Tuesday, June 10, 2014

GAMER GIRLS

First of all let me say that women who are into gaming are more than just a welcome addition to the gamer hordes; women are a big part of that subculture all on their own. The world doesn’t need to “accept” the idea of gamer girls, because the idea is already a solidified reality. The world might as well “accept” the idea of gravity.

Some years ago, when I was still using tumblr, I started following the “Gamer Girls” tag. The tag was full of pictures of attractive women holding game controllers over their chests, and I sacrificed copies of Duke Nukem Forever in ritual fires to appease it. In return, I had many a picture of attractive ladygamers. The relationship was symbiotic at first. Then I started to find commentary on what a "Gamer Girl" was or was not. It seems that there is a fair amount of contention circulating online about what it means to be a girl gamer. 
Some of the discussion is downright mean. 

There needs to be a little bit of clarification on this point, so I’m throwing in my 2 caps worth. I am not a girl gamer, but this is my corner of the internet and I'm going to do my best anyway.

The gaming community is one I generally liken to a college dorm. It’s a community full of people who are enthusiastic and collaborative and wonderful, but it’s also a community with a lot of people who don’t communicate well. Everyone in the dorm wants to show their best side, and people get hurt when those sides clash. 
In any environment, people flock together to make friends, and use social constructions (categories and rules that humans make up to organize their world) to differentiate their own little circle from the rest of the world.

Women in the gaming community wrongfully fall into two different categories. It isn’t right and it isn’t accurate, but people enjoy categorizing things so the groups get constructed. “True” gamer girls who are the hardcore enthusiasts and look like they spend weeks playing WoW straight without bathing, because they do. “Fake” gamer girls are the casual gamer crowd, or the women who pretend to like games to impress men (or other women, whichever they prefer).

These two fictional categories are constantly at war with one another, which is hilarious to me, because neither one is real. Social constructions like these are bullshit, and there is literally no reason to dwell on them at all. The two categories only exist in the first place because it’s more socially acceptable to mock a group of people than an individual. Women who play games are just gamers who happen to be women. That’s all there is to it.

The world is full of female individuals who play games. Some of them are good at gaming. Some of them suck. Some of them play games to attract men. Some of them love gaming, and others play because they want to spend time with their significant other who also games. Some of them are teabagging jerks. Some of them swear like sailors. Some of them enjoy dressing up like video game characters. Some of them play games for the storyline and like turning the difficulty down to a low setting. Some of them can kick your ass at Super Smash Bros, and others will loudly complain that Super Smash Bros is an unbalanced and outdated game anyway.


For many women (and many men) gaming is a passion that has developed since their childhood. We live in an age where people can meet from across the globe without leaving their homes and happily discuss their hobbies with somebody else who they may never see in real life. Wasting that opportunity by tearing down the very enthusiasm that brings people together is criminal. There is no wrong way to enjoy video games, but trashing somebody else for enjoying their game a different way ruins the experience for us all.


One day the internet will collectively decide to start treating people like people. It will be a glorious day, and I heartily look forward to it. Until that day, keep in mind that there are no "jocks" in the world. There are no "geeks" in the world. There are humans in the world. Many of those humans play games. Some of those humans are women, and whatever their reason is to play games, they don't need to defend it.

No comments:

Post a Comment