I know, I know, I’ve been slacking a little. Thank you for waiting for me, though! I’m going to be honest with you — today’s topic is something I’ve been stewing on for a few days. Namely, it’s something I’ve been stewing on since Sunday afternoon at my latest X-Wing tournament.
Now, I want to go ahead and get this out of the way: I am in no way condemning the entire male nerd community. Far from it, in fact. I’m solely focusing on the ones who believe that, simply because I’m female, they can take advantage of me and push me around. I’m proud to announce that it’s not that way anymore: I am able to stand up for myself and am confident in my abilities.
I’m going to go over two different incidents in this post today, and you are free to ignore me and consider me to be rambling. I completely understand.
Incident One: Excelsior Store Tournament
I think this was the fourth person I caught (we played five rounds). There was just something a little off about this dude. He rushed me through the gameplay, would not flip his maneuver dials to show where he was going (I had to flip them for him to make sure he wasn’t cheating), he wouldn’t call out the target of his attack and would just roll dice, and I had to ask him where he was shooting, etc. It was all a giant mess, and it made me frustrated and made me make stupid mistakes. I did end up calling a judge at one point (which ended up being Steven, and he had to go get another judge because he couldn’t trust himself to be unbiased), and I should have just done that from the beginning.
I was complaining about it afterwards, and three different people (all male, mind you — I was one of two girls at the tournament that day) all told me that he hadn’t done anything like that when they’d played him. It was then that I realized why he’d done that to me — I was a girl and he was obviously better than me and had to be the gatekeeper for the FakeGirlGamers that are everywhere and are wanting to take over the gaming world. Really, y’all. Just let us play the game. And don’t get salty when we beat you.
Mostly, I’m glad that I caught this dude instead of Emily, the 14-year-old daughter of one of the guys I play with on Thursday nights. No idea what he would’ve done to her, but I bet it wouldn’t have been pretty. She hasn’t quite learned how to step up for herself yet, and I don’t want her to have to face this awful sexism in the game like I do.
(Legit, I’m usually the one that the guys at Excelsior give to newbies to play against. I’ve actually had two people not come back after I’ve just absolutely destroyed them in their first match. Sorry, dudes.)
Incident Two: Visions Store Tournament
I will admit that this particular tournament caught me on one of my bad days. I was craving something chocolate (with nothing chocolate anywhere near me), and I was just angry in general. It was one of those angry at the world mood days, and I let it take over me at some points.
My first three opponents at this tournament were pretty good. I enjoyed the matches I played (although I did end up going 1-3 because I ran into some good players), except for this last match. Unfortunately for me, I came across the dreaded “You’re a female therefore I’m superior” gamer, and the day only went down from there.
He would continuously attempt to do things that were illegal, and would get visibly hostile when I called him out on it. He tried to take my dice. He bumped my ships. He ignored his status conditions and so I ended up playing both his list and my list (except for triggers that were beneficial to him — because, come on. I’m not going to make it that hard for myself!).
At one point, he attempted to use a single-use-per-round ability for a second time in the round, and I called him out on it. He rolled his eyes and said, “Are you serious? You knew I was joking the last time. I didn’t actually use it.” And I said to him, “I learned a long time ago that you don’t let things slide, because then people will walk all over you.”
He didn’t like that, either, but he accepted the fact that he couldn’t do it and we continued. Sometime later, he said, “You know, you’re really brash,” after I’d corrected him on a few more things. I almost went across the table at him. I narrowed my eyes (and I swear, if looks could kill, he most likely would’ve been fried to a crisp). I replied, “Oh, I know I’m a bitch, but at least I can say it.” I should’ve added And get the balls to say it to my face instead of dancing around it by saying “brash,” dude, but I didn’t. He rolled his eyes again, asking, “Aren’t we here to have fun?”
Yes, we were, but I wasn’t going to put up with some sexist’s agenda in the meantime. I learned from my experience at the Excelsior store championship, and knew that if I let anything slide, it would just keep building. Never let someone walk all over you. Call a judge as many times as you want.
These are just the two recent incidents. I’m happy to say that these are the only two incidents this year that I’ve encountered while playing (and I’ve been to about half a dozen competitions — but still, that means I’ve encountered sexist jerks at 1/3 of the places I’ve gone!). I don’t really play video games online unless it’s with people that I know, but I do know that all you have to do is play a game on Xbox Live with a female character model to be sexually harassed (I’ve got a guy friend who plays as female models just to troll people, and the stuff they’ve said to him is frightening).
Most of the time, I’m the only female at these X-Wing tournaments. Occasionally someone will bring their wife or their daughter, but for about 95% of the tournaments I’ve played in, I’ve been the sole female.
I don’t mind being the only woman there, but what I do mind is people thinking that they can walk all over me because I’m female. They think that I can’t possibly know what I’m doing, and they’ll try all the things they can in order to get around me. And then when they realize they can’t walk all over me, they’ll resort to calling me names. When a woman stands up for herself, she’s called a bitch. When a guy stands up for himself, people call him assertive and applaud him. It’s the whole, “Men are the boss, women are the bitch” in the workplace stereotype. Go ahead, ask all the girls you know. Have they been called a bitch for standing up for themselves?
If you’re a headstrong person and don’t let people walk all over you, the answer to that question is undoubtedly going to be a “Yes.”
This isn’t an isolated problem, though. There are ENTIRE STUDIES that show that women (whether they be players or freaking developers) are treated badly in the gaming world.
Like, sorry your masculinity is so fragile that you can’t wrap your head around the fact that women want to play games, too.
I could keep going, but if you Google something as simple as, “Why are women gamers treated badly?” you can see all of these links (and more) for yourself. There was an article I attempted to see, called “3 Ways Women Ruined Gaming,” and I actually could not access it because my web browser classified it as “intolerance and hate speech,” so I’m glad I couldn’t read it. (Just the preview made my blood boil. It basically said women are gaming because they know they can be treated as princesses. Sorry, y’all, but every single one of my experiences has said the exact opposite.)
I’ve gone a little longer on this post than I intended to, but I wanted to end with something: the majority of guys that I meet while playing this game are great. There are some that talk big and I crush them, and there are some that are polite and nice while they’re dragging my ships around the board. There are so many different people and different personalities when you’re in a large group. Don’t be an asshat because you’re afraid of the girl standing at the table across from you.
The X-Wing community is really regulated by what area of the country you’re in. You’re going to run into a lot of the same players again and again. Basic courtesy dictates don’t be a dick when you’re playing with someone you’re undoubtedly going to run into at some point in the future. Because word gets around. People learn who the bad players are, and they start watching them like a hawk. I mean, some of the Atlanta guys shut down some dude so hard in Huntsville that he was no longer welcome in the X-Wing community, period. We take names and kick ass. Just be a decent person and you won’t end up being labelled as that guy (or girl, because I’m sure they can be jerks in gaming too).
Basically, this post boils down to
DON’T BE A DICK
Thanks for sticking around, and as always, keep reading.