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UCB Presents: Controller FreaksUCB Presents: Controller Freaks

UCB Presents: CONTROLLER FREAKS – Misogyny in Video Games

This video is slightly NSFW.

You know what’s fun? Playing games online. You know what’s not fun? The part where you have to interact with online gamers. And as the ladies and gentlemen of Controller Freaks explain, when you’re gaming while a woman, it just gets worse.

“Anonymity makes people horrible to one another,” says comedian Heather Campbell. She and the other comedians and actresses here note that no matter how fun the match was, no matter how well they did, some juvenile player can’t help but hurl verbal sexual assault their way. Because video games.

Not only that, but as actor Echo Kellum points out, the offline experience might not be great for half of the gaming populace thanks to hypersexualized female characters who serve no other purpose than to add a little grit or titillation to the world.

Before you go rushing to say, “Hey, it’s just escapism, man,” as Adi Robertson observed, if all of your escapist fantasies require women being brutalized or marginalized, you might want to think about what you’re escaping from.

Stay tuned for more Controller Freaks every Thursday, right here on Nerdist.

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  1. GooseGanja says:

    HAHA .. my thoughtful comment a few days ago was removed because it didn’t fit the agenda! Are you the Nerdist or the Government … FUCK YOU NERDIST YOUR DEAD OFFICIALLY YOU FUCKS!      *remove that!

  2. taterparker says:

    does anyone know who the comedian at the end w the chess comment was?  great points, funny stuff, keep it up Nerdist 

  3. DrkWngDck says:


  4. Can anyone explain what women do besides sex ? They do nothing or build nothing

  5. Ryan says:

    I feel like chess is the most anti massogionistic game. Everyone want to kill the Queen not because of gender but simply becuase she is the MOST POWERFUL piece on the board.

    • Ryan says:

      Just think about the pieces you try to knock out first and what gender they would be associated with…

  6. scoopHD says:

    I wonder what Mario Kart on wii U would be like if it had voice chat, and every player is identified by a wii character that reflects gender and race.
    Nintendo may have been smart to not allow chatting in their games.

  7. scoopHD says:

    My daughter had a online Id with the name girl in it and she was verbally attacked like crazy almost every game.  Even got direct messages about how they feel she sucks putting it nicely.  
    She later changed to a new Id that is gender neutral and I can say that I almost never hear anything said about her while playing.

    • It’s sad that a girl/lady can’t enjoy a game with that kind of scrutiny. It’s even worse when she’s good at the game but stops because of someone else’s immaturity.

    • MJ says:

      Scoop, I’ve had exactly the same experience. I too have to use a gender neutral name or I almost immediately get private messages and open harassment. ESPECIALLY if I’m doing well. When I was one of the top 500 COD4 players in the USA I got death threats just because I was a woman playing a “mans” game, and playing it well. I no longer mic chat or fill out profiles, I don’t join guilds or clans… most of the “women friendly” groups I’ve tried to join turned out to be run by a guy who thought he was creating his personal harem in the guise of providing a safe space.
      My heart goes out to your daughter, I’m so sorry this is the world we live in. I hope it won’t stop her playing or trying to achieve the things she wants in life.

  8. secretariat says:

    Great work with the video! And thanks, Evan, for telling us women how we should feel about misogyny! I know *I* wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on my own.

    • Evan says:

      My comment has nothing to do with how you should feel about people who hate women.  It is strictly that there are no examples provided here where women are the direct target of sexism or hate. Nor are there very many in the western game design field as a whole.  This whole “sexism in games” is almost complete nonsense.  The games depicted in this video are private consumer products which are not hurting anyone and games which have a sub-culture of verbal violence which is not directed at women explicitly.  Feel about misogyny however you will, but please do not make serious accusations of others, company or individuals, of being sexist when they are not

  9. Evan says:

    “My mom has been fucked by so many 14 year old boys”
     This is the culture with these games. I’ve been called a faggot, a twink, etc. It’s not about being a female. You have people who get a part of the competitive edge by throwing obscenities at each other, and they’re not doing at you because they hate or because you’re female you. They’re doing it at you because it makes them feel good and they have very, very little to go on as to who you are.

    “Game developers are horny, freaky…”
     Game developers are selling a product. You’re gonna have to do a little better than blame who they are. Everyone knows that sex sells, and everyone knows that the guy who directs the Dead Or Alive games knows that his girls can sell a game even if there isn’t any fighting.

    Really? Going after GTA? Really? Leisure Suit Larry? Really? These games ARE satire. You can’t say “well, they say it’s satire, but,” No. These games ARE satire. Why don’t we bring Saints Row into this? The satire that knows no boundaries.

    “It doesn’t cross your mind to make women in a game.”
    No, it definitely does. It definitely does if you’re writing a story. This whole video is really hammering in wives tales. There really is no one who likes women more than men do. People want to talk about Ivy from Soul Calibur, but Talim and Xianghua have been overlooked and replaced for not being popular characters. It’s not unusual that they weren’t popular. They were relatively tame female characters which didn’t sell.

    Let’s get something straight. I saw this article through a link on Facebook and the image that was chosen for the page was a picture of two girls. This is an ever constant choice people make in advertising because women sell.

