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Not Just a Gamer Girl
The summer night air was cool outside the glass that spanned the entire wall. The aroma of pizza, Full Throttle energy drinks, and men danced in the live, vibrant air. Excited voices, poised on the trembling edge of exclamation fluttered into my ears. But I grasped the Magic the Gathering cards tighter between my fingers and focused on my opponent’s turn. I was the only female player at the tournament, as it usually was, and the guy across the table from me was not letting me forget it. He had been rude ever since he saw that his next opponent was a girl. I had seen him before, all lively and friendly with the other guys in Daily Planet. However, now he acted so insulted that I had even dared to challenge him. The only time he looked up from his hand was to stare at my female anatomy. He had a sidekick that sat next to him, fueling his desire to maintain male supremacy. He would lean over and urge him on:
“You can beat her! This shouldn’t be a challenge.”
I brushed off his comments and continued to play. He played his cards like he was trying to incorporate an insult into every card he played. The match was quickly getting very competitive. Every card I played earned a scornful glance or a scoff. It was my turn again, and I played a card that won me the game. I had won. I picked up my deck and turned to him.
“Good game.” I offered, hoping to lighten the mood.
But the only response I got was “I can’t believe I lost…” He motioned to me, adding that I am a girl. His buddy shook his head and they stomped off and never returned to Daily Planet.
This was one of my first tournaments and as my Magic the Gathering career gained strength, so did the sexist attitudes and hateful remarks. At a regional competition in Memphis, I was one of only three females in a room of over three hundred males. I sat down to play a match and the man across from me exclaimed, “So nice to see a feminine face!” He then laughed at me. I was enraged but kept my cool, knowing that it would cause a scene if I said anything.
I won a match against a man and he immediately got up and slumped over to his group of friends. He started making fun of me, thinking that I couldn’t hear. They all made so many comments about how he shouldn’t have lost to a girl and how I must have cheated. Again, I abstained from confronting them. The worst part is that they were all around twenty-five years old.
On the other side, I have won many matches on forfeits. The men I played against took it easy on me and gave me wins. Sometimes they complimented my name or something else and then became distracted and ended up losing. Some people would say, “Good for you!” But I want to be taken seriously and for the guys’ first words and reactions not to be “She’s hot!” or “What is a girl doing here?” or “Women Magic players can’t actually play!” I want to be respected regardless of my sex or gender. I want to be known for my abilities instead of simply being female.
There was a post on a website about me when I won third place in a Magic the Gathering tournament. People who read it were surprised that a female had placed and they commented a lot about how strange it was to them.
I can’t seem to understand why guys firmly believe that I cannot play and then insult me, but go off crying when they lose. It happens to me all the time in card games, videogames, competitions, and even everyday life. Many guys are so shocked when they find out that I play Dungeons and Dragons and videogames. They either turn into love struck stalkers or vengeful sexists. I just want to be able to compete using my talents and skills and not my looks.
Everything I do is ridiculed by one of these male fanatics who believe that girls should be gossiping on the phone, shopping for the latest fashions, doing their hair, or listening to obnoxious boy bands. No thank you. If you ask me what I am doing on a Saturday night, my response will be: either playing in a Magic tournament or a Dungeons and Dragons quest, then going home and playing all manner of video games until four o’clock in the morning, chugging energy shots, and rocking out to Dragon Force. I shouldn’t have to fit into a social addicted, beauty fanatical, egotistical homemaker who is simply a servant and something for men to look at. The extreme social stereotype of women is suffocating and degrading. Throughout history, women have been persecuted and oppressed simply because they are different than men. I have found that being different is almost always better.
I have started to sever the ropes of anti-feminist bondage. My closest friends are all guys, and I have finally gained their respect after showing them that I am actually a gamer and not like other girls. Now they feel free to talk to me about games and other aspects of life with certainty that I know what I am talking about. Guys have started to view me as a human, and not as “just a girl.” I am now able to have intelligent conversations with men. Before, I couldn’t talk to them without them trying to dull things down because they believed that I was not intelligent enough to speak with them on subjects like politics and philosophy.
Little by little, I am showing men that women are humans just like they are. Through gaming with guys, they see that I can connect with them in many ways. This allows them to open up and ultimately respect me for who I am. Finally, I am gaining some respect in all aspects of life from the opposite sex. If they have a problem with me or my ideas, I tell them to grab a Play Station controller, and we’ll settle this the video game way.