Browsing Jade Reporting I found this forum post: Coastal Michelle’s Top 10 ways to get your girl into gaming. I’m not familiar with Video Game Outsiders, the podcast Coastal Michelle hosts, but I found her list problematic coming from someone with an influence over her listeners. I’ll break down some points on the list and point out the attitudes about women–in this case that we’re stupid and consumer driven and easy to manipulate–that it embodies.
My top 10 ways to get your GIRLY GAMING!
Girlfriends as your girly instead of an equal partner: this language sets up girlfriends as second class, as sidebars to their gaming men.
10 * Get a co-op game and come up with a sob story about how none of your guy friends will play it with you. Repeat, adding words like “sad” and “lost”.. her mothering instinct will kick in and you’re GOLDEN!
There’s a bit of biological essentialism in this point; women are innately nurturers and men just need to manipulate that to get women to do what they want.
9 * If she reads at night, secretly replace her latest Oprah book club novel with a PSP. If she becomes suspicious, tell her Oprah gave PSPs away to her entire audience last Wednesday. Smile and nod.. a lot.
I could almost find this funny–knowing a few Oprah fans myself, who are not necessarily female–until the smiling and nodding. Against, women are stupid and easy to manipulate, this time by their consumerism and emulation of media figures.
7 * Give her jewelry and shoes every time she gets a gaming achievement you don’t have. Fake Diamonds work too, shhh.
Again, women can be manipulated by their consumerism. Jewelry in particular: a display of status that circles back around to reflect well the man who gave it to her. This is about getting men what they want.
4 * If she is competitive.. challenge her to a verses game. If she isn’t, mock her until she dislikes you. If all else fails, compare her to her mother. Try again.
(My emphasis added.) Teasing and cruelty are apparently acceptable and normal. Is having a healthy relationship with her mother out of the question?
A note on competition: I find it frustrating to compete against men in something they’ve been trained to do since they were knee-highs.
3 * Invite her to watch you play a captivating single player game. Let her know you want her to be there.. ask her for her help, or opinion on what to do.
2 * Listen to the podcast with her.. use girls like myself and Dana as examples.. perhaps invite her to join the forums and talk with us for ideas on games, etc.
1 * Do your research. In all seriousness, find out what your girl likes and doesn’t like. Get her a game that is specific to what she is interested in, even if it seems silly to you. Although it may not be true for all, a lot of women seem to be more into the nintendo products – so a DS is a great way to start. Plus she can play that, while you game on a console.. in fact you can let her know it’s just another way for you guys to spend time together. An honest talk might be all it takes, and who knows, she might not only find it an honor that you want to involve her in a hobby of yours, she might just end up becoming more of a gamer than you!
These two bits aren’t necessarily bad advice, as long as you’re doing it as equals: one partner inviting another to get into a hobby. I’d suggest letting her take the controller, though.
Good Luck men.. and errr ladies, if you are into that sorta thing.
Same-gender relationships aren’t weird–or at least they shouldn’t be.
If this is how the game community sees women, no wonder they’re not into games.
I’m not attacking Coastal Michelle. Rather, I’m criticizing her list because it reinforces sexism and perpetuates the women-as-gamer-accessories–even if it places those accessories on a pedestal–ideology in gamer culture. The Top 10 list is an example of a woman rewarded by men for what they want to hear. In return, the posters praise Coastal Michelle for a list well written.
For more in depth discussion of problematic “For Her” lists, check out tekanji’s series.