The Fear of a Girl Gamer

Fear kept me from gaming as a teenager. I've put it past me now and you should too.

I love being a girl gamer, but I haven’t always felt this way. The community didn’t make me feel unwanted, the stereotypes did.

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I believe that fear is what is keeping women from being taken seriously in the gaming world. The stereotypes have ruined any chance of women enjoying video games. I heard horror stories growing up as a kid and let that fear keep me from enjoying the life I wanted to live.

If you know me, you know that I’ve gamed for a very long time. From tabletop gaming to video gaming, I’ve done a lot. As a child, I always thought gaming was something everyone did.

Flashback

I got this from my mother. Although she doesn’t game now, I remember playing D&D and other RPGs with her involved. She loved it. Once I reached middle school and it was considered outside the norm for a girl to play video games, I stopped doing what I loved. Thinking about it now, I think it was the worst decision of my life.

High school is when I realized how unhappy I really was. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

Middle school has to be the worst time…for everyone. Pressure comes from every side. This is when I stopped gaming. It wasn’t okay for a girl to game then. My friends didn’t say it directly, but I knew that if I told them I wouldn’t be “cool”. My family kept trying to get me to game but I just wouldn’t have it. We drifted apart in the process.

Instead I focused on being popular. I died my hair blonde and wore a little too much makeup for a twelve year-old. I got into sports and soccer became my passion. Sometimes though I felt like I was being someone I wasn’t.

High school is when I realized how unhappy I really was. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Doing things that I thought were “cool” in order for people to like me. This is when I started to get into World of Warcraft. I played everyday with my father and older brothers. At first I felt ashamed of my passion for the game. As college crept closer and closer and I began to game more, I found myself drifting away from my “friends” and becoming the real me.

This image, posted by Manception on r/GirlGamers shows the difference of male and female stereotypical perceptions over the years.

The Kicker

But here is the thing. My friends never said that gaming wasn’t for girls. My friends never pressured me to not play video games. It was something I saw everywhere; the idea that girls should not be playing video games.

It wasn’t until I picked my mouse up and started playing that I released that I had every right to do so. I wasn’t harassed in trade chat, I wasn’t belittled because I was a girl. I was accepted. I thought it would be awful, and I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I picked my mouse up and started playing that I realized that I had every right to do so.

I am a girl. I like makeup (a lot). I have girl friends. I have a boyfriend. I like rom coms. I play video games. I kept myself from being happy all this time because I felt like I couldn’t be the person I wanted to be while playing video games. Society put that in my head. I heard horror stories of girls playing and I didn’t want to be put through that.

Turns out that the moment I came out as a gamer, I had the opposite experience as all those girls spreading this stereotype on the internet. Then I started to talk to more of my female gamer friends and realized that was a common misconception bred from fear.

Don’t let the fear win.

Everyone wants to be accepted, but doing what you love and being who you are will make you even happier. I didn’t understand this until I entered college and found people that truly make me happy no matter what I did. Don’t be afraid to take control of your life. The stereotypes are a ploy to keep you from doing what you love, to keep you doing what is socially acceptable. Well, I know plenty of women who would say otherwise. Don’t conform to what society thinks is best. If they think that women can’t game then they must be mistaken.

You can be whomever you want. If you want to play video games, you should. Don’t let other people decide who you are supposed to be. They don’t know who you are.


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Author
Image of Raven Hathcock
Raven Hathcock
Better dead than a damsel. I'm a Magazine Journalism student at the University of Georgia. I enjoy shooting bullymongs in the head while I'm not cuddling my cat.