Gamer Morals: Standing Your Ground

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Quick Note: This is just a blog thought- nothing super serious to report, just my musings on my Gamer morals and how to stick to them.

You know, when asked, I never hide the fact that I associate myself with Gamers Against Bigotry; and that  I definitely support woman gamers blog sites (like makemeasammich.org) that expose the ugly truth of gender prejudice in the gaming culture. Right of the bat –after stating this- the audience is divided into “that’s right, I agree!” and “Oh shit, one of those,” but before you leave, just hear my out for a little bit.

I am NOT a femanazi, and neither is Geektrum as a whole. However, not only I, but this entire blog site, encourages fair, positive, and healthy treatment to its entire community- regardless of gender. It just so happens that most negative treatment in the gaming community is put on females (that isn’t to say males get some nasty backlash either), and AS a female gamer I have firsthand experience in the nasty things said to me because I so happen to be a girl who plays video games.So yes, I stand with Gamers Against Bigotry. Yes, I support every blog site/person that is out there committed to sharing their negative experiences in hopes to change the gaming community; because I have been a victim- but I am NOT going to stay silent.

I refuse to turn a blind eye to the toxicity that we allow to grow in the gaming community. I refuse to say, “I’ll just grow a thicker skin, so it won’t bug me anymore.” No, I am going to go toe to toe with the trolls on the internet every day, and let them know I will NOT BACK DOWN. Now shut up and watch me go for this pentakill, and I will do with grace and poise- without belittling you , the same way you belittle me, because I am the bigger person.

And that’s why my righteous gamer flag flies proudly.

Or so I thought.

Recently, Make Me a Sammich posted a new blog (or updated version) on common terms she heard directed towards her while gaming online. You can find the directory here:

http://makemeasammich.org/2012/11/08/words-used-to-silence-us-a-glossary/

Please be warned, there is some graphic wordings on this page.

I sat down and read each term, and from previous –and current- experiences, I felt my stomach do a little flip. This is the kind of toxicity that is ALLOWED to happen, and it makes me sick…but then I had a very self-aware moment.

Motivation-Teamwork-02Recently I have found myself in the company of some very good gamers- and when I say this, I mean great players. I get invited to do League of Legend matches with them, which is great, because I get to play harder games with players with better skills…and my hopeful result is I get better too. I get to play on a level I generally do not get to see because I solo queue, or duo queue, and randoms  make up majority of the group (which we all know this can be a total hit or miss) and the matches are poorly scaled. (Thanks, Riot.) I find myself on Skype with them so we can keep clear communication up during a match (because that shit is IMPORTANT, seriously.) Surprisingly, I enjoy these player’s company;  they’re a lively group of people who are good at the game and know it.

Like all social groups, the inappropriate joke or two is common, and they make fun of each other. Now, to say “they make fun of each other,” is a very light term. They banter back and forth, and where friends may joke around and call each other “loser,” these folks like to use much more colorful terms…that can be pretty offensive. When I first started playing with them, I was actually really off put. I don’t think I heard the term “faggot” used in such succession…it’s kinda disturbing. But that’s how their relationship is, and how their team works- they’re just…very vulgar.

I openly admit that this group of players (excluding myself) is all male- and I am NOT saying because they are male this is an explicit reason for their behavior- and though very rude, do a very good job of keeping their vulgarity to themselves. Not ONCE, have they attacked me- or made fun of me, or my gaming skills- because of MY gender. In fact, they’re actually quite nice to me. I notice that when they talk to me, they try to reign in the inappropriate behavior; but when talking to each other… no insult is left behind.

Most people would read the situation as such:  my relationship with this group is not deeply rooted because they’re not exactly sure where the boundaries lay. Which this is true, they really don’t know my quirks or what can set me off; and this is where I start to say my gamer morals are in the gray.I haven’t exactly told these new friends that I absolutely find their choice of words appalling; which is my own fault. You think, someone like me, who declared way at the beginning of this blog thought, would not tolerate such hateful and derogatory terms to be used in a match/team I am involved in. However, I let them do it anyways.

After reading Make Me a Sammich’s new post on terms most used to discriminate gamers who are “not part of the norm,” it dawned on me that I was allowing, even EXCUSING, this behavior to happen in my own backyard. My gamer morals, everything I say I stand for, was thrown into a grey are; and dare I say? I was a bit of a hypocrite.

Automatically this quote came to mind: Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sure, we can definitely apply this to just about everything in life, but let’s keep it to my topic at hand.

I am allowing behavior that I would generally call other people out for, to happen in my own personal space and time. As somebody who wants to change the gaming community, who wants to remove the toxicity, you would think I would set this example with the people I align myself with. For the most part, this is true. You can ask the core of friends I hang out with a on a nightly basis, that whenever they say something entirely discriminatory or inappropriate, I call them out on it.   But, whenever I hang out and play with these new group of players…I just let it all slide by. (and want to flip my table over because I let it) applebloom___table_flip_by_cptofthefriendship-d4g65ki

Maybe you can say, I let their vulgarity run wild for the same reason they do not joke crudely with me. I don’t know where their boundaries are at, or how they would feel about be saying “Hey, you guys are terrible potty mouths and I am very uncomfortable with the way you address each other.” Furthermore, I hate the way they address other players they are going against. Gamers display very violent behaviors against their opponents, instead of a sportsmanship conduct.

Its rude, vulgar, and  IT IS ENTIRELY UNNECESSARY.

Yet- I let them do it! Why!? Because I like them, I would like to be their friend, and I don’t want to upset them with my “sensitivity.” And frankly, playing matches with them is pretty freaking awesome. I’ve always been a strong player, but being able to play against golds and platnums really ups the anty and hones the skills- not to mention, my win ratio has seen an increase!Yet, I have to honestly ask myself: is bettering my League skills, getting more wins, worth the sacirifce in my gamer morals?

One can argue and say “well, they haven’t attacked you, so it’s entirely fine!” But, it’s not. Not only do I want to change my personal environment, but I want to change the gaming community as a whole- and just changing how people treat me, and me alone, is not going to make that happen. Yes, I should start with my personal surroundings, but positive vibes that I build around myself need to ripple out.

I’m not willing to take a step backward in my plight to a safer gaming community- but I’m not willing to cut out entertaining friends either. I honestly think we can change the masses, the community, just one set of gamers, teams, at a time. Apparently, I just need to start with my own. So wish me luck, I think the next time I get on Skype with my rowdy League friends, I’ll let them know how I feel and let my gamer moral flag fly high.