On my Tumblr feed the other day, I saw where a friend of mine had reblogged from someone else (who reblogged from someone else, who reblogged from someone else… well, it goes on forever. It’s Tumblr.) a difference between “gamer girls” and “girls who actually play video games.”
gamer girl: omgggg modern warfare 4 lyfeee<3 lolz wait how do you even do this? oh no i think i just died lol cuteee. omgg im sooo sexy cuz i play video games that boyzzz lykee lolll im like the kewlestt gurl evaarrr
girls who actually play video games: DAMN IT MARIO. IS IT THAT HARD TO STAY ON RAINBOW ROAD FOR MAYBE TEN SECONDS? OH MY GOD PEACH. YOU REALLY HAD TO USE THE THUNDER CLOUD AND SHRINK ME. REALLY. I’M IN THIRD PLACE. F*CK. NO. I FELL OFF. i hate my life.
I shortened it a little, but that’s the post. And no, this isn’t an article about how female gamers have anger problems; I’m actually totally comfortable with my anger issues, and we’ll just pretend that I haven’t broken six controllers over the years. No, this is actually about the first part of that post, the “gamer girl” part. Pretty much everyone’s run into one of these girls. They’re inevitable; either you find them joining your game online and asking “Am I the only girl here? Ohmygawd!” over the microphone just to draw attention to themselves, or they’re making “arrow to the knee” jokes on Facebook and “LOL!!”-ing about it in the comments like they’re so clever. As a female who plays video games I tend to get clumped into the same “gamer girl” category as they do, and I’m tired of it. Those girls have always irritated not only me, but also everyone who knows them. I’ve decided to clarify the differences between female gamers; there are the girls who play video games like they actually mean it, and then there are those other girls, the annoying ones who are playing for attention, the “gamer girls.”
Now, I have to start by saying I’ve always hated the term “gamer girl.” I’m not a feminist to the point where I go without shaving my legs and start burning my bra, but I do support equal rights for both genders. The way you treat one person should be the same way you treat someone else, despite their reproductive organs. So I’ve never liked the way girls seem to be separated into this other category when it comes to the gaming community. I know that it’s a little more rare to see girls playing games, but we’re not that much of an oddity that we deserve to be classified as something else. Why can’t we all just be gamers, or people who play video games? Gender shouldn’t matter. But when it comes to “those” girls, the best way I can think of them is exactly how they were labeled in the Tumblr post. “Gamer girls.” So that’s how I’ll refer to them for the rest of the article.
There’s a BIG difference between these “gamer girls” and girls who happen to play video games. Girls who happen to play video games are actually trying to play the game, and they could care less about the fact that they’re female or what sex the other people they’re playing with are. “Gamer girls” don’t play for any reason other than attention. It’s the same mental process as the girls who post a thousand pictures of themselves on Facebook all with captions about how ugly they are; they’re only fishing for compliments and want the attention of people who only want to make the poor baby feel better and believe that she truly is beautiful, or whatever. “Gamer girls” have this same complex. They think that they have to put emphasis on the fact that they’re female whenever they’re playing video games because they believe that someone playing with them will go “You’re female? And you play games? Wow! You’re so cool!” I’ve played games with “gamer girls” who found excuses to say whatever popped into their head just to remind everyone that they were there, they were bubbly, and, OH YEAH, they were female.
It wouldn’t be so bad if these girls were just flirty and bubbly while they played a game like a normal human being. But that, coupled with the fact that most “gamer girls” are so obviously not real gamers, is what makes them so annoying. How is it obvious? Nine times out of ten, the skill of “gamer girls” is just in how much they can brag. They don’t actually know how to play this game but they sure won’t admit it because that will make them lose their “gamer girl” charm. So instead they just play blind, giggle when they die, and post video game-related things all over their Facebook along with comments about how nerdy they are. That’s the biggest sign of a “gamer girl,” when she uses social media to promote the fact that she plays games even though she’s a girl. I don’t mean just posting a status like “Man, Mr. Freeze is so irritating in Arkham City,” or something simple like that. I mean the ones who fill your newsfeed with things like “Playing Call of Duty, accidentally shot my own teammate LOL!! Oopsie!! I’m just sooo adorkable because I play boy games… but I’m not a boy!!”
