For as long as there have been games there have been both men and women who play them. With the rise of Twitch and Youtube, the gaming community is larger and stronger now than it ever has been, but there’s a bit of a problem. Girl Gamers. The problem isn’t with girls who game, but rather the title of “Girl Gamer” itself. This one is going to get very controversial and very opinion-heavy, kids, so buckle up.
As a woman in the gaming community, I have come across all manner of people. Many couldn’t care less what gender I am and for that I am grateful. However, I have gotten the “OMG A GRILL! &!#$?”, the ever-popular “Lol there’s no such thing as a girl that plays games” and my personal favorite “does your boyfriend make you play this?” I’m not here to whine about idiots in game culture though. I’m here to talk about why women should stop embracing the Girl Gamer title.
Girl Gamer, Gamer Girl, Girly Gamer, Chick Gamer, whatever the title it’s completely unnecessary. What a label like this does, whether you sport it proudly or not, is put you in a box. You are essentially giving everyone that comes across you permission to define you by your gender and therefore judge you based on it. The saying “You’re pretty good for a girl” only exists because we allow people to keep using it.
It is certainly fine to be proud of being a woman in the gaming community or industry, but building your entire identity around being a girl is a lot like building your identity around the color of your skin. In reality, it should have no effect on your skills, your passions, or your hobbies. And you certainly shouldn’t be judged by it. The more women embrace this title, the more we as a collective are being held to ridiculous stereotypes and seen as an entirely separate entity. That’s a big problem. If we don’t strive for an equal place in the community then why would we be given one?
The idea behind the gaming community is that it’s just that – a community. It’s a space for like-minded individuals to congregate and chat about a thing that they love. Essentially, sticking a “Girl” label on yourself is drawing attention away from the one word that really matters: “Gamer”.