“Fake” Gamer/Nerd Girls and Why Geek Girl Shaming Needs To Stop

Ever since women started to take a larger role in the gaming/geek/nerd community they have received massive backlash, being called “fake” or “posers” for various reasons. Most of these reasons revolve around a girl who doesn’t know every single thing in the entire world about every video game/nerd culture topic and in turn must be faking it. I’m sure all you ladies in the gaming/nerd communities online (or even in person) have experienced this, you say something like “Hey, I like Fallout too!” in a conversation about the Fallout series and someone instantly retorts, “Did you even play the original Fallout? No? Well you’re just a faker and poser, not a real gamer.”

What? So because I didn’t play a game that came out when I was 8-years-old, back when I didn’t even have a PC, I am not a gamer and can’t enjoy newer games in the series? Well that’s absurd, but to be honest this stuff happens all the time and I have some awesome first hand experience with it, sadly.

Then, there’s this:

Fake4

So because someone posts pictures of themselves on Facebook with glasses saying they are a nerd they are automatically not a nerd? Uh…

There is some invisible level of “nerd” that only certain girls can achieve, apparently. Simply playing The Sims 3 does not make you a gamer (weird since it’s a game, and therefore playing it would be gaming, making the player a gamer by definition), you can only be a gamer if you play others games too. You’re a “dumb poser” if you think you are a gamer just because you like The Sims 3 and have glasses. This is assuming the intelligence level of the person who only plays The Sims 3 is lower than the person who wrote this, the person who wrote “I like stuffs” and uses commas like they are going out of style. That isn’t really the point though.

Wearing glasses or taking pictures of yourself with a controller means you are automatically “fake” and want attention according to much of the geek/nerd community. I don’t think this assumption is fair, considering there are all kinds of levels of being a nerd/gamer and these levels are all accepted with males but not with females, resulting in the “fake GIRL gamer/nerd” phrase. It’s never “fake BOY gamer/nerd” is it? If a guy had a picture of himself in “thick-rimmed” glasses (which are a style and practical, not a determining factor of being a nerd but whatever) then it would be funny or cute, a girl does it and it’s “OMG WHAT A FAKE NERD GET HER!”

This bleeds into all venues of nerd culture, whether it be playing video games, liking Doctor Who, or cosplaying as your favorite characters at conventions. I watched a video the other day from the ever so lovely YouTube-er albinwonderland in which she goes over that awful Facebook rant by Tony Harris from awhile back that demeaned the female cosplay community and women in general. She also makes some fantastic points about what a nerd is and why there is not such thing as a “Fake Geek Girl”. Have a look, it’s great stuff!

If you want to read that massive Facebook rant in its entirety without watching albinwonderland do a hilarious rendition of it, here it is – read at your own caution though, it’s a tough read (let’s just say it’s obvious he isn’t a comic book writer):

THfb1

I mean not only is that outrageously offensive and demeaning to women, it’s just plain ignorant. Who are you to say that virtually all girls who cosplay at cons aren’t even attractive and only do it for attention and think that guys who do the same are pathetic, Mr. Harris? Not only is it not even factual (I’d say there are fewer girls who do it for attention than there are girls who do it because they love the character/enjoy the material) but it’s just downright disrespectful.

The cosplay community isn’t the only community under scrutiny from these “turbo-nerds” or “cave-dwellers”, as some call them. As I mentioned above, gamers get hit with the criticism stick pretty often too. I’m sure you all have seen this picture, with or without some inane assumption that she is “fake” or the general slut-shaming that typically accompanies these types of photos:

And you know this is a fact because...? Oh that's right, you don't know it's a fact because it isn't true and you just feel better about yourself when making hateful assumptions about girls who play games.

That sounds totally true and legitimate, in that same way it’s totally true and legitimate that the sky is green and Earth is flat.

Sure, we have probably all used this picture as some kind of measure of what it means to be a “fake gamer girl” versus a real gamer. Hell, even I have used it for bad jokes and a good laugh, something I am not proud of. When I looked into this a little deeper though, I thought “why do I assume that she doesn’t actually play games”? Is it just because she is attractive and eating her controller? I mean she got the controller somehow, I think it’s safe to assume it’s probably hers which means she spent money on it which leads to the conclusion that she probably plays video games.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that eating controllers is totally cool, because I think it’s weird and not at all what controllers are made for, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the person in the picture doesn’t play games at all and is “fake”. I read an article awhile back, which you may read here (thanks to JenovasWitness, who linked it to me), in which the woman in the picture above was interviewed. She said this picture was meant to be a joke on her boyfriend and that she actually has been gaming since she was 3-4 years old. That’s one thing we all forget, who says the girls in these pictures are being serious? I’d wager that a lot of these girls are either modeling something or are being satirical.

Another great YouTube video on this subject is this one from the Black Nerd Comedy channel. He talks about the hypocrisy of the whole “fake geek girl” discussion and brings up some really funny and relevant points against the “girls are fake geeks” notion. He includes how it’s silly to assume “hot girls” only want attention and aren’t really geeks/gamers. He brings up how females are often grilled on their gaming/nerd hobby, being asked if they have played or watched some super obscure game/show as some kind of measure of true nerdiness. He also talks about good ways for women to deal with this backlash without sitting back and taking the ridicule.

The escalation is intense, these scenarios go from “You’re just a fake gamer STFU GTFO” to “You’re a stupid whore who only wants attention, stop preying on nerd guys and grow up you dumb slut”. That is no exaggeration either, as I said above – I have first hand experience with this kind of thing, and a lot of it. This mostly occurs on the internet or via Xbox Live or PSN, since these are places in which people are allowed to remain anonymous. No one has ever come up to me in the real world and said “I bet you are only wearing that Umbrella Corporation shirt because you watched those movies, you probably never played the games you fake gamer girl slut” but if I had a picture of myself online with it on I might get a negative comment or two. A good website to see examples of this is Fat, Ugly, or Slutty. Girls submit their crazy stories of being called fake or being harassed because of their gender and the stories get posted up. I actually submitted this video awhile back and made it on the website.

Here is another problematic exploit:

Oh no! She held it slightly wrong in one picture! There is no way she has ever played a game before in her life, what a FAKER!

Oh no! She held it slightly wrong in one picture! There is no way she has ever played a game before in her life, what a FAKER!

People pick apart photos of girls posing with their cosplay gear or collectibles under the assumption that because one thing is awry that she is stupid, fake, or generally disingenuous about what she is posing with. The problem? People jumping on the bandwagon. People see pictures like this and automatically thing “Oh man, what a poser!” instead of thinking that she just made one simple mistake.

A girl gets called “fake” in one community by one person and all of a sudden everyone agrees and says “OH NO SHE’S A FAKER!” instead of listening to reason and getting her side of the story. This leads to hateful messages and comments as well as straight up harassment over time. This ruins gaming as well as nerdy communities for some women which is a total bummer. I have had women tell me that they pretend to be a guy when gaming or talking online about nerd stuff, using a boyish gamertag/ID/handle and generally pretending to be a male to avoid harassment. Why should anyone have to do that? We should be proud to be females who like what we happen to like, not ashamed and fearful because some “neck-beard” can’t handle a woman knowing anything about Metroid or Star Wars.

Fake7

In the cosplay community this get’s particularly painful as men (like Tony Harris) think that female cosplayers only do what they do for attention and don’t really play the game/read the comic/watch the anime/etc. This leads to the “she wants it” attitude which segues into some really serious and scary stuff like sexual assault, stalking, or even rape. I have personally been subjected to this kind of harassment at a convention while cosplaying. I had a male grab my hand, try to touch my backside, tell my boyfriend that I was “his”, and take a plethora of pictures of me while stalking me over several days. No joke.

It was really uncomfortable and honestly scared me, making me unsure if I ever wanted to cosplay again (don’t worry, I did, but the next time I crossplayed as a male character and avoided the hassle which is kind of related to the point I’m trying to make here). Plenty of other girls have experienced this and a lot of them get it worse than I did I’m sure, which is horrifying. What’s sad is that these guys think it’s “ok” or “acceptable” to act like this, since that is “what she wants”, which is 100% not true. Even if a girl is cosplaying for attention I can guarantee you that she doesn’t want creepy, invasive men crawling all over her every second of the day.

Another major way in which this stigma hurts females is that we get classified based on how we look or what we like:

Classified

Certain games/characters/shows/general nerd things/etc. are now considered “casual” or “mainstream”, things that fake nerd girls do to get attention – because we all know that these girls have nothing better to do that play “mainstream” games in an attempt to get a boy to look her way and ask how big her boobs are.

