There’s a stigma surrounding any female who chooses to play video games. Either it’s believed they’re just looking for attention or don’t have the ability to be a good player. There’s also the whole ‘go make me a sandwich’ joke that girls get when they step into an allegedly male-dominated activity. But the truth of the matter is, girls make up almost half the gamers in the industry. Yet games are still geared towards men.
Many games give players the option of choosing the gender of their character, but many games have female characters that are scantily clad in impractical clothing with big breasts. If this is to appeal to male gamers, then why aren’t steps being taken to appeal to this growing number of female ones?
Not to mention the completely bizarre phenomena of ‘meeting cute girl gamers’ online. If you type it into Google, you’ll find more than enough results and tips about how to find ‘girl gamers’ as if their some sort of endangered species. Well, they’re not.
True, there is probably a majority of girls who begin gaming either to appeal to their partners interest, or think that they can gain more attention through gaming. These are commonly referred to as ‘gamer gurls’ and this stereotype is definitely controversial in the gaming world. Female gamer Jessica Winkler of DigitalNoob points out how this type of gamer is troublesome for other girls who just like gaming for gaming. But the backlash of ‘hate’ can be felt by any girl gamers, no matter what level experience they are.
Notinthekitchenanymore.com chronicles real-life female gamer’s struggle with Xbox live harassment and you can see just how some male gamers treat girls who play online. It’s truly astounding to see girls being treated this way, and this ‘boys club’ doesn’t end in the video game world. You see them being discriminated against for their love of geekery–whether it be through comic books, fantasy/sci-fi literature, anime, or most typically ‘male-oriented’ fandoms.
There is hope however. Female protagonists are on the rise (think Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Daenerys Targaryen, even though they too can be problematic) and some real-life women are definitely making their mark when it comes to gaming. Take Youtuber The RPGMinx who has half a million subscribers on her video game tutorial channel. Or actress Felicia Day who has been involved in a number of ‘geeky’ online projects. Or Ubisofts ‘FragDolls’ female gamers who compete professionally.
With girl gamers on the rise, it seems like the market could change to appeal the them more. And not just by making pink Xbox controllers. Time will only tell with this one. Have you ever experienced game discrimination because of your gender?