“Having entered a domain that was once dominated by men, female gamers are being met by abuse.”
– Lucy Meyer
“Men need to play more video games. Real men, grown-ups. Not squirty, pizza-faced little boys screaming abuse into their headsets [...] not idiot boys who’d disrespect the same player purely for her gender and the way it makes them feel uncomfortable about themselves.”
- John Birmingham
If a news article reads like an opinion piece, how do you expect the reader to read an opinion piece? With an opinion piece some bias is allowed, yet it’s still important to provide some balance. While with a news article it is imperative to provide some balance.
One is presented as a news article, yet it reads as a opinion piece, the other admits to be an opinion piece. Yet both are so assertive about their claims and very one-sided it’s difficult to avoid calling them biased. They both stand firmly on top of their soap boxes, only providing the reader with one message, a message painted as if it’s the whole truth.
I don’t mind subjectivity to push the boundaries a bit, to make some noise, start a discussion and maybe have an impact on the status quo. But when subjective writing becomes too one-sided for my taste, I reckon there is a problem. Actually, I spot several issues here.
Agenda setting [by the media]
The newsroom has decided to push an agenda regarding games and women. Two articles with a similar topic the same week is not a coincidence. Unfortunately the approach portrays women as victims and males as the aggressors, a very narrow approach which only strengthens negative stereotypes.
In both articles males are exclusively portrayed as very aggressive and rude, leaving no room the the thought or even truth that not all men are like this, avoiding mentioning a possible ratio of men who act like this online. Birmingham goes a bit further by strengthening the negative stereotype regarding nerds, geeks and gamers. Almost acting equally as bad as the assumed minority of gamers he is attacking.
This is nothing but a perfect example of what is considered tabloid and infotainment. Its main purpose is to be sensationalistic and to stir people up. Writing the story as if it’s the whole truth, that there’s nothing more to it. This is what men do when playing games online and this is how they treat women who play with them.
Unfortunately this is how the media gets away with articles like this, they label them as ‘opinion’. Showing it is only an opinion of one person, so therefor you can’t expect and shouldn’t expect it to be properly researched or even provide both sides of the story. Nor should you actually expect it to cary any truth at all. It’s just an opinion, and most of us know that opinions shouldn’t be confused with facts. Yet they have a responsibility to be fully honest with their readers. If there’s more to a story, it must be provided. Not hidden away.
It is so exaggerated it is as if this is now the only place in society this type of behaviour happens. Still it would be nice to see some figures regarding this. How often do it happen, does it have consequences, does it only happen to women, do women also take part of this behaviour, is it an issue elsewhere in society, etc?
It is mainly the first issue I brought up which is the most worrying part – agenda setting. As far as most readers are concerned after reading these articles, especially those who do not play games online, will assume that’s how it is if you play games online. Which will leave is with probably another public scare that the Internet and games are a dangerous place, and especially girls must be kept far away from it.
Think about the children!