Alright, because I so infrequently blog about actual things rather than just my own life, here’s something of substance.
Here’s a situation in which, I have to admit, I was totally wrong.
Remember this image?
It sparked thousands of reposts, reblogs, re-whatever-they-call-it-on-your-preferred-social-media-site, mostly of people making fun of the subject, by imitating her “sexy” face to an exaggerated effect, and eating various consoles, controllers, and games. And the first time I saw each of these spoofs, I laughed. (I mean, not out loud – my literally Out Loud laugh is something that can’t be predicted, even by me, but usually crops up upon seeing game glitches and images like this. But anyway.)
I laughed because, upon seeing the image for the first time, I’ll admit. I made several snap judgments – she’s not a gamer! She just wants attention! She probably borrowed that controller from her brother and doesn’t even know how to use it, nor what an Xbox is! Turns out, all of those assumptions are false. But what’s even worse, is that I instantly judged her not only for “not being a real gamer,” but for the intent behind the photo.
I assumed she was a Fake Geek Girl.
I’m pretty ashamed of myself right now, to be honest – I assumed this girl (Courtney, as it turns out) took this picture for attention. Look at me, boys! I’m a hot girl with a game controller! Silly boys, don’t hit on me! But the article I linked above (here it is again in case you overlooked it: http://nerdcaliber.com/do-you-judge-a-gamer-by-their-picture/) explained that she took it as a joke for her PS3-loving boyfriend, saying that she loved her Xbox more than she loved him.
But above all, what I realized is how shockingly easy it is to make those snap judgments. Having dealt with my fair share of “you just want attention,” “you don’t REALLY play games,” etc., I thought I’d never fall into that trap. I thought I could TELL who was legitimate and who wasn’t – but it turns out, when you take all context away from a picture, all you’re left with is different interpretations of it.
You know what? I can now SORT OF see where all those raging misogynists get there ideas about fake geek girls. I mean, I didn’t take it so far as to go on tirades about fake geek girls poisoning conventions with their short skirts and “look-at-me” attitudes; I simply sighed, rolled my eyes, and moved on with my day. And I’m not saying this makes it ok, or that we should stop standing up for ourselves and for female nerds. All I’m saying is, I can understand why they might think that way, and that’s really the first step toward combating their ideology.
So, women out there who have been labeled a Fake Geek Girl: I’m pretty sure people like Tony Harris, with his now-infamous Fake Geek Girl copypasta rant (included below), are just confused. Sure, he didn’t need to take it that far and is probably a jackass for other reasons, but that sort of thinking trap is SO EASY to fall into.
That said, this kind of thinking is ALSO why subreddits like /r/GirlGamers (as iffy as I am on the name) still exist. Why do we keep harping on about the “Girrrrrrl Gamer” phenomenon? Because people like Tony Harris keep trying to shame us. First it was about showing the world that Girls Play Games Too (TM). Next it was about perhaps making conventions more female-friendly (and holy SHIT, look at all the hate this female journalist got for simply stating that she’s glad PAX has a no-booth-babe policy), and all the shit we put up with and all the dick pics we get if we (gasp, shock) dare to use voice chat in-game. Now, it’s just about sticking up for ourselves when people like Harris try to tell us we don’t belong in the geekosphere.
~Jess “Ruckus” Brohard <3