I was wandering through the Twitterverse, when I came across someone advertising a blog post they’d put up a few days ago. As it was about Gamers Dating Gamers, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, the post in question leaves me feeling a bit confused and ragey. Were they trying to be satirical or do they really just have that much disdain for women who choose to play games?

Based on the nature of the other front page posts, satire doesn’t seem to be the nature of the blog by any means. The posts are all a little aggressive for my taste, so it’s just not a blog I’ll follow. It’s a “close the window and move on” kind of situation, but the point made in the original post still sticks with me: A “gamer” shouldn’t date a “girl gamer” for fear of either her not really being a gamer or of her hogging the Xbox. And, wow, does that offend me.

Unless it’s satirical. Then I totally get what you’re saying.

Except, it’s not. And I don’t.

Being in a relationship with someone who shares the same interests as you can be amazing. Living with someone who wants to play with you is so much fun. But, the thing about being a grown-up is that, as you mature emotionally and as you go through hard times in life, you learn to make choices differently.

Maybe the worst thing in the world isn’t that you can’t get on the Xbox tonight. Maybe, if you’ve found someone that you really care about, you want to see that person happy and having fun.

Do marathon runners encourage other runners not to date a “girl runner”? Do they fear for fights over shoes and fancy pedometers? Of course not! A girl runner probably brings her own preferred equipment, and, if she doesn’t, that’s what stores are for.

A girl gamer likely already has her own consoles, handhelds, and games. Looking derogatorily down at someone for playing a handheld while you tool around in an FPS doesn’t make you a superior gamer. It could, however, lower your stock in the eyes of some potential mates, but I suppose those wouldn’t be the ones you’re interested in anyway.

But it all makes me wonder if the problem is less about losing precious Xbox time. I wonder if the OP would discourage a male gamer from dating another male gamer. Would there be a problem with two guys, each bringing their own gaming equipment, spending a little time gaming together? You know, kind of like a LAN party but longer term.

I feel like the post in question was less of a “warning about dating a gamer” and more about hating on girl gamers. It’s the same as the looks I get when I walk into places like Gamestop. It’s a look that says, “How cute, she’s trying to buy a game for her boyfriend,” or it’s a look that says, “Raise Your Own Sparkleponies to Ride and Groom can be found on both Wii and DS; let me wrap that up for you.” It’s a look that pierces through and makes my skin crawl. It’s judgment. It hurts.

I can’t be a gamer because I don’t have a penis.

I’ve lived with a gamer for over eight years now. We’ve never had anything but fun together. We’ve gamed together, and we’ve gamed separately; we never have more fun than when we play cooperatively to work toward our goals. In high school, he loaned me his PS2 and later bought me my own as a graduation gift. He always has a healer to support his tank in MMOs, except for those times when we decide to switch roles and he has a tank to protect him.

He has never been disappointed by my lack of penis as far as I know.

Our lives revolve around our shared interests. Our relationship revolves around our shared interests. And, come on, I never hog the 360; we’ve got two, after all.

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About Amanda

Amanda is a 20-something flailing gamer. While she loves MMORPGs, the company in them often triggers flare-ups of her social anxiety. Her all-time favorite games include Everquest Online Adventures, Eternal Sonata, the Animal Crossing series, Katamari Damacy, and Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. She lives on junk food, and her favorite books are equally trashy. She doesn't believe in putting two spaces after a period, but she does strongly believe in the serial comma. Unfortunately, she has a penchant for starting sentences with "and" and "but;" hopefully you won't hold that, or her excessive use of semicolons, against her.

8 responses »

  1. zheta42 says:

    As a girl gamer who plays a fair share of competitive FPS games and who usually likes playing tank roles in MMOs: this exactly. Gamestop, forums, voice chat, etc. It’s always easier to pretend like you have no idea what you’re doing. You never get taken seriously. Your opinions don’t matter. You never get asked to join other serious, skilled players.

    You would think nerds would stick together. Maybe they’d stand up for misunderstood, less represented peers. Or maybe for a while, lay off the kitchen jokes and the homophobia.

    I’m going to do my own stereotyping. I would say the issues revolve around a lack of conversational experience and confidence with women, the stereotypical depiction of women in video games/comics/action movies, and the depiction of women in porn. I hate to stereotype further, but, in my own VERY personal experience, EVERY guy gamer I know watches a TON of porn. Huge amounts of porn are being watched by gamers every day. “Hardcore” gamers(the horrible pun is not lost), who are typically more introverted and more antisocial) more often than the average guy. When you’re seen daily as masturbatory fodder from a callous, emotionless distance, how can you be taken seriously as an intellectual equal?

    Most guys just treat me as a joke. If I try to take any serious stance on anything, I’m told to go make a sandwich or am targeted with sexual innuendo. The other problem here is that other girl gamers just laugh it off and accept the hand they’ve been dealt. Some even like that sort of attention.

