Gaming Editorial: Gamer Girls and the Media

Hey everyone, I’ve noticed a trend lately of girls (usually cute girls) cashing in on the rise of geek culture.

Making spoofs about gaming culture, particularly Table Top Gaming, is nothing new. A lot of you out there may know of a really funny comic book called Knights of the Dinner Table, which satirizes an RPG group.

And of course, there was the awesome 40K focused Turn Signals on a Land Raider, chronicling the exploits of the Emperor’s Pointy Sticks chapters!

But the first of the female focused gamer lifestyle media that came to my attention was The Guild, a popular YouTube series about a group of MMORPG players, the star of whom is the attractive Felicia Day. MMORPGs like WoW really helped to catapult gaming into the mainstream, and its massive popularity, plus the huge upsurge in Comic book movies, etc. has created a large market for what us geeks have been enjoying our entire lives.

The Guild turned out to be popular, and is credited as being one of the inspirations for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, also featuring Felicia Day (which by the way, is funny as hell).

And there are a slew of similar style shows on YouTube, blogs, promotions teams, etc. that seem to be riding the same wave. Here are a few examples:

Pretty in Geek

Roll a D6

An interesting thing to note, is that the creators of Roll a D6 openly admit they don’t play the game, apart from one of the crew, and don’t know the difference between D&D 3.5 and 4.0. Once again, we see a cute girl featured front and center.

We’ve actually worked with these girls before, the promotions group, Team Unicorn. They helped us hand out awards at Comikaze 2011, which was rad of them and I know it was a big hit with the guys in attendance.

The winner enjoying the spoils of victory!

And yeah, they are super hot in real life, too.

So my question is, is this a good thing?  I see a lot of these girls as pretty damn smart from a certain perspective. They can get into a demographic that is largely male, 14-35, with disposable income and that would love nothing more than to see their fantasy of a beautiful nerd girl come to life. It gives them a pathway to fame and wealth if they play their cards right and have the talent. Getting into entertainment/fashion/etc. is tough. They’re using any advantage they can to give themselves a leg up. From that perspective I have to applaud their initiative and ambition.

We’re seeing geek culture really, really explode in the media and that means money. Money means those that seek it out follow closely behind. When you have folks cashing in on the popularity of geek culture who don’t actually know anything about it, will this ultimately hurt or help the community? When you really get down to it, it is being false. People are pretending to like something in order to gain something from those they are being false too.

Is this really a bad thing? And does that question even matter? Is it something we could stop even if we wanted to?

I won’t lie, I LOVE having pretty girls involved in our games/hobbies, but if it’s just a front, is it really all that great? If they’re thinking to themselves that they can’t wait to get out of the Con/Tournament/etc. they’re at, is it really all that great (and I’m not saying that is how they all feel, although I am sure plenty of them do)? I think a lot of geeky guys don’t care for the same reason guys go to Strip Clubs: even if she knows, and we know, she doesn’t REALLY like us, it still feels good to have the attention of a pretty girl, even if it’s false. And that my friends, is why you always see hot Booth Girls at events, in the ads, etc. Sex sells. We males are weak, weak creatures! hahaha

As Geek culture becomes more and more mainstream and commercialized, we will for sure lose some of what makes it genuine and unique. People who don’t actually care about it will use it as a means to further their careers, make money, etc. That is just the way things go in Western Culture. I don’t see it as something we can stop, and probably shouldn’t in this case. For as obnoxious as this can become (are there even Comics at ComiCon anymore?) it brings more money into the industry which means more talent, more products, more of what we crave. I am willing to trade in some of what I love in our hobby for movie studios creating things like Batman and the Avengers, for having hotties asking us to come to our events instead of the other way around, and for more acceptance in the mainstream. Some may call that selling out, but who cares.

So you know what? Get after it Geek Girl entertainers. Even if you don’t actually like what you’re promoting, you’re laying the groundwork for girls to feel more comfortable in embracing geek culture, you’re advancing your own careers, and creating some really unique, fun entertainment for the rest of us.

