There is a massive rise in what I see as a new hatred phenomenon against attractive women who are openly gamers , geeks or nerds. Abuse is consistently thrown my way for being an openly proud gamer and porn performer so I decided to write this piece before tonight’s Cherchex La Femme: Feminism and Gaming event.
It’s my personal experiences and perspective on the reasons behind gamer girl and sex worker hatred, and why this stereotype and the use of it to abuse people needs to disappear.
I am a women and I am a gamer. I am also incidentally working in the pornography industry.
Lately I’ve noticed something that I believe has become a phenomenon; and that is the intense hatred, dismissal and disregard for ‘sexy gamer girls’. (Who are often referred too as fake gamer girls as if they are one in the same.)
It is already difficult for female gamers and geeks to be taken seriously. Often I find women have to prove their gamer or nerd cred to avoid being excluded, harassed or bullied. This of course doesn’t appear to happen to men very often if at all. A guy wearing an eve online shirt isn’t expected to defend himself about his hobbies, choices and interests at the drop of a hat. He probably also won’t be considered a poser, talentless at gaming or an airhead should he enjoy playing The Sims or Cooking Mama along with Call of Duty, Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons. However as I woman I will be judged.
As a woman I get ranked on the scale of what a ‘real’ gamer is and my interests and skill are constantly in question simply because of my gender. I am also judged to a much harsher degree. So what if I don’t like shooters, or once in a while I like to play ‘feminine’ games? To suggest I am not a ‘real’ gamer because I don’t only play games which are ‘men’s games’ like CoD, Starcraft, Halo etc is sexist and ignorant. I am not any less of a gamer for those things, nor am I any less of a gamer because my career and my sexuality are linked.
There are so many offensive stereotypes and perceptions about female gamers and even more about adult workers like me who make their hobbies like gaming openly part of their lives or career. The assumption is generally that I’m just some airhead trying to make money off a niche I know nothing about. Except that of course I’m not an airhead and I know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to things that I enjoy like gaming.
As a pro non-exploitative pornography feminist my business and the way I present myself online is very important to me. There is too much porn that is degrading and demeaning, which forces women to completely disregard their own personalities, interests and sexual enjoyments for the benefit of male consumers. It asks them to become the stereotype of the always ready bimbo with no real depth or personality. This is something I do not want for my business or for myself. My work isn’t just a job; it’s incredibly personal. I put myself completely into my work and I don’t pretend to be anything but what I am. My work is about real sexuality, respect, love and sensuality. I often talk about and plan my work around my hobbies and interests, which are mainly fashion and gaming and even taking my work out of the equation these things are big part of my life and I want to show that to the world.
Being told that because I’m an adult worker, I should conform to the depthless bimbo stereotype and not discuss, enjoy or include my legitimate passions like gaming into my work because together they are too offensive; is in itself completely offensive. I should not be expected to not follow my dreams, which are inherently linked my sexuality and sexual identity as a respectful exhibitionist, erotica lover and a sexually healthy and liberated person. My work, sexuality, personality, interests and my pursuits are not all mutually exclusive and nor should they have to be.
There is concern that ‘people like me’ enforce a very sexist and negative stereotype about female gamers. That stereotype is that any female gamer who isn’t fat, old, ugly or rude (another fremale gaming stereotype) is a slutty, hot blonde deviant with fake tits who can’t play games, and only tries for male attention or profit. This stereotype is a real problem. It is an offensive and immature male wet dream which unquestionably hurts the female gamers who don’t want to be placed in either the ugly/bitch or the slutty/fake categories- they just damn well want to play games and be free of judgement. (As do I!)
Of course, there are those who do only play games for male attention, money or popularity now that gaming has become a mainstream pastime. I think over all it is certainly not their fault that they conform to that stereotype and try to appeal to the male gaze. After all, we as women are really conditioned from birth by society to believe that our worth and goals revolve around our attractiveness and being approved of in various forms by men. However; that is not what I am. And that is not something you can tell simply by looking at the fact I state I like games and that I like and perform in pornography.
It offends me greatly to be told that people like me not only are responsible for enforcing this stereotype, but we are responsible for creating it. I find the argument that I am personally to blame for the segregation, sexualisation and abuse of female gamers simply because I am not afraid to include my hobbies into my personal sexual exhibitionism is very similar to arguments used by first and second wave feminists who blamed women who enjoyed things such as wearing makeup, high heels and acting in a traditionally feminine way for the ills of man and for their own oppression.
Of course, forcing all women to comply to a certain beauty standard, mode of dress or sexual code of conduct is undoubtedly oppressing and disgusting. And not just women; anyone! Not everyone likes the color pink, traditionally girly items and activities such as sewing and baking. But many women do like those things- and not because they were brainwashed to do so. Telling women how they should or should not be is wrong- and more so, telling people that enjoying what make them who they are means they are responsible or deserving of abuse and oppression is wrong. People should be free to make their own choices regardless of their gender, and this applies to gaming and sex.
“This is what a proper girl gamer is and this is not” is a rhetoric I am growing very tired of, very quickly. Sadly enough I find more often than not this pigeon holing and these accusations coming from other women and even worse, from my feminist sisters. I find it often based off a hatred of sex workers and stereotypes about them which are just as offensive and harmful as the ones I apparently am responsible for as a sex worker. It also comes from a place of elitism. Degrading, insulting and making assumptions about people like me and how ‘real’ I am as a gamer or a person to try and separate yourself from offensive stereotypes isn’t helpful.
I don’t assume that you are a prude, an elitist, fat, ugly, old, a dyke or any other slur, or ruse/ offensive stereotype because games, sex and the sex industry aren’t you’re cup of tea.
So please don’t assume that I’m some air-headed, disease ridden, talentless (in any way), poser simply because my sexuality, my business and my hobbies interconnect. I am no less of a gamer for being a porn performer than than I am any less of a feminist for liking pink things and unicorns. Slut-shaming, whorephobia and elitism is never ok. Stereotypes hurt all of us.