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Girls, Blogs and Gaming: Observations

Over the long Labor Day weekend a general theme has been circulating around my head and it's been stuck there ever since listening to GFW Radio's August 27th, 2008 podcast. That theme is girls and their participation in the gaming community. To start off, this isn't an entire post dedicated to immature rants and generalizations about how girls suck at gaming and whatnot. Instead this is a careful analysis as to how I, an 18 year old Asian American from Chicago, perceives girls in the gaming blog community. I've played video games with girls and I can unashamedly say I've lost to them as well. I hope that you, the reader, can take my comments as maturely as I assume you can and please feel free to leave a comment should anything in this post strike a chord with you, good or bad.

Anyway, when my sister picked me up from campus, I whipped out my PSP and scrolled over to my RSS saves for GFW Radio. It had been a fairly long week and I was eagerly awaiting the contents of their most recent episode. A few minutes into the podcast (2:48, in case you want to listen in), 1UP Editor Shawn Elliot stated the following:

1UP's Popular Blogs on September 2, 2008
1UP's Popular Blogs on September 2, 2008

"Anything to do with women has been highly suspect on 1UP.com and this is because of, like... you know we have our most popular user blog section and it's always when you look down there, nine times out of ten it's a pretty smiling girl who just happens to be the most popular blog and you look and the blog's like, 'Hey guys!' and that's all it says, but there's three pictures. So, to make a point about that, people have started making fake accounts; they'd find someone's MySpace page where they can find three photos of the same girl then they would make a 1UP account thing and then watch how immediately they could get more friends within ten minutes than they did in their entire two years of posting and participating in the community."

I'm not usually one to take a sweeping generalization to heart, but I was curious and went to 1UP's Popular Blogs Section (see first image). Surely enough, the first blog on the list was of one A. Sullivan, a female user of 1UP.com. I noticed, as far as comments go, that her blog's twenty comments were a huge step up from the others' paltry three or four. A huge coincidence? I think not. But, as I clicked through A. Sullivan's previous blog entries, there was substance to most of them and there was at least some correlation to gaming. There wasn't anything I'd consider hard-hitting or controversial to popular gaming topics, but her posts were a lot better than high school drama and one sentence updates about how awesome the Warhammer beta is. I guess her photo gallery updates about PAX do warrant twelve comments, since they do depict some very lively moments... Wait a second, is that another PAX blog from David Ngo I see? It is!

The first image on NadjaRiot's Destructoid intro post.
The first image on NadjaRiot's Destructoid intro post.

When I clicked on it, I was greeted to another gallery of photos much like A. Sullivan's. The big difference between the two blogs was that David Ngo's pictures included detailed captions for each of them where A. Sullivan merely posted her pictures. In my honest opinion, I was much more enthralled by David Ngo's experience at PAX than A. Sullivan's; surely Mr. Ngo would have more people cheering his experiences through the comment box, right? Much to my dismay, I scrolled down to see only one comment greeting the extremely active 1UP community member. How is it that the better post, in my opinion, gets less recognition? I hypothesize that it's because A. Sullivan just happens to be a girl and that males are clingy to any doll-faced human with a uterus. Am I right? Maybe.

Bound not to leave my assumptions unchecked, I proceeded to other sites where blogs are recognized by their respective communities. So, off I went to Destructoid.com where the site programmers were gracious enough to put a "most popular" button on the side of the home page. Behind that button, Shawn Elliot's comments came true as the first thing on the list was a post titled "Introduction, Opps." by blogger NadjaRiot. I can't be all too assuming of male behavior, but as soon as I saw a portion of her cleavage loading at the top of the page, the thought that ran through my mind was a unified, "Dear God, so this is why the blog post got 239 comments!". I read the entirety of the post and could pretty much gather that my assumptions were partially right.

After reading the post, I naturally went to the comments to see what the users (mostly male) had to say. One user even called her out as a camwhore to which she surprisingly responded:

"camwhore? hmm okay. I could see lashing out at me if I was not into games and using this just to have men drool all over me however I am not. I have pics of me posted because I am proud to not be a total troll."

All too true.
All too true.

Her defense was completely true though; her collection effectively proves her dedication to gaming and previous posts even demonstrate her being upset that a game box's spine logo was printed upside-down. This made for an interesting conundrum. Both A. Sullivan and NadjaRiot were clearly dedicated to their gaming lifestyles, but so are many male gamers. From what I've seen, comments, for the most part, have been completely civil and encouraging of their gaming tastes. There honestly isn't a problem with having hardcore female gamers around. What truly concerns me is that many male gamers share the same views, but they're constantly brushed under the carpet because they don't have breasts or a cute face.

It's probably some psychological thing that's way over my head but whenever I read what someone has to write about a game, I'm reading a gamer's perspective, not one of a sexy model nor one of a prepubescent teenager. I don't really know how to close this rant, but the next time you're on a female gamer's blog, ask yourself why you're there. Are you there because you honestly care about what they have to say? Or are you there just to whack off to their profile picture?

P.S. Sorry to any female readers (if any) if I've offended you. My apologies will accompanied by a virtual cookie.

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