Girl Gamers: The Gender Divide

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.

Comments (10)

  • Libby

    I play on PS3, usually Black Ops 2 and I have called, emailed and hit the report button on numerous occasions about a specific player that is constantly harassing me. Nothing ever gets done. Sure, I have him blocked, but he joins the lobbies I’m in and gets everyone else to start calling me obscene names. I’m ready to just get rid of my system. His screen name is “TheQuiz”.

  • Lisa

    “The atrocious treatment of female gamers or girl gamers is an incredibly ugly reality”
    Tell me about it, check out the picture just above those words.
    This article is wonderful but I’d be more comfortable linking if it didn’t fall prey to some of the same standards against which it rails.

  • Ludos

    @Lisa, Tell me about it! But how many people would not have clicked were it not for that picture?

  • Brooke

    Agreed. As a girl gamer, it’s hard to not be harassed by the constant “you must be fat and ugly” or “go make a sandwich” jokes. And whenever you do manage to stand up for yourself, the abuse gets worse.

    I proudly stand up for my females in World of Warcraft, however, it seems the abuse has lessened in that game. I can do cross-realm PvP groups without the stigma of being a girl and can even talk in the vent channels without enduring snide comments.

    On the other hand, I would never ever talk on the mic or say that I’m a girl when I play Call of Duty. To me, shooter games already have a hard enough time appealing to me, and that kind of behaviour on the online part (the part I’d be most interested in) totally discourages me.

  • Yukina

    I personally don’t take any of the crap so when others hear me they’re like, “oh crap its a girl” and I’m like what of it? Then they make dumb comments that I sounds cute or im their “bitch” when in reality, I make them MY bitch. They find it impossible that I can kill them or be better than them in a game just because im a girl. See that picture up there, they assume that girl play video games in their under wear and being all sexy like. Granted there might be some who do…I rather be comfortable when im gaming. I hate how guys think gamer girls are like that. Or that we are really nerdy like we are either really ugly or really hot. Its ridiculous. Im just annoyed with gaming lately.

  • Yukina

    And I only clicked this article not for the stupid picture but for the title.

  • Ludos

    @Yukina, The Image was not to attract females but rather males, and maybe get some readership going from that demographic. Sadly, only females have commented so far.

  • FittedKarma

    @Libby you female gamer’s have every right to play just as we do. Gaming was never made for just males to enjoy. Sounds like to me I need to jump on my PS3 and start harassing him. Actually sounds like to me that you beat him so hard in the game that he is dumb founded and the only way that he can feel better again is by doing this to you. I will get my band of brothers to you help you out with this fool.

  • FittedKarma

    @ the ladies on here. I clicked for the titled and I am a guy. I am also married and respect woman. I do believe the first male to make a comment as well.

  • Joe Cool

    My wife and I both play Black Ops 1 & 2 and MW3. She’s just as good as a lot of male players out there. But why, guys, would you give grief to a female player?! If they want to play, let them. It’s JUST A GAME after all. I never give any thought to when I hear a female in the lobby; to me she’s just another gamer.

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