I was going through my Facebook feed the other day and came across this video:
It made me think back to John Vanderhoef’s Casual Threats: The Feminization of Casual Video Games and his argument about the linking of femininity and casual games that is the result of the binary division present in our culture. There’s not only a gender dissonance in ‘hardcore’ gaming, but also a very strong age stigma, with older people enjoying video games is thought as a bit of a rarity. Perhaps my favorite part of the video is when Shirley explains why she loves Skyrim and proceeds to go into describing the details of the open world; immediately afterwards, we see her gunning for the “kill shot!” She even has a pretty nice setup, multiple monitors, headset, and all. For sure, Shirley is not the run-of-the-mill, casual gamer who plays casual games, and that is what makes her even more impressive. Vanderhoef might argue that the sentiments I just expressed are yet another byproduct of cultural conditioning, but I think if we are to change the discriminatory culture around gaming, we need to see more people like Shirley who unabashedly enjoys playing games that are supposedly, ‘not appropriate’ for her to play. Who knows, maybe the next wave of change will come from all the gamer grandmas and grandpas, and there won’t be anything that will stop them.