I Would Like to Play Videogames With You

Really, I would. I love playing videogames (though I only first picked up a controller about four years ago) and, despite the newness of my gaming geekery, have been some form of geek for basically all my life.

Here’s the thing about being a girl geek–you’re kind of a hot commodity. This is becoming less and less true as girls flock to geek culture in greater numbers (fuck yeah, ladies!) but nonetheless, the fact that in eighth grade my best friend and I wrote a song entitled “Take Back Your Tribble” while writing character sheets on the floor of a hallway at a convention seems to make me a target. Specifically, usually a target of lust.

There is a stereotype that geeky men are all socially awkward and incompetent. As a target of geekboy adulation, I’ve seen this many times, whether it’s being groped while in costume, awkwardly stared at or followed around the game shop (look buddy, if you want to ask me what I’m buying a set of gaming dice for, just do it! I’ll be happy to tell you about my level 12 half-elf rogue, but if you keep standing one row away from wherever I am and breathing heavily, I am going to roll a saving throw to leave), or simply listening to the chortling and exclamations of “huh huh huh, GIIIIRRRRLLL show us yr tits” on xbox Live. But here’s the thing–honest to god, it isn’t all that NORMAL. Geeks can be racist, misogynist, socially awkward, narcissistic, anti-social, jackasses just the same as any other demographic. Just the same as any other demographic, they can be sweet, funny, smart, multi-faceted, generous, caring, and respectful. I’ve seen plenty of each.

The concept of GameCrush just blows my mind.

I think playing videogames together is an AWESOME date (order a pizza and let’s go fragging together; fuck that fancy restaurant and a movie bullshit. I think our ability to succeed in a co-op mission demonstrates our compatibility much better than our ability to sit next to each other in a dark movie theater) but I’m a little weirded out by this concept of paying to play videogames with a girl.

After my remarks the other day about how I don’t actually stand against the sex trade, I know that it seems out of place for me to be creeped out by something that is far tamer and less invasive to a female than the sex trade. But I am a geek just as much as I am a feminist, and the GameCrush concept offends my inner geek.

C’mon people. Must we typecast geeks forever as bumbling basement-dwelling pasty pudgy losers who can’t interact with females on their own? Can we stop just assuming that A) geeks are all boys who are desperate to interface with a real, honest-to-god vagina-owner and B) said geeks are incapable of doing so? Also, why is this a one-way service? Why must guys pay while ladies get paid? Believe me, geek girls can be incredibly shy as well. Some are pasty and pudgy and awkward and live in a basement and can’t talk to boys. It’s true! It’s all true! OH THE HORROR.

Soylent geeks are people!

Seriously. Let’s stop acting like geeks are some fringe part of society, some creepy serial killers, and that they’re just men. Girls don’t need the inducement of money to play videogames, and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if things like GameCrush actually drive a large number of the shy, self-conscious geek girls away from gaming, or at least away from online gaming. Most geek guys don’t need an online service connected to their xbox to help them talk to girls.

Instead of turning girls into commodities in the gaming and geeking world, let’s make them welcome participants. Gaming isn’t about what you look like or what gender you are or how popular you are. Gaming brings people together and forms communities (whether it’s something as small as friendships formed over the D&D table up to something as huge as the PAX and new PAX East conventions (btw, Tycho and Gabe, thanks for PAX East! :D)). Let’s stop segregating those communities. Cutting the group into men-who-pay and girls-who-get-paid automatically forms a division. It reinforces the stereotype that girls can get a free ride from sucker boys just because we have boobs, that guys deserve a girl’s time and attention because they have money, and that geeks are socially incompetent losers who can only get with the opposite sex when there’s money involved.

Geeks, rise up! We are bigger and better than this!

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03/31/2010. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.

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