The Dark Side of Gaming

In Gamer Girl, I touched on the myriad ways that girls experience harassment while gaming — and what we need to do to stop it.

There are so many incredible voices out there raising awareness and trying to change the image of gaming culture as an all-male, sexist trope to one of inclusiveness, creativity, and cultural change.  One of these incredible voices is Jenny Haniver, who runs Not in the Kitchen Anymore.

She was recently featured as part of the BBC Three documentary, The Dark Side of Gaming – The Females Fighting Back.  This short film explores “the gamers, developers and journalists who are also calling out sexism in the industry, fighting back against the trolls and making their voices heard.”  Check it out:

One thing I love about this film is that it directly features the voices of female gamers. There’s no authority trying to interpret what they say.  It also subtly mentions that harassment is directed at BOTH genders.  This is a really important point, because we’re not just fighting against sexism in the industry.  We’re fighting for equality and inclusiveness: to make gaming an experience that everyone can enjoy.

Another point made is that gamers being harassed miss out on a key component of multiplayer games because the harassment we face has forced us into hiding.  (I can testify to this – playing Call of Duty online, I don’t use a mic.  I ignore all the messages I get and mute audio because of how much harassment I have experienced.)

However, I will critique this video on one major flaw.  It’s all the voices of white women.  (There is one black male gamer, and while I loved his point of view being included, I feel like there could have been so much more.)  If we’re going to make the industry diverse and inclusive, we need gaming documentaries that include the voices of all gamers.  Because there is so much diverse beauty to gaming and its history – and we can’t move forward until all of those voices are included.

I hope you enjoyed watching this short documentary.  As a historian, my job isn’t just to dig out the ancient stuff – it’s to document the present, as well.  Don’t worry – I’m currently researching the next long-buried secrets for this blog (it’s just taking a lot of research time to get it right!).



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