How To Transform Yourself Into a Misogynistic Asshole

Girls, we need to have a talk. Is this a familiar scenario for you? You come home from a long day of work or school and are looking forward to relaxing on the couch to play a few hours of your favorite game. Within seconds, your husband/boyfriend/father/brother swoops in and starts harping in your ear, “Games are for boys, BITCH!” Tired of hearing the same crap in your ear every day? Want to play your games in peace? Better yet, do you dream of sharing your love without getting sexually harassed, talked down, or called male? Well, you came to the right place.

Straight from the mouth of a gamer who happens to be female, I will… well, I certainly won’t be making a stupid, sexist list that derides women as naggers and then tells you how to get them to play games. But I sure as hell will be critiquing one from a writer whose creds is that she’s a “female gamer” — but apparently that doesn’t exempt her from spouting a load of sexist crap.

  1. Never Forget That All Women Nag!
  2. Within seconds, your wife/girlfriend swoops in and starts harping in your ear, “I’m not going to spend another night watching you play that stupid game for hours…blah, blah, bitch, bitch, BITCH!” Tired of hearing the same crap in your ear every day?

    The author (sorry, her handle is too l33t for my poor female brain to type) opens up by playing unironically on the stereotype that women will nag and “bitch”. I find it telling that the one word in the entire paragraph that draws your attention is the only one she put in all caps: bitch.

    Women, please take note: While you may feel like “one of the boys,” and indeed they may tell you that you are, emulating them by putting down other women will not make you any less of an interloper. All it does is make you an asshole who alienates herself from both groups.

  3. Women Love Shopping, Tee Hee!
  4. Play your games after she goes to bed or when she is out shopping, or offer her a deal (i.e.-if she lets you play for an hour, promise to watch her favorite chick TV show for an hour.) You can suck it up for the sake of gaming. Once she sees that SHE is your priority, she should be willing to compromise a little.

    Just in case the hypothetical girlfriend was starting to look too much like an individual human being with all that talk about not playing games when you’re supposed to be spending time with her, our author had to throw in this line about shopping. Because shopping to women is like gaming to men! And, furthermore, that any TV shows that one gender likes the other will automatically hate. Because men and women are different!

    I also like how she’s like, “your girlfriend should be your priority” and then emphasises that it’s all a show to get her to compromise. Because loving relationships between women and men, especially gamer men — or any geeky men or any men with a hobby, really — can’t exist. Women are out to nag — excuse me, bitch, because that’s what we are, bitches and not people — and men are only interested in keeping their women for… the sex, I assume. Because the men she’s painting in this picture sure don’t seem to have girlfriends because they like them.

  5. Women Feel Important When They’re Stereotyped!
  6. You know girls, they are ALL about feelings… Point out your favorite character (unless of course, your favorite player is a D-Cup bimbo!) If you’re stuck on a board and can’t figure out where to go next, ask her to help you figure it out. Let her know that she is important enough to you that you want to share your gaming passion with her.

    But not, apparently, enough to see her as an individual rather than some sorry caricature of that “bimbo” (the woman-hating words come out again!) player this hypotheical guy may love. So far these non-gaming SOs have been painted as nagging bitches, shopaholics who watch “chick shows” whatever those are, “all about feelings” (because logic is for men!), and really not worth any time except that their nagging between sexual exploits gets in the way of what’s really important: game time.
  7. Electronics are Scary!
  8. For non-gaming chicks, the modern console and controller can be damn intimidating. Don’t hand her a controller and expect her to know what to do with it. If she handed you a makeup bag and a set of hot rollers, would you have any idea what to do with them? Make sure you teach her. Walk her through the controls. Explain things clearly, but don’t talk down to her.

    Intimidating? Comparing it to makeup? This author clearly has never had the benefit of reading any of the how not to write these types of articles guides. Personally, I’d say don’t write them at all. If men are ignoring their SOs because of the sake of games, it’s not because of makeup or intimidating controllers and everything about the sense of entitlement these guys have.

