One of my favorite places on the web to find help for the game (SWTOR) is Dulfy.net. I guess the pink script of her logo should have tipped me off, but I did not realize at first that Dulfy is female.
I assumed that a gamer blog would be run by someone male.
Why? Why, despite being a female gamer myself, do I too believe in the pimply, teenage boy gamer stereotype?
When my boyfriend and I pop over to the local pub to grab some sustenance after a long afternoon of laughing our asses off playing LA Noire, (that game makes me laugh more than any intentionally funny game ever could) we share the funny moments with our gaming friends there. Those men (and they are all men) think my boyfriend is the luckiest man in the world. Why? Because not only do I not hate the games, or sigh and roll my eyes when he talks about them, I play them too.
All women are supposed to hate video games, not play them, according to the stereotype.
Am I being a bad representative of my gender when I say I don’t want to fight against these stereotypes? Because of those stereotypes, I am considered unique, if not downright cool!
But maybe by even writing this I am dating myself. Dulfy looks young in her picture. Maybe the millennial girls play more video games than we generation X women? Let’s do some research…
According to this report (read the whole thing – it is amazing!) by the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a gamer is 37 and the gender split is almost even. Now, this report includes all games, even silly phone apps and things like farmville – which I refuse to even look at, much less play. But still, it means that the stereotype is going to die, and sooner than I would like.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, the only scifi/fantasy ‘thing’ my non-geek sister had any awareness of was Star Wars. (And I think the only reason for that was her crush on Harrison Ford.) She used to be the stereotype – sighing when her husband spent a night online with his Counter-Strike friends, but now she plays Minecraft and Rayman Origins with her kids and is writing an iOS game herself. She knows all about Game of Thrones and Doctor Who and when Ender’s Game comes out in November, (starring Harrison Ford) she’ll probably go see it, despite never having heard of the book before now. My point is, there is nothing inherently masculine in being a scifi fan or an online or console gamer anymore.
To my dearly beloved feminist friend who wants me to fight against these stereotypes, I say, No! I won’t do it. They will fade away on their own as the next generation of women like Dulfy, who think nothing of their gender when posting online help to a previously male dominated gaming community, come into their own. Too soon, aging female GenXer gamers like myself, who were once cool and unique, will look like idiots if they make a big deal about being a girl. The gaming world will sigh and say, who cares what plumbing you have in RL*, what counts is the gear you bring against the next boss*.
*RL – Real Life
*boss – a non-player-character in a game that is very hard to defeat – usually signifies the end of a level or story-line.
- Misogynism in Video Games: Struggles and Solutions (sociologyofvideogames.wordpress.com)
- The Games We Play (Part 2) (tarnishedsophia.wordpress.com)