    There are a lot of games which tell classy stories. Saving the princess is just a safe tried and true. It’s not misogyny. People shouting whatever comes to mind that might offend you is their culture, it’s their stereotype. It’s not misogyny. Game designers are selling their games with sex. It’s not misogyny. Please stop using a word that implies that these people have an upright disrespect or want to hurt women when describing things which you’re concerned are sexist.

    I’m not a dude-bro, I just think this topic is blown way out of proportion for the sake of journalism.

    James Bond because James Bond. Right?

    • rjp says:

      You just explained the entire problem, its not the men think “i hate women” its that our entire culture, the way we market, what sells, what is taboo or sexy or going to make people look has everything to do with misogyny and the fact that women are viewed as commodities. 

      • Evan says:

        It’s a very good point, rjp, except it isn’t true for long.  Your feelings aren’t a minority, it’s the growing majority.  Women are itemized across all forms of media in one way or another (especially James Bond, which doesn’t get a lot of flack.)  The opposite is also true.  The sexualizing of women is not going to get worse, it’s only going to get diluted as the market broadens.  You will always have a part of the market which is designed to appeal towards young men, and the side of the market that is more broad.  You aren’t about to get rid of movies which do the same thing, there are just more movies which cover things you’re interested in.  This attitude towards women is not hate, or even disregard, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

    • joe shcmoe says:

      I could not agree less.  You say ” I’ve been called a faggot, a twink, etc. It’s not about being a female.”  But take note of the words that are used most often.  When insulting women or players they believe to be women the words “Bitch, slut and much worse” are used.  When insulting men the words are either the ones you mentioned or “bitch” again, but in this case the person using the term usually means the word slightly differently.  Its meant to emasculate and make the person being insulted more women like.  “Put on your big girl panties and stop being a little bitch.” for example.   All this language screams that feminine is less than.  Which is a form of misogyny.  Its something so indoctrinated in our culture that people don’t even realize they are doing it. Saying its “the culture” is trying to give a pass on behavior that is unacceptable and is in fact misogynistic.  Both their culture and their behavior is misogynistic.

      • Evan says:

        I’m not giving anybody a pass.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m validating this behavior, because I think it’s absurd and I don’t engage in online competitive gaming because I don’t want to deal with the attitude.  But I don’t feel like it’s sexist because anyone with thick or thin skin, guy or girl alike, reacts the same way.  It’s not about being female, it’s about being present.  If you’re a man or a woman and you feel singled out, then you’re letting them get to you.  You can go into the layers of how bullying works, and yeah, it’s likely that a single woman in a room with 15 guys in an environment of such hostility then you’re going to get called out for being a woman.  But it would be the same if you were any other minority.  The people in the room wouldn’t be racist for singling out a black guy and throwing derogatory vulgar slang at him for the same reason they’re not sexist for doing it to women AND the same reason Saint’s Row isn’t any of the horrible things it’s accused of being.  I can understand that it’s not an easy thing to understand, but everyone gets a slice of the pain pie.  I know this is supposed to be satire, but there’s actually some truth to this video:
        I don’t condone or participate in the culture, but that’s what it is.

        • MJ says:

          So wait… you’re blaming sexist bullying on the victims because they LET the bullies “get to them”?

          And you know what, you’re kind of right in that whenever you have a minority in a situation where hostility will be thrown, every minority will get targeted and “get a slice of the pain pie” – but you know what? THAT IS EQUALLY NOT OK. That’s what equality is, everyone equally deserves NOT to be bullied, harassed, threatened or attacked just because they happen to be the minority in a room.

          Stop justifying bully behavior – you’re saying that you don’t condone it or participate in it, but your LONG posts arguing that minorities should just shut up and suck it up because “that’s what it is” is doing exactly what you say you’re not.

          At least own up to your bullshit man. If you really don’t condone something, then say it’s wrong. By justifying it and brushing it off as the way things are, you’re implicitly condoning it.

        • Evan says:

          Thank you for bringing it to my attention that what I said could be twisted that way.  It’s not a justification of the behavior. I’m saying that it’s not my property, it’s not my business, and everyone has the right to comment their opinion on the scenario, but making an analysis of what it is is not agreeing with its existence.  I’m not victim blaming, I’m saying that there are thousands of people gaming who act a certain way that other people feel is somehow personal that it is not.  People who participate in this aspect of the game truly enjoy it and they aren’t hurting each other.  If someone comes into the game and can’t handle that that is an aspect of it, it’s not the fault of the people enjoying themselves.  If the company who runs the game has a problem with it, they will put in methods to stop it from happening.  Otherwise, taking it away from the people who enjoy it is just taking away other people’s fun because some other people don’t enjoy it.  Is that really okay?

          Again: their behavior is NOT personal.  It’s DOESN’T target women or any other group directly.  It turns into bad business practice for games to try to filter it if it’s good business to have it. 

  10. d4niel_p says:

    All hell will break loose in comments when dude-bros find this video here or on YT.
    Remember then that you’re right, they are the problem and keep up the good work.

  11. wAlex says:

    This video was great! It raises excellent talking points on the problem. Keep it up.