Many times girl gamers are viewed as tomboys who sit on a couch and play video games while eating cheetoes. Well, that may very well be the case but as with every other stereotype; this is not true for all girl gamers. Gaming companies as well as gamers’ websites are slowly coming to terms with the changes in the gaming community and the strong presence of females within.
However, some like Complex Gaming have taken it to the extreme by turning a model into a gamer for the “girl gamers are also hot” market. As much as it pleases me that people can see girl gamers as also say playing games while drinking a glass of wine and swapping those cheetos for some rosemary and olive oil potato chips, this looses it value when the person chosen to participate as such are not portrayed as true gamers.
The article on Jessica Oliver Proulx, does not show to the public women a successful and good looking gamer, but instead a Maxim-like cover for the male gamer community to feast their eyes on resulting in a counterproductive effect. There are some sweet gaming moments about her life in the report, like the instance in which she heard someone say her Nintendo was buggy so she “didn’t go near it for the first few days because” she “thought there where real bugs in it.” However, this is written bellow a very suggestive picture of Proulx in her underwear. I’m guessing yes she must like to play in her underwear, and that was the rationale behind the photo shoot, but I don’t see anything around her to identify her as a girl gamer. Of course one does not necessarily need to wear Nintendo memorabilia to be considered a gamer but the article is titled: Girls with Game: Jess Oluiver-Proulx Talks MMO’s and RPG’sand Pulling the Diablo Card. The most I was expecting honestly was some Diablo body tattoo.
Upon reading the first page and getting through the slight shock of an, at the risk of sounding too retrograde, “in your face” type of picture, there is still something to look forward to for a few lines below we find out that “Jess’ love for video games hasn’t faded but has evolved into a career in writing about her very passion”. Yet when we clip over, we find nothing further in that regard; what we do find is another picture of the provocatively clad Proulx, this time holding a Guitar Hero guitar against her half-naked hot bod. I guess she must be a gamer then… who initiates slow-mo left to right smirk on my face operation! We don’t find out what she does in regards to gaming until the very end of this interview, after five more pictures of pretending to play, or what ever that was. I get that she is a model and this fact has merit, but as a woman and a gamer I have to say this piece was a faux pas and does not speak well of the female gamer community.
Furthermore, I do not buy into the belief that bad publicity is better than none and upon closer inspection, Proulx actually has a very cool job at g33kpron.com, a site based on the “geeky-cool” culture where she writes articles like Is Social Media Making Us Socially Awkward and Adult Swim Presents: Black Dynamite. That being said, I really do not understand why she was portrayed as Hot Model with Gaming Props as opposed to the much more awesome portrayal like, Girl Gamer with Hot Model Credentials or something like that.
Corky is a freelance writer for Girl Gamer Vogue. Check out more of her work every week.