If the internet has taught us anything recently, it’s that being a meninist gamer boy is suddenly cool.
Or is it? Is questioning women’s interests, abilities, general understanding, and lived experiences in relation to the video game industry really mainstream, or is this newly professed herd just a bunch of men caught up in their own man pain?
There’s much debate about the true definition of a meninist gamer boy. Some people define meninism through ignorance, while others attribute it to boredom and immaturity combined with a blatant disregard for women’s experiences.
There’s also a spirited debate about meninists vs. assholes. Sociologists, historians, writers and pop-culture junkies argue that these terms define two different varying sets of personalities and characteristics entirely. Meninists are seen as intentionally satirizing feminism in an attempt to undermine the push for women’s equality while an asshole “has an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunizes him against the complaints of other people” (via The Huffington Post). Needless to say, there’s a lot of crossover between the two groups, but they do have different defining characteristics.
However, when it comes to some men on the internet, both words seem to have gone from an insult or sub-culture to a self-professed title of honor and niche popularity.
So how can you tell if your gamer boy is a decent human being or just a meninist behind a controller? Here are 10 signs he’s a meninist gamer boy:
1) He searches #GamerGirl on social media to troll on women for being attention seeking as he eagerly waits for responses.
The quickest way to make a meninist appear in my mentions is to use the hashtag #Feminism in any of my tweets. The hashtag #GamerGirl can have a similar effect. A meninist gamer boy is deeply offended when a woman refers to herself as a gamer girl because they are claiming their own identity; meninist gamer boys prefer to hold on to their own ideas of what women are and hate to be told otherwise. Additionally, the term gamer girl creates cognitive dissonance because meninist gamer boys see videogames and femininity as oil and water–making the term “gamer girl” confusing. This confusion angers them, so they spend their time on social media trying to destroy this term and all those willing to rock the label.
2) He judges girls who love Splatoon (which he claims is just a watered down 3rd person shooter/Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game) but will play Rocket League over FIFA or Forza.
One of the best things about video games is the wide variety of genres and the variances in those genres. However, meninist gamer boys (and videogame assholes) like to look down on what other people enjoy. This is because by discrediting certain games they can keep certain people out of the video game community. If those “certain people” happen to be women, the meninist gamer boy is pleased. I know it’s ridiculous to compare Rocket League to franchises like FIFA or Forza just because they happen to have some genre overlap (sports and racing, respectively). Rocket League is a game in its own right, borrowing elements from the aforementioned genres but not necessarily trying to compete with a particular franchise. The meninist gamer boy does not understand this and thinks girls who play Splatoon over other TPS/MOBAs are stupid.
3) If she doesn’t play First-person shooters, he’ll cite her shortcomings as proof she’s not a “hardcore gamer,” but he can’t beat Super Meat Boy–even with a controller.
In addition to shaming women’s taste in video games, some meninist gamer boys believe you must be good at the games they play– otherwise you are a noob/poser. This tends to happen with games that are more competitive in nature and completely neglects the fact that there are a lot of ways to be good at video games, but, also, why do you have to be good to begin with? Of course, if you were to expose the meninist gamer boy’s own shortcomings, he would be offended because he could totally beat Super Meat Boy if he wanted to, so it doesn’t prove anything.
4) He constantly mentions Anita Sarkeesian.
Meninist gamer boys love to mention Anita Sarkeesian whenever anything related to women and videogames comes up. A recent study found that in 2013, meninist gamer boys were responsible for 75% of Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube views just to stay up-to-date with their trolling. If a boy mentions Anita Sarkeesian and you’re not sure if he is a meninist simply ask, “Who’s Anita Sarkeesian?” If he is a meninist gamer boy he will A. Be in complete disbelief that someone wouldn’t know the very woman he is obsessed with or B. Implode from rage. That’s how you can tell for sure.
5) When reminded that half of all gamers are women, he asks, “How many of those just play mobile games though?”
This is a subtle one, but don’t take it lightly! The meninist gamer boy may not directly seek out women to troll on the internet but, in casual conversation, will reveal his disbelief in just how involved women are in the gaming community. And as far as his implication that mobile games are not real games… refer back to #2.
6) He hits on female streamers and gamers but claims he’s “totally joking.”
7) He thinks the push for “more diversity/representation in video games” is going to stifle creative freedom.
“More options” is just how feminists spell “male oppression” when they are trying to trick gamers, or so the meninist gamer boy would have you believe. But, to avoid coming off as inconsiderate, the meninist gamer boy will dress this up as an issue of creative freedom. The logic is as follows: If women and other marginalized groups tell developers what they want, then developers might make it, which is really bad for video games, since they are usually created in a vacuum outside of social media, gaming podcasts, metacritic scores, game sales, game reviews, let’s plays, kickstarters, think pieces, fanmade games, official forums, game jams, awards, expos, and… wait a minute…
8) He uses the phrase “Social Justice Warrior (SJW)”.
Meninist gamer boys use this phrase when they feel that someone is either being too intense about social justice or is bringing up social justice unnecessarily. They truly believe it is possible to take equality too seriously.
9) He thinks online harassment is “just a few guys being immature.”
The meninist gamer boy doesn’t want to accept that some people treat women poorly simply because they are women. He will tell you this is because he “has more faith in humanity than that” but in reality it’s just easier for him this way. No need to help the feminist cause if you deny the issues it’s trying to combat. Other examples of the meninist gamer boy discrediting online harassment include, but are not limited to, “Those aren’t real people; just internet trolls” and “*sees example* Well, that’s just an extreme case.”
10) He is an advocate for freedom of speech but can’t believe he got blocked on Twitter.
Here’s a recent example that comes to mind…