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So I recently switched from Warframe on PC to Warframe on PS4 because Steam was having issues with my use of a PS4 controller to play. I had to log in and out five times to send/accept friend requests, squad invites, or just to chat via text or voice (actually I never got the voice chat to work at all).
So, that aside, the PS4 community has an interesting feature. Every time I log in, the chat is full of "girls don't exist," "girls don't play video games," "I'm a 13-year-old girl," and accusations of people being older men pretending to be younger girls for attention from younger guys.
That kind of makes my head spin. And yes, I'm a true gamer girl. I grew up playing my dad's old games, from SNES through PS4. I built my own desktop geared towards gaming for about $3,000 after I got sick of generic laptops breaking down after a year of use. I'm proud to say it's run extremely well for about three or four years now without needing upgrades or replacements, for the hardware at least. Software is another wormhole altogether.
So this denial of the existence of people like me—for, yes, gamer girls are actually people, not just a myth—confuses me. Yes, that player that claims to be a 13-year-old girl could actually be 13 and a female, but I doubt it. Not under any delusion that I'm the only gamer girl, I suffer no such thing.
Because she'd be the most idiotic gamer girl I've ever heard of.
Girls get attacked over gaming or not gaming. In college, I wore a Zelda shirt on campus quite a bit. It was comfy and didn't get ruined easily. I was long past the "looking nice for class" phase and went in pajama pants most of the time. Almost every time I wore my beloved Zelda shirt, I got asked, "Who's that on your shirt?" Technically, it's Link. But the game is called Zelda. So, the one time a guy asked me, "What's your shirt of?" I said Zelda. Was I wrong? Actually, no. But he took the chance to laugh at me and call me a poser. "It's Link, you dumb ****." And he left me standing on the sidewalk, very confused and kind of hurt. "I know!" I wanted to shout at his back. "That's not what you asked!" It was more frustrating than anything, but I went home, ranted to my roommate, and we played another run through of Diablo and had a few drinks that night. And I forgot about it, let it go, and moved on with life.
But this chat in the PS4 community brought it back. Why can't gamer girls exist? Oh, I'm so not tackling that can of worms yet. It'll just make me want to light the whole system on fire.
This is more directed at those people who will undoubtedly be asking "Why don't you join the chat and tell them you're a girl?" Well, the answer to that is mostly the same as why I don't voice chat with anyone I don't personally know IRL. I don't want them to know I'm a girl. My username is fairly feminine, and if I do chat, I don't pretend to be any more masculine than I am. I'm just another gamer. It gets complicated when I get invited to voice chat, since yes, it's quicker and more convenient, and I get caught in if I voice chat, they'll know I'm a girl right away from my voice and speech patterns. If I don't, I have to give a reason why, and the only reason is I don't want anyone knowing I'm a girl.
I don't want to deal with accusations of not being a girl, of just wanting attention by announcing I'm a girl on a gaming platform, or any other nonsense. I'm here to play the game. Chat and voice chat are for communities and convenience when in a squad, but they are not necessary for the game itself.
I've given up on being part of any gaming community because I can't be myself. I can't be a girl who games, simply because that concept doesn't exist, as I'm constantly reminded in this chat. If someone does foolishly claim the title, they get denounced, attacked, or approached sexually. I want none of that. If I want sexual advances, my boyfriend is usually gaming with me, if not always in the same room. I could alternatively walk out my door and just walk to my car (two feet from the front door). I'm sure I'll get enough catcalls to scare me into not talking to people I haven't known for a while already.
The reason no true gamer girl says "I'm a girl" in the online chat is because you boys on the chat are so small minded and keep debating our existence. We can see and (unfortunately) hear everything you say in world or squad chats. We see how those who do make the claim get treated. It's not safe to be a girl online. So we hide in the shadows. We don't voice chat. We never answer the question of what gender we are, and we block people who push the topic.
Wouldn't you? If all anyone did on a game was ask you what was between your legs instead of the best place to farm frame components, advice on weapons, or if you want to go to Cretus and take bounty missions together. If, even once you answered, that was all they were interested in? At that point, it's not about the game anymore, and if you can't play a game to enjoy it, why are you playing it, when you could go play something else, like the new Crash rerelease, or nostalgic Banjo-Kazooie on your girlfriend's N64 that still runs sometimes.
Stop debating and denying our existence, and be patient. We might come out of the woodwork one day, when whether or not we're a girl won't deter you from admiring our max leveled frames and array of effective and gorgeous weaponry. We may be girls, but we like games too. We just don't like you.