I Am A Stereotype
Am I damaging female gaming?
Often I read articles from other women who are avid gamers of all kinds. Often a familiar theme is how much people expect from them as either a woman or a gamer, as if they can’t be feminine and a gamer. I get where this comes from too as I’ve seen it. This view that a female gamer must be a tomboy.
I fear that I may be part of the problem sometimes. I am that stereotype. I work in IT and I am an avid gamer. It’s not that I’m not feminine, just that I have more boy brain than girl brain. I like boy things, movies, games, books, etc., but on the flip side of that though I am a nail polish addict. I’ve been running femme gamer for several years now after several years of professional games journalism; yet another field predominately occupied by males.
See why I might have this paranoia about being part of the problem and not the solution? I am that gamer female in the jeans and and clever t-shirt making crude jokes and kicking butt with the guys. The nature of stereotypes though means I’m not the only one, I can’t be. If I was alone in this it wouldn’t be a stereotype. So instead of worrying if I’m causing more harm than good, I thought to examine me and how I got to this point.
The first question has to be: “When did the tomboy thing start?” Well that’s easy; at birth. Okay maybe not quite that soon, but it certainly wasn’t too far after. I had an older brother growing up and his toys were always so interesting. I love taking things apart and putting them back together so I was naturally attracted to his Transformers. I had a teddy bear collection, but that was more like early training for later fanatical book collecting; a habit that was blooming even then as I became an avid reader. The computer obsession started here too with that Vic20 we had.
By time I hit my teens and was committed to this tomboy thing without even realising it. By time I was in my 20s it was obviously not going to change and I turned to computers to strike out a career for myself. Once the career began to blossom so did my interest in games. Sure I’d been playing games for years, but this was the dawn of the FPS game era and Quake was new.
I began building custom computers to play these games on and to further my career. I found I had a knack for it and I fell deeper into the hole of technology and became a fullly loaded hardware and computer geek. The more time I spent playing games, the more I played them with guys. My tomboy credentials grew and my gaming friends circle grew and was mostly filled with men. I worked with computer, enjoyed gaming with guys.
As the years passed the cycle didn’t change. I met my husband through online gaming and I moved to the UK. I met more gamers and found other females who also enjoyed gaming. Time passed and I got older and still I was the same tomboy. When I was a kid I liked bugs, snakes and getting dirty; and I still do even in my 30s. I used to take things apart just so I could see how they work and put them back together, now I get paid for it. I am the tomboy stereotype and I always have been.
I know that there are many women out there who are gamers and are tomboys. I know that we get a bit of guff because we are the stereotype. I know that there are plenty of women out there who aren’t. I know it’s a fight for the gaming world to just treat us all like gamers instead of pigeon-holing us. That doesn’t mean we can’t be proud of who we are even if we do fit into the pigeon-hole. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re a stereotype. Tomboy gamer femme or ultra-femme woman gamer, it doesn’t matter. We’re all gamers. We aren’t hurting the hobby. Be proud of who you are no matter what. We are who we are and gaming is a big part of our lives.
Screw you gaming world. We are females and we are gamers. Just like the guys, we too come in all kinds of stereotypes.