Well, I've been home for almost a week now, and I've gotten back into the swing of things. It's nice to see that as opposed to my last vacation, I didn't have 300 e-mails waiting for me. This time, there were only 180! Thanks to everyone who helped out on that one. Hellchick so totally messed with the PQ Mailbag last week, so it's time for me to right her wrongs, and, strangely enough, I'm going to do that by defending her opinion right away. Confused? Read on!
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Hellchick stirred the poo in a major way this week with her editorial "Girls' Day Out", focusing on the somewhat segregatory outlook some women have with regards to the gaming community. Some women feel the need to make themselves separate from the rest of the community, as they feel that will help them earn respect. Hellchick thought otherwise. We got a ton of fantastic feedback on this, including a letter from Katherine Anna Kang, former Director of Business Development at id Software and founder of Fountainhead Entertainment. Read on for some interesting comments.
From: Shukri Adams
Subject: Hellchick's female gamers editorial
Short and sweet - I really liked the way it went. I'm a guy. My
girlfriend is a serious gamer, but she hates Quake. I'm not going to
try to force her to play it just because it will increase her "equality
status". As Hellchick says, people play the game if they like it.
Something like "affirmative action" to get more women into Quake
would only be necessary if there were organised attempts to keep
women out of Quake in the past. From all the articles and
interviews I read, there hasn't really been. There has been a
tendency for some male players to act like sexist dorks, but I think
the best way to solve that problem is by publicising that THEY are
being dorks. Don't make a big festival about the concept of women
playing Quake - women aren't the problem, stupid sexist retards
are. So why should women have to constantly be spotlighted like
oddities when all they want to to do is get some good gibbing in
and enjoy the game?
BTW - PQ is THEE Quake site. There is no other.
I'm only commenting here to congratulate you on your correct use of "thee". I love that.
From: Niptlar ()
Subject: Hellchick's Article
Hellchick's article hit everything right on. When you play Quake 3, gender
does not affect the nature of combat. When you form a mod team, you want to
recruit the best people, not just the best women or just the best men. When
you win a tournament, you should feel that everyone had a fair chance of
beating you. If you are included or excluded from a mod team or a
tournament because of gender, you feel either insulted or deprived. Indeed,
Hellchick should have never needed to write the article.
I encourage all QuakeCon participants to boycott these particular events.
For males, this move is a no brainer, but females can send a strong message
to the organizations sponsering segregating activities. It would not be
appopriate to dignify these activities with your presence, even if you would
like to challenge any speakers with questions about how demeaning their
I'll see you at QuakeCon and witness history of Quake and the power of the
individual. There are few honors any greater.
From: Mara'D Smith
Subject: Women in gaming
I'm a female gamer, have been gaming since I was teeny, like so many others.
I've always been 'one of the boys' and never cared. I worked as a game
tester and even ran a Q/A department for one of the not so leading game
software developers. I was always the only female and I hated the little
pats I would get on my head. I was like their little puppy, their mascot.
The women in HR would try to fix me on a daily basis. They felt it wasn't
feminine to play.
The only reason I can see for companies to push these All Women or whatever
events is to open a relatively untouched market for sales. Ok, its
marketing, nobody expects marketing to be unbiased, honest, or to respect
any one. So if they don't stand to make sales , its just simply insulting
without the excuse of marketing.
A local newspaper once printed an article from a game company in town. In
it they spoke of "Games for Girls". I hopped up on one of my favorite soap
boxes and wrote back. We don't need special treatment, we don't need
special games. If a girl is going to play games shes going to play it for
the same reason as a man. It's fun, challenging, looks good, or a
combination of these and other reasons. We don't need games that come in
pink boxes with a coupon for free doilies!
The average girl is not going to go out and buy Riana Rouge, or some of Duke
Nukems more seedy titles. But that's just fine. We don't want the world of
games changed to suit our tastes, we don't need special treatment. We
aren't special because we play games. I don't want a pat on the head
because I'm so called brave enough to face a world dominated by men. I play
games because I like them. And I never really got into knitting.
We are gamers. We aren't GIRL gamers. We shouldn't be held in higher
respect because we can beat a male at a game. My alias I play games by,
harrier, is so often considered to be male. I just let people think
whatever unless they ask. It has no bearing on my gameplay whether I'm male
I guess the whole point I'm making is that I've watched the girl gaming
thing from day one. I've had run ins with a lot of key people at e3 and
such about the girl gaming concept. (I even got into a quite verbal battle
with Gillian, creator of Riana Rouge, when she tried to pass off her half
naked girl running around trying to have sex as a game for girls, when it
was obviously targeting for a male teenage audience. I didn't care that it
wasn't made for girls, I cared that she tried to pretend it was to gain
respect for helping out her fellow women). I really appreciated your
article. It says what a lot of companies need to hear, not just in the
gaming world. Thanks.
Subject: RE: Hellchick - "Girls' Day Out"
I just wanted to say that I agree with Hellchick 110% on this. Whole-heartedly,
even. Mucho agreemento!
