My wife is about five months pregnant with our second child. Recently, we had an ultrasound where a person claiming to be an expert in such matters told us we should expect it to be… a girl. (She actually said—and I quote—“Look, you can see the labia!” Suffice it to say, that phrasing didn’t help ease me into the whole situation.)
Since our first child was a boy, I’m still wrapping my head around the concept. It’s not that I don’t want a daughter; it’s just that I’m not sure about the ramifications of trying to raise someone whose personality I may not understand very well. Of course, when explaining this line of reasoning to a friend of mine, she said: “You’re just being sexist. You may end up having more in common with her than your son. Maybe she’ll even like video games!”
While my friend was trying to make a serious argument about the subtleties of gender identity vis-à-vis parent-child relationships, I decided to miss her point entirely, and instead fixate on just the last thing she said. Maybe she’ll even like video games? WTF??
I suppose the reason I was so impacted by this statement is that I hadn’t ever considered that there was an alternative. I mean, wouldn’t she like video games? What’s not to like? Is there some sort of fundamental incompatibility between the female sex and the most technologically elegant form of entertainment that exists in our modern era?
|Lara Croft: an entitled, self-centered, homicidal bitch with no respect for the archaeological scientific process and impossibly large breasts. What a great role model for my daughter.|
I suppose I’ve always known that gaming was a stereotypically male interest, but I hadn’t given it too much thought before now. (I know my wife doesn’t really play video games, though I assumed it was because she grew up on a dairy farm, and you can’t hold an NES controller if your hands are always wrapped up in cow tits.) If video games do appeal more to men than to women, then I would like to find out why this is the case. To this end, I’ve concocted some theories (based on absolutely no expertise or evidence) that I’d like to share:
- Traditionally, video game narratives focused on male protagonists. With modern games, however, this is less and less the case. In fact, many games allow complete character customization to an almost ridiculous level. If you happen to be a half-Asian, half black shemale and you want your Mass Effect character to look just like you… well, we have the technology.
- Another argument would be that video games focus on typically male interests, namely killing things in various ways. I’m not sure I buy this argument either, as most of the women I’m friends with seem pretty vicious, and would likely enjoy sawing a Locust in half with a chainsaw if they gave it a chance.
- A third argument is that video games are basically masturbation, which—I think most people would agree with me here—is also a male-dominated form of entertainment.
- Finally, there’s the tautological argument: women don’t play video games because, well, they don’t play video games. Maybe they just didn’t grow up with this stuff, and so it’s hard to pick up as an adult. I like this last argument the best, because it means my daughter has a chance.
Any of you gamer chicks out there want to chime in? What do you think?