Playing Like a Girl


Girl playing videogames in a funny face

As we step into Women’s History Month it’s a great time to recognize those women who have paved the way for female athletes and players alike. Sometimes we take for granted those who have come before us. Great thinkers, mad scientists, bold storytellers and incredible athletes. As children we tend to take these forerunners for granted, but as we grow their lives and contributions play a bigger and bigger role in our lives.

Title IX allows women and girls not only the ability to participate in sports but also receive all the same benefits of their male counterparts. Whether or not you play sports this addition to the Educational Amendments allows us the simple opportunity to choose. The simple opportunity to choose whether or not to participate in sports was almost unthinkable before Title IX.

In 2014, a few Chicago universities began offering scholarships not only to athletes both male and female but for online gaming as well. Robert Morris University, Loyola University and Carthage College all have League of Legends teams and offer scholarships for players.

I choose to play games. I’ve said many times that “I hold down last place like a champ.” I’m also a chick. Sometimes (all the time), I get crap for having the audacity for thinking that I can do both.

Nothing as noteworthy as threats of rape and death but microaggressions that cause me to give unsuspecting strangers, family and friends the sideways stink eye.

Usually it’s something so innocent as people assuming I play “girl games” like the Sims or Lego-something or Pretty Pony 4 or some other made for the fairer sex crap game that my 9 year old daughter could finish in an hour. Or comments will be made to the effect of saying, “you play great … for a girl.”

If I can blow it up, shoot it or make it burn I’ve probably stayed up late to play it. That’s the type of gamer I am.

The groups of let’s play gamers taking over YouTube have shown the internet that everyone has a little gamer inside them. Many of them even get paid some serious cash. Guys like Markiplier and Pewdiepie get paid to play video games in their underwear while the world watches. They’re living the dream. But what about the ladies? There are some kickbutt female youtubers making money and they aren’t sharing makeup tips.

Women like LDShadowLady(Lizzie) and iHasCupquake do it all from unboxing to game commentary. PressHeartToContinue has gaming news every Sunday. And sometimes, they even bake.

Gaming is how I met my boyfriend. I beat him in a Street Fighter tournament and then promptly punched him in the arm for letting me win. Two years later gaming is something we do as a family. I’m a first person shooter and he prefers to fight his way through Tekken but we make it work.

As a gamer, I enjoy having other gamers to play with. Fighting games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Super Smash Bros aren’t even worth playing alone. Games are social. That image of a lonely guy sitting in his undies basking in the glow of his own screen is not gaming. It’s creepy and not an accurate portrait of male or female gamers.