It's just another way to seem "Politically Correct" by announcing that every so
called "male hobby" needs to be re-marketed to gain an equal number of female
hobbyists in that same field. Ever since that thing came into existence (which
we all know as "affirmative action") which dictated that females and minorities
must be forced into the ranks and statistical spaces otherwise previously taken
by white males, society has gone completely backwards in using sexism as a tool
to end sexism (?) A complete paradox and self-negating.
There are *no laws or rules restricting females from getting into gaming and FPS
games like Quake* -- those females that were/are interested in playing have
indeed been playing!! Why turn a *hobby* into a campaign platform? (I thought
hobbies were about personal interests, not about proving gender issues?)
I myself am a female gamer (Starcraft, Quake2, Quake3, Diablo II, AvP, etc) and
think it's really really embarrassing to be going to Quakecon this year only to
see genders openly being divided and females being given "special attention" and
"recognition" during the weekend. I am *not* some token or gender statistic! I
DON'T want any special "help" or "boost" to push me into this community just
because I was born a certain gender -- that's really really patronizing and
demeaning, not to mention sexist! Leave gender out of gaming conventions
completely. The focus should be put back on the GAME, not the country's poorly
run pity parade for females.
Besides, online, you're neither male nor female -- you're just another
computer-drawn model with a computer text name.
Subject: Female gamers article
Read your article on PQ entitled Girls Day Out and thought I'd send my thoughts for you to...err...throw away probably!
I run a very large first person shooter operation in the UK consisting over 200 servers. A large proportion of these are dedicated to Quake1,2,3, UT and Half-Life [particularly Counter-Strike]. We have probably the largest single CS community in Europe if not the world.
Recently, an all-female CS clan formed consisting mostly of experienced gamers some of whom have been on the scene for some years and are extremely good players. Some are also in male dominated clans.
I took a decision to create a Female CS gamers server to be run by this clan for other females in the community. They open it up to anyone a lot of the time anyway, but are also going to run practice nights aimed at getting girl gamers into CS without being made to feel intimidated and be put off by abuse etc from the small percentage of males who are misogynist/immature/ignorant that appear in on-line gaming anywhere [and yes if we get details of any player male or female being seriously abusive, we ban them from our servers].
Anyway, the creation of that server has been an interesting psychological exercise; the amount of polarized abuse/praise I've received from males is astounding. And now the female clan in question is receiving abuse from some females elsewhere on the net; basically a stronger version of what you say in your article.
You have to understand that my motivations are not intended to irritate anyone; I have seen very talented all-female clans group together before but they break up pretty quickly simply because there aren't enough females on the scene to build the size of squad necessary to enter leagues etc. Why? Well, imho the atmosphere which pervades in FPS on-line gaming is just too testosterone-injected; yes I know most of the games are about killing etc, but I'm convinced there are many many more women out there who'd be well up for getting into the scene if they didn't have to put up with the abuse/chat-ups/other inane communication which gets in the way of having fun, as on-line gaming is supposed to be. When did you last hear of a male who left the scene because he felt the pressure of gender-related abuse? In other words, it seems the scene as a whole unfortunately discriminates against females. One possible way to combat this is to positively discriminate in favour of women with the occasional female-only server or event. Once they're introduced to the scene in that way, it becomes less intimidating to wade into the male-dominated mainstream. Females like yourself can deal with the scene as it is; I'm guessing your not typical of other females who may not be willing to stand up to the various forms of...erm...in-game communication on-line. It doesn't have to be like that.
I disagree with your male "crocheting lace" analogy; if I was into crocheting lace [which of course I am big style] I would join the local female-dominated crocheting club, but I wouldn't be worried about receiving abuse and innuendo. The expectations of females when considering getting into the FPS on-line scene is somewhat different I suspect. I have somewhere a list of actual abuse lines copied from the in-game console received by a female member of the community. There were about 10 highly offensive anti-female comments and this is before any of the current controversy.
Anyway, enough of my opinions. I'd be interested to know what you think of my views [puts on crash helmet....] and even how I could encourage female gamers in other ways that don't attract quite so much heated debate. Or maybe I should just give up and let the status quo remain....
FYI, I'm 35 [i.e. reasonably mature on a good day] and treat people, male or female, with the same level of respect they show me.
Okay, I'm going to comment on these letters before I get to Anna's letter,
because I think hers should definitely be set apart from the
rest. The above letters show some interesting viewpoints;
we have two females that agree with Hellchick (and there were
many more that agreed that weren't printed), a female that
disagrees, and two males that agree. Strangely enough, none
of the men that wrote in disagreed with Hellchick. Perhaps
the community that many women feel somewhat alienated from
is accepting after all. Anyways, on to Anna's letter, where
I'll address most of the issues.
From: Katherine Anna Kang
Subject: Re: Girls day out
I'm disappointed and somewhat appalled with Hellchick's antagonistic
commentary titled "Girls day out". I don't believe Hellchick
what the day is supposed to be about but rather jumped to a
on an inaccurate post on the QuakeCon site. As an editor,
have had the foresight to have asked or interviewed some of the ladies
before writing the story. Her points would have been valid
"if" the premise
of the workshop day is what she speculated it to be, but it
is not. I don't believe she understood what the day is supposed to be about.
