Be Who You Want to Be: The Story of a Gamer Girl

My interest in video games started early. As a small child, I would find where my brother had left his old Game Boy Color lying around the house and would play whatever game happened to be in it at the time. Sometimes it was Tetris or Ms. Pac-Man. If I was lucky it would be Pokémon Red, and I’d play for as long as I could without being forced to save over my brother’s game. These few and far between moments established gaming as a hobby that has lasted into my adult years.

As I got older, I developed as a person and as a gamer. I figured out what types of games I liked, and how to fit such a time-consuming hobby into my life. At the same time, my awareness of both the positive and negative aspects of the world grew, including a particular definition of the term “gamer girl”. According to this definition, a “gamer girl” is attractive, but generally incompetent at games and necessarily faking an interest.

When I first learned this definition, I was just generally confused. Everyone I knew that played video games was very casual and just wanted to have their hobby. I didn’t understand why anyone would fake an interest in video games or why anyone would care about what skill another person had acquired in a game. It took an embarrassing amount of time for me to realize that the “gamer girl” stereotype was mainly a result of how highly gendered video gaming was.

Yes, apparently controlling virtual characters or solving puzzles are only things that males can enjoy. Luckily for me, I’ve never really had a problem enjoying things that only boys are supposed to like. I just got back to my games and have never had any problems. I never played any online multiplayer games, so I didn’t have to deal with people that thought I didn’t belong. Unfortunately, this is not a universal experience.

Though time has improved the situation, there are still people today that think gaming isn’t something women should have as a hobby, and that gamer girls are just girls that are trying too hard to impress someone. The people that have been forced to experience this side of the gaming world know that it isn’t all like that. Just because someone speaks the loudest doesn’t mean they’re in the majority. For every person that tries to get you to leave the community, there are more that just want to play their games and are happy to have you along for the experience. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be a gamer.

This holds true for any hobby, whether it’s baking, rock climbing, sewing, sports, or any number of other activities. As long as you’re not hurting or endangering someone, nobody has any right to tell you that you can’t pursue your hobby. Do what makes you happy, and don’t let anybody get in your way.

 

Images: Cover, 1, 2, 3