This term I am taking a course on the US Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968) and I couldn’t help but connect the movement with Consalvo’s paper on toxic gamer culture. In particular, it was how Consalvo explained rage against female gamers as an illustration of “patriarchal privilege attempting to (re)assert its position” and that the basis of this rage stems not just from sexism, but from “fears about the changing nature of the game.”
After the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, Jim Crow laws and horrific violent acts were used by Southern whites to keep their position of authority over black Americans. Similar to male video gamers, white Southerners feared that their “patriarchal privilege” would be taken away from them if integration occurred. In both cases, fear of a changing culture and an overturning of power spurred violence against the “intrusive outsider.”
In class, it was said that having the username “GayPride90” was “asking for it” in terms of receiving derogatory insults while playing Halo. No one asks for their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or ethnicity to be used as the basis for discrimination. No one asks for discrimination period, so can we please throw out “asking for it” as a valid explanation?
A few classmates said they believed vocal bigoted video gamers were few in number and not representative of overall video game culture. If this is true, then why hasn’t the majority used peer pressure to regulate those players’ behaviors? Another individual in class said that we should recognize the existing difference between social reality and our ideal society. Just because this difference exists does not mean that nothing can be done; if anything it should motivate us even more so to push for equality in both the virtual world and the real one.
The Civil Rights Movement challenged established social norms just as gay and female players challenge the male dominated world of video games. It was a struggle, even now it is still a struggle, but it illustrates that cultures can change. Many factors can be used to combat the hate against the “other” including legislation, individuals, groups, and scholars, but the hate and rage of toxic gamer culture needs to be confronted in order for it to end. I do not know what the best method is to curb hatred in videogames, but I do know that doing nothing helps no one.