Apparently liking Assassin’s Creed, cosplaying as Samus Aran, watching Firefly, or reading Ender’s Game are what you do if you are a “fake” nerd since these things are “mainstream” and well-known for various reasons. The hard part is that this almost never applies to males, if I guy plays Battlefield he’s ok because it’s a good series. If a guy reads The Hunger Games he’s ok because those are good books. He probably wont be called fake or told that he is not an actual gamer/nerd because he does those things because it’s not assumed that he is only doing it for attention.

Even the guys who only play Call of Duty and nothing else get very little flack, the worst they get called is a “bro” which is nowhere near the same level of “fake” since it’s not implying that they don’t even like it.

Fake9

It has turned into a gender issue, being a “gamer girl” isn’t just being a female who plays games, it’s a girl who likes to pretend she plays games to get all the boys to pay attention to her – or something ridiculous like that. I don’t personally care for the phrase “gamer girl” since I think being a gamer is a genderless thing, something that all genders can do equally. However, I don’t agree with the fact that “gamer girl” has turned into a rage-inducing insult rather than a simple label placed upon female gamers. People use that phrase to classify nerdy women and insult them through memes and comments. Search “fake gamer girl” on Google images and you will see all kinds of generalized, hate-filled assumptions that put these girls in the photos (as well as all girls who do these things) down.

There are various levels of being a nerd, some people are more into something that others but that doesn’t mean that the one who is less into something is faking it.

It’s unfair to make assumptions that pretty girls don’t play games, or girls who take pictures of themselves with controllers are “sluts” and awful people.

Just because you play Zelda or Portal doesn’t mean you are the know-all, end-all gamer who knows all the thing ever and therefore has the right to put others down for liking Skyrim or Call of Duty.

We all (both men and women) need to fight against this crap, it’s demeaning and further separates the sexes in nerd culture. If we want equality or just general camaraderie among nerdy/gaming communities then we need to quit putting others down for  silly reasons like this.

This. So much this.

This. So much this.

Instead of seeing a girl with a SNK shirt and thinking “OMG she probably doesn’t even know what that is”, try talking to her instead. Ask her about her favorite characters and what she likes about the show, get a conversation going. For all you know she may be more into it than you, or maybe she is just getting into it and would like to learn more – this is where you help her to learn more by being a friend instead of calling her a stupid poser.

This is how we develop friendships (and relationships) and is an important part of socialization. Pushing someone away because there is no way they could possibly like Mass Effect as much as you just ends up hurting you, because that person may just like it as much as or more than you and they might just be an awesome person that you will miss out being buddies with.

I want to open up some discussion here. What do you think about the “Fake Geek/Nerd Girl” myth? Have you experienced it personally? Have you witnessed it happening to other people? Do you have anything to add? Let it out and share it!

I’ll leave you all with this shining ray of awesome while you ponder the issue, enjoy!

YouTellHim

 

Update: A follow-up article has been written to further discuss these issues here on LSZ. If you are interested, click this link and give it a read. Thank you!

63 thoughts on ““Fake” Gamer/Nerd Girls and Why Geek Girl Shaming Needs To Stop

  1. Great piece, really enjoyed reading. Also the tweet at the end really did make me laugh out loud! I haven’t experienced the fake nerd thing directly myself but I have noticed how this negativity towards these so called fake geeks seems to be spreading, its quite unsettling and there really is no need for it and seems to be growing and growing, a trend which I hope does not continue.

    • Thank you! One issue another YouTube-er mentioned was that stuff like this can scare some women away from liking something, or at least saying they like something. I mean if you knew that anytime you said you were a huge Wonder Woman fan that someone would try to argue with you about how you can’t possibly know anything about that character, would you say it or continue liking it?

      Like you said, it’s very unsettling and it does need to stop. Here’s hoping that one day we can all live among our various fandoms in harmony!

  2. Being a “guy gamer” (it’s bad I have to add guy to it, isn’t it?) I think it would be interesting to throw my perspective in the discussion. From what I see, you definitely did your research and I thought you made some excellent points.

    One thing that should be taken into account about the “Fake gamer girl”, might be the numberous YouTube video’s of women who put up a fancy title for their video about a game with a thumbnail of themselves wearing a shirt which shows.. cleavage. These video’s are usually made purely for view count and have awful, actual content. I don’t think it justifies anything you mentioned here about stalking and the prevailing thought that it is okay to think “girls want it” if they’re into gaming and cosplaying. But it does clarify the idea of hating “fake gamer girls” a bit for me. Still, that doesn’t account for the fact of numerous Xbox Live “mature” guys (I’ve experienced a lot first-hand) who shout a girl down the first time they hear them, without even having seen such a picture with a controller or a YT vid with cleavage. But I thought it might be something worth mentioning.

    When it comes down to it, I think it’s an issue of narrow-minded culture which has developed over the last 30 years and which is hard to come out of. I found it strangely comparable to something I noticed here in the Netherlands, be it from another kind of topic. After the release of GTA V and its enormous amount of money it generated, the media only referred to it with small articles saying that “GTA V, some kind of video game, is probably responsible for the increase in sickness absence”.

    No mention of the fact that there’s a whole culture around it, that video gaming has become much more mainstream nowadays and that as an entertainment industry it makes much more money than movies and/or music sometimes. Total ignorance. Video games are for little kids and you shouldn’t bother with it when you’re an adult was the message. Being in college I still get weird looks sometimes when I mention I’m a passionate gamer.

    I feel it’s the same for the “fake gamer girl”. The gaming community which consisted for a long time of mainly guys can’t comprehend that the field has changed. The audience for video games has expanded (which seems logical, considering my earlier point of an evolved culture around gaming) and it should be natural that this includes gamer girls. I for one, really enjoy online play with some of my female gaming friends. Not in the last place because it’s amazingly fun to see ignorant dicks scream when they get fragged and tea-bagged by them. Never gets old. :-)

    • Thank you for the response!

      I agree with what you said about the girls on YouTube showing off their cleavage while playing a game. On one hand I want to say they can do whatever they want, which is true, but at the same time things like that just breed the geek girl shaming that I mentioned. I’m sure there are plenty of girls (like these on YT) that do things and wish to get attention from it. I’m sure there are girls who play games and want attention from guys for doing so. That being said, I doubt it’s the only reason they play. I suppose I’m trying to say that while there is nothing wrong with wanting attention and wearing cleavage-bearing shirts, these women have to realize that even if they are a hardcore gamer presenting themselves in that manner with get them negative comments including the “You’re not a real gamer” type. I don;t think there is anything wrong with dressing sexy and playing games, but when you pair the two and put it on YouTube you have to expect some backlash, which in a way further promotes negative behavior.

      I love the analogy you used about the media and GTAV. In a way it truly is the same thing. The media sees video games as sources of violent behavior or something stupid for kids to play. In the same way some men see video games as something that only men can enjoy. I’ve noticed that when guys think this way and tell girls that they are fake because “girls don’t play video games” it’s really narrow-minded, shallow, sexist, and regressive. As the world is evolving, so is everything in it. If people continue to hold to the notion that gaming is only for men then how can it evolve naturally? People need to grow up and realize that gaming is for everyone nowadays, that includes seniors, adults, kids, boys, and girls.

      You know, your last sentence reminded me of something. It’s become a well known fact among my friends that when we play a team based game together and win or “own” the other team, I get the hate mail. On occasion we all get something at the same time, but if only one person in our group gets something, it’s me. I assume this is because my tag is LadyCroft3 and since I am a girl I wont bite back and am therefore and easy target. Well, let’s just say that isn’t the case, and now those guys know it XD

      Thanks again for the response, you made some great points!

      • My late mother use to play nintendo with me (loved Super Sprint on NES…she use to try to STEER the controller, shame she didn’t make it to WII, would have played non stop)…my first major love was a girl majoring in computer science who knew coding, politics, D&D and all form of nerd things… Maybe that’s why I end up surrounded by nerd girls… and while like once every 2 years, someone will say something like “Oh, you a girl, so you no gamer”, I really have trouble understanding this internet craze of gamer girls being ‘shamed’.

        It’s numbers…you hear more about the bad than the good…because people EXPECT good and people feel the need to complain about the bad. If someone received 99 compliments on their cosplay and 1 person said “EH, would look better on someone else”, guess which she is going to blog about to her 10000 followers her are so outraged they also blog about it…and within days you have EVERY DAMN title on my facebook feed is how evil nerd guys are for not letting girls play.

