This is a series of posts on being a gamer wife, what it means, how it has impacted my games and my life. Everything here is coloured heavily by my personal experiences and what I’ve seen in other relationships. So if at all during this series you feel a need to make a personal comment about anyone I’ve described, don’t. You can make comments about me and my reactions, but refrain from calling out others I’ve talked about.
My spouse, whom I adore, is a game designer. He’s also been playing games forever and has much more experience with gaming and the culture that surrounds gaming than I do. He is, in short, an expert. I am not.
He is not why I got into gaming. I was into gaming well before I met him and it’s how I met him. This isn’t that story. Instead it’s a story about how being the wife of a well-known gamer has affected me when I sit down to game. It’s about how my interactions with other gamers has been affected by my status as a gamer wife and, in particular, by being his gamer wife. Most importantly, this isn’t about him. It’s about me.
I’m writing this because I am frequently seen as an accessory. An adornment. Someone that is only worth taking into consideration when it’s valuable to establish a relationship with him. I have an expected role to fill, and don’t we all, but it’s different. Heightened. Changed. Gamers have a lot of expectations of women to begin with. Adding in that I’m supposed to fulfill these duties as both a gamer and a wife, I often find myself frustrated and annoyed at people who ostensibly should know better. This is about how my voice has been minimized and ignored in favor of his. Of how it’s assumed that I agree with everything he says and how I’ve concealed the fact that he’s my spouse specifically so that I could have my own voice.
But, perhaps, to understand why I need to write these posts, you should understand how the gamer wife is viewed. This one is my favorite.
“The best impression he made with me, and I will add probably [his] best asset overall is his lady. And a fine lady she is: for starters, she’s beautiful. She’s smart and she loves games. But more than that, she’s a gracious host, and can make one hell of a roast. The fact that he’s managed to obtain her speaks far better of him than being the Don of the Geek Mafia.”
The first trait is about appearance. The second is wits and hobbies. Following that it’s the ability to cook and host guests. But all of this is phrased in terms of the fact that she is property and a status symbol of her spouse. That she was obtained and something to try to get. While it’s trying to be a flattering portrayal, it’s very insulting.
This is not a person, this is an accessory. And you should think better of the man here because he had the luck/skill/power/whatever to catch the woman in question.
And it bothers me and I think it should bother you too.
So in further posts I’m going to walk over a bunch of ground and invite you to join me. I’m going to cover numerous topics and feel free to request issues that I may not have brought up yet, or details on things you want to hear more about.
Being reduced to a series of tropes is not fun and I think it needs to change but in order to change it, perhaps we need to look at what is happening in the first place. And see how it affects the life of this one gamer wife.