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I have to make a confession: I am obsessed with video games! Well I’m not obsessed, but I do read Gameinformer, Gamespot, watch Angry Video Game Nerd know about the new games that are coming out, and I have actually spent hours training with my Crimson Viper and Chun-Li from Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV (the latter has two Ultra Combos you can choose from). But I have noticed something in the gaming world. Quite often I have received messages saying “You are such a FAG, you only pick girls”. But wait a minute; is it my fault that I love playing with women who wear high heels to defeat heavy sumo wrestlers? Maybe it’s the feminist in me, or I just like women. Regardless, at times I am enjoying myself and then I receive a homophobic remark that can ruin my gaming experience. Why is it that we hear homophobic and sexist remarks from some gamers? Personally, I believe that sexism and homophobia are interlinked. Where there is sexism, more than likely homophobia will be present. This is due to the assumption that men associate women and LGBT people as a weaker group.

It has become innate in our culture to put down people by calling them FAG, HOMO, WOMAN etc. Even some of my friends who I consider to be pretty accepting of my sexuality slip and say you play like a girl. But why does playing like a woman put a man down? Have we forgotten that gender is a social construct? And are women supposed to play video games in a different way? Are they supposed to lessen their skills and be a little bit more cautious when they are beating up a male gamer? Even when a woman has beaten me, I have received messages saying “You got beat by a woman”. As a woman, be proud of your gaming abilities. You are not worse than me just because of your gender. The mere fact that I have received this message makes me wonder if the pervasive sexist culture of the gaming world has even created internalized sexism in some female gamers. It seems quite evident that the patriarchic system in the gaming industry ostracizes women. DO NOT BELIEVE statistics that say that Video Games Are Too Complicated For Girls like this article says http://www.ripten.com/2010/07/08/study-say-brycew/. Reading statistics like in this article might discourage prospective female gamers from getting more acquainted with the gaming industry.

Sometimes I wonder why I have never seen an overweight female character. Most female characters wear sexy outfits and are skinny. One of the games that made me cringe due to the obnoxious nature is Bloody Roar. After you pick the character, the woman’s boobs jiggle. Or let’s not forget The Guy Game, in which the more questions you get right the more likely you will be able to see a naked female. Oh! What about Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball in which you are able to zoom in, change their bikinis and well I don’t even want to describe other things you can do in this video game. I have to tell you, the gaming world still needs a lot of improvement. Sure there is a video game called Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, but sadly this game is associated with theft, prostitution and murder. And yes, some games have gay characters. I believe in the first Mass Effect, a female character has the option to kiss another woman- but it’s just one scene. This is great since they do such an amazing job at developing her sexual identity! I believe now in some simulation games, you are able to pick gay families and gay characters, but I can only think of a few. Now, I recently played a game in which I thought did a good job in appreciating the female body and not exploiting it, but I am not saying that it is empowering. And guess what? Famitsu, a gaming magazine based in Japan, gave this game a 10. This is a big deal because only 12 games have been awarded a perfect score in Famitsu’s history. I do encourage that you look at Bayonetta for the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3, she kicks butt!

So what is the solution you may ask? Gaming world and developers, we need to become more inclusive and accepting of LGBT and female gamers. Calling people FAG or WOMAN and objectifying them are not doing justice for the gaming community. So I urge you to stop calling me these names just because I like making sure that Princess Peach (Mario character) has the best outfit!

Here are great resources for Gaymers and women. Also, you can find online communities in the Playstation and Xbox Network.

http://web.me.com/vinyl13/Gaymer.org/Home.html

http://female-gamer.com

Fun Trailer of Bayonetta
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NwQiEPGv9k