Female Gamer? - Who cares? by Cuppycake
Apr 10, 2007 10:53:54

I'm a woman and a gamer, and I've been both for as long as I can remember. Once introduced to EverQuest as a means to communicate with my ex-boyfriend long distance when I went to college; I've now been hooked for life on the idea of massively multiplayer online worlds. I play no less than two games at any given time, generally bouncing back and forth to keep things fresh and new. I am a subscriber to several print gaming and computing magazines. I view an RSS feed of over 200 different websites daily; staying on top of news in the gaming industry, and I comment on a gaming blog. In addition, I am a regular reader and poster at over ten different forums and I do my best to attend as many game development conferences as I can.

Aside from the first two sentences of the previous paragraph, that will sound like any typical male gamer - which is exactly how I'd prefer it. Lately there has been such a huge push towards recognizing female gamers and their differences and similarities between them and the male population. I have seen websites go as far as to dissect the biology of the female body and determine what makes a female want to play video games rather than go shopping. I could not care less what the population of female gamers is; I do not care to read article upon article about how women are not treated the same in games. If you are going to prance around advertising that you are a woman, you are drawing negative attention to yourself.

There are websites dedicated to highlighting girl guilds and events, and there are girl gamer forums where you can talk to people who 'understand' the way you feel because you share the same chromosomes. You will never catch someone like me on those forums. I do not view myself as a girl gamer, I consider myself the same as everyone else who plays video games. I have my real life hobbies and my in-game hobbies. I prefer to do my discussion on websites that do not coddle me or baby me because I am a female. I like to be called out on the things I say, asked to provide proof. I like to be corrected when I am wrong, and flamed when I say something unintelligent. Yeah, I like to go shopping and I like horses and things that are pink and I like putting on makeup and dressing up to go out with friends. I just do not feel the need to flaunt around that I am female so I can try to draw attention to myself.

Bottom line girls - get off your high horse. We do not care if you are male or female or whether you are wearing panties while you are out questing. You are not oppressed or treated poorly because you are a female. Quit talking in that phony fake high pitched voice on Ventrilo. Learn how to play the game like the boys and you will be treated like the boys. In case you want to be segregated and given all sorts of special treatment and attention - keep making self centered websites about your gender and how unfair you think everything is. I am sick of reading your feminist crap when I am trying to read the gaming news.


Submitted by Brent on Apr 10, 2007 10:53:54 CST (comments: 22)


'Awsome' by Akely
Submitted on 2007-04-10 18:12:43 CST
Exactly how I feel, and I'm a guy... Top notch, Cuppucake.


'WooT' by Nezrak
Submitted on 2007-04-11 06:42:49 CST
I can understand why some girls love to get attention from their fellow gamemates... I know a lot of people who like to have that special attention because they are girl.

We are all a bit like that, we want to feel special.

Bottom line, you aren't that special anymore... lol There's a large community of girls out there playing video games.

I do relate to the fact that sometimes, when you are reading news and stuff, you don't want to read babblings about "this or that" that aren't relevant to your hobby.

Nice article =)

'Nice Article' by fl1pper
Submitted on 2007-04-11 07:05:51 CST
The sad fact is that a lot of girls will make a big deal of their gender because they get a lot of attention and free stuff from the guys. I see it happening in my guild a lot, and to be fair i don't blame them. More fool the guys I say.

I get a lot more offers of help when I run around as my female sexy night elf toon than I do as an ugly little male gnome. On second thoughts, maybe that's because people hate gnomes 8-)

'good article' by teranesia
Submitted on 2007-04-12 03:55:06 CST
I was just talking about this the other night with my wife who has been a gamer as long (or perhaps even longer since she's 2 years older) as I have and she's what you could describe "old timer", with experience from early 90s MUDSs and pen and paper RPG's before that. She also used to play MtG back in the day.

Until lately (in WoW, where people seem to be hellbent to send her freebies) she's never felt like she's been treated any differently than any of the guys she's played with (not even in MtG tournaments where you actually get to see each others face to face).

It's all about your own attitudes, if you want to put yourself in that "eek, I'm helpless female" box I'm sure you get labeled as one.

In my (very humble) opinion there's no great divide between sexes in gaming, it's the same type of generalization as the one where we (the guys in gaming) are unsocial misfits living in our parents basements, unable to control ourselves as soon as someone remotely female logs on the Vent.

Well written thoughts Cuppy :-)

'More to it than this' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-04-13 06:06:35 CST
Typical of men to love the "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" approach of a woman. Btw I don't knock this approach - it's fine.

I think you miss the point, though, Cuppy. the issue is that all the mainstream gaming sites are "covertly" male sites. They don't say they are, but they are. And they are because they are run almost exclusively by men. At least "female only" sites are honest with themselves.

I think also the positive side of things is that "female only" sites advertise the fact that it can be cool to play videogames to those women whose decisions are made for them by what others tell them or what the latest magazine says (there are men that are like this too, of course, but they already have places which tell them it's cool to play videogames).

