Fake girl gamers

Fake Girl Gamers: Fem!Shep is angry that you think slut-shaming is okay.

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.

Best of Steam Tags

Steam Tags: View your own recommended tags based on your interests.

Valve recently announced the new Steam Tags, a system that allows gamers to tag their games or search for games by tags. Supposedly, it’s an impressive new way to find what you’re looking for, and to be fair its recommendations so far have been pretty good. For me, I’ve been recommended Indie, Sandbox, Platformer, RPG and Action, which to some extent is pretty accurate (though I don’t feel I’m much of a Platformer, they can be pretty cute and fun!)

Steam Tags: Tag your favourite games.

Steam Tags: Find games by tag, such as all games tagged with RPG.

It’s a pretty simple system; when you view the game in the store, there’ll be some tags that have already been applied to it visible on the right-hand side. You can expand upon these tags, or add your own, as well as agreeing with tags that gamers have already assigned to that particular game.

Some people have come out and condemned gamers for “trolling” by applying what they deem stupid tags to certain game titles, but I honestly don’t see this as a particularly bad thing. I think gamers should have the right to tag things how they see fit, within reason. If you can’t encourage a gamer to write a full review, at least getting them to assign a single word or short phrase to a game they loved or hated has the potential to be incredibly helpful to gamers looking for new games to play, or trying to decide what to avoid entirely.

And frankly? I find some of the “troll” tags funny. Here are some of my favourites I’ve found with a bit of browsing:

The best of Steam Tags.

No prizes for guessing which game “walking simulator” brings to mind (psst, it’s DayZ, though I always called it Running Simulator). Does Steam Tags have the potential to be abused? Of course it does. But sometimes you just have to let the community run off and do its thing, and see what falls out of the tree when they’re done.