    Wake up call, people! It’s not the women who are the problem in this scenario, it’s the men! No person wants to be treated as an object for their partner’s amusement in a relationship. The men being described here — and I know they exist, because I have had the unfortunate occassions to hang out with some such losers — don’t respect women, don’t treat their girlfriends right, and then wonder why they get dumped. Telling them that their problems will be fixed by getting their nagging bitches of girlfriends into gaming solves nothing. It just lets them believe the fantasy that they don’t have to actually treat the women in their lives like they care about them, and in that scenario everyone loses.

  9. Chick Means Stupid!
  10. The key to turning a regular chick into a gamer chick is taking it slow and playing games that she is interested in and that are at her skill level. If your girl has never played before, or is slow to pick it up, throwing her head first into a first person shooter or 40 hour RPG is not the way to go. The trick is easing her into it with “chick friendly” games. Once she masters the “chick” games, then let her determine when she is ready to move on to more challenging games. She will progress at her own pace. Don’t push her too fast or she will only get frustrated with her skill (or lack thereof.) I know this may be boring as hell for you at times, but believe me, it will all be worth it. Here is a list of games that are great intros for her:

    Number of times the word “chick” was used in that paragraph: 4 And at least two of those was synonymous with stupid or non-complex. The games she suggests? Mario, music games, and puzzle games. Because, obviously, they’re “chick” games because they’re easy. Unlike first person shooters. Which are completely complex and require a lot of brain power.

    And I challenge her to a DDR match if she believes that it requires “less actual gaming skills.” What are gaming skills? Reflexes, ability to adapt to the new challenges of the game, and the ability to become skilled in the gaming environment. All of which DDR has, plus the added element of physical power. You need stamina to keep that shit up. I have played a wide variety of games in my 15+ years of gaming, and DDR remains one of the most challenging games.

The snobbery of the “boy’s club” is so apparent here, and what’s more sad is that it’s coming from a woman herself. Instead of challenging ideas of “hardcore game” = good versus “casual game” = bad, or challenging men to treat these women as individual people, the author has chosen to throw her lot in with deriding women with negative stereotypes, multiple uses of slurs, and insults to our intelligence. Yes, I may be a hardcore gamer, but that doesn’t mean I’m one of the boys. Frankly, when “the boys” behave like women are only around for their entertainment, I’d much rather be unpopular by calling them to task by it, than agreeing with them only to gain a bunch of friends who will never accept me because of my gender.

Top "Geek Girl"-Friendly Rules!

Do you want to get your girlfriend or wife into technology, but you’re afraid she’s too feeble minded to be able to appreciate your magnanimous gift? Have you run out of gift guides to scour, but still need a gift for the girl “geek” in your life? Well, fear not, friend! You’ve come to the right place. This list will give you the skills that you need to decide what pieces of technology are and are not appropriate for the little women in your life!

  1. Easy is Key!
  2. Although they may appear to be adult-sized, a real man knows that women have the mental capacity of a child. With that in mind, you don’t want to get them confusing technologies where they have to use more than one or two buttons.

    There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, console controllers come these days with many buttons, which can be intimidating to your delicate flower. Most consoles have “female friendly” games that utilize a minority of the buttons. Those are best, especially when coupled with simplistic “point and click” style gameplay that doesn’t require thought.

  3. It’s a Cutsey-wootsy Widdle Toy
  4. It’s a well-known fact that all women have the “cute” gene. They melt like butter whenever a picture of a puppy is shown to them, and plaster their rooms with posters of baby animals. This is because they have the sole responsibility of raising the children for their men. Use their biology to your advantage! If you see a game that features animals, or an MP3 player that is described as “cute”, then it may just be the gift you’re looking for.

  5. Oooh, Pretty Colours!
  6. When in doubt, look for something colourful. Preferably in pastels, but for a younger woman neon colours are all the rage. Bright colours soothe the feminine mind and can go a long way to making technology less scary. Pink, especially, is a colour to look for because it is instrinsically feminine and will trigger comforting thoughts about being back in the cradle with their mother cooing happily at them.

  7. Encourage her Chatter
  8. Women love to talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. So bring out her inner socialite and get her a gift that allows her to indulge in her chit-chat (preferably when you’re not around)! Cell phones are increasingly gal-friendly, or you can get her hooked on online games (all women love puzzle games; it has something to do with snakes and evolution).