Lastly, I note you say there is no "great" divide between the sexes. I agree with you on this, but I will point out that even you have said that there is a divide, albeit, not a very significant one. Clearly this divide is larger with some people than others - compare your average biker with a real life Barbie Doll and then market your videogames to both?

'With and something else...' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-04-26 13:35:15 CST
I'm 90% with you here. Most of the time people will interact with me in-game as well as in forums, IRC, instant message, and the entire time assume that I'm male... until they hear me on my friday night broadcast or download the podcast versions of the show, or join the show and get shocked saying, "Wait... you're Leo?"

I prefer to be considered on an even playing field. I'd rather gain the respect on the merits of my mind and knowledge as well as how I handle situations than by my gender.

However, in every society, there is a very particular separation in customs and interests that are targeted and based on gender preferences. It's not necessarily due to woman being a minority, or because we should be treated differently. Instead, it's often because of particular differences in preference. Often woman are known for their attention to detail that the "typical" male wouldn't notice which is in part why more woman are accountants than males. It's not a gender bias - it's the way the brains work.

I myself don't fit into that category nor would I desire to be like that, but I do understand where the differences are.

That being said, some woman see this and misunderstand it as another reason why they should have "special treatment". Too many are happy to just go along with the surface information and not look further and that's where the general annoyance seems to be that I feel towards a lot of segregated guilds, websites, and god damnit, the freakin' color pink.

So I definitely am with you most of the way, but there are more reasons for the separation and "marketing" of gaming equipment and games than just another way to put woman gamers on a pedestal.

'Let's be careful to consider the whole situation' by Broomie
Submitted on 2007-05-31 11:20:22 CST
I understand your article but I will comment that these games for the most part have been segregated by gender for years. It is the game developers and publishers that marketed to males primarily making the female gamer the odd commodity. Now that they realize our money is as green as any other males they are taking notice. About time. That being said, I have found as a female gamer that many persons upon discovering I am female (on Vent and TS) have treated me differently. I did not ask for it and in most cases refused any type of special treatment. So please look at the entire situation. Many female gamers are NOT asking or demanding special treatment, it is in fact others (mainly, young socially withdrawn males) that give that to them. On the female gaming websites I am part of two. You know why? I got tired of the rampant misogyny displayed on others by male gamers. I wanted a place that I could log in and discuss the game without seeing all the derogatory references to and about females. If the op doesnt mind this, good for her, but many of us sought these types of websites as a solace from the others.

'Examples, Broomie?' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-05-31 12:00:37 CST
Can you give some examples of misogynistic writing? Or do you mean sexist?

'I see your point Broomie' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-05-31 12:31:08 CST
It's become common place to see comments that typically come after someone discovers that I'm female and this isn't necessarily just "comments" either.

Many communities have their "orientation" period where you log on, comment, and get blathered with ridiculous comments to the effect that a person has no clout to speak due to their low post count when in truth, the person w/ a high post count on more occasions than not is the one that comments most frequently with, "Yeah!" or "Pwned (insert random smiley) or something of similar substance. However, once the community discovers a person is female 1 or 2 things will occur. They'll be absolutely rude and post something similar to, "Show your b**bs or GTFO" or they'll completely back down from their standard orientation period and immediately treat you with respect that most males have to earn over time and association.

Now the orientation, otherwise known in other arenas as "Hazing" shouldn't be a part of the community, and there are ways to have active forums without, but it's a very rare thing.

Gah - I degress. Females tend to be treated differently. It's the common answer that I receive when asking someone who is male who typically plays female characters. They just plainly are treated differently.

It is more open out of game and on a forum, so more than just respect is brought - often it's crude comments, demands to see pictures to find out if a female should be drooled over or mocked, etc.

I still won't likely post on the "female only" forums, but I can definitely see why one would prefer to post there.

'Blah.' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-05-31 13:25:20 CST
I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

Fact of the matter is, I just don't like affirmative action regardless what its for. I don't want to be in female only spaces. Games are a representation of life in general IMO, especially MMORPG's. If you can't handle being treated a certain way in game, how are you going to handle what life throws at ya?

People just need to relax IMO.

'lol' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-05-31 13:51:42 CST
I don't think there is really disagreement in anyone's comments - just further thought into the subject.

Point in fact - once someone discovers that a person is female they DO treat us females differently. Maybe not everyone, and at least speaking for myself, definitely not what I asked for, but it is as it is.

Your point is incredibly valid though Cuppy. It's akin to people seeing that guys drool over females who show skin, and so they show more skin to feel extra special and get extra special attention. There are females out there who take someone's attention to the next level - and truly that is the heart of it. Or at least that's my spin on some of what you touched on in your article.

From how I'm reading Broomie's comments - she goes to the forums so it's most easy to get to the meat of discussions and true debates, not necessarily because she wants to feel special for being female, but because she can cut through the crap that often comes from other locations.

On a similar note - I wonder how many people on those forums truly ARE female? If the communities there truly do get to the meat and potatoes of discussions, are we sure that there aren't "manginas" hiding so they can have thorough debates without the nonsense?

