Girls doing ‘guy things’

23 May

Source: Marvel Comics

I’ve been milling about for a topic to make my first mislabeled post, and I just happened upon a comment on AVclub that sparked some inspiration. As a girl who is into gaming, and comic books, and nerdy Japanimation cartoons, I get pretty fired up when I hear people say these things are meant for guys. True, you’re probably more likely to hear the average middle school girl harping about the latest Ke$ha track than the newest issue of DMZ (I may be slightly out of touch with the middle school girl crowd, though). But, the culture of female gamers is much larger than most people realize. Here is the comment that sparked this tangent:

“Girls arent into games for the same reason they arent into comic books, cartoons, movies, computers in general, high risk sports like parkour, skateboarding, any type of racing, cars, bikes, motorcycling. the list goes on. To girls the social aspect of stuff is always the most important. They are more than happy to hang around boys that enrichen their lives by engaging in these activities and learn about it through observing boys. “

I usually don’t read the comments on AVclub articles because they’re typically not worth the time it takes to scroll through and the grammar is generally painful. But I’m almost glad I did, because this statement pretty decently sums up how a lot of people feel about women and video games (including some of my Sociology professors in college). It’s almost as offensive as when Paramount announced it was going to make a breakthrough in marketing games to women with the Mean Girls, Pretty in Pink, and Clueless three-pack of doom PC games. Because women only fantasize about being the most popular girl in school and having ridiculous amounts of money to spend on feather boas, right?

The most offensive opinion I often encounter is that women don’t like violent games because they’re ‘too sensitive’ and it upsets them. I call shenanigans on this one. I love killing zombies just as much as the next guy. Personally, I’m not into first person shooters because they’re often incredibly boring. How many times can you really shoot someone in the face? How long can I crouch behind a rock and wait for someone to walk by? Unless I’m playing with friends, it really doesn’t hold my interest long. Adventure style games like Zelda that have a good story line and a sweet looking wolf are far more engaging. But that’s exactly my point: it’s personal preference, not gender, that should define these things.

One of the most talked about problems regarding games and their marketability to women is how often you find female characters who are over-sexualized, submissive and frankly, offensive.  But I think that’s a topic warranting its own post at a later date.

Source: Wikipedia

We all know that girls and boys have been conditioned into gender roles that dictate what we should and shouldn’t play with as little kids. But with more games like Rock Band, Portal (holy shit, Portal 2), and Mario Galaxy coming out, and more movies and shows like Walking Dead that are based on comics, girls are more open about getting into ‘boy stuff’. My female college roommates and I played more Guitar Hero than most of the guys we knew (admittedly, more than was probably healthy). These things are becoming more accessible as forward-thinking companies are producing games and comics targeted towards nerds in a gender neutral way. And I feel great about that, because non-discriminatory nerd-dom is the kind of shit I can get down on.

This post is brought to you by Cheryl who is happy to join the Mislabeled team and talk about awesome, non-discriminatory nerd-dom.

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