Or so you would think…
I’ve been a fan of video games from a young age when I racked up high scores on Street Fighter II and Tekken 3 in the arcades. Even though I didn’t get my first console until the ripe old age of sixteen, I spent a lot of time at the arcades and on the computer, (which I got when I was twelve. I was a bit behind the times) playing games. Anyone remember Neopets? Hell yes. That was my JAM! Granted, I was considered lame for this throughout high school, but when college happened, I was exposed to a whole new world of gamers and even met other girl gamers..
I was also exposed to a whole new world of bullshit.
There are many issues that come with being a woman who plays video games. First and foremost is the stereotype that women don’t play video games. This I only seem to encounter in game stores, where the staff is utterly baffled that a woman wants to buy games for herself and not for her husband or boyfriend. Sometimes this will devolve into condescending behavior…see below.
One of the biggest issues, as has been discussed at length, is the quick accusations from male members of the nerd community that a woman is a “fake geek girl” if she automatically doesn’t know EVERYTHING about the entire nerdverse ever. Like I said, I didn’t get a console until I was 16 years old, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a gamer. Also is the issue apparently of how some women play games. All too often have I been accused of doing something “wrong” or not playing something like how “a girl should”. Or even playing games that aren’t “girly”. Honestly, that’s truly ironic. Guys calling girls fake and then insulting them for playing games that aren’t stereotypically girly. Or, god forbid, a girl who likes playing dps or tanks rather than healers! *gasp* It just shows how much crap we have to deal with. Some things I have personally experienced are as follows:
“Why don’t you pick a girl character on <insert game here>? You’re a girl.”
“You’re to cute to play that character.”
“You like Silent Hill? Wow. I expected you to be a Legend of Zelda fan.”
“Cosplay whatever you want. Just be something popular, and not slutty, but it’s okay to show a little leg, and don’t crossplay or people will think you are a lesbian.”
“How are you beating me? You’re a girl.”
However, these issues are what a lot of women deal with and mostly come from men. Surely there can be some sort of solidarity or sisterhood between female ga-
This kind of shit right here is the kind of shit that really gets my goat, attacks on female gamers by other female gamers. Most often this takes the form of the “fake” gamer girl being a very feminine woman and the “real” gamer girl being less feminine. What gives? More often than not when I see things like this, feminine looking women are dismissed as “fake” and apparently real gamer girls must have messy hair, wear baggy clothes, and live in their house doing nothing but playing video games. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I know many girls who are like that, however, that does not mean that feminine women who play games are automatically “fake gamer girls”. As someone with long hair who wears dresses on the regular and has omnipresent red lipstick, this is unsettling. This pervasiveness that feminine women aren’t really gamers is likely the root of most of the issues I experience. As the male gaming community slowly starts to realize that girls are here to stay, they oddly enough, shun away feminine women as fake, when in reality, all of us, no matter how we look, are seeking equality as gamers in the nerd community. Honestly, it baffles me. I think it is their attempts to distinguish themselves from “other girls”, but what happens when the “other girls” are also gamers?
Really, if we are being realistic, those images should look more like this…
Hey, tomboy gamer girls. You wear your t-shirts, I’ll wear my short skirts, and let’s kick some ass. Cause let’s face it, we’re in this fight together.