Women and girls who play video games are up against a lot: one-dimensional female protagonists, sexual harassment by male gamers, objectification, and a litany of weirdly specific — and impossible to fulfill — criteria for what "real" gamer girls should be.
If male gamers and nerds have always, to some extent, been challenged to prove their "authenticity" to others in the community, those tests have been based in knowledge and skill. With female gamers, it's quite a bit more complicated — and more than a little sexist.
What gamer girls (and, relatedly, their comic book cousins, "fake geek girls") should and shouldn't do (and what they should and shouldn't look like) is a frequently heated topic of Internet discussion, particularly on Tumblr. (See the gamer girl tag in particular.)
Here are just a few of the confusing, and often paradoxical, rules set forth by Internet people (gamers and non-gamers alike) on what a gamer girl should be.
1. A gamer girl shouldn't announce that she's a gamer.
And even though people keep doubting the existence of girl gamers ...
2. ... gamer girls shouldn't identify themselves as girls or make themselves known as such.
3. Real gamer girls don't ever play Mario Kart or use pink controllers.
But ... but ...
4. A gamer girl should not be cute or TOO overtly feminine.
5. A gamer girl CAN be hot if she's headless and in her underwear ...
6. ... but not if she's a whole person who wants nerd "street cred."
7. Gamer girls are not sexually aggressive, i.e. "sluts."
8. Instead, gamer girls are submissive and quiet — "the heroine to complete your story."
This, from a truly remarkable (but not in the good way) piece of writing called "Date A Girl Who Plays Video Games."
9. Gamer girls need to take extra care not to annoy the guys they play games with.
So many RULES!!!
In sum, if gamer girls are like ...
Senior Editor, Ghost Hunter, Ufologist
Contact Katie Heaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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