June 21, 2016

It’s hard to be a female gamer when you’re always judged by societal standards that girls should not be playing violent games. It’s frustrating, really. In fact, more often than not, we receive scornful and really sexist remarks about our particular “weird” hobby. Seriously, this is getting old. I’m putting my foot down (finally) and taking this chance to address some assumptions held against us.

1. I’m not a “tomboy”
Surprise surprise, as much as I love playing games, I’m still as “girly” as every other females out there. In fact, I’m really the opposite of what a typical “tomboy” stereotype encompasses – I’m bad at sports, I wear dresses, I have girl friends and yes, I put on make up (rolls eyes). Psh, gender stereotypes. Admittedly, we can’t be blamed for having such gendered notions that only boys can play computer games; we were conditioned to think that way. Given that the most popular video game device was called a “Game Boy”, it’s hard to shake the notion that only guys could play such games. I’m pretty sure guys don’t really mean to be sexist when they look at me wide-eyed, “You play Dota? For real?” But let’s be honest, their surprised reactions do show their inherent prejudices. Hey, we shouldn’t be constrained by any gender prejudices anymore, it’s the 21st century guys! So save your insults when you see a boy playing with barbie dolls or a girl playing with toy cars.

2. I’m tired of the assumption that I’m a “noob”


Yes yes, the age-old debate that “girls are the weaker sex”. As much as we hope that society today has advanced (you’d think), we’re still pretty much backward when it comes to stereotypes like these. Guys usually scoff at me when they find out that I play the same games as they do, and they would naturally assume that I’m lousy, just because I’m a girl. Online jibes do happen pretty often when my gender has been exposed, and they do go into the entire angry “keyboard warrior” process of calling me noob, but I ended up trashing him anyway.

3. I’ve actually made decent online friends
Sorry Mum, I’ve talked to strangers online…and even met them in real life. And yes, we are still friends today. It’s not that bizarre. Before you call me a total rebel, I only met them when we found out that we were of the same age and went to the same tuition centre. While it is dangerous to talk to strangers online, it’s hard not to do so when becoming friends was as simple as clicking a button. Of course, you have to be discerning when making friends online; not all of them are who they claim to be. In short, it is not entirely impossible or dangerous to make friends online as others have claimed. Been there, done that!

4. Sometimes, I’d rather skip social events
Here’s the blatant truth – sometimes I’d rather play endless rounds of Blackshot than get all fancy and head out on a warm Sunday. But when social duties call, I’m always late when I tend to play more rounds than I should; and we all know that one round of Dota usually takes longer than expected. Sorry friends, you can’t just quit a game like that. I’m a responsible person! But probably not the most punctual friend around.

5. I’m not an attention seeker!
I’ve always been stared down scathingly by girls who are accompanying their boyfriends whenever I go into one of those little LAN shops with my friends. The common misconception about female gamers is that we play these games just to flirt with and befriend guys. While I’ll admit that talking about games is an easy conversation topic, playing games are only for my own leisure; and definitely not something I’d do to gain attention. We need to stop this honestly disturbing notion that females only do certain things for men and not for themselves.

6. I become a completely different person


Contrary to what most of you think, us girls are not all sugar and rainbows when we play games. We might be in real life, but it’s always hard to hold back the anger and shouts when something goes wrong in the middle of an intense battle. I guess the ill effects of video games are indeed true – they morph me into a crazy, angry and irritable person. I’ll never want to be the person who’s at the receiving end of my angry outbursts; but if they were the cause of my huge loss, they probably deserved it anyway.

Illustration by Carina Foo.