August 21st, 2005

I was passing a few hours on Xbox Live last night, and I had an interesting, if not unusal, experience. First of all, it should be noted, there were probably more weirdos out than normal, since it was Halo 2 on a Saturday evening (In my defense, this was pre-party, not in-place-of-party). Anyways, I sign into a quick-match and, like you do, some guy starts reading the list of gamertags outloud. He gets to MyVelouria, and in response I say, “Hello.” Of course, it’s all downhill from there (that oh-my-god-a-girl! moment), and it doesn’t take long before he telling me to “talk to him while I kill him,” so he can hear: “Ooh, I killed you” (insert male impression of a sexy female voice here). During the match, he treats me like one of the guys (an ideal itself pretty twisted), except that each time, before he lets loose a round of gunfire into my chest, he calls out, “Hey, baby.” Afterwards, he send me three separate friend invites; I graciously decline, three times in a row.

Things like that happen all the time. My fiance thinks it’s hilarious: whenever I’m on Live, I get a stack of invites from strangers; it’s never happened to him. It has nothing to do with me. I’m not a very good player. Nope, it’s all in the voice. And, like last night, often a guy will send a request multiple times. I want to be friendly, but I somehow I think these boys have something other than friendship on the brain.

Here’s the thing – this is supposed to be a post about how frustrating it is to be a girl on Xbox Live. But it’s not about that. Instead, it’s a confession: sometimes it’s enjoyable to be treated that way. Not that I want random men whispering dirty things in my ear. But, unfortunately, the attention is flattering, even if it makes no sense. Don’t get me wrong, I barely talk at all on Live; I’m not actively putting myself in these situations (though there are certainly girls who are). And maybe I’m the only who feels this way – confused – but maybe I’m not.

Women have such a long way to go in the fight for gender equality in gaming, that you feel like you have to stick up for what’s right, even in how you feel. But emotions aren’t as easy to control as words. The reality of the matter is we, as females, have been trained to feel good about ourselves, to feel validated, by the compliments of men. Just because we want to be above the knee-jerk reaction of attention=happiness, that doesn’t mean we are. Look at the Frag Dolls, who claim to be standing up for themselves and girl gamers everywhere; they’re “feminists” revelling in the glamourous attention of their own sex appeal. The point isn’t that this is okay. And if I’m alone on this one, all the better. But either way, before we can begin to fix the problem, we have to approach it honestly.

Tags: Blog

3 Responses to “Talk to Me Dirty (on Xbox Live)”

  1. Kelly A Says:

    Its a common belief in the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) world that female characters get given lots of free loot. There’s more to the belief than that, but its a common perception. I once created a female character- within five minutes of arriving in the game, I had been given several pieces of armour and basic gear. I had also been followed around by a couple of male characters, and I have to tell you that really creeped me out.

    Does this virtual attention make any sense? No, even less sense than the male reaction to a female voice in audio chat. I mean, how many sexy wood elf avatars are played by overweight male truckers living in mobile homes? Probably a lot more than are played by “real” women. Yet the males still react.

    I think the battle here is against very strong social and genetic conditioning that spans tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. Quiet, shy male humans who kept their attraction to themselves did not win mates. Loud, arrogant males who made their interest clear did. Women react to the noisy, attentive male presumably because he provides better survival conditions for their potential offspring. I’d have to guess that such males were better hunters, more capable of defending their mate and offspring, and perhaps had a more pronounced sex drive.

    As a shy, quiet guy (around women), I often wondered, often with this wonder layered in great frustration, why a woman would go out with some obviously disgusting, self-centered, abusive jerk. I saw the behavior of such jerks and their female targets in bars and clubs, and it was apparent to me that those types of guys were the ones who made their interest very clear. The rest of us didn’t compete: it takes an extraordinary ego to risk rejection over and over and over again, and obviously our evolution has selected human males for that type of ego.

    So, if my thinking is sound, the kind of behavior you describe has deep roots in both genders. I suspect that this behavior won’t change in our lifetime, although being aware of it can help us start to make the changes.

    Exactly what to do with the knowledge is a challenging question unless both men and women want to change. Maybe on the female side of things, being more clear and upfront (“hey, thanks for the attention but I’m here to play the game and I’m not interested in you”) might help…but I suppose that’s tough too. Guys can try to be more considerate, but to be frank the guys pushing their attentions where they aren’t wanted are not exactly the kinds of guys who would have that kind of consideration.

    Another possibility is that women could start selecting mates based on exactly the opposite characteristics. That is, actively go after the shy, quiet guys and shut out the agggressive, obvious ones. Then, maybe in a twenty or thirty generations (a thousand years or so), the patterns of behavior might be satisfactorily changed ;-)

  2. Bonnie Says:

    That’s a really interesting comment, Kelly. I think though that as much as it’s related to the broad-reaching facts of evolution (that is to say, the state of human beings as they have been for a hundred generations and will probably be for another hundred), it has to do with the way society is now, though even that statement is too broad, and reaches back and forward a few hundred years. Then the issue narrows to our American culture, and after that, of course, to the psychology of each individual. You feel like girls go for loud, boisterous boys; personally, I hate those kinds of guys, yet I still have this knee-jerk reaction of being flattered when someone hits of me, even if it’s someone I would never want to copulate with and continue the human race (which, obviously, is the main factor in evolutionary concerns). Does that mean that I personally have insufficient self-esteem and need to feel validated by the compliments of men. Sure. What makes it worth discussing is that it’s not just me.

    I guess my point is, the issue might start with the evolutionary forces in our genes, but from there the problem gets narrower, more specific to the people and social factors involved. Evolution is certainly a useful thing to keep in mind, but it’s really only a starting point.

  3. dirty talk examples Says:

    Heya for virtually all of you battling to have that woman you’ve always desired, my best advice is learn how to talk dirty to women. You must also have a positive and confident mindset to females to impress them. I have picked up a ton of ladies and read lots of dating guides. So go on it from me, when you can learn these 3 factors, you can pick up any kind of lady you would like.

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