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By Any Other Name: Thou Art Thyself, Though Not A “Gamer”

A recent survey commissioned by casual game producer PlayFirst found that 60% of women who play digital games do not self-identify as “gamers.”

This speaks to the stigmas and stereotypes attached to the “gamer” label, as well as the gulf between the imperfect categories of casual players and hardcore players.  The perception of gaming as solely the domain of lonely, overweight men who’ve wasted their lives in front of flickering screens is apparently enough to prevent many female players from wanting to be associated as enthusiasts of the very same medium.

Why is this the case?  The Escapist’s Yahtzee Croshaw puts it better than I can:

“[G]amer” is a label, and whenever a label is used, an image of the stereotype attached to that label flips up unwarranted into your unconscious mind. Anyone who identifies as a “gamer” will create a very specific image in the mind of the layman. Probably something somewhere between one of the Columbine killers and that shouty German kid from YouTube. Or a sweaty, fat, neckbearded manchild weeping over their Aeris body pillows (or is it Aerith? I can never remember)…

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