Since I was not able to go to Seattle and experience PAX Prime 2013 first hand, I decided to tune into the stream on Twitch Tv. The panel I saw on Saturday night “You Game Like a Girl: Tales of Trolls and White Knights”, which was about the negative criticisms that are happening to girl gamers and cosplayers.
The “You Game Like a Girl” panel was very insightful and relatable, with the panel’s speakers being Anja Keister, Shoshana Kessock, Ashly Burch, Stella Chu, and Iris Explosion.
Women’s representation in gaming and gaming development
Most people think that gaming is something that men do more, but 45% of the gaming audience is women. Sadly when it comes to gaming development, there are only about 7%-10% that are women. Gaming development continues to be a mostly male profession and this does affect the outcome of some games. More women should be encouraged to pursue a career in game development so that they can create more diverse games.
Fake Nerd Girls and Cosplay Misconceptions
The concept that girls are not really nerds is something that has had a very negative impact on girl gamers and cosplayers. Just because a girl does not know every detail of a game or comic does not mean she is a “fake” fan. We should not have to prove themselves to others by showing we know every little detail about something. Having a person who does bother a girl about not being a “real” nerd just makes things hostile and adds a lot of unnecessary pressure.
On the other hand, when it comes to girl cosplayers who like to cosplay as a character that tends to wear less clothing they are immediately labeled as a “slut”. People tend to think that because a pretty girl is cosplaying as a “skimpy” character they are not really a nerd, they are just doing it to wear a “slutty” outfit. They don’t seem to care that they spent months creating that outfit and has been a fan of the character for a while. This also comes into play with “booth babes” or people who are paid to cosplay as a character to promote that video game, anime etc.
Harassment, Trolling, and White Knights
Harassment happens everywhere and it is something that is hard to properly deal with. There is no set way to respond to harassment but it is something that should not be met with violence. When being faced with harassment you should stand up for yourself, but do it in a way that does not fight fire with fire. The ever-faithful white knight, a guy who will stand up for a girl who is being harassed, can sometimes be found bit is rare. It’s always nice having someone stand up for you but don’t forget to stand up for yourself also!
One of the questions a the end of the panel I found particularly disturbing was of a girl having experienced a man harassing her at a convention, he said “I know cosplay is not consent but..”. This man was insinuating that she was basically asking for sex. Her question was how should she deal with that in the future. The answer was that you should always stand up for yourself. Do not let people do that to you and make it known that they are being disrespectful and perverse.
I enjoyed watching this panel because as a girl gamer and cosplayer I have had similar problems and concerns.