Before the mass murder he allegedly committed, 22-year-old Rodger – also said to have been killed Friday night – made several YouTube videos complaining that he was a virgin and that beautiful women wouldn’t pay attention to him. In one, he calmly outlined how he would “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut I see”.
According to his family, Rodger was seeking psychiatric treatment. But to dismiss this as a case of a lone “madman” would be a mistake.
It not only stigmatizes the mentally ill – who are much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it – but glosses over the role that misogyny and gun culture play (and just how foreseeable violence like this is) in a sexist society. After all, while it is unclear what role Rodger’s reportedly poor mental health played in the alleged crime, the role of misogyny is obvious.
Any mention of video games in this column? No.
Relevant to video game culture? Hugely.
I continually praise and promote Polygon for continuing to cover controversial topics such as gender in gaming (amongst many others); be it the portrayal of female characters, hostility toward female gamers, the privilege of male gamers, or women working in the games industry. However, as these articles are published, many in the community appear irritated by the growth of cultural focus on gaming websites. It is infuriating to see these types of pieces battered down by ignorant rants, chalked-up as “click bait,” or dismissed by a community who just wants to “have fun.” It’s a shame that a community built around “fun” attempts to put such important conversations to bed the instant they are published.
As more and more conversations detailing misogynistic culture are injected into mainstream outlets, the more they should be praised. The next time you read a piece in this vein, offer your gratitude to the author for braving (sadly) the inevitable hostility, broadening the conversation, and challenging our cultural norms.
A very brave and critical piece by Jessica Valenti. My thoughts to those affected by this heinous act.
As the father of a daughter, I feel complicit. I’ve been at poker games, football games, street fairs and business meetings, on message boards and in email chains, where I’ve heard comments about women, tinged with a particular kind of frustrated anger, that I have chosen to ignore. Because it’s easier to ignore them than to be ostracized, thought unmanly, excluded.
As the father of a daughter, I promise, from this moment on, to have zero tolerance, to be vigilant, to remember that all women are someone’s daughter, and to be brave enough to remind others of that, when they need reminding.
Michal “Carmac” Blicharz:
We are not focused on expanding our demographic beyond who we currently reach because our core audience is growing every year. Historically all attempts to target non-core eSports demographics have been failures. Various companies have tried simplification, gender segregation, mainstream-friendly rule sets and other similar things but does not work. It is not authentic as it alienates the immensely large core audience in the hope that someone new might pick it up. We don’t see the point.
48% of gamers are female (ESA, 2014). Male physical advantage: ~0. Male mental advantage: ~0.
First comment: AngryChad:
Why is it always about women in gaming lately? You even mention in the article that 21-34 is the targeted demographic, so why aren’t you asking why older people are also being left out?
Ready to pull my hair out.