Hi families! It’s time for the second installment in our series “Gamer Unsupervised”. This week we’ll be talking about the concept of Sexism - written this week by Liv!
If you’ve already read one of the blogs in this series, feel free to skip our explainer blurb below!
At Ukatsu, we LOVE our video games. It’s the enjoyment for all types of games and competitive esports that keeps things fun while working here, but that doesn't mean it’s all smiles and laughs in our industry.
For any gamer that connects to the Internet, it doesn’t take very long to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly culture associated with playing video games and connecting to social media.
That’s why in this mini blog-series, we at Ukatsu are shedding light upon the not-so-positive themes gamers, including your children, hear and say on a regular basis. Besides a healthy balance between fun and fitness, one of the greatest perks for any child attending Ukatsu is the supervision and empathy, as well as forgiveness when we have deeper conversations with your kids as to why the things they say or do might not be the smartest choice.
The content you see within this blog series may contain mature themes and language. It’s important for us to leave no theme or phrase uncensored. By actively approaching and addressing our concerns, we can create a better community for all gamers. Examples of topics we’ll be covering in this series include Depression, Anxiety, Respect and Sportsmanship, Sexism, and more.
While many strides have been made toward ending sexism, it is unfortunately still a problem today. Sexism isn’t just a gaming-specific problem; it’s seen in the workplace, in physical sports, in school, and in other aspects in life. For this blog however, we’ll be talking specifically about the prejudice against females in the gaming industry.
The below video is just a sample of what girls & women in gaming have to deal with on a daily basis. While we know that Rainbow 6 Siege (the game featured in this video) is notorious for its toxicity, these types of comments are things we’ve heard targeted at females in all types of video games every day.
Kids at Ukatsu are no exception! These are some of the hurtful phrases we’ve heard at our own facility (that we’ve then had a conversation with the child about).
“She’s just an eGirl.” (eGirl - A girl who just plays video games to get money by selling herself in some way)
“Girls aren’t good at video games.”
“She’s on her period.”
“She can’t do that, she’s a girl.”
Calling girls a “Thot” (That hoe over there) or a Gril (a derogatory name for a girl who plays video games)
In order to fully understand the meaning behind these sexist comments, it’s important to know some of the context behind it. With the onset of Twitch, YouTube, and other live-streaming mediums, some female gamers have started using these platforms for monetary gain, regardless of their actual skill level in a video game. Ventures include anywhere from selling their bathwater to people online, to sending revealing photos of themselves to subscribers. Despite these women being a small minority amongst women gamers, the stigma now carries over to other females in this field. This, combined with the underlying sexist thought still held by some people that “men are better than women” creates an extremely toxic environment for female gamers.
Now that we know what’s going on, we need to talk about it.
Here at Ukatsu, we know that any gender can be capable of achieving success in video games, and we want to make sure all of our kids know they can achieve the things they set their mind to. While our facility primarily attracts male gamers, we make it known that Ukatsu is a second home for all kids, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or abilities. If we encounter anyone, kids and adults alike, who make sexist comments toward females, we make it our priority to have a conversation with them. Many times, our kids don’t understand what they’re saying. They hear the comment from their favorite YouTuber or Streamer and then repeat it to their friends, thinking it’s funny and harmless. These cases are the perfect opportunity for us to talk with the child about how their words can harm others, as well as teaching them the lesson that not all online personalities are good role models to listen to.
Since this is a problem that more commonly happens without an adult present, we have a few tips that you as a parent can use to prepare your child for these situations.
Talk to your child about the things they say and hear - Like we said before, a lot of what kids say is because they learned it online. Check-in with your child regularly to ask them about what they learned online, and be receptive and open to what they have to say. By discussing concepts that both are and aren’t okay to say, you teach your child why sexism is wrong, as well as share with them ways that they can stop sexism from happening online.
Teaching your child the importance of supporting and standing up for their female gamer friends - Nothing makes a sexist bully more uncomfortable than the power of numbers. If your child’s friend does not feel safe standing up for themselves alone, your child calling a bully out for his actions can make all of the difference. If your child doesn’t feel comfortable doing this, they can also be supportive by just being a friend. In our first Ukatsu All Women Podcast, one of our volunteers Polly talked about just being a friend and not bringing up the bullying situation in conversation. Doing so can help assure your child’s friend that they can have fun while also not making their entire gaming experience about the fact that they’re female.
Empowering your daughter - We realize that girls can be uncomfortable in a space full of boys and men, so we make sure to have male and female mentors alike working our events and playing games with the kids. We want our girl gamers to first feel safe at Ukatsu, as well as have mentors and role models to look up to. Having an older female mentor to look up to can help your daughter OR son realize, “Yes, it’s okay to be a girl and game” and “Yes, girls can be good at gaming!” These ideals should be echoed at home as well. If you have a daughter who loves video games, make it a priority to play games with her. Whether you’re a father or a mother, your child having an adult playing games with them also assures them of those two above affirmations.
Similar to what we said in the first blog of this series, being sexist online is a trait our kids have LEARNED, not an ideal they were born with. Set the tone now, and have the conversation at home often, because you can bet we’re having that conversation with your kids at Ukatsu.