Now I’m not saying that women don’t get harassed online, or threatened with abuse, violence or rape. All of the above absolutely, 100% happens. Though all of the above is also often faked by women for sympathy online. Go right ahead, you can actually google it and it’s a real thing that’s really happening. This blog post isn’t really about that though, it’s about a flaw in the logic of people who would argue this issue is a woman’s issue specifically.
I disagree, and I’ve spoken to people who argue this line a whole bunch. They essentially come down to the conclusion that it’s a woman’s issue because it disproportionately happens to women, or happens more to women than it does to men. Which, I can probably see. Though being a gamer and around during the early days of Modern Warfare on the Playstation 3, one of the first times casual console gaming was met with decent headset capabilities and online play. I definitely heard a lot of racist abuse, threats of violence etc vs men too.
At this point there wasn’t a lot of female gamers playing and being vocal about playing, and so mostly the harassment and griefing was directed towards males. This is kinda an important thing to note, because its important to realise that online harassment existed long before women became a more vocal part of gaming culture. Online harassment was never in retaliation to women becoming more actively involved in the gaming industry and culture, it was always there in the same crude and hateful form its in now.
Yet a lot of people out there believe that the harassment women face on video games and online in general is a direct retaliation to them being women and trying to be important in male-dominated industries, such as video gaming. For this reason, things like online harassment and rape threats are considered by these people, to be “women’s issues” and I really disagree with this. Yes, in recent times these things may or may not be happening more to women – data points are hard to find to really check for sure, some say men receive the most hate, some say women receive the most hate. But I don’t think that somehow makes this problem a problem that only affects women, and thus a “woman’s issue”.
I don’t have any actual data to support what I’m about to say, but please, bear with me to see the point I’m trying to make.
Lets imagine that 80% of men and only 40% of women have a bone fracture every year. This is clearly a disproportionate number of men getting fractures than women. Perhaps they are getting these fractures because of the kinds of jobs men are most associated with, ie manual labour, construction, lumberjackery… jacking?…lumberjacking?.. Perhaps these fractures are down to their own carelessness stepping off kerbs while talking on their bluetooth headsets, and trying to hold onto their $8 Starbucks coffee, who knows? The cause of the fractures isn’t very well known, all we know is that it happens to men twice as much as it happens to women.
Does this suddenly become a “man’s issue”? Are bone fractures a thing we should only discuss when speaking of men and unfair gender roles making them more likely to sustain injuries? No, not at all, we can clearly see that 40% of women also suffer fractures too. Yes, more men receive them than women, but that doesn’t mean its not also a problem for women too. We shouldn’t just focus on fixing the broken bones of men, just because it happens to them more often than it does to women. We should fix all broken bones if possible, not fanny about arguing about genders.
Online harassment sucks, its not fun to be on the receiving end of, I get that, but claiming it’s a “women’s issue” is just down right ignorant. These are problems that affect all people, perhaps not equally, we don’t actually know for sure, we just know many people are affected. We shouldn’t waste our time talking about who is the most upset, most threatened and most abused gender – because we’re just wasting time and creating more conflict for no good reason. Equality means everyone is equal, which also means that problems suffered by one gender, race or age group are equal to the problems suffered by other genders, races, or age groups. Lets not forget that ever.