On women-oriented gaming communities

Zach over at Molten Boron became my hero for the day by posting, Kotaku Commenters Prove the Necessity of a Women’s Gaming Magazine, which debunks much of the misinformation Kotaku continues to spread about Iris and, most recently, our online magazine/journal, Cerise. More important than my squeeing over someone outside of my gaming community who actually gets it, though, the post is worth reading for its excellently made points about the culture of hostility in online gaming communities.

He ends on a note that I have thought about (and one day intend to write on), which is the separatism vs. integration argument:

I do somewhat see the argument for the anti-segregationist build-a-better-culture-from-within perspective. The problem is that I think it’s a false choice; it isn’t either be a part of the larger gaming community or be a part of the female/feminist gaming community, it’s both be a part of the larger gaming community and be a part of the female/feminist gaming community. Moreover, I don’t think the problem of women gamers being isolated from the gaming community writ large is as big a problem as the one of women gamers being alienated from the gaming community in general as a result of overt and subrosa hostility to women in gaming.

Obviously since I’m one of the founders of a feminist and female-oriented community, I ultimately agree with the points he’s making. What it comes down to, I think, is that it’s necessary for change to come both from within and without, and communities such as Iris (and new-to-me, Ludica) there won’t be anyone for women (and men) working from within to use as evidence for their arguments for change. And without that evidence, no matter how loud they try to shout they will continue to be silenced by the privileged majority.

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One thought on “On women-oriented gaming communities

  1. Hey, thanks for linking to my post. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner; I’ve been buried under a mountain of finals for the last couple of weeks.

    I think women/feminist oriented gaming communities are important in terms of engendering dialogue that otherwise gets silenced or ignored in mainstream gaming communities. I’ve been meaning to post about the commenting culture at Kotaku (and, for that matter, Joystiq) for a while, as I get pretty mad whenever I brave the comment section on a post involving women in gaming (or sexuality in gaming, or race in gaming, etc). The post on Cerise is what pushed me over the top, as it managed to contain nearly everything that angers me about mainstream comment sections in a fairly short thread.

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