There’s That “Lazy Gamer” Stereotype Again

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.

It'll just be this "loser" and his game tonight
It’ll just be this “loser” and his game tonight

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.

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6 thoughts on “There’s That “Lazy Gamer” Stereotype Again”

  1. Oh, Scarborough said that? But then he has been saying a lot of things lately. Gamers are not lazy…. my brother and his friends ( me too ) can prove that…. they are all engineers with great jobs. One thing though……. they don’t have GFs, LOL ! ! I can say that about me, as well. TT.TT Oh, wait, my bro has a GF, and a gorgeous one , at that. Gorgeous, as in, model .

    1. It just goes to show you can’t presume anything about people, especially those who identify themselves as gamers. One of your brothers is a prime example of proving the lazy gamer stereotype is completely wrong. 🙂

  2. Great article. I share your frustration about this! I think you nailed it, especially when you said the “lazy gamer” is an excuse to explain women increasingly becoming the breadwinners in families, etc. I also think it’s interesting that as video games are aging, so are many gamers… and now we have a lot of men (and women) in their 30’s and 40’s, with families and jobs they are successful at, who still play video games. I’ve seen that a lot anyway, and it also helps to undermine the “lazy gamer” stereotype.

    1. Exactly! There are a lot of people who love video games and have been gaming ever since it was first introduced. As that generation ages and moves on to have careers and families, they will be the older gamers who will pass on a passion/activity they love and enjoy to their own future children someday. It’s starting now for a lot of people. There may be a misconception now, but maybe more years need to go by before this “lazy gamer” stereotype is no longer used.

  3. As a man in his twenties with a full-time job, I absolutely despise comments like this. Do I have a GF? No. But I don’t think I’m “unmarriable” by any means. Although to be fair, I’m not sure what being “unmarriable” means in this case. If it means I’m not 100% devoted to working 24/7 and refuse to take time for myself or spend time with my friends and family… then yeah. I’ll proudly say I’m unmarriable.

    The thing is, gender dynamics are shifting in BOTH directions. After a generation or so of men ignoring their families trying to be bread-winners, a lot of men out there have realized that if they have to sacrifice their own mental well-being to stay in a relationship, then it’s not worth it. Which is why (IMO) many of them have stepped away from big-ticket jobs.

    Likewise, as you’ve all pointed out, woman are simply becoming and increased presence in the workforce (and are therefore becoming the “bread-winners” more often then before). Gender roles are changing, and there is nothing wrong with that. Indeed, without the outside pressure limiting our populace, the likelihood of us getting passionate and invested people (regardless of gender) into key industries is going to be better than ever.

    I myself have spent a great deal of my life working with children in school systems at before and after school programs/summer camps. I love working with kids and helping them grow into the people they become. So the very idea of me spending so much time at work that I never get to see my family is absolutely frightening; and I’d never willingly put myself in that position as I look forward to being a father some day.

    But if that makes me a “lazy gamer”, then so be it. Because I’m pretty sure my children will have a different opinion of things after they spend hours of quality time playing games and expanding their imagination with their father.

    1. I certainly like that the gender roles are changing. It’s acceptable to see more women in the workforce and even making more money. The same can be said of men deciding to stay at home to take care of their kids.

      What bothers me is how Joe Scarborough’s comment seems to imply that there’s a problem in this study if more women are becoming the main support for taking care of their families and men seem to be slacking off on the job. To make a statement like, “Oh it’s because those guys are so wrapped up in their video games to really take anything in life seriously,” isn’t a strong argument for the results of this study. It’s a silly throwaway comment for someone who doesn’t have anything really intelligent to add to the discussion. Just like women don’t want to be stereotyped or seen as a certain way, it isn’t right for men to be viewed a certain way either.

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