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Editorial: Is The Girl Gamer A Myth? (UPDATED)

Update: Due to the massive response I've received from this piece, I now have no choice but to do a Part 2. The e-mails keep coming in, and I can no longer keep up with them, but please know that I do read them all even if I can't reply to every single one. I'll save the commentary for the new editorial, but let me just say this- it's good to see that most every reply is simply from a woman who enjoys gaming, and didn't misinterpret this article. Stay tuned, girls. We're not ignoring you. 🙂

Original Piece:

Okay, take your eyes of the pic and listen up: we have this sneaking suspicion that the "gamer girl" is a myth, created and maintained by the industry to reach the opposite sex; a missing demographic during the early days of gaming. Yes, the preceding statement is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, so please don't fill our inbox with messages of hate and mockery. We're just making a point by posing a legitimate question. If the gamer girls exist, where are they?

We know all about the Frag Dolls and we've visited sites like Hot Gamer Girls , but those ladies seem to be in the vast minority. Recent statistics estimate that anywhere between 35 and 45% (depending on which source you use) of the avid gaming public is female. If this is the case, shouldn't we be bumping into them at parties, clubs and bars? Or anywhere , for that matter? The numbers indicate there are literally millions of gamer chicks out there, but we at PSXE – yours truly, especially – has perused the social scene for more than a few years, and locating a woman who "avidly" plays games is an exercise in frustration. Trust me. Now, there is a theory that I'd like to present, and one that is both truthful and slightly embarrassing…for all gamers.

Let's face it- most of the mainstream public still associates gaming with "geekdom." And while the average age of a gamer in this country is over 30 years old now (Reuters/USA Today), we can't seem to shake this stigma no matter what we do. But we also have to admit there is some truth to every stereotype, and in all honesty, gamers were (and in many cases, still are) GEEKS. It's what the socially awkward, insecure, pale, bespectacled kid did for fun back in the day, primarily because it was an individual activity that didn't require friends or personal contact. These days, gaming has become more social than ever before, as offline and online multiplayer continues to revolutionize the industry. However, our roots lie firmly in the realm of the nerd, and unfortunately, this would have to count for female gamers as well. All this being said, in just the same way you might not find male gamers at the downtown hot spot, you might not find the female gamers, either.

But even so. Something's up. No matter where I go, I have a damn good chance of finding a gamer, but 95% of the time, it's a man. I have yet to find even one female gamer my age (high-20s), and when I'm faced with the continual stream of encouraging data ("look, girls love games!") I have to ask myself, "is it true?" How much of this data is completely and entirely accurate? How badly does the industry want to reach the female population? As big as gaming is, everyone knows that if they could successfully target the ladies, it would quickly become the biggest entertainment venue in the world. Furthermore, look at all the giant titles, current and future:

Obviously, I'm missing something here. How on God's green earth does that list appeal to females? Now, I really don't want to make rash assumptions or insult the girls in any way, but are you really interested in the above? It's a lot of shooting, racing, and fighting in general, and unless females are getting more aggressive these days – unbeknownst to me – I'm having difficulty understanding how the industry is catering to the girls with such a lineup. Granted, one could make an argument for Super Mario Galaxy and Ratchet and Clank Future , and I know chicks like the Frag Dolls would probably kick my ass in those shooters, but for the majority…it's not a list I would expect might appeal to the females out there. I don't wish to sound old-fashioned and I certainly don't want to imply girls can't play something like Assassin's Creed , but my question is: do they want to?

So, to all you gamer girls out there- if you exist, we wanna hear from you. If you've got an interesting story to tell, we'll read it, and if it's something that knocks me off my feet, I'll write up another editorial about how wrong I was. In the meantime, the concept of the "gamer girl" skirts very close to "myth" in my mind, and I will continue to look for glimpses of industry propaganda that might be inflating these numbers a bit… All I know is that when I walk into GameStop, I very rarely see a girl customer or employee. I can't make it any simpler than that. It's a conspiracy, I say!

Disclaimer: In no way is this meant to be offensive to anyone. You have to admit; at the very least, I have a point. I'm just putting it out there.

