Girls and Gaming
Time to Level Up
by Lyndsay Moir
© 2012 Lyndsay Moir
ED: After our recent Confessions of a Cosplayer interview, this is the second chance to take a closer look at female gamers and what, if anything, it means in today’s video game culture. Another new writer to OXCGN, Lyndsay Moir, looks at the fact there still appears to be misogyny in gaming despite the obvious number of girl gamers.
It is time for the gaming industry to level up, and meet the new female player.
It is rather old news that women have started to make more of a footprint within the gaming industry, both as consumers and developers, yet the recent news headlines and stories show that there is still far to go before the virtual world becomes an equal world.
Frag the Ho
This includes firstly being taunted for gameplay because they are ‘female’ and ‘play like a girl’, two phrases I have heard frequently, though not surprising, only when they realise my sex.
Secondly, the not so frequent, but still common issue of men insulting or creepily applauding girls depending on their appearance.
You do not have to go far to find a story from a female gamer that has been the recent victim of unwanted online attention regarding their looks and the fact that they game.
Now, I’m not saying men do not receive online abuse; it just seems that females unfortunately hear gender-specific derogative words such as ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ on a far too frequent basis.
Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…
A recent article here by Steven Zoeller highlights the issue further, and shows how women are making news due to the issues with misogyny in gaming.
Girls are also making an impact due to L’Oreals decision to release a new beauty app for the Xbox 360.
This new female-targeted app, which makes use of the new features available for gamers on the Xbox, shows how women are now such a large market on the Live community that they have started to receive gender -pecific apps and adverts.
So surely with a growing number of female gamers, games will have started to represent them equally, right?
Well, sadly, this is not the case.
Many games that have main characters are still dominantly male by default, unless you look to Fable or Skyrim, some of the few examples where it is actually different and you can choose your sex (generally, though, these are RPGs that encourage player diversity, rather than picking a specific character).
Add to this that a lot of the female supporting characters are often sexy, aesthetically pleasing creations, and… well, it’s no wonder we females find it hard to relate to the DD chested, brainy, athletic goddess that is Lara Croft, and her bunch of female character doubles.
I certainly am not a dead ringer for Lara Croft, and wouldn’t go adventuring and exploring tombs in hot pants; get real guys!
Adaptation is evolution
As a female gamer, I will be pleased when I can play online and not have my gender mentioned in a derogatory way at least once a week, and play as a character that represents the average girl more accurately.
Oh, and it would be great to see more games where the campaign features a playable female protagonist.
It appears the gaming world is slowly adapting, so here’s to seeing just what happens!
© 2012 Lyndsay Moir
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