January 26th, 2006

I was going to just make this an “In the News” link, but then I realized it was far too hilarious. Joystiq has two testimonials up as part of their Xbox 360 Annoyance/Xbox 360 Delight series, one from a male gamer celebrating his girlfriend’s (eventual) interest in the system, another from a female gamer lamenting her boyfriend’s 360 disrespect.

First of all, I definitely commend them for showing this from both sides of the gendered gamer coin. It’s not the pieces that crack me. It’s the comments.

They’re too good for words. The “girlfriend troubles” piece is full of chatter about how to snare a girl into the gaming addiction, how bitchy non-gaming girls (and, apparently, girls in general) are, and even a request to see a pic of the girlfriend in question. Here’s my very favorite comment, from a one mercatfat:

“No offense, but your girlfriend sounds like she kind of sucks. There are plenty of worthwhile women who will play/understand games, and they’re not all fat and/or lazy either.” Classic.

The comments to the “boyfriend troubles” piece are even better, in a way. Of course, no one’s asking to see pics over there, and most of the bickering has to do more with the merits of the console itself — and the evils of MTV. Plus, granted, there’s pseudo relationship advice flying around both posts. But I couldn’t even make up some of these responses. Here’s a summary: “Your boyfriend is gay!”

Ah yes, I forgot, men who aren’t interested in gaming also enjoy sex with other men. It’s a proven fact. Because, obviously, they have no balls (or, you know, gay balls). What homos.

Seriously though, I realized men who appeared weak within the gaming community got called “gay” – but I didn’t realize stepping outside of the community entirely made you gay as well. Pretty soon the world will be populated with gamers, right? Because if non-gamers are gay, and gamers are straight, it’s going to be a generation of gamer babies.

That is, of course, if only all us empowered gamer girls weren’t such flaming lesbians. Alas…

Tags: Blog

14 Responses to “This Just In: All Girl Gamers Not Fat and/or Lazy”

  1. frodo Says:

    Everyone is gay. Because things like Queer Eye and Brokeback Mountain make you catch the gay.

  2. Brummbar Says:

    I know a bartender who makes a great Flaming Lesbian.

  3. Patrick Dugan Says:

    Well basic probability theory would seem to marginalize the odds of a girl being attractive and into gaming. Yet, somehow, the laws of probability don’t apply as neatly to humans as to the rest of it. All of the gamer girls I’ve seen and/or interacted with have been at least in decent physical condition, even if they weren’t extremely beautiful.

    But heres the thing, being a girl gamer makes you hotter than you would be otherwise. Most guys have to drink beer to find not-so-hot women attractive, but gaming is something girls can do to make themselves hotter ALL THE TIME. Its much more economic.

    The first girl I ever kissed, in first grade, turned out to really dig PaRappa the Rappa when in came out in seventh, so maybe theres gamer radar, or gadar, that works retroactively.

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Wait, go back. Why is it most probable that a girl who’s into gaming will be unattractive?

  5. Jez Says:

    As the author of the “boyfriend troubles” piece, I totally agree, the comments are hilarious — more so when compared side-by-side. (I decided to write it after seeing the comments on the “girlfriend” post.)

    My other half isn’t troubled by these assaults on his masculinity, of course. I’m the gamer who does all the DIY around the house, enjoys football, competes in FPS tournaments, forgets birthdays; he cooks dinner, does the laundry, reminds me to go shopping, forgets birthdays.

    Something the Joystiq commenters can’t grasp is that I’m glad he doesn’t like games. Having played online in many communities–some primarily male, others primarily female–I’ve seen how shallow the “OMG a gamer girl?!” reactions can be. I’d much rather be with him because he actually likes me, than because I’m one of the few women around here who will touch a games console.

