Starcraft requires immense amounts of focus, coordination and coolness under pressure. Battlefield needs a quick thinking mind and lightning fast reflexes. Playing Left 4 Dead takes sheer balls. With these facts taken on board, I feel I have to ask the question “Can girls step into our male domain?” A lot of the colour, style and language found in games doesn’t lend itself to ladies either. Before everyone complains, let me state that this doesn’t apply to everything. You do have your little games like Animal Crossing and The Sims which I’m sure you have lots of fun on and get really good at. Well done you!
Did that sound sexist? Good, because it is. In fact if it didn’t sound sexist to you, recite it to Germaine Greer and see what happens. The first paragraph was dripping with sarcasm, but similar comments get thrown around the internets with full intent. We’re not just talking about the odd raging thirteen year old either, MCV recently published an article saying that Gamestation would need “more magnolia, colours and chart music” in order to absorb Game customers. It’s actually a pretty good article but there’s an undercurrent of “let’s make it friendlier to girls”. This, naturally, does not go down well with girls (who make 46% of game purchases).
The more I looked into the situation, the more interesting it became. It was hard to defend gamestation (who market games as “Cheaper than your girlfriend”) and MCV had implied that Nintendo games are the realm of the womenfolk. I could, therefore, leap to the defence of lady people all over the digital land but I don’t feel they need it. Female gamers have put up with e-sexism for longer than I’ve been aware of it. What I’m really curious about, is why female gamers are almost mythical. Players are still surprised when a handle reveals themself as having a wider pelvis. Streams with breast potential get more viewers. This is on the internet folks, where you get breasts even when you don’t want breasts.
One of the reasons women are hard to find online, is because many women play in an androgynous style. They rarely use names such as “MsSxy”, preferring more ambiguity. Some of the choices are intentional, but most just happen anyway. Two ladies I game with use the handles Corvid and Huxlet. You may think they’re feminine names, but that’s just because you know they’re female. No-one has ever worked out their dirty secret without a prompt. Let’s do a test, I’ll list a few gaming names and you can guess the gender. Answers at the end.
Well that was fun wasn’t it? Hopefully you’ve checked your answers and realised that not only is it hard to tell which names match each gender, but some of them are misleading. Female gamers often say they do not like to reveal their gender because it is usually followed by a torrent of generic messages, friend requests and weird bastards. Attention isn’t fun when it’s uninvited and always the same. Despite this, it is probably doing as much harm as good. If lady gamers were open about their gender then at least it would become clear that there are lot of them about. The “ZOMG A GURL” novelty would surely wear off and the internets would be a land free of prejudice, sexism and inequality.
Answers (highlight to read):
1. Female 2. Male 3. Female 4. Male 5.Female 6. Male