The title of this post is a bit misleading. I want to talk about something that I’ve noticed recently that has really bothered me, and it’s not “fake girl gamers”, but is directly linked to them.
First of all, let’s get the necessities out of the way — do “fake girl gamers” annoy me? Yes. I find it obnoxious when anyone pretends to be interested in something that has become popular just because they hope that the popularity will rub off on them. I don’t like the idea that people are manipulating a community to try and get attention, and it bothers me that “fake girl gamers” have a negative impact on the attitude towards other female gamers, and the attitude that male gamers have towards us.
However, an extremely harmful trend I’m sure you’ve all noticed is “real” female gamers calling out the fakes in an aggressive, demeaning and disrespectful way. I’m talking about women turning on each other to call those they deem as fake gamers various names that usually come down to slut-shaming in some form, and often pointing out their profiles on social media websites or livestreams to, what? Incite rage and encourage other gamers to harass these women?
There are a few things wrong with this plan. First of all, linking to these women just drives people towards them and gets them the attention you so desperately want them not to receive. Secondly, who the hell are you to decide whether someone is “real” or “fake”? Of course, here I’m not talking about the obvious Girl Not Actually Playing or Girl Taking Off Clothes On Twitch — I think everyone would agree those women are not there for the sake of gaming. But I still don’t think they should be called out or slut-shamed, for the simple fact that it reinforces that slut-shaming is okay, when it’s really, really not.
At the risk of coming off all feministy on you (note: I am a feminist, and I don’t think being one is a bad thing) — slut-shaming is a misogynstic tool used to control women and make them behave more “appropriately”. Why, then, would women hurt other women in this way? Stop it. It doesn’t stop those girls from doing what they’re doing, it makes you look like a horrid person and this reflects poorly on the gaming community and makes it harder for “real” women gamers to join in, and you make other people, male and female alike, think that treating other women this way is okay. How are the big bad men everyone talks about all the time going to learn that treating people this way is wrong, if women themselves tear each other apart?
Honestly, if you asked me which was worse between “fake girl gamers” and “girl gamers slut-shaming fake girl gamers”, I know I’d choose the latter. Both are harmful to some extent, but only one of them is self-destructive. So good job.