  6. Bonnie Says:

    Hi Jez – thanks for stopping by. I really enjoyed your piece, exactly because it lacked that “OMG!” quality. You didn’t make a big deal of the fact that you’re a girl who likes game, dating a guy who doesn’t (something rare enough that your readers are obviously baffled), you just told your story as if your frustration was as normal and valid as anyone else’s — which it is, of course. Yours is a situation, and a feeling, which you don’t often come across around here, and as a fellow girl gamer I do wonder what it would be like to date a non-gamer (My beau is equally obsessed. We carry around matching N64 keychains; he has a mini console, I have a mini controller. It’s sickeningly adorable.). Dating someone who doesn’t share your interests is something that most people (most vocal gamers, at least) might look at as less than ideal, but, for better or for worse, women gamers certainly have just as much right to experience it as anyone else.

  7. Patrick Dugan Says:

    Oh yeah, I wasn’t saying gaming girls are unattractive, I think somewhere in that last post I said something about knowing alot of hot gaming girls (well, a few).

    My point was, gaming makes girls hotter in general.

    Too bad it doesn’t work the other way.

  8. Jez Says:

    Gaming makes girls hotter if you’re a gamer, but then surely stamp collectors find other philatelists attractive :)

    Bonnie; yeah, that was exactly what I was trying to achieve. Glad you liked it!

  9. Bonnie Says:

    To play devil’s advocate, you could make the case that (in theory – I’m not saying this is my view) girl gamers are more likely to be unattractive because of social expecations set up for us. It’s the same reason you could say there’s an increased possibility that male gamers will be “dorky” – because this is the image we present as a culture. Girls are taught that video games are for boys, therefore to game they have to, to a certain extent, defy gender expectations. If they’re already doing this, they may be more likely to defy gender expectations in other ways, such as looks – or at least their attention to them. So I suppose the point would be that, not in any innate way but in a pragmatic way, girls who game may be less likely to care about presenting themselves in what society calls an attractive feminine manner. Of course, it’s all theoretical whatnot. I like lipstick just as much as the next girl. But don’t try and get me near a hair dryer :-).

  10. Duncan Munro Says:

    Quite often, geek (or gamer) guys just have to learn the tastes of their Significant Other before it is even possible to pull them into something as traditionally male, or geeky, or (frankly) scary as the world of games. I find that this often applies to Sci-Fi stuff too.

    Once you know the taste of the girl (or guy, if we swing the argument around) we, as the more enlightened and well read in the topic, can filter out the crap. Find something that they will like, then show them. Get them started easy and they will find their own way eventually. Or just keep filtering out the crap. Give them only the cream of the crop so that they stay interested and can stay off your back for playing everything else that you like.

    Too often people complain that their friends, relatives, or significant others are hard on them about their interests and passions. But I know that you get the right game, the right book, the right movie/tv show, and they can become just as involved as you. Look to what they want, then slowly draw them in.

  11. Bonnie Says:

    Ah, the “get them hooked” approach. Always a good way in. But it seems maybe Jez’s point is that she likes her boyfriend the way he is, as a non-gamer.

  12. FerrousBuller Says:

    The stereotype is that gamers are more introverted & sedentary than “normal” people and thus are less interested in being physically active – which, among other things, affects their appearance and hygiene. In some ways, it’s just common sense: the more time you spend in front of a monitor or TV gaming (i.e., the more “hardcore” of a gamer you are), the less free time you have to spend, say, exercising; it doesn’t take a fitness expert to guess what sort of effect that lifestyle has on your physique. Likewise, time you’re spending gaming is time you’re not spending on (real-world) socializing, so no surprise that affects your (real-world) social life. Both are true of any couch potato, regardless of what they do while on that couch.

    Like any stereotype, sometimes it’s true, sometimes it isn’t – in the end, it depends on the individual gamer. But the prevailing assumption is that if someone is a self-professed gamer – male or female – they must be unattractive introverts; more so if they’re outright dorks. Hell, I make the same generalization, because I’ve been around dorks and nerds all my life, since – surprise! – I’m one myself; I know which way the odds usually fall. [No comment as to whether or not the stereotype applies to me.]

