In our community of like minded individuals who enjoy the art of electronic entertainment, one aspect that seems to be a reoccurring subject for discussion is the lack of women in said community. Fans of video games tend to be young adult males and women don’t usually tend to be thought of when you think of a gamer. Now, having said that, we now in large part know this is no longer the case. Although probably true 10-15 years ago, women have now become more prevalent in the video game community and some could argue that the audience is now around 50-50. Nonetheless though, those not aware of this change still see a woman who enjoys video games to be a rare thing. As such, we now have the term “Gamer Girl” instilled into the echelon. Furthermore, there are people, women, who are in the public eye that have been given this label.
I remember the first time I heard about this term was about six-seven years ago, when I first discovered G4. A show on the history of Half-Life happened to be on while I was channel surfing and I stopped to watch. After it was over, another show came on and a guy with really thin, blonde hair and a woman who was clearly taller than him were on the TV giving their opinions about various newly released games in the form of video reviews as well as delivering self deprecating jokes. I was immediately hooked (although you may not know why by my description) and remembered the channel number and with time found out that the channel was G4 and the show was X-Play and its hosts were Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb. It also didn’t take me long to figure out that Morgan Webb was an object of desire to gamers who watched the show.
Remember this commercial advertising the show? The execs at G4 were aware of this as well.
Then there was that nickname/title: Gaming Goddess. I don’t think they call her that now but I remember seeing that a lot back then. I remember wondering “So she’s the Gaming Goddess because she’s like the only woman on TV who enjoys video games.” I went along with it but then I started seeing more of this. Probably the next woman I saw with the Gamer Girl motif was Jessica Chobot. At that time, she was pretty much known for licking a PSP, which to me just sounds like something any model who was hired by a gaming advertising firm would probably do. Nevertheless, she was hired by IGN and we now know her love for the medium and she became a favorite personality for the site. Of course this is because a lot of people find her attractive.
After that, it seems to have just overflowed. I think it was around 2005 to 2007 and we had Jade Raymond, Tina Wood, Laura Foy, Felicia Day, Sarah Lane, Layla Kayleigh, Olivia Munn, Blair Butler and the list goes on and on. G4 especially started banking on the Gamer Girl appeal to bring in viewers. This however brought on the question of the legitimacy of these women, sort of speak. By legitimacy, I mean whether or not these woman actually did play video games. Some pretty much admitted that their knowledge of video games proper was limited but that they knew and were interested in nerd culture as a whole (superhero movies, gadgets, technology, etc). Others appeared to be unfamiliar with the community entirely and they just were a pretty face who was paid to talk about it as if they did. An extension of this (or an exact opposite, depending on how you look at it) is some celebrities, already famous due to their work, “came out” as a gamer or a huge nerd. Athletes will say how much they enjoy video games although they only mention sports titles. Mila Kunis apparently loves World of Warcraft. Zachary Levi is a big gamer. Now I’m not saying they’re lying just to appeal to gamers but it does seem like this all was revealed within the last few years.
So what does this all mean? Well, I’m not entirely sure. On one end, there’s no merit to the Gamer Girl label, as we are all gamers and with the gaming community having a prevalent female population, we should start saying Gamer Guys or something. Also, it’s just cheap and misleading to try to market a women to a certain audience by altering their interests or to lie and say you like something when you don’t. On the other end, we are nothing special. There’s the sporty girls who like to go outside and hike and drink beer and watch sports and they appeal to men who like that. There’s the emo girls who like to just hang out and, “be alternative” I guess. I don’t really know what that entails aside from the look. So in other words, we aren’t any different from other realms of interests that are supposedly counteractive to what the stereotypical woman would enjoy. Also, there are women who enjoy video games who are also in the public eye and perhaps before recently, their managers or whatever told them to not mention their enjoyment of video games because it’ll make them less desirable. So now they can express their interest without it equating to bad press.
Having said that, it is an effective tactic. I do find Alison Haislip hot and she is more appealing to me because she plays video games. So I suppose I just find this whole concept of the Gamer Girl curious rather than having a negative or positive opinion about it. In my own personal experience, I don’t currently know any women who are fans of video games, which is not to say that I don’t know any women who don’t play video games. I have a friend who enjoys a playing Smash Bros (she always plays as Pikachu but that’s prbably because she always kicks our asses with him) and I used to know a woman who enjoyed Zelda games more than I did. She even tried to walk me through Majora’s Mask (She would tell me there’s a chest there or go here.) Regardless, I just wanted to bring up this topic and see what you all think about this Gamer Girl idea. How do you feel about Gamer Girls? Is it an unfair label or is it a harmless one? Would you still find these women as attractive if they didn’t advertise their love of video games? Do you know any women who enjoy video games and don’t mind the Gamer Girl concept? Comment below and let me know.