Sexy Girls! Gaming! Double Bind of Modern Feminism!

I’m a bit concerned about my reputation. See… my egregious and sinful error is that I have been into a casual gaming kick for a few months. It gets worse: I’m a woman on a casual gaming kick. How can I possibly be respected as a real gamer?

A long time ago, I was looking up women and gaming, and I stumbled across a rather unfortunate article. I have tried to find it again, but to no avail. It was about “Girl Gamers” and I  bet that the editors cross referenced “Female” “Gamer” and “Model” into facebook and found these gamer women. The “article” was merely a series of pictures of these incredibly beautiful models; some pictures were from their professional lingerie portfolio.

Everyone ripped into these women for not being “true gamers,” for not having enough gamer cred.  “Ah-hahahahahaha! Stupid Bitch… She said Legend of Dragoon, when it’s Legend of THE Dragoon.”  Somehow because these women were a) beautiful, b) displayed provocatively and c) didn’t play the right types of games – they couldn’t be gamers. 

I have seen this in my own tours around various gaming communities. Women who are too sexy are loved for their looks, but not taken seriously as people. Other women practically deny their feminine self and go out of their way to identify with the men, to be one of the guys. Both sides of this coin seem like they want to deny that another possibility exists: a smart woman, who relishes in, but does not exploit, her own sexuality.

I’ll admit… I sometimes have mixed feelings about the HAWT gamer girl phenomenon.  A woman should have the freedom to dress the way she wants to, she can choose her own path, who she has sex with and she can certainly choose her own wardrobe. Don’t ever assume that a woman is stupid if she’s beautiful and outgoing.

But on the other hand, if your only schick is being sexxxy or cute for the boys, watch out. That only works for a select number of years, then it’s kind of pathetic. Look to be respected for your thoughts first and foremost, be true to yourself, and you can never go wrong. Physical attractiveness gets noticed eventually and all on its own. Then it’s gone and the teenagers win the battle of beauty again as they have since the beginning of time.

It’s tough, I’ll admit. In a male dominated world of gaming, showing off your sexuality will get you attention, and lots of it. Yes, sometimes it’s not about being sexy for men; it’s about personal expression.  Yet, buying into the “let’s be provocative… FOR THE BOYS!” mentality is harmful. It perpetuates the notion that women are there to be eye candy for the guys. That we exist for the gaze and touch of men.  And this IS gaming… it’s not known to be very liberal on women’s issues.

And let’s not forget what happens if  women speak out.  Call someone out for being sexist, racist or homophobic and it’s assumed that you are an ugly, man-hating humourless bitch who can’t have any fun. And has cats. And is a lesbian. And needs to get laid.  I forgot fat. Fat too.

It’s sometimes a no-win situation. Stereotyped as a whore-slut, become a man hating (gasp) feminist or act like something we can never be: men.

Women have to be twice the gamer to get the same amount of respect as the men. When it comes to hardcore gaming, let’s face it: we are still the minority. Our gender takes us front and centre. 

It’s a fine line. Should I change who I am to be one of the guys? Ditch my feminine self in order to be taken seriously? If I go with option three, a woman and a feminine one, do I run the risk of being disrespected based solely on my gender?

And after all this: how does one bring up feminist gaming issues, when the chips are stacked so far against you? 

I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll find the answer in a game of Puzzle Quest 2. So what if it’s casual? It’s still gaming: it still counts.

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  • metricjulie  On July 15, 2010 at 8:52 am

    “Women have to be twice the gamer to get the same amount of respect as the men. When it comes to hardcore gaming, let’s face it: we are still the minority. Our gender takes us front and centre. ”

    This is what stood out the most for me in your post… and it’s not TWICE the gamer… it’s like TEN TIMES the gamer… or lawyer… or journalist… or WHATEVER.

    When girls break out of their designated female job positions, all of a sudden it’s like, “Hey, a girl. What is SHE doing here?” We start out with negative energy life (hey, I’m trying to talk like a gamer) and our points don’t go up nearly as fast as you know what never mind the gaming analogy, I suck at it.

    Point it, I’m ALWAYS glad when someone brings up these issues and will keep encouraging people to do so, even if it means being typecast or an outcast.

    Bravo, and thank you.

  • pro gamer  On July 15, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Times are changing. I remeber when I was younger women and gamming never existed. But I was wrong. In households that were more then one sister. They had an nes with games like tetris and 100 in 1. Fast track to today. Women in gamming is npow becomming more main stream. With gamer girls groups all on xbox live. I even got spammed once by a website that actually u pay to play with a girl. On my xbox live 1/2 are women. And there holding there own nowadays. Times have changed. Casual gamers are ones that play offline games. There are millions like that. Hardcore tend to go online more looking for challenges. I’ve been beat by women b4 and I’m ok with it. Actually find it hotter. Honestly the stereotype is dying and its for the better. Even though there are still 12 year olds that believe “women suck” but then again don’t they think that women have cooties?

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