Ophelie over at Bossy Pally has a post on the somewhat recent phenomenon of labeling people (mostly female) as "fake gamers". Penny Arcade did a comic on this a couple weeks ago as well. I wrote a comment on Ophelie's post, and thought I'd repost it here.
Heh, this topic reminds me of Ferraro, the fake female paladin from a couple years ago. She was a popular blogger and forum poster who was later revealed to be using pics of someone completely different. Kind of a pity, actually, as whoever was writing as Ferraro had some interesting points and insights. In any case, I’m pretty sure that Ferraro was a fake gamer.
Back on topic, I think a lot of the animus comes from certain male producers of secondary content like blogs and podcasts. They see female content producers zoom past them in terms of audience. These men feel that the work the women are producing is of lower quality. Thus the feel that the audience is entirely a result of being female. These men then label the women as "fake" gamers, implying that their audience is disproportionate to their skill or insight as gamers, and instead inflated by their gender.
And to bend over backwards to be fair, there is a point. A number of female bloggers/podcasters make the fact that they are female a central point in their blog/podcast identity. Think of how many female blogs use “grrl” or similar in their title. A lot of men see this as the women trading on the fact that they are female in order to attract an audience.
Personally, I think it is just that being female seems to be central to some women's identity in a way that being male just isn't for men. Male identity seems to be less about what you are, and more about what you do. This is better in some ways, and worse in others. Something like losing your job ends up cutting at the core identity for a lot of men.
In any case, I think that a lot of this issue isn't really about game players. It is really about the relationship between secondary content providers and their audience.