        I’m a guy who went to cooking school…and sold Avon at one time… I’ve been hit with my share of anti-stereotype commentary…but I’m not screaming “All women are sexiest!” No, a small portion of idiots are idiots, no matter the gender. Just look at your responses on this very article…what portion is being unreasonable and ‘shaming’ you away from geekery? I hit alot of conventions (business and pleasure) and past an AWESOME brawl between local football team and klingon bikers (DRAGONCON ’03, SO GREAT), I never see any of these issues that the internet makes you think is happening every second.

        My problem is…it has NOTHING to do with gaming… My mother drove 18 wheelers for a living… If someone insulted her rig, she would kick em in the nuts… Only thing today with our culture is our ‘open communication’. She had to ‘deal with it’, toughened up and learned not to care what others think…but with the internet, if you are sad about something, you make a post and you have millions of people justifying how it’s wrong that someone said something you didn’t like. The problem is, this causes an image vacuum which creates false entitlement which forms into an overly sensitive society…

        Do what you enjoy, find other who like what you do, and just be happy… If someone you don’t know says something you don’t like…the amount of time you spend caring about it, you could be playing another video game :).

      • I don’t think it happens every second to each individual, as you assumed, but I can tell you from experience that it happens pretty darn often. Regardless, my point is that even if it happens one time ever, it’s too much. Ignoring the problem, pretending it’s not a big deal, or downsizing it because it hasn’t specifically happened to you or those you know doesn’t make the issue go away. Making fun of a girl for having a complaint in regards to this subject (as you did with your cosplay metaphor) is never ok, either. This is one of the many reasons I wrote this article in the first place.

        I can’t tell if you are belittling me specifically, the situation as a whole, my previous comments or something else. Maybe I am misunderstanding, but my point still stands whether or not you (or anyone, really) agree with it. The best way to make a change is to continue to talk about it, to speak up, to discuss it and that is what I am doing with this post.

        You’re welcome to your opinion, as I am welcome to mine. I have made my point, and you have made yours. Thank you for the response, have a great day!

    • Haha thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it. I wrote it from a personal standpoint rather than a research-based, factual, serious standpoint which I think makes it a little more fun since it’s like I’m writing it in my own words.

      • That always helps, knowing facts and so on is always useful, I use that on my personal life as I like to have some fact-based-background whenever I talk about anything, same as I do when I write an article; but we aren’t machines, each one of us have his or her own personality, thoughts and so on, which is what we must use in order to give our articles some personality and get them to stand out from the crowd. You definitely accomplished that with this article ;)

  3. I don’t get it either. I am all for more people who share my interests. I don’t understand the Boy’s Club attitude that attempts to demean, dehumanize, and demoralize females for irrational and arbitrary reasons. More women is a GOOD thing for gaming, not a bad one.

    Plus, we can both agree that nerds are hotter, irregardless of gender, and finding other people who share your interests is a huge plus whether you are looking for a new friend or something more. I don’t want to live in a world where my only choices for a girlfriend or wife look at me playing a video game as if I were a lazy, stupid, good for nothing slob who is wasting all of his time. I’d rather she jump in and kick my ass!

    • I totally agree, diversifying the community is a good thing. We need more awesome ladies in nerd communities.

      Nerds are hot! You’d think that having men AND women around who are into the same thing would be the norm. I don’t why guys push girls with similar interests away then say “I can’t find a GF, I’m friendzoned”. It’s lame. There are a lot of girls out there who resent that their BF’s play games, but there are more who love it and even play games themselves! They are just too scared at this point since any time you mention that you’re a girl you get ridiculed and harassed.

  4. I think I found that interview you mentioned.
    http://nerdcaliber.com/do-you-judge-a-gamer-by-their-picture/

    So yeah, she took the picture to tease her boyfriend. The picture went viral and conclusions were drawn without any context. Moral of the story, when you assume you make an ass out of u and me.

    This was a great read. As usual I appreciate the insight from your perspective on the filth that plagues these online spaces. Anonymity is a problem here, but even more so because there is little or zero accountability. Sony and MS need to better moderate these issues. I’ve read that MS is trying to improve their player review/complaint system. I’m not sure about Sony.

    • That’s it! I will edit it into the article and credit you :3 Thanks!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my perspective on the issue. Anonymity is a huge issue these days and not just with this but with bullying in general and the like. I agree that MS and Sony need to work this stuff out, I feel like when I report a player for harassment or even for cheating, nothing happens and I run into them next time and it’s hell all over again.

      I had these guys literally attack me and Fysh on Xbox Live one time because I was a girl (we were split screening in the same account) and they got all their friends to give me bad reviews (or whatever they are called) and now I am only 62% preferred, which cannot be fixed. Stuff like this irritates me since the guys got away with it and I’m stuck with the bad reputation score. I hope in the future these companies do more to get rid of trashy people who just make gaming hard for others.

  5. I don’t discriminate. I play games with my wife every night after the kids are sleeping. I hate everyone equally and they know it. I’d rather have a kickass girl on my team then a loud mouth guy any day. Excellent article as always :]. We’re all gamers last time I checked. It shouldn’t matter what you like as long as you’re playing the game. People need to grow up.

  6. Loved every single bit of this piece. Luckily, I haven’t experienced such harassment in the few years I’ve started going to conventions. Overall, it has been an enjoyable experience where everyone who likes anything geeky and nerdy are all under one roof and can share in those interests together. I do agree it’s ridiculous how people make presumptions about other people without even trying to talk to them first. I always get excited when I meet someone who likes the same stuff as I do and it gives us plenty to talk about. It’s just too bad that there are some guys who automatically think that because she happens to be attractive and is into geeky or nerdy things, she must be a unicorn, and therefore does not exist. Or is faking it somehow.

    • Thank you! You are lucky indeed, it really sucks when you know people are giving you a hard time about gaming or nerdy things because of you gender, since nothing really changes their mind.

      It is really sad, because you know if these people tried to get to know the “fake” chick they would probably like her a lot since they would share common interests. That’s how I have met all the awesome friends I have, through liking common things like gaming or geeky stuff. There’s no point ot being good friends with someone who doesn’t like anything that you like, in my opinion, so finding friends who like the same stuff is always great :D

  7. As always your pieces are well thought out and well well written. Please let me add my 2 cents.
    First let me say I mostly agree and I side with you on your points, but I would like to point out just a few things. Mr. Harris is what you would consider “old guard” and I would also suspect maybe a little bit of a pervert and perhaps a sexually repressed. I can only imagine him at comic-com surrounded in flesh having to go to the bathroom several times a day to relieve himself because of all the skimpy costumes he sees and them being angry for it. That being said, I agree with the video, you cant draw and design your female heroes and villains with practically nothing on, then get upset when they try to mimic it. LOL.

    Now, I need to say this, and this encompasses all nerdom (as I see it). These hobby’s that we are so fond of have been predominately male populated. Females that partake in any of these activities are looked upon suspiciously. Why would a beautiful woman want to spend hours upon hours questing in Zelda or Skyrim or Battlefield, or in Risen or playing Crusader Kings when they can be dolling themselves up and going out with the local hotttie?

    Perhaps, it would be an easier pill to swallow if the female in question was less attractive because then it would be understandable. No man really wants to spend time with the average chick so WELCOME to the world of the “anonymous”, the world of gaming. Where “supposedly” your skill speaks for itself.

    Now, speaking from experience, pretty women in gaming, tend to use their beauty to promote themselves. And although they gain notoriety, they are NOT taken seriously. It quickly descends from whats your kill death ratio to how phat is your ass. in less than 1 minute. They simply will not be taken seriously.

    Feels like you are in high school all over again. I’ve seen countless lets play with women “team’s” or single plays that just seem like frat party’s and simply not serious pieces at all. However, I have come across the occasional attractive woman that also takes her gaming seriously and is treated with MUCH respect. This is a rare thing indeed. In fact I would go as far as to say that they would probably NEVER take a picture of themselves kissing or licking or sucking anything in their gaming life simply because its not necessary. Not even as a joke or gag because they know that this would discredit them (especially at this fragile time and place we find our selves in). They are respected for who they are and their knowledge and they don’t necessarily have to have played it all. How they conduct themselves speaks volumes. Respect is not given, it is earned and it will be the real female gamers, the ones that are pretty or average, the ones that can actually hold a conversation with the best of them and show the “boys” that although this is their club, they have done their homework and they are just as worthy of being here, these pioneers are the ones that will pave the way and ease tensions and eventually, there wont be any issues. But pictures of PS3 controller cables running through the cracks of some girls ass wont help the situation. This is a heavily male dominant area. This was started by males and it to be here one MUST show that you know about gaming. Forget about whats hot and what mainstream. You just need to know your games, your devs, your publishers, your genres.

    In fact I would say you fit in that category.of pioneer. Please keep up the good work.

    Its a matter of perception, and as you know. Perception, unfortunately is the reality.

