Amateur Gamer or Attention Whore?

Recently, I decided to try learning another game, Starcraft 2. The new beta was going to be released in a few days and I figured, why not try to learn so I can more fully enjoy my beta access. I began playing Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Having never play any other real time strategy (RTS) game, I had no clue what I was doing. I had a friend attempting to teach me, but if you’ve ever played Starcraft, you know it’s the most confusing game on this planet!

I decided to stream while attempting to learn. My twitch stream had a pretty helpful crowd and I figured they could give me a few tips (and get a few laughs out of my attempts to build an army of only stalkers while the medium AI was already destroying my Nexus three minutes into the game.)

Somehow on my fourth of fifth day playing, my stream ended up being the number four stream for Starcraft 2. When your stream is in the top five, many people come in expecting to see a certain level of game play, not a girl in a pink shirt losing the medium AI.

I was reminded of this experience when someone mentioned the concept of an “amateur gamer” in class.

I was very clear in my broadcast title that I had no idea what I was doing, but that I really wanted to learn. However, I wasn’t categorized as an amateur gamer, someone who had a genuine love for the game and a true interest it learning it. Instead, I was receiving comments like: “Why does every whore with a webcam think they’re good at games?” “Why is this whore even playing?” “You’re just looking for attention.”

Though it is true that some people came in, saw that I was struggling, and offered me helpful advice, it is alarming that for many people, this was not their first reaction. Before I had a chance to explain myself, they were already categorizing me as a girl just looking for money and attention with no real interest in the game.

I would bet that had I been a male, I wouldn’t have been called a whore and no one would have accused me of looking for attention. If I was a male, I am very tempted to believe that there would have been more “Here is a helpful tutorial” “Why don’t you try this build” kind of comments and less comments telling me to get back in the kitchen.

This experience makes me wonder if the label “amateur gamer” is only available to certain people that look a certain way.

(Image from: http://gamesinstitutejanes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/gg.jpg)

5 thoughts on “Amateur Gamer or Attention Whore?

  1. While this is quite alarming, it is very understandable considering the world we live in today. In such a male-dominated culture and the fact that many women on the Internet such as Instagram or Twitter or Facebook do look for attention from guys, it is not completely shocking that they labelled you as such. The internet makes it very easy for men to get visual stimulation from women by way of women voluntarily posting themselves online. While you do not fall into that category, there are many who do and that causes some men to stigmatize all women. The fact that our culture sees videogames as a male activity would lead most to believe that if a girl engages in gaming she is “tomboyish” or is seeking male attention. The two combined, accompanied by general ignorance and disrespect lead to them giving you this reaction in my opinion. I hope you get very good at the game and restream to see people’s reaction when you are bomb at the game. Good luck!

  2. That’s awful, I’m sorry that happened to you. I definitely agree that things would have been very different if you were male. I’m not sure if people would have been helpful necessarily (because the internet can be a terrible place, after all), but they definitely would not have claimed that you were doing it “for the attention.” I think that’s a problem that continues to plague the gaming community: if a woman is playing games, at some level she must be doing it for male attention and/or validation. It’s hard for some men to conceive of the idea that a woman might play a game for her own satisfaction, not to be an object of someone else’s comments. This is honestly why I’ve never tried to stream- no matter what you do, men always think that you’re available for their comments and their judgment, even when you’re just trying to enjoy yourself.

  3. I am so sorry that you have to deal with these ignorant people while doing what you love. The stereotypes are wrong and you should not be called such derogatory terms for the way you look or what gender you are.

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