half life

by - 2/25/2015 07:31:00 am


"Yes, I'm a girl, Yes, I play video games."

You may have heard that quite a while ago, or perhaps recently, around tumblr/reddit/facebook/etc. You probably rolled your eyes, or sighed, or shrugged because you've heard it all before and you honestly don't care.

Let me tell you this: I sigh too. I get to "I'm a―" and hastily scroll down.

But surely, the person who first said it meant their words? Which means, however much we don't like to hear it, it holds a bit of truth.

---

I was big on games since I was two years old. I remember playing an old arcade game called Bubble Bobble (one of the first games to have alternate endings, I'm pretty sure), with my dad playing on WASD keys and me on the arrow keys. When I got older (not double-digits, though), I was lucky enough to own a Playstation 2, PSP, and Nintendo DS Lite. At double-digits, I got a Wii. Eventually, I started to play more games on the PC.

And I was pretty good, too. I learned quickly and I sometimes even beat family friends with lots of years of practice on my first try. But I've always received the brunt of accusations and harassment.

Sometimes, it would be random people I played with online, who would pin down my lack of skill at a new game to my gender. Most of the time, it was my friends, all male, who'd say subtle, hurtful things that were, to put blatantly, sexist.

My friend calling me a 'light gamer'. Another saying I wasn't a gamer because I didn't own enough games. One guy messaging me personally to ask whether I was 'being legit' and actually liked to play. I've often been singled out as a 'bad' or 'not a real gamer' by friends I know in real life, and I knew it was because I was a girl because first, I wasn't particularly horrific at gaming, and second, no male gamers got any criticism whatsoever.

I'm absolutely sure this is due to the stereotype that girls couldn't play video games, or that they are just 'pretending'. I am sure just like I am sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. When you're on the receiving end, the root of the issue becomes as clear as day.


It sucks. It sucks because it causes girls to shrink away, or feel bad about themselves, or push people away for fear of judgement. That's not a good feeling.

Even though I stopped playing this year because of school, I wanted to share this so that someone out there will listen, and if it can help one girl out there, then I know I will have done something good today.


―jo

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4 comments

  1. oh.my. can i just say how much I loved this?
    I'm not really that mcuh into video games and whatnot, but I am into other things which may not always seem the most "appropraite" for a girl. seriously, people could get a life sometimes instead of hating on others.

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    Replies
    1. I agree completely! People should find better things to do then to criticize someone based on their gender. Unfortunately, sometimes people do this subconsciously as a result of media and stereotyping.

      Thanks for commenting, Autumn. :)

      Delete
  2. Wow, this kind of makes me sad—girls should be able to enjoy video games however they want! I know that sometimes our own obligations get in the way of what we want to do, but you bring up a very, very good point—shaming girls who like to play video games isn't cool. Ever.

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