    Nice article.

  8. Bravo; absolutely amazing piece!

    I find it funny that there are people who try to make up some sort of rules to being a nerd and pretend they’re the authority on the subject. If people spent more time worrying about themselves and things that actually matter, and not on telling other people what they are or aren’t, we’d all be much better off.

    I can’t wrap my head around the whole “you aren’t a gamer” thing. There are plenty of people who aren’t gamers… because they don’t play video games. I’d say anyone who actively plays video games, whether it be some obscure JRPG they had to import, The Sims 3, or Candy Crush Saga is a gamer. Gamer = One who plays video games. It should be that simple.

    I’ve never been one to call myself a nerd, mainly because I don’t like labels (I’m anti-collectivism). I don’t even know if I would be considered a nerd by whichever folks think they are the nerd authority. I play games, so called mainstream ones and the not so mainstream ones, and I like some sci-fi (Stargate and Star Wars). At the same time, I hate Star Trek, don’t read comic books, and have never seen a single episode of any Doctor Who (or The Big Bang Theory)… I much prefer reruns of Home Improvement or Boy Meets World. I don’t understand cosplay either, but I don’t have anything against it or those who partake in it. I’m in Alabama; there’s not a lot cosplay or any type of conventions going on out here.

    Part of it probably comes from the media who has pushed the perception that gaming is something guys do. And usually guys who don’t have girlfriends and live in the basement. A lot of nonsense.

    Are there girls who try to push the fact that they’re girls a little too far? Sure, a few. We’ve all seen the “I’m playing video games, usually World of Warcraft, in my bra… feel free to donate,” types before. They’re very few and far between though, like less than 1% so a complete non-factor.

    Like Murph, I say the more the merrier. Gaming is fun; I’m all for more people playing games and talking/writing about games. Again, I don’t like the labels of “girl gamer” or those who think sexuality should be brought into it with “gay gamer.” Let’s all just play the games and have fun; who cares about the other stuff?

    Again, excellent article!

    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked this piece!

      I agree that gamers are gamers, regardless of what they play. I think it’s totally pretentious for people to act like they are more of a gamer than others because they play more games, or obscure games, or special games or whatever. It needs to stop being some kind of elite “club” and become an all-inclusive activity. It’s meant to be fun, not demeaning or something that sparks ire.

      I focused mostly on the female aspect since as a female (and a human being with eyes and ears) I think that women get worse treatment than men in this field. If a guy was cosplaying and holding a gun wrong no one bats an eye but the second a woman does it she’s a fake whore or something. Also I personally see tons of people get harassed on Xbox Live and the PlayStation network for not playing enough games. Can you believe that? Because you don’t have a certain number next to your name, you aren’t a real gamer. I also found a handful of YouTube videos in which women were saying that they are scared to get into certain things like reading comics or online gaming because of how people treat them. Certain people out there are literally being so judgmental about nerd-dom that they are literally scaring people away from doing fun stuff. It’s really sad.

      Like you said, if we started putting more energy into worrying about ourselves or other important issues instead of whether or not a girl really plays games because she plays The Sims and held a prop slightly wrong, we’d be much better off. I honestly think we would be happier too. I know that I can be judgmental (not really about this subject) but I noticed that if I stop doing that and look for the positives in people, I’m a happier person. So I stopped thinking negatively about those who I don’t know and started to think positively and it’s been great. These folks who think they are the judges of who can be a gamer or who isn’t a gamer are what make us all look bad.

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  10. The problem with the modern usage of “Fake gamer girl” is that it gets applied to pretty much any lady who does not play 12 hours a day or has not been playing since the era of PONG.

    It has become the new “There is no women on the internet” and is used as a lame “meme” and trolling device to grief ladies whose only sin is to be new to the gameverse.

    The true (and original) meaning of a Fake Gamer Girl was that kind of lady that had shown no interest nor care for videogames and had perhaps even derided gamers in her youth, and that suddenly attempted to fake an extreme interest in gaming or to even pretend she had been a gamer all along simply because that allowed her to gain points with her gaming crush or her current friends.

    Then, it got extended against the first few camgirls who used gaming themes and faked experience in gaming to boost their appeal against the gaming crowd, and try to gain popularity with it.

    But then it lost all meaning and it simply became the latest “meme” and trolling device that griefers use to try to make themselves feel special or hurt those whose only sin is to be new and interested in the gameverse.

    • Apologies for the late reply~

      You make a great point, the original meaning of “fake gamer girl” made way more sense than it’s newer meaning.The girls (and boys) who legitimately lie about being a gamer to attract attention or appear fashionable are indeed the fakers. I feel like nowadays, as you said, it’s just a way to put females down based on false stereotypes that say women can’t be gamers/nerds.

      Let’s hope that in the future these kinds of toxic labels will be put to rest and everyone can just enjoy what they want without being bullied and called “fake” because of their gender or level of interest in a certain thing.

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  12. It’s a really interesting issue, girl gamers and stereotypes around not being “hardcore” enough. The one thing I wonder about, in your response in particular is when you talk about cosplay. You said that you support cosplayers, no matter what they choose to wear. It seems to me that there’s some inconsistency between feminist responses to scantily clad female game characters, and scantily clad cosplayers who imitate those characters. Surely if a character design is sexist and attracts negative attention from feminists, then cosplay in public spaces which reproduce this image should be disapproved of too?

    I’m not saying that these girls should be insulted or abused (in the way that some I’m sure have been), but I personally would not support female cosplay that I don’t think is responsible, i.e. scantily clad bare-all kind of stuff. The idea of cosplay as an arena to “show your stuff” I think says a lot about a culture perpetuated by men and women that heralds women’s looks as the be all end all, while saying too that women can wear as little as they like and should receive respect, or even applause for “exercising their rights”, being “liberated” etc. I believe that the only way for equality is to ask that both sexes be modest in their dress, otherwise I think there will always be an addiction to looks, and exploitation of women for their looks.

    Sorry for my little rant there, and thanks for the well written and detailed post!

    • Thanks you for the great response!

      I’d like to start by saying I totally understand what you are saying and that I agree. As a feminist I do disagree with the objectification and over-sexualization of females in gaming and I personally would never cosplay as a character like say Juliet from Lollipop Chainsaw for that reason. The hard part is that at the same time I don’t feel like it’s right to say others can’t, but again at the same time I don’t think they should out of principle. I suppose not every female is a feminist (which is hard for me to grasp since they should be if they have any self respect) and therefore not every female would agree with either of us on this issue.

      I suppose in summary, I do think that women should cosplay as any character they want without being harassed or assaulted, but they should also realize that when they dress as a skantily clad female character they are perpetuating the sexualized ideal. They can wear whatever they’d like and express themselves and that’s perfectly fine but from a feminist point of view they aren’t helping the big issue. Then people like Kojima create a character like Quiet and pretty much dare women to cosplay as the character, which is disgustingly sexualized.

      I hope that all makes sense, I tend to rant a little too XD

  13. The only girls I really get upset about are “cosplayers” that literally don’t know anything about what they’re cosplaying. I don’t mean obscure details I mean main characters, things that even causally watching the show would tell someone.

    When clearly NO effort or care has gone into an extremely skimpy costume, like wearing a bikini and a hood and calling yourself an assassin, I get annoyed.

    I understand the article’s point about grilling girls or ridiculing them over the tiniest things, but sometimes there ARE just attention seekers that have no interest whatsoever in our culture and are just using it to get attention.

    • I totally understand what you are saying, and I agree. It is annoying to see someone who doesn’t even know the name of who they are cosplaying as, someone who is just a model wearing an outfit someone payed them to wear to gain attention from a male audience (ie most booth babes).

      There are plenty of attention seekers out there, even those who say they play video games to befriend people when they don’t play video games at all. I just don’t think we should assume everyone is that way, you know? We should get to know these people first and see what they are all about before we say that just because they are in a skimpy costume or say they play games that they don’t know anything :)

  14. Hi. Realize I’m a little late out on this one, but I hope you don’t mind.

    I’m writing from my phone, and as English is my third language, you may spot some errors here and there, for that I apologize in advance.

    I think I agree with most of what you’re saying but you have 2 things I’m feeling you overlooked. The first of these is that nerds and geeks have for a long time been the mainstay target of bullying. The “girl geeks” have been used as bait to further increase the viciousness of the bullying.

    I suppose that it’s slightly outdated as it no longer happens that much. One thing, though, is that the term gamer is being uses as if synonymous with the term nerd, geek and anyone who plays games simultaneously.

