If You're Female, Online Gaming Is A Festival Of Compliments And Flattery

If you play a video game online, accidentally kill your pals (virtually) and let the word out that you're female, you'll be showered with kind words. That's according to The Oatmeal an online comic that contrasts this experience with that of screwing up online while male. If you do that you'll be hit with homophobic slurs and hear cries for vengeance.

See the full strip for both sides.

NOTE: The strip was updated since we screen-capped the female half of it. The text above the panel shown here now reads: "When a girl makes a mistake while playing an online game."

The bloggers behind Fat, Ugly or Slutty, which collates some of the things female gamers hear online, believes the female part of The Oatmeal comic is inaccurate.

Its evidence?

Well there's this gamer whose mum was playing Full House Poker on their Xbox 360 and received the following unsolicited feedback: "never play poker again. Your the worst player I have ever seen ohh by the way close your legs I can smell you from here" [sic].

If only they had any other examples to strengthen their argument.

Oatmeal cartoonist Matthew Inman understands some folks are not taking the new strip well. So he's issued this clarification (emphasis in the original):

I wasn't implying that girls suck at games. I was implying two things:

  • When girls play, often times no one takes them seriously.
  • If they screw up, often times the room is filled with lonely dudes who say things like "LOL that's okay! Will you marry me?" If I screw up I get eviscerated.

In short: a terrible female gamer gets away with way more than a terrible male gamer (like me).

He says he meant "no ill toward lady gamers".

I'm thinking he still needs to chat with a few more about what it's like to play online.

UPDATE: Inman has apologised "to any female famers who I offended. I didn't mean to perpetuate the idea that women are treated more nicely while playing games online. It sounds like in a lot of cases the opposite is true." He says that, having stuck with playing on Steam, he's been unaware of the verbal abuse female gamers often receive. He's donated $1000 to the Women Against Abuse foundation for good measure.

When I make a mistake while playing an online game... [The Oatmeal]


    Jesus christ people it's a comic, leave the poor guy alone.

      i agree, and oatmeal is pretty much a "troll like" comic anyway, people go there for the light hearted comedy..

      It's crazy now that anyone can just claim they are offended on the internet and immediately the onus is on the "offender" to defend themselves.

      You're going to offend someone no matter what you do. Sometimes you just have to call out people's nonsense and back yourself.

    Harden up ladies. It's a comic FFS.

    Situations like this are why i hate the internet. This is such a non-issue, on every level, that its sad to see, and the fact it ended with the typical "no really, i'm not sexist/racist/homophobic, see how i give money to a charity" bit just makes it more depressing.

    It's a joke, regardless of what you think the basic premise does happen, it's not the only way women are treated, and its not to that extent, but it does happen, so to get all up in arms about it is idiotic

    The $1000 donation seems a bit of an extreme reaction, considering it was word choice that offended people, not meaning. Then again, I'm speaking from the perspective of my rather slender bank account...

    I still remember being blasted by all the white nights on CSS when I made a comment about how I had repeatedly beaten the girl they were all attempting to talk to.

    Hello guys, this is counter strike, not eHarmony.

    This more a shot at the"lonely gamer" than it is at females. People love to overreact.

    At least he was open to comments from women saying his comic wasn't accurate, and even seemed to (unintentionally) undermine the actual truth that is the verbal crap-storm female gamers can get. Could have been worse, and at least generates discussion of this ugly side of gaming.

    Oh no, a guy made a comic about his experience playing video games so now he is a sexist and misogynist! Comparing this comic to the vile shit that fat, slutty or ugly posts is as about as stupid as one can get.

    The artist's intention with the strip was clear. People twisted his words so they could feign outrage. The only thing this incident perpetuates is the idea women have no sense of humour and can't distinguish between comedy and malice.

    *waits to be castrated with a broken coke bottle for these comments *

    "It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?" - Stephen Fry

      The idea of offence and offended have been so overly used I've decided never to use the word offended ever again. No point in using a word that no longer means anything.

      To add to that:

      "Just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right" - Ricky Gervais
      "I'm offended, I'm offended. Who cares? When did stick and stones stop being relevant?" - Steve Hughes

    That fact that people were actually offended by the comic makes me ashamed to be a girl, WHO PLAYS GAMES. I think the word "female gamer" is incredibly stupid and totally unnecessary. Boys, do you call yourself “male gamers”? No. You call yourself gamers, as you should. I refuse to ever label myself as “girl gamer”, I’m a gamer, and that’s it, regardless of gender.

    Most people who actually refer to themselves as gamer girls are usually needy attention whores who are lacking something in their life, hence the reason to let everyone the meet know they’re geeky and into playing video games so they can feed off the attention of some sexually starved nerds.

    “Omg as a girl I cop SO MUCH ABUSE when I talk online… people tell me to get back to the kitchen and make me sammich. QQ.” Last time I checked, boys cop just as much verbal abuse during a session of XBL then any other person, they just don’t take it like a little bitch. (most of the time anyway)

    “…donated $1000 to the Women Against Abuse foundation…”

    I just… I have no words.

      ZOMG you're a girl that plays games!?!?!?!?!?!?!

      Can you add me to your friends list? :)))))))))))

        Sorry Neo, I just proposed to Bec, and while I wait on the affirmative, I cannot allow any boy to be her friend. For I am a jealous boyfriend, and no other boy shall come before me ... on the friends list.

      I love you!

      But I gotta admit "Lady Gamer" does actually sound kinda sexy, whereas "girl gamer" just sounds immature and silly.

