Recently, this article was posted in a Pokemon GO fan group I'm in, highlighting a special nuisance for femme-presenting players: perhaps well-intentioned men, the type that wouldn't shout something lewd or obscene because obviously that's wrong, but get the idea that a video game is somehow consent to approach and hit on women.
The responses from men in the group were predictably disheartening. Some highlights included:
- "she has no business trying to be antisocial while playing a social game."
- "lmao wtf ..she should play on her Gameboy at home then"
- "She's not entitled to being alone in a team/co-op game on a server with everyone."
Today I went for a walk in the park with two of my girlfriends. On our walk, a group of men started making kissing noises and meowing (wtf?) at us. This is life presenting as a woman, the fact that it barely phased me because it happens LITERALLY every day, is distressing. Maybe it's because it's mostly kids playing it in my neighborhood, but I haven't experienced men trying to hit on me while I'm trying to catch my pokemons... yet. But I'm sure it's coming, and it'll be yet another obnoxious way men see us as walking potentials for sex, instead of fully formed human beings who really want that bulbasaur, not to talk to you bro.
Here's the thing, men who play Pokemon GO: Women don't owe you shit. It's a social game, but like any other social activity we still get to choose with whom and when we want to socially engage with other players.
I challenge men who play Pokemon GO to be better allies. Sure, greet your fellow Pokemon players, like you would anyways, but if a woman is clearly telegraphing "I don't want to talk to you," LEAVE HER ALONE, don't keep trying to have a conversation with her.