Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront Sexism and Misogyny in the Game Community

August 21, 2012 -

The official Twitter feed for the country of Sweden, @Sweden is being handled this week by Naseer Alkhouri, a game developer who describes himself as a "homeopathic swede" that "develops games for a living." Sweden has a policy of letting its citizens "guest-star" every week to speak their minds. While doing this removes control of the Twitter account and can lead to it tweeting some pretty over-the-top statements that don't necessarily represent the interests of the Swedish government or its citizens, it certainly sparks some interesting conversations.

Alkhouri has decided to use his time at the helm of the feed to criticize sexism and misogyny within the game community.

"I am not only a game dev, but a gamer as well," he tweeted. "That said, I don’t feel particularly welcome in the community. Gamers got issues."

He followed that tweet up with another:

"Gamers tend to be misogynist, rasist (sic) and rather unpleasant overall, especially (sic) online. I am rather saddened by the behaviour of my peers, for me gaming is an inclusive hobby. That’s why I got hooked afterall (sic)."

Some in the Twitter community let him have it, to which he retorted:

"I am getting flack for speaking about this, but no threats, no harrasement (sic). What did Anita Sarkeesian get?"

In case you don't remember, Sarkeesian caught hell for a Kickstarter project to make a series of videos about gender tropes in video games. She became a target for some angry gamers who took offense with what she had to say - or what she was going to say - about the portrayal of women in games.

Source: Beta Beat


Comments

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

Just read the comments of any YouTube video with a female to see the sorry state the online world is in. Feel free to localise it to gaming content if you'd like to see what many gamers can be like. Sure, maybe they do make a minority, but for so many sexist remarks I constantly see maybe half a dozen people (at best) calling the commenter out while the comment has been given a 'thumbs up' a frightening number of times. If the greater community isn't confronting it and people are enabling this attitude then I have to say I see a problem.

At least with racism you see more people beating down on the racists.

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

Whilst the issue with Anita Sarkeesian and how woman can be treated in the gaming community in general can be seen as bad, it's usually a very minor issue exasperated by the very vocal minority.

Whilst I never cared for Sarkeesian's project (it would have been better if she didn't just focus on one gender, in my opinion) this case is a worst case scenario of what can happen. I've been online long enough to read and hear many a death threat against loads of different people, none of which were ever followed upon and all of them were worst case scenarios. In general, this kind of attitude just doesn't happen as often as people think it does.

There's definitely some merit's to Alkhouri's claims but I feel it's very unwise to generalize. The entire gaming community doesn't do this, it's just a very small but very vocal part of it that does and it's sad that the community as a whole ends up being represented by these people.

Also note that I've heard nothing about Sarkeesian's project being scrapped (and I doubt it would be after amassing over $150,000 to the bloody thing). I honestly never cared for it because I whilst I agree women get treated quite poorly in general in video games (look at all the scantly-clad dressed woman in games these days) it's usually not out of disrespect for woman but because it sells well. As said, it would've been far better if she had focused on all the gender tropes, not just the tropes focused on one gender, as that's a very one-sided and unfair argument.

Another thing: Who needs $6,000 to make a video outlining the gender tropes in video games? Really? Documentaries have been made for less, in peoples spare times, in their backyards.

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

There is a HUGE difference between the way men and women are treated in video games. The men tend to be made out in the form of power fantasies that the male developers wish they could be. The women on the other hand tend to lean more toward the sexual fantasy areas of the male developer psyche.

There is a very valid reason to research and discuss the portrayal of women in gaming. That portrayal is one of the reasons why there aren't more women gamers and game developers. That portrayal of women in games also reflects on the attitudes that male developers have on their female counterparts.

As for the $6000, I think she was pretty clear on why she needed that. All you have to do is actually read the the Kickstarter page.

As for updates, here is one from August 1:

http://www.feministfrequency.com/2012/08/quick-tropes-vs-women-projec-up...

 

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

You know, he's got a point.  Anita Sarkeesian got death threats for fucks sake.  I don't believe most of the gaming community is like this, but there sure as hell is a vocal minority that makes us all look bad.

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

Thing is, while most of the gaming community is not as bad as the worst in these cases, the background sexism is still pretty bad. It provides a good environment for the more extreme stances to develop in since they generally don't get called on it.. and women who do tend to get beaten down for 'ruining people's fun' or 'oh she is just a feminist, ignore her'.

So the bad attitudes are quietly tolerated, and when they get pointed out it is often the messenger who is gently encouraged to leave, not the offensive people.

Re: Game Developer Uses Sweden's Twitter Account to Confront ...

EDIT: Ok, I read it and I agree, she didn't need all that. I mean ,wait until you see it before you get angry.

 
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