Games For Girls: A Video Game Debate

Introduction

Video games represent one of the strongest entertainment industries in the world, and have had lots of growth in the last few decades. From the industry's origins in arcades to the current day console war between Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, video games have demonstrated that they are a valid part of our society and are here to stay. However, video games (with a few exceptions) seem to be a male-dominated hobby. Why do women seem to steer clear of video games? Well, during the course of this hub, I plan to give my take on why this is the case. So, if you're ready to read a topic rich in debate possibilities, read on!

Reason 1: Men Put Down Women

Disclaimer: I feel the need to point out before I start this section that these are retellings of my own personal experience as a gamer and do not necessarily mean that all men do this. I most definitely do not, and know some guys who don't either. However, many guys do, hence why I'm writing this in the first place. Read on.

This is probably the chief reason why women don't play more video games than they already do. I've been in the uncomfortable middle of men versus women conversations in online games and, in most cases, they are not pretty. Once the women reveal their gender, the conversations take an irreversible turn into Lewdville. The men start attempting to coerce pictures out of the women, who usually don't comply. Then, the men start accusing the women of being attention [censored] and being G.I.R.Ls (Guy In Real Life).

Of course, that's just one flavor of men putting down women in video games. Who hasn't heard of Call of Duty shootouts devolving into sexist trash talk once the men realize they've been owned by women? Stuff like get back in the kitchen and words that should not be said in polite company become the order of the day once this happens. Why do men put down women though? Well, here's my personal thought process, which may or may not actually represent what most men think:

  • Back when I was a kid (we're talking about a decade and a half ago or so) girls pretty much did not play video games. I had like three girls in my classroom that even played anything, and only one played Pokémon, in contrast to the boys where it was pretty much a coin toss as to whether or not they played Pokémon, and most played other video games.
  • Girls tended to have a pretty negative attitude towards boys playing video games, which only got worse as both genders grew up. The derisive faces turned to genuine harassment and awe at the fact that somebody that old would still be doing something so "infantile" as playing video games.
  • As a result of (or perhaps a conclusion to) the previous two bullets, guys tended to hang around guys when it came to video games.

That sort of segregation (which was most likely unintentional mind you) may have caused guys to embrace video games and try to put off women attempting to get into them. Something about desecrating the sanctity of the source of entertainment, or some tripe like that.

Mind you, I don't think I've ever used that thought process against a video gaming woman, but I can understand why some guys would go there if they had a similar childhood to mine.

I'm all for video game equality after all, because women who play video games are cool, if I may say so myself.

Reason 2: Games Don't Appeal To Women

Well, it's scientifically proven that men and women will have different likes and dislikes. It's just how our brains are wired, generally speaking. Of course, the problem is also that the video game industry itself is not helping. Go to your local video game store (most likely a Gamestop if you live anywhere like I do) and check out the local selection of games. An embarrassing proportion of them have women in scantily clad armor or suffer from Tomb Raider syndrome (well old Tomb Raider now; the rebooted Lara Croft is going to have more...humble assets). I mean, I can understand why companies would sexualize women like that (sex sells and video games are a male-dominated market), but it's still ridiculous. Such armor isn't even useful from a practical viewpoint. If you were a woman in a war wearing that amount of armor, you'd probably lose half of your limbs in the first major battle.

Stuff like that puts off a lot of women from playing video games. I've personally seen many forums filled with female complaints about this fact. It leads into a double standard, since men don't seem to suffer from "Armor Loss" syndrome like women do.

It's not only that, however. Video games are mostly made to appeal to men in all respects. Male protagonist. Plot that consists of lots of butt-kicking for goodness and all that. Women who just throw themselves at the male protagonist. More butt-kicking. I mean, how many recent games have had genuinely likeable female protagonists and (more importantly) don't have guys throwing themselves at their feet (because the opposite of an obnoxious thing can be obnoxious as well)? I mean, they do exist, but I'm hard pressed to name any.

