Feminist Frequency: Sexism in Gaming
Sexism in gaming is something I had never given much thought to, if any. I have played video games, of course. Hello, Pac Man? My favorite. That’s about as fancy as I get in the gaming world.
I came across Anita Sarkeesian’s work on her website Feminist Frequency. It’s amazing what you start to notice when someone points it out. This is from her About page:
“Anita Sarkeesian is a media critic and the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on deconstructing the stereotypes and tropes associated with women in popular culture as well as highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces.”
Her work has earned her great support, including more than $150,000 on Kickstarter to produce her videos. It has also earned threats of rape and other violence upon her body from the online world.
[Seems like online threats, which are just as scary, should be illegal, huh? It’s not hard to find people these days, so the threats should always be taken seriously. Let’s do another post about this issue.]
My sister is a gamer and she says the misogyny and virtual violence is real in technology and gaming. She said she tries to never let on that she’s a G.I.R.L.–a Girl In Real Life. There are countless examples of sexism in technology, which, of all places, should be a world where women and men are equal because it is an industry that depends on brain power. In fact, did you know that a woman developed the first modern programming languages? Take a look at Dr. Grace Hopper.
Considering the number of hours children spend on video games and television these days, it is important to recognize what is being programmed into their developing brains. And let your girls direct their exploration. There are many Grace Hoppers out there, if we’ll just let them be who they want to be. Check out our interview with Randi Cruz of Techne to hear how she learned to ignore her interest in technology to join the cheerleading squad instead.