A lot of this will seem obvious to a great chunk of people, but not so obvious to an even larger majority who may or may not game, but are familiar with this sect of entertainment. While you can sum up the latter as trolls, jerks, uneducated morons, or immature 12 year olds, I think the problem goes beyond name calling. What am I talking about? The perception of the average gamer.
When many people, particularly people who aren't gamers, and even quite a few who are, imagine us they tend to imagine the opposite of everything they'd find attractive in a human. No matter what that is, I can guarantee you that the majority of gamers are not the stereotypical unattractive or unwanted person. Rather, they are normal people that you run into in your everyday life. Some are married, some are happy, many are comfortable with themselves, divorced, love anime, love football, love to roller blade, follow many different youtube vloggers, knit for the poor, etc.
I shouldn't really have to state this, but all my life (even now) I get asked "why do you play games? Why don't you do something else?" or "girls like you shouldn't game..." It's actually quite sad how if you look, dress, or act a certain way you don't really "fit in" with the gaming crowd. At least that's what the provincial minded majority would want you to believe. What's even more alarming is the fact that gaming isn't new anymore and more and more people are getting into it, yet these stereotypes and societal pressures still exist.
Sure, a lot of girls are milking the "nerd" and "gamer" label, but they are obvious. So very, very obvious. I'm not talking about people who want to use this industry to get famous, then try to become D-list celebrities. I'm talking about people who legitimately want to be in this industry, have worked their way to the top, but still have a lot of people come down on them for their looks, success, gender, fame, etc.
When gaming first started it was a lot smaller and perhaps these stereotypes were more true than not, but it's grown to such a larger part of society by now. There are many people who are in this industry because it is their passion. Here's the greatest part: they are very normal and average people. It's not to say that being above or below average is bad, because it's not. Anyone that tells you otherwise? Well, they can... (insert discomforting remark here).
If you're one of the judgmental majority you probably wouldn't be reading this site, let alone this column. However, I am willing to bet you do know some people that are guilty of this. The point is short and simple: It is not only in your best interest to correct them, but it is in everyone else's best interest as well. Down with stereotypes and people making others feel not welcome for superficial and shallow reasons! I say the more the merrier.
Hillary "Pokket" Nicole
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