Of course, there are women who do play games like Final Fantasy and Call of Duty, but they don't seem to be as widespread as men in that respect. Perhaps women just prefer different types of video games?

How to Get Started Playing Video Games as a Girl

Dreamhowl wrote up a useful hub if you are a girl, do not currently play video games (or do so only on a limited scale) and are looking on how to get started playing video games.

Click on any part of this sentence to see the hub!

Conclusion

Well, I could go on and on, but I represent but a single opinion in this vast planet we call Earth. I'd much appreciate it if you guys (and by guys I also mean girls/women, what have you, as well) voice out in the comments section and talk a bit about why you believe the current video game situation relating to genders is the way it is. Feel free to suggest additional topics to write about related to this article, or even suggest things I can add to this article. I can smell great things in the future for this topic!

Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)

-Winterfate

More by this Author


Comments 24 comments

NornsMercy profile image

NornsMercy 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Maybe I've met different kinds of people in my life, but every single female I've ever met has played the same games PLUS more games with more variety than the males I've known (who play video games daily, as well). None of my girlfriends bragged about being "agurl gamR OMG" and none of my dude friends would EVER speak to another person with disrespect. I guess I was just lucky to know mature folks.

Unfortunately, the internet and online gaming are filled with people who haven't experienced the real world and haven't grown up (either because they haven't had a chance to because they're, like, 10 years old or they're still in high school. I remember thinking I was awesome when I was 13). I think people who run around talking about how they play video games AND have boobs (just, wow...) deserve all the immature comments because skill should be the only thing that matters. Do I strut into a room and announce, "EXCUSE ME! Can I have your attention? I have a vaginaaaa! Behold its power!" NO. To those people who say, "Well, when they find out I'm a girl they say mean things 2 me omg!": get over it. They're probably like 11 years old anyway. No real MAN would pick on a female for just being a female. Real MEN adore females who play video games, gay or straight. The keywords are REAL MEN.

Mature people just don't care about the sex of the person who plays video games. Only close-minded individuals who have nothing better to discuss than genitalia do.

(Also, for every girl who snorts derisively at a guy who plays video games, there's a quiet or crazy girl who respects a guy who plays. Maybe she's in the corner hiding or below the radar, but she's there nonetheless.)

Anyway! Rant over. Great hub by the way. Sorry if my comment got long but I was actually chuckling as I was typing it. :)


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Thank you very much for your extensive comment Norn! :)

There aren't very many females who game here in Puerto Rico...or at least I haven't really found many. Perhaps they're hiding under my nose. Although I can't blame them for not wanting to get harassed online by guys. :o


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I had to come over and visit your hubs but I have to say I know very little about video games. We have all girls they don't play video games. Looks like you have interesting hubs for gamers. My biggest game is Words With Friends but I'm old so that explains it. Voted up on your interesting hub.


expertscolumn profile image

expertscolumn 3 years ago from New York

I want to know, are you, author happen to be a male or a female?


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

I'm male. :)

Just writing about a subject that has been full of debate since ever.


CHRI5TINA21 profile image

CHRI5TINA21 3 years ago from BakersField, CA 93311

Im a gamer, an X-treme Gamer to be exact. I own a Call of Duty Xbox Live Sponsored Gaming community called X-treme Gaming (Xg). I have about 1100 members, male and female. Being a female gamer myself I've heard it all from male gamers. "Make me a sandwich" "Ohh i didn't know you can play xbox in the kitchen" and that famous line "you must be fat!" Lol yes its true just because Im a girl playing the same game as you at the same time means I am fat yet your the one asking for a sandwich. Anyway haha females do get a lot of slack from male gamers but personally from my experience I believe 1 of 3 factors is the reason why men talk shit.

1- The tradition (Some males feel like it's a must to give a girl slack on the game and us females expect it evrytime we enter a lobby)

2- They are little squeakers that try to show off in front of their buddies

3- They just got owned by a girl (so naturally they have to talk smack to save their manhood which in fact just makes them look like they are cry babies)

All in all not every male gamer is the same my boys and girls get along just fine in my community. Respect the game, respect the player..