  9. Stop Being a Fatty, Fat, Fat, Fatty!
  10. Tired of your cupcake being the size of one? Fear not, technology has made it so that your tech-savvy woman can be as slim as a super model! Pick from one of the many weight loss appliances, or go the video game route and buy her DDR plus a game pad. You can be the first man on the block to prove your virility by showing off the newer, better, more svelte version of your wife/girlfriend.

  11. Accessorize to Feminize
  12. If there’s one thing women love, it’s shopping for purses and other accessories! So, when in doubt, go for an item to spruce up her boring old toys. Does she have one of those dull black laptops? Buy her a pretty little case for it. A case for her iPod, or a new skin for it is a great idea, too. For even more brownie points, make sure the case models are named after women. If you bought a console for her (you brave, brave man!), you can even buy skins for those! And you can even buy games like Final Fantasy X-2 that involve collecting new outfits. She might not be able to play them herself, but watching you unlock new outfits will give her hours of fun.

If you follow these simple rules, you’re guaranteed to pick a gift this year for your sweetie that she wouldn’t dare dislike.

Last Updated: January 02, 2006.

Games Even Your Girlfriend Can Play!

GGA brought my attention to an article called Top Ten Girlfriend-Friendly Games on (a site that seems to have a significant female membership). Marginalization in the gaming industry is nothing new to me. I mean, having boobs and a vagina and identifying as female is obviously enough to exclude me from that Good Ol’ Boys Club™. If I do venture in, it must only be through a boyfriend (since all good boys and girls are heterosexual) who will introduce me to fluffy games, like Bejeweled and Nintendogs, which are not too hardcore for my weak constitution. Do I sound bitter? Well, after spending most of my twenty-two years seeing mainstream magazines, websites, and other gaming publications catering to guys, and only guys, I think I’ve earned a bit of bitterness. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for me to not have to go to a female-oriented gaming site in order to be included.

Oh, to be fair, sandwiched between the large fonts of the title and the first of the top 10 is this disclaimer:

These days, gamers come in both genders — yet our numbers are few, and like the cavemen of days past we must seek outside of the clan to mate. Yet it is possible to bring non-gaming significant others over to the dark side, through a number of games designed to grab those who couldn’t care less how many frags you got in Counter-Strike last week. We present to you the top ten girlfriend-friendly games. (These can apply to boyfriends as well, since the love of gaming knows no gender boundaries.)

But, truth be told, I didn’t even notice that until I actually wanted to dissect the post. Why? I’m versed enough in layout design to know that our eyes are drawn to big, bright, different objects. The title and the top ten are large, much larger than the descriptive text. Not only that, but the main text is a light grey that is visible but visually blends into the page when put next to the dark black of the title, the vivid blue of the top number, and the bright red of the game title. So, yeah, gender neutral language is applied as a disclaimer/afterthought, but it does not make the kind of impact the title does.

I’m versed enough in layout design to know that our eyes are drawn to big, bright, different objects.

When making “top ten” lists, there is going to be a large element of personal choice and opinion. If I were to make a list of good introductory games for non-gamers, I would choose some similar ones and some different ones. Here again, however, the article engages in some gender assumptions:

#9, Centipede:

It wasn’t until Centipede, with its soft pastels and calming garden theme, that the arcades finally had a game you could bring a date to.

If this was a “Top Ten Boyfriend-Friendly Games,” do you really think that “soft pastels” and “calming garden theme” would be bandied about? Instead of Centipede, I expect it would have been a Space Invaders game. Because, you know, girls like pretty gardens and boys like to shoot things.

#6, Suikoden:

Combining the feel of an epic romantic fantasy with an easy-to-learn interface, Suikoden made RPGs accessible to girls who weren’t otherwise interested in the tedium of roleplaying games in the vein of Dragon Warrior.

You know, I found Suikoden-style controls to be more complicated than all of the Dragon Warrior games (and, believe me, I’ve played them all), although it could be that the first Suikoden was simpler than its two sequels. Regardless, I wonder if the blurb would be the same if pitching it to guys, even non-gamer guys? It’s no surprise that buzzwords like “romantic fantasy” and “easy-to-learn” are used in contrast with a “manly” title such as Dragon Warrior that girls just wouldn’t be interested in. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard those kind of excuses for why more girls aren’t gamers, I would be a rich woman.