    I feel that this is highly incorrect, as A) a gamer, in my opinion, plays videogames frequently (not 12 hours a day, maybe 300 hours a year or so), understands basic terminology in their chosen field (GTS, RTS, RPG, FPS etc.) and can mostly comprehend the plot of the games they are playing (observe that you need to play more than one game for understanding of basic terminology).

    B) a nerd is someone with a specialisation (often to the point where socialising with someone without any knowledge in the field becomes slightly awkward) in the academic or digital. I know one such person on hand, who was my old computer engineering teacher but didn’t play any videogames at all.

    Thirdly, I would like to point out that phone games aren’t videogames, they’re phone games. Yes, videogames have become a lot more popular recently, and we are getting a huge influx of female audience. This is a good thing. The whole shaming thing began (I am making an assumption here) because iofthree major things, that males are testosterone-filled and testosterone makes you a territorial idiot, that gamers have been ‘persecuted’ by the mainstream for a long time and are now suspicious, and finally because of people who have faked their gender (particularly in the MMO scene) in order to take advantage of other players.

    Lastly, where am I in all of this? I am more of a nerd than a gamer. I play quite a bit of videogames, as much as 25 hours a week, but I read. A lot. I have three sisters, none of them are gamers but all of them play casually (mostly Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series along with Mario Kart).

    • Hello there! You’re never too late, and your English is just fine :)

      I see what you are saying about how the terms “nerd/geek” and “gamer” are used as synonyms and you feel that is unjust, but in some ways I think that these terms can be synonymous with each other. Of course not every geek is a gamer and not every gamer is a nerd, but I think that all these terms can be applied to one individual and that in many cases it’s accurate. For example, I consider myself a nerd, a geek, and a gamer. A lot of gamers are nerds and a lot of nerds like video games. You highlighted some of your personal definitions of the terms gamer and nerd but I have to disagree with either term being so defined.

      One of the main points I attempted to stress in my article is that there is a lot of variety in the gamer/nerd community. Just because a person only play a couple of games and maybe only just started gaming last year doesn’t mean they aren’t a gamer. Just because someone is only just getting into comics or computer science (or something else considered “nerdy”) doesn’t mean they aren’t a nerd. To me there are varying degrees of gamers, nerds and geeks. We all start somewhere and I think that a lot of this bullying within the community comes from folks who have set standards of what it means to be these things (ie someone thinking that you can’t be a gamer unless you play a certain amount of games for a certain amount of hours). I think that when we add such weight to these simple labels we forcibly exclude the crowd who is just getting started, making them feel like they don’t belong or aren’t wanted which leads to bullying, etc.

      This comes back to women who are (or wish to be) nerds/gamers/geeks and how they are just now getting into it yet are called all kinds of names and are bullied. Women are constantly excluded based on archaic assumptions that women can’t be involved because being a nerd/gamer/geek is something only men can do. You mentioned that shaming may have began due to men having testosterone which can make them territorial/idiots. As a feminist who strives to see equality among the genders, I disagree with this specific point. Testosterone has long been used as an excuse for males to act a certain way, usually a negative way. Since most men do not act territorial or idiotic on a daily basis (or ever, as most of the men I know are not like that at all) I have to think that it’s way to inconsistent of a reason for why those specific men act negatively.

      You also brought up how gamers have been persecuted by the mainstream and are now suspicious. I have heard this said a lot in relation to this article, people say that since gamers have been treated poorly by the mainstream (called losers, bullied in school, etc.) that they are more defensive when outsiders (women) try to join in to their secluded pastime. They think they are being tricked in some way (like how you said with people pretending to be women in MMO’s) or that it’s some kind of joke at their expense. I again think that this is not fair and shouldn’t be used as an excuse. Those who have been treated poorly or bullied need to realize that they are do the same thing that was done to them to others when they say “no you can’t be a gamer since you’re a girl/don’t play as much as me). As a whole this community needs to be more accepting of newcomers.

      Lastly, you mentioned that phone games aren’t games and I’d like to give a little bit of my opinion on that subject. If you had said that to me a year ago I would have agreed with you, but mobile phones have slowly been turning into a large gaming platform over the past year or so. Games like Deus Ex: The Fall and Minecraft: Pocket Edition have proven that games are transcending to cell phones and are more than just “Bejeweled” or “Candy Crush”. I think that in the future cell phones and tablets will have a really large place in the world of gaming.

      I wanted to thank you for commenting, I really loved reading what you had to say! Have a great day, hope to see you around linksaveszelda.com again.

  15. Also super late to this party! I really admire your composed and polite responses and I apologize if I come off in a hostile manor I’m honestly just curious.

    You definitely present an interesting case. The problem that I think you overlooked which is making people (boys and girls) upset is that girls who are uninterested in video games, girls who have had no interest in video games and those who would go as far as stating their hatred for video games suddenly hop on this ‘fad’. When someone makes such a significant 180 should we not pose questions about how authentic they truly are? When I state my interest in something others pose questions about my authenticity. Why should girls be immune to this? obviously some of the more extreme cases come off as rude, but those are quite extreme, maybe it’s because I go to an art school where everyone is a huge nerd and sports it but that kind of thing doesn’t happen here(yes I’m a guy but I’ve also had this talk with my female friends). I think it’s excellent that more girls are playing video games and I agree with almost everything you said about multiplayer communities, for some it’s still a fairly new notion that girls play video games and it takes time for any community to adapt, but it has gotten considerably better as more and more girls are actually talking with their mic’s on and normalizing their presence in the community things will only continue to improve.

    One of the bigger points I feel we disagree on is when girls take pictures of themselves attempting to pose/dress as what some may consider a ‘nerd’ and being so eager to label themselves as one. Why is it necessary to do such a thing? I cant think of a reason other than attention seeking so please enlighten me. The cosplay stuff I don’t know enough about having never been to a con but I’ve heard some of what you’ve said a few times and I assume it’s probably a larger problem that isn’t being properly addressed and this falls into the authority of convention itself which should probably be doing more.

    • Hello there! No worries about being late, I appreciate any and all responses no matter when they come in!

      I agree with what you are saying about people becoming upset when girls say they are interested in games now when they weren’t interested at all (or were even against them) before. Since video games and being a gamer has become somewhat of a fad, I can see where this would be a problem. I suppose it would be difficult to tell who is really into it and who is just saying they are to appear cool in the name of the fad. What I think though is that we shouldn’t assume this is the case every time, since there’s really no way to tell when you first meet someone (especially online) if they are just following the fad or are being sincere. What I like to do is just try to get to know someone, if I am curious, and in time it will come out whether they were just faking it or not. If the are faking it then that sucks since these people who fake it cause huge problems due the fact that they make others more wearisome about who is genuine and who is not, which leads to almost every topic covered in the article.

      I think a good way to solve this issue would be to attempt to get to know the person before assuming. A lot of folks out there see a woman and think that she is faking immediately based on looks or skill or what have you, which I feel is the wrong way to go about it. Women should not be immune to this question though, as you stated, and while my article focuses on the female side of things I know that this is a problem for males as well and my response to both genders facing this problem is the same. Some people are just getting into being a nerd or playing games so it may appear as if they aren’t being genuine about their interests, but if we are really interested in finding out whether or not they are faking it we should try to get to know them a little better in order to find out before making assumptions.

      About the point you made that concerns women taking pictures, I semi-agree with you. Some women do take pictures posing with nerdy things or a game controller for attention and I don’t really get it since I’m the type that shys away from attention, but what is wrong with getting a little attention? I know that these “attention whores” (as some call them) are annoying to most people but I suppose I just don’t see anything wrong with it considering it doesn’t directly affect anyone except the person in the picture. Women and men both like getting attention, whether it be for doing a good job in the work place or for looking nice in a picture, so I think it’s natural for women to do this in pictures because the biggest factor here is: they get the attention. People all over the internet will give them the attention they are seeking so they continue to do it. If people stopped acting like these women in the photos are goddesses because they are wearing a Gears of War t-shirt then these people would most likely stop taking them.

      Not all of them do it for attention though, I have taken a lot of photos of myself in gamer shirts or with my controller in a silly pose but not for attention, I use them for profile pictures on FB and the like. I like to take new pics when I change my hair or get a new shirt and may even post them on twitter for fun since a lot of folks there know what I look like and seem to enjoy seeing my new hair styles or clothing or gadgets. Not all women want the attention but I think that you are talking mainly about the ones that do, so my point above is probably more relevant haha.

      You also mentioned cosplay and how these issues should fall to these convention authority. I wholeheartedly agree with that and I’d have to do a little research to see how many of these issues actually do get resolved by the convention authority themselves, because they should. That’s a great point!

      I thank you so much for your response, you didn’t come off as hostile at all and I enjoyed responding to you. Have a great day!

