The Difference Between 'Female Gamers' and 'Gamer Girls'

We treat them like a rare species, but really, women who game are not that uncommon. Recent polls have put the figure between 35 and 40 percent of women, a minority but not a scarcity. Negative Gamer's Chelsea — aka Nintendoll — spotted something elsewhere that set her teeth on edge, and she wants to set the record straight about the reasons women and girls game. Because in her view the experience risks getting cliquey and catty, like high school.

Female gamers separate into two groups, Chelsea says, that are pretty easy to understand. "Girl gamers" do it for the attention — "a feeling of security and control from her social circle" — while "female gamers" just want to have friends who share an interest in games. "Since these "gamer girls" get their self-esteem from the praise and adoration of men who play video games, they become dependent on video games as something far more than entertainment."

How does it get to that point?

Well, it's a problem that many people suffer from that is completely unrelated to gaming: low self-esteem. These girls want to be part of what they see as an exclusive boy's club. It is true that women are currently a minority in the gaming industry, which is why gaming men find girls who play video games more desirable. Girls who feel the need to be loved try to sneak their way into this "boy's club" using video games as a pretense to say that they're a "tomboy" or "just one of the guys." But the reality is that it is not really for the "equality" that they constantly complain is absent, but for the feeling of superiority over other girls coupled with the adoration of the male gaming community.

And that's where it gets catty.

"Gamer girls" hate on each other because they feel threatened by each other. Another female in this "boy's club" diffuses the overall attention that a girl will get. Therefore a "gamer girl" will rip into another female gamer to protect her status as the most important girl in this male-dominated social circle. This is not unique to the video game industry, I've seen it happen in other predominantly male territories such as tech schools and the local rock climbing gym I used to frequent.

How can dudes help? She doesn't say, and I don't want to get all womyn's-studies on you here. But I'd say that treating everyone who picks up a controller, male or female, like a gamer first is a good start.
Patronizing, condescending or leering behaviour would definitely discourages an interest in gaming as a fun activity, and if they continue it'll be for the other reasons Chelsea described — attention seeking, social superiority, etc.

I know I foment a lot of the "OMG hot girls who game" stuff, but when you look at them — Jo Garcia and Grace Kim are demonstrably serious about what they do, and the cosplayers are definitely informed about the games they like. To me, that's even hotter, and you see it when you game with them seriously.

Boys' Club to Girls' Clique [Negative Gamer]


Comments

    Realistically, I think all of us gamer females have a little "gamer girl" side to us. I certainly admit to it. Of course, I only go to a certain extent. I enjoy the compliments and attention, but of course I have to deal with the discrimination as well. And when you're being discriminated against, some compliments and support by the more accepting guys are wholeheartedly welcomed.

    I don't condone the gamer females who blatantly go out of their way to brag about their status, though. For example, I will make a username that points out my gender (such as "GamerLioness," my Gamertag), but I despise seeing signatures that say something along the lines of "yes, i am a girl and play games. get ovah it!!!111one11!" That being said, there is a certain line that should not be crossed, but we shouldn't be ashamed to proudly state that we can frag just as well as the guys if we have the credentials and the skill to prove it. Many of us do this *for* equality. I mean, we're far more accepted now than we were back then, right?

    I do agree that posting pictures and whatnot sets us a step backward, though. I avoid social networking sites in general, but I wouldn't post pictures just to brag. Like I said, I can't stand the gamer females who blatantly go out of their way, but a little showing off here and there is nothing to be worried about. After all, I'm sure it'd be the same situation for males if we females were the more common gamers and there were less guys.

    However, I am very serious about what I do. I am a game design student. I don't plan on using my "femaleness" to "get me in." I plan to do whatever I can to be an amazing designer. I am expecting the initial discrimination, but I want to prove to the guys that I am more than just a pretty face; I can make a damn good game, too.

    It's not always black and white like that.I suppose I fit in both categories. I genuinely enjoy gaming. And I hate to admit it, but the attention is an enjoyable side effect. I never intentionally point out that I'm a girl - actually, it's really annoying because people in online games hear my voice and assume I'm a prepubescent boy.

    I joined an FPS clan because I like to play games with other people, and I like to talk to people that share my interests. I soon found that I got extra attention and admiration since I'm the only active girl there. I hadn't thought of that when I joined.

    Another thing that I hate to admit is that I occasionally get jealous and territorial around other girls, but honestly, I think that's somewhat normal and I can easily get it under control.

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