Girls in the gaming society
You go onto YouTube to look for a Let’s Play of a fun game. You type it in in the search bar, and boom several hundred pop up. They all look fun to watch, but I’m gonna pose this question: How many are girls? (Go on, take your take your time, try to find some, I’ll wait.) Couldn’t find many right? Am I the only one who thinks that is a bit odd? Why are female gamers so scarce? Is it a societal thing? A gender thing? What could it possibly be? Let’s find out!
The “Girl Gamers” term
What is a “Girl Gamer”? It’s usually a term used to describe, well girls who play video games. Simple as that. Although, the term “Girl Gamer” is sometimes seen as derogatory, that people should just say gamer no matter if you’re a girl or a boy. I would have to agree. If you play games either for fun or competitively it shouldn’t matter the gender. Yet, in today’s world it does. We can see this in games geared towards each gender such as the more simplistic and artistic games are usually geared to girls, while shooters and massive multi-players are geared to guys. But, what’s to say a girl wouldn’t enjoy a shooter game every now and then? Or want to kick butt in a game like WoW (World of Warcraft).
Gender roles for gamers
Because society has a thing for placing gender roles onto human beings some of the male species tend to react badly to girls who “encroach” on their “territory.” Whether it’s refusing to admit they lost to a girl, not letting her in groups or chats, or just spreading general trolling.
Game companies sometimes play a big part in creating gender roles as well. They gear some games completely towards girls with the idea that a guy won’t be interested in it. For example: RPGs, Fantasy games, Party games, things that are “easy to play.” Then they gear shooters, gore filled, and competitive play games towards guys thinking that girls couldn’t possibly be interested in those types of games. Granted, this could be just a marketing strategy, but it’s not helping promote equality either.
Another thing that happens with gender roles, is the objectification of women. But, not only does this happen for girls, in some games you can see this with guys as well. But not as often or at least it’s done with a different flavor.
For example, in a girls case, you’d see the female characters in most–if not all shooter/anime games have abnormally sized breasts and extremely undersized clothing. This in turn, marks them as sex symbols and shows them to the viewer as objects instead of a character. This can be very demeaning to women because when gamers see this in a game, this “viewpoint” can sometimes translate how they treat women in their daily lives.
This can also be true for guys in some video games too. They are pictured as incredibly fit and well muscled, the absolute perfect specimen of the human species. They’re solely for girls to gawk at and dream about. But, that’s not how guys are like in real life, they are regular human beings that deserve respect just like girl deserve it as well.
This is all attributed to Fan service. Fan service is everywhere, and while some people enjoy it, it has become a tool for misogyny and increase in unequal opinions through both genders.
If he can do it, so can she!
In the world of gaming it’s almost always assumed that guys are more talented at E-sports and gaming in general. But, thankfully that is starting to change. According to a survey done by several gaming industries (The graph shown below) the male:female gamer ratio is equalizing with each passing year.
(Original image from https://videogames.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=003627)
Another thing that is growing in the gaming industry, is more popular girls are becoming popular and well known as E-sport players, Let’s Players, and gamers in general. All though, Here are some well known ones.
- Sasha Hostyn
- Ricki Ortiz
These girls are living proof that girls can be just as good as guys when it comes to gaming. From playing Halo, Street Fighter, OverWatch, any game that’s out there if you have a love for it no matter what gender you are, you can rock at it.
The main boss: Trolls
Yay the female race is improving and moving up in the ranks of gaming, but not without backlash. The form of that backlash: Trolls. Yep, you heard right, those nasty little twats who have nothing better to do than harass girls (and guys too. They don’t discriminate, they just take a different tactic.) These people are one of the main things that make being a gamer hard for girls.
If you were to survey one hundred girls–no matter the country almost every, single one of them would say they have been bullied or harassed by someone they don’t know through a chat, forum, or in passing comments. These, are what nowadays are dubbed as Trolls. People who take enjoyment on being mean and ruining others day. They have called plenty of girls in the gaming world crude names and some have even gone as far as giving death threats.
For guys, they torment them as well, they don’t hold back, ragging on their playing style, voice, whatever they can grasp at. But, they’re favorite targets are, you guessed it, girls. It comes from a long time running opinion that girls are weak, nothing without a man, and can’t do anything a guy does. Some Trolls have even gone so far to rag on a girl because she was of a different race. So basically they have opinions of misogyny, sexism, and racism. If this doesn’t stop soon, I believe the gaming world will pay a steep price.
Main objective: Anyone can be a Gamer no matter your gender.
So, we had a look at several things that puts a damper on the gaming community in general and mainly for girls. Let’s review what those are shall we?
- Society in general — Thank you human race
- Gender roles
Now that we know what is causing the problem, what can we do to fix it? Simple. Awareness instead of ignorance. Stand up to the bullies and societal norms. Do what you love and don’t give a damn what other people think. And please for the love of all that is good and holy, if you see someone being bullied by a troll, stand up to them! You’ll see how fast they shrink back. They don’t say strength in numbers for nothing. By doing these things, step by step we can making the gaming community an even better place. Cause in the end, it’s not all about winning or losing, or even who or what you are, It’s how you play the game.
I hope I made some of you think in this article. Wanna chat about your opinions on this topic? I’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below!