms of media, so why is it only in gaming are these shared problems keeping out all the women?
I have similar issues about gaming when it comes to gay guys. I’m a gaymer, and I would love nothing more than getting more gay men into gaming since that would be good for increasing my dating pool. I keep trying to think of how to increase the number of gaymers w/o going into authoritarian territory. Considering there’s already healthy gaymer communities, I really wonder if implementing the same tactics that people like Kahn push for in terms of women would have any real effect on the amount of gay gamers. I really want to learn from the current movement for those pushing for women in gaming; the things they do right and what they are doing wrong, so that one day I can push for my gay representation in video games.
Lately, I’ve started to struggle with “Is there even a problem to fix?”. Much like how men & women choose (on average) different majors and go into different job sectors. Is there an invisible sexists hand controlling huge numbers of women away from STEM fields? Is pushing women into jobs and majors they don’t currently naturally gravitate to just going to lead to a whole lot of women wondering why they let themselves be talked out of a job/major they really wanted. The answer is obvious, we should just encourage women to do what they want to do, not for them to do what we personally want them to do. Social engineering via propaganda is inevitably just going to lead to a unhappy society that values the “greater good” over liberty and personal freedom. I’m not too worried of a Orwellian dystopia, I just have to question when does nudging people into “equality” start to become tyranny through thought police. Funny thing about good intentions, they sometimes pave the road to Hell.
Thanks for sharing your personal exp and thoughts about that article.
"Now, I’ve forgiven the world and myself, too. I teach myself to smile again. One day I’ll get there, I know I will. Even if it takes me not nine, but nine hundred lives." -Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady
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