“Oh, it’s a girl.”
“Are you a girl?”
“Yo, it’s another gamer chick!”
These are a few examples of what I hear once I’m back on my headset for another round of games. I’m confident a lot of women hear these phrases too, as well as others whose voices don’t automatically imply they fit into the classic definition of a gamer.
Can they be tedious? Yes.
Do I usually brush it off and keep playing? Yes.
However, most of the time, I refuse to answer at all. Not because I find it annoying, tiresome, or a waste of time but because I never know what the next words out of the other person’s mouth are going to be.
Sometimes they ask one question and drop it at that. Others will say it’s because they couldn’t tell and simply move on with the game.
But it feels like things take a turn for the worst more often than not.
Complete strangers ask me if I’m single. They tell me to perform lewd and disgusting acts. They outright speak over me or scream sexist and racist barbs whenever I try to make serious calls.
I’m not going to go in-depth because I’m sure those of us who dare to adventure into the world of video games and other media are familiar enough with these experiences. We know the risks we take whenever we turn on our consoles or PCs. We know what we could be subjected to when we turn on our microphones.
Now, the only thing I have to ask is this:
Why do people get so upset when they find out women and POC play video games?
Really, I want to know.
I want to know why people go out of their way to be poisonous towards others you can’t see? Why do people feel the need to belittle and harass someone? What is it about playing with women and people of color that makes others so upset?
The answer to these questions is probably obvious.
If people think it’s the popular thing to do, then surprise, it’s not. There are actual human beings on the other end of the headsets, trying to enjoy the experience. Not only do you spoil their day, you show the world how rotten you are on the inside.
If you’ve had a bad day or get easily angered when playing, then it’s time to take a step back and think about why horrible words come out of your mouth when you get tilted to begin with.
If you don’t fall into any of these categories, then you’re probably racist and/or sexist.
And that’s a you problem.
I will no longer sit by and take whatever nastiness is thrown at me or the people I play with. I have learned standing up for myself and others only makes the community better and safer for everyone involved. I have discovered there are people like me who love to game and will take the necessary steps to ensure others can do the same.
I have found amazing communities like Black Girl Gamers, The Cookout, and Blackwatch: Overwatch Gaming Community that allow me to team up with these incredible people. I’m reminded I’m not alone in my experiences and passion.
So guess what toxic schmucks?
We’re here to stay.
By: Emily Burke