I tuned into J. Haniver’s Not in the Kitchen Anymore (NITKA) after it got mentioned on Kotaku. NITKA is an extension of an earlier art project by Haniver, “a 23 year old female gamer, who specializes in first person shooters (specifically, Call of Duty).” She records conversations of (male) gamers who take issue with female gamers, and she posts the audio and transcript of those conversations on NITKA. Her experiences reveal–despite the fact that the average age of gamers is 37 and there is almost equal numbers of men and women gamers [read about that here]–there are strong currents of misogyny among some male gamers. It is important to note that she prefers first-person shooters such as Call of Duty, which mirror military combat scenarios, situations, and materiel. Are these misogynistic male gamers drawn to COD and similar games, do the games re-inscribe women-should-not-be-on-the-front attitudes, or a mixture of both? Haniver’s project to bring this to light is very important work, but how can we take this and turn it towards educating and convincing male gamers that their behavior toward women is unacceptable? Games and the Internet are not separate from real life–they are a part of life, and perhaps that is the point that we need to get across to people. Also, I wonder how this translates into other gaming communities, such as mmorpgs or competitive causal gaming.
Stacie Hanes posted a link to this story by Tami B. about a unofficial Battlefield 3 launch LAN party being held in Texas that specifically excluded women from participating:
A large launch party and LAN for Battlefield 3 is being held in Texas, and women are disallowed from attending in order to protect them from misogynistic insults.
Tami B. was responding to an earlier post on Kotaku.com, a video gaming blog, which summarized the situation as:
Enthusiasts of military-style first-person shooters are not well known for their progressive thoughts on the matter of gender. The organizers of a large LAN party in Texas, scheduled to celebrate the launch of Battlefield 3, have decided the best way to deal with any slurs hurled at female gamers is to simply forbid them from attending.
I wanted to know more about the knuckleheads who thought that the most logical way to nip misogyny in the bud was to apply a sexist attendance policy to the LAN party, so I found this response by Jason Powers full of “truth” meant to combat the “lies” perpetrated by Internet folk commenting on Power’s LAN party. Powers begins with the supposed origin of their “no girls allowed” policy: a guy named “Joe” said misogynistic things to another player named “Jane” during a LAN party. Instead of policing for idiots like Joe, Powers decided it was easier to exclude girls from the get-togethers.
Then, in order to set the record straight about how the world come to give a damn about his LAN party, Powers writes:
Fast forward to last week… Some girl from the QuakeCon forums was interested in attending our upcoming event, and read that “no women allowed” paragraph and took it the wrong way. Can’t say I blame her honestly; it was poor wording on our part. She never bothered to contact us regarding that policy; she was “just upset” and vented on an all-girl reddit forum.
[. . .]Anyways, back on topic, this same “QuakeCon” girl contacted one of our admins (who’s also an admin for QuakeCon) and apologized for what happened in a PM. As it turns out, she’s really a nice girl who had no idea her one post would bring some 40,000+ hateful people to our sites, overwhelm our servers, and create a national fiasco. To me, that fact that she came to us (along with several of her friends), says a lot about the gaming community. We’ve been able to put this behind us, and move forward in support of something we truly love: Gaming…