XP Originals

September 1, 2013

Why It’s Tough Being a Female Gamer

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Written by: Izzi Smith
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Why-Its-Tough-Being-a-Female-Gamer

I’m the sort of woman who hates stereotyping when it comes to most things, so gaming is not an exception. Being a gamer most of my life I am proud to have this passion that has stuck by me through the good times and the bad. During the past decade or so, gaming has broadened its horizons and is now widely used by pretty much everyone and it’s becoming more and more common to see a hardcore female gamer. However, there still seems to be underlying tones of chauvinism in online games especially, where a female gamer is treated differently in more ways than one.

It’s not just ignorant men who are causing this but some women are just to blame as well – I’m sick of seeing girls posting pictures of themselves wearing nothing but an Xbox pad with a flirty caption. It angers me that females out there are trying to use something that has become such a big part of my life in such a trashy way that could just easily fuel the fact that women can’t and shouldn’t play games.

Due to these annoying skanks who are preying on the current trend of being a geek or a nerd or whatever, I’ll often get tarnished with the same brush when someone finds out I love to play games. Not so long ago I found myself at a friend’s house-party where I overheard some guys discussing what their favourite Call of Duty was. I’m not a huge fan of CoD, yet I’ve played them, and I still will if I’m seeking some aimless FPS fun so I took it upon myself to join in and mention that mine was World at War, mainly because I’m a bit of a history geek and I enjoyed having a much more interactive experience of the second World War. I couldn’t tell if the guys feared me or loved me and where I would’ve preferred a conversation with a group of people about games and their opinions I was greeted with “wtf, a girl who plays games?” and so had to return to a dull conversation with my friends about which 1D member they’d most likely bang.  The worst thing is, there is a huge demographic of female gamers out there and like masturbation, most people refuse to believe that ladies do it and it’s too taboo to talk about.

World of Warcraft seems to be one of those games with a high female gamership, yet I still felt inclined to keep my gender hidden until I had to chat on TeamSpeak or apply for raiding guilds. Quite a few female players will use their gender to their advantage and this is again giving the rest of us a bad rep. “Leave me alone, I’m a girl!” exclaimed one paladin who was being shouted at in a battleground, and most times this shocking form of puppy dog’s eyes will win them over pity and friend requests. For me, it doesn’t matter who you are within WoW, we’re all in a big community from different backgrounds, different countries and different ages and we choose who we want to be. These girls don’t realise the harm they’re causing the rest of us who want to get out there are start playing the game without being discriminated upon.

Thankfully, I joined a friendly, high-up raiding guild who didn’t care about the gender of the players yet I was shocked to hear of how some other officers in other guilds will not accept known female players or even invite them to their groups because of the negative judgements surrounding us – that a woman will either want to flirt with you to gain free items and attention, or will merely just suck at the game.

An Industry Developed by Men, for Men

Like within any form of modern day media, there’s an unfair attitude towards the female body with unrealistic ideas of perfection. The cultural hegemony that surrounds women from an early age is spotted frequently in the video game world. It is rare a game will have a female protagonist and when they do they’re normally quite badass role models for young-lady geeks like I was, such as Samus Aran, Lara Croft and the chicks from Resident Evil. However, it’s disheartening to know that these kick-ass women were mainly placed in the game with tiny waists, unnaturally large boobs and tight-fitting clothes to give men something to desire and wish to play, rather than a heroine for young girls. And probably because it makes cosplay a whole lot more exciting for you geeky dudes out there.

This is where a few men will kick off during my argument and state something along the lines of “You don’t like them because they’re hotter than you are.” This isn’t the case; I’m not a jealous, insecure girl who cries in the mirror because I don’t have perfectly triangular boobs like my hero, Lara. It angers me because when there is a female main-character in a game she’s either an awesome hottie with an unrealistic body that young men will grow to think is the norm and the only acceptance of attractiveness, or she’s a damsel in distress who keeps getting abducted and held somewhere grim until she’s saved by a man. Unfortunately, I’ve had to accept the fact that gaming is an industry manufactured for men, so it’s never going to change.

tomb-raider-lara-croft-original

Along with Princess Zelda who aids an unknowing Link on his journeys from time to time in the disguises of Shiek or Tetra the pirate, there are a number of positive role female role models in games who have that sassy attitude about them, such as strong and independent Alyx Vance from Half Life 2, and the practically armoured Hildegard von Krone from Soul Calibur IV.