      • When it comes to the attention whore question and what’s wrong with it, I think it boils down to this.

        Exploitation and false hope. All their lives a great majority of geeks have been exploited. “Friend zoned”, taken advantage of in school or work, etc. then they find a girl who actually LIKES what they like. Only to find out the girl has absolutely no interest and can’t even talk about the game with them and is just doing for attention? They’ve just been exploited. Again. And this time it’s even worse because it was the one place they felt safe. It’s girls that raise guys’ hopes for their own selfish reasons that I can’t tolerate. If they want attention, they can pose with things of their OWN interests, not just picking something where they think they’ll get the MOST of it.

        And by the way, that’s when I personally feel comfortable calling someone, guy or girl, fake. If I can’t even have a casual conversation with them about what I assumed to be a shared interest it annoys me that they’ve wasted my time.

      • I see what you are saying and I do agree that that type of attention mongering is definitely unacceptable. When it’s done in order to, for example, make a group of guy interested in you since you seem like their type but is totally superficial then it is indeed a problem. Posting pictures on gaming forums or comic book message boards in order to make a certain group like you when you are really faking it is rather despicable and very different from simply posting a picture on Facebook or Twitter. It’s also very different from say a girl who is actually a gamer posting pictures with her controller since in your example it’s someone who isn’t even a gamer and the person is simply faking it.

        I think that part of this whole issue can be traced to folks who do things like this, they make people generally distrusting which leads to the bullying and harassment mentioned in the article. It’s like the boy who cried wolf, after a point people are going to bully everyone and give up on trying to believe newcomers since there is no way to tell who is telling the truth which leads into my article. You made a really great point there, and I agree.

        You’re also right about how it’s the right time to call someone fake when they can’t even hold a conversation with you about what is assumed to be a shared interest. It’s one thing to say “Hey, I’m new to this so I’m only played a few games, etc.” and another entirely to have no clue what it is that’s being talked about. I think that again this type of behavior leads to the bullying of others, it only takes one bad experience for some people to write off all women who attempt to join their community which leads into perpetuated sexism and harassment. Of course it’s not the only issue, but I can see how it could be a large factor. The world would be a whole lot better if people would quit lying for various reasons and just be who they really are because we are all different and that is what makes us human, but that’s just a pipe dream of mine. Another great point, thanks again for your input!

      • Another issue that plays into this; there is a negative stigma for males still associated with enjoying and playing video games, although it has faded considerably it still breathes and haunts many, maybe that’s a little extreme but my point is that because of this stigma males generally represent themselves quite modestly. In other words it is considered socially cringe worthy if a male poses with lets say a 360 or snes controller and because females don’t have that restriction males almost always see the way females represent themselves as over-the-top, maybe out of envy?

      • I’ve also heard this a lot from other folks in relation to this article or subject, the point that males have been stigmatized for years over game yet it’s not the same for females. While I agree with the point to an extent, I think it really only applies to the older generation (by old I mean like my age – 24) since the new generation of gamers are viewed in a much more positive light considering gaming is less stigmatized these days. Back when I was a kid it was still an insult to be called a nerd whereas nowadays it’s commonplace to call someone a nerd and mean it as a compliment (or at least it’s meant in good jest).

        I do think it’s valid to say that maybe these males are just upset over how easy it is for females to get positive attention for posing with a controller or wearing a gamer t-shirt since it’s not something they have gotten positive attention for. At the same time, these females are getting this positive attention from male gamers who think they are attractive or cool, in a lot of cases, so I don’t think the blame should fall on them, you know? The divide here comes from that generational gap I mentioned before. The old time gamers tend to be the more aggressive in the attack on female gamers while the new age welcomes females and diversity in general (for the most part) since gaming is much more inclusive now that it ever was previously. To look at it in a positive light, I’d say it’s a good thing that new age gamers are more accepting. I just wish that more of the old timers could be.

        Thank you for your comment, this really got me thinking. I love it :D

  16. This is awesome. I’m a gamer. I’m a nerd. I’m a girl. In fact, I wrote a book about geek love only to be called fake. Why? Because there are references and I must have had to have a guy write them? Or because I used them only to prove I knew them? Then there were complaints I didn’t use enough of certain things. Here’s the deal. I wrote what I know. Is it universal? Not remotely. My life isn’t universal. I also write smutty romance. Not because I’m not a geek or nerd. See, that’s part of who I am but it’s one thing. Being a girl doesn’t define me. My gamerscore (which is around 70k but I’m not a real gamer) doesn’t define me. What I do and do not know about Star Trek doesn’t define me. The books I write don’t define me. Because they’re all pieces of a whole. Who approaches a guy and sums him up in one sentence or based on one clothing item or physical trait? Why do we do it to girls?

    I sort of feel like we are preaching to the choir, though, because the trolls will continue to troll. Logic and reason don’t appeal to them. Emotion and the fact that they’re bullies don’t appeal to them. Even the celebrities they claim to worship don’t appeal to them. What appeals to them is sitting around and judging everyone else because they’re too scared to open their minds. Hard not to pity that.

    • This is an awesome response, thank you so much! You are 100% correct, the individual things we do don’t define us it’s the big picture that does. Also, that bit about the trolls was perfect! Many thanks :D

  17. I’ve been playing video games since the NES and Sega Genesis, and I have experienced shaming plenty. Usually its been through online Halo multiplayer, and I am targeted by an entire team for being a female. They then follow up by saying how terrible I am at the game since I died so frequently, which is a laughable point since it essentially became 5 against 1. There’s also the point where they think its ok to be disgusting and sexually harass me over the com because I’m a female. Guys also think its funny to try to “out geek” me, and want to question me about every geeky activity I do and how much I know about each topic. Funny enough, this actually backfired a few days ago when a poor guy walked up to a table with my friends and I who participate in numerous and varied geeky activities (LARP, cosplay, video games, geeky novels, anime,D&D, Magic, etc.).

    On the flip side, I very often wear nerdy themed shirts (Mass Effect, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.) that are not very feminine looking as many are not actually made in women’s sizes. I often get compliments from both men and women when walking around in public with them, which kind of balances out the shaming side.

    • I too have experienced similar situations in online gaming. Guys talk trash then I slip up because they are hunting me, and I get bullied for it. I also get my fair share of sexual harassment so I understand precisely what you are talking about. It’s so annoying because there is no reason for it, it’s just people trying to feel better about themselves by harassing other people. In our case men harassing women for no reason.

      I also wear a lot of gaming/nerdy shirts and have met a lot of cool guys and girls through using them as a ice breaker. Like you said, that’s a positive side to all of this garbage haha. Thank you for your input, it’s much appreciated :)

  18. There is a difference between “Girl gamer” and “Girl that plays games” I’m the 2nd. I get called I slut for taking home boys, but they’re there because they’re playing games with me XD

  19. Ok, Here it goes.

    While I do agree that prejudgdice against girls who are gamers is wrong and just because they are female they tend to catch a lot more heat in our community, I don’t do this and no one I know does this and it’s just stupid, especially in-game (Other things to be worrying about, like you know the other team…..).

    But I do disagree with your opinion of what a gamer is and I would like to explain my point on why this exclusivity is not a bad thing “within reason”. With any hobby, sport and pastime one cannot simply go to the store and buy what they need for X hobby and call themselfs a practitioner of their hobby.

    For example say I go buy a skateboard and skate for like 3 hours and start to get the hang of it, I still cannot call myself a skater.I believe these titles like “Skater” “Gamer” “Poker player” are EARNED from gaining enough knowlege about X hobby.

    Calling oneself a gamer while only playing one game can mislead other gamers about how much that person has in common with you from the start only to find out later that they know nothing about what you take pride in. This can be a let down for a lot of gamers and offencive to some who have struggled to have our hobby be taken seriously as a legit form of entertainment while other hobbies were instantly respected and not looked down on.

    I feel that a better way to say “I am instrested in games but have not played much or any” is to not call yourself a gamer but to say “I like X game” and make it clear you are not experienced in gaming as some other people are, because then the more “Hardcore” or senior gamers would love to “Educate X person reguardless of gender” on their hobby.

    So to sum it up I think the term “Fake girl gamer” only says girl because we didn’t have a lot of female gamers before, some of my best friends online are girls and they can hold their own and I would classify them all as gamers rather than someone who has played X game for like a week or two because they know what they are talking about and I would do the same for my male friends online “Or not” and that a lot of this hostility is origininating not just because some of the new players are female but that a lot of them want to call themselfs gamers on like their first day or week.

