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I asked myself this a while back. Since the answer I came up with was largely inconclusive, I thought I'd ask here.
As you will all be aware, us gamers are at the wrong end of a large number of stereotypes. A few of them which I'll note are:
*Body odour. This is an interesting one. I have noticed that deodorant companies should be selling a little bit more than they are, but this generally isn't too bad. I always prefer to use the stuff before I go anywhere. With the people I've noticed it on, it's mostly just a fleeting occurrence. They smell bad once, then it's fine the next week, or whenever I see them.
*Social retardation. Again, using myself as an example, I like to think of myself as having a pretty large number of friends from various walks of life (genders and ethnicities). I have no problems approaching a girl for a conversation, and actually keeping it up, and I know for a fact that there are other people like me (some are on this very forum).
Gaming clubs, I view as social experiences, in a similar way to going to the pub on a Saturday night (not that I have any experience in that, mind). Just that you don't bring painted toy soldiers to the pub.
*Having no life. On another forum, one of the Mods there has a tarantula farm. He has a family, and has been appraised by NASA for discovering a star system (he found something anyway). A lot of people here have families and full time jobs, and various other things on the side. Personally, I have a job (if you can call it that), and an education which I'm going through, looking at uni for 2010.
*That only males play these games. Like the version of Rule 16 that people actually mean. I know two females who have games at some point (and are certainly very open to the concept of gaming), and I know of many more, again, mostly through LO.
This one, I guess, is to do with the nature of them. Traditionally, boys are given spaceships, whilst girls are given dolls. That definitely has some kind of impact on one's upbringing. But then again, that's my theory.
So, for all these stereotypes that I've at least heard of (either down the line somewhere or wherever), a lot of them don't seem to be as founded as one would think. This post is one of the more recent ones that I recall.
Surely a stereotype can't be founded by a minority, so where does it come from? And are there any other stereotypes I've missed?
a stereotype i know is that gamers and such can't stand up for themselves. that's very wrong by me.
A minority seem to try their hardest to bring it upon the community. Example (and i didnt even need to look for this thread, it was right below in the New Posts list lol ):
Edit: aha, just noticed that you linked this in the original post lol. Nvm...
Other things to note:
- no offence roban, but stating things like that actually doesn't help much Just reminds me of the chavs in school who like to pretend they're ''hard'' lol.
- AFG, that tarantula farm you mentioned, thats awesome! Id love one
- BO. anyone stood in a warm room for 4+ hours will start to sweat, and hence smell. Thing is, gamers do it regularly, and generally don't consume vast amounts of alcohol like our friends over in the pub (where they smell too, but are unlikely to notice lol)
- Social issues... personally ive only ever met a handful of gamers who have issues here, and its not the games fault
- Only females... perhaps people should stop applying the attitude of ''OMG its a girl!!!''
And finally, to be honest AFG this thread is quite hypocritical...
Q:Where did they originate? A:From things like this.
Last edited by Phoenix; December 20th, 2008 at 13:22.
A stereotype is a snap-shot of a miniority part of any social groupe. Someones experience with a particular group has painted a picture that has been splashed all over the wall and presented to the whole as the way it is. When I started in this hobby (Including the roleplay groups) I was lucky enough to encounter the stereotype gamers. I do not fit the role set out by society nor do my friends that I game with although I still run up against the scrutney when I "confess" to being a gamer. I have been a gamer for 33+ years, I played football and persued the life of a "Jock" while I was also a member of Drama and the JROTC. All of which have stereotypes attached to them. So I guess to kinda answer your question, they originate from the most obvious group of that catagory. The smelly, socially awkward gamers are the most in your face sliver of our community because they are seemingly exclusively into the nerdy behaviors, where as the larger portions of the community have a broader spectrum of activities and social interactions. As for lack of girls in the hobby, I really do not many of the fairer sex that play with toy soldiers. They are out there I know. The ffemales I know are more into the roleplay than table top games. They do paint and usr minitures just not on a large scale. I have embraced my hobby/habit of being a 40K gamer and nothing makes me happier when I get to tell my coworkers and friends that I play with toy soldiers and try to bring in new blood, ha. Keep the dice rolling and remember that shower day is thursday, soap and colonge are optionable.
I really need to be painting right now.......
I think it's a reflection on sci-fi fans in general. That's not a slam on sci-fi, or sci-fi fans (which I am), just a statement. I'm of the belief that people in general kind of balance themselves out. No one person in this world is any more gifted than anyone else. Sure, it may LOOK that way for some people, but that's just because those people are good at using their gifts to blind others to their faults -- not necessarily a bad thing, but those faults are there. By the same token, people who seem to have nothing going for them probably have built up useful skills, experiences and abilities over the years that not even they are aware of. Balance.
