Fake Gamer Girl Strikes Back: Internalized Misogyny Edition

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We’re back to talk about the subject that just won’t die! Fake Gamer Girls! But this time we’re going to focus on girl on girl action.

… Yeah, I think I hate myself for making that joke. I hate it when Tina Fey says it in Mean Girls, too. Anyway.

that really annoying gamer girl image

Stupid Sexy Plastic.

I saw this image a lot when I was writing my last post. I had seen it before too, and it had bugged me then. So in a fit of professional journalism I tried to find the source of the art.

... well then.

… well then.


Google Image reverse search wasn’t very helpful. If anyone actually knows who drew this, please let me know. I want to credit them. Because it’s art and art deserves credit, even if the opinion on it is one I disagree with.

The problem with this image is the same unreasonable bar exam that is the current fad of what is “right” for a Gamer Girl to do. It’s not even the only image out there with that sentiment, but it’s one that hasn’t gone away.

We received a great comment on our last post about this and the “trends” in nerd culture. Trends, fads, whatever you want to call them, change. What’s popular won’t stay that way, and someone is always going to love what others call retro. And yeah, putting the controller in your mouth doesn’t get much done in a game, but fetishization of nerd culture can be done simultaneously while being a gamer of all genders.

What I really take issue here is the use of the word “slut” as a negative, the connotation being that sluts do not play video games. Sluts being girls who seek male attention by dressing provocatively and posing with gaming paraphernalia.

To which I say: Fuck. That. Fuck those judgement calls. Fuck any kind of “feminism” or anything that builds itself up by shaming others. Just because someone wears makeup and strikes a sexy pose does not give anyone the right to call them names. Infighting over who gets to be a Real Gamer Girl is a distraction that lets the misogynists and other problem makers in the industry continue getting away with the rampant inequality and lack of diverse representation.

Let me be clear that I am not saying one must flounce around like Zooey Deschanel’s character on New Girl in full makeup and a twee ModCloth dress before picking up a controller. One can play video games however one wants. Everyone is different, and the best way to move forward and bring positive recognition to girls who play video games is by being inclusive. 

To end this on a pleasant note, I found a fixed version of the image that started this post. Cheers!

gamer girl "fixed"

Purple-haired Pepper Potts.


  1. Kelly

    September 4, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I remember reading a CNN article about harassment of “sexy” cosplayers at cons, and one female commenter (who I knew, albeit not well) replied that all sexy cosplayers are out for attention from men. She, however, was a true “gamer girl,” and she was tired of all the fakes. Stop making life hard for her, women! Because the men clearly weren’t.

    I find this sort of mentality really upsetting. Yes, I understand why it’s there — the societal structures around us BREED internalized misogyny. But who are you to deem who’s “real” or “fake” based on how they want to dress? So someone wants to dress like Bikini Leia. That doesn’t make her any more or less of a nerd or gamer or whatever. It makes her someone who wants to dress like Bikini Leia.

    (Also, as problematic as Bikini Leia is, guess what, world: Bikini Leia strangled Jabba the Hutt and freed herself. I always found that really badass. If ladies want to cosplay other badass ladies that’s a-okay with me.)

    Of course, the only way to stop this mindset is to educate both men and women through articles like this!

    • Rachel

      September 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      Yes. Because everything women do is for men. Every. Single. Thing. … oops my eyes just rolled right out of my skull.

      The “empowering” mentality behind Leia being enslaved and freeing herself always sits weird with me, mostly because of how often you see it reused in media. But that’s another article for another day.

      • Kelly

        September 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Oh DEFINITELY. It’s REALLY problematic. REALLY REALLY REALLY. But I admit it always stuck with me.

      • caitlin

        September 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        don’t forget that a woman asserting her sexuality ceases to be a woman and becomes instead an object or a corrupt ideal. this includes showing any skin at all because female bodies exist only for male pleasure.

    • Lan

      September 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      You said it. This view where everything a woman must do must be for the men is kind of ridiculous. Because there’s no way that a woman would want to dress up as Bikini Leia for herself. No way! That’s just crazy talk.

      • Kelly

        September 4, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        Every aspect of our lives is manufactured for male attention! I guess because we’re all gold diggers who want to get married.

        Seriously, I hate that mindset so, so much.

  2. caitlin

    September 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    modcloth namedrop to bring in the ad revenue, i see.

    my comment feels so OT now in hindsight but i love the direction you took it in, because it’s something that’s always had my hackles up: this need to “prove”, somehow, that we’re real gamers and not one of the “fakes”, that we need to adopt the totems of male geekdom to assimilate or forever remain outliers in our own hobby group. why is a female gamer always met with interrogation rather than acceptance when she admits her hobbies – double this for any male-coded nerd space like comic books or tabletop. why the hell do we feel the need to rise to the bait, every time?? why must we validate their creepy obsession with policing what we do and do not like??

    • Rachel

      September 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Would you believe I only linked it there because I’ve spoken to people in real life who don’t know what it is??

      Sometimes I think that these articles are just giving into the bait itself. MMM DELICIOUS SELF-DOUBT.

    • Kelly

      September 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Yes, yes, YES. When I worked at GameStop it was a constant “can we trip Kelly up today in her knowledge of games or comic books” game that I bought into every time. And I admit to privately ridiculing some women who came in as “just buying for their boyfriends” because I was stupid and wanted to fit in and get picked on less. Except even if I played their game I would never be accepted. It’s hard to look back on now and it just makes me angrier with myself and this entire stupid set up.

      I like to think by talking about it, though, we’re helping other women see and identify it.

      • caitlin

        September 5, 2013 at 6:25 AM

        i wouldn’t feel too bad about it – i mean the system is pretty punishing to women who don’t conform to it; and plus there IS this weird, perverse pleasure in blending in and conforming to the male-defined template.

        sometimes i wonder if this reaction doesn’t stem from the fact that there’s really a lack of a female equivalent to male gaming cultural identity; we’re half the gaming population, yet we’ve spent so long in the “guy” box that the place there should be for us is vacant. to say nothing of transgendered or agendered identities – everything gets smothered by this blanket of “maleness”. the standards are male, the gatekeepers are male, and because the prevalent culture is so geared to satisfying male egos, we cultivate these male-by-proxy egos and disassociate in order to obtain satisfaction ourselves. it’s perfect, really: as women we’re already burnt by the misogyny prevalent in non-nerd culture; at least nerd culture gives us a space we can passably call our own in return.

        it’s kind of like stockholm syndrome, in a way.

        • Rachel

          September 5, 2013 at 11:59 AM

          This is why I don’t fault anyone for embracing the “gamer girl/girl gamer” title as a way of differentiating themselves.

  3. ba dum dum

    October 22, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    its not the way you look it’s whether or not you are a true gamer, and thats what those illustrations show, if your a true gamer, male or female, you probably look like the picture on the bottom, and you probably spend most of your time playing video games and not caring about any of the stuff that you mentioned….”Woe is me” get over it.

    • Inkspeaker

      October 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      “True gamer”

      Thanks for the laugh.

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