It's trite but ubiquitous. In the myriad of online matches, namely in Call of Duty, gamers of all genders have witnessed the occasional girl who, upon joining, obnoxiously asseverates her gender to the masses. Beyond that repetitive herald, their usernames and clantag almost always accentuate their gender. More than once have we seen that gamer with a name like xCoDxSEX-CxGurrlx with a clantag of "girl," "gurl," "lady" or "miss." To fuel the brazen vexation, perhaps just in case, you know, we're illiterate buffoons who are unable to read or, heaven forbid, suffer from a learning impediment and cannot see the obvious signs, they almost always invariably have their headsets on to confirm and emphasize their gender (also as a pulpit for her predictable utterances, but more on that later). Their modus operandi is far too predictable; to let the other gamers know that they are female.
With signs more glaring than the neon-lit billboards of the streets of Tokyo, their continual underscoring of their gender almost invariably have one purpose - to coax attention from the guys. Negative or positive, with the above-mentioned modus operandi, the attention these girl gamers get is almost always guaranteed. After all, gaming is an ostensibly male-dominated scene, so to be the girl amongst the guys does seem to carry an array of perks.
However, let's be honest, it takes two to tango -- the guys are at no less fault; upon hearing a girl's voice on the mic in an online game, they will either begin to serenade her and stew her with compliments and flirtation, or cast aspersions and bedevil her with misogynistic and sexist epithets, some of which include the preparation of certain comestibles. Either way, the attention is there, and the gaming scene is fertile ground for this kind of attention, be it vehement derision or blind adoration.
What's worse, these girl gamers seem to uphold the postulate that their good performance in an online game must be perceived as something prodigious or extraordinary, and, accordingly, merits exaltation. They continually emphasize not only their gender, but every opportune victory over the opposite gender. They occasionally wonder out loud on the mic, in an obnoxious manner, to their opponent, whether their gender added insult to injury, "like, are you butt-hurt you got beaten by a grrrrrl?.' Yes, we get it, "girrlzzz" play Call of Duty and they "kikk boyz ass!!111!1"
Their obnoxious ostentation doesn't end there. Some go the extra mile to foreground their gender. They often blazon their "girly-ness" with the colour pink in their player cards, in-game profiles (where possible) and, in certain games, in modifying their guns to that colour. Some even use pink controllers to accentuate their femininity. While some may genuinely favour this colour, these gamer girls invariably use this colour to stand out in the predominantly male crowd.
Beyond the online game, many will try to coyly draw attention to their status as girl gamers in online forums, websites and YouTube videos. They occasionally ask questions like, "what do you think of girl gamers?" or "Why do people make such a big deal out of the fact that girls can game?" In discussing girl gamers, these women often use sultry attire and display protruded cleavage while thinking they'd be taken seriously. They take provocative pictures of themselves holding a game controller, all with the ultimate focus of procuring attention and accolade from other guys (and believe me, MANY guys are dumb enough to do exactly that). I respect a woman's right to choose whatever she wants to wear, and if she works hard on her body, by working out and eating healthy, she should show it off. But wearing revealing attire that begs for attention in a YouTube video that demands that girl gamers be respected and taken seriously truly defeats the purpose (and sad as it is to judge people by their wardrobe, it happens).
So when one of those asks, in the manner outlined above, "why do guys make a big deal about me being a girl?" the question answers itself; it becomes a big deal because they make it a big deal. Yes, female gamers exist. And no, only idiots give your gender any sort of importance.
To make matters worse, some of these "girl gamers" are often belligerent towards fellow gamer sistren. Despite their bumptious display on their female-ness, they often see themselves as "one of the guys." Many even admit not liking other girls or having a hard time befriending them. It is surmised that their uniqueness will be eclipsed by having another girl around, and that they will no longer be given undivided attention. Indeed, Chelsea Thomspon (AKA Nintendoll) of Negative Gamer (now called Nukezilla) nailed it perfectly
“Gamer girls” hate on each other because they feel threatened by each other. Another female in this “boy’s club” diffuses the overall attention that a girl will get. Therefore a “gamer girl” will rip into another female gamer to protect her status as the most important girl in this male-dominated social circle. This is not unique to the video game industry, I’ve seen it happen in other predominantly male territories such as tech schools and the local rock climbing gym I used to frequent.
It's not just frustrating to me, but also to many, many female gamers out there who just want to game. They love gaming, both singleplayer and multiplayer. But despite the myriad of sexist twerps online, they are not the only source of frustration. Why does a female gamer have to be twice as good to be considered equal? Why does she have to work hard to be taken seriously? It's because of the perpetuating canard that female gamers are rare, and that those who are girl gamers do so for attention on Halo or Call of Duty.
To the people to whom the earlier points applies, here is some newsflash:
1) You are no longer a minority or an exception by virtue of your gender.
2) And if it seems like you're the only girl in the game, it's because 90% of the girls who play don't make any obnoxious references to, or mentions of, their gender.
3) By demanding special attention to your good performance, as a girl, in any game indirectly insinuates that girls are inherently inept at video games and as such, any good performance they make must be given an exceptional recognition.
What about the men? Why not focus on them?
While, like female gamers, most male gamers are decent human beings, there is a sizeable population of social scum that are sexist and/or sexually desperate. Some of those I ran into in Call of Duty even admit being ex-convicts (the veracity of their statement is an entirely different matter). They are, as far as I am concerned, a lost cause and an insignificant stratum of the population that are inconsequential in the greater scheme of things. They are also the population that gives attention to those gamer girls that crave it.
I would gladly have written about them too, but that would mean that I actually care, and I really don't. I did emphasize that men contribute to this "gurl gamer" phenomenon by giving these girls the attention they want, but beyond that, I see no point to discussing them. I'd rather discuss more interesting topics than them.
A little disclosure, lest I be considered a hypocrite: As a gay male gamer, I am all for equality. I'd like to see the day where we, without adjectival qualifiers, are all consider gamers, and are judged on our skills and passion with videogames. Yes, in Call of Duty, I do emphasize that I am gay. My clantag is "Gay" and I do announce my sexuality. And yes, I do get attention, but it's mostly negative. I've had people tell me they want to hang me, or that all gays should be burned. I'm not saying I don't enjoy the attention, because I do. However, it's not because I find it gratifying, but because it's amusing to see the entire lobby writhe in agony. Most often than not, nobody really cares. I don't get "attention" 99% of the time, and that is fine. And this is ONLY in Call of Duty. Beyond that game (If you play that game, you know the kind of crowd it can attract sometimes), I make minimal to no mention of my orientation. I just like to hit a discordant notes with the bigots out there whenever I can.
And finally, despite the above-mentioned, I am not pontificating. I am by no means a moral authority nor am I telling people how to play their game. That is their absolute prerogative. Not once in this post have I said how should one game, because, frankly, it's none of my business, but remember that certain actions, as unfair as this sound, can have negative effects on innocent bystanders - in this case, gamers who happen to be female.