Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

Right and Wrong Gamer Girl Edition

I just read the Bossy Pally’s post called “I Had No Idea this Required a License” where she talks about this whole fake gamer (girl) concept that has been a topic of discussion for a months or so. I haven’t seen these discussions around lately myself, but then again, I’ve been M.I.A for a good while, and I’m still slowly creeping my way back in.

Yet, maybe it was no coincidence that this picture was shared on Facebook just a few days ago by one of my acquaintances:

Gamer gurl vs. girl that games

Shared on Facebook. I was so close to writing “lame” in the comment track, but decided to vent my disapproval here instead.

Because we all know that there’s a wrong way to do “it” and there’s a right way to do “it”. In case you are not sure what’s wrong or right, the picture will inform you, and if you are not sure what this “it” is, then I’m not either… because it does seem awfully confusing.

See this one for example:


If she’s got a headset on I don’t think she’s playing Sims 3. Headsets are actually one kind of accessory that should earn you just a little gamer cred, but I’m guessing it’s the pout that made this photo such delicious meme material.

I used to play The Sims – all of them – a lot – all the time. I was obsessed with that franchise, I spent several days in a row doing nothing but playing The Sims. I could have told someone (and probably did) “I game all the time”.

BUT WAIT!!! The Sims??? I must have misunderstood! The Sims is not a real game, it’s a simulation management game, similar to so many others, but it doesn’t count!

Playing The Sims just makes you into one of those (per the top illustration) “gamer gurls“. Remember, a “gamer gurl” is always either fat, ugly or slutty!

But there’s also the “girl that plays video games“! She must be doing it the right way, she must have that license Bossy Pally (and I) are wondering about! Here’s a realgirl that plays video games“:

Anger is important in order to carry out an authentic gamer girl performance!

I bet she’s screaming “I NEED A NEW COMPUTER”

What I keep thinking when I look at those two photos, is that the big difference seems to be a matter of performance. And the funny thing is, “the girl that plays video games” also has to perform said position perfectly. Because… you know…. playing games in and of itself doesn’t count, despite the neutral title, it’s actually a matter of subculture! And the fact her title is not even “gamer” or “gamer girl” says a lot. She’s just some girl who happens to play video games.

And you thought belonging to a subculture was all fun and games? It takes extra work to convey your legitimacy if you fall outside the subcultural stereotype!

So what is she doing right, the “girl that plays video games”? We know that playing video games is not enough, so she must be doing something else too. Is it the display of anger, which is seen as a sign of authentic dedication? Is it the trash-talking? Is it her casual clothing?

Is it that she doesn’t flag being female? Because, the femaleness is actually the initial problem, you see, it’s what forces everyone to figure out what kind of (fake) gamer she actually is, because she might just be one of those girlfriend-of-a-gamer types (always a healer)… or a Sims gamer… or Wii gamer. You know, the fake kinds that walk amongst us, who needs to be unveiled, lest they think they can actually claim to be real gamers. Us and them, baby, us and them!


Do notice the bottom left corner ;)

Okay, okay, I understand that subcultures need to constantly define their boundaries, especially from the mainstream, but the game is totally rigged.

… and old. Yawn.

What it really does is creating a conflict amongst female gamers to scrutinize and judge each other to weed out the fakes, because if we don’t, they bring a bad name to us as a group. Lets not fall for this superficial scam!

And if the gaming police actually does show up, then you pull out the “shut your whore mouth” … well, just maybe without the whole whore part … “Please keep your despotic orifice closed” works too.

14 comments on “Right and Wrong Gamer Girl Edition

  1. tomeoftheancient
    March 2, 2013

    I am bereft. Try as I might I can not wear any label that would define me as a female gamer. I guess I’ve just spent COUNTLESS hours just, well … on the computer. If you throw ageism in the mix I’m really skewing ALL the perceptions.

    Pshht, humans. Got to try to find a reason to love us but sometimes we make it hard, lol.

    • Ironyca
      March 4, 2013

      Thankfully WoW has a pretty diverse player base, compared to some other games, and that is a good thing!

  2. Navimie
    March 3, 2013

    OH I must write a response as a post. I enjoy discussing just this sort of thing. But though I have some of the labels, I certainly don’t have all of them – which just means that there is no all encompassing label of a female gamer, amirite? :D

    • Ironyca
      March 4, 2013

      Fitting “the female gamer” is like walking a tightrope or something. I don’t know where I fit onto it anymore. Gamers would probably find me too casual, and non-gamers would think I was totally nerdy.

