Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm a Woman Gamer Hear Me Roar! (If I am successful at my d20 roll)

I have a small problem; I sometimes feel embarrassed to admit that I am a gamer. I'm not ashamed of being a gamer.  The embarrassment I initial feel is just the automatic/default response I have when I let it be known in conversations with non-gamers that I have  firsthand knowledge about MMO's, tabletop, or video games.  Non-gamers always seem to look at me as though I have just loudly announced: "I am the Queen of Fairyland and I ride a plaid pony! Whee!"

(Not that I would ride a pony if I were the Queen of Fairyland, especially a plaid one.  Everyone knows I prefer traveling by hippogriff.)

Anyways, after I get over the looks ranging from quizzical, pitting, confused, and sometimes more than a little bit disgusted, I feel a sense of indignation wash over me.  What gives them the right to make me feel 'less than' because of the way I choose to have fun?  Is it because I'm a girl?  Would they be less surprised if I announced my love of gaming if I were a man?  More and more these days I am beginning to think the extreme reactions I often get are more because I am a female gamer and less because I am gamer.

For example, I was at a meeting this morning and gaming came up in conversation during a break.  One of the women I was talking with was surprised by my depth of knowledge about gaming and said that I would get along well with her husband.  She then followed up by saying something along the lines of how it must be hard for me being a female gamer when there are so few women into gaming.  This surprised me a bit, because I realized just how often I hear that in conversations with non-gamers.  And while many of the people I game with are women, we are not perceived as the norm.  Is it just that I have been been fortunate enough to be surrounded by female gamers, or are there really so few women gamers?

What is it about being a female gamer that is so taboo?  Is it some weird 'nice women don't...' throw back to the past?  Are only men allowed to have all the fun?  And when you really think about it, gaming is not that much different than any other social gathering.  People (women) often meet socially under the guise of accomplishing something; whether it is a knitting group, a book club etc. (To which, incidentally, I both belong.)  These are social gatherings around a common interest.  Gaming is no different.  Why is it seen as different?

Lot of questions.  Maybe I need to do some research.

On a happier note, even though I still have run ins with gaming Luddites, my 'circle of gamers' is increasing.  In the passed month I spent a lovely evening gaming with MzMolly, and I am going to a gaming evening with a new friend from my knitting circle in couple of weeks.  Zombies beware!  AND there is a new gamer friendly You Tube channel: Geek and Sundry, that has a very strong female voice, and a great tabletop gaming, lifestyle program.  Life is good and it is only going to get better.

Hippogriffs for everybody!

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