So you can imagine my excitement at finding a Connor Kenway costume similar to the one above but with pants. Granted there were still no sleeves but…a reasonable start. I’m all about authenticity, people. I have no issue with girls wanting to wear these modified costumes. My only issue is that I want to look like I am actually Connor Kenway storming moodily through a Halloween party and am not being given that option.
Now is where we get to the fun part. I headed back to the changeroom and handed my costume to the man working behind the desk. He handed me the top half of the costume and groaned.
Please sir, you don’t even know. I live these games. Without the real life murdering. And definitely without the accidental murder of civilians every time I try to save someone from being attacked by guards. Let’s not talk about it.
On my way out of the change rooms, I made a comment about how I was hoping to find an Edward costume (y’know, since Black Flag came out 2 years ago…) but that Connor would have to do for now. He informed me that he didn’t know who either of those people were, but he knew the name Altaïr and also “that Native guy”. For those who aren’t aware, Connor is “that Native guy”.
So not only am I being judged for my interests by a total stranger, but I’m being judged by one who has no actual interest in the subject at hand and has nothing to base his opinion on. Well, besides years of conditioning that video games are for boys and also for girls who want boys to think they’re ~*~not like the other girls~*~.
I do not have the time to pretend I like anything for the benefit of men. I barely have time to enjoy the things I actually like, so I’ll be damned if I add things to that list so some jabroni can tell their friends “dude, she really likes fishing and shooting things, I’m gonna marry her”. Is that what boys like? I don’t know. I don’t care.
This is certainly not the first time I’ve been gamer girl’d. The first time I went into the new EB Games by my home, the guy working there asked if I was buying the games I’d chosen for my boyfriend. Less offensive because it wasn’t aimed at me (just casual questioning), but still frustrating. I always felt like I had to be extra knowledgeable when discussing anything with the staff because I was worried if I didn’t know something or got a fact wrong, they would decide I was a ~fake gamer~. Then I discovered 2 members of the staff were diehard Nintendo fans like myself (shoutout to Andrew & Jason) and ended up spending hours there by mistake every couple weeks until the store eventually shut down. They invited me to their goodbye party and we all teared up, it was completely ridiculous and I miss them all the time.
As much as getting gamer girl’d can be blamed on the way we train children to think of everything as gendered, there is a segment of girls who do pretend to game for attention. I don’t personally know any of these girls, but I assume they do exist. I mean, I pretend every day that I am a well-adjusted and professional adult who knows what she’s doing, so this can’t be that much of a stretch. It’s made more frustrating by the fact that men talk about how they want “their women” to drink beer and get along with their friends and play Halo with them and drive stick and blah blah blah, but then chastise those who actually do any/all of those things because they actually enjoy those things.
Do you ever meet a guy who says “yeah, I like the Legend of Zelda franchise” and feel the need to yell DO YOU KNOW THAT ZELDA IS NOT THE BOY at him? No? Then why do we give the third degree to any female that enjoys gaming? Why can’t we enjoy our hobbies in peace without needing to prove that we are an equal by completing a Mensa-level examination about all of the background characters and facts about Shigeru Miyamoto’s childhood? Can I not just like a thing? I just want to like things.
So I’m going to wear my Connor Kenway costume this Halloween and I’m going to look sick as hell and I’m going to roll my eyes to the sky at anyone who questions my intentions. Nothing is true, everything is permitted.
*I took 24 hours before writing this so I could be sensible and not write in caps lock. It was for the best. I’m clearly still bitter.
**I just found a great article on Buzzfeed called “How Should A Gamer Girl Be?” and it sums up so perfectly how there is no way to win this battle. We’re all screwed.