The upcoming generation is one of entitlement. I realize that saying this is both as useful and as surprising as a fart at an all you can eat bean buffet, but it is important to start with it.
Each generation has entitlement issues, I had them, my parents had them, but the thing is that the world is designed to teach you that you have to work for a living. In previous generations, you learned this through physical labor, in my generation we learned this through the fact that the world is complicated, and without a lot of education, you will have troubles with the massive number of high skilled jobs that are becoming more the norm than at any point in history in the past.
But this generation, while feeling the same entitlement at a young age as every generation before them, have not had their entitlement checked by the world. In schools, you don’t get zeroes. In youth competitions, you don’t get awards. Even getting proper marks in school is considered unhealthy competition by someone in power, apparently (I have never met a person who agreed with the idea that you shouldn’t get proper marks, and shouldn’t be allowed to fail, and yet somehow it has become a policy).
With that, we come to the idea of bullying. Bullying is exerting some power over others, and while it is a very negative thing, certainly, it helps to prepare children for a world in which not everyone or everything will be nice to them. This is an important point, because bullying has become something of an art form, or theater, in these modern times.
And now we come to the internet and video games. On the Internet, the saying goes, nobody knows you are a dog. Perhaps you think that saying is a bit silly, but it illustrates both the allure and the danger of the internet. Are you a 40 year old man posing as a 12 year old girl? That’s creepy. But more commonly, you have 12-17 year old males posing as 20 year old males, and it is this that causes one of the most common complaints, both of the internal gaming community and of those from the outside looking in.
Let’s take the MOBA (Dota 2, League of Legends, etc) communities as our example. They are, very often, malicious. There is no other word for it. Every player thinks they are the perfect player, better than any other player, and they will instantly let you know as soon as you have made a mistake. Why is that? Well, first, they are 12-17 year old males. This is not, in and of itself, telling, but each will tell you that they are 24. Second, they have never been told they AREN’T the best player in the world, except by others whom they have never met. Everyone playing a game of Dota has been called a noob at some point (even if you have only ever played one game in your whole life; it is that bad), and most of us have been told to uninstall, stick to bot games (games with computers, so you don’t “ruin” the fun of your superiors, I suppose), or told to kill yourself. And this is before they know anything about you; imagine if you are a depressed person on the edge, seeking an escape from the pain of the real world, and then are told to kill yourself?
What happens, though, and why does it happen, when they find out there is a female in their midst? That’s where you see the entitlement turned up to 12, and there are too many reasons for this. The first is that a 17 year old feels like they are owed sex (have you talked to a 17 year old anonymously these days? … … … Ignore the ramifications of that sentence, please.). So when a girl comes up, they are reminded of the fact that they are playing a video game instead of going out; in ages past, they may have been an antisocial person who would have become your usual dungeon nerd (I feel confident in my use of the term; it applies to me more than anyone else I know), but games have become too social, people have become too entitled, to let this INJUSTICE pass.
That is the core of the misogyny in the gaming community, and make no mistake; misogyny is the word. There is so much hate and vitriol, and it comes out at the drop of a hat. There is a saying that some use ironically, but that too many use sincerely, on the internet; please forgive my language, but this is a post about the idea of misogyny. On the internet, if you are discovered to be a female, the first thing you will hear, and you will hear it a lot, is “Tits or GTFO (Get the F*** out)”.
Perhaps the ramifications of this, outside of the fact that it is completely unreasonable, are missed too easily. The person saying this feels entitled. That woman, thinks the person flinging this around, owes me sight of her breasts.
So how do we cure this? Well, some games have mentioned it, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly (the title of this post comes from a line said by a character in the Borderlands series), but we have started to see society recognize that we created this problem. We’ve been told we are special, then shown that we aren’t (At least to some extent). The next generation has been told they are special and…. Here we are.
I don’t know how to make it go away, but I definitely know that the answer is NOT “Reduce competition, remove failure, and remind everyone that the world is their burrito.” Make them earn their way in the world, like everyone else, and then maybe they will understand that everyone has problems, and the world does not OWE you anything.
Also, don’t be a dick online. Please?