I’m always a bit wary of discussing what it feels like being a woman in a male dominated environment. Why? Because regardless of what I say or how I try to phrase my thoughts it’ll either come across as whiny or entitled. I’m neither and I’m not about to flog a dead horse today, I just read some articles that prompted me to jot down my thoughts on it. Don’t worry, I’ll be quick and I won’t even mention things about my menses. Oops, except there. Tampons. Oops, there too. Okay that was the last one I promise.
Hello, I am Khaleesi and I am a girl who plays video games and internets furiously. I used to be a university cheerleader, I love ballet, I think jogging is evil but I do love walking and climbing, organising people is one of my favourite things to do, I’ve never had a pet and I don’t have a favourite colour. I pride myself on being a multifaceted person but for now let’s focus on the fact that I have boobs and that I enjoy playing online games.
When presented with this fact about me I usually get responses like:
- “Ha.. you don’t look like a gamer. You look quite pretty actually.” Ungfff. What is that supposed to mean? The ‘all gamers are nerdy basement dwelling losers’ trope needs to die. It’s stupid, inaccurate and incredibly insulting to me and anyone in the community. Vilification of someone who otaku’s something you have no idea about is uncool. What annoys me is how mainstream this trope is, watching BT’s new Infinity advert sent me into a mild rage, the little dig at ‘internet’ friends made me even angrier. It’s a cheap shot and a low blow, I thought BT were about inclusion and open communication. Obviously it makes sense to mock the very people who you would consider hard core users of your service. Obviously. But this response is even assuming that they believe that I play what I say I play, if they don’t then I get the..
- “Oh wow, but you’re a girl!” I laugh, but in my mind I’m screaming, “Yes. I am in fact a female, problem?!” It’s not so much that they have a problem with it, they’re just really surprised. As if I should be off engaging in more feminine hobbies whatever those are. It saddens me that we in the West preach all sorts of things about freedom to chose and freedom of expression yet there’s still this mild shock when a female says she does something that men traditionally do. And it works both ways too, newsflash the first cheerleaders were men. Plus, they’re 500% more likely to get it on with the cheerleaders than you are . Once they’ve fully digested what I’ve said, they usually then move to..
- “I bet you don’t really even play games.” This is the one that bugs me the most and worryingly I hear it a lot from other women. This article here raged against something in my younger stupider years I been fighting not to be associated with. There is nothing worse than being called a “Girl Gamer” or “Girl nerd”. It’s alienating language, it signifies that while you are in the community you’re not really a part of it. You can’t be because of your gender. If you do ever get ‘fully’ accepted you’re considered, “one of the guys” and your sexuality and woman-hood is ignored. That’s just as frustrating! The saying, “The best way to diminish a person is by ignoring them or putting them on a pedestal” springs to mind. The takes issue with the idea of ‘fake’ nerd girls who always have to make their gender an issue. These ‘women’ (I used quotes because sometimes they aren’t actually female, internet anonymity, lawl) come into contact with isolated, possibly socially awkward males be it online or offline who are desperate for female attention and exploit them. They pretend to like the hobby that the guy is interested in, in order to gain whatever it is that they want.
For an excellent example look at Olivia Munn’s career, it is the finest example of pandering I’ve seen in recent times in the ‘geeky/nerdy’ community.
I don’t doubt that there are women (and men) who behave like this, but the crazy thing is that they are in every subculture. Instead of trying to deal with the root of the problem (which is general gold-diggery behaviour) we attack and vilify any female who mentions she has an interest in something ‘geeky’ or ‘nerdy’. Quizing them on their knowledge, putting them through tests till they are deemed acceptable, it’s stupid. We (and I’m speaking broadly about the female ‘geek/nerd’ community) perpetrate the trope and keep it alive by simply put letting it be a thing. There will always be gold diggers and instead of pointing that out, taking a stand and refusing to judge or be judged by it we give it creedence. And disappointingly in our attempt to distance ourselves from the ‘fakers’ we alienate other females who might try to enter into the community. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve joined a lobby, server or game and the only other female attacks me for being a girl. Like there can only be one? Be serious.
This article summed up my feelings exactly about this whole, ‘fake girl geek issue’. And the best line in it was:
“We regularly experience sexism. We are constantly having our authenticity undermined by people who assume we can’t possibly be competent, knowledgeable or genuine. We don’t need other women to actually try to make it harder.”
So let’s just stop with this whole, “omg ur not a reel gurrl g33k!11!” nonsense and trying to justify why we should be there and just enjoy being there.
EDIT: While this post was about how female on female ‘nerd’ crime should stop, I feel like I should note that this stupid trope wouldn’t continue without the males who feed it. Maybe I’ll talk about ‘Nice Guy’ syndrome at a later date, but for now I’ll just leave this Youtube video and Cracked Article here.