Playing the gender card won’t win you any games

By Caitlin Piper

I was 7 years old when I received my first game console — a used Nintendo 64 which, even back then, looked like it had seen better days. It had quite a few scuff marks and a controller port which refused to connect, but I spent a lot of time with it regardless.

Since then, I’ve been steadily building up a game collection spanning multiple genres and console generations. As far as I’m concerned, it’s money well spent.

Whether I want to experience a rich, engaging story with likeable characters or just blow stuff up, I always go to video games to relax after a long day.

Over the years, I’ve met several amazing people, both male and female, who shared my love of games. Gender never mattered when we were shooting at each other in “Goldeneye 007” or laughing at each other’s expense when one of us fell off the map in “Super Monkey Ball.” We were just there to have fun, nothing more.

With experiences like these, I will never understand why some female gamers choose to call themselves “girl gamers.”

Ladies, if you like to play video games, more power to you. They’re a lot of fun and just as legitimate a form of entertainment as films or books.

But there’s no reason why you should wear your gender like a badge when playing.

Pinning labels on yourself like “girl gamer” or “gamer chick” feeds the common misconception that female gamers are a rarity.

You are telling the gaming community that you should not be judged by your gaming ability, but by your gender. You are telling others that you should be treated differently just because you are a part of a supposedly male-dominated subculture.

You are acting as if being female and having a love for video games are mutually exclusive, and that your status is something to be celebrated.

It’s not.

There is no harm in taking pride in who you are, but it can only go so far before it starts to become obnoxious. Acting like your status as a “girl gamer” is something new and unique just makes it harder for the gaming community to take you — and female gamers as a whole — seriously.

No one calls themselves a “guy artist” or a “reader chick,” so why should gender be an issue for gamers?

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