.... no matter who is holding the controller.


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hey there CHRI5TINA21! Thanks a lot for your comment! It's much appreciated! :)

It's nice to see different perspectives on this topic.


anonymous 3 years ago

I'm a girl and i LOVE video games. I think it has to do with having no brothers to tell me its a "boy" thing. i like games like legend of Zelda, Dragon Quest, Puzzle games (like Picross and Professor Layton), Kirby, Super Monkey Ball, and Harvest Moon (an actual "girly" game). I haven't played any online video games (yet). If your trying to find games that TONS of girls like, look towards dancing games, and Sims. I've also played some Mario, but not getting close to the end.


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hello there! It's nice to hear that you're a female gamer. World sure could use more of them. Thanks for the comment! :)


fcmosher profile image

fcmosher 3 years ago from Here to Eternity

Girl power -- nice hub with a great message.


VersaVulture89 profile image

VersaVulture89 3 years ago

I know a lot of girls who play video games. I've played against girls online before and I know the trash talk that guys throw at girls. I'll admit when anyone is better than me at a game and I've had my fair share of losses online. I'm a hardcore gamer who spends a lot of time playing games. I've played against girls on Halo 4 who could destroy me and we've had good conversations. I'm always open to learning more from people who are better than me at games.

Most of the girls I play games with today play Dance Central and Rock Band. I have a few girl friends that play Skyrim, Monster Hunter, Halo and Guild Wars. The video game community has a lot of female gamers, but as you wrote about, not many games are appealing to female gamers by boxart.

I for one love the fact that there is a big female gaming community. Having a lot of the same interests with people of the opposite gender is always good. There's a common ground. We're all gamers so we should all treat each other the same way. We shouldn't disrespect ANYONE!


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hey there Versa! Well, suffice to say that the world needs more people like you. I definitely agree with what you have said. The world needs a lot more respect; not only for video games either. :)

Thank you very much for your input, and keep gaming! :D


Amber Howard profile image

Amber Howard 3 years ago from Wallkill, New York

Haha, I play games. I actually plays as many and different games as my brother, my cousin and a majority of my friends. My boyfriend, on the other hand, doesn't play anything but racing games and has the motion coordination of a fish with the control - but that is okay, and we all enjoy the attempt.

I will admit that I am not as into... shooters as my friends are. I prefer RPG's, or roleplaying games, because I enjoy the story more than the fight. I would assume that it is because of a personal preference as a wannabe writer, but perhaps there is more stock in it than I thought.

I know the BioWare series, "Mass Effect", has a very large female fanbase - along with BioWare's series, "Dragon Age".

Either way, interested hub!


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hello there Amber! RPGs and strategy games are my two favorite genres. Thank you for your input! :)


3 years ago

I hope you don't mind me commenting on this since its a bit old, but since I'm female and this keeps being a problem, I thought that I'd add my two cents. I haven't really experienced this personally because I don't have a lot ways to play with strangers online and I hate blood, which most of the online multiplayers have, but I am in contact with a lot of other gamers through the internet and I see or hear about it happening to other people a lot. It is because of this that I hardly ever reveal my gender, which is probably a large part of the reason it doesn't happen to me. I do know a lot about the problem and I think these are some other reasons males mistreat female gamers:

Part of the reason men don't like women gamers is because they think they are just trying to look cool. Even the men who are ok with women being gamers tend to think that most women gamers are in this category and if you are brave enough to say you are a women, it gets taken as proof you are just looking for attention and then you get attacked. It's true that some women are like this, but compared to how many are actual gamers now a days, you are likely to encounter one or less women like this a year.

