Viewpoint: Gamer stereotype needs to ctrl+F4

Katdie Norton Mug

By Katdie Norton

Stereotypes are everywhere. The color of your skin, your religion, your age, occupation and even your hair color make you subject to stereotyping.

Some can be hurtful to you emotionally, some can even hurt your ability to get a job, and there are also some that are just annoying, but either way they affect your life in some way.

One stereotype that’s particularly irritating to me is the “gamer” stereotype that people who play videogames are catatonic because games kill your brain, they are severely anti-social and of course, they are all male.

It’s bad enough that our society has preconceived notions about me, having brown hair and blue eyes, going to Baylor, being from Texas, being right-handed, eating pizza.

OK maybe not that last one, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

With all of these to keep up with, why do people feel the need to keep adding more and more unnecessary stereotypes to this already bias-heavy world, especially when they’re so very inaccurate?

Some of the smartest people I know are gamers. Studies even show that the commonly held idea that playing videogames will rot your brain is wrong.

Apparently one hour a day of gaming is shown to actually increase your brain’s gray matter.Video games also improve your strategic thinking and help you make faster decisions (like, shoot him before he shoots you).

Also, the notion that videogames make you violent is just ridiculous.

Driving on campus is what makes you violent, but going home to run over people in your virtual world is what relieves that stress.

So, please don’t think gamers are brain-fried and less intelligent because that sort of thinking gets people killed (my level 90 mage kills people all the time because of this).

Another part of our gamer stereotype is that we are 40 years old and still live in our parents’ basement.

That’s another ridiculous notion. There’s no need to move all my stuff to the basement when my bedroom is much more comfortable (plus, Mom brings me snacks).

Seriously though, anti-social? Games nowadays connect you with people all over the world and provide you with multiple ways to communicate and interact.

From typing “hi, how are you today?” to actually seeing someone in a face-to-face video, you get to be social.

Have you ever heard of a convention? If you want to see social gamers, go to ComicCon, but you just may not be able to handle our sort of social.

Some people may think it’s OK to label people when they actually “fit” the stereotype. But not only is it never OK to stereotype people, but this particular one is completely off.

The biggest trouble with some people’s preconceived notions of gamers is that only guys play videogames. I get insulted when I’m in a game store and am asked if I need help shopping for my boyfriend.

I do, because guys aren’t as easy to shop for as they claim, but that’s not why I’m at that store. I need a new mouse to play World of Warcraft with and it’s just for me.

I know so many girls who break this stereotype, it’s actually comical that it still exists.

I can’t change every bias. I’m sorry if people think you are less intelligent because you are blonde or if people think you aren’t serious about your life just because you’re young.

Maybe if we start small by showing people a stereotype as simple as “gamers are brain-fried, anti-social dudes” is wrong, it’ll change the way we use all of the other stereotypes.

If we can start weaning people from using this one stereotype, maybe one day it will spread to our sad overabundance of other inaccurate and more painful stereotypes.

Katdie Norton is a senior journalism major from Simms. She is a reporter for The Lariat.