As we wait with bated breath for the announcement of the 2012 Maxim Gamer Girl (which was supposed to be on Monday), I decided to share an excellent discussion I had with Raychul Moore, named one of WhatCulture!‘s “50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of,” and Krysti Pryde, one of the final three contenders on Sony’s The Tester Season 3. Both ladies made it to the top five in the first round of the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest.
About the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest
For those who don’t know about the contest, the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest was a competition in which female gamers competed by gaining votes in the first round and by creating videos in the next round. The winner gets to become the 2012 Maxim Gamer Girl, which includes promotional all-inclusive trips to gaming events, broadcast shows, appearances on the Virgin Gaming YouTube channel and site, a Playstation 3 console and games, and $5,000 in Virgin gaming dollars to wager in tournaments.
My Thoughts on the Competition
I heard about the Maxim Gamer Girl contest through Twitter. In fact, I heard about it because a larger-number-than-I’m-comfortable-with of guys told me I should enter the contest. I will admit that it hurt my feelings that they didn’t pay enough attention to my feminist rants to get that this sort of contest was anathema to me.
How can I tell men that we are not sexual objects, that we are gamers just like them, while asking them to vote for me in a contest that focuses on me as a sexual object?
However, I will also admit that I was tempted, for just one second, with the though of getting paid to play video games all day while making pouty faces and nibbling my controller. But only for a second.
I did not enter the contest, and I did not vote for anyone. I felt that even voting would go against my code, although I did retweet a few of my close tweep’s tweets for votes, because they are my friends and I support them.
After a week or two, the requests for votes disappeared, and I assumed the contest was over. Until one day when I noticed Raychul Moore’s tweet about how she was in the top three the entire time and was not chosen to move forward.
I went to the site to investigate, and that’s when I discovered that two of my tweeps, Raychul Moore and Krysti Pryde, were in the top five!
My first question, of course, was about why they entered. Both had reservations about entering, but came to the decision to enter by different paths. Krysti’s goal was the challenge the system.
“You know, honestly, at first I was sort of annoyed at the idea of a ‘Gamer Girl’ contest, because I so loathe the term ‘Gamer Girl’,” said Krysti Pryde, “but after some thinking and some discussion between other men and women in the industry, and a lot of support, I decided to enter to prove a point and for my own personal gain. I wanted to post blogs and talk about the industry and community, and not Maxim, how I look, or why I’m a more superior girl gamer than any other broad. I wanted to show that an intelligent girl with legitimacy, knowledge and passion could make it into the top girls, all while her avatar is fully clothed and her profile is full of gaming substance and not braggadocios material.”
Raychul, on the other hand, entered on the belief that this contest would be more than just a publicity stunt.
“I had huge reservations at first, because we all know how these contests usually go down: it’s more of a popularity contest rather than a search for a true gamer,” said Raychul Moore.
“So I talked to them for quite a bit about my reservations. They assured me that they were looking for a true gamer; a girl who knew about the industry as a whole and not just a few key games. They wanted a girl with knowledge of the industry and who had experience covering game events and talking about games while on camera. It took some convincing, but I finally decided, ‘Sure, why the hell not. This would be a dream job for me!'”
The Case of the Unimportant Vote
However, despite both ladies maintaining a position on the top five during the voting portion of the contest, both were passed over by the judges to move on to the second round.
I asked them how they felt about not making it to the second round, despite having massive amounts of votes.
“I think I may of been one of the few people who went through the entirety of the Terms and Agreements and really tried to understand the rules,” said Krysti.
“So I knew while voting didn’t necessarily count, and placing in the top five girls basically meant nothing other than the judges maybe get to see you first and you remained on the front page. I sort of know the nature of these competitions; it’s all smoke and mirrors and “rules” is a loose term. I also got the vibe from reading more into it half-way into the first round of voting that the girls who attended the NYC personal casting were at the top of the list. I think the online audition page is purely so Maxim can get hits on their page and build hype for the upcoming feature in the magazine, and use the girls to bring new viewers to the page. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
Unlike Krysti, Raychul took issue with the way the judges picked the next round.
“This is where things get confusing, because I was told voting would go down a bit differently in the beginning,” said Raychul.
“I was under the impression they would be weeding out the girls who used promotional tactics and that going to the Maxim Casting Call in NYC was not a requirement and would not give some girls an advantage with the judges.”
To Enter or Not to Enter
Despite not being chosen as one of the finalists, Krysti thinks these kinds of contests have some worth as a means to further her goals of showing female gamers in a more positive light.
“For the same reasons, I would probably still participate in like competitions,” said Krysti. “I met so many fantastic girls, and it’s really a great feeling to met other smart, fun, passionate, and FRIENDLY girls within the community. That alone made it worth entering. While the competition wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, it was certainly worth entering.”
She also had some advice for other gaming ladies.
“If it has to do with the industry I love, it’s always worth it to me,” she said, “But for anyone wanting to enter any sort of contest, don’t be discouraged, because there is always a chance, but nothing is ever black and white. I have a pretty good understanding of competitions like this, but I’ve really learned to take it for what it is and use it to benefit yourself, if anything. That’s the best advice I could give anyone as well. Contests like this sort of show that it’s a good idea to not take anything too seriously!”
Raychul, who had a different experience, says she will not enter another similar contest.
“I really wasn’t a fan of these kind of things to begin with, but felt after talking with them, that this one might be different. I am not upset that I didn’t get chosen, I am more upset that I just feel like I was fooled into thinking votes counted. I feel like a jerk for spamming Twitter and YouTube asking people to sign up to vote for me, when none of it mattered. I feel bad for inconveniencing people,” said Raychul.
