Woman, Gamer…what do you call a rose?

This post by Renee…read it.

One of the things a lot of people don’t know about me any more (although it used to be much closer to the surface) is that I am highly competitive and when I compete I am status oriented.  The reason I don’t play FPSes is that I hate losing and I’m not good enough at them to hold my own (and it’s a skill I haven’t put any time into learning for a variety of reasons).  I am not confrontational…but get me into game space and give me a game I am comfortable with, and I am out to not just play, but own the whole damn table.

I’m not trans* so I can’t speak to the specifics of gender dysphoria through a trans* lens, but I can speak to the fact that there are times where my competitive nature has allowed me to step outside the perception of me as “nerd queen” and be just as cutthroat and aggro as the guys, and that when it does I occasionally feel like something of myself is lost.

I wonder about that feeling.  Why do I feel that way?  Is it because there’s such a strong social bias towards the idea that women can play games, but that they can’t take that play seriously?  Is it because there’s an emphasis on the idea that women want “story mode”?

Here’s the thing.  I do want story mode.  I want story mode because sometimes I don’t want to spend fifteen hours of my life negotiating shooting alien hoardes and stabbing guys for treasure, and whatever else it is that the play components are made of.  But sometimes…sometimes what I want to do is sit down with a nice hot game of Soul Calibur, and murderate the faces off things.  Sometimes, in the depths of personal drama provided by Apocalypse World or Monsterhearts or even D&D (because whoah, baby, is Eberron a great setting for a story game) all I want to do is roll some dice, hit some stuff, and talk about my crits.

I don’t want to forever be seen as a “Woman Gamer” but I do want the word “Gamer” to get big enough to include women in its multitudes.

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2 thoughts on “Woman, Gamer…what do you call a rose?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, I am trans and a gamer and a woman, and I can tell you I definitely resonate with your post, on a bunch of levels. As a trans person, of course, my gender is open to policing by any cis person who meets me (or so it would seem, by the way the world reacts as I move through it sometimes), so I am constantly hyper-aware of the gender-radiation I’m putting out by engaging in a particular game, or even by a style of play within a game.

    Which, of course, I had as completely different sets of challenges when people still mistakenly thought I was a boy: then I had a different set of gender strictures, but since they were aligned with those of the power structure, they were rarely obstacles in themselves. Most of my problem came from being personally out of alignment with that power structure much of the time.

    Now I still am – but it’s kind of expected of me now.

    Transness can be a really interesting way to look at the way that society structures and enforces gender, because in some ways, many of us (by far not all!) experience different aspects of those things across time.

  2. Rowan Cota says:

    Ooo. Yeah, Renee is also trans, and her post got me thinking about it, because she was talking about how she becomes aware of it…and I was realizing that I become aware of it in a way that I’m not if I, say, choose not to “perform” appropriately by not wearing lipgloss to the grocery store.

    (And it’s also interesting to me that as I’ve become more active in feminist circles and surrounded by feminist thinkers, I’ve also become more aware of the gender-radiation I’m putting out.)

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