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Female Gamers: It's our problem now.

We are our own worst enemy. It's no longer the men's fault.

I love gaming. My fondest memories growing up involve gaming with my father. He never said that I was a girl so I shouldn’t game, and he never forbid it. But I was still embarrassed to to tell my friends I gamed since it was more of a boy thing. Needless to say, this article is going to be about females in the gaming community, and why we aren’t accepting ourselves.

Female gaming is more accepted than it ever has been. In 2014, The Guardian posted an article that talks about how 52% of gamers are now female. So why is it we still feel the need to defend ourselves as female gamers?

I have never been told that I shouldn’t game unless it’s from a child online that doesn’t know any better. Even if I was told I shouldn’t game I would say this isn’t the 1920’s, I can do what I want. I think it starts with how we're taught about gender roles while growing up. Young girls are victimized in Disney movies and early video games. For example, Mario is always saving Princess Peach making it seem like she can't save herself.

Over the years gaming has gotten better at being inclusive to females. Characters like Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and Tifa Lockhart in Final Fantasy VII are great examples of this. We even get female characters in most FPS games now. I think we are stuck in this mindset that we need to be victims to fit our part in society. Which is why we still feel inferior to men when gaming.

Well, I am here to say that we aren’t victims, and we need to stop victimizing ourselves. Most men -actual men, not children- accept us as gamers. We as women need to stop thinking they don’t.

Ever hear the saying “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt said that and it’s true. This saying doesn’t just include outside influences, but our own internal struggles as well. I don’t think our issues as female gamers are external anymore, but internal. When we accept that we are welcomed in the gaming community then some of the stuff we thought were issues will disappear.

I’m not saying that there aren’t still problems, like over-sexualizing female characters. But being a female gamer is no longer a problem, and honestly isn’t that uncommon anymore. Once we stop self-victimizing ourselves and just allow ourselves to be gamers, then we can really begin to feel like we belong in the community. Which will stop us from feeling defensive about being a girl. There will always be jerks out there that will try and get under your skin. But once again we go back to what Eleanor Roosevelt said. It’s our choice whether to feel accepted and our job to make sure it stays that way.

If you agree or disagree with what I have said feel free to say so in the comments. I respect your right to disagree with me. This is my opinion article and it doesn’t mean that Gameskinny thinks or feels the same way.

Published Oct. 24th 2015
  • José Doix
    In addition to the characters you mentioned I'd also like to include Samus Aran from Metroid, LOL.

    P.S. I agree with @Bruce_4940 here. Dunno why people "fight" for equality but they actually just complain about their own problems and getting SOME stuff done than talking with EVERYONE and coming up with a solution that WORKS OUT for EVERYONE... Feel free to say anything to that.

    P.P.S. I also looked at 9gag.com once and saw a video where "feminists" were like raiding some church and ABUSING the men who were protecting it...

    P.P.P.S. Feel free to reply to this!
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    I agree with your character choice.

    We should always fight for equality no doubt. However, when the fight for equality turns violent we should ask ourselves what are we doing to our brothers and sister. Like I told Bruce_4940, we should encourage each other and empower each other. Don't tear each other down.

    Thank you for your comment José Doix
  • Bruce_4940
    Contrary to what you hear in the media, us men love it when the fairer sex takes an interest in a hobby like video games. I could be way off base here, but I think if you want equality in any facet of life, women might be better served by not putting themselves into a box as "women (whatever)", women gamers, women workers, what have you. I identify as a gamer, not a "male gamer", if you're a woman and consider yourself equal, than why identify differently? I saw a recent interview with Ronda Rousey, and she was asked a question from a female reporter who tried to box her in as a "female fighter" and asked her about the struggles she faces. She answered saying she's a fighter, not a "woman fighter." I thought that was really admirable that she is breaking the mold that feminists are trying to put her in.

    Also, great article. Personal responsibility is one of the hardest and strongest positions one can take IMHO. It is quite liberating however to acknowledge you have control over your own life and refuse to be a victim. Even if something isn't your fault, people that choose to be a doer rather than a victim will always have my respect.
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    I really like this outlook. I think it's true though I will say there are a lot of things women do have to still struggle with. Being equal in gaming is no longer one of them.

    With that being said. People are allowed to feel how they feel. If someone feels like a victim or is a victim we should not take that away from them. We should be empowering each other to take back our lives. Go from victim to fighter to survivor. Though easier said than done of course. If anyone is a victim of a horrible crime than I hope they get the help they need.

