Gaming is now an increasingly popular form of self-entertainment, especially with everyone stuck at home with the COVID-19 situation. People have purchased game consoles to play with specific games or even hunt for hidden gems to game on their PC for those who don’t have game consoles. Many influencers would also upload videos of their gameplay or stream themselves live playing games on various platforms. The gaming genre has gone so mainstream that everyone can enjoy games one way or another. However, people seem to have different expectations between how males and females play games, whether watching them play or playing with them. As a female gamer myself, I’d like to point out some of the different factors.
Game Genres “for Women” Doesn’t Exist
Often when I’m looking for games either online or in a store, there sometimes would be a subcategory that says, “For Girls.” In it, I would find games related to cooking, fashion, makeup, dating, and fitness. As a girl, I can tell them right then and there that I have no interest in any of those games. And it also doesn’t mean men don’t enjoy those games either.
With the fitness genre, for instance, there is the increasingly popular Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch. There are also increasing news of people losing weight and getting exercise benefits successfully through this game, both men and women.
Or people can mix fitness and music and play the most recent Just Dance 2020, available on the Wii, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia. A lot of men and women love to dance. It doesn’t even matter if they dance well or not. What’s a better game to share this joy of grooving?
If people prefer rhythm games, they can try out Beat Saber on the Oculus Quest, PlayStation 4, or Microsoft Windows. This game will require a VR system that is purchasable through HTC Vive, Valve Index, Oculus Rift, or WMR. Once you put on the headset, you will be transformed into a futuristic world whether you use your lightsabers to slash the beats flying your way. World records were set for all sorts of tunes by men and women, as proven on multiple gameplay videos posted online. Trust me, it’s a workout.
What about dating simulation games where the player gets to pick the character they want to date? There are indeed a lot of these games made for females (otome games), like the popular Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice, available on the Apple Store and Google Play.
There are also versions made with a male protagonist with female characters they can pick (galge games), like Making*Lovers, playable on PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Vita.
However, dating sims don’t have to be divided by the player being a male or a female protagonist. For instance, there are games with characters that identify with what they believe they are, like Monster Prom with monsters of different genders and even a robot. If anyone’s curious, it can be played on Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, or Macintosh operating systems.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is made by the YouTubers, the Game Grumps. In this dating sim, the player is either male or transgender father, as well as the character choices within the game. People can play it on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, or Macintosh operating systems.
And finally, there is Doki Doki Literature Club with a twist, where even if it looks like it’s a galge game, this game has a trigger warning. It is not for the faint of heart and is labeled under the genre: psychological horror. Whoever has the guts to check out the terror, feel free to find it in Steam and play it on Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, or Macintosh operating systems. Just because it looks like it’s supposedly for men, the gameplay is inclusive to all horror lovers.
Stereotyping Gamer Girls
The term “gamer girls” is notoriously used in the gaming community, and “gamer boys” or “gamer guys” doesn’t exist. Whenever they witness or hear a female playing a game that they don’t expect a female to play, various assumptions might pop in their heads. They might expect the female player to be unreasonably excited and super clingy in the game as if she’s somehow transported into this new world that she has no idea about. They also might expect the female player to be bad at the game or only play a supporting role, like the healer who doesn’t attack and helps carry the supplies should the game have such mechanics. Adding to that belief, they also might presume that the female player only plays a limited selection of games, not open to anything else because the female is more familiar with this one genre.
However, if that female has debunked all those beliefs mentioned and is incredibly skilled at the games, the only explanation these people have for this female is that she’s a tomboy. How would they know when they have no idea who the player even is? These assumptions cause a lot of male players to look down on female players, immediately backing out of the group and not seeing female players as equals. If they lost the game, the female player would also be to blame. And that is why I call myself a gamer instead of emphasizing my gender to distance myself from the stereotypes.
Sexism in Female Gaming Streamers
Then what about those that we can watch? Then people would know who they are and how they play by watching their streams and videos. Unfortunately, due to the need for views, many female streamers have adapted to take advantage of the platform algorithms, affecting how people view female streamers as well.
Most people now view female gaming streamers as promiscuous with how most of them dress, revealing a lot to attract views. Although some might just be dressing up that way because it’s their style, who knows? Plus, it is claimed that they play games to get attention and money because females that game used to be deemed rare and amusing. I, personally, don’t watch streamers in general. Yet, I do watch Youtubers and the fact that a female streamer who doesn’t wear revealing clothes had to record herself, pointing out that not all female gaming streamers are like that sparks my concern because that has reached to the point where it’s what people presume. Somehow, that makes the female streamers who just want to play games and share gameplay abnormal, and it shouldn’t be it.
Gaming is for Everyone
Everyone has their own way to play a game, their own strategies, their own styles, and their personal favorite game genres. Just because a group of people may do similar things, doesn’t mean everyone does that exact same thing, like for amateur female gamers and provocative female gaming streamers.
It sucks to be looked down upon whenever I play games just because I’m female. My gender doesn’t make me bad at every game I come across, and it also doesn’t make me some rare specimen in the gaming community. I’d like to be seen and treated as a fellow teammate whenever I’m in a team full of male players. I’d like to play games without being judged and have people telling me, “Playing Candy Crush on your phone doesn’t make you a gamer.” I play whatever I want, whenever I want, and every female gamer deserves to have fun playing games without prejudice.