Some of the above problem occurs because "hardcore" gamers are very scornful of the people that they term "casual gamers". The definition varies depending on the person using the term, but it tends to mean people who only play video games every once in a while or who play less involved games. It is almost always used negatively when used to refer to someone else, and it is a term that gets thrown about quite a lot. This means that, male or female, it's hard to start playing videogames and be online. Also, if you haven't played a popular game or don't know every last thing about a game you like, you're in for a lot of name calling. I won't go into all the details and reasons why it's this way so I don't get too off topic, but since it has only been acceptable for women to be gamers quite recently, there are more women who are just starting to game or casual gamers (many times because of lack of women-friendly videogames). Being both a causal gamer (which is bad enough to "hardcore" gamers) and a women can mean you have twice as many people who can find fault with you and even if someone doesn't care about you being a woman, they might care about you being a casual gamer, and vice versa.

Another reason men are unhappy with women gamers are because women tend not to like how they are represented in videogames and if there are more women gamers, how women are represented are going to change. Many men like things how they are and don't want games to change, so they don't like women gamers and try to chase them off. There is also the fact that humans simply don't like change in general.

This comment is getting way too long so even though there are lots more reasons, I'll instead talk about my experience with women and the available video games. The general view is that women like puzzle games and similar things a lot more than action games. I find that women do like those things a bit more than men but what they really love are RPGs and action games. So why isn't this able to be seen by most people? Women don't find many games in that appeal to them, like you said, winterfate. That means that they buy more puzzle games, which they still like a lot, but isn't their favorite, because they are free of things they dislike. So what do women like and dislike then, especially in RPGs? *Note, this is just what they like, not what they like in comparison to men. This is also objective and doen't take into consideration my personal likes and dislikes* Women dislike the potrayal of women (and their lack of clothes), mindless violence (how much violence they like varies from person to person, but not many women like violence that is mindless), flying limbs and other unneccesary gruesomeness (suprisingly enough although women like blood and gore less then men, many of them aren't bothered by it in small or medium amounts, they just hate the unjustified, excessive amounts that developers like to put in). Women like good plots, cool action scenes (action scenes can be just as awesome without blood and both women who hate blood and gore, don't mind it, or like it all love cool action scenes), good characters, cute animals (although they prefer games with good plots with a cute animal or two in it as opposed to games that are filled with cute animals and don't have much else good about them), *good* romance (no romances just to have a romance or, if its an action game, making the romance take over the game, or the things winterfate wrote about), and effort (if someone was lazy with the plot, graphics, etc. they can tell and are unhappy about it, just like all the male gamers). If someone made games based on what women actually want, rather than what they think women want, women would buy more games and it would be clearer what type of games they liked.

There are plenty of men who are very nice to female gamers, including most of the ones I've met but there are also many who are not. I know that women will eventually get accepted into the gaming community by everyone, I just wonder how long it will take. Women gamers are more accepted by society, but nothing seems to have changed in the gaming community. There seem to be just as many people who hate women gamers or show lewd behavior towards them as there were 5-10 years ago. I know progress is being made, it just seems rather slow.


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

I treat female gamers good, for what it's worth. They're awesome and cool. Thus, you're awesome and cool X. ;)

Besides that, that is an excellent comment (I read the entirety of it, so don't worry about its length). What I'm debating now is if I should add it to the hub (with due credit, of course) or not (it looks like your comment is roughly as long as my own content, and Google might not like so much content duplicated over an article and its own comment section).

In any case, it's a shame that I can't like your comment (aka. Facebook style) because it is excellent and I'd love for it to get some exposure. :D

Thank you very much for reading and giving your thoughts on this subject X! Keep gaming and have fun. :)


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

:O

@X: Idea/Question: Have you considered writing on this site? Your grammar and usage of the English language are solid and you're great at expressing your views on subjects of interest to you. :)

Just an off-topic thought. :D


3 years ago

Thank you so much! If you want to add it I'd be fine with it, but whether you do or not, it's nice to just have someone appreciate my writing. :) I've never really thought about writing on this site, but if you think it's a good idea I'll look into it. Is there anything in particular I should know?