    Well I for one want to be taken seriously for a change. I want to be treated as an equal, not as a joke. I don’t want negative attention and respect through compromising my emotional integrity and holding back my opinions. I can see how some girls could be ok with that. I’m not. I’m sick and tired of it.

    Sometimes video games seem like the last refuge of blatant male chauvinism. I really don’t think people would treat me the way they do if it weren’t through a computer monitor.

    • Amanda says:

      It’s disgusting to think that you might have to hide who you are in order to be treated like you deserve. It’s also sick to know that, as a woman, to be taken seriously you need to work 11,000 times harder than an equally-skilled or equally-intellectual man to prove yourself.

      I think you’re definitely right about the desensitization of degrading and depersonalizing women through media consumption. There’s also hive mind activity going on; one guy makes an anti-women joke, and to collectively bond over it, they all chime in, or at least the first guy gets positive feedback for it.

      The scary part is knowing that there’s no cure for it. Until women overtake men in the gaming market to the point where they have no leg to stand on (assuming that could even happen), what’s to stop them from making their ridiculous sandwich jokes? If we fight for equality, who’s going to listen?

    • GB says:

      I think you just happened to associate with the wrong crowd. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for several years, and as a male, my observation is that gender is the last thing gamers care about. In guilds, all the women were treated with respect, no differently than men, whether in guild chat or voice chat, and were given equal opportunity in group activities such as raids.

      In bad communities and guilds, everyone gets offended anyway regardless.

      • Amanda says:

        Yes, in MMOs it is more common to find people accepting of female gamers. It’s also not hard to find those that don’t think a woman should tank until she proves herself. And, lots of times these things are handled in private channels like /tell. You might not even know they’re occurring.

        I’ve been ridiculed in PvP by people I haven’t had a chance to prove myself to just because my bg chat comes out feminine. A good friend of mine was even floored that I could heal after finally giving in and letting me try after an hour of looking for a healer (this was back in Vanilla).

        Outside of MMOs, it’s a lot different though. Admitting you’re a woman to the 360 FPS crowd is practically asking to be harassed in more ways than one (see: Fat, Ugly, or Slutty, for examples).

        Just because there are those that treat women with respect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out against those that don’t.

      • zheta42 says:

        FFXI was probably the game that offered the best crop of genuinely nice people, but when it came time to pick roles for fights I had both Paladin(tank) and Ninja(tank) leveled. Well I almost always came as Bard(support).

        I think the problem for me is that I do prefer PvE content in MMOs and that every group I get deeply involved in is usually already covered in the basic tank/healer roles. Like me they want to win, and do it well. So they are doing what it takes to win. I don’t always mind playing healing/support roles either, just not all the time.

        In MMOs I usually hate playing the damage roles, but in other games that are more directly competitive I don’t mind. In something like TF2 or Global Agenda or Tribes or Battlefield, I don’t mind playing the medic/technician role at all. Or playing a defensive role. Just not all the time.

        And I’m a pretty good medic too. I do also like playing soldier/demo/heavy when I get a chance. In TF2 I usually have to play pyro because you can just go track spies and can be rather self sufficient doing so.

        My “K/D” ratio is rather low, but that’s partially from playing medic all the time.

        http://steamcommunity.com/id/zoedavis/stats/TF2?tab=stats
        http://teamplayergaming.gameme.com/playerinfo/32650

        “There’s also hive mind activity going on; one guy makes an anti-women joke, and to collectively bond over it, they all chime in, or at least the first guy gets positive feedback for it.”

        That too. I know there are some people who don’t let it bother them, but it does bother me and it’s hard to ignore.

      • zheta42 says:

        Also fun is getting passed over for gear even if it’s for their alt, even if the other person plays less, etc. Usually the rationale is “they’ll make better use of it” (because they’re a guy). The other half being that “I’m more understanding” (because I’m a woman). While I don’t always need the best equipment, it does hurt (me and my character).

  2. zheta42 says:

    Recently I did an experiment when I loaded up Team Fortress 2. I went into offline mode and switched my alias to “=HK= DeathDealer.” I started playing as a soldier class for an hour or two. Well, my scores went up. Because people didn’t know who I was, I was receiving more offensive support when I pushed forward and for once friendly medics were ACTUALLY HEALING ME. I for a long time wondered WHY I never get healed. I think most people see my name and since most people in that server know me, they assume I don’t know what I’m doing, and that I’m not skilled. And it’s really hard to play when medics don’t heal you.

    I can’t remember what I bought, but I’ll expand a bit. I also went into a Gamestop recently where the cashier said directly to me, “You’re buying this for yourself?” The comment had an air of disbelief but also disapproval. As if I was invading his space or something.

    • Amanda says:

      There were a few times when I went into Gamestop with Trav, looking to pick up things for me. It doesn’t matter if I walk up to the counter holding the games and the cash, they talk to Trav like I’m not even there. Honestly, it’s preferable over the disbelief or the weird looks. The worst though? When a female employee gave me the same attitude. I was so mortified, I just about crawled out of the store in search of a teeny, tiny rock to hide under.

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