A big problem with these girls is the fact that there are guys out there – not all guys, of course, but some – who will fuel them with compliments. After all, if “gamer girls” know they can get attention by acting ditzy and cutesy all over the map, then why shouldn’t they go ahead and act that way? It’s a bit of a neverending cycle, actually. Guys who flirt and respond to these girls mostly do so because they’re so used to encountering girls who are vying for attention with every breath they take, and not just while gaming; in real life, too. So many girls in today’s society (again, not all, but a pretty good amount) dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and become interested in certain things only for attention, either from other girls who they want to befriend or from guys who they have a crush on. So, naturally, they will pick up a game controller after seeing how many guys do the same thing and try and fall into place in the gaming community despite the fact that they know little to nothing about it.
Before I finished writing this article, I became worried that I might seem a little too biased or opinionated, so I asked on Facebook for others’ opinions and thoughts on these girls. I didn’t aim the question at only other girls who play video games, but to all who play games and who know the types of girls I’m talking about. These were responses I got, one from a female and another from a male:
“Being desperate for male attention manifests itself in a lot of different ways- Girls who act like they ‘love’ football/sports, girls who act like they ‘love’ camping and the outdoors, girls who ‘love’ a certain type of music, etc. are just trying to seem like they fit into the ideal of men. I would assume that girls (and guys do it, too!) who actually enjoy sports, video games, camping, etc. just enjoy it and don’t bother so much with pointing out that they are girls over and over.”
“Quite honestly, as a guy, I get annoyed when I’m constantly reminded that the person in my Xbox Live Party is a girl. I mean, cool that’s something I rarely see, but don’t shove it down my throat… All in all, I’d prefer gamer girls who can enjoy the game and have a conversation without the whole ‘I’m a girl.’ thing getting in the way, especially when some guys are trying to flirt with said gamer girl ALL THE TIME. It’s stupid in my opinion, but hey, maybe my brain’s wired differently than most.”
So it seems like the popular opinion is that “gamer girls” are behaving this way just for the attention of guys, and unfortunately they seem to get it, which just motivates them to continue on.
Honestly I was a little hesitant about writing this article because I felt like someone could misconstrue it and make it seem like I was trying to put emphasis on the fact that I’m a girl, which is kind of what I’m against. But I decided to just go ahead and write it because it needed to be said. Not all girls who play video games are like those “gamer girls,” and the few female friends I have who play games are like me and prefer not to be clumped together with them. So I felt like this needed to be said in defense of girls like us. And this doesn’t mean I’m ashamed of the fact that I’m a girl in a pretty male-dominated community either. I just don’t feel the need for people to be so outspoken about their gender when all I’m trying to do is kill zombies. I’m not here to listen to you flirt with guys; I could go back to high school if I wanted to hear that.
Maybe I just sound bitter. I am female after all; it’s in my genetics to be judgmental and catty when it comes to other women. But this is honestly how I feel about the situation. I am not a “gamer girl,” nor do I want to be labeled in the gaming community as “that girl who plays video games.” I worked at GameStop during the holidays and on more than one occasion I was told by male customers that it was amazing that I played video games despite my gender, and once when recommending a game I was told, “You’re a girl and you play video games. I’ll listen to you.” Swell, but I don’t want people to know me as just a girl who does these other things. I’d rather be thought of as a person who has a possibly obsessive adoration for video games and who just so happens to be female. I play games for a reason, and that reason is not attention. I’m not a “gamer girl.” I’m a gamer who is also a girl. There’s a difference.
[ I'm not a psychological expert, so don't take what I say about those types of girls to heart. This is just what I see, feel, and hear about those "gamer girls," and it's my opinion coupled with the opinion of a few people I know. If yours is different, then more power to you. I respect that you have the right to your own opinion, so please respect mine. ]