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Ok, well:

1. To actually sign-up to Hubpages, I'd appreciate it if you sign up through my referral tracker. http://hubpages.com/

(Basically, just follow that link and then select sign up as normal)

This means that I get a cut of the impressions your hubs get. Said cut is taken from Hubpages 40% cut and not your own 60% cut.

For example, someone who signs up without a referral has their income split in a 60%/40% style. You get 60% and Hubpages gets 40%. If you sign up after being referred by someone else, it becomes 60%/30%/10%, where you still get 60%, Hubpages gets 30%, and your referrer gets the last 10%.

(Of course, don't feel in the obligation of signing up under my tracker).

However, to actually start earning money, you'll need to do step 2.

2. Once you get your account going and get some quality hubs going (ten or fifteen is the usual number people mention), you can sign up to Google Adsense: www.google.com/adsense/

Once they approve your account, you get to start earning money off of the advertising that Hubpages places on each of your hubs.

Several tips and tricks for writing hubs:

- You'll want to write over 500 words, since Google penalizes exceptionally short amounts of content.

- Try to keep most of your hubs centered around a single theme. Make alternate accounts (this is allowed) for different subjects if need be. For example, you can have one account for video gaming and another for love poems. Google loves authority sites (sites that write about mainly one topic or set of related topics) much more than it does sites that write about anything that tickles their fancy.

- You can also monetize your hubs via the use of Amazon/Ebay ads. One Amazon product per every 500 words seems to be the going rate, so as to not be overly promotional.

- The FAQ and the forums are your friend if you need help with the site details. :)

- This one is really important: Don't be discouraged if you don't make a lot of money fast. I've been at this for three years (on and off, admittedly) and it has taken both my Skyward Sword and my Fire Emblem hubs to really take off in terms of views/USD earned per day.

Any other questions, feel free to let me know, and I'll do my best to help (don't hesitate to contact me at my e-mail). :)


Willsummerdreamer profile image

Willsummerdreamer 3 years ago from Marietta, Georgia.

I have no patience with people like the ones you describe, who think that video games are a "mens club." But I don't really see a way to fix it really either. There are always going to be idiots around who can't get over the fact that the women are equal (or better in some cases) to them. Thankfully, these people (so far as I've seen anyway) are in the minority of gaming culture, and as time passes I think that this minority will continue to shrink.

Great hub, man.


LoraLion profile image

LoraLion 3 years ago from United States

I have always played video games since the young age of 4. I never really thought that video games were meant for boys at that time, but I never really took a lot of thought on the subject. To tell you the truth, video games were a way of giving some form of excitement because I did not live around other children at the time, and I was not able to go outside my house too often due to the fact that we lived in a rural area and the threat of snakes and spiders were pretty high. But no one could tell me that video games were for boys because I was the queen of games. To this day, I still play video games and I just recently purchased a Need for Speed game as well as the Mirror's Edge game which also stars a girl as the hero for that game by the way. I do understand why most girls would prefer not to play video games now because there is a lot of demeaning references to girls in a lot of video games. So when games like those comes my way, I have to turn my head and look for another game despite at how great it seems. Oh, and by the way, I am starting my own articles on video games. You should come and check them out and see what you think of my articles as well.


cfin profile image

cfin 3 years ago from The World we live in

eh, my wife and I play video games together, are far from kids, and are probably the last people you would imagine would play video games. We also play everything from crash bandicoot to Civilization V.

The future of "gaming" is less about gender equality, and more about getting rid of the stupid stereotype that makes most of us embarrassed to say we play these games. To me its like watching a movie for the night.


Winterfate profile image

Winterfate 3 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Well said cfin! Thank you for commenting. Also, may I say that you have an awesome wife. :)


Assiqtaq profile image

Assiqtaq 3 years ago from Los Angeles

Nice hub. I have to say that one of the first games I ever played as a teenager made me realize how little, at the time, game developers ever gave thought to whether women would ever want to play video games. However I have bucked all the trends and continue to love video games even now, and have brought up my daughter to play as well. I appreciate hearing a take on the situation from the other side.

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