WARNING: THE IMAGES MAY CONTAIN TEXT THAT ARE NSFW
“Every message is the same. I’m always either fat and ugly, or a slut.”
This is what sparked three girl gamers to create the website Fat, Ugly or Slutty (FUoS). We all know that although women’s presence in gaming and fandom’s are becoming less and less of rarity, there are still many misogynistic men (or shall I say boys) who don’t want what they may see as their “boys club” infiltrated by those with XX chromosomes.
I first heard about FUoS through my brother, who is an avid gamer himself. He told me about FUoS.com, in which female gamers go on and post screenshots of the messages they receive from males, mostly from XBox Live. The messages vary from extremely vulgar and lewd insults to ‘50s era “you should be in the kitchen” comments. These guys (and even some girls!) hide behind the anonymity and try to discourage women that they don’t belong in the gaming world.
Thankfully I haven’t had to deal with any such comments (yet) but I know many have. As I read
through the messages on FUoS I laughed, gasped, got angry and laughed some more. The site is meant to be funny, yes these comments are crude, but it’s hilarious how pathetic the senders are and the utterly ridiculous messages they send. FUoS, is a way for female gamers to call attention to blatant sexism that exists in the gaming community in a humorous way and show the world that no matter what you throw our way, we aren’t going anywhere.
Check out my interview with the creators of FUoS Jaspir, like OMGitsFEDAY and gtz.
How long have you been gamers?
Jaspir: Since I was about 4 or 5. So about 16 years!
likeOMGitsFEDAY: Since I was 8, I guess 15 years.
gtz: Never. I’m not. No one is. What’s a video game?
What are your favorite games?
Jaspir: Gears of War 1 & 2, Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Borderlands, Red Dead Redemption, Dead Rising 1 & 2, and many many more.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: Halo:CE, Halo Reach, COD2, COD:MW, WoW, Alan Wake, pokemon silver (don’t judge!), the list goes on.
gtz: Semi-recently, I’ve liked Dead Rising 1 & 2, Borderlands, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Tomb Raider: Legend, Machinarium, Dance Central, Halo: Reach.
Jaspir: Xbox 360!
When did you first get an insulting/degrading message, what was your reaction towards it? How did you feel?
Jaspir: Probably a few weeks after I got my 360. I knew it was coming, so I just laughed and shrugged it off.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: My first match on XBL on Halo two. I was probably crushed and angry. Hard to remember, it was 6 years ago.
gtz: Probably within the past year, because it’s not often that I play games with people I don’t know. It sucked because it’s so stupid that I wanted to respond but that just causes a downward spiral of stupid. Now I just keep quiet, usually.
Why do you think guys do this?
Jaspir: It’s not just guys….girls do it too! And I don’t know, I guess people just get mad. Or they just like to talk trash. Either way, they do it because it’s easy to be a jerk online where you’re virtually anonymous.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: I think guys can be intimidated by “women” on their turf. It’s definitely changed in recent years though.
gtz: It has nothing to do with men or women, and has everything to do with people being jerks. If we can figure out the “why” for everybody’s jerk behavior then we might get somewhere.
Do you think insults would or do discourage you from playing with males online?
Jaspir: I love to play games. I don’t care who it’s with. If you’re a cool individual and can treat me like a PERSON, then I would love to play with you. But if all you’re going to do the whole match is repeatedly make stupid comments, then I’m probably not going to play with you again….on purpose. Lol.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: Not really. I’ve always been a tomboy and run with the “big boys”. But I know a lot of people can’t deal with the insults, and they shouldn’t feel like they can’t play.
gtz: I do feel discouraged from playing online because of jerks (of any gender). Games are meant to be fun and the insults definitely take away from my fun. I’m not thick-skinned enough to immediately brush it off, but I don’t feel like I should have to be. Being civil should be the default.
What sparked the idea for you to create “Fat, Ugly or Slutty”?
Jaspir: Well, I had been getting a lot of lewd messages on XBL and shared them with some friends. Gtz was one of them, and she was pretty amazed at the things I was being told. I explained to her that, “It’s always the same. I’m either fat and ugly, or a slut.” Little did I know that one quote would be the spark that started the fire that you now know as www.fatuglyorslutty.com!
You could have easily taken an angry slant on FUoS, why did you choose a humorous viewpoint? If you think this is more effective, why is that?
Jaspir: Most of the things I see are just way too ridiculously funny to get mad about. It’s hard for me to let should-be-mean comments to get to me, because the random people who feel the need to say stuff have no idea who I am. Any insult they throw at me about my character or physical appearance is stereotypical and not reflective of who I am at all.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: We’re all pretty sarcastic and witty, and this was a light-hearted approach that appealed to all of us. Kind of like fighting a boggart, we’re using humor to defeat it!
gtz: As likeOMGitsFEDAY pointed out, there is definitely something to be said for the “effect” of humor in FUoS. Additionally, we genuinely think that some of the messages are funny. They may be sexist, crude and horrifyingly detailed but when it comes down to it, it’s funny that people are this worked up about video games. The messages are incredibly over-the-top and the people sending them look ridiculous.
What do you want FUoS to do for fellow female gamers?
Jaspir: Make them laugh :)
likeOMGitsFEDAY: Let them know they’re not alone, and give anyone who gets nasty messages in games a chance to laugh.
What kind of reactions have you received from FUoS from girls and guys alike?
Jaspir: Mixed, but we definitely have a HUGE supportive fan base. We get everything from other ladies thanking us for putting this out there because they can relate, to people telling us that we need to just “get over it” (clearly these are the people who just don’t get it!) We also get a lot of mail from guys that write in to apologize for the male gender, as if they’re guilty just because they have a Y chromosome in common. Either way, we love all the mail that gets sent in. Any sort of recognition is awesome to us.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: A whole lotta love. With a bit of hate. But mostly super supportive from both genders, and it makes me glad we did this.
gtz: Overwhelming support. There’s been a minor amount of hate mail, and some people who are trying to convince us to just relax and not get worked up about horrible jerks. These people obviously aren’t getting it, but I’m not sure how we can make it more clear that FUoS isn’t about getting upset. If they can take the time to write to us about our supposedly misguided website, they can take the time to click on the ‘About’ page.
Is there anything new we should expect from FUoS in the future?
Jaspir: We’ve been talking about doing some new things, but for now we’re just having fun and enjoying what we’re doing.
likeOMGitsFEDAY: World Domination! Just kidding.
gtz: She’s not kidding.