Thankfully, I was never asked if I was into Barbie’s designer nutcracker dream suite. I’ll admit, I’m a casual gamer. My younger brother gives me a hard time for that (but in turn, he plays Slenderman with Carly Rae Jepson in the background), but I enjoy biking my way around Sinnoh, mastering Lei Fang’s Tai Chi moves, driving around Vice City listening to talk radio, giggling at the J-fashion tropes in World Ends with You, memorizing dance routines in Para Para Paradise, and setting people on fire in the Sims. I like them all, but I can do without Madden.
Image based memes are the new propaganda. It’s a new form of media that gets shared and spread like a dirty needle. Likewise, the message can be dangerous if taken out of context or taken too seriously. This year, my news feed has seen some counter “gamer girl” memes. A “gamer girl” is a term to describe a girl who is into video games. However, the term has taken on a new schema. The term has been associated with scantily clad models draping various gaming equipment in strategic locations. While the electronic gaming industry has been often dominated by males, one cannot deny that there is a growing female demographic.
I was having a discussion with a colleague if the scenario were true if sexy Hollister / Abercrombie and Fitch male models would do the same photoshoot – drape objects that are often associated with feminine hobbies over their genitalia. Would this garner the same reaction? The thought of the Old Spice guy having a Christian Louboutin shoebox over his crotch is more comedic than fap material…at least from a fluid femme perspective.
The problem I have with the term “gamer girl” is that it assumes that girls in gaming are a special population. Why does the term have to be gendered? Why can’t ladies also own the term “gamer?” There are different types of ladies who play video games from the casual Sims sociopath and the hardcore MMORPG until dawn gamer. There are some of us who enjoy fighting games whether we’re playing Skullgirls against our friends or eying Dead or Alive 5 for the latest costume selections. There are some of us who enjoy shooters, but are not always the boisterous, “I’M A GIRL AND I’MMA KICK YOUR ASSES!”
Let’s go to that latter scenario. This is another schema that I have seen in popular media and in shared memes. Gender does not define whether or not you are skilled in one area or another. While one can argue, “Well, science says girls are more ABC, while guys are more XYZ…” gender has nothing to do with your kill count. This goes for both boys and girls. Be confident that you have skills, but then again, no one likes an overly confident ego.
There’s the argument that most female characters in games are tropes and meant to be eye candy. While one can argue one way or the other until dawn, I know plenty of lady gamers who enjoy the fantasy of saving the world in stilettos, but at the same time, real women admire characters – not cardboard cutouts.
Likewise, male people need to be aware of their actions and what they are oogling at. Just because Jessica Nigri, Vampy, and Tanya Tate dress up like popular characters in video games and anime, does not mean they are that into you. While we can discuss on end whether or not the Jessica Nigiri’s, Vampy’s, or even Tanya Tate’s show their nerd credentials, at the end of the day, it’s about your actions. While fine looking gamers of the fairer sex exist, it does not mean they are there for you to objectify. While actions like this have always existed in boy world, objectification, at least do the nerd world a favor – you are smart enough to differentiate what is real and what is a fantasy. Much like my rant on yaoi fangirls, it’s okay to fantasize, but don’t expect Vampy to be your prom date.
What I’m trying to say is that there the gaming community is diverse in gender, orientation (gaymers dedicated editorial coming soon!), ethnicity, skill levels, fan levels, etc. Some of us ladies enjoy the casual party games and life sims (ie: Idolmaster, Mario Party) and some of us actually like strategies, RPGs, fighting games, and shooters. At the end of the day, it comes down to self-respect and respecting others. While there’s no denying that posers exist, they have no real effect in you. Yes, the paid model donning the power glove while covering her bare chest is real, we all know that only Lucas can make the power glove badass. Keep on gaming and kicking ass!