When I started playing SWTOR my past gaming experiences were very limited. I remember playing a bit of Sonic on my uncles old SEGA but at the time I must have been about nine years old. Over ten years later I ran into SWTOR. Since reading and writing has always been a passion of mine I found this new medium of storytelling fascinating. I eventually found the little button on the minimap which lead me into warzone queues and that was that. I no longer cared about story content, I could beat people up in warzones instead. Well, get beaten up mostly really but for some reason I still enjoyed it immensely.
Needless to say at this point I was clueless about half of the things being said in chat. I was quite proud over having grasped the concept of the different roles (tank, healer and dps) but on a daily basis I was looking up acronyms like “ikr”, “aoe”, “pug”, “gg” and “fps”. Expressions like “casual”, “rekt” or “grind” were as incomprehensible to me. Urban dictionary was my best friend while unsuccessfully trying to camouflage myself as a real gamer like the rest you. I have to admit, the first time someone called out they were getting raped in a warzone I was confused.
After having played the game a little longer and thankfully gotten at least a little bit better at it the language too started coming more naturally. Urban dictionary and me no longer needed each other. Without thinking of it I was using the terms that had once been so alien to me.
One day when I was on TS with a few friends something interesting happened that I could not have predicted. This was a particularly close group of friends I had joined and the atmosphere was very cheerful. We were in an especially interesting game of Civil War where we were just barley managing to hold on to the middle node. Whilst laughing over the jokes being made on TS one of the guys in our premade was trying to interrupt the enemy from capping.
“I’m getting raped here guys!” he exclaimed just before he died and was sent to re-spawn.
Luckily I was just close enough to interrupt the next cap but soon enough met the same fate as my teammate and died.
“Now I’m getting raped instead” I said smiling not realising that it would sound different to them when I, a female gamer, spoke these words.
The laughter instantly died out. Somehow the severity of the word and the implications outside of a gaming environment had been triggered by the mere fact that I was female. The silence was of the kind that inspired an image in my mind of a white, empty room where the guys on TS were looking uncomfortably from one person to the next, telepathically saying to each other “What did she just say?” in disbelief.
This to me was an intriguing phenomenon. I don’t think it would’ve happened with any group of players, but it did happen and it made me wonder about the implications. It seems to suggest that the word “rape” is too serious to be casually used by a female in this way but when a male uses it then it is ok. I’m not offended by this notion, I am curious about it.
What do you think? Why does it sound so different when a woman uses the term? Should we all remove the word from our gaming vocabulary and simply not use it? Or should we all relax our attitude to the word? Give me your thoughts in shapes of comments below pls!