A large launch party and LAN for Battlefield 3 is being held in Texas, and women are disallowed from attending in order to protect them from misogynistic insults. While the original text in the FAQ has now been removed, the FAQ declared that women are not invited with the following statement:
Nothing ruins a good LAN party like uncomfortable guests or lots of tension, both of which can result from mixing immature, misogynistic male-gamers with female counterparts. Though we’ve done our best to avoid these situations in years past, we’ve certainly had our share of problems. As a result, we no longer allow women to attend this event.”
After being called out on this behavior on Reddit and on Kotaku, the text was removed and replaced by declaring the event as a ‘gentleman’s retreat’.
I wanted to get this post up for discussion as soon as possible, and as a result I do not have a lot of personal commentary to add. I will say that preventing women from attending gaming events doesn’t solve the problem with misogyny and hate speech towards them. Instead, it puts the blame on the women for even being present, and removes the obligation for men to be decent human beings who respect women gamers. It basically is saying that the organizers either don’t want to put the effort into policing language at their event, or don’t trust the men to be mature and responsible enough to adhere to event policies.
Kotaku’s Owen Good said it well:
This is a large, private event and its organizers certainly have the right to associate with whomever they please. But given what I usually hear over my headset in military shooters like Battlefield, I wonder if this party would so outwardly ban any black gamers from registering. Because it would be so, you know, uncomfortable to hear them being insulted.
Or maybe the answer here is to forbid that kind of obnoxious behavior, and kick out anyone who breaks the rule, $49 registration be damned. Or maybe this event is more about the comfort of the organizers than the participants.
I certainly wouldn’t want to go to this LAN party anyway at this point, but is the answer to creating a welcoming space in gaming for women to segregate them and forbid them from attending game launch parties to prevent misconduct? I certainly don’t think so.