Sure, sure, Of COURSE It’s Totally Okay for Full Grown Men to Play Video Games Like Teenaged Boys
But is it really okay? Because women don’t do this.
Try to imagine this scenario: My partner comes home after work to find the apartment a disaster, no dinner ready, and zero sign of me, despite the fact that my car is in the garage and he knows I’ve been home all day.
Where could I be?
I’m in the bedroom, playing with my Beanie Babies!!
Don’t judge me, it’s just a stress release! Nobody’s getting hurt, and all that research suggesting my super-time-consuming Beanie Baby habit might interfere with the more substantive and adult aspects of my life is just garbage; I’m fine!!
Except, come on. That’s weird. Right?
I realize that women do game, and in increasing numbers, but I’m not talking about young, single Millennials whose time is their own. I’m talking about full-grown, over-the-age-of-35 men with full-time jobs and family responsibilities who choose to dedicate a significant percentage of their time to capturing the digital flag and completing the digital quest.
Why do we accept this from men? Why don’t we openly mock and shame them, the way I’m absolutely certain we would if adult women suddenly started gathering around the Barbie Dream House or dedicating multiple hours per night to dressing up their Build-a-Bears?
I asked my partner, Aaron (former serious gamer who gave it up [before we met] because of the time commitment), to define exactly what about gaming is so appealing to men. Without hesitation, he rattled off, “Competition, convenience, and continuousness” (whether he’d been pondering this and had previously arranged it into this cute little alliterative list, I do not know).
I pointed out that he could get all these things in other ways: Playing tennis is competitive, going for a run is convenient, reading a novel is continuous.
“But video games offer them all at once,” he countered. “And anyway, why do you even care?”
He has a point. I don’t know why I care. I don’t care when men play golf or go fishing or run ultra-marathons, and all those things take up a lot of time. So it’s not really the time.
It’s just . . . *aargh* . . . It’s annoying. Right?
I tried several other lines of argument:
Me: “In all other instances, we expect that when people leave childhood behind, they also leave behind the games of make-believe.”
Aaron: “What about watching movies? What about being a creative writer? What about creating story boards for advertising content or playing Monopoly?”
Me: [silently growling at Aaron]
Me again: “It’s WEIRD!! It’s like being a Furry, or an Adult Baby!!!!!!”
Aaron: [falls over laughing]
And I know, I KNOW. It’s nothing like being a Furry or an Adult Baby (no offense to Furries or Adult Babies [but seriously: those things ARE weird]).
I had to concede.
I don’t know why it bothers me, but it bothers the dickens out of me. I know I’m not the only woman out there who feels this way, so please, Ladies, feel free to weigh in. Let’s see if we can articulate this thing so that we can work together to destroy it.