Last week I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I encountered this Kotaku article with a video clip of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough calling men in their twenties weak, stay at home gamers who have no chance in hell of ever getting married. Okay, he didn’t say that last part verbatim but he might as well have. This comment was prompted by a recent study concerning how the role of men and women in the household is shifting. According to the study, more women are considered the breadwinners of the family, a role that used to traditionally be considered a man’s job.
In my opinion, Scarborough’s comment about males in their twenties being guys who do nothing but game all day is a feeble statement to make. It’s an unfair generalization to make on all men and the “lazy gamer” card is a failed attempt at explaining why women seem to be jumping ahead of men in not only being more likely to graduate with a college degree but to be more likely to have the finances to better take care of a family.
The “lazy gamer” stereotype is overly used and proves once again how gamers themselves are misunderstood. First of all, this plays into the idea of men being the only type to like gaming. No where does it take into account the female population who have gotten into gaming themselves over the years. Gaming is no longer purely a “guy thing.” Gaming is for everyone. This idea of video games being a male activity needs to go immediately.
Scarborough’s comment about these men not being marriage material is declaring these specific type of men as losers. Throw in the word gamer and you can see how this ends up sounding like all people who game are automatically losers. If that’s the case, then there’s no hope for female gamers to get married and be successful either. Sucks to be us, right? Whatever will we do? I’m surprised Scarborough didn’t mention that these lazy gamers must also be fat, ugly, and uneducated. That would drive his point home.
Another problem with Scarborough’s comment is he is not taking into account why apparently all the men in the world except for his “son and his friends” are sitting at home playing their video games and not getting off their lazy asses to get a job as he sees it. One of those whys is the economy. It’s still rough out there. Companies are still laying off their workers and it isn’t easy to get a job right away. I don’t care what the jobs reports say of companies hiring and unemployment going down. Times are still hard for everyone, at least if you aren’t Donald Trump. I still know quite a few friends, both male and female who are still having a hard time getting a job. I’ll admit, one friend doesn’t have a college degree and the other one does, but I do know they are trying their hardest to find a job every single day.
I’ve been through the unemployed/underemployed hustle when I found myself laid off and unemployed a few years ago. It’s not a good position to be in. What do you think I’m going to do after sending thousands of resumes, hearing no call backs, or not getting the job offer? I’m going to play video games! I have the time and a sizable backlog, so why the hell not? Some of my friends who are gamers and are looking for jobs now are thinking the exact same thing I did when I had nothing to do and little money to go out. Does that make me (at the time of my unemployment/underemployment) or any of my friends lazy? Absolutely not. The point is, the sweeping generalizations Joe Scarborough is making is a stab in the dark without getting his facts straight.
Sure there are lazy men (and women) who are probably not doing anything to better their lives, but that isn’t everyone. Those with college degrees who are in their twenties would love to have a job, but our current economic climate is just not making this simple. We have been led to believe that if we go to college and get that degree we would be ensured a nice, cushy office job and the career we have been dreaming of our whole lives. What we didn’t expect is many of us in my generation will be finding themselves unemployed or underemployed post-graduation with thousands of dollars in student loans to pay back. What a wonderful future we have to look forward to.
What I want to know is what about the other twenty-something men who have a job, is married, taking care of a family, and who enjoy video games during their downtime? You’re telling me that all these successful, “rare” men will not have played or enjoyed video games at all? I know quite a few male friends or acquaintances who fit this description and the lazy gamer label no longer holds water.
Stereotypes like the one Joe Scarborough is carelessly tossing out there in the media are exhausting to hear and shouldn’t be pulled out of thin air to explain whatever point you’re trying to make. Times may be changing and traditional gender roles may not be what they used to be, but you can’t presume something is the way it is without seeing what may really be going on. And twenty-something men losing their position as sole breadwinner because they are “lazy gamers” sure isn’t the only reason for this shift.