Her advice for fellow lady gamers?
“If a company really wants a well-rounded gamer who knows her stuff and can do on-camera work, they will go through a normal hiring process, not a contest.”
I really enjoyed getting to hear two very different perspectives on the contest. I myself toyed with the idea entering to prove a point, and yet also asked around to see if perhaps this contest would indeed result in an actual female gamer getting a promotional position with a big-name consumer magazine.
On the other hand, it’s Maxim. I do have to agree with Raychul: if a company is looking for a true gamer rather than eye candy or hits, they will go through the normal hiring process.
I believe that competitions like this hurt the credibility of female gamers. Male gamers compete in contests based on their gaming and charisma. Female gamers seem to always have to rely on their looks and…well…how sexily they can bend over while holding a controller.
I would love to see the day when my fellow gamers of the lady persuasion shun or boycott these types of competitions, to show that we are not tools to help sites pander to the more immature male gamers out there (not that mature male gamers don’t admire nice bodies, but more that they seem to see these types of contests for the shameful sham they are). We have the power to change both perceptions and reality. Like Krysti, I too think that one of the main steps we need to take is to change our perception of each other as well. If lady gamers are bashing each other for their looks or as “fake” or “not really a gamer,” then why would male gamers not think that is normal behavior?
All in all, I hope this competition can become a talking point in the discussion of gender differences in gaming.
More about Krysti Pryde:
“Did you know that “Honey Badger” is a frozen yogurt flavor? I learned this today. Needless to say, I’m excited.”
To learn more Krysti, check out my feature Lady of Gaming for the Month of April.
“Thanks to everyone that voted for me every single day and left comments and made the contest a fun experience regardless! That is super important to me. Thanks a frakkin’ million. <3”
More about Raychul Moore:
“A huge thanks to everyone who did vote! Keeping me in the top three throughout the whole contest was quite a surprise and, even though I didn’t make it…I have the best group of fans/followers/subscribers a girl could ever ask for! Thanks to everyone! <3”
Relevant Rules Mentioned:
7. SELECTION OF SEMI-FINALISTS, FINALISTS, AND GRAND PRIZE WINNER: The Contest has three phases: (1) the Entry Phase during which Entries are received and public voting will select “Semi-Finalists” (as defined below), (2) a Finals Phase during which judges will select and designate “Finalists” (as defined below), and (3) a Grand Prize Phase during which public voting combined with editorial judging which will determine the Grand Prize Winner (as defined below) who will also be named the “2012 Maxim Gamer Girl”.
7-1. ENTRY PHASE – PUBLIC VOTING & SEMI-FINALISTS SELECTION: Each accepted Entry will be available for public viewing on the Site until that Entry is no longer eligible to win the Contest. Visitors who have created a profile on the Site will have the ability to cast a vote for an Entrant based on the Judging Criteria described below during the Contest Period (“Vote”). Limit: 1 Vote per IP person per day. Votes generated by script, macro or other automated means or with the intent to impair the integrity of the voting process will be void. At the conclusion of the Contest Period, the 500 eligible Entrants receiving the most Votes (the “Semi-Finalists”) will then be judged in the manner described below.
7-2. FINALS PHASE – JUDGING (TO DESIGNATE FINALISTS): Each eligible Semi-Finalist will be judged by editors of Sponsor (“Judges”) with no connection to the administration of the Contest. Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity, humor, telegenic presence, and adherence to Contest instructions (the“Judging Criteria”). Judges will select three (3) final contestants (each, a “Finalist” and together, the“Finalists”), which decisions shall be within the sole and absolute discretion of the Judges, and all such decisions shall be final.
7-3. GRAND PRIZE PHASE – JUDGING CRITERIA (TO SELECT GRAND PRIZE WINNER): Each Pilot will be available for public viewing on maxim.com from June 22, 2012 to July 13, 2012 (the “Grand Prize Voting Period”). Visitors to maxim.com will have the ability to cast a Vote for a Pilot (each a “Grand Prize Vote” and together, the “Grand Prize Votes”). Limit: 1 Vote for Finalists, per IP address, per day.Grand Prize Votes generated by script, macro or other automated means or with the intent to impair the integrity of the voting process will be void. At the conclusion of the Grand Prize Voting Period, each Pilot will then be judged by the Judges. Pilots will be judged based on the following weighted percentages: number of Grand Prize Votes received (10%), telegenic presence, originality, creativity, humor, and adherence to Contest instructions. (collectively, 90%). The selection of the winning Finalist (the “Grand Prize Winner”) shall be within the sole and absolute discretion of the Judges, and all such decisions shall be final. The Grand Prize Winner may refer to herself as the “2012 Maxim Gamer Girl” in written and descriptive materials such as a resume (without the Maxim logo and trademark and logo), but only if such uses and displays are purely non-commercial and in no event suggest or create any confusion whatsoever that AMG or Maxim Magazine is endorsing or participating in any manner related to the use of its name, makes, fonts or logos.
8. GRAND PRIZE WINNER SELECTION: On or about July 16, 2012, one (1) Grand Prize Winner will be selected by the Judges from all eligible Finalist Entries. The Grand Prize award (described below) is subject to verification and will be awarded upon winner validation and verification by Sponsor. The potential winner will be notified by electronic mail, regular postal mail or other traceable method of delivery on or about July 18, 2012. If the initially selected winner is ineligible, cannot be contacted after two (2) attempts by Sponsor, or fails to complete and return any required documents to AMG within five (5) days of receipt of the documents, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected by the Judges from the remaining eligible Finalists.