 

Games Directed at Women

Playing on Just Dance or Wii Fit from time to time doesn’t make you a gamer; it makes you someone who wants to lose weight which is pretty much the opposite. Nintendo in particular are cashing in on the surge of females willing to give gaming a go and enjoy creating hundreds of titles directed towards girls who love pink and hair and whatever. Which is why we’re blessed with pink Nintendo DS’s, games about dancing, taking care of dogs, and ladies who think they’re god’s gift to men for owning all of them. I’m not against the fact there are tons of games directed at different people; everyone should be entitled to play a game they love and enjoy and I know that gore and violence is not for most people, but when it’s considered wrong for someone to overstep their gaming gender boundary, it pisses me off. My nine year old sister knows this well thankfully and whereas one day she’ll enjoy exploring the planet of Pandora in Borderlands and killing bad guys with huge guns, the next day she’ll be enjoying the classic quirky colourfulness of Super Mario and Kirby.

Don’t Be That Guy!

In a recent study, 35% of female gamers stated they felt discriminated against because of their gender, stating that men will often exclude them or kick them from online servers because they assume they’re just terrible at the game whereas  a lot of women, like myself, are actually more competent with a controller or mouse that most men. Whether it’s your team mate, your enemy, a friend or a stranger everyone should be granted some common decency and we’re all entitled to escape into the magical wonderment that is video gaming. If a girl’s messing up badly or annoying you on a game, tell them. Don’t feel sorry for them because they have emotions and boobs. If she’s doing well, acknowledge it like you would anyone else. Chances are, she’s already got a boyfriend – girls like that don’t last long on the market and she probably won’t want to take any of your cringey Final Fantasy chat-up lines. Women get enough already from having oversized hips and boobs, being heckled by aggressive builders and the social convention of having to look nice and pretty every day; we don’t need your shit as well.



About the Author

Avatar of Izzi Smith
Izzi Smith
Izzi is known for her love of onesies, having red hair and all things gaming. Izzi brings her awesome British wit to the world of XP, and is only beaten in terms of funnies by Dan. The first game she completed was Casper on the PS1 at the young age of 4 and since then her gaming repertoire is beaten only by her charm and personality.




 
 

 
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18 Comments


  1. Luis

    Really appreciated this article, I my self am a boy so I can’t truly relate but I have female friends who love playing games and I always see other people leave the lobby the instance she speaks. I always found it unfortunate? Not sure what’s the best way to describe it. But I just wanted to let you know that this is an excellent article and really like the truthfulness!


  2. Kevin

    I am a long time WoW subscriber, been around since a few weeks after release, and ive been running with the same raid group almost the whole time. We’ve had some members come and go, of course, but there has always been 1 or 2 girls in each raid always pulling their weight whether it be DPS/HPS w/e. Skill > Gender


  3. Akil

    You girls should stick to sleeping around and gossiping, and leave big things like gaming and running the world to the big boys, because that’s only what you are good at.


  4. liamt

    “Like within any form of modern day media, there’s an unfair attitude towards the female body with unrealistic ideas of perfection”

    not just women, men arent all 6’4″ with big muscles. but at the end of the day who wants to see an obese person stumbling around in a game and getting out of breath after running for 30 seconds?


  5. Tipt

    female gamers are great – they always roll healer/support type roles


  6. jimmyjimmy

    It’s truly unfortunate that some people make it difficult for a female to enjoy video games, but your attitude towards men invalidates your own argument. In between making good points you’re really just running men into the ground because they are men. There is a word for that, but I’m too polite to use it in a public forum.


  7. Concerned

    A good article and the points are well put forward but I think the issue is one that has been gone over a few times. There is a large portion of gamers who discriminate based on gender, but that generally comes with the territory. You are guilty of using the same discrimination “a lot of women, like myself, are actually more competent with a controller or mouse that most men” not sure there’s proof for that.

    In one article you lambaste men for generalising and then condemn them in the same way. We’re not all drooling reprobates.


  8. stop playing on xbox live and come to PSN
    problem solved….no seriously!:/


  9. Dario

    so you don’t like the way developers make female characters with unrealistic bodies… well, like every male gamer has the body of kratos or complains about all those hulk like main characters out there…

    sadly you talked about the 2 games most populated by trolls, noobs, and bad mouth kids: CoD and WoW

    you can’t possibly espect to have rational talk in those 2 games unleast you find that 1% of players that hasn’t some kind of sociopathy or are mature enough to interact with another person without prejudices…


  10. verenkantaja

    Seriously. WTF am I reading.
    What does hair have to do with gaming. Unless you’re a female.

    http://eu.square-enix.com/en/blog/hello-im-cat
    I have a fondness for overly colourful hair

    About the author of this article, Izzi is known for her love of onesies, having red hair.

