As someone whose favorite thing to do on a weekend is to play new games on my PlayStation or watch Let’s Plays of YouTube gamers, you’d think I’d be confident enough to call myself a “gamer girl”. But, thanks to men, I find myself unable to.
When you do a quick Google search of popular gamers, men pretty much dominate the list. Rare is it to find a female YouTuber with tons of gaming content who has amassed a following as great as male YouTubers have. Meanwhile, the term “gamer girl” becomes more and more associated with the growing number of Twitch streamers who play trending games in revealing outfits for the sole purpose of entertaining the male audience and gaining popularity from it.
Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult for me to identify with gamers. My experience with male gamer friends has made me realize that I was constantly needing to impress them. I participate in discussions already at a disadvantage for being a female because you either have to have played all the games that the men have or risk being called “fake” for not playing the “real games.” Worst of it all is that if you fit their image of the “slutty” livestreaming gamer girls, then you’re just saying that you play games for the attention.
With my ego constantly bruised for not living up to their expectations, it started becoming too much of a hassle to keep claiming that I was a gamer. It was safe just saying that I played games only sometimes.
When did gaming ever become a man’s territory? Is it because men tend to be more hardcore gamers than women are? There was never a gender for games; everyone could enjoy it equally. But the attitude of some people who are desperate to feel superior has made it such a toxic community.
All games are “real games” and all gamers are “real gamers.” Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Tekken, and Resident Evil are real games. Animal Crossing, Cooking Mama, and The Sims are real games too. Even Monopoly, Uno, and Dungeons and Dragons are real games. And everyone who plays them—all men, all women, all children—are real gamers and shouldn’t be afraid to call themselves so.
Doing what you enjoy is never a question of gender—it never has and it never will be. So can people just enjoy things in peace, please?
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!