The costly, tumultuous war on gamers and gaming by feminists and progressives has been unsuccessful. A survey of gamers and non-gamers from the Pew Research center shows that gamers have not been persuaded by feminist and progressive arguments about rampant sexism and bigotry in their hobby.
Persuading the world that video games are sexist and misogynistic has been a defining goal of western feminists over the past few years. Earlier this year, video games critic Anita Sarkeesian was given a portion of Intel’s $300million “diversity fund” to talk about this alleged problem. Feminist columnists have portrayed video games as sexist, and gamers as misogynistic. Progressive columnists have even claimed that video games have a “race problem.”
But the Pew Research Center’s new data on gaming and gamers indicates that these arguments have not been embraced by gamers or the general public. 46 per cent of self-described gamers do not believe that games portray minorities poorly. Minorities who played video games were also disinclined to buy into the progressive games media’s race-baiting. 39 per cent of Hispanic video game players disagreed that games portray minorities poorly, compared to 12 per cent who agreed. 24 per cent of black video game players also disagreed, compared to 15 per cent who agreed.
Arguments that video games are sexist have also failed to convince a majority of gamers. 35 per cent of gamers disagree that video games portray women poorly, compared to 24 per cent who agree. The general public were found to be mostly undecided on the issue, with 40 per cent saying they weren’t sure and 18 per cent saying that women were not portrayed poorly. Only 14 per cent of the non-gaming public said video games did portray women poorly. Given the non-stop media blitz about video game sexism that occurred in the wake of GamerGate, these are disappointing numbers for the gender warriors.
Pew also looked at the demographics of gamers, yielding some interesting results. Although an equal number of men and women play video games, men were found to be twice as likely to identify themselves as “gamers.” This is a further confirmation of the long-held assumption that the “hardcore gamer” demographic, who spend dozens of hours per week playing games, is predominantly male. Naturally, progressive columnists were quick to blame sexism for the disparity between male and female gamers.
Another interesting finding of the Pew study is the disparity between male and female gamers on the issue of violence. Unsurprisingly, gamers and video game players were considerably more likely than the non-gaming public to disagree that violent video games are linked to violent personalities. However, female game players were more than twice as likely to agree that people who played violent video games are more likely to be violent themselves – 42 per cent of female players compared to 22 per cent of male players.
The reasons for this are unclear, although it perhaps explains why violent video games attract a predominantly male demographic, as opposed to non-violent games like The Sims and Candy Crush, both of which are mostly played by women. As Anita Sarkeesian said, “I would love to play video games, but I don’t want to go around shooting people and ripping off their heads. It’s just gross.”
A final point of interest: Pew found that self-described “gamers” were more likely to be poor and non-white than people who played video games but did not identify as gamers. Just 7 per cent of white respondents used the label “gamer,” compared to 11 per cent of black and 19 per cent of Hispanic respondents. Those who made less than $30,000 per year (the lowest income bracket in the survey) were also most likely to describe themselves as gamers.
When progressive outlets like Polygon and Kotaku – dominated by affluent white males – attack gamers as bigoted, it’s worth remembering that they’re attacking a community that is considerably more diverse, and considerably less privileged, than they are.