  3. Matty
    March 4, 2013

    Well, I’ll just continue to promote the little Minecraft Club I’ve got going, where none of the girls fit in any of these categories…

    The archetypal mother/maiden/crone never gets too far away from us, does it?

    • Ironyca
      March 5, 2013

      Yeah, too much stereotyping, too little complex reality.

  4. Alessandra
    March 6, 2013

    This question is complex. While I understand that “gamer girl” is a stereotype, I do think we need to stand and be visible to the world. But godamn, Im just a player! I´m not defined by my genre (nor my age, or my origin, or the # of cats I have in my house)

    • Ironyca
      March 8, 2013

      I agree. I think about it as being unapologetic about being female, but what bothers me the most is how this topic can be so hard to avoid, even when you just want to play and have fun.

  5. DTI April
    March 7, 2013

    Nice post. I don’t understand why it’s such a big problem. I’m a girl, I play on xbox. That’s it. No more, no less. I’m a girl and I’m also a gamer, and I’ve put those two words together on my blog. But I also love to play Sims and puzzle games and don’t really play much CoD or Battlefield – does that make me a fake? Probably, because I also posted a blog about my hair. It seems that any ‘girly’ action instantly negates being a ‘gamer’. #Couldn’tCareLess

    • Ironyca
      March 8, 2013

      I definitely think you are right in pointing out that feminine activities and values can get targeted even more rigorously when it comes to being a “true” gamer, which is very unfortunate. That is also one of the reasons the drawing I based the post on bothered me. The stereotype posits that being “too girly” is incompatible with also being a “real” gamer.

  6. Samaramon
    March 21, 2013

    Love this post, it’s something I’ve been pondering for a while. For me, the problem isn’t what society labels is, but what THE GIRLS label THEMSELVES.
    “Heehee I’m a gurl gamer” <- why we have these labels to begin with. Adding "girl" as if it's something different and special. You don't say "I'm a girl doctor". Sure, mentioning your gender isn't a sin, but it shouldn't be the sole focus.
    I never mention my gender while playing unless someone guesses or the topic is brought up. I don't correct people if they call me "he", I just don't see how that would make a difference as we're both there to play the game and do our best.
    However, I agree that the pics that are used to describe "real girl gamers" are completely biased. I play a variety of games, I don't use extreme curse words to "show my dedication" nor do I scream at the monitor for no apparent reason (Note how the girl in the "real gamer" pic is yelling at a two-player mode even though she's alone)
    Showing off your femininity is completely fine. But your gender should NOT define your game.
    Sorry for this lengthy reply :)

    • Ironyca
      March 25, 2013

      Hey Samaramon :D

      I used to not reveal my gender either, but there’s a risk that by doing that we perpetuate some idea that female gamers are a rare and tiny subset of the gaming population, because we all remain so invisible. In WoW specifically, the female population is very high, so for us to not claim being female could be doing ourselves a disfavour. I prefer being called by the pronoun I identify with IRL, why shouldn’t I do the same in a game? Asking for the correct pronoun shouldn’t be a big deal, and yet it feels like doing that is pointing it out as special, when it should in fact just be about asking for the right pronoun.

      Since we both play on a roleplay realm, there’s a principle I try and go by as a thumb rule. In many ways, it makes all of that stuff easier. And that is to go by the character gender(/name), (unless you already know someone’s gender and how they identify). It means you’ll get like 99% of female players right and, I forgot, but I think it’s like 50% of the guys right, but I’m quite convinced they are not met with a “Oh my god, he’s just trying to pull attention to himself for being a gamer-boy”. At least no assumptions were made about who people are behind their characters, and it’s more true to the spirit of a roleplay realm, I think.

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  8. Carlee v
    October 8, 2017

    Do we have to pretend like we are oblivious to the fact that there is a decent sized subculture of female gamers who spend more time cultivating the girl gamer credentials on social media than actual gaming?
    Why does it hurt so many feelings to say that? If that isn’t you, then you are not being implicated, so why be so defensive about it? It’s not even exclusively a female flaw, but it does seem to happen more often with female gamers.
    Can you say with any honesty that you have not seen girl gamers dressed identically to a stripper with some elf ears added as an afterthought for “cosplay?”. Can you not see how this might come off as a bit obnoxious?

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2013 by in Opinion and Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .


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