My name is Cameron Simek and I play games – but don’t call me a gamer.
Let’s try an experiment. Close your eyes and think of a gamer. What do you see? Is it some fat kid who lives in his parent’s basement, drinking Mountain Dew, eating Doritos and playing World of Warcraft? This seems to be what most people have in mind when they hear the word “gamer.”
How has this derogatory stereotype been perpetuated? By gamers themselves, who have taken this label as a badge of pride without realizing the harm it can do to the legitimacy of their hobby.
If you play games and get labeled as a gamer, it seems you are automatically grouped into this section of society you really don’t want to be associated with. Women rather dislike this hobby as well because of this stereotype that has made the rounds.
Why don’t other hobbies have this negative stigma? People who watch a lot of movies aren’t called “filmers.” We don’t call people who enjoy reading “readers” in a negative sense. They aren’t judged based on their hobbies.
Negative stereotypes may exist for certain hobbies; the words “jock,” “gear-head” and “meat-head” all exist because of this, but they don’t seem to be as sweeping a description as a “gamer.” Gamer is a catch-all for anyone that has played a game, so heaven forbid your friends find out you spend time with Farmville or you may fall prey to this stigma.
How can people who enjoy this hobby fight this stereotype? Just stop using the word gamer. It’s simple, and if people who enjoy games stopped using it to describe themselves then others might stop using it negatively.
Even though people who play games try to use it in a positive sense, they use it to exclude others. If you’re not a gamer, then you are a “noob” — a popular term among gaming hobbyists for a newbie. They make gaming an exclusive club, and this hurts the hobby as well.
Gaming is still in its infancy as a medium; as such, it is not as well respected as other entertainment media. Maybe in the future it will be a more legitimate way to spend ones time, but until that day when games are finally accepted as an art form, expect the negative attitude.