As far as sci-fi in general, I look at it as a form of abstract art for the mathematically/scientifically inclined. It takes a pretty open mind to have the imaginative capacity to embrace some of the things in 40k and sci-fi in general, from talking robots to leather-skinned alien beings (that speak ENGLISH? Aruh?) to faster-than-light travel to alternative histories of Earth, etc. I've noticed that, by and large, the people who have these proclivities seem to also suffer from extreme social awkwardness.
I'm not sure why this is, but I'm betting there are a few causes. Part of it is a societal problem. I said sci-fi is an ABSTRACT art, and we know how people tend to react to things they don't understand and recognize. Why should they treat ordinary humans who understand such strange things any differently? Couple that with young, impressionable people (yes, the isolation does begin young), and you end up hard-wiring a person toward feeling like an outsider.
But I'm betting that a side effect of having the open mind and vivid imagination needed to accept some of the ideas presented in sci-fi is a lack of being able to connect to others that has nothing to do with upbringing. Who knows? It could be an unconscious form of snobbery (*sniffs the air* If you can't even understand the concept of hyperspace, how could I be expected to talk to YOU? Puh-LEEZE!")
Finally, there's the "caveman" problem. Watch enough nature shows and you learn that many animals live in large groups. Predatory animals have been known to shun, or even outright slaughter one of their own that seems weak or injured. Even grazing herd animals know that the slowest one will be the most likely to be lunch for something. I think young boys in particular, who haven't learned to rise above their instincts, give in to some of these impulses, leading to a profound lack of respect for those who can't run, hit, catch, throw, or, most of all, fight. The last thing they respect is intellect. I can say that from personal experience growing up in a very blue collar, jeans-and-workboots town. Not a friendly place for someone who read a lot and fell in love with Star Wars.
So maybe it's some or all (or even none) of the above. Just my two bits.
Let's be totally honest though, and I'm not accusing anyone of anything in particular, for ever persons you can find who breaks these stereotypes there's generally one or more who fulfills them.
Body Odour - Lets face it. A lot of people who play these games are in their teens.. Most people (especially guys) in their teens develop some degree of unpleasant body odour because their hormones are ****ed. I remember having to slap on half a can of that vile Lynx stuff every day, wheras most people in their twenties can actually get by without deodrant altogether provided they wash daily. The thing is, guys who are out there chasing girls all the time or who are doing lots of physical sports will generally know to check their smell, while those with sedentary hobbies (like gaming) or a predomiantly same-sex friendship base might well be missing it. Yeah, we all know the guy who is some kind of sex machine or rising sports star and who also plays Warhammer, but does that apply to the majority? Not in my experience.
It might also be something about goths and metallers, who have a higher than average gaming representation. I know a lot of male goths/metal kids who, for example, only wash their hair once a week because over-washing damages it. All I can say is that it may be the best way to keep long hair healthy, but it's the worst way to keep long hair smelling nice. Besides, conditioner was made for a reason.
I do think this is the least true of all the ones you've mentioned though. Everyone smells at a certain age, not just gamers.
Social Retardation - Personally, I don't like guys. Almost all of my really close friends have always been female (or effeminate) so I don't exactly fit the standard here (in fact, if I had to pick a reason for gaming it's pretty much that it's a good excuse to spend time with my own sex in a pretty casual setting which doesn't require much effort on my part.) Thus I know there are all kinds of people who play games, and I'm not passing comment on anyone.
However, let's face it, we all know the kind of person who really doesn't fit into mainstream conversation and thus, obsesses over a highly escapist hobby. It might be gaming, it might be sci-fi or fantasy, it might be roleplaying, it might be computers. Whatever, you'll know because when you start them talking about it they'll go on and on, and they won't have any sense of when to stop or when people aren't going to be interested - and then of course, if someone displays boredom or calls them up on their escapism they make wierd excuses like that said person is 'too unimaginative' to understand their hobby. Tell me you've not met someone like that in your gaming career?
Mainstream popular culture rejects a large number of people who don't quite fit its standards for normality. Some people take this rejection very hard indeed. I certainly did.. However, people react differently. For some, the response is to try harder to fit in. For others, the response is to turn their back on mainstream culture and define themselves against it - even playing up to the stereotypes. Some play games, others start wearing eyeliner, some do both. I'm sad to say I did both.
