"REAL GAMER VS FAKE GAMER" AND "REAL WOMAN VS OTHERS". CAN WE PLEASE STOP LETTING SOCIETY PIT US AGAINST EACH OTHER?
There are a lot of gaming and nerd groups with more women/girls only groups sprouting up on Facebook. Sadly, a recurring conversation seems to be one centered around the meme of "Real Gamer Girls vs Fake Gamer Girls". The premise is always the same: judging women gamers on how they dress and their mannerisms. But here's an idea: what if women and girls who gamed were allowed to wear whatever they wanted and allowed to be themselves instead of being injected into a ridiculous, subconscious competition?
I grew up playing video games. I’m on the higher end of thirty years of age and I still love playing video games. We ladies who love to game come from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, with different gaming preferences. Yet, women who play video games face incredible negativity from male gamers and, unfortunately, from other women as well.
How many times a day have you seen, or were even guilty of posting a meme about fake, sexy gamer girls versus real girls who game? I see these memes in my Facebook newsfeed at least three times a day. And while these memes may seem harmless and even funny, they are anything but and contribute to the pitting of women against women.
We already live in a society where women are culturally conditioned to be subconsciously (and even consciously) competitive with one another. Ladies, how many times have you said “I’m not like other girls”? or “I’m not your typical girl”? Or simply bashed another woman gamer for wearing makeup and a tight shirt while she streamed? How many times have you said that those are the “types of gamers you can’t stand”? I’m sure you’ve seen the memes of women gamers (models) who are scantily clad, as the guys proclaim “Yes! That’s the type of relationship I want” even though those same men bash women streamers who wear t-shirts that show cleavage? They effectively cosign this mean girls mentality while harboring unrealistic expectations of women. Not cool, bro.
Who says you have to look or be a certain way in order to play video games? One of the main reasons I join gaming communities for women is because the goal is usually to create a community that fosters every type of gamer girl—to create a positive environment for ladies and the men who support their need to game. So how can we combat the negativity and stereotypes about gamer girls?
Ditch the “I don’t like other girls because they’re catty” mindset.
We have been culturally conditioned, almost since birth, to be in constant competition with other women. And subconsciously, we avoid other women and prefer to be the lone girl in a group of guys. Why? Because we’ve been culturally conditioned to feel as if we have to disassociate ourselves from our own gender to be recognized as “interesting”. Here is where our catty behavior comes into play. “I’m not catty!” You say? Ask yourself this: how does what another woman wears affect YOUR ability to game? If your answer is “It makes us all look bad” then you, my friend, have a catty attitude. Girls who wear makeup and, perhaps show cleavage while they stream don’t make all girl gamers look bad. It’s the negative attitudes and perpetuation of an “Us versus Them” competition that makes girl gamers look bad.
Recognize that there is no one type of girl gamer.
We are all gamers. There is no handbook for how to dress, act or be a gamer. Some women are just sexy. That's their thing! You can be sexy, enjoy fashion, makeup AND video games! Just like no one HAS to like it. aJust respect each other as human beings and gamers. It's not really that hard! And quite frankly, some of the clothes that women streamers wear and get flack for are downright CUTE!!! Many women streamers end up becoming sponsored by clothing companies and, therefore, advertise the clothes on stream.
Give up the “I’m not like other girls” schtick.
The fact of the matter is, you ARE like other girls who game. Sure, everyone is their own person with their own unique qualities, but whether you’re a tomboy or “girly-girl”, goth-girl, geeky girl, whatever—you are not singular in that particular subculture. Don’t be afraid to accept and get to know others whether inside or outside of that subculture. If you are a part of a gaming community group for women and cling to the “I’m not like other girls” motto, perhaps you should rethink your motto and embrace the solidarity that you do have with other women who game.
Respect and love yourself for all that you are!
Sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s something that most of us who do know self-love must work on every single day. So, it’s not as black and white as people think. When you love yourself, you are less likely to attempt to tear someone else down for being different in order to make yourself feel (momentarily) superior. And when you've learned to love yourself, you end up appreciating other people’s differences.
Just say NO to misandry.
Solidarity among women gamers does NOT equate to hating or disliking men. Men are some of our biggest cheerleaders, so let’s not be afraid to show them some love in return. And yes, that love includes correcting them when they try to pit women against each other and helping them to understand that this is not the 1950s--we can wear whatever the hell we want and they can, too (as long as it doesn't violate Twitch's Terms of Service).
Think about this: us Ge’NeLs (geeky, nerdy ladies) already have to deal with unrealistic expectations, stereotypes and harassment from guys in the geek community. Why contribute to that sort of negativity by tearing each other down? Is this really the legacy we want to pass down to our mini-gamers? No, we don't have to like everyone, hold hands and traipse through a field of dandelions. But we don't have to go out of our way to tear each other down, either. We come in so many different shades and shapes and sizes and gaming preferences. We all have our own individual play and fashion styles. And we should totally celebrate how amazing we are. What say you? Let us know in the comments.