A Response: What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

My response to Meagan Marie's most recent post.

I attended a really great Tomb Raider panel while at PAX East, and it was absolutely the highlight of my weekend. It was by far my favorite game at PAX, and the fact that the panel was made up of highly intelligent women only made it that much better.

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So when I saw yesterday that one of the Crystal Dynamic ladies had written a post on something that had occurred at PAX, I felt the need to respond.

The Response

A few days ago, I wrote an article about a panel I attended called “You Game Like a Girl–Tales of Trolls and White Knights.” I made my disappointment clear and was not terribly interested in giving them much of my attention after witnessing their extreme behavior.

That being said, I want to sincerely apologize to Meagan Marie for the inappropriate behavior she and the cosplayers were faced with at PAX. It’s completely unacceptable and I commend you for posting about it, especially with the backlash you’ve received now that it’s been out for two days. I also want to say that I stand corrected in believing that this kind of behavior doesn’t occur at PAX, and I’m really… bummed about it.

Being a woman in the gaming world, for me, has not been a difficult experience. I’ve been very lucky in that my friends (a majority of which are guys) have been very kind and compassionate and I’ve never had any sort of issues with them that weren’t easily worked out through communication. Therefore, experiences where women are pestered by men who aren’t as kind are fairly foreign to me. I hear about them, but have never really experienced them. That does not, however, mean that I don’t or cannot sympathize with someone when they’re placed in an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation–such as the Tomb Raider cosplayers, who were dedicated enough to show their talent.

Perhaps this is more of an article on morale than anything else, but…

 

Definition of FEMINISM

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
 
 
 
 

I don’t understand how defending yourself (or others) against an inappropriate question or inappropriate behavior makes you a feminist. Or why feminism is now some negative term with negative connotations. Meagan’s response to the situation she and those girls were placed in was exactly correct–and I, someone who is not really a passionate feminist, agree with the way she reacted and (in response to her question) I probably would have taken a much more physical route with the press member in question. So in my mind, she took the high road.

As For Females in Games

It was suggested that I offer my alternative solutions to the image women receive in the gaming world, and I have decided to do just that. I’ll make a note now that I’m pretty okay with the way women are portrayed, aside from the repetition of it all.

Let’s take League of Legends, for example. Most of the females in the game are… well, let’s be honest, some of them are almost naked (looking at you, Janna.). For those of us that play (and even for those that don’t), it’s pretty obvious that there’s a heavy tilt towards sexually attractive females in tiny bits of armor. If you can even call it that. CoughJannacough. I, personally, am fine with sexy outfits for champions. It doesn’t bother me. But an obvious solution that many have stated before is to expand the choices. Make skins for these champs where they aren’t nearly naked. Give them a full suit of armor, make them look as badass some of the guys.

An excellent example of real diversity is Leona.

The far left is her default. Her boobs are still pretty accentuated, but it’s a decent look where she looks at least somewhat reasonable. The second, her Valkyrie skin, gives her a very feminine look and flashes some skin. The third, however, is a full suit of armor. Plus, look at that giant shield. She has to have some serious upper body strength to lift that thing once, much less carry it around.

Another great example is Lux. The far left, her Sorceress skin, is the feminine option that shows off just the right amount of flesh. Her default, the middle, accentuates her breasts and almost makes them the main focus… almost. Then, we have Steel Legion Lux. Full suit of steel, and you can’t even tell she has boobs. She’s skinny, sure, but aside from her face and hair, you can’t even tell she’s female. She has two other skins that are also full suits of clothing, even if they are form-fitting.

Riot is one of the many developers on the right road to including females in a way that isn’t just about making money on male fantasies (though as a woman, I love buying the cute skins because… well, I like them). The point is that by adding variety, companies can still have the sexy females that some want, and the functional ones that others want.

As For Females Who Play Games

I will be the very last person to tell a fellow woman that “boys will be boys, just ignore them.” That isn’t how I solidified my male friendships in the gaming world and that isn’t how you should solidify yours.

My method was just to act like I usually do. My friends didn’t even know I was a girl until a few months after I met them. I was myself, I joked with them and played around with them, and when I finally got into Ventrilo to talk with them during dungeons and raids, they were clued in to my gender. By then, it wasn’t even a big deal. A few jokes were made, and then we moved on.

If I had a daughter who was trying to break into gaming and was running into the issue of guys being assholes, I would tell her the same thing.

In my opinion, genders in gaming… don’t matter. If you cry every time someone says something not-so-nice to you, whether you’re male or female, people are going to dislike you. The Internet requires a thick skin, and this isn’t just a rule for girls. If someone says something offensive to you, tell them you don’t agree, you don’t appreciate the statement and then move on. If they continue to hound or harass you, notify an authority and then go have fun. The last thing I want to tell any reader is to ignore someone who is verbally harassing them. Tell someone who can do something about it or report them, but then move on.

Rely on your skill, be yourself, and take everything said on the internet with a grain of salt.


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Author
Katy Hollingsworth
whale biologist.