Games For Girls: A Video Game Debate
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.
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! ;)