    But I know better than to presume a statistical likelihood always translates into a real-world permutation; i.e., just because the stereotype about unattractive gamers has some validity doesn’t mean I think every gamer I meet online is gonna turn out to be an ugly anti-social reject. In short: generalizations help you make statements about prevailing demographics, but they have bugger-all to do with individuals.

    As for gamers and non-gamers dating: well, that’s just the age-old problem of people with different interests / passions finding common ground and working out compromises. Gaming is just a new-ish pasttime for couples to either share or work around – I don’t see what the big deal is. There’s nothing which says everyone will like gaming; there’s also nothing which says everyone HAS to like gaming. “Gaming widows” can join “football widows” to bemoan their husbands’ absurd hobbies and compare notes to see who has it worse… :-)

    As for the “gay-ness” of non-gaming males: I figure that’s just a byproduct of certain hobbies being seen as “for guys” or “for girls.” Playing house with dolls is for girls; playing Terrorist Takedown with GI Joe action figures is for boys. If a guy doesn’t like guy things, he must be less manly – and what’s less manly than “loves the cock?” Certainly I’ve drawn my share of odd looks when I admit I find sports (esp. football) pretty effin’ boring. Gaming is for guys – as long as it’s a manly game (e.g., FPSs). Whereas Bejeweled? Gaaaay. ;-)

    And in my experience, a lot of guys are obsessed with – and insecure about – how “masculine” other guys think they are. So they go out of their way to define what are macho hobbies, then emphasize their own interest in them. [More than one female friend has told me I’m a guy who’s not hung up on his guyness…which I’m presuming they mean as a compliment. :-] So when they talk about something being “gay,” it’s usually just trash-talking. In the words of Kyle Baker: “It was just an insult; no offense was intended.”

  13. Bonnie Says:

    Good points, Ferrous. I think the thing that’s so interesting about Jez’s position though is that she’s not looking to necessarily have all the same interests as her boyfriend. It’s a position that’s not often taken… As for trash-talking, I hear you, but I think there’s always a number of levels there. Even when guys don’t mean, “you take it in the ass,” in some sense they do.

  14. FerrousBuller Says:

    “I think the thing that's so interesting about Jez's position though is that she's not looking to necessarily have all the same interests as her boyfriend. It's a position that's not often taken"¦”

    Personally, I think it’s healthy for couples to have a few separate interests that they can pursue independent of one another. There’s such a thing as TOO much together time, y’know? But maybe that says more about my attitude towards relationships than anything else… ;-)

    “As for trash-talking, I hear you, but I think there's always a number of levels there. Even when guys don't mean, "you take it in the ass," in some sense they do.”

    Well, courtesy of Tom Chick’s Shoot Club, here’s an enlightening anecdote:

    “But we are at that juvenile level where we still think the whole ‘fag’ thing is funny. Except when Jeremy was around. We were all pretty sure he was gay. We’d long suspected it. It was all but confirmed when someone was looking at a magazine ad with a buxom chick holding a game box under her cleavage. ‘Boy, I would do that,’ Jeremy said, loudly enough so that we could all hear. He was enunciating the words far too carefully, as if it was a phrase he’d rehearsed phonetically. While Jeremy studied the ad, we gave each other knowing looks: he was trying to talk hetero.

    “So there was a tacit understanding that you kept a lid on the ‘f’ word when Jeremy was at Shoot Club. Sometimes it would slip — ‘God, you’re such a fucking cockwad dick mulching fag!’ — and we’d desperately try to look nonchalant afterwards, more worried that Jeremy would see our startled apologetic reaction at having let the word slip than Jeremy actually hearing the word. Of course, once Jeremy moved in with his girlfriend — we didn’t even know he had a girlfriend — we were back to hollering the word ‘fag’ at each other every five minutes.”

    The moral: sometimes, men talk trash only when they’re certain no one will actually be offended. :-)

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