#5, Ms. Pac-Man:

But for those gamers who developed lives outside of the musty confines of the arcade, Ms. Pac-Man proved a great boon, for it showed their girlfriends that gaming could be non-violent, cute, and utterly fun.

Oh, yes, us little “girlfriends” can only handle something that’s “non-violent, cute, and utterly fun.” Although I’m not so sure that eating and possibly being killed by ghosts qualifies as “non-violent,” but regardless the idea that games need to fit into the proper gender roles in order to interest girls is offensive if not outright sexist. What next, Pre-Teen Girlfriend Top Ten with the top game being Barbie Makeover?

#3, Katamari Damacy:

Incredibly simple game play with incredibly catchy music coupled with a laughable storyline and beautiful pastel graphics created a game which was both fun to watch and to play.

Again, we have the idea of “simple game play” and “pastel graphics” that was seen above.

#2, Dance Dance Revolution:

In Japan, DDR was designed as a game for women, with catchy pop songs, bright colors, cute artwork, and a fitness angle thrown in for good measure. And once she learns that you aren’t nearly as good as she thought, the game is on. The relative ease with which someone can learn DDR and the versus mode mean that a gamer couple can play together at their own levels of skill.

I can’t fault the author for the purported sexism of the DDR designers, but sticking it in the blurb does continue to reinforce that women need games that fit into strict gender roles: bright/cute things and that we need to work out to be thin. Once again, we have the whole “easy learning” angle. Speaking as a recovering DDR addict, though, I disagree with the author. If one has a decent sense of rhythm to begin with then yeah, it’s easy, but if not… Well, be thankful that you’ve never seen people screw up horribly on the basic steps to the same song over, and over, and over again.

#1, The Sims:

The infinite customizability, the large community, and the simplistic gameplay all combine to make The Sims into the greatest girlfriend game around.

Last, but unfortunately not least, we have that whole “simplistic gameplay” argument rearing its ugly head yet again. Frankly, I’m not so sure I would rate it the greatest game for an SO, girlfriend or otherwise, simply because there are no goals, quests, or storylines. I like playing God for a week, but then it gets old fast. Some people, female/male gamers/non-gamers, like it, some don’t.

GGA linked to a rebuttal in his LJ about criticism, where he harped about Girl Gamers being a different breed, how their critiques ignored how hard it was for new blood to find games they enjoy, etc. Normally I try to avoid that kind of wank, but I felt compelled to reply to this one.

My beef with your article was that, as some posters pointed out above, you were playing on the tired old stereotype of “girls don’t play games, so here are some fluffy ones that your girl might like!” Now, there’s nothing wrong with fluffy games (some of the ones on the list are ones I’ve enjoyed in the past), but there is something wrong with the heterosexist, male-normative bent of your article. Frankly, I’ve seen too many “Games you can play with your girlfriend!” that are aimed at guys and I’ve never seen “Games you can play with your boyfriend!” or “Games you can play with your SO!” And, really, there wasn’t one game on that list of yours that couldn’t be applied to either sex.

My feature (as paltry as it was) was about non-gamers.

You said that in your post, but why didn’t you call your list “Top 10 Games To Play with Your Non-Gamer SO” or something to that effect? Why did you feel the need to play on that old, tired, “girlfriend” stereotype? It’s not offensive only to girl gamers because we’re “l33t h4rdc0r3 playaz” or whatever, but because, you know, we can have SO’s who are non-gamers too.

It may seem like a little, stupid point to harp on, but it’s not just the big things that make an impact. By playing into the stereotype all you’re doing is perpetuating the idea that guys are the only gamers that matter.

Even giving the author the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t intentionally capitalizing on the gender stereotyping language that has kept the image of video games as a Boy’s Club, it still speaks volumes about how easily such terminology can be used to marginalize the female experience. Sure, there are some terms that would be reasonable to apply to non-gamers/casual gamers as a whole, such as games with interfaces that are fun but not so complex that they’ll turn off those without prior experience, are not used with a gender neutral tone, but when used in the context of “girls” and “girlfriends” they play on existing stereotypes about women. Yes, the usage of language in these cases is a relatively small issue. However, because it is so small, it is also easy to fix: be aware of your audience and your language.

Via Game Girl Advance