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An 8-bit Conversation: Misogyny in geek culture

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(Graphic by Brett Ferrin)

On May 23, 2014 a man by the name of Elliot Rodger decided to go on a killing spree because the beautiful women of the University of California, Santa Barbara would not give him the time, attention and sex he thought he deserved. Comments online have varied from sympathy to placing the blame on the women of the university for not sleeping with Rodger.

Men and and women all over the country deemed Rodger as a mad man, however, there is a larger problem on a cultural scale in our society: Misogyny is alive and well.

In the world of time lords, dragons, video games and all manner of geekdom, women are looked upon as trophies and far from equal to their male counterparts.

As a girl who plays a variety of video games, I am hardly ever taken seriously. I constantly receive snide comments about me only playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” or on a Nintendo DS. It seems like I have to constantly go through my game arsenal just to prove that I play more than the attention-seeking gamer chicks that like to chew on cords.

Female gamers are always forced to prove themselves. Not only that, but we are harassed through in-game chat and voice clients.

As a streamer on Twitch, I am constantly met with guys who demean me, objectify me and harass me every time my stream goes live.  Some say that’s what I get for putting myself out there.

As a human being I have every right to do anything and everything that men do and should expect to be given the same respect.

My introduction to geek culture began when I was a little girl and ran home with my older brother to watch the “X-Men” cartoon every day after school.

I didn’t have any sisters or a very feminine mother. All I had was an older brother who always made me be Luigi in “Super Mario Bros” on the NES. He was there when I beat “Wizards and Warriors” and played hours of “Killer Instinct” with me on the Super Nintendo.

He taught me how to play “Magic: The Gathering” or rather cheated so he won every game. My older brother’s influence paved the way to being the well-rounded geek girl I am today.

Although I grew up similarly to a geek guy, I am constantly met with instances where it seems as if I have to prove myself in order to get the same respect as a male in geek culture.

Since the Isla Vista shootings, women and men all around the world are beginning to voice a need for change. Unfortunately, women who have spoken out about this need for change have reportedly had their lives threatened.

Just this last week Anita Sarkeesian, a vlogger of a web series called “Feminist Frequency: Conversations with Pop Culture” has received death and rape threats for criticizng how women are portrayed in video games and pop culture. The death threats allegedly got so bad that Sarkeesian called police after one comment gave out the detailed location of her apartment, according to

How does Utah fare when organizations mapped women’s rights all around? According to, Utah ranked second-to-last, just above Louisiana for women’s rights.

Factors examined were economic, leadership as well as health factors. The number one state for women’s rights was Maryland.

The word feminist has always had a negative connotation. As I get older, I am failing to see how women standing up for equal rights is necessarily a bad thing. Like any group, there will always be extremists, however that should never take away from message of freedom and equality.

We pride our country on its freedom and equality. However, until we start recognizing that we are not as advanced as we thought as far as equal rights for not only women, but all people, we will never achieve true freedom. Isla Vista and the harassment that women face online and offline whether they are of the geek community or not is proof that misogyny still shapes our society.

Men and women need to stand together, stop laughing it off and stop tolerating this type of behavior.


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