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

17 Responses to “Gaming Editorial: Gamer Girls and the Media”

  1. Izzy Vega July 23, 2012 2:37 am
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    Good editorial reece! I actually had asked myself many of the same questions. I’m a big fan of hot girls and am lucky enough to have married a hot gamer girl. Now she’s not into EVERYTHING geek related( she’s limited to certain video games, zombies and anime related stuff) but is more open and receptive to other aspects of nerdity(she just had her first adventure via Pathfinder). So even if most of these girls aren’t into the geek culture scene fully,. Beig around it enough, certain aspects will catch their attention and open their minds to accepting more of it. I see it as nothing but positive even if they are just trying to be pretty and looking to br nooticed….cuz remember….strippers are people too…just slighgtly more damaged

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 23, 2012 9:45 am
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      Congratz to you, sir! An attractive, loving gamer girl is what we all want deep down.

      And you’re right, even if they don’t share our love for this stuff (after all, I just can’t ever love shoes the way a girl can!) if they are accepting of it, that is good enough. I think girls making this type of media help to remove the stigma around gaming, which is only a good thing.

  2. wizzardx3 July 23, 2012 3:52 am
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    Reese,
    Great article, but I’m calling you out on one thing. Without meaning to, you seem to paint these women as ‘pretenders’ not as people who have ‘real geek cred’. (you too, Izzy!) Just because she’s enjoying the attention that her Cos-play outfit gets her, it doesn’t mean she isn’t just as passionate about it as a guy. For example, Michelle from Team Unicorn kicks my ass with regards to Tolkien knowledge…

    I totally agree with you, Reese that we have the pioneers among us. As a father of a little girl (soon to be two!) I’m very proud that we are headed in a direction where my daughter can enjoy whichever parts of geek culture that appeal to her.

    This picture speaks a lot to me.
    http://blog.geeksaresexytech.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/pop-vs-geek1.jpg

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 23, 2012 9:48 am
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      You’re right, I wasn’t trying to say that ALL the girls at cons aren’t into Geek culture, just that some aren’t. I should have made that more clear. I’m sure some of them genuinely love Nerdity!

      I agree also that it is a good thing, and that strong females as presented in a lot of Geek culture is a really good thing for young women who can look at that and see an example of what they can be.

      That is cool that Michelle out Tolkien’s you, haha, those girls were super nice from our brief interaction with them, definitely didn’t mean to slight them in the article at all if it came across that way.

  3. Rich with GSI July 23, 2012 7:25 am
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    As long as they know their shit, geek-wise, it’s great. Do they play the games? Do they really understand what the game is about? Or, are they just playing in a low-cut dress because it’s a great way to become a YouTube star? Posers are pretty easy to uncover. Give me pure uncut geek any day.

    I’m just happy smart people (geeks) are getting to be mainstream. Hopefully the days of “Jackass” are over. Stupid is not cool.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 23, 2012 9:50 am
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      Stupid is not cool….hahahaha, such a good line! I totally agree. And yeah, being a geek is becoming cool. It makes sense, geeky people usually are smart and usually have a better future ahead of them than some dipshit that jumps into a flaming Port-A-Potty for a living….although that is pretty funny to watch, not gonna lie! haha

      • Rich with GSI July 23, 2012 1:04 pm
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        BTW, there’s this 20-something girl that I play Balck Ops with every once in awhile and she is goooooood. Seriously good. It’s really funny when guys bag on her, say she “plays like a girl”, and she just destroys them. Freaking awesome!

