“Shut up, little boy, isn’t it past your bedtime?!”
It’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’m on Xbox LIVE playing “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” while simultaneously defending my gender. My high-pitched voice, coupled with the lack of girl gamers in the video game universe, often subjects me to frequent verbal abuse by many male players.
The abuse usually consists of assumptions that I’m a pre-pubescent boy; then, after finding out that I have a vagina, the other player asking me a slew of narrow-minded questions such as, “Are you fat? Do you have any friends? Are you a lesbian? Why aren’t you in the kitchen?”
First of all — there is nothing wrong with being overweight, having a small amount of friends, being a lesbian or dabbling in the culinary arts. Nothing. The problem is: Why are girl gamers forced to dwell within such rigid guidelines? Can a heterosexual girl of average build with a decent social life and minimal talent in the kitchen play video games and be left alone?
I don’t ask male gamers if they watch copious amounts of porn, obsess over the stats of their fantasy baseball team or drink a beer with one hand while scratching their butts with the other. I just want to increase my rank, fire an anti-aircraft missile at a fighter jet and shoot a couple of terrorists in peace.
Gaming has notoriously been a man’s world. The female characters in video games either have ginormous, gravity-defying breasts in any shooting game (there is no way Lara Croft could have shot straight with those melons) or are useless and weak in any fighting game (winning with Samus in “Super Smash Bros.” is about as likely as Lois DeFleur adorning Playboy Magazine’s next cover in a leopard-print thong). So, female characters are drastically underdeveloped or notoriously clich√É.√©d, making gaming a very female-unfriendly environment.
However, a promising gamer girl was introduced to the gaming world last week. “Gears of War,” a popular series made for Xbox, is dropping its final game of a three-part series next year, and the trailer shows the only female character, Anya, wielding a weapon.
Anya spent the first two games as “Gears of War’s” hot receptionist, only ever appearing as a voice directing the men over their headsets. However, the trailer shows my girl Anya out on the battlefield in full armor, with a reasonable haircut and normal proportions. And she’s good-looking! Finally, a female character that is more like Kate Beckinsale and less like Carmen Electra. That’s the kind of woman I can respect and dress up as for Halloween without needing implants and booty shorts!
Despite the excitement that an awesome character like Anya ignites, I know that the transformation of a male-dominated video game world into a more female-friendly universe will not come overnight.
So, for now, here are a few words of wisdom to anybody who encounters a girl gamer while on Xbox LIVE:
Do not ask us about the sexual acts we enjoy performing. This is not a local brothel, and we are not on the menu.
Do not question our capabilities because of our gender. Our hands work the same as yours, and a lack of volume in the pants area does not change our ability to push buttons on a controller.
Don’t bother us the entire time we’re playing by shouting “Hey girl. Heyyyyy girlllll.” That seriously throws off our sniping capabilities.
And don’t automatically friend-request us or invite us to a private chat without saying a single word beforehand. That is just creepy.
If you’re not a gamer, all us ladies ask for is a little respect and understanding. Girl gamers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexual orientations. Some of us come in heels and some of us come in sneakers. All of us enjoy playing video games as much as our male counterparts.
So, support girl gamers, be open-minded about female characters with physically possible human proportions and think twice before you ask that high-pitched voice if it’s hit puberty yet. Because you might just be getting your ass handed to you by a girl.