Girl Gamers: The Dark Side
Girl Gamers: Stats
Bringing up the gender divide in gaming is always prickly subject. It gets personal. Let us lay some definitions and some truth out about Girl Gamers.
By Ghost Lily
Gaming started as an all-boys-club and is often still viewed that way, but ample data points to the contrary – According to the results of the Entertainment Software Association’s annual survey released at E3 this past year, 47% of all players are women, “Girl gamers”. Not only that, but women over 18 make up a more significant portion of that population (30%) than males under 17 and under (18%).
If nearly half of the presence in the gaming lifestyle is female and that number is rising steadily, why is it so common for the remaining male 53% of that statistic to harass that 47%, downplay its worth, and deny it exists?
Girl Gamers: A Prickly Subject
The atrocious treatment of female gamers or girl gamers is an incredibly ugly reality. In a brilliant (and bold) attempt to quell the abuse, Halo 4 most recently instituted a lifetime ban for sexism.
“This is behavior that is offensive and completely unacceptable,” Microsoft’s 343 Industries Executive Bonnie Ross told Gamespot during an interview prior to the game’s release. “I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behavior.”
“It can be dangerous to give adolescents a broadcast mechanism,” Kiki Wolfkill, Halo’s executive producer, told Gamespot. Wolfkill and Ross explained that the ultimate responsibility for stamping out sexism and abuse comes down to the game’s producers, which I agree with in part – as shapers of the medium, those who made the item are responsible for crafting any rules within it, and new rules as radical as a ban on sexism could have huge domino effects within the gaming world. These effects could open a lot of eyes, I believe – and although the policy garnered a decent amount of backlash from potential players, Halo has been solid in backing its enforcement.
Girl Gamers And Sexism
Part of the problem with gaming sexism, I believe, is the amount of bystanders, but “it’s just a joke” doesn’t work anymore. Social consciousness demands that the belittling of a peoples who have a history of abuse is not just a joke and cannot be played off as such. Fatuglyorslutty.com has a running collection of the abuse that female players endure daily, most of which is brought on by things as simple as typing in the main chat, saying something over the mic, or even going AFK with “female” in their profile.
Your friend says makes a sandwich joke. A stranger makes a rape joke. A female player gets harassed in main chat. Another go-make-a-sandwich joke, or perhaps some objectifying. But you don’t know them/it was just a joke/they didn’t mean it like that, right?
These are not excuses to disguise sexism and never will be – if gaming companies can step up, so can you.
It is not funny or casual to ruin someone’s experience. It never has been. Make the gaming world safer for half of its players. Girl gamer or not, say something.