Posts Tagged ‘maxim’

Maxim Magazine wants a “Girl Gamer”.

April 5, 2012

To a lot of women, gaming and the industry is a proverbial clubhouse with a large “No Girls Allowed” sign nailed to the front. Unfortunately, with sexism still being a prevalent issue in the world in general – primarily in a male dominated industry like gaming, it’s not surprising more girls are not active participators. Like a lot of kids my age, I grew up playing video games and as I grew older, developed an interest in them that transcended just casually playing them. For me, video games have always been my primary interest, I didn’t realize that this was regarded as “unique” until I got into my late teens or early twenties. That is when I started hearing the term “girl gamer” and guys started regarding me as a unicorn of sorts. Granted, I didn’t know a lot of other girls personally that had an interest in the industry, but I never really thought about it NOT being a gender neutral activity. I grew up gaming with a lot of guys, and it was never an issue. Now, at nearly 27, the past several years I have noticed quite a transition within the community. With the gaming community undoubtedly growing larger, it would almost seem “en vogue” to play games. Girls who now never played games are getting into the community, some even competing competitively, or promoting themselves by running YouTube channels about games. Are these girls legitimate, or pandering towards a vulnerable audience? It’s hard to say, but guys will either fawn over them or relentlessly question their authenticity. While other girl gamers should be embracing them as part of their special sub-culture, most are secretly competing to be the “better” girl gamer – as if there can only be one. This community is a double-edged sword. Guys get up in arms about “girl gamers” saying it negates equality, but then either put them on a pedestal or tear them down entirely. Girls focus on the sexism that is so destructively prevalent in gaming, yet rarely embrace and support other female game players. As a community sharing such a consummate love for one common denominator, we are surely doing a great job segregating ourselves.

This brings me to Maxim Magazines Gamer Girl contest. I will admit that I had some reservations about the contest. I knew Maxim probably cared little about the girls credentials and passion for the industry, and was probably looking for the nicest pair of peripherals instead. It aggravated me to think so many fantastical qualified girls would be overshadowed by professional models looking for an easy way into getting noticed by Maxim. I decided even though I am not typical Maxim material, that I am more than qualified to represent the community. I decided to compete, not necessarily to win but to represent female gamers in a positive light. To draw attention to the fact that this community is suffering from a debilitating separation. There is absolutely no problem with a girl being proud that she games, just like it’s okay for any other person to be proud of whatever it is they do. Men, and even other girls mistake this as attention seeking. I am hoping that men will notice not all of us depend on playing games to define us or to garner attention. I am hoping other girls can put aside their egotistical self-perseverance and embrace other female game players as part of their family. So far, this contest is a prime example of the “Dark Side” of the community. A lot of girls pandering their sexuality and not their credibility at all, and on the other side, there are lots of men that seemingly come to the site solely to tear the women apart. Why? This mental process eludes me. I read and hear very often that men wish they could find a female to game with, and when they are presented with a proverbial buffet they act like monkeys and throw their own shit.

In my honest opinion, I will support any girl taking an interest in the industry, like I do with any of my male friends. There shouldn’t be such a division within the community and industry, but we are the ones perpetuating these stereotypes. There are already an overwhelming amount of ladies pleading they are “the real deal” while trying to discredit other gamers. This is embarrassing to not only the individual, but to gamers as a whole. Contests like this truly bring out the worst in people, with the only silver lining being you can network and make some great industry friends throughout the process. I truly feel when men stop perpetuating all the misogyny in gaming, maybe girls will feel the need to stop impetuously proving themselves. I am realistic enough to understand we can’t 100% eliminate sexism within the community, because to do that sexism has to be extinguished in its entirety – and I just don’t see that ever coming to fruition. What we can do though, is break down these stereotypes and truly embrace our reverence for the industry and view every gamer as equal. Whether you’re a competitive gamer, casual, trophy hunter, FPS only or you prefer PC over console – It shouldn’t matter; I have my fingers crossed for the day that it doesn’t.