'No disagreement really...' by Broomie
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:05:34 CST
Cuppy I'm not dissing your article, it had valid points. Its just that I always see this particular discussion coming from the angle that it is the female that is somehow bringing this about. The point is, some women are simply exploiting what already exists! People have simply to stop treating the genders differently and this whole issue would end today. I think what needs to be examined is why some male gamers treat the genders differently. But thats another blog/article that I am sure will take up many pages.

I am sure that some guys are hanging out in women forums and I can take a guess why. Maybe they are sick of the ever constant "e-peen" contests ("my guild/character/gear is better/bigger/bader than yours") that tend to go on. /shrug Maybe they enjoy the company of women and like talking to them. I cant really begin to explain but those are my thoughts. If they are contributing something positive I don't really care.

'..' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:11:35 CST
The problem is, is that no one is going to stop looking at genders differently. That's the bottom line, we can hope and wish and be as affirmative and nonsegregational as we want. This is all a matter of how people are viewed in a personal eye, and more specifically in a predominantly male world (gaming). We're not going to change anything by drawing attention to ourselves. We're better off fitting in.

Its sort of like feeding trolls. The more we highlight the negative treatment that some people feel they receive, the more negative treatment people will receive. But for every time I've been treated like crap in a game - I've been treated better than guys have. I take the good with the bad and recognize that there are people out there who will not see beyond gender differences and that is life.

'Change...' by Broomie
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:31:39 CST
I beleive in it. In fact I beleive in transformative change. I have seen peoples attitudes change and it didnt come about by trying to "fit in" with them. It came about by making a fuss even if that means packing up and leaving them to their own devices. What change ever has happened without a bit of noise? Comeon now. I have been in the financial industry for 15 years, about as male dominated as one can get. Beleive me I know that change can happen.

No one needs to subject themselves to nonsense, and if starting your own space where you wont be treated differently is part of your solution who are we to critizize this? We are gamers, and this is suppose to be about fun, remember? Whether it be ingame or on game related forums. It may be like feeding trolls to you, but to me its more about, claiming your own space and carving out your own niche if neccessary. Remember something...no one wants to be seperate, if anything, we want to fit in. But at what expense?

'..' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:37:54 CST
I can understand why a lot of women would feel that way. I'm just not one to want to form my own niche, I like to fit in and play with the 'big boys' so to speak. I don't play MMORPG's with a mixed culture of females/males so that I can join a female only guild or post on my female only forums. That's just creating a delusion of something that isn't reality.

But. That's just me, and like I said - I understand what you're saying. I just know that if I were male instead of female, I'd probably feel the same way about female gamers as a majority as I do now. I think the fact that girls continue to flaunt their gender in game and talk in that annoying flirtatious voice in Vent and all the other things they do - is completely contradictory to any sort of positive change you or others are wanting to instill.

As long as you have idiotic girls and women out there making fools out of themselves, you're going to have idiotic people who stereotype women as a whole. We're a judgmental culture.

'to lighten up...' by Broomie
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:46:56 CST
To each their own. My opinion is that female gamers get bashed enough, I'm not going to join in on it, The "big boys" are usually shy young men and alot of these "idiotic girls and women" are getting the phat lewtz from these guys whereas I don't get anything!!. So who's really really the fool?? Where do I sign up???lmao! but seriously...thanks for the good discussion!


'lol' by Cuppycake
Submitted on 2007-05-31 15:49:37 CST
Yea, I hear ya on that. I don't mind not getting anything extra though, I tend to like to work for what I get in games. After all, an MMO to me is about the journey up and the fun along the way. I'm not really results motivated.

By "big boys" of course I just meant with the 'general population'. We all know that a lot of male gamers are not big, nor are they boys =P Aye, thanks for the debate =P

'In my experience...' by Akely
Submitted on 2007-05-31 16:46:54 CST
I'm from a typical male job. The few women we have really do not want to be considered as females. They want (and deserve IMO) to be concidered professionals. Just "one of the guy... erm group" so to speak. I suspect the gaming schene is no different. All, well almost all, players wants to be considered a good, likable players. Regardless of sex, religion or nationality.

And it's just common sense to judge people for how they are instead of what they are. But maybee I'm just old.

'I have a few comments...' by Cameron
Submitted on 2007-05-31 19:03:12 CST
... at my blog. Be nice.


'First post herem but...' by Fraeon
Submitted on 2007-06-01 09:40:42 CST
I sort of find it funny how Broomie talks about not seeing genders different, yet she highlights male gamers as "young socially withdrawn males".

Am I the only one finding this very contradictory to what she's trying to say about equal treatment of genders?

'The fakes' by Leonai
Submitted on 2007-06-01 12:17:12 CST
lol Cuppy on the comment about the "flirtatious voice" - god I want to strangle those who do that. Talk normal, dangit!

'ummm.' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-06-01 20:29:48 CST
Wow lots of great conversation.
All I can add is: girls are pretty.


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