Now, I'm a staunch advocate of girls getting more into gaming, I really am. But what drives me nuts are women who whore themselves out in order to do so. There are plenty of women game writers out there such as Colette Bennet, Tiff Chow and Lauren Wainwright who are able to rock the blogosphere using only their artistic and writing talent. But why aren't these women famous?
Oh, right. Because they don't plaster their ass and tits all over the internet.
Women who pose naked with Guitar Hero controllers ruin it for the rest of us. I've worked hard as a writer to get where I am now, and have been blessed enough to have a few of my articles grace the front pages of larger sites like Kotaku and Destructoid. I blog as much as time permits (keeping in mind I am currently attending school in another country) and I am constantly asking people to critique what I write.
But there's another, easier way for women to gain fame in the gaming world: sexy photos. Either through sexy cosplay or strategically placed controllers, may women first get attention by pretty much whoring themselves out. Men see the photos, thinking "Damn that's hot!"(then as an afterthought check out their writing or personal blog.) "Oh, and she also actually knows about videogames!"
To me, these are real female gamers. They are becoming spokespeople for a demographic that they don't even accurately represent. When I hear Raychul Moore say in an interview
"Don’t always try to beat us at everything or be overly competitive -- play with us not against us. And yes, power-ups and combos help. But cheat codes will get you nowhere."
it drives me a little crazy. Why would I not want a guy to go all-out competing against me in a game? Asking a guy to change the way he plays a game just because I happen to have been born with a pair of breasts is stupid. I have rocked the hell out of my guy friends in video games sometimes, to the point where they don't even want to play any more (granted, this is usually only within my speciality of puzzle games). If I asked a guy not to be overly competitive, isn't that the same as "go easy on me, I'm a girl?" Screw that. Also...that last line is so corny ;_;
Women like Hailey Bright of Coin-Op TV are different. Sure, she models in a bikini sometimes--but that's because she started off as a real model. Jessica Chobot may have had a dubious start, simply being known as "the girl who licked the Sony PSP," but she's been doing some pretty admirable stuff with her career....and I have yet to see a picture of her online that features her covering her boobs in anything else but clothing. What makes me sad is that people like Jessica Chobot, who is clearly an avid female gamer, need to kick-start their careers in the industry by doing something blatantly sexual.
Some girls use cosplay as an excuse. "It's just a really good cosplay." I love cosplay and all but there are plenty you can do to show off your fandom and not show off your boobs. My two cosplays of PaRappa the Rapper and Yukari (Persona 3) last year at PAX got a nice positive reaction, even though they weren't at all sexy. This year I'm going a little crazy (going to try to do Ulala from Space Channel 5) but that's only because I freaking love that game. I would just as soon cosplay as one of the Morilians, but the costume would be much more expensive to put together.
I don't really mind the sexism that takes place in games, because it's really a marketing tactic. But we now live in a world where people need to market themselves, which can be a good or a bad thing. On the one hand, women are being given a clear advantage over men as to how to get their name out there. But the flipside is that in order to do so, they must alienate the very demographic of gamer they wish to represent.
I guess in the end, I can't blame some women for posing for questionable photos in order to further their career. For some, it's a small price to pay. I guess I would just prefer to not have to go about getting "discovered" that way.