Having No Life - Okay, this game has really grown up over time, and I do notice that a lot of you guys are older and have families and good jobs. Great stuff. However, the 'no life' comment generally means social life, which ties into the thing above. Once you reach the age when the mainstream idea of having fun begins to involve alcohol and intercourse, playing with toy soldiers doesn't quite have the same credibility with most people. Personally, when I hit that age I learned to keep my gaming completely separate from the rest of my life, which was a really smart move. However, for a lot of people looking for self-definition, the choice is one or the other. Either you're the kind of person who plays with toy soldiers or the kind of person who gets drunk and gets laid. While I think most people want to be the latter, I've known a lot of gamers who literally must have met all their friends through gaming, who only go out for gaming, and, given the last stereotype in particular, that's not exactly condusive to most people's idea of having a good time.
No Girls - So, we all know one or two girls who do play games. It's not exactly 50/50 though, is it, and I think the numbers are skewed by those low-self esteem teenage girls (adolescent females have their rejects too) who are pathetically happy to have found a boyfriend, and consequentially get dragged through all their boyfriend's activities and who will merrily stand by their side feigning interest and probably slowly dying of boredom underneath all the slavish devotion.
From what I've seen, girls who actually are genuinely interested in gaming tend to fall victim to two very different types of wierd mysogyny. One is the 'feeding frenzy' effect, where a large number of otherwise worthless guys suddenly sit up and realize "OMG! I might actually have something to talk about" and decide to suddenly hit on said girl like a ton of bricks. I think some girls even start gaming for this reason because some people just like the attention, but if you're genuinely interested, it's got to be offputting.
The other - well, one of my lecturers (tall, absolutely gorgeous, intellect like a razor) used to work for an IT company, and made a very interesting observation. Guys who are insecure in their masculinity (like those who play negatively valued hobbies!) often find strong females very disturbing. I suppose it's like being outdone at being a man (sounds great to me, but meh.. I'm odd.) Be honest here, if you met a girl who was actually more serious about gaming than you were, who knew every rule, who was highly highly competative, who loved to sit there and talk vocally about their army or their painting techniques or their favourite tactics, who relished winning, who was prepared to argue about the rules, etc would you feel a bit threatened? If you think geeks are more open to girls 'not behaving like girls,' I think you're wrong. In fact, geeks want their girls to be as girly as possible, and that means not taking things like gaming too seriously. It's all very well to do it, but you can't be too masculine about it.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; December 20th, 2008 at 16:42.
I do feel we gamers are subject to several negative stereotypes, not unlike other minority communities out there. We must stand up for ourselves!
BO- A few of our larger bretheren do have ordor issues, I hate to say. But to be fair hanging out playing WHFB or 40k isn't exaclty a riveting social affair either, it's usually among friends or equals who don't really care what you look like. They are among friends after all. But the "stinkers" don't make up the majority, people just notice them more because of the smell. I always bathe and wear deoderant to break this stereotype and for the sake of nerd/geek pride we all should! Vivia la revolucion!
Social Ineptness- Again mixed. Two of my best friends couldn't social their way out of a paper sack, however are comfortable amongst their fellow gamers. Then I know people who are just fine. Hobbies like ours are very escapist and will inevedably draw more anti-social personalities than say sports. I can be a bit anti-social sometimes (especially when people get in the way of gaming!) but I do have friends and know people outside the gaming walk of life. I am very active in the drama scene at my school.
Having No Life- Damn.... Well personally I do lack a life. This isnt' so much because I game, but because I attend school on a drama scholarship and thus obligated to be involved in every play we put on. I barely have time to game! And there are those who all they have is the hobby, and still there are others who do have lives outside of gaming. The one's people focus on -and how the sterotypes are spread- are That Guy (I believe there was a topic on "That Guy" on here a little while ago.)
Gamers can't stand up for themselves- Have you ever had a heated debate about the rules before? Or witnessed one? That's standing up for yourself. One of my friends is really shy and does fit this mold, but most of the ones that I see are very argumentative.
Girls Gamers- Oh they do exist. Not en masse, but they do exist. And the "OMG it's a girl!" effect does happen. I think it's more of a surprise thing though. No one expects a girl to walk into a game shop after all, and our more social inept friends begin to panic. After all their inter santum has been invaded. They do exist, though, more in the roleplaying aspect, and are usually non-threatening in the sense that their not built like Angelina.
@ Mantis I agree with a lot of your comments on that subject, especially the "strong woman" one. I think that has to do with the fact most gamers despise jocks (it can't be just me...) and atheletic woman (usually "strong") are the female verisons of everything the loathe. Oh and Mantis, that hardcore gamer girl you mentioned- You have her number?
My award winning Orky tale
Didn't someone once say that every stereotype has a pearl of truth in it? Or was that prejudice? Bah, either way, few of the folks at my club have these characteristics. The Magic players on the other hand....
"Courage without the presence of fear is like a pistol without bullets. Meaningless." Colonel Igor Massif, 6777th Severite Rifles M40