  20. Oh my gosh, I really needed this reading! I’m a very insecure nerd who is very discreet with my gaming. (I also try not to talk to much about my Buffy marathons or how I’ve collected different manga comics for 8 years.) I usually get very uncomfortable talking about my gaming since A) apparently I play many games which are too dorky/girly to be accepted as real “gamer games” and B) people often question how much I’ve played it and how dedicated I am and stuff like that. Then it’s always some question like “did you know that…” and when I don’t, they act like I’m just pretending to like the game! This has actually made me very insecure in my hobbies, although I’m very knowledgeable in many of them. I know that I know stuff, but I don’t want to talk with others about it. I hope to someday find some dorky nerds who I can talk with about my dorky interests. But it would be great if people would just stop shaming others for not playing games that are their cup of tea.
    (Also, I’m sorry if my english is a bit poor. I’ve haven’t written anything like this since I went to upper secondary school.)

    • Thank you so much for this response! I wrote this article for people like you and me who have a hard time being ourselves due to the pressures of living up to some invisible “standard” of what it means to be a “true gamer/nerd/etc.”. Shaming needs to stop and hopefully we can all spread the word, making the gaming/nerd community a little better one day at a time.

  21. I’ll admit to indulging in those memes of fake gamers and the gamer gurl, I know that it is exaggerated and takes little concern about who the person is posing in the pictures, but it is funny to see an image of a supposed gamer girl posing in her underwear or less with a controller and system and the system isn’t plugged in.

    Without a doubt there are a few poseurs lurking around using nerd culture to gain attention and there are so many that suffers from this. My personal disdain for the poseurs come from the alienation that came with being a geek, nerd, or whatever you wish to call it for a few comics, anime, and video games, and now that it’s the thing to wear nerdiness or geekdom like a badge of honor there are so many claiming that name just because it’s cool to.

    I had a small niche of friends in high school with whom I could discuss these things comfortably with while others teased us for it. Sadly after graduation and with friends moving it became a bit harder to find people to share that same sense of comradery with.

    Once I encountered at woman who confessed how she was a “nerd” for the Mega Man Legends games and I was excited for a moment because I felt as if I finally found someone I could talk to again and I embarrassingly gushed about my love for the Tron Bonne character and asked if she believed that Capcom would actually betray the fans in not going through with the much anticipated third game. I was answered with a deer in headlights look, I thought maybe I overwhelmed her with being so excited but then after a few minutes of conversation it dawned on me that she knew little to nothing about it after bragging about being such a nerd for it. I would never bash on anyone for expressing a liking for something and knowing little of it for being new, we all were new to our fandoms at one point or another, but really to make yourself out to be greater than you are just for your ego and attention reflects badly on you and many others when it happens too often.

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  23. Loooove this. As a chick who does play the games guys would consider “real” gaming and who prefers to play on a coordinated team, I’m almost guaranteed to be picked on – even after I’ve clearly shown my motive of just playing fucking video games. I argue with myself about whether or not I should post my photo into “Faces of Clan Members” threads. Everyone else does it, but that really doesn’t matter since they are all dudes. At the same time, why should I be ashamed to be pretty? Why is what I look like something I have to actively hide from the online “friends” I fight with on teams? Because while all the other dudes are posting their photos, if I did it the only reason would be to get attention from men…right?

    • Thank you! What I’ve been learning slowly over the years is that holding back and not doing something that everyone else gets to do just lets them win. I do the same thing you are doing, I argue with myself and I think that it’s just not worth it to say something or post a picture but really, why shouldn’t we be able to do what others can do so easily? We are just as skilled and just as good as they are, so lets give them hell. :)

      • I choose not to post my picture, but I’m not happy about it. I do wish guys can look at my picture as “hey this is me” rather than how hot I am. It would be nice. I don’t know how to get to that point though

      • It’s a thin line. I’m not really all that attractive so I hardly have to deal with what you are going through. I mean guys say stuff here and there, but I also get made fun of a lot. My issue is more the getting made fun of part, I sometimes don’t bother with pictures of me on websites as profile pictures or whatever because it’s not worth the hassle. In a way it’s the same, we both wonder why guys can only seem to look at us for looks and not look at who we are as human beings.

        In order to get to that point, I just keep trying to spread the word with articles like this one. I know it’s so small time that it seems pointless, but I feel like if even one guy takes something away from reading this and decides to treat females with more respect then that is a win.

    • Heh. I don’t do that on principle. Having a picture of my face out on the internet makes me paranoid, it’s the same reason I don’t have facebook. But, really, if you really do want to post a photo, it’d be my advice to consider that perhaps, if everyone is to be judged by the same standards, it is best to take a picture of your face, I mean any guy taking a picture where he poses is likely to be pointed and laughed at (in my own opinion, it looks silly), so yeah. Just… yeah, be careful when you post pictures on the interwebs.

      Of course, I’m some random guy from halfway around the world trying to study for a chemistry test (and failing horribly), so there’s no reason to take my advice (credibility wise, I’m about as good as your neighbour’s oversized puppy).

  24. Pingback: Fighting the Good Fight: Misogyny and Video Games | linksaveszelda.com

  25. I really enjoyed this article! It’s funny and personal and well argued and really sums up a lot of my own frustrations with the community as a whole. I think what bothers me the most about all the female-shaming that happens within the subculture is that what it really boils down to is a pervasive attitude that women don’t belong in the gaming world. While a lot of people are coming around, the gaming culture itself is still rife with boy’s club mentality with double standards like scrutinizing women for their choices in games or knowledge of said games, and then pigeon-holing them into categories in a way that men simply aren’t.

    Because being a guy is seen as the default gender of gamers, men don’t have qualifiers in front of their identities because it’s normal to be a guy who is a gamer. If you’re a guy who plays video games, you’re a gamer. If you’re a woman, it suddenly comes with the requirement to qualify and your intentions are scrutinized while men just get the benefit of the doubt. All of this screams that the boy’s club doesn’t think that women belong and must earn the right to share the same identity as a gamer, and must be relentlessly vetted by male gamers in order to be considered legit. Why do I need anyone’s approval to play video games? I don’t need your approval or titles and categories and judgments and endless scrutinizing of my knowledge of games and wardrobe so you can validate my status as a gamer. I don’t need your validation. I am a gamer because I play video games, same reason as you. I just also happen to be a woman. It’s frustrating to have to be considered a girl first, and a gamer second while guys are just given the benefit of the doubt and are just considered gamers and aren’t expected to prove themselves first. Also, I agree with you in that if I want to post a picture of myself biting a controller (which is silly anyway, imo), that doesn’t give anyone the authority to decide that I’m a “fake” gamer. Being an attention-whore and being a gamer are not mutually exclusive for either gender.

    Why do we not discuss at length, the validity of male gamers? Why don’t we discuss what is fake and not fake and what labels should be applied to him and what categories a guy falls into based on how he dresses, what pictures he posts, what games he plays etc…? We don’t discuss any of this because by default of his gender, a guy BELONGS in the gaming community. Girls? No way. We are scrutinized to such an absurd degree because the ultimate belief is that we don’t belong in the first place.

    The other thing I have a problem with is the perception that gaming has ALWAYS been a male activity and that women are just now jumping on the bandwagon because gaming has become mainstream. This sucks too, because it’s not true and it further otherizes women and alienates them from the community as outsiders coming in, rather than the girls who grew up on games alongside their male peers. Like a lot of other women gamers, I’ve been playing video games since I was old enough to hold a controller and I didn’t start playing because my brother was into it. We both started playing at them same time because it’s fun and we had a Nintendo console. Sure there are a lot of women who have only gotten into gaming recently, but there are also a lot of other women like me who have been playing their whole lives. We aren’t newcomers, we’ve been here the whole time. Maybe we’ve been hiding our identities because we don’t want to deal with trolls, but a lot of us have been here since childhood so that whole boy’s club troop can just shove-off already and stop acting like women are invading their club because they’re fad-following trend-whores.

    Bottom line is, we belong as much as the boys. So stop treating us like we’re stealing your toys already. Chances are, we dig the same games for the same reasons that have nothing to do with gender! I agree that the community needs to get over itself and stop antagonizing newcomers and women. Instead of making enemies we should be making friends. That’s the point of being in a community right? Enjoying the same things together because we have common interests?

    I also have to say that I know this does not apply to the entire gaming community. A lot of my gaming buddies both in-game and out who are guys are really chill folks who don’t give a rats ass that I’m female or that any other avatar on the screen might be, too. The community as a whole though, still has a lot of growing up to do. A lot of guys are reasonable, equitable people and it’s a shame that their voices are drowned out by the morons and trolls who still treat women like outsiders and insist on keeping it that way. The backlash to Anita Sarkeesian and the absurd discussions it provoked was proof enough, that we still have a long way to go.

