Beware the Decepticons

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Sultry fake gamer girls = Decepticons

So the other week Lazygamer reported on a recent Cosmopolitan article that recommended the magazine’s style and sex-obsessed readers take up gaming if they want to get laid more often. Buy a Wii; hang out at the arcade with your man and you’re sure to score – because apparently girl gamers have far more sex than their console-allergic sisters.

Presumably the Cosmo article is intended to be amusing fluff. I can’t believe that the magazine is grooming female sexual predators that specifically pursue and manipulate unsuspecting gamer guys. However, the article still jabs at the emotionally-charged issue of fake gamer girls. And for the sake of this post at this point we’ll rename this special breed of woman the Decepticon…much like that long-tongued, robotic seductress in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

There are several different types of Decepticon.

Players of multiplayer games will no doubt be familiar with the in-game Decepticon, who either runs around with a curvaceous, jiggling female avatar or continually claims to be a woman in the hope of receiving free gold or a free ride. The masqueraders behind the controls here though are just as likely, if not more so, to be guys than girls.

The Decepticon I’m most concerned with is the type that pops up in the media as often as its polar opposite – the male gamer cliché that suggests all game-playing guys are antisocial, overweight and have horrible personal hygiene detectable with a single sniff at fifty paces. Anyway, you’ll recognise the well-publicised Decepticon as a scantily clad supermodel with a gaming controller glued to her hands, or across her breasts (see the Geek and Gamer Girls parody music video for a prime example).

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of beautiful game-playing women but these Decepticons are trying too hard. They’ve taken the “Sex sells” marketing approach, mingled it with some geek cred and are attempting to cash in. The charade completely lacks subtlety though. It’s more about image than actual game-playing action.

Please note though that I’m excluding booth babes from this discussion. I think even the most hormone-enslaved young men see these costumed women at gaming cons and realise they’re just hired promo girls – the gaming industry equivalent of models draped over vehicles at a motor show. Booth babes are present simply because their promotions company sent them; they’re not pretending to be girl gamers.

But then there’s the ambiguous case of Ubisoft’s all-female gaming squad The Frag Dolls. As much as their sultriness is emphasised, and they function largely in a promotional role, some of Dolls are/were tournament-winning Rainbow Six players.

The ultimate point though is that there are Decepticons out there, playing up their supposed gamer status for attention. And that’s what I think the whole situation boils down to: Attention. The Cosmo girl isn’t specifically after nookie. Hell, I’m sure her boyfriend would happily bed her even if she didn’t squee over Fable III. It’s all about the ego stroking for these Decepticons. But their deceit becomes a double-edged sword for the real gaming femmes.

Of course it’s a good thing depicting game-playing women as attractive and confident. However, when the portrayal becomes purely about sex and sluttiness, girl gamers become a joke. That’s hardly empowering. And it certainly won’t encourage any closeted female gamers to “come out”. The end result then is a lose-lose situation for real gaming girls – and guys – alike.

Last Updated: November 3, 2010

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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