I’ve had some people friend me in lobbies and it’s the things they say which make me wonder…
Male: So, what do you think about our teamwork? (I should note here we had been playing together & talking in Parties for several weeks)
Me: We work well together. I still don’t understand why you Friended me, though.
Male: I figure we could learn from each other a little, y’know?
Me: Mmm, perhaps? I think you’re far better than I am at this game. Don’t know why you deny it.
Male: Don’t talk like that.
Me: It’s true. You know the campaigns inside and out. I’m not sure what there is to learn from me.
Male: You shut your pretty little mouth. If I say there’s something to learn from you, it’s because it’s true.
Male: So I meant to ask, how old are you? I know you’re not a little boy. I just wanted to comment that you sound pretty hot.
Or in a case where about thirty seconds before the timer starts, a teammate is “jokingly” hitting the button to give me his Medkit which prevents me from moving.
Me: What are you doing?
Teammate: (laughing and keeps ‘healing’ me)
Other teammates: (laughing, but not mocking me)
Me: Stop it! >_<
Other teammates: He’s just foolin’ with ya.
Me: I know he is, he’s my friend! Stop it, we need to get going!
(at last I hit the D-pad that uses my own Medkit, canceling his Med-Kit command on me)
Other teammates: I don’t think she liked you hitting her there, man.
Of course, my friend was not hitting on me and you can’t make character pixels touch each other inappropriately in a video game like this. But the concept was that metamorphically, when he was “using” his Medkit on me, his character would move up and down the chest-to-shoulder area on my female character.
It’s a bit of sexist humour, which is understandable in the right context as long as it isn’t demeaning. It’s about the woman, not at the woman, which is a significance difference.
And yet, if I had been a guy (in a real life, not in-game) or chosen a male character, my friend would not have attempted to make a joke out of the Medkit.
Of course, I’ve been trash-talked in lobbies before, and kicked for the simple reason I’m female. I realize that’s a common thing. Kicked for no reason? Common. Kicked because the player opened their mouth and revealed they happened to be a girl? It’s enough to cast doubt on the entire lobby, but still common.
Kicked because the player happens to be female? Common, but wrong.
So when I hear flattering exchanges like the above or receive them in messages, it does make me feel a mixture of relief, shame, hurt, and irritation.
Relief: That there’s one less male player who comes across as an elitist jackass and doesn’t say “Oh you’ll be the first one out/ girls can’t play video games /we have a girl in the lobby!”
Shame: That I’ve heard taunts and mockery for so long from other male players that it comes as a a relief to be complimented in an obviously sexist way based on my voice, rather than because I’m a girl who happens to enjoy playing video games.
Hurt: That someone felt I was only worthy to be friended of because I was female – and not for the way I play, my teamwork or dedication to playing the best as I can.
Irritation: At myself, for feeling relief that a guy makes sexist comments towards me rather than mocking my gender. In other words, the mockery and accusation of “girls shouldn’t play video games” gets so bad that sexist flattery is actually welcome.
Please don’t get this wrong – I have many male friends online that I’ve spentless countless hours joking around with and generally forming a teamwork bond of sorts.
But when someone friends me and later I find them to be evasive as to why they friended me and they continue to play with me while denying that I’m worse than I really am, I start to wonder.
Do they play because I’m a reliable teammate?
Or do they play because I’m a girl?