Gamer culture is a known boys club, I get that. I learned that fast during college, when I would beat countless guys my dormitory in games like Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter and Mortal Kombat. I was unstoppable, and they usually had nasty remarks after they were handed a whopping. Even till this day, I still enjoy playing with my son and against others on Xbox Live. Personally, I don’t know too many women, besides my idol Aisha Tyler, that are gung-ho over video games. It’s pretty much a male dominated activity, and the subject matter of the games are a clear indicator of that.
Every year during the biggest videogame conference spectators are on the lookout for the next “big thing”. At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft put together a huge demo of Killer Instinct for its new XBox One.
During the demo, a man and a woman are challenging each other in the game. The conversation went like this:
Girl: I can’t even block correctly and you’re too fast
Guy: Just let it happen. It will be over soon.
You know, like rape. The audience laughs. Of course because rape jokes are always funny. NOT.
The guy continues to beat the woman in the game.
Guy: Wow, you like this?
Girl: No, I don’t like this.
I enjoy a good joke like the next person. I’ve done stand up at various open mics. Hell, I’ve even written jokes for BET. But I’m not sure who thought a rape joke would be funny, especially in an environment already dominated by men. The fact that this presentation, more than likely, was screened even before the big reveal, and no one thought to themselves, “Well this doesn’t sound appropriate”, is a bit disheartening, but unfortunately, not surprising.
I’m not sure how many women were in attendance during the demonstration, but the joke garnered plenty of laughs. The gaming community needs to do better. The misogyny that exists in it won’t go away until people stop perpetuating it. By people, I mean not only gamers themselves, but corporations like Microsoft that allowed such a shitty joke to happen.