    No comments.


  11. Cyclone

    dear 35% of female gamers: You are hanging with the wrong crowd.

    hint: 99,9% of male gamers also do NOT in any way look like;
    - Commander Shepard
    - Duke Nukem
    - Sephiroth
    - Snake
    need i go on?

    this entire article could be rewritten from a male’s POV.


    • Joe

      EXACTLY! Reverse stereotyping of an industry that is equally unrealistic about female and male bodies in the real world. Stop playing the poor us card and understand it’s not an expectation but a form of fantasy, just like I will never look like the dudes in these games.


  12. Adan Rodriguez

    Let me not be “that guy” then since you have your daily fill of cocks as you pointed out. After the sixth paragraph, we finally got to the real reason you blogged this. The intro on commenting about women needing to be more mindful of game issues was just a facade to satisfy the gullible.

    “Samus Aran, Lara Croft and the chicks from Resident Evil”

    Why can we rely on guys to NOT complain that “omg.. why is Alucard so idealized? Do girls know that is such an unrealistic image?” time and time again. Yet as soon as a woman blogs about her “gamer street cred” (lol.. right.) on gender issues with the video game industry you can bet the house and forecast with 100% accuracy that Lara Croft and her jugs are going to be mentioned and her iconic image be shot up more than she shoots her twin S&W5946. Maybe whining about other women’s features is hardwired into your brains?

    It must be, since those “gamers” of your gender time and time again fail to mention Marge and Lisa Simpson, Aya Breya, Priere, Terra Bradford, Agrias Oaks, Mint (Threads of Fate), or Princess Toadstool (SMB 2) and etc as industry heroine characters. I also note you said “Resident Evil girls” instead of naming which could double as a female Sports Illustrated model. Jill? Rebecca? Clair? Oh, is it because S.T.A.R.S. should let in females with muffin tops and spare tires in their elite tactical unit? Please, it is a fact of life that females who perform any sort of regular exercise tend to look tone and fit. So why discriminate against some of those few with pre-installed floatation devices? Maybe it is because you ARE jealous. Look, fact is, just because you think you are smarter than the average airhead doesn’t make less of an airhead. You’re another skank with a blog.

    Don’t pretend to understand and claim to come to terms with the gaming industry being done by guys for guys, then turn this into another bullshit fest. You know why it is hard to be a girl gamer? Because you fools MAKE IT HARD ON YOURSELVES. You can’t just enjoy a simple game even if it is actually pretty good. You have to find SOMETHING to complain about. “OMG, the Tomb Raider heroine has huge bewbs!” not “wow, that was a fun third person, shooting, platformer!” Frankly, this industry was better without someone introducing sexist “gamers” who perpetually whine about sex issues into it. We were close nit. We had fun with sexy issues instead of making it a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. We could enjoy everything but a bad game.

    Now it has to suit YOUR stereotypical sexist views. Get bent. A sexist blogger claiming to like games is always 10 times worse than ANY girl pretending to be a geek.


  13. Because most of girls less interest in gaming?


  14. AxelL

    You should get clear about the whole hero/heroine concept. Basically when you do heroic deeds, you don’t have any weakness in your mind. And the Art, that resembles that, often makes an equally impeccable body to match it.. female or male. Sure everyday heroes not always look like that, but in that moment they certainly feel that way. And that is the point. When you create a role model, a hero, you have to make her/him as perfect as possible, so people want to became them. I’m pretty sure, there could be a well written story, for an average looking heroine too, but it has to be so good, that it compensates the fact, that many players wouldn’t like to be her at all in real life. You know how hard for me to look up to Napoleon? :) I’m 6.3 ad he was probably 5.5 and fat. I constantly have to remind myself that he is a “big man”. :) It is much easier to associate with someone like Superman, who has nothing that I consider weakness or flaw in myself or in general.

    From a man’s prospective. I think the title as wrong as it could be. I think the opposite. It is unfairly easy to be girl gamer, because boys like to have girls around and made it easy for you! But it has some consequences. It made it possible that girls without any proper skill can claim that they are “gamers” just because someone set them in front of a monitor and put a controller in their hands and they only get attention because of their gender. I don’t talk about the ones with the skill, but I’m pretty sure that is an insignificant minority. They mostly used for marketing purposes. And frankly I think this article is no exception. Making a controversial claim and profit from the attention. Even if you have skill as you say probably had no real impact when they let you write and publish this. You are just a tool. I hope you recognize it!

    I’m not bashing girls in general. The fact that the extreme majority of the girls not interested in gaming is very good for the survival of the human race actually. :)



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