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15 years ago

Well, you make alot of good and interesting points. But here's my point of view. I grew up playing video games, on gameboy,nitendo, the pc, etc. True, i played sims and other girly games but shooting games appealed to me too, games that my brother usually played. First game that i ever played was "Oni" and the main character was a badass chick who kicked ass. It liked the storyline, the challenge, the weapons, and the moves. Since then, ive been playing games with alot of violence and fighting. Now thats pretty much all there is in the market that i buy. Plus, ive noticed that i wasnt so bad at games, ive beat my bro many times,and he was really good at gaming. Over the years it grew into a passion.Now im 16 years old, and i think I'm never going to be too old for gaming. Ive even gotten a ps3 and games like COD4 and GTA4.I dont know what it is but shooter games are fun
and im addicted!What upsets me though is the stereotypes,that ive heard constantly from male gamers when i play multiplayer-online.First one :"Your a girl gamer so you must be fat, ugly,a tomboy, and playing games all day in your basement". I laugh at this one because Ive done modeling, i exersize alot to keep in shape, do alot of sports, cheerleading, and i look NOTHING like a tomboy. I wish i could just kick that stereotype goodbye and prove others wrong.AND Ive met some other girls that are JUST like ME. But i guess it makes the gamer feel better to know that the girl that "owned" him is not attractive. Should he be embarrassed? NO. HELLOOO? If you think about it, females and males are from the SAME SPECIES its not like your getting beat by an animal, cuz that would be something to be embarrassed about.
Secondly, "Your a girl, you probably suck at this game". Haha, well ive seen alot of girls beat guys on games like Cod4 and Gta4 including me. It isnt that hard. I have good focus and fast reflexes that help me alot.
I dont know about the other gamer girls, but i dont like the attention i get when i play games. Because a girl walks into the game the guys get all flirty. Its pretty stupid because i want to focus on the game not turn the room into some date game or something. But i dont blame them, its usually a sausage fest in there, so why not just mess with them and have some fun :D. Shit talkers and sexists will always be there, what can you do?
FAKE GAMER GIRLS: thats pathetic letting your girfriend talk on the mic while you play. As ive said, your not a true gamer girl if you play for attention only, not for the love of the game. Anyways,I bet there is alot of girl gamers out there but they just dont admit it or speak up,and they should. I use to play without a mic and under a name that sounded like a guys.But ive stopped because i shouldnt hide the fact that im a female and i play video games like cod4. Ill admit, im a geek, ive always been one and i think everyone is a on the inside.I'm hoping to become a graphic designer for video games because i love art and video games.=]ANYHOW,The point im trying to make is that there is alot of true good girl gamers out there, and in the next few years you'll be seeing more of them.
Their out there and they kick ass so watch out.

15 years ago

i know this article is a little bit old but i couldn't just read it and not respond. First i have to say YES iam interested in those games.i have 14 of those games and not to Brag but i am very good at them.Ive played video games since i was small ,yes i might have started off playing some pretty lame games but quickly i moved to the more"hardcore"games once the ps2 came out.i remember playing mgs2 sons of liberty for the first time .i fell in love with it=] not only was snake super hot but the game its self was an orgasm to the eyes .it lead to me loving the series it was so good that i even went back and bought mgs1 now i passed part 4 and currently kicking ass on mgo .but ill have to admit shooters at first weren't really appealing to me .ill see my brothers playing and didn't understand Till one day just for fun i picked up my controler and started to play and may i say its good to beat a man at what is suppose to be their first the reason i liked to play was just hearing all those men bitching about how a girl just kicked their ass but now i just play because i love it =]ill confess at first i really didn't tell anyone about it people would call me when i was in a game and i would tell them i am doing something else but no iam more open about it it started when some guys in my class were discussing what assault rifle is better in cod4 .i couldnt stand to hear someone say the g3 was the best so i turned around and started to tell them off about how lame that gun is and there nothing better than a AK with stopping power there mouth literally dropped they couldn't believe it they thought i was crazy they said they always thought girl gamers were big fat lesbian in there mid 30s but lets just say im turning 18 and iam not fat and i very much like boys;] i have to agree what the girl said before me girl gamers are out there and ready to kick some ass=]i know to most guys this whole gamer girl thing is so surreal but let me tell you now its real .if your still a non believer just add my ps name and i will show you a personal ownage by a girl.

14 years ago

Hey, I just read the article, and speaking for myself of course, I do play some of the games on your list. In Call of Duty 4, I'm in my 7th prestige, nearly my 8th. I'm pretty good, once I get back into my groove. I also play expert on Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I guess my family has always been into video games, although I didn't truly get into video games until I moved in with my current boyfriend 2 years ago. We had nothing to do in the house, having just moved in and all. Marvin had a ps2 and we had a computer. Needless to say, the ps2 finally got to me and I started playing. The game that awakened my gaming tigress was Guitar Hero 1, playing with the ps2 controller because we didn't have a guitar at the time. A year and a half later, upgraded, we have a PS3 and I play games like Call of Duty. I have made many a man weep online, as they didn't believe that I could beat them. lol Anyway, my PSN is XxKillerKittenxX. You do have a point though. I know there are gamer girls like myself out there, but many a time, I'm the only girl in a Call of Duty lobby and it also makes me wonder, where are they all at? Not that I particularly want to find all of them, as most have Gamer Girl Syndrome, having to constantly remind players of her gender, but it would be nice to know where some of those numbers are coming from.

14 years ago

Hey guys, so im a 20 year old female, n yaaai play "guy" games, so pleaser stop steroetyping, and i am not ugly or fat. lol infact a lot of people think im hottt. soo yaa, i play CODMW2, Halo, all the MOH's, Uhmm.. al the final fantasies, all the kingdom hearts, car games, uhmm Kill zones. n yaa all the guitar hereos.. uhm yaaaa pretty much any game that is thrown at me i will play lol.
so please stop stereotyping, but im doing a prject on school so maytbe u can help me out lol. can u email me at ca******@ho*****.com

i know u made this post in the year 2007 but maybee u will get this lol.

13 years ago

One of my lady friends is a huge final fantasy especially x & x-2. She also likes kingdom hearts and suikoden. I don't know what other games she has in her collection. She is the one who got me into suikoden.

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