Where are All the Female Gamers?
RPG’s, FPS’s, MMORPG’s, racing simulations — you name it, I’ve undoubtedly played it or at least tried it out. I’m heavily into World of Warcraft. I love my PS2 and, call me old school, but Super Nintendo owns any day. I might not have the cash flow to purchase the latest gaming consoles, but I guarantee you I’ve had extensive experience playing them with my friends.
No, I don’t play Barbie’s Horse Adventure or anything Bratz related, and I’m certainly not off playing those slightly creepy Nintendo DS games where you can be a pet sitter or babysit a bunch of virtual children.
While I’d like to believe that the gaming community has progressed enough to allow for the fact that women do, in fact, play games, even today I frequently run into those who don’t believe women can enjoy the same types of games men do. Some don’t even believe we can be good at it. This is ridiculous on a number of levels.
I can certainly hold my own against any male gamer. The competitive nature in me comes out, and if I royally suck at first, that competitive drive won’t allow me to quit until I can wipe the floor with you.
But honestly, all of that doesn’t even matter. What matters is where the perception comes from that female gamers can’t possibly play typically male-oriented games. Let’s use World of Warcraft as an example. While certainly not as provocative as some games, there have been times where the female armor leaves little to the imagination. It’s certainly laughable to see a bunch of beefed up male characters heading into battle, decked out in their epic gear, swords and maces flying through the air, with a female companion in tow who’s heading into battle in a midriff-baring dress and high heels.
Yes, I’m exaggerating a bit — but not much. Anyone who has ever played a male-oriented game knows what I’m talking about. While I’m not of the “OMG SEXIST!!!” camp when confronted with a female character who is obviously not decked out for battle, I do think it’s only fair they add some eye candy for the ladies, too! But therein lies the problem — these games are oriented towards a male player base, and game developers don’t stop to think that females play anything other than girly games.
All of this wouldn’t be so bad on it’s own, but when combined with some males thinking females just don’t have it down, it becomes a bit of an issue — and it’s annoying!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been subjected to comments that, simply because I am a female playing a game, my boyfriend must have introduced me to the concept. As a matter of fact, it was the exact opposite! Other male gamers think that because I’m a female, I expect preferential treatment and I want things handed to me. Again, all of the female gamers I know and interact with just wanted to be treated the exact same as our male counterparts. We are not the damsels in distress of yore — we just want to be treated like everyone else! Is that so much to ask?
I don’t think so. But you know what? As long as male gamers learn to understand and appreciate the fact that females do, in fact, play the same kinds of games they do (and don’t want to be treated differently) I think we can all get along in the game world. Women gamers are here whether you like it or not, and I know I’m not going anywhere soon!