For how many years have women gamers been too afraid to show themselves, too embarrassed to talk to their other friends about their passion, and too intimidated online to reveal the basic fact that they are not male, but female? It has been a horrendous bias in the gaming world for far too long, and we think that it should end here. After all, what have female gamers gained by hiding themselves in the shadows? Why did female gamers even start doing this, and how can we make it stop?
Looking back, there does not seem to be a conscious decision made by game manufacturers to prevent women from becoming involved in their world; it just comes across as a complete lack of empathy and understanding. The assumption that ‘women don’t play games’ is as wrong now as it was forty years ago when gaming really start to take off in a big way, and thirty years ago when gaming moved from external locations to people’s homes. For some reason, the stereotype that started to be created (one that has lasted right until now) is that a gamer is a man, probably overweight, lonely and typically living with his parents, without a job and without any hobbies other than gaming. Besides the fact that this is incredibly bizarre considering how many celebrities that definitely do not fit that description self-define as a gamer, it is startling how the idea that a gamer could be a woman just didn’t slip into their heads.
It’s not even like you can really tell who is at the end of a piece of digital code anyway, when you’re playing. There’s no need to go on a Botox course of injections or try out a new style of dressing in order to look younger, because most of the time no one can see you anywhere. What is so startling about the gaming community is that so many of us are there because we want to try out new things, try being other people, try living in other worlds. We’ve tried this one, thank you very much, and we’re pretty sure that there are far more interesting things out there! That is such an intrinsic part of the joy of gaming that it is little wonder that women use that trick to be able to ‘hide’ on games as male characters. What is so startling is that so few games, even now, have the option of a female character to play as. The gaming world is so intent on keeping things male only that they even prevent active female characters within their games.
All of the old stereotypes have never been challenged, and there is now a generation of gamers who do not even realize that there are many female gamers who love the same games that they do – and perhaps play them even better than they do. So we’re issuing a rallying cry to all women gamers, young and old, MMO and FPS, whether you game alone or with friends, to start challenging the assumptions that so many people in the gaming industry seem to make. Not everyone who holds a controller also has to stand up when going to the bathroom, so let’s make the gaming world more inclusive and start getting out there! It may take a little longer than we would like, but the mere fact that we are getting out there and trying to make a difference will benefit women of all ages, and perhaps soon we will be able to see an end to this strange ‘rule’ about gamers.