We Strive for Legitimacy, But “Gamer Girls” Hamstrings Us

Oh look, a real gamer girl! Yes, we all believe that...and we're not offended at all.

Oh look, a real gamer girl! Yes, we all believe that…and we’re not offended at all.


One of the reasons we started VGRHQ is because we wanted to see the video game industry achieve new levels of legitimacy. It would be a big step if we finally treated our best critics as professionals and journalists, and perhaps even established a game critics awards program.

However, sometimes, it feels like we’re struggling against an unstoppable tide of adolescence and stupidity that continues to hold us back.

The latest insulting mess comes courtesy of a new magazine called “Gamer Girls,” as unveiled at Canadian Online Gamers. Now, we are not calling it insulting because of how it portrays female gamers; that’s only part of the equation. What’s vastly more insulting is that it’s telling the world that gamers are, for the most part, shallow, teen boys with more hormones than brains.

How many years have we been railing against the stereotype that all gamers are male social misfits in their teens? How many years have we been railing against the archaic mainstream belief that all gamers are male, or that they’re all 15 years old? That magazine is designed specifically to cater to to a certain demographic, plain and simple.

Yeah, cute. Quick, what was the name of Han Solo's ship?

Yeah, cute. Quick, what was the name of Han Solo’s ship?

Furthermore, even if there are legitimate gaming articles in the magazine (and there appear to be, if you flip through), that’s not the selling point. That’s not what everyone sees. What everyone is going to see is obvious, and the expected – and legitimate – response will be: “See, we knew gamers were just immature boys who live in a fantasy world and refuse to grow up.”

Honestly, isn’t that what such a publication says?

This isn’t about the women as much. Sex sells in all industries, and that’s that. You won’t see ugly guys in a Men’s Warehouse commercial, and you’ll probably never see an unattractive individual, male or female, on the cover of any fashionable magazine (obviously, we don’t count tabloids, which exult in the freakish and weird). Women volunteered to be featured in the magazine and whether they’re gamers or not is irrelevant.

That’s right, it’s irrelevant. It’s not a magazine with personal ads for lonely gamers, trying to convince subscribers that these women are a phone call away, looking for love. I suppose if you wanted to put a positive spin on it, back in 1985, all of us would’ve paid good money to see a hot model holding a controller. Hot girls – in fact, any girls – just weren’t associated with games at the time, so it would’ve been quite a thrill to see such a magazine. If anything, because it proved that gaming had gone mainstream, which, if we’re being honest, is what many of us wanted. We wanted gaming to matter.

The difference? We were all kids at the time. Young boys who kept such magazines under their mattresses, anyway.

Two questions: 1. What "technique" are you talking about? and 2. Do you even know where Yale is?

Two questions: 1. What “technique” are you talking about? and 2. Do you even know where Yale is?

The girls in the magazine aren’t what concerns us (although it certainly doesn’t help the reputation of female gamers, if anyone even believes what the magazine is presenting). What concerns us is that we embark on an endeavor such as VGRHQ with the goal of adding legitimacy and bringing serious attention to talented, hard-working individuals in the industry. And what do we see, less than a month after launch?

A publication that says to each one of us (all of whom have been part of the industry in one way or another for at least a decade; in some cases, three decades): “Yeah, you can try to go all professional. You can try to prove gaming has advanced. But really, it hasn’t, and we’re here to prove it.”

That’s the worst part, too. Ten to one “Gamer Girls” is a huge success.

‘sigh’

Disclaimer: We would like to add that we are not outraged. Such publications exist in this world and truthfully, it probably makes sense to produce one that’s geared toward the gaming audience. If it’s soft porn, it’s soft porn. It’s a little late in the game to be “outraged” about that.

Rather, we’re frustrated. We’re frustrated because this is the one industry that needs a dose of healthy maturity, and we keep running into roadblocks like this.

8 thoughts on “We Strive for Legitimacy, But “Gamer Girls” Hamstrings Us”

As a female gamer, this is the kind of thing that disgusts me. I know that sex sells but it’s really demeaning when the girls featured obviously don’t know the first thing about video games.

You’re right; the industry won’t advance one iota with stuff like this out there.

Yes, but how can you be certain that the women in that magazine aren’t girl gamers?

Are you saying that all girl gamers have to be ugly (no offense)? ;)

I won’t lie, it’s probably a good idea. As the article says, it will probably be very popular.

And if that happens, it just proves that the person who had the idea in the first place was right.

…and what sort of commentary is that? What’s it say about our industry? Have we REALLY come all that far?

Honestly, if it makes bucket loads of money I can’t really hold it against them and that goes for most all industries and products. And I am pretty confident this will make bucket loads of money. It may be pushing the industry in the wrong direction but I think that as a whole gaming is moving forward and will continue to do so despite people seeing opportunities to cash in who clearly do not care about their overall effect.

As the author of the original post on COG I want to say thanks for spreading the word. I admit that I’m less outraged and more disappointed as well but I could see how the dripping sarcasm in my article could be viewed as otherwise. For all the advances that female gamers have tried to make it just seems like this puts them back a few steps…. even if 9 out of 10 people don’t take it seriously.

It definitely sets us back, as your article and this one here indicates.

The sad part is that the comments around the Internet at places like N4G is precisely what’s wrong with the industry today. Cries of, “it’s a non-issue” are flooding everywhere…we all want to pretend as if the rest of the world doesn’t see us and pass judgment on us and the industry.

The worst part is that we think it doesn’t matter. It matters. It always matters.

Exactly.

And I love the argument that we women aren’t supposed to be offended because it’s everywhere else, too.

Oh well, by all means, guess it’s okay then. ‘sarcasm’

I’m not sure it really sets us back very far. Who would even notice this magazine besides gamers? I doubt you’ll see it on CNN or something.

Of course, if it does happen, THEN it’s a problem. Once again, we gamers would have to defend ourselves and to be frank, I’m getting tired of doing that.

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