If you browse through Tumblr, Facebook and meme-themed websites like 9GAG, most likely you will have come across this image:
This image has set off a huge reaction all across the web. There have been jokes such as this one below:
What has been the most interesting is the different comments that appear on Facebook and Tumblr about the young lady in the picture. There’s been some joking and some slurs; everything from not being a real gamer to being very promiscuous.
I was able to schedule an interview with Courtney, who was the young teen in that photograph. I was curious about this picture’s origin and wanted to ask her about it, as well as what she thinks about it’s popularity.
E. Ortiz: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Courtney: I started gaming at roughly 3-4 years old. If my memory serves me correctly, I got a Gameboy Color and was enjoying Pokemon Yellow the most. Gaming has been a huge part of my identity ever since then. I worked my way through the years with the N64 (All Hail Ocarina of Time!), Gamecube, PS2, Wii, PS3, and of course the XBOX360 that I am so known for abusing. As much as I’d like to be a PC gamer, I’ve unfortunately had a controller in my hands for too many years and have found it too difficult to adapt, on top of never putting the funding into a proper gaming computer.
As far as me as a person, that’s always a difficult question.
I grew up having bad ankles, so I spent a lot more time sitting in front of my TV than doing any sports and I continue to do so to this day. My only other hobbies consist of the financial black hole that is photography. Kind of embarrassing that my most known photo was before I started photography. I actually sell cameras for a living now, and it’s something that takes up a lot of my free time that I have. I wouldn’t exactly call myself the social type.
E. Ortiz: So the picture, tell me about how the shot originated. And what was the purpose of the picture?
Courtney: Well as much as I’d like to have a very justified reason for it, there isn’t too much too it.
My boyfriend at the time was a huge PS3 fan and would take any chance he could to rip on me for having an XBOX. It was a constant source of teasing and it eventually boiled down to me making a joke that I liked my XBOX more than I liked him. The very unfortunate result of me trying to take a photo of said joke turned into the widely hated photo of me that everyone is so familiar with.
An important thing to note is that I was barely 16 when said photo was taken. I had some pretty awkward teenage years.
E. Ortiz: Has it been very difficult for you since then because of what the internet did with the picture?
Courtney: Difficult? I wouldn’t call it difficult. Embarrassing at times, maybe, but not difficult. Nothing like your boss coming up to you and telling you a student of his posted a photo of me biting on a wire and asking me what that was about.
E. Ortiz: What are your thoughts about the fake geek girl or fake gamers controversy?
Courtney: Well, I honestly can’t blame them. If I saw that photo and didn’t know any of the context, I would assume the same thing that everyone else did. It took me a while to realize that. I was mostly hurt at first. There were some harsh comments (It is the internet after all) about my appearance that I could easily disregard, but others not so much. What bothered me the most was everyone assuming outright that I had no legitimacy as a gamer. There was no question of it, they had no doubts that I had never touched a controller for any reason other than to drool all over it.
As someone who lives immersed in gaming, it felt like they were denying me my own identity. It was odd feeling to say the least.
These didn’t really show up until I was 18 either, so I was fairly embarrassed to have my awkward teenage self shoved in my face every time I tried to peruse a meme site.
E. Ortiz: For those reading this and learning about the truth for the first time, what would you like to say to them?
Courtney: I personally enjoyed the threads of photos mocking me. It seemed to make everyone laugh and I know I laughed at it too. I guess I’m glad they could enjoy my awkward teenage photo.
Though I guess I would like to say, I was fairly annoyed by the comic made about me saying that I couldn’t be a true gamer because I was wearing make-up and didn’t have greasy hair. It’s a rather odd assumption that one can’t enjoy both cleanliness and gaming. Some people seemed pretty fired up about this fact.
I was honestly baffled by how many assumptions everyone could come up with about who I was based off of one photo. Apparently I’m a slutty bitch who borrows her brother’s Xbox to take photos in an attempt to seduce the men of the internet by feigning interest in gaming. It’s interesting how little I knew about myself.
E. Ortiz: One last question, based on what you experienced firsthand and seen online, would you say that the internet is a safe place for female gamers? What tips and advice would you give?
Courtney: The internet is perfectly safe for the smart ones. I mean really, part of the humor of the internet is that it’s a crude, harsh place. I’d sooner assume it’s safe to jump in the water with a bull shark than to assume I’ll get nothing but friendly reactions if I try to tell people I’m a female gamer online. You have to have a tough skin.
I tend not to spout to everyone that I’m a gamer. What I find interesting is the level of disbelief men display towards women who game. A guy won’t doubt another man’s prowess in gaming, but if a girl says she games, she has to be thoroughly questioned to validate her claim. I also work part time at a Gamestop, and you wouldn’t believe the stupid things people say to me when they come in there. A lot of men really aren’t helping the cause.