LEVEL FOUR: TOXICITY
You know what’s funny about Sexism? Nothing, nothing at all.
If 2017 has taught us anything it’s that we, as humans, are not as advanced as we like to make ourselves out to be. Racism and Sexism run rampant and have been brought into light. This is both bad and good. It’s bad that we are still having this issues that should not be issues because race, gender, etc. should not determine anything about a person, it’s our character that should define us. The good part of having all of this being now out and the open is that we can finally, hopefully, deal with these issues and put an end to them.
We’ve seen that happening as of late with all of the Hollywood despicable misogynistic poor role models being ousted by the victimized woman who should never have had endured those circumstances. Now, sexism does go both ways but most fields are male dominated and men, as they do with all power, abuse their positions. This is the beginning of the end for all those people who enjoyed using their position as an advantage to humiliate women into subjugation.
Women have unfortunately been dealing with this since they first entered into gaming, even before social media and YouTube comments (though those validate things). We’ve all heard sexist phrases that revolve around degrading women because they aren’t “true” gamers. That is the stupidest thing one can thing, even stupider to write, and we’ve gone past mental deficiency when you send a remark like that against a female who is simply enjoying their preferred art form. Gender has nothing to do with liking something or having passion in a pastime. You know what’s just as guilty as throwing these cruel comments at women? Not saying anything at all. That’s the true issue with all of this and the reason why it’s as prevalent, if not more so, now as it was back in the day. No one defends these women and a lot of times, more gather to attack them. The internet is a cruel, cruel, world.
Let’s also address how most of the comments when involving a woman in gaming is centered around her beauty, or supposed lack thereof. All women are unique, and all women are beautiful. These women follow their passion and find a way into the field of gaming to show their love for this platform and, yet, their paraded and subjected to all sorts of sexual harassment and no one cares. It’s wrong and 2017 needs to be the catalyst to the change that is centered around respect. We need to be better and lead by example. I watch/listen to The Know on YouTube (which means I have it playing in the background while I’m doing other things) and occasionally I’ll check the comments only to be disappointed. It’s filled with sexual comments about Mica Burton and Ashley Jenkins or its comments on them not knowing what their talking about. I hope they don’t ever read the comments to their videos because it’s sad, sad and disrespectful. Women, you have my respect and as a man I cannot imagine what you go through behind the scenes.
Which leads us to the latest sexual harassment scandal to be brought to light, one that hits close to home. IGN. Kallie Plagge worked at IGN and was subjected to sexual harassment by a co-worker. Now, before we assess what he said, let’s look at his response. He said a lot of things but the most critical and the biggest, in my opinion, admission of guilt was his ‘misinterpreting’ their friendship. Misinterpreting, that’s certainly an interesting way of putting things. Saying you may have misinterpreted something isn’t a denial of the accusations put forth against you. So, what does one say when you misinterpret a friendship? According to Kallie, he made comments about her body, he told her she was dating boys and needed to date man (referring to himself no doubt), and he also praised his sexual prowess he supposedly had when he was her age. He could go all night. Well, so does unemployment when you’re a predator. There is no friendship, co-worker or otherwise, where there is justification for these comments. I’ve worked with women my whole life, most of us have, and never would I think it would be appropriate to make any comments even remotely in the same direction as he did. If I was concerned, I would approach it delicately and I would never insult someone’s significant other nor would I talk about my sexual abilities. He had an intention, as unfortunate as it is to type, and that was to get into her pants.
Thankfully corporations have a Human Resources department to look after and protect their employees, right? well, here is another serving of disappointment because IGN handled this poorly. Let’s treat the woman like we always treat them and place equal, or most, of the blame on them. You have got to be kidding me. IGN’s HR department placed the blame on Kallie for her supposed inappropriate flirtation and that she needed to be better at choosing friends. Are we serious? It’s not like they told her she used her body to warrant this unwanted attention, it’s not like they felt she was being too uptight over the entire thing, and it’s not like they brought up an interaction the two shared at a social event. That’s exactly what they did. I could go on and on about this horrible situation and its abysmal handling, but we have an article on it so check it out. The point I’m trying to make is that these women have it hard to begin with and when they seek help, they are betrayed once again.
This entire situation wasn’t just IGN’s failure but the failure of the entire industry as a whole, my failure, your failure, and the failure of everyone who enjoys video games. Here is the sad thing that hasn’t been addressed or mentioned, Kallie had the guts to come out and name the one who harassed her but there are several women who aren’t in that same position, who continue to work in fear and in receiving unwanted attention. It angers me that something so wrong, so vile, is so prevalent.
What can we do to make things better? We can stop objectifying women, we can defend them when they are being sexually harassed, and we can stop blaming them when they are in situations they didn’t choose nor want to be in. We need to be the change we want to see and it needs to start yesterday. So, let’s all take the initiative and begin to lead by example. Women can be gamers, women aren’t around for our enjoyment or whatever archaic excuse people want to use, and women need to be respected. All those who do otherwise need to be brought out into the open and made example of.