        • Reecius
          Reecius July 23, 2012 1:08 pm
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          That is awesome! hahaha

  4. Scott July 23, 2012 7:40 am
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    I think that we are seeing a similar social aclimitization of the traditional gaming communitys with female gamers. The whole unicorn myth was born out of statistics of the early 80s to late 90s where the female gamer population was either relatively sparce, or un documented. I think that the traditional gaming communities reputation as a boys club definitly helped perpetuate the stereotype as being a mostly male dominant group, which by in large, it still is. But perspectives change, interests grow, and markets adapt to new trends, we have long abandoned the traditional barbie and GI Joe standard for raising kids in most households, which leave ample room for the next generation of gamers to be a fully diversified community.

    That being said I would like to throw a curveball into the conversation that I have heard, well no one talks about it on any of the blogs, what about the LGBT community. For years I always saw my lifestyle as a gamer secondary to my lifestyle as a gay man. This is one area of conversation that never seems to come up, I think this is do in part to the somewhat conservative nature of the core of the tradtional gaming community, and while its a little more common in the pen and paper type groups, I can honestly say that apart from one exception I have never heard anything about gays and lesbians in the community. I think that like the acceptance of female gamers this is just something that takes time, what do you guys think, and yes I am prepared to catch hell for this one so fire away.

    Cheers

    -Scott

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 23, 2012 10:01 am
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      No hate here, Scott, at all. I think you are right that acceptance takes time. And I think you are also right that the core of the gaming community is conservative leaning.

      I know we have LGBT members of the community, I just think that a lot of them keep their lifestyles to themselves in order to avoid conflict, which is a bummer. People should be comfortable sharing their lives with friends, but there are a lot of guys who just aren’t comfortable with it. It’s tough because what brings everyone together is a common love of a hobby or game.

      I think that in the long run though, that the interactions between the straight and gay community that come about as a result of geek culture is a good thing as tolerance comes from familiarity. When one of my best buddies in college came out in our senior year, it made me 100x more accepting of the LGBT community as it wasn’t something foreign anymore, it was a good buddy of mine I had been friends with for years.

      I think interactions like that amongst gamers will have the same effect for a lot of people which is cool.

      • Scott July 23, 2012 12:30 pm
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        Thats about where I am at, those that know me know, but there has always seemed to be this ominus pressure about the the traditional table top community that seems to push back against women and lgbt indaviduals. I think a lot of it stems from the very male bravado focused nature of a lot of the games and themes associated with the community, but again I feel that is slowly changeing as well. And while I don’t feel that its a necassarily crusade worthy issue, I just wanted to bring a little talked about subject to the surface.

        Over all I would say that the community has become much more accepting then its counter parts in the digital online realm of gaming, and because of this I remain optimistic and hope to see future generations passing the tradition along to their friends and family, reguardless of gender or orientation.

        Always

        -Scott

        • Reecius
          Reecius July 23, 2012 12:40 pm
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          Yeah, online gaming brings out the worst in people. Anonymity and immaturity are a really, really bad combo. TT gaming though, forces people to be more mature and civil as you are playing a game face to face with someone. It has that human interaction.

          Thanks for sharing, dude! I am optimistic that people are becoming more tolerant with each generation and that in time, people will look back at the way we act now the way we look back at racism in the past. It just takes time.

  5. fleshterror July 24, 2012 9:56 am
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    Hell, my girl plays 40 daemons, plays magic wowtcg, loves zombies and anime smokes hookah and drinks my game buddies under the table lol o and I’m 0-5 in 6th ed against her lol but she is rare where none of my other married it dating friends can do the same things with their girl.

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 24, 2012 12:41 pm
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      You sir, are a lucky man! I am glad to hear you can share your hobby, that is awesome.

  6. FacePuncher July 24, 2012 2:11 pm
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    What about all the hot “geek” guys that are into geek gamers? Thats the story I want to read.

  7. Ashwaster July 26, 2012 12:20 pm
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    A bit late, but a good point of view on the issue:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/07/26/who-gets-to-be-a-geek-anyone-who-wants-to-be/

    • Reecius
      Reecius July 26, 2012 12:48 pm
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      Good article! I think the author nails it. Why some guy is pissed we have girls getting into geekdom is beyond me, but I suppose people will get mad about anything.