10 6 / 2012
First of all, it’s ‘girl’ not ‘gurl’. Gurl is not a word. Girl is what you are looking for. Second of all, the term girl gamer is derogatory. You know it, I know it and the people you are constantly reminding about it know it. So stop it. But before you dismiss me as a crazy ranting member of ‘menstruation nation’, (I just saw Bob’s Burgers last night and I loved it don’t judge me) let me explain why I am ranting about the concept of ‘girl gamers’.
The first is an article I read on GameSpot (from March 22 (yes I know I’m slow…shhhh)) the other day as a response to what happened in Cross Assault awhile back.
Just because you found five girls from five different communities who basically said that they weren’t affected by what happened because ‘they learnt that they just have to be better than the boys’ (that’s my interpretation of it) doesn’t make sexism in the gaming community okay. I felt like the whole thing was addressed inadequately, not because of the punishment, that was the right thing to do but because the community tried to justify it. They dismissed the entire thing as an inherent aspect of the gaming community, something that will continue due to the demographic of the community. Sexism is never okay. If a girl tells you that she is uncomfortable with how you are speaking to her it’s because you are hurting her feelings. Is it so hard to believe that there is another person on the other side of that monitor? We were all taught to be nice to each other right? So be nice.
The second is an incident on the Diablo 3 general chat channel, that I have observed is a common symptom of girls playing videogames, where a player asks for help in doing something followed by the disclaimer, ‘But I’m a girl’.
I understand that a lot of female gamers feel frustrated when they sit down to play at an arcade for the first time and a slow, creeping wall of eyes follow their every move, judging every whiff, every dropped combo as if they weren’t allowed to make a mistake based on their gender. Or when you finally learn how to log in to City of Villains and you’re left to read the map for your rag tag team only to discover that you’ve somehow ended up with a bunch of girls so you can’t use the excuse, ‘I can’t read maps because I’m a girl’. The thing is that you shouldn’t have to make that excuse. You shouldn’t have to feel like you have to justify why you didn’t know how to repair your armour in Diablo 3 with ‘Sorry, I’m a girl’. Everyone makes those mistakes.
The third is a culmination of a series of posts about ‘gamer gurls’ on my tumblr dashboard that not only seek to demystify the whole conundrum of the ‘gamer gurl’ persona but also to devalue actual women who participate in gaming communities.
And just because someone is ‘too pretty’ to be a gamer doesn’t mean they aren’t. Just because she is sitting there in her knee highs and a vintage t-shirt doesn’t mean she isn’t actually playing something. I know because I had the very same reaction you had. Being just as stupid as you are, I turned around to Mr. Marvel to complain about all these fake bitches on my tumblr dash who think that they can fool people with an x-box pad. Mr. Marvel, that pillar of logic and reason pointed out that I was learning Doom’s abc combo in my TMNT shirt and knee-highs.
See?!?! I make those mistakes too. I make those assumptions. I am just as bad as the people who judge me. And that’s why I made this long post. I had to. As an apology to all those women I disrespected by segregating them and adding the word girl to the term gamer to describe them. They aren’t girl gamers, they are gamers.
It really makes me angry when ‘boys’ tell me that I shouldn’t be playing something because I’m a girl or when the initial reaction that greets my sitting down to play a game is, ‘ooh you’re getting beaten by a girl’. And you know who usually says that? The guy’s girlfriend. I don’t have enough palms to create a face palm adequate enough.
Thankfully though I have always been surrounded by people who understand my frustration. My bestfriend is the Australia/Sydney Tekken Community Manager. A hulking man who will call you a pussy but turn around and berate you if you were ever misogynistic to any of the women on the scene. My boyfriend was Australia’s number one Marvel vs Capcom player for four years before his Wolverine fell to a keep-away Morrigan.
I am not an authority on the social aspect of the gaming community, I’m more of a Sid Meier’s Civilization and Sims kind of girl but for six years I was also a member of the Sydney Tekken Scene. I wasn’t very good, not because I’m a girl, but because Tekken 6 and subsequently DR are the worst incarnations in the history of Tekken. Also because I am very lazy, so much so that I gave up learning anything when I discovered that I could win a match with King simply by learning a juggle, three lows and a multi-throw. I have tried to get back into Tekken when Tekken Tag 2 was released but by then I had discovered that I had a lot more fun playing God than learning mix ups. And after dating enough videogame nerds (Deathball, Tekken and Marvel vs Capcom respectively) in my life I would like to think that I have this whole gaming thing figured out. Again, I’m not an expert just an observer.
And for god’s sake don’t try to tell me that I’m a hipster because my favourite Batman characters are Bruce Wayne and the Joker. If you do, I will punch you in the face over and over and over and over and over and over and over (another Bob’s Burgers reference, sorry).