Friday, 26 June 2015

Gamer girl

Hiiiiii there, it's your favourite gamer girl reporting in!

The blogosphere was the decor of a snowball effect last week, set in motion by Pyxis of Gamers Decrypted with the question: What is a gamer? Of course I cannot miss out on this topic, being a gamer girl myself (or so my blog description claims).

Identifying as a gamer

Naturally, if you ask a question to five bloggers, you're going to get five different answers. What interested me, was if our snowball bloggers identify as gamers themselves. Shadowz of The Legacies in SW:TOR writes she does not, because she doesn't want to be labelled something. Minju of Pixelkaffe doesn't call herself a gamer because she doesn't want to be part discussions of how hardcore at gaming she is. Zernebog of Zerneblog, however, does call himself a gamer. He emphasizes that it's not about what, how or how much you play, but about how you define yourself. Murf of Murf Versus, finally, wins the prize for the most poetic definition of 'gamer', stating that "the only core ideal the word gamer preserves for me is the notion that you both love games and want to broaden that love". He identifies as a gamer, even at a time when that was not fashionable, to put it midly (...but is it now?).

Murf's view comes closest to my own, although I cannot articulate it quite as eloquently as he. If you love games, you can call yourself a gamer; that's enough for me.

What strikes me every time when prompts like these pop up (I saw it before when I asked victims people about this as part of my Liebster award), is that many bloggers that I would consider gamers (for they're obviously very enthusiastic about their hobby, spending so much time writing about it) don't identify as gamer themselves because elitist attitudes and the Gamergate debacle have left a sour taste associated with the label.

I'm just that girl playing MMOs, you know?

I wrote something about how I came to identify as a gamer just a few weeks ago in How I ended up gaming, so I'll just quote myself (even though that feels a bit odd):
"Ever since I started gaming regularly, I've had to defend it as a hobby. In the offline world, I run into people who think of gaming as dangerous/addictive, unsociable or a waste of time (or a combination of the three). All the time. Women especially always seem to have their verdict ready (fellow women, we really need to relax a bit more) and I feel gaming is more easily accepted as a hobby when men admit they're into it. 
I guess the sad truth is that by feeling forced to defend my gaming activities, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what games mean to me and how I perceive them. Now if you'd recreate me as a character in the Sims, I would have the trait 'stubborn'. The more you tell me gaming is weird or otherwise an unwanted characteristic, the more convinced I become of the opposite. I've always strongly believed that everyone should be allowed to express themselves in the way they want (unless, of course, this is harmful to others) and should be accepted doing that, and gaming is no different. 
The funny thing is that I'm certain I wouldn't have given gaming so much thought without meeting resistance. In the end, it is non-gamers that made me identify as a gamer."

Just adjusting the camera a bit to get the correct angle...

Gamer girls, the special snowflakes amongst gamers

Okay, so I feel like a gamer. But where does the gamer girl part come in?

I mean, it doesn't just say "diary of a gamer girl" at the top of the blog because I happened to be looking for a subtitle for my blog's name that would point out it's a blog about gaming and I thought girl fitted me better than lady (I hate it so much when people call me lady, I'm just really not ladylike!) or woman (which is just a bit... odd); plus I have a kinda weird sense of humour and assume people will be able to tell how I feel about "gamer girls" ...right? That would've been too easy.

I'm such a nerd lol

In What is a gamer, Pyxis of Gamers Decrypted writes:
"I have to sidetrack a little because of one of these terms. Girl gamer. To me this sounds weird. I doubt any pro gamer who is female would describe herself as a girl gamer. (I might be wrong, I only did a short check and the ones I found didn’t call themselves that.) That would make a girl gamer a casual gamer who wants to draw attention to the fact that she is a girl. That is apparently important to know. It’s a sort of add: hey guys, I am a hot (nerdy, girl next door) girl who also can play a game with you! With my pink controller! Hihi!
Something like that. But then again, why not. Get the attention."
Hiiiii Pyxis. Nice to meet you! It's Rav, writing in her diary of a gamer girl on Ravalation. So (apparently) gamer girls do exist. I love the part with the pink controller; I would totally use that as an alternate subtitle!

I'm a gamer girl  - can I have your stuffz pls? *princess eyes*

Warning: gamer girl mode engaged.

This is so me!