As one of the guests putting a workshop together, I can speak
only about my
workshop. I was welcomed to speak about a field I know,
business, and I
hope to give some aspiring entrepreneurs tips on starting a
business - my panelists were to include other business people along with an
an attorney for an informative Q&A session. As far at the
of the workshop day were concerned, the extent of what had
are as follows:
- Many of the female gamers planning on attending were/are
things in the community and hoped to have time in the workshops.
- To increase the female presence and bring a lot of women in
hoped to have the workshops in one day.
- Some of the suggested workshops included discussing the development,
maintenance and pitfalls of putting together some unique endeavors.
The titles of the workshops had not been discussed.
The workshop day is NOT about a women-only event; its about
know that there are women who not only play these games but
who are also
doing things in the community willing and desiring to share
it with their
fellow game fans. If the Quakecon Webmaster represented it
in any other
way, it was a simple mistake. I agree that a "How To
Assemble An All-Female
Mod Team" workshop is ridiculous but it's obvious that the
wording was an
error - I don't believe any of the members of the mod team
were aware (until
this article) that such a thing was being advertised.
Regardless, it was a
simple mistake unworthy of such hostility and easily remedied
checked her sources.
I tend to agree that it is wrong to focus on a group of gamers "SIMPLY
because they're female", but in this particular case, that's
not the case.
The focus may be in part because they're female but I'd like
to believe that
they would not be given the time at QuakeCon if they had not
other things. We have ladies from womengamers.com, an
exceptional site with
good information, intelligent articles with data and services
that are VERY
helpful - all presented by a myriad of qualified
professionals who use their
knowledge in their respected fields to enhance the experience of the
visitor. We have ladies who are programmers, designers, artists, and
entrepreneurs who are willing to speak about their fields and
show that not
being the greatest Quake player
shouldn't minimize their status as a gamer simply because
they are female -
they, like their male counterparts, can enjoy a game and do
related to gaming as well. We have female gamers who are
excited about sharing their thoughts on what they would like
to see in a
game or any product pertaining to a positive gaming experience. These
ladies enjoy games (and/or certain products) and believe they
might enjoy it
even better if some things were implemented. This event is a
great way to
give voice to a usually quiet sect of gamers and I see
nothing wrong with
granting them this opportunity.
I know the ladies who desired the QuakeCon workshop event -
they vary from
psychologist to professional gamers and entrepreneurs to
artists - and I'm
very proud of every woman in that group because of their
hope they are not deterred from speaking about what they've
done in the
community because of opinions, inferences, and/or attacks similar to
Hellchicks. Nevertheless, articles like Hellchick's are
hurtful, and in my
exploitative and hypocritical; hurtful because it attacks a
group of really
great women based on assumptions rather than facts -
she uses the "female gamer" issue to draw readers when she
that doing so is wrong. Her commentary and actions are
analogous to someone
claiming not to be a racist simply because they are in the
Does the fact that one does not recognize the act to be
racist or the fact
that they believe they are not racist make the act any less racist?
Hellchick claims that she does not want to exploit the female
issue but she
Opinions are one's own and as the saying goes, everyone has
good opinions are based on facts - this article at least was
clearly not of
that nature. As a writer for a business, writing for the business and
posting on the business site, she should have spoken to some
of the ladies
to find out what the story was behind the ladies wanting to do their
workshop before going on a rampage. I find that "ridiculous
issues revolving women and gaming does not include wanting to
experiences in putting together websites, mods, etc. through their own
Katherine Anna Kang
Well, my dear readers, what we have here is a brilliantly written letter from Ms. Kang. She makes some fairly good points in it, the majority of them valid. Unfortunately, she managed to miss the point of Hellchick's editorial.
The point was not to single out a group of women doing things for themselves, such as presenting workshops at QuakeCon, but to take a look at the broader issue, which was women segregating themselves from the rest of the community. If women don't feel like they're a part of the community, and then try to set themselves apart from it by doing things that are for females only, they're not doing themselves any favours.
If any group tries to make themselves separate from a larger group, there will undoubtedly be resentment from the larger collective; this smaller group is essentially saying they are different, and thus should be treated differently. Women are equal to men. Why should they be treated differently?
Let's say a group of gay gamers decides to segregate themselves from the community. They start an all-gay clan, an all-gay gaming website, and have all-gay tournaments. That's absurd, isn't it? Why should homosexuals be treated differently from the heterosexuals in the community?
This is exactly what all-female groups are doing. You can make the argument that women get teased. I will guarantee that if they are openly gay, gay gamers get teased a lot more; and I don't see anything happening like my example in the previous paragraph.
Yes, while Ms. Kang totally missed the issue Hellchick was getting at, hopefully anyone who reads this will get the point. I'm not condemning female gamers at all. One person wrote in suggesting we boycott the female workshops at QuakeCon, but I think that's absurd. We don't need to segregate these females any more than they're segregating themselves.
I wish you luck ladies, and I hope you'll change your viewpoints soon. A disclaimer: The preceding comments were my (Spyke) own opinion. If anyone has thoughts on my comments here, please e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Page 2: Silly Mods & Leftover Gibs!