Friday, February 8, 2013

Gamer Gurl vs. Girl that Plays Video Games

I wish I could credit the original artist, but I can't seem to find the original posting, just 
a ton of reshares.  I guess that's the danger with things going viral on the internet.
The above picture has been making the rounds on the interwebz--Google+, Tumblr, etc. The reaction I saw made me facepalm. I was originally going to post this as a comment to someone I know, but it seemed ranty and I didn't want to come off as an epic barnacle encrusted dick, so now it has been retrofitted to be a blog post.

Obviously, the picture on the left is supposed to depict the fake gamer girl.  The Fake Gamer Girl (probably a close relative of the Fake Geek Girl) doesn't really like video games.  They just pretend so that they can get attention from the boys.  They have no investment in the game at all.  They just flirt with all the boys and make giggly little goo goo sounds.  I guess they also play games in their underwear?

The picture on the right is supposed to depict the real gamer girl.  Real gamer girls get invested in the games.  They forsake hygiene, personal relationships, and sanity, all for the glory of defeating the boss, or unlocking all the trophies, or...whatever.  They don't dress sexy.  They dress real.  Which I guess means sweatpants.  I mean, I know both my wife and myself have played video games in our underwear I guess we're flirting, too?  I wonder how that would go if I mentioned via headset that I was in my underwear?  (Mmmm, now I'm rubbing myself with Cheeto powder.  Don't you want me?)

One defense that I saw of the above picture was that it wasn't really about real gamers vs. fake gamers, but that the state of being a gamer is on a continuum.  The people that supported this picture claimed not to be critical of the girl depicted on the left, just noting their similarities to the girl on the right.  I call shenanigans.  I know that the comic is critical of the girl on the left, even hateful, and excluding and shaming that girl based on this comment made by the person that shared the picture:

"Girl on the left, I hate you."

This was greeted with many +1's, affirmations, and comments expressing similar thoughts.

Whether the person that drew the comic is the person that made the above comment or not is irrelevant.

1) The girl on the left is an artists exaggerated depiction of a type of person that the artist dislikes. Therefore, it's going to depict the person in a manner highlighting and exaggerating the qualities the artist disliked--much like the people that populate infomercials are completely incompetent and would wind up starving to death without someone there to water them every now and then and turn them toward the sun.

2) Regardless, assuming that the girl on the left were an accurate depiction of a person, what is so wrong with faking interest in something to get someone's attention?  You have two possible outcomes from that:
  • Either they're going to get bored with the charade and drop the activity because of a multitude of reasons including being bored, finding the charade not worth the effort, looking foolish when masquerading as an expert at something they're not, whatever...
  • Or the person will become a legitimate fan of whatever it is they're doing. How many people have gotten into something simply because their friends or--god forbid--their crush was into it. The crush may come and go, but the interests often stay.  I wasn't really into The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly or Swinging Udders until college when I started trying to date a girl that liked all of the above.  I eventually gave up on the girl, but I'll Save What's Left of the Flag till the day I die, motherfuckers!
Shaming the girl on the left is accomplishing nothing for the first scenario beyond being a dick, and alienating and possibly deterring a potential fan before the second scenario could hope to play itself out.

3) Many of the people hated on for being "fake geeks" are people who are paid to do a particular job. If a girl is paid by G4 (back when it was a channel about video games, anyway) to review a game, it doesn't matter two shits if she doesn't play Call of Duty outside of her job, she still has to play and review it because that's what she gets paid to do. Similar silencers are placed on women who are paid to dress like video game characters.

4) There's this bizarre hate on girls who dare to cross over into the mostly male dominated world of gaming. They have to prove themselves and be sufficiently aggressive, or they're not considered "real." As in, if you don't throw your controller across the room and spill forth enough bile to make the devils salty-mouthed cousin blush, you're not a "real" gamer. So, by implication, despite the fact that my wife has, until recently, only played Lego video games or games aimed at children, she's not a real gamer. Forget that she's spent hours unlocking every damned secret in those games, that's not REAL gaming because it's not sufficiently nerdy/aggressive/badass/blah blah blah enough. If I had had the attitude that many men seem to have, my wife would never have gotten into games like Red Dead Redemption and Infamous because I would have been a total douchenozzle to her and turned her off of the things.

4a) The idea that fandom has to have gradients beyond, "I like this thing" and "I dislike this thing" is bizarre, and often hurts people's feelings. I've joked with my friends and family that if they haven't heard/watched/read [X piece of media that I like], then they're not really American (sorry, foreigners. My example is biased in that it comes from me, an American. Don't worry, it's definitely me, not you). The difference is that people don't legitimately question your citizenship as an American if you haven't seen Die Hard or read Starship Troopers, but they people do question your nerd cred (TM) if you haven't experienced [X nerdy thing in question]. 

As anecdotal evidence, I once had a very nice lunch with someone. We were discussing Doctor Who and video games and crap, and when they tried talking about Star Trek, I mentioned that I had not seen it. They immediately shouted, "How can you call yourself a nerd without having seen Star Trek!!!???" They were kidding (sort of), but still, that hurt. It made me feel like an outsider, and I've been reading fantasy and watching anime since I was a freshman in high school. The thing is, this happens SO MUCH MORE OFTEN to girls. I don't see a similar picture circling the net that depicts "fake gamer boys" vs real gamer boys. Because there appear to be no "gamer boys" that only play Call of Duty to pick up chicks and really prefer Rayman Raving Rabbids instead, or if there are, then nobody cares. Guys are automatically lumped into "nerd" category by evidence of testimony alone.

5) Why is it that when women do something, it's often thought that DOODZ is the main reason behind the action? And even when that is the case, why is it always treated as a bad thing. "Ugh, she's just doing that for attention." Why don't guys ever get crap for that? The only similarity I can come up with involves Bronies, and while that may be true, that is a very small niche group of fandom, whereas girls must deal with this in EVERYTHING.

Anyway, if you find yourself swelling up to begin giving a severe put down to a girl that isn't well acquainted with something in nerd culture, why not instead strike up a conversation about how long they've been playing/reading/watching.  Develop a bond with this person.  Introduce them to things you think they'll like.  They may do the same for you.  And then the world will suck significantly less.

Image by:  Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade

1 comment:

  1. fuck that picture. fuck anyone who thinks even REMOTELY like that. fuck girl on girl hate. >:(


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