    Thank you for your enlightening comment.
  • UptownFunk
    So, what? Just ignore that harassment based on gender still happens? Saying 'sexism is all in your head' doesn't make it go away. I'm glad you, and others in this comments section, are growing optimistic - but that's not everyone's story.
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    Sexism can still be a problem in any community. Whether it be gaming or paintball. No one should be harassed based on gender, color, or sexual orientation. From my personal experience, most people who do harass people online are usually children or teenagers. Real life harassment shouldn't be tolerated in any way and shouldn't be ignored. Online harassment should be ignored until it crosses a line that really makes that person uncomfortable. Like, threats to you or your family, or stalking. Everyone has a right to their own feelings, and has a right to make their own line in the sand.

    My article wasn't based on excusing people who harass, but that the gaming community is very much gender inclusive unlike it used to be. That it's not really much of a problem anymore and we as females need to stop making it a problem. However, the dangers of the internet is still very real. Stalkers are still out there and people who will hurt people. Whether female or male we all need to be very vigilant of that.

    I hope this helps clarify a little.
  • RavenDQ
    Contributor
    I grew up without video games ( kind of grew up way to fast). When I was about 13 I fell inlove with gaming. I think because I finally found 'childhood' I was more than proud to be a female gamer. I always will be. I loved your post, and I think your opinion is very strong and clear. Thanks for posting!
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    I started online gaming at 9 but gaming in general I started when I was really young. So gaming was always familiar to me.
    Thanks for your comment and support!
  • tobes325
    Contributor
    Interesting read! xD
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    Thank you! It took a lot of thought!
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    "Most men -actual men, not children- accept us as gamers." Thank you, it is refreshing to see those words written.
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    I really tried to see it from a mans perspective. They get so much crap about this kind of subject and it's not fair. Though if someone does bully a female online it shouldn't be acceptable. The knife cuts both ways and sometimes men take the beating as well.
    Thank you for the comment and support!
  • Chelle_3647
    Thanks Jessi for the article. It's spot on with how I feel. In games like Final Fantasy XIV or even Destiny when I sometimes play with random players (a lot of the time happen to be men), they never point out the fact that I am female but instead treat me like a gamer. They don't just go, "OMG A GIRL LOLZ!" No, it doesn't happen like that are all. A lot of third wave feminists take this too far, and I am not sure why. I will continue to game and I am certainly going to continue to enjoy my time with the hobby.
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    Exactly, when online gaming was now or just gaming in general girls got a lot of crap. That isn't true anymore and that is because we didn't back down as gamers. Now we are accepted and we should allow ourselves to embrace that acceptance. Keep on gaming girl!
    Thank you for the comment! :)
  • Durinn McFurren
    Contributor
    Wow! Thank you for writing this. It is, I think, very accurate, and I appreciate that you acknowledge many men accept female gamers without any reservation. I also appreciate what you say: 'we are stuck in this mindset that we need to be victims to fit our part in society.' I feel like many women who write about females and gaming unfortunately tend to promote the idea that women 'ought' to feel victimized.
  • Jessi_Cat
    Columnist
    I agree that is why I wrote this article. I didn't want to sugarcoat the truth, and the truth is we aren't victims anymore. We need to stop acting like we are.
    Thank you for your comment! I also love the bunny in your picture, so cute!
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Ellie in The Last of Us is always an example I go back to for strong female characters in games. She's what? Early teens? Mid teens? Something like that, and is one of the strongest females in games. Yes she gets into trouble and Joel has to save her, but she does half the work herself! And she does more work to save Joel than I think I've seen any female in games do before.

    And then of course Elena and Chloe in Uncharted (Naughty Dog like the strong females it looks like) they are both VERY capable. And mostly rounded, and shown as people not objects (there are a few comments which go against that, but I think they are more from Scully than Nate, and fit the situations, or both parties makes jokes about them).

    And then "girl gamer" stigma... it's nonsense! I get beaten by girls all the time! Do you know what? I couldn't care less! We are all having fun, we all love a thing, so what's wrong with that? I think as this medium is quite new these preconceptions will filter out. Is it wrong for a girl to read? Or watch an action flick? Well no... but it was when those things were new. So yer, I've been accepting girls playing games as soon as I realised it was a thing to not accept them (which means I've always accepted girl gamers but never thought to think I do before that point). But then I was brought up in a family environment all about acceptance, and looking past stereotypes. Even if you know the stereotype, you can just look past it.

    I think that just about wrapps up my ramble... hopefully it made sense, and had links to the article... haha!
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    And just as a quick tag along to that. Margret Thatcher, even if I hate what she did to the UK she was a VERY strong woman, and very firm in her convictions. Two quotes I think will work in games:

    "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman."

    "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

    So I think they basically both mean similar things, don't overstate anything just get it done. Don't show off, just do the thing you need/want to do.

    Again I disagree with pretty much EVERYTHING Maggie ever did to the UK, she ruined it, for a lack of more finesse. But my god she was one hell of a strong woman!

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