Life, The Universe And Gaming: The Geek Girl Contradiction
There are a few things in this life that endlessly confound me. The ability of a collective to blindly engage in group-think without stopping to question any of it because if a whole bunch of people believe it then surely it must be right; the way a gathering of people can excessively indulge in alcohol intake for the purposes of fun when all it does is create the opportunity for regrettable actions while poisoning their livers (I know, I’m just no fun sometimes); the way a woman can outright state that she abhors something before then proceeding to engage in that something that she only just stated that she abhors, then optionally complain about it afterwards as if it hadn’t dawned on her how much she abhors that something.
When it comes to gaming, I like to think that I’ve been around the block enough that I pretty much always know what’s going on. If I play Journey for example, I understand how the invisible threads are pulling me along a set path even if they’re not really telling me where to go or what to do. If I play a shooter, I understand that the introduction of a certain element, mechanic or otherwise is going to come back later and require me to engage with it — the beauty of ominous foreshadowing. If I see some sort of platform for launching a game that isn’t Steam, I know that it’s a publisher attempting to gain that much more control over their content, rather than hand that control over to a third party or, heaven forbid, paying customers. But there is one thing about gaming that always confuses me. So so very much.
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I’m not the biggest advocate for women’s rights in the world and as a male, I don’t even think I’d know where to start. I just do not understand the context of such a discussion and cannot begin to try and fathom it. The closest I can hope to get are my interactions with my… hmm, let’s get really sexist and call them ‘friends with boobs’ who play games. The friends, not the boobs, obviously. Women. Females. Whatever word you’d like to use — interesting little sidebar: I always used the term ‘female’ and ‘male’ when referring to people, and I watched something recently where it was basically purported that only someone with no respect for women would refer to them as ‘females’. I was so shocked, I nearly slapped a bitch. (I’m sorry, that joke was in bad taste, I’ll stop now.)
Here’s the thing, though. We have the Idiot Nerd Girl meme and I’m sure you’ve all heard stories (or perhaps even been involved in some) where a female gamer was harassed by male gamers for wanting attention, with the now infamous anecdote of a male gamer stating that he likes Zelda and getting nods of acknowledgement but a female gamer stating the same and getting quizzed on all the history of the Zelda series including the name of Nintendo’s first game and first in-development baby birth, and so on, because absolutely nobody believed that she ‘really’ played Zelda and she was obviously just ‘doing it for the attention’… because that makes complete sense.
Why do I say that?
Well, I’m also aware of the Butthurt Dweller meme which is something regularly used to get at the fact that male gamers are stereotypically lonely shut-ins with horrendous acne and chips-stained fingers, furiously masturbating in their parents’ basements. Mostly true. I mean, stereotypes exist for a reason, right? And it’s especially those male gamers who play online, or read gaming news websites — not all of you, granted — who will attack female gamers and their knowledge of gaming, just because they dared to enjoy a pastime that ought to be everybody’s to enjoy. (Sometimes it’s not even a direct attack but rather a subtle condescension, as if that makes it alright.)
So let me get this straight. The stereotypically lonely gamer thinks that the fake geek girl is only acting as if they’re into gaming for the attention of said stereotypically lonely gamer.
Who the fuck would want their attention again?
Sure, I’ll grant, a lot of people do do things for attention. But that’s not strictly limited to the so-called fake geek girls. I will admit that it kinda does annoy me when I see a female (fuck you, people who think I’m being disrespectful by using that word) so blatantly calling herself a ‘gamer girl’ with all the pride of a prize-winning dachshund. I presume she also goes around saying she’s a ‘girl reader’, a ‘girl listener’ and hey, why not, a ‘girl watcher’. Because there aren’t enough of those in the world, let me tell you. Still, there are also those people, male and female, who will buy t-shirts saying ‘NERD’ or ‘GEEK’ with no hint of irony in their intentions, yet the furthest they’ve ventured into either territory is FIFA or Tekken. Am I being exclusionary by saying that? No, I’m not trying to be, but I have first-hand experience of a male wearing a t-shirt saying ‘NERD’ who walked past a gaming store and scoffed at it, saying, and I quote, “I prefer getting laid.”
You be the judge.
This is obviously to say nothing of those who wear the nerdy giant-framed glasses and consider themselves to be hipsters. I remarked on Twitter recently that the term ‘geek’ has become a marketing buzz-word where if you slap it onto something, it immediately gains appeal. It’s almost as if we’re in a ‘geek chic’ society. And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for it because it means that we get cool movies such as X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Avengers and Batman/Superman, and we get t-shirts with stuff like ‘Fus Ro Dah’ printed on, and I can have a Deadpool action figurine in my room and still get kisses from females. (I said it again, naysayers!)
It’s amazing, really. Yet still, that doesn’t make the geeks of old, the new popular kids. We’re still uncool. We’re not being objectified as the new upper echelon of status symbols. We’re just being overwhelmed now by the other cool kids who are taking our toys and thinking they know what to do with them, and having their own party while we’re still mostly just shut-ins and awkwardly obsessive freaks. Still, it is nice that I can wear my eGamer t-shirt in public and not be considered a weirdo, so, I’ll grant, perks do exist.
That said — and I realise I just made a massive digression from my point, but I mostly just wanted to get it out of the way that yes, there are people who genuinely do things for attention — it’s not always the case. It doesn’t even really make sense when I think about it, I mean, why would a so-called ‘fake geek girl’ want the attention of male gamers? Are we all Adonis personified, or should I say gamified, or is there something special about us? Is it our ability to unlock achievements or use our thumbs or something? I just don’t see why anyone would want attention from us? Is it some bizarre sense of victory at pulling us away from our gaming? I do understand that there are those types of women in the world who will prey on the so-called ‘nice guys’ using them for their words, their care and their comforts and then promptly making doormats of them, but that exists everywhere so what makes us as male gamers so damn special? Do we perhaps believe that these female gamers have struck out everywhere else, in which case is that vanity, hubris or just base insecurity that we assume we’re the bottom of the barrel, to be scraped by someone who’s tried everything else?
I just don’t get it, to be completely honest.
A lot of gamers aren’t even like that. I know a lot of gamers who’ve maintained, or continue to maintain, healthy relationships with others. Romantic, platonic, friendly, whatever you’d like. I know hardcore gamers who are independent, self-sustaining and even have families of their own. Of course, the opposite exists as well but then we’re all various levels of damaged, right? But it’s not as if we’re impossible creatures. Why then must we act this way? Why then does it happen that if we encounter a female voice while playing Gears of War or Call of Duty, we go, “Is dat ‘n meisie wat praat?” True story. Why then must we make a big deal about any of it.
Why is the female gamer so unrealistically attractive when all she really is, is a female who play games, the same way a male plays games. I’ve not known many males to go, “Yeah, I play games,” and then be covered by women in a fraction of a second. (If you can picture that, then congratulations on having an awesome imagination.) Or for that matter, be questioned by everyone on the history of gaming because it’s obviously just a ploy for attention. So why is it this way with women?
I just. Don’t. Get it.
You know what I do get, though? Those stereotypically lonely gamers? The ones who cry about always being single to their WoW guild-mates and then go and fap to YouPorn before bed. The ones who are so unlucky in love and yet cannot understand why women aren’t attracted to them. Given their treatment of women online, it makes perfect sense to me.