I think two things have become pretty clear from this past month of my Easy Mode column. 1) I love playing video games a whole bunch, and 2) I’m not very good at it. That being said, I still feel like sometimes I have to prove to the anonymity of the internet that I am for real a geek and a gamer, and not just trying to get attention and/or “faking” it.
You would think that this pressure is coming from the guys, and to some degree it is, but I’ve noticed lately that it’s OTHER GIRL GAMERS giving girls a hard time in the industry – calling them fakers, challenging their fandom, and spreading hate through the community about them.
To which I say, what the hell is going on?!
I saw an example this morning on Twitter, where Jessica Nigri, a well-known cosplayer and nerd, posted a silly little meme created of her from a picture she had posted before. I giggled, and then noticed some of the comments tweeted at her. Two girls were laughing at the fact that “Metal Gear Solid (the game she was holding) wasn’t for bimbos, but people with skill in gaming. They then continued to call her a faker, a liar, suggest she should be quizzed, and then call her a bitch because she obviously makes more money then she lets on, and finally finished their mockery with calling her boobs fake and her ass flat.
I was shocked.
There’s a lot of things about this that made my blood boil. First off, the lack of support for a fellow girl in a male dominated industry is insane. I’m not talking gamers in general – those stats are pretty split between males and females. I’m talking about girls who have a career in gaming, anime, geekery, etc. – something that is still mostly dudes. Why would you not be supportive of someone who is doing well? She is someone who will help open doors for others women in the future, and someone who is helping to tip the scales to a better gender balance in the present.
Secondly, the hate really bothers me. Attacking someone’s personality because you are (most likely) jealous of their success, or looks, or whatever, is bullying. Plain and simple. The harsh words are unnecessary. And to say “I’m not being mean, I’m just speaking the truth,” is ridiculous – you don’t know her personally, so you have no idea how passionate she is. And it has nothing to do with you, anyway.
Finally, and something that I understand all too well, is this “need to prove” your passion. Not only is it insulting, but it also doesn’t mean anything, really. If someone is passionate about something they shouldn’t have to prove they are the best at it, or that they know every single detail about it. It can still be a huge passion. I am not skilled at gaming at all. I forget plot points, how to use my skills and spells, and even the names of main characters of games I loved and played for hours. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it, or that I don’t deserve to call myself a gamer.
In a setting where girls are made fun of by guys for being fake or not good enough, girl gamers should be supportive of each other in the gaming industry, not hateful and mean. At least be civil. REAL girl gamers don’t feel the need to go on and on about their K/D ratios, or the number of platinum trophies they have, or spout off useless gaming or geek knowledge all the time to legitimize themselves. They just game because they love it, and that certainly doesn’t make them a faker or a liar.
Haters are gonna hate, I guess. But what a terrible attitude to have.
Easy Mode is a weekly Gaming Angels column that celebrates those who love the ideas, the gameplay, and the graphics of games but just don’t have the skills to master them, written by our beloved Sarah Ingram a/k/a Ceratopz.