I was at a local geek con (I say that with a lot of respect of course) to run some games. I was setting up my table and just hanging around waiting for my first game to start. A woman approached me and struck up a conversation. At first we discussed Cthulhu and all his glorious ways, as I was going to run Realms of Cthulhu. I then asked how many gaming conventions she participated in. She told me a just a few and then said something that I still haven’t fully processed.
She said, “I’m a unicorn. I’m the rare female that is actually a real gamer.”
I took half a beat to process what she had said to me. I responded with a, “What do you mean?”
The unicorn then went on to tell me how all the female gamers she sees are just there to socialize and gossip. All the females she runs into are “fake” gamers. Uni then told me about all the games she plays and how it consumes her life. This never impresses me, by the way. I love football, but I am not a huge fan of those who let it consume their lives. It should be a fun diversion, a hobby. I think one’s life should be a balance. This is a discussion for another day.
I looked around for the hidden cameras. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this, seemingly, intelligent woman.
Since then I have posted about this on my social network accounts, I’ve talked to other people about this, I’ve heard back from friends who also happen to be female gamers. I wondered if I am surrounded by unicorns and I just didn’t realize how lucky I am.
It would have been easier for me to accept the statement the unicorn gave me if she had been male. Then I could have chalked up the ignorant comment to sexism. But to hear a woman stand in front of me and say these things, well it broke my mind. The first sanity check of the night was made by me.
Most of my friends chalked up the stupid comment (yes, I’m calling it as I see it) to just being that…stupid. But Derek pointed out something interesting to me, he likes to game and have it be a fun social event. Does this make him a non-gamer? My thoughts then turned to other gamers I see call out others for not being real gamers. These gatekeepers (aka assholes) of the hobby who decide who is worthy of the title. Perhaps this all this unicorn was, someone who had a distorted view of what a gamer is? But why single out just the female gamers?
I think we could delve into the psychology of this individual for a long time. The self-hating, attention seeking, behavior that isn’t so much a commentary on other female gamers but of herself. This humorous tale takes a sad turn when you view it through the lens of analysis of the root issue.
How many times are we going to have to discuss how our hobby should be inclusive to all? I’m not saying you should invite a goofball into your heavy roleplay game, but be accepting of the goofball’s table and understand they are having fun? Yes, I am asking for a lot of understanding from the uptight brigade. Maybe we just all need to embrace the title of a “Fake Gamer.” Because if being a real gamer means I have to pick and choose who is part of this hobby, then I would rather be fake.