Five Steps

by Shaker Rowan_Bristol

Okay, so being a queer gamer, I know I'm nowhere near Kotaku's demographic of choice. The site is designed for straight white guys who, like the people marketing to them, believe they're the only gamers in existence. I tend to allow for more than a little fail from them, if it means I know when Qix comes out for Xbox arcade. But every once in a while, the fail just gets staggering.

Case in point: "Five Steps to Total Pwnage of a Gamer Girl's Heart."

So with the title, we're already talking conquest and beat-downs equaling romance. A submissively postured girl in a bikini, who happens to be the author of the article, who happens to be an adult film star, only adds to the imagery that "gamer girls" are things to be lusted after and acquired. And then we come to the hypothetical situation that's being developed in order to present the five steps. In this case, a LAN tournament:
You get all set up, when all of a sudden, out of the corner of your eye, you see a super hot chick standing by a really sick gaming system. Some guy's babe of a girlfriend must be dropping him off before she heads to the mall to go shopping, you think to yourself. Then you realize, holy shit, that water cooled, dream-machine is hers, and she's here to game.
Obviously, the person in the scenario has never seen a girl gamer…ever. Secondly, the desire to play games is inversely proportional to attractiveness (the higher the attractiveness, the stronger the desire to shop apparently). And third, my favorite: The only reason she's there must be that she's someone else's property.

But shock! She games! She must be one of the gamers!

No, she's not. She's something to be acquired, like an achievement on Live.

GamerGirlfriend – 20 points.

And this article is going to be the GameGuide to unlocking that achievement! Written by an adult film star! Who's into gaming!

The five steps are really insulting, and unsurprisingly treat the woman in question not as a gamer, but as some object to be acquired. It treats male gamers as socially maladjusted erection vehicles that can't relate to women as equals. And in the message being delivered via an adult film star, as both author and photo model for the article, it enhances the image of 'woman as achievement' rather than woman as 'gaming buddy' (but remember kids, it's not misogynist if it's written by a woman!).

It also bothers me that there's no perception that the female gamer might be at the LAN party to…well, game, just like everyone else there. That being hit on by someone who's arduously studied the 5 steps, might interfere with her gaming experience.

As a disclaimer, I did meet my boyfriend through online gaming. We met through a group that shared a common interest, spent time together discussing our interests while playing, were genuinely interested in each other's lives outside of gaming, found each other attractive intellectually, emotionally, and physically, and began a relationship.

Five steps.

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