I want you to be a gamer girl.
A true gamer girl must be able to delve into the deepest, most obscure part of the cyberworld and feast her brains with information that only the veterans of any fanbase would dare claim knowing.
You’ve got to name at least 7 skills in Salvador’s skill tree, explain the concept of planeswalking and briefly touch on the lore of SWTOR. Just kidding – you’ll need to regurgitate the exact coördinates for at least 1 codex on each planet.
You bet – the path of the female gamer is not for the weak hearted.
That is exactly the kind of treatment females receive when they step foot into any gaming convention, Gamestop or any public area that has a relatively high density of male gamers. If you claim to be part of the ‘tribe’ then you gotta prove it. And perhaps, after a series of brain-numbing questions, you’ve finally passed; you are accepted!
Audible gasps heralds your entrance into the limelight. And although they’re all taking note of you, the horde is split into two major factions. One denouncing your femininity and questioning the existence of your female genitalia, sexual orientation and even your actual gender.
The other, suave and subjectively cool, clambers towards you and tries to strike up a conversation. This time, not questions about virtual realm, but your availability and the possibility of ‘hanging out’ together. The braver ones might just ask you for your number. As you open your mouth in attempt to answer, your lungs and nasal canals are suddenly invaded by an invisible assailant; the mixed, musty air of Axe and sweat.
I do have a couple of female friends who play games, and some of whom who clock more hours than me in TF2. Many prefer to adopt a male identity, and as quoted – it protects their sanity. It’s pressurizing to interact with other gamers online; you’re constantly teetering on the edge of letting your identity slip.
And when it does, maybe it doesn’t go all chaotic as depicted in the webcomic or the scenario narrated above, but things get rather awkward quickly. Voice chat is rarely used in public games where other players are around. They’re not all like that, but some of them would rather not take the risk.
And sometimes they’re a little envious of the boys – who are readily welcomed into a community of their favorite hobby, no questions asked. You may be a 32-year-old man working in construction, a college student, a retired police officer; the gaming community warmly embraced everyone. This is where anyone had a place, and for some where they felt the most welcomed. But this utopia restricts a female’s movements, her motives for her being here is constantly questioned.
It’s a pity that once we’ve become part of a community that warmly accepted all newcomers, finds a significant number if themselves now incapable of treating females with respect.
A quote, In response to catering to straight males.
And the person who says that the only way to please them is to restrict options for others is, if you ask me, the one who deserves it least. And that’s my opinion, expressed as politely as possible.
-David Gaider, Bioware.
I know what I’m saying here might invite accusations of white-knighting.
The white knight (in this context), describes male gamers that leap to a female’s aid whilst seeing themselves as better equipped to help and more or less expecting something in return. They tend to treat anyone with the same attitude, but when your gender is revealed to be a female, he goes out of his way to defend you in every situation imaginable. He suddenly becomes extra nice and super helpful, but doing so with questionable motives.
But whatever, enough.
These people have the freedom to be wherever they want, no less to be able to indulge in their hobby. Sometimes, I feel miserable for my female friends; they are afraid to be themselves on the internet outside of Facebook and Twitter. These people have as much of a right to be their own gender anywhere they want, as much as you do. I don’t have to validate my interests with anyone else, so why should they?
Put yourself in their shoes for once, and see if you’d like being treated that why.
And well, I thought being nice and accepting was a social norm, not a novelty.