Hardmode raids? I LOVE them!!!! I mean, OMG, look at all those nightmare mode PvE achievements. They would make certain people go and pray for their sins lol.

Here, have some more selfies of my beach trip to Tatoo-something (sorry, more than two syllables, too hard hihi), because I know you guys love me so much (love you too sweetie!!). It's like this really nerdy place, the real lore fans go there. lol I thought it was a bit boring but OMG I did find some droid I was looking for!!! *wink* *wink*

Anyway, you can pin the selfies above your bed or something. Have some fun with them. Hihi. <3



PS Thanks, Honeyberry, for letting me borrow you as model. You can have your normal hair colour & outfit back now lol. /gamer girl mode


  1. To paraphrase Cookie Monster: "G is for Gamer, that's good enough for me!"

  2. Maybe I should advertise myself as a guy gamer to even out the scale a bit.

  3. I really struggle with the "gamer" tag. I've written about it a few times because this topic does keep coming up of late but, honestly, I've been playing video games since the late 1970s but I never really heard anyone call him or herself a "gamer" until the last four or five years. For the rest of those decades playing video games always seemed to be something you did whereas now it seems to be something you are.

    I just don't warm to any of these "identification by activity" labels. I work in a bookshop and every day i speak to customers who self-identify as "readers", which I think is just weird. I've read obsessively all my life but I can't imagine introducing myself to someone as a "reader". I've also listened to music all my life but would I call myself a "music listener"?

    Nope, I think these labels are odd and unhelpful. I much prefer "I play games" to "I am a gamer". The term "girl gamer" however, has a completely different set of values attached, I think. I always see that as a feminist statement, part of the long tradition of reclaiming, owning and subverting negative stereotypes. I'd say calling yourself a "girl gamer" is an overtly political act the way just calling yourself a "gamer" probably wouldn't be, although the hobby of gaming itself seems to be developing its own political infrastructure so maybe even that distinction won't hold for long.

    1. "For the rest of those decades playing video games always seemed to be something you did whereas now it seems to be something you are."

      THIS. I love gaming but it's such a small part of my overall identity. It's difficult for me to say things like, "I'm a foodie, a gamer, and a bookworm" because that's not what comes to mind when I have to introduce to myself to someone new.

  4. Love the snark, hihi! *snort*

    Have you seen Team Unicorn's "Geek and Gamer Girls" cover of Katy Perry? How would you react to that? Bemusement, scorn, agreement?

    To answer Bhagpuss, I would class someone who reads obsessively (for fun, not work) as a bookworm or "reader". I would label someone who obsesses about music - that is, they get into the artist backgrounds, go see a lot of live gigs, have the merch, etc - as...something. Not "music listener", certainly, but something more appropriate to the activity, a word that encapsulates the fact that you care about the activity enough to devote significant time, energy and/or money to enjoy it. "Music fan" seems almost right but a little hollow, not quite there...

    1. Hi and welcome to the blog! I had not, in fact. *Had* not, because I of course had to look this up, and now I have! This is the video referred to, for the rest of the readers:

      Greetings friends….
      Don’t you want to meet a nice girl?

      (First verse)
      I, know a place
      Where the gamer scores are so extreme (bloop boop boop!)
      Dune, D & D,
      Where Rand al’Thor still reigns supreme
      Questin’, in Hyrule
      Dominating Final Fantasy (Seven) (yeah yeah, siete)
      Those boys
      Losin’ sleep
      Tryin’ ta keep up with our leet speak (what up, n00bs?) (n00b sauce)

      Be a part of our world
      In latex and bows
      Cuz’ these girls play cos’
      Set our phasers to stun
      You’ll be falling in love
      Ooooooh oh ooooooh

      Geek and Gamer girls
      We’re unbelievable
      Comic books
      And Manga in stock
      Hasbro toys
      So rare
      We got the mail-away
      Ooooooh oh ooooooh
      Geek and Gamer girls
      We’re undefeatable
      Achievement unlocked
      Jedi represent
      Now put your sabers up
      Oooooooh oh ooooooh

      (Verse 2)
      We, love Stan Lee (Excelsior!)
      And Joss created all our favorite shows
      We Frag
      In our sleep (Killjoy!)
      We will pwn your ass in Halo (uh oh)