      And on the brightside, at least the charity got something out of it! :)

        But is Lady Gamer really an appropriate title for someone who plays video games? I mean I'd love to be a Gentleman of the Game but it doesn't quite fit a hobby that's tailored to sitting around in your underwear eating cheetos.

          I think Gentleman Gamer would totally be an apt title for someone who sits around in their underwear eating Cheetos...as long as you're wearing a top hat an monocle while doing so.

      OMG Bec your voice is like an angel playing the flute, I love you :P lol

      ^ +1 agreement point

      OMG couldn't have said it better myself !
      FInally, someone who seems !

    He shouldn't have apologised. Clarified what he was saying maybe, but this was far from offensive.

    I'm more enraged by the perspective of the desk in the artwork! Ever heard of vanishing points ya noobzor!!?!11!

    But seriously people are too uptight, it was meant to be light hearted, which i gleaned from the way it was written, the art style and the tone (lets just not mention the use of type that is scarily close to comic sans...) so let's take it that way and have a light hearted response to it by chuckling to ourselves and getting the fuck on with our lives.

    How is this offensive? The most obvious point is that he's not having a go at women, he's having a go at the male idiots they encounter online. And it's true - I've seen my wife play games on PSN and she gets flooded with ham-fisted, idiotic come-ons and pick-up lines.

    the only mistake the guy made was to apologise for his work. never apologise for light-hearted observational humour.
    "Just because you are offended, doesnt make you right" - Ricky Gervais.

    Dude speaks the truth and gets flamed for it. Shameful really

    Mountain out of a molehill.
    I'm not offended by this, I actually find it amusing. It speaks badly about males more then females.
    In some cases it's true and it other's it's not. It all depends.
    I think everyone is making a fuss out of nothing.
    I, as a female, am not offended by this. If anything, guys should be as it speaks worse of them then women. Trash talk happens, you can't do anything about that other then block/mute the person. The only difference between genders is the type of insults, generally. There are cases where the above situation does occur. Personally, I think the girl int he comic is being a troll.

      Well, to be fair, the trash talk (and conversely, gratuitous compliments) doesn't necessarily have to come from male gamers. Hence it doesn't really speak badly of male gamers, per se.

      Agreed that all the fuss seems manufactured from nothingness. Still, I had a good laugh at a comic I otherwise never would have seen. I'm glad some fuss was kicked up.

    Hey, he's not the only guy who has seen this behaviour http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGDb9dXJpiU

    But based on reactions, when a girl is playing they have one of two extreme responses. Complaining about not seeing one side doesn't mean the other side doesn't happen.

      Exactly. I've seen plenty of women treated as people online, but the majority of the time it's either one extreme or the other. This situation may not always be the case but it does happen. If anything Fat, Ugly or Slutty is the one misrepresenting things by not including the any mention of the blind praise crap (although to be fair it's less insulting/hostile and just generally sad, so you'd feel bad making a website about those guys).
      Although I must admit my experience could be skewed by the fact my Warcraft guild (the place where I more female friends online than anywhere else) didn't put up with abusive junk period. So when it came time to jump in vent and raid there was way less chance of anyone getting abused than the 'I love you, j/k, but not really, nah j/k' crap (it was technically acceptable, but only because we couldn't figure out a good way to phrase 'don't be creepy and make literally everyone else in the room ackward').

      I understand their main problem with the strip is that the girl is terrible at games, but when viewed with the first panel it's very clear that she's only bad at the game to highlight the difference in reactions.

    I can see where he's coming from, but at the same time too, Ive seen my female friends get treated WORSE than a guy

    I've seen both sides.

    On one hand, you can be treated way better - I noticed this back in the day when I played WoW, and I would even say playing as a female was an advantage.

    But then I've had friends who've had truly awful experiences on Xbox live, from the usual kitchen crap, to threatening to rape them then sew up their pussy and cut off their clit. (Charming!)

    Weird how some people(not only guys) will treat someone differently related to what is between their legs , like it's the centre of their existence.

    And for the record I think that particular comic was poking fun more at the boys playing who are desperate for some female attention. It isn't undermining the abuse that women cop - because believe me, it IS there! I think the problem is people take their own experiences and think that therefore that should apply to everyone. :/

      This comic was far more offensive towards males than the girls. It paints us all as desperate weirdos who crave female contact, ANY female contact, even a complete stranger in a game who can live thousands of miles away, look like nothing you imagine, and have nothing in common with.

      I played WoW for a while with a 'lady gamer' friend and we'd laugh at the amount of free shit she got away with, and another girl I dated who played CoD fairly competitively (not the best, but very good, better than me) and all sorts of guys would ask where she lived and if she'd go out with them, going as far as to link her screenname with her facebook profile and stalk her.

        I agree - I have had only positive contact online, but by the same token I know a lot of girls who haven't.
        There's always moronic teen boys, but the adult gamer guys I've encountered have been quite respectful and kind to me. Wish I could say the same thing about guys in real life. :/

    Society <3

    Wow poor guy, had to donate $1000 just to placate the frothing loons who'd take offence at this. Jesus ladies, harden up. You don't need a thick skin for something as meaningless as this. It insults us far more than it insults you.

      I think it's just because it only shows the good treatment side...but if they did a comic showing the abusive side, it would be just as insulting to the male gamer, because it would portray them as total assholes. Either way there's a lot of guys out there acting like jackasses, in reality and online , I absolutely think it's not all of them, just a vocal minority of jerks ruining it so that the rest can't have nice things. :p

    Wait, which part was offensive again?

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