'Slutty' Girl With Controller - Judging That Shit Ain't Cool, Man
What is wrong with someone posing sexily with a video game controller?
If this is something that bugs you I want you to take a good, hard look at yourself. I’ve seen people consistently calling girls who post a picture of themselves with a controller near their mouth and a coquettish look on their face stupid, attention-seeking and slutty. I’ve seen people berate girls for giving other female gamers a bad name and I’ve seen people tell girls that they should stop believing they’re special just because they play video games and have a vagina. The most malicious opinions on this matter seem to come from other female gamers and I’ll tell you why I think that happens a bit later.
If your immediate assumption upon seeing a girl who is presenting herself in a sexual manner is that she’s stupid then I’m not judging that girl, I’m judging you. If you assume that someone posing with a video game controller has no knowledge of video games simply because they’re presenting themselves seductively or they’re wearing a flirtatious expression then you’re making a completely erroneous assumption.
Believe it or not, you can make a suggestive pose near something and still be a perfectly intelligent person with a wide range of knowledge on various subjects including those related to that which you’re presenting in a sexy manner. Acting sexual does not negate your intelligence or ability to do things. Getting your sexy on while holding something does not mean you don’t know how to use that thing. I’ve seen some incredibly clever comments made on this topic such as ‘Oh my God, you don’t use a video game controller with your mouth’. We get it, you’re pointing out how stupid it is to use a controller for anything other than strict gaming purposes. What a clever joke, allow me to guess why you’re making it. You need to remove yourself from the behaviour of the girl in the picture and prove you’re a real gamer. I see this particularly in other gamers who identify as female. It makes sense; in order to be taken seriously by male gamers you must remove yourself from sexually motivated behaviour as well as any feminine traits that will cause your fellow gamers to stop taking you seriously. You have to make it clear that you are not flaunting the fact that you’re a girl.
It’s important to assess why certain people feel the need to constantly reassert the fact that despite being female, they like something. It isn’t unreasonable for your initial reaction to be anger in these cases. After all, bragging that you like something despite your gender is generally a sign that you believe yourself superior to other people of your gender. It’s showing a complete disregard for those who may have worked hard to prove they can do something and who may have helped to change the perception of their gender people around them hold. But I think we need to try and understand why someone would brag about, for example, playing video games despite being a girl. As a female in any male dominated forum, it can be difficult to gain respect and have people take you seriously. Sometimes the reaction to this is to appropriate male traits or downplay female ones. Other times the reaction is to claim exclusivity; ‘I’m a girl and I can do this too!’ Whether sending these messages means you truly believe you are part of an exclusive minority or you’re simply trying to show that girls do indeed participate in ‘boy activities’, you’ll frequently be met with hostility.
The response is almost always a resounding ‘We know, we get it, girls play games too and you’re not a special snowflake.’ This response would be more appropriate if the gaming world were not so adverse to accommodating female players. While it’s true that today there are nearly as many female gamers as there are male, gaming is still a hostile environment for girls. Too feminine, too sexual, or too willing to tell people that you are indeed a girl and you run the risk of being harassed by a certain ilk of male player who believes gaming is not the place for women. I won’t even get into the way games are marketed and the target audience for gaming but I think it’s fair to say that game marketing does not reflect the number of girls who play video games. It’s no wonder that having to withstand this treatment has created even within the circle of female gamers distinct ideas about what classifies a ‘real gamer’. However this doesn’t mean that someone who has a different way of presenting themselves is any less of a gamer than you and it doesn’t mean you should brush off those who aren’t serious gamers. Maybe sexy-girl-with-controller plays just as hard as you do, maybe she only picks up a game once a week. It doesn’t matter, pinning the blame for the treatment of girls in game culture on her is ridiculous.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but scantily-clad women doing sexy poses certain objects is actually a pretty common occurrence in the media, yet I’ve rarely seen the women in those pictures receive backlash like someone who decides to overstep their bounds and take a picture with a controller. It seems to be generally acknowledged that the sexualisation of women in the auto industry, for example, is not the personal fault of the models who are paid to have their photo taken on the hood of a car, nor is it the fault of those who choose to replicate this sort of image in order to feel included in car culture. So why does the sexualisation and objectification of women in the gaming world fall on the shoulders of those posing with video games or controllers? Maybe these people feel the only way they can be validated as a female gamer is to present something desirable to other gamers. In this case I think we need to prove to these people that is isn’t necessary to sell a sexual image to be included as a female in gaming culture, and I think we need to prove it in a way that doesn’t involve degrading them.
And okay, I get it. Sometimes you’re just enjoying a joke and it’s funny to post pictures imitating people doing what you perceive as weird. The point where it stops being funny is the point where you blame that person for giving a certain group a bad rap and in your mind you reduce the person down to an ‘attention whore’ or a simpleton without analysing where the problem really lies and assessing whether your view is contributing to said problem.
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