      Be a part of our world (Be a part of our world…)
      In latex and bows
      Cuz’ these girls play ‘cos
      Set our phasers to stun (Set our phasers to stun…)
      You’ll be falling in love
      Ooooooh oh ooooooh

      Geek and Gamer girls
      We’re unbelievable (Tri-force!)
      We all know
      That Han shot first (It’s a trap!)
      No dubs
      We want originals
      Ooooooh oh ooooooh
      Geek and Gamer girls (Level up!)
      We’re undefeatable
      Achievement Unlocked
      Browncoats represent (Shiny!)
      We aim to misbehave
      Oooooooh oh ooooooh

      Sailor Moon
      Hogwarts boys all make them swoon
      Aragorn, Legolas
      These are the boys they love the best
      I mean they’re good to go
      Love Scifi, yo’
      The girls are sweet
      They can’t be beat
      Super fine like Peach
      Darth Maul
      Standing tall
      He’s so bad
      So say we all
      Epic Lootz
      For the Win
      Hyjal’s what we’re raiding in
      Konami Code
      Doctor Who
      Expert Mode
      Game genies, WoW fiendies, Sith meanies
      No weenies
      Don’t forget
      They the queen-ies

      Gamer ladies? (Yeah?)
      Raidin’ tonight babies? (Uh huh!)
      I’m all up on y’as
      Cuz you representin’ geek and gamer girls
      (Ohhh yeahh)

      Geek and Gamer girls
      We’re unbelievable
      Comic books
      And Manga in stock (Hey!)
      Hasbro toys
      So rare
      We got the mail-away
      Ooooooh oh ooooooh
      Geek and Gamer girls (Finish him!)
      We’re undefeatable
      Achievements unlocked
      Trekkers represent (Red shirts, red shirts!)
      (trekkers, trekkers)
      Now put your phasers up
      Oooooooh oh ooooooh

      (Geek and gaaaaameeerrr, Geek and gaaaaamerrr, giiirrrlll)

      Geek and gamer girls man
      I really wish they all could be
      geek and gamer girls
      (Geek and gamer)
      (Geek and gamer girls)

      Game over.

      Based on "California gurls" by Kate Perry:
      ^This is really not my kind of music, but the visuals are kinda cool.

    2. My reaction to Team Unicorn's "Geek and Gamer Girls":
      I'm losing brain cells while watching this... uhhh, I mean, OMG this is great!!! Where do I sign up??? ;)

      Thanks for mentioning this; it was amusing. ^^

  5. I don't mind the gamer tag, but I'm more from the era when "gamer" meant "someone who played D&D". And from my perspective, that's what a gamer is: someone who plays games --video or not-- who really has a good time playing them.

    It is, admittedly, a very broad definition, but I've found that being more inclusive to gaming works better in the long run.

    But if someone wants to call themselves a gamer girl, what's the problem? I've got three of them in my household, so I certainly don't see any issues with the term. And I would be the last person to suggest that pro gamers (such as the LoL folks) ought to be emulated. I've seen what happens with pro athletes as role models (/cough Charles Barkley /cough), so I'd definitely not use pro gamers as a touchstone on gamer culture.

    1. I totally agree with you: the more elitist attitudes reign the gamer label, the smaller and less pleasant the scene becomes. I would much rather see the label grow to include a large range of people, turning gaming into just another hobby rather than something to be ashamed of. Maybe it already has, but it seems like there are two major camps at the moment, each with their own interpretation of the label.

      I don't see any problems with people wanting to call themselves gamer girls. I think Pyxis has a point, though, few people want to call themselves gamer girl because of the stigma of 'brainless, wannabe gamers' attached to it. It's something some male gamers use to call names. Perhaps I'm making things only worse by poking fun at it this way, but I felt I couldn't pass up the opportunity. After all, I'm gaming and a girl (well, sorta, let's say my avatar is ageless!) and am subtitled as such. What I was most hoping for was to stir a healthy discussion, which it did.

      On another note, I still adore your post about the household of mini gamers so much, you should sooo write more! I hope your girls will grow up as gamer girls in a world where that totally is okay.

  6. Objectively, there's nothing wrong with the term 'gamer'. It's the connotations society has either willingly or unwillingly imposed on it that's the problem.