    • Thank you for this great reply! As you said, there is still a massive problem and while we are making strides we are still far behind. Men are the default gamers, when a guy says he plays Skyrim (for example) no one questions him but if a female said the same thing it always turns to “Well what else do you play? Is that the only game you like? Did your brother/boyfriend get that for you? etc” which is silly. If a woman is a gamer then so what? She may play one game she may play hundreds and the same goes for men but nobody questions men like they question women.

      You’d think that by now people’s mentality would have changed but apparently it hasn’t. I love that you are so in-tune with this way of thinking, I must say. I see a lot of females who scoff at me when I speak up on this issue because “guys don’t like it when we speak up” and it irks me. I love seeing women who know the issue, see the issue, and are smart enough to understand the issue. Thanks again, I really enjoyed your comment :)

      • It’s likewise awesome to see people like you making thoughtful articles about it and using their critical thinking skills to analyze what is still, unfortunately, a very current issue. I know what you mean about other women not wanting to “rock the boat” so to speak. I think it’s easy to get intimidated by the aggressive backlash and take the road of silence because it’s the safest and easiest choice and maybe even be deluded into thinking you are more accepted and liked by your male peers if you conform to a more “appropriate” role as a girl in gaming.

        It’s also really disheartening to see women not supporting each other on what is a legitimate concern for all of us and the future of gaming. It’s one thing to disagree with an argument and offer a critique and it’s entirely something else to be dismissive and deliberately unsupportive of women’s experiences in gaming and the community. For example, I immediately facepalm every time I see a girl upload a video applauding herself for not being a feminist and then proceeding to describe how she is better than other women who criticize the patriarchal elements of the gaming culture and then be virtually patted on the back by a bunch of men in the comments.

      • I agree that I think it’s easier for some women to ignore the issue or remain ignorant of it all together. Some of these women do seem to want to assimilate with their male peers, I see women making fun of women all the time just to get their guy friends to laugh when they don’t seem to realize they are only hurting themselves in the long run. I myself mentioned to someone the other day that I think it would be easier to simply be ignorant of feminist issues because sometimes the fight for equality is such a struggle, but then said that I honestly prefer to stay informed because it makes me feel like a badass resistance fighter. XD

        While it can be difficult to recieve the backlash and read the negative comments I think it’s also important. More people need to be less afraid of what others will say and stand up together. I have found a lot of strength through other feminist organization and people like Anita Sarkeesian who specifically addresses the issue of misogyny in video games as well as in pop culture in general.

        I’ve also seen these women you mentioned on YouTube who pat themselves on the back for not being feminists, and every time it just makes me sick. I feel bad for them at times, they have no respect for themselves and that must be hard. On the other hand, some of them are just idiots.

    • Since I have not yet conversed with you, I apologise for my English. It is not my native tongue so please tell me if I make any errors so I can improve! Thanks in advance!

      So. While to some, this reply is eloquently written and persuasive, I find the first paragraphs obnoxious and rude. I’ll be honest, I’ve taken a lot of shit for being a gamer. You’ve probably also taken a lot of shit for being a gamer. The fact that men aren’t scrutinized because of their gender is 99% correct. Until they decide to start playing a game promoted to females or a romcom game of some kind.

      Now, your point is something I agree entirely with, treating people like outsiders because of their genders is discrimination and that is something I can never agree with. But, will coming in without the least bit of diplomacy and apparent ignorance of the judgement the other gender faces for playing games help? No. I have some idea of what you face as a female (I have discussed this a lot with OP and recently with other people as well), but I cannot claim to know all of it, or even most of it. What we need to do is spread the knowledge that BOTH genders are discriminated for playing games (have you seen the kind of shit gamers get in the newspapers? It’s ridiculous!).

      “Why don’t we discuss what is fake and not fake and what labels should be applied to him and what categories a guy falls into based on how he dresses, what pictures he posts, what games he plays etc…? ” This part however, feels like you are just ignorantly accusing men of facing zero discrimination for being gamers or wearing a different kind of clothes. Let me put this out here: men fall into categories based on how they dress. Two of my best friends, one who has Asperger syndrome, were both outcasts for wearing clothes that weren’t cool enough (I was on the fringe of this, my clothes were considered nerdy, but I played enough sports to get away with it. My friend also played sports didn’t play a popular enough sport (handball instead of football).

      Similarly fake and not fake is also something people are harassed about, regardless of gender. Fact of the matter is, everyone suffers this from time to time. I’ve been told too many times to count that my interest in game (A) isn’t good enough for me to call myself a fan or player of it. In particular it happened when I played The Elder Scrolls. I wasn’t very old when Oblivion came out, but my friend’s dad had it on his computer and we liked to play it a lot (I was the translator since I learned English very quickly), and when I bought Skyrim, I finished the main quests fairly quickly, as I am wont to do. When I discussed the game with some of people I know, the fact that I hadn’t completed some lore-heavy sidequests got me accused of not having played the game at all and knowing nothing about it. Of course, I had some 60 hours clocked in on Steam, so it wasn’t hard to disprove, but it happens to all of us.

      Some people I talked to about this issue claimed that people making a big deal of their gender was the problem, because apparently this “breaks immersion” and “brings them back to the troubles of the real world”. Don’t ask me what that last thing is supposed to mean, but to me this just seems like a very particular case and less like a common occurrence, not to mention a somewhat weak excuse.

      I apologise if I seem rude, I agree with the sentiment, I merely think that your wording is aggressive and you assume to much about the other gender.

      Curious off-topic question: how’d you come up with that name O.O?

      • I appreciate your perspective. I actually agree with a lot of what you’ve said as far as the larger American culture viewing people within the subculture of gaming as easy targets to bully. Gamers, to the larger culture are heavily stereotyped as overweight, antisocial, obsessive, and lame individuals with poor social skills and little to offer the rest of society. That perception is changing (thankfully), but I think it’s still safe to say that men who are gamers typically get looked down upon by the rest of society. Women however, to non-gamers, I don’t think are looked down upon to the same degree or in the same way. I may be wrong, this is merely my observation, (although I’ve had some horrified reactions) but what I would guess is that since people don’t assume that women are gamers in the first place, the idea is somewhat novel. That or they think they are just as ridiculous as men who game, I’m not sure. Either way, it’s still pretty common for non-gamers to view gamers in a stereotypical way and through a prejudiced and derogatory lens.

        However, how the larger popular culture views gamers is not what I was discussing in my last post. What I am pointing out is how a lot of male gamers within the gaming culture treat their female counterparts WITHIN gaming as a subculture. Like I said, it’s not all men who do this, but it’s a really loud, really aggressive, really persistent group that makes a lot of women, myself included, feel unwelcome in the gaming community. These people are also sometimes categorized as “turbonerds” who are also unwelcoming to anyone such as yourself, who doesn’t know some certain lore quest in this one game so “obviously he’s a poser”.

        I’m not denying that men also become targets of bullying within the gaming subculture by members of its community. This community/subculture has a lot of immature people in it. What I am saying however, is that there are additional standards and scrutinizing and bullying that women in general experience, which is primarily motivated by gender-bias. You not knowing that lore quest? “He’s obviously lying! He’s faking it”. If I didn’t know that? “Obviously, she’s lying! She’s a fake Gamer Grrl. Girls don’t know shit about video games. That slut just wants attention.” etc… The elitists are merciless to everyone but they can be particularly cruel and misogynist toward women in a certain “you aren’t welcome here, go play your sims 3″ kind of way. There’s an additional level of bullying at play based purely on gender and THAT is what I am discussing.

        That said, women are sexually harassed, degraded, and downright disrespected and dismissed within the subculture. There are a lot of reasonable guys who think this is as lame as we do but it doesn’t change the fact that they seem to be either outnumbered or drowned out by all the bullies who don’t think that girls have any place in the “clubhouse” and should be making them sandwiches instead. A woman’s validity and legitimacy as a gamer is called into question almost automatically. The second she mentions she’s a gamer, she is looked at with suspicion. The stereotype of the “girl gamer”? It’s pretty much assumed that that’s what you are until proven otherwise and that otherwise comes with intense quizzing to make sure you actually know your stuff. If not, you are accused of being a slut who is just looking for male attention. I know men are bullied too, but this is a different kind of bullying, one apparently reserved for females.

        I’m not saying that women are the only one’s bullied in the gaming community. We’re just the only ones singled out for our gender. That makes the default, men. Thus, women are the outsiders. That’s the elitist shit that needs to end… among other things.

        Sidenote: Fleabikini? Stroke of hilarity between friends. We thought it was silly so it because my gamer tag.

  26. Pingback: “Attention Whores” | blondroid

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