For the past several months, there has been a scandal regarding girl gamers circulating around the Internet. Guy gamers are saying that many of these girl gamers are fake and are pretending to like games for the attention. These accusations have become so common they have their own image macro! The Idiot Nerd Girl meme shows an attractive female gamer proclaiming her like for a certain game or franchise and then exhibiting a lack of experience of it. “I like PC Games/I play Farmville all day!” is one example. “Says ‘It’s Over 9000!!!’/Has never heard of Dragonball Z” is another. This proclamation of geek or gamerdom without adequate knowledge of the fandom itself has caused rage to erupt in the gamer community and an understandable backlash to erupt from the feminist community.
There’s a question worth asking here: Male gamers… Why the heck do you care?
It seems as if gamers have been wondering where all the girl gamers are for ages. Gaming has been stereotyped as quite the sausage fest for a long time now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard gamers say, “Why can’t I find a girl who is into video games?”
I’ve already written an article about how girl gamers can be turned away by the sexist and disgusting behavior of both online and offline gaming communities. But now they are being turned away by something else, US! And not accidentally! We aren’t accidentally acting like jerks to them because of a culture that sadly reinforces misogyny. We are just telling them to go away. For some reason the Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster has seen fit to re-write reality so that a huge influx of women are now interested in videogames, and the same people who were desperately crying out for a female gamer companion before are now shitting on female gamers because they may not have played as many games as them!
WHO THE @#$% CARES?!
Have we suddenly entered the Bizzarro dimension or something? There are now female gamers who want to play games with you, and you are telling them that they suck for it! This is almost literally the worst thing you can do if you want to play games with girls!
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s examine the problems of the concept of a “fake gamer girl.” First of all, everyone is a noob at some point. There was a time when I couldn’t quarter circle forward and didn’t own an arcade stick. Think about a time when you were new to a certain aspect of gaming. Maybe in Call of Duty you overused the noob tube and ran around aimlessly. You maybe got a few hate messages, but no one questioned your authenticity as a gamer. You weren’t called a poser or a fake gamer guy. You were just -- new.
So there’s a chance that these “fake gamer girls” are new. So what do you do with new gamer girls? You play games with them! If a girl says she’s a gamer and has never played Chrono Trigger, introduce her to Chrono Trigger! You now have something to talk about, and you’ve made her more of a “gamer” by whatever arbitrary criteria you are judging her with.
Also, what harm can come from these “fake gamer girls” calling themselves gamers? Is there a danger that they’ll change the gamer stereotype? Is it is a bad thing if people start thinking that successful, attractive women enjoy games? Do we really want games to be seen as the pastime of just racist, basement-dwelling man-children?
Let’s consider the worst case scenario here. Let’s assume that these “fake gamer girls” are totally lying. They’ve never played a game in their life and are just “doing it for the attention,” posing in sexy ways with gaming paraphernalia just for the heck of it. So what?
We’re acting as if this is the first time a woman has posed in a photograph with something she may not be into. Do we call girls who pose with motorcycles in photographs but don’t know how to ride fake bikers? Do we call girls in cheerleading outfits fake cheerleaders? NO! We call them models, ‘cause that’s what they are doing!
Even more interesting is that a lot of these photos being used to accuse “fake gamer girls” actually don’t come with stories that say, “I’m so into games.” They are just pictures of girls posing with controllers or systems or something and we assume that these pictures are saying, “I’m a huge gamer,” and then we give them shit about it! We give them shit about words we put into their mouths!
I’m going to take a stab at constructing a totally non-scientific theory on why gamers seem to care so much about whether or not “girl gamers” are fake. The girl gamers in the photographs are totally out of the average gamer’s league. When us guy gamers were growing up, we were ridiculed for our love of games. Liking videogames made us a nerd or a geek, but not in a good way. We were ostracized, forced into our own little “gamer” community, and separated from the cool kids.
But things changed. We took back “nerd,” “geek,” and “gamer.” We became proud of our interests and wore them as a badge of pride.
Then, the world of gaming opened up to everyone else. The “popular kids” started playing games. Frat boys began playing the Xbox 360. Moms and businessmen started playing the Wii. Then when attractive girls started playing games those of us who may have been ostracized by attractive girls in school said: “That’s not fair! Why does she get to be attractive and popular and successful and like games as well, when I had to suffer for my fandom?! Gaming was all I had left after people like that ostracized me! They can’t take this away from me too!”
That’s my theory, but as I said before it’s totally unscientific. In my opinion, we shouldn’t care who is “fake” or “real.” Gaming is for everyone. So if you want to call yourself a gamer even though the only game you’ve ever played is Pokemon Black or White, more power to you. For everyone else, I refer you to this handy dandy Fake Nerd Girl Detector.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Senior Contributing Writer