When was the last time you told someone who doesn’t play that you are a girl gamer and you compete online at games that include you brandishing a gun as you annihilate the other team? And what kind of reaction did you get? If it is anything like me, it probably involved a puzzled look of “you do what?” or the raised eyebrow look of “you do… that?” So why is it that people are so incredulous about the fact that you are a girl who happens to get off on playing video games?

I don’t think there is such a thing as a “stereotypical girl gamer” at all, even though I have been told countless times that I just don’t fit the model of what they imagined a girl gamer to be. In fact, most of the non-H2O gaming guys that I meet in random games are just so shocked that there is a girl in the room racking up the kills and completely dominating the other team that they can’t quite believe it’s a chick doing it. And speaking of stereotypes, many people probably have a “stereotypical guy gamer” image in mind, and you guessed it, many of them don’t fit the bill either.

Random rooms
Speak up ladies! Yes, I have jumped into random rooms where I get some little kid who likes to show off to his little twelve year old friends that he can actually trash talk, but generally their insults are something my brother would have said when he was about twelve, so just mute those players if you are otherwise having fun in the room. So don’t be shy, speak up! I have met more great guys by jumping in random rooms than I ever would have met playing exclusively with PMS and H20. Next time you get on to play and you don’t have practice, just jump into a random open room and check it out – you can always leave after a round or two and go try out another one if the first one isn’t to your liking. I am most often more annoyed by hearing the squeaky pre-pubescent voices than I am by anything that actually comes out of them!

Use your voice
There are definitely girl gamers who can curse with the best of them when they are in an all-girl PMS private room playing their game. But put them in an open room, and many just clamp their mouth’s shut or mute themselves. And I know some girls who refuse to join any room that random people can join. But seriously, while there will be those little kids who are just so incredulous that a chick actually joined the room that they can’t help but trash talk. But why is this? Seriously, it is nothing to do with the fact that you are a girl gamer, it is simply the anonymous nature of playing on Xbox and those kids suddenly see it as a free pass to say to you what they couldn’t say to the girls that diss them in real life. So report them to Xbox Live or ban them from the server and use that girly voice you have with pride.

Don’t let them assume you play girlie games
When I tell people I play video games, I get plenty of raised eyebrows – or worse – from people. And this is just while they have visions of Tetris or WiiFit in their heads and I haven’t even gotten the chance to reveal that my game of choice is Rainbow Vegas, where I play a terrorist hunting special ops guy, er, girl. Is it because I don’t fit the “stereotypical” girl gamer, if there is such a thing? Is it because my friends and family just don’t think that I would be the kind of person to don an Xbox live headset and play in open rooms with strange men (or more likely, boys) and shoot their brains out in a game? Who knows, but I am proud to reveal my games of choice and don’t let them assume I am only playing girlie puzzle games or running around with piñatas.

So why is being a girl gamer such a big deal to some people? In my experience, it comes down to just two things. It is either because they are intimidated or incredulous… or a mixture of both. Yes, I am a girl and I love to play video games – and I am proud to be a girl gamer.