So I recently saw a picture with about a dozen different gaming consoles on it. I started to scroll down, curious as to where this was going. There was a cutesy little wink and the words “the girlfriend test.”
It’s something that I have kind of noticed when the topic of women in/fans of the gaming industry. That gaming isn’t her own interest, but instead the interest of a boyfriend/husband/potential love interest. It’s something I have faced while perusing the video game section or slipping past the graphic novel shelf at my work.
“Oh, you’re getting that? Picking it up for a boyfriend?”
“Um, no. This is for me.”
This exchange has happened more than once. A couple of guys had apologized, but the rest just gave me skeptical looks. The joke was on them when I told them that “we were out of stock.”
Look, I love video games, books, comics etc. But I got into them on my own. Yes, I have taken other people’s suggestions on what games to play. And yes, it took me a long time to get comfortable with telling people that I did like games. My own evolution into nerd culture has been a long and arduous process for me. There is an expectation that traveling the dangerous waters of geekdom is supposed to be difficult for women, because it is still considered a “boy’s only club.” Girls and women aren’t supposed to get into it by themselves, because it’s not aimed at them.
This is not to criticize women who were introduced to video games through a boyfriend or husband. I found out about A Song of Fire and Ice from an ex of mine. I am a firm believer that there is no right or wrong way to get into any sort of nerdy aspect. If you found it on your own, that’s great. If someone else showed you it, that’s great too! But there is that problem of elitism for a lot of people that makes it difficult for them to admit to being fans. If you don’t go through all the right hoops, you are a fake. I’ve noticed that this is especially true for women. I’ve had to prove myself over and over again. No, I am not buying this for my boyfriend. In fact, I am single. No, the two are not mutually connected; will you stop implying that!
Women do not have to be in love with video games. Heck, you can hate them for all I care. We are allowed to have interests that revolve outside of the relationships we are in. It’s great when you share interests with the one you are with, but that doesn’t mean you are obligated to like all the same things they are.
So if you don’t happen to like playing video games (or even watching someone play them) than that does not make you a bad person. Knowing what console is which is not supposed to be a deal breaker in a relationship. I know I’m probably the last person who should be talking about healthy relationships, but having diverse interests is normal.
But if you like video games, just don’t hog the remote. Sharing is caring.