Latinitas

LatinitasMagazine.org - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

This post is late in the making, but it’s not any less relevant now.

Earlier this year in Latinitas after school clubs, we did a video game activity. The girls used scratch.mit.edu to develop their very own video game ideas. The girls really enjoyed the activity!

Encouraging the girls to use their creativity was just one part of the lesson. When we first introduced the lesson, I wanted the girls to think about why this lesson was important. I wanted them to understand that the video game industry is  male-dominated, and that the sexism that results is rampant.

The girls did get that. When we listed typical characteristics of video games, they listed things like violence and guns, and noted the often degrading roles women play in video games.

But when we asked them to go forth and make their own positive games featuring positive female roles, they shut down. “I don’t play video games.” “I don’t know how to make this game fun without any violence.”  

So I tried to find examples of positive video games. That might have helped a little bit. Ultimately though, several of the games featured violent themes or stereotypically girly themes like fashion.

I wish I had known about Feminist Frequency, and the backlash against it, before doing this lesson. Anita Sarkeesian has been a lifelong gamer, and she created Feminist Frequency to demonstrate the hyper-sexualized or defenseless representations of women in video games she has noticed. In response, thousands of men initiated a hate campaign against her, threatening and viciously harassing her online, and referring to their actions as a game. Fortunately, she wasn’t silenced, and her project ended up being wildly successful.

Sarkeesian’s story is exactly why we needed to this lesson. Our systems of misogyny and patriarchy encouraged these men to shut Sarkeesian up and keep her out of the video game world. However, just like any other industry, the video game world would be only benefit from having equal representation of men and women and people in between.

Our girls need to know that their opinions and experiences are valid, and that they can and should express them. They need to know that the things they noticed in those video games are sexist and belittling, and that they should not just put up with those representations. They need to know that they can help change our systems, and that even when patriarchy retaliates, they have role models like Sarkeesian to remind them of their own strength.

My hope is that the girls took away some of those ideas from the video game lesson. But even if they just had fun playing around with cool sound effects, I am always happy to learn how much the girls already know and notice. They are wonderful, intelligent girls, and I have no doubts about their abilities to be forces of change. 

Views: 117

Comment

You need to be a member of Latinitas to add comments!

Join Latinitas


Badge

Loading…

About

Latinitas created this Ning Network.

Links: Connect with Latinitas

Can't get enough of Latinitas.
Read the magazine: LatinitasMagazine.org

Get an RSS feed of our latest updates.
Find us on MySpace.
Connect on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter!
Check our Youtube Channel.
Listen to our Podcast.
View our Flickr gallery.
Sign-up for our Enews.
Visit our blog.

Post questions & get Advice.
Post a blog.

View the Latinitas Video Tutorials to learn how to participate in our community.

Report abuse or problems to the moderator.


Read More From Latinitas

© 2014   Created by Latinitas.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service