Females Getting Fragged

In a recent article published by Macleans.CA ‘On Campus’ paper, women in the gaming industry have noticed a sickening number of sexist remarks while playing video games. In the article, it is mentioned that of some of the comments such as “make me a sandwich” are common recurrences, while “show me your t-ts” and “I’ve got something for you to sit on”  are the most common forms of sexual harassment expressed.

Image courtesy of Meme Generator (btw this is ‘annoying gamer kid’ meme for anyone new to memes)

Other instances of this have been reported in a recent article in The Globe and Mail as well. A game, whose purpose was to pummel Anita Sarkeesian, a Canadian blogger from Toronto (for which special features blackened eyes, added bruises, and also added lacerations) had been normalizing violence against women in a response to Sarkeesian’s attempt to expose misogyny in games.

This is a screenshot of the Sarkeesian game in question. Image courtesy of

How have women been fighting these stereotypes? In some instances all-girl gamer groups have been formed to combat the age-old stereotype that girls can’t play video games. Two of the largest groups, The Frag Dolls and The PMS Clan also attend major gaming conferences, often competing alongside all-male (and some diverse) gaming teams to further prove their point. TV Shows such as G4’s WCG Ultimate Gamer have also been diligent in including a diverse group of girls for each season; in season 2, WCG had its first female winner, Katherine Gunn (whose gamertag was ‘Mystik’).

The Frag Dolls, a group of talented female gamers fighting stereotypes. Image courtesy of Giant Bomb.

In other instances, female gamers have begun speaking out against the overly sexual portrayal of women in games, calling for less demeaning portrayal of women.

“If the industry stopped objectified female characters in games, men might be less inclined to objectify the women playing them.” Emma Teitel, Macleans.ca

What do you think can be done to combat harassment of women in the gaming sphere? Sound off in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Females Getting Fragged

  1. I am of two minds about all of this…

    I’m thinking a lot of this started from the fact that gamers have been for so long treated as social scum, virgin nerd boys in their momma’s basements. This social stereotype continues to persist, and a lot of nerds feel inferior and cast down. It is a truism that the abused often become the abusers, and I think that this has happened in this case.

    On the other hand, it’s kinda totally out of left field. Most gamers don’t hate women, and don’t immediately react to female gamers with that kind of ridiculous ridicule, I certainly don’t. I think a lot of gamers and game designers are kinda non-plussed by this kind of behavior. Maybe it has persisted because so many women and girls feel (understandably) uncomfortable at any events or even being among guys who are gaming around them, and there has so far been no dissent.

    My advice to resolve this problem would therefore be twofold: Stop treating male nerds like social outcasts, and they will stop trying to prove you right as their last ditch attempt to be accepted into the culture at large. Secondly, this is all about communication. Most of the guys doing this have never been told that they are wrong. Girls have to keep showing up, and they have to keep expressing their discontent. I think that with enough time, gaming culture as a whole will just come to accept girls within the fold. I don’t think you have to paint bruses on your face to accomplish this.

  2. Michael,

    I am very close friends with several gamers, and that having been said I do not regard “the average gamer” as a “virgin nerd boy” (except sWooZ1e because that’s his choice and he’s pretty proud of it).

    I’m not attacking nerdy boys for being nerdy, I just think certain events like the sexist “punch anita” game and the continued images of women gamers as either sluts (game characters), fat ugly (from common stereotypes), and otherwise should be stopped. I do realize certain strides have been made to combat this, however my issue stems from a long history of seeing perfectly capable female gamers met with intense distasteful comments that in any workplace would be ‘sexual harrassment’.

    Actually our classmate who write for Nintendough has an excellent podcast you should listen to.

    Its available here:
    http://nintendough.me/2012/05/07/sexism-in-games/

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