The video gaming industry, as we all know, is mostly male populated. Women are considered to be a minority within the gaming community. According to the ESA (Entertainment Software Association), 47% of players are women. That is almost half of the players are women. Their website also stated that women over the age of 18 years of age are becoming the fastest growing demographic in the video gaming industry. Not only that, but adult women represent a greater portion of the gaming playing population (30%) than boys who are age 17 and younger (18%). Yet, with all of this information, it seems, at least to me, that men are still surprised by the fact that women, such as myself, game. The thing that I want to get across to people are our perspectives on gaming are the exact same, at least, when I speak for myself. The majority of women who play video games are passionate about them, and love playing them just as much as any other guy would, so what is all the hype about women expressing their interest in video games?
When a woman is playing online, whether it is Halo, Call of Duty or any other online game, you don’t necessarily expect to hear a woman’s voice over a headset, and when men do, in my personal experience, they either go quiet, begin to make fun of you, or start the sexual innuendos and jokes. This bothers me in the sense because I am there to play the game and to have fun while chatting with other players, not there to be made fun of or hit on. When it comes to meeting other men in-person and they ask you what you do in your spare time, as soon as I say the words “video gaming”, their eyes instantly gleam with what it seems to speak out to me as, “I’ve just hit the mother load of greatness and this girl is amazing. She needs to be mine”. I end up with gamer tags from these men for Xbox Live, Playstation Network, Diablo, you name it. I should just start keeping the pieces of paper in a jar. It also happens on the internet as well. I’ve received some posts and messages from men online that I don’t know how to respond to. Now on top of not being that bad looking, I find, it tends to be worse if you are more attractive because women gamers are portrayed as these ugly, pimply, and wear glasses and braces kind of girls. I have had jaws drop, people rendering their love for me, and ya, the list goes on.
Now, I will stop picking on men and move onto the women. Women who have a boyfriend who games really make me angry at times, from what I have experienced. Let’s face it, I do not know too many guys who do not game. I have had so many comments to me saying, “I wish my girlfriend was like you because she gets angry every time I mention the words ‘video games’ ” or my boyfriend has had people say to him “Wanna switch girlfriends for a day” or “Your girlfriend let’s you get up in the middle of the night at 3am to crash this dude with us (this game being OGame), man, she’s great!”. I know this may turn to be a little bit biased, but I just do not grasp the concept of women getting mad at men for gaming. It’d be just like any other hobby such as playing a sport, play guitar, or what have you. What I find is, it’s because the guys are at home playing, and the girls just think that they can spend their time better at home by seeing them. Has anyone ever heard of alone time!? I realize that maybe if he constantly plays video games and ignores you, that might be a problem, not only for the girl, but for him too and it’s called an addiction. But, usually, that is not the case half the time in these situations that have been brought up to me. It is just the mere fact that they are playing video games in general, at home, and I find it just a little ridiculous.
Largely, what I find amusing is the mere fact that women are considered to be a minority. I see things on websites and magazines having sections called “Ask the Gamer Girl” on them because it is still so unknown to the gaming culture. There are also a lot of popular YouTube websites that use girls as hosts on them as well or just girls who know that they will be popular with the men talking about video games or just genuinely love talking about it on YouTube or blogs. There are so many varieties of things in regards to women and gaming that it just makes me chuckle. I am just hoping one day that women will get the respect that they deserve when it comes to gaming, just as men do, because right now there is just still so much hype about women and gaming that I think the road will be a long one, but you never know. The term ‘gamer’ should mean both men and women, rather than “gamers” and “girl gamers” and should be acknowledged accordingly from everyone with no discrimination.
All in all, despite all of the hype, gaming as a girl is just as fun otherwise. I try not to worry about what people will think of me, or what they will say to me, even though it does run in the back of my mind every once in a while, but ultimately, I love all sorts of video games and nothing will change that. Being a girl and playing video games is no different than a guy playing video games and having the time of their lives. It is all the same–it is a source of entertainment for everyone and should always be that way regardless of gender.
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