Addressing the Part
It’s good that the gamer community is tight-knit, but the uniform needs to go.
By Natalie Hays, Texas State University
If you asked any of my friends how they would label me, it’d be one of two things: gamer, or stone cold fox.
Well, maybe not stone cold, but they would definitely say I’m pretty. That’s beside the point. The point is that it’s not surprising that the people who love me would describe me as either a gamer or babe.
But, ask a stranger what their first impression of me is and you might get a different story. Depending on how I decided to dress that day and how crippling my semester was at that moment in time, you’ve pretty much got your choice of two different women.
On the one hand, there’s the exasperated Natalie that’s just wearing jeans, a game/nerd culture-themed shirt, a hoodie and minimal makeup. On the other, and on most days I do try to give a damn, there’s the dressed up Natalie. (Not to say that dressing down is being lazy; you do you, ladies.)
Unfortunately, it’s when I dress nicely that the problems start. For some reason, the second a girl throws on some red lipstick, a cute all-denim outfit and some heels, she instantly loses all her gamer cred.
What do I mean by gamer cred? The concept is pretty simple—gamer cred is the your capacity to play games and your experiences with the games you’ve played. So say you’ve played the entirety of the Mass Effect franchise, and you’re kind of proud of it. If I went out in an N7 hoodie, other gamers immediately know that hey, I’m pretty stoked about Commander Shepard and the Normandy all the time, every day.
But throw me in a pretty floral sundress and some wedges, and suddenly I know nothing about gaming. In fact, just a few days ago I got stuck at a crosswalk next to a guy wearing a Fallout hoodie. It was Vault 101, so we’re talking Fallout 3, not 4.
The sweatshirt looked pretty new because the yellow and blue of the jacket were still super bright, and he seemed excited to wear it. I’m about that. Wear that hoodie around town, dude. I gave the guy a nod and said, “Nice Fallout jacket!”
He seemed startled but mumbled a thank you. I didn’t want to leave him feeling weird, so I said “Fallout 3 is your favorite then? I’m more of a Fallout 4 person myself.”
“Why, because it’s the newer game?”
Ok, a little hostile.
“Um, well not exactly,” I said. “I just think the color pallet and the diversity of characters are better, plus shooting is way better than it used to be in that game. “
“So you like the pretty colors. Figures.”
Whoa there, that’s not what I said. He completely disregarded my other comments just to fixate on my “pretty colors” remark. So sue me for liking a color pallet beyond gray, green and sometimes a little blue or black. The color red is everyone’s friend.
Now, had I been wearing some boot-cut jeans and a Fallout vault boy shirt, he still could’ve been an asshole to me, but he probably wouldn’t have laid into me about the pretty colors. Instead, he likely would’ve just said that I played on super easy like a filthy casual. Which, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with. Let people live, y’all.
The point is, the way I dress completely alters guys’ opinion of my gamer cred. What’s more incriminating is that ladies don’t really talk shit to other ladies about this issue, or at least not as much. I’ve had girls sporting the latest fashions compliment my Dragon Age: Inquisition shirt, and I’ve done the same when I was all dolled up.
Sometimes it’ll be the opposite, and a girl in a nerdy shirt will tell me that she adores my super floral leather boots. In other words, there’s a whole lot of lady appreciation out there, so why can’t guys get on board?
These types of aesthetics-based assumptions don’t happen between men either, which is weird. If one guy said he preferred Fallout 4 to Fallout 3 they might argue about which is better, but it wouldn’t be over the freaking color scheme. It’d be over the fight mechanics, the cheats, the storyline. The color scheme would be the throwaway topic, so why pick that one when you’re arguing with a girl?
The thing is, if a girl wants to dress up and play video games, why do those two things have to be mutually exclusive? Why shut a girl out just because she knows the difference between MAC’s Ruby Woo and Brave Red lipsticks?
In fact, if you’re really a gaming fan, wouldn’t you want more people to talk to about your favorite franchise?
You get to geek out more that way, and who doesn’t love doing that?
If you like to dress down and represent that geek culture life, do it. But if you feel like trying on a deep-plum matte lipstick or attempting a smoking eye, go for it! Don’t let anybody stop you from doing you, especially some dude who assumes you play less than others.
Same goes for my super feminine ladies. You can wear that hoodie and still be rocking it in your way. When it comes to how women are seen within gaming culture, let’s turn heads in both directions.
And back to that dude who said I only liked Fallout 4 for the pretty colors. You and I both know that the bright blue and yellow you were wearing are some pretty dope colors. It’s okay to admit it.