I don’t think I turned out badly. Sure, I have my passive-aggressive moments, my decreasing tolerance for stupidity, bleached hair and tattoos, but I also do have a full-time job and just recently bought my own car, so, on the base level, I’m a regular 23-year-old American girl.
But unlike the regular 23-year-old American girls that I know, and know of based on stereotypes, I’m not close to my mom at all. We don’t ever have anything to talk about, and every time I come home to help cook dinner (during holidays) she has to complain about something being undercooked or overcooked. Or, she complains that I’m not chopping the onions fast enough. She also never asks me about boyfriends–perhaps she has given up. I might be able to explain why. See below.
My dad, on the other hand, is one of my good friends (we’re not that close either). We watch 3D movies together (Monsters vs. Aliens, Tron:Legacy, Up…), build Gundams together and make costumes together. Yeah, my dad made those wolverine claws out of fiberglass. It wasn’t until recently that I noticed that perhaps he raised me as the SON HE NEVER HAD. THE FAUX-SON. This may be good or bad.
Kotaku recently posted an article encouraging dads to play video games with their daughters–supposedly doing so will improve the relationship between a father and a daughter–although this does not apply to sons since boys usually play video games with their friends.
From Kotaku and the Brigham Young University study:
“When parents play video games with their daughters, they may be sending a myriad of messages. First, parents may show that they are willing to engage in an activity that is important to daughters. Second, playing video games can represent quality time between a daughter and a parent, especially when such play involves conversation between parent–child.”
I have to disagree with this because I’ve never played video games with anyone in my family–nor do I want to. I would spend hours at my friend’s house across the street playing Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros., if I wasn’t sitting in front of the computer playing Virtua Fighter 2 or Tomb Raider. My parents probably saw video games as a way to distract me for a few hours while they tended to their own business, and I knew of no parents in my neighborhood that approved of video gaming–so why would they participate with their children in this activity? I actually distinctly remember being reprimanded for playing too many video games and not “socializing” enough–in my defense, I was at my friend’s house, playing video games with HER brothers and sisters so, technically, I was out mingling with people…
Another excerpt from the article:
“It bears noting that the positive effects on adolescent females were only produced when parents and children were playing age appropriate games. Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero were the top games played by girls, none of which are anywhere near as violent as Call of Duty or Halo, two of the boys’ top titles.”
I can see playing Wii Sports with my parents, it’s a great group activity that doesn’t involve a million “are we there yet”s and special gear for an outdoor sport. But I would say that about 80% of the games I play and enjoy playing involve violence, and killing of some kind–usually in the form of zombies or monsters. I truthfully have never even played Cooking Mama because I just have no desire to faux-cook. I don’t see myself playing Left4Dead with my parents. Most of my girlfriends don’t even play video games or are even excited by the idea of it. Also, the games listed above from the study, are games that don’t require an obscene amount of hours to complete–you can stop any time and there isn’t a “goal” to achieve. Parents approve of games like that. My parents shake their heads at all the Zelda games I’ve played, which, when I start playing, usually suck up 6-8 hours of my day after work–and don’t even try to talk to me while I’m questing because nothing else exists around me at that time.
Unfortunately, I feel as though this article from Kotaku simply feeds the stereotype that girls typically don’t play video games (partly true, but last I checked the Guitar Hero record holder was a female…) and should. I don’t think the act of playing games makes them “better” than if they don’t include gaming in their social diet. Compared to the rest of my friends, I have a pretty pathetic relationship with my parents–playing video games WITH them wouldn’t mend the bridge, either. I also wouldn’t be writing this blog all 150 of you (whoever you are, thanks for reading) enjoy perusing. I also wouldn’t have the same group of friends I have today. But going back to the stereotype of girls not playing video games–this could be a marketing issue as you don’t see any girls playing games in the, for example, Call of Duty commercials. Also, feeble attempts by companies to make games FOR girls–fashion games and such. I have seen a few girls (between the ages of 7-10) play on their (pink) DSi’s play these types of games but no females my age. I work in fashion and I don’t even want to touch those games. I also don’t personally know any girls my age that play these games–MegaWoman would slap me if I even contemplated playing Hannah Montana’s Closet. (pretty sure that game doesn’t even exist but you get what I’m saying)
The one thing I do approve of this Kotaku article is the idea of encouraging gaming. There is a panel tonight at the Peterson Automotive Museum discussing how video games are good for you–first come, first-serve basis starting at 6:30pm. And guess what, the discussion is led by a woman. Although, I do wonder if she talks about playing games with her parents during her youth…