    I'm old enough to have come from a schooling era when only boys gamed. And I still remember the tone in girls' voices whenever they asked things like "So, you play games?" or "So, what games do you play?". Almost like they were daring you to embarrass yourself with a proper answer.

    1. I'm confused. If they didn't play games themselves, what would they then consider the 'correct' answer?

      I was born in the late '80's, so I guess I'm at the end of that generation. I remember my younger brother hosting LAN-parties at our home. About 15 gamers in the house for a weekend, all boys. I always was so jealous as they were having fun. I remember asking him: "are there no other coop games you can play?" (They always played HALO and I really don't like shooters.) If only I knew...

    2. Not a 'correct' answer - I meant 'proper' as in actually answering the question. Like "Oh, I'm playing Warcraft III now!" or "Yeah, I prefer single-player games to multiplayer!".

      The looks such replies got me the first couple of times was enough to warn me that you avoid the topic of gaming when girls are around, or be branded as an obsessed nerd unworthy of attention. I reckon it's even worse here than in the States, given the pragmatic, materialistic nature of Singaporean society.

      My friends and I used to host annual LAN parties, too - but at chalets. We'd ferry our rigs there in borrowed cars or flatbeds, and turn the apartments' living rooms into (illegal) cybercafes. When we got older and started dating, some of us began bringing their girlfriends to these yearly events - and the looks on the girls' faces when they stepped through the apartment door never failed to crack me up. Oh, well. Connotations.

    3. I remember during Fresher's Week I tried to join the D&D tabletop club - I'd played some RPGs on the Megadrive and thought it looked fun. (this was in 95). I didn't join in the end because the poor boys on the table just totally freaked out and wouldn't talk to me. I suspect they thought I was winding them up or something, which is really sad. I did have pillar box red hair and was dressed in my then usual alternative garb - so I guess I can't blame them.

      but yeah I don't like to be defined by one thing - I am a gamer but I'm also a bookworm, a muso, a crafter, a blogger etc etc etc. I wouldn't call myself a gamer girl because *sigh* I'm far too old ;) but I never thought of you (or others) in those terms.

    4. I'm really old school --as in my first video game exposures were to Pong and Colossal Cave-- and women have been involved with gaming from the beginning. They're not as many in number, but they've been there.

      'And I still remember the tone in girls' voices whenever they asked things like "So, you play games?" or "So, what games do you play?". Almost like they were daring you to embarrass yourself with a proper answer.'

      It wasn't girls alone who'd do that. The boys would do that too, because sports was okay, but playing Atari wasn't.

  7. LOL I really enjoyed this! Ravelicious! ;) And yes, you're such a little sinner, it can't be denied.

    1. Unfortunately, we can't all be saints... ;)

  8. It is much more acceptable to be called a gamer now than when I started to play. Being a girl gamer Is the best of all imaginable worlds.

  9. Awesome post! I really enjoy it reading (anthropologist lens on & happy). I am going to share it :) Thank you for writing this piece!


    1. So glad you liked it! Also, thanks for sharing. I did link to this article on the Female Geek Bloggers page, thinking it might be relevant to some, but no responses. Diverging interests, I suppose. Thanks again for dropping by!

  10. I have never felt the need to call myself a gamer, and I think this is because gaming was fairly normalized within my peer group throughout basically of my life. My first exposure to video games was Zelda on the NES and Sonic 2 on the Genesis when I was maybe 4 or 5; from there it continued as "the normal thing that most of the people I hung out with did or at least knew about." I was never derided or made to feel uncomfortable because of that particular activity (which was one among many: I was also in all of the different band iterations, orchestra, pit orchestra, debate club, "Reading Olympics," and trivia team). My parents never chided me for playing too much. I always feel really conflicted when I hear about people's shitty experiences with gaming and growing up: I want to give all of your teenaged selves hugs but then I'm also just really baffled as to how we could have had such different experiences?

    I think a lot of the people who stick to the gamer label do it because they felt like that was their tribe, their crew, their group during their formative years. Those kinds of bonds are intense and stay with people their whole lives---and there's nothing wrong with that, either.

    So, there's that reason I never caught on to the gamer label: I never faced much opposition for my interest. The other reason that I consciously avoid using it now is because of the negative prestige some other people have touched on. I realize that the only way to counteract that negative prestige is for people like myself to embrace and use the label, but.....meh. I guess I don't think it's a battle worth fighting.


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