I don’t think that there should be girl gamers. I know, I know, this sounds misogynistic or sexist or whatever other terms apply, but I truly believe that there shouldn’t be any girl gamers.
Trust me, I know this is a bold statement to make, and I probably already have some of you ready to tear me apart for saying it. But please, allow me to explain before writing me off completely. Before I begin, however, be aware that these are only my opinions and I don’t speak for anyone but myself. I’m simply a guy who loves video games.
In a survey from 2016 by International Game Developers Association, one of the questions they asked those that worked on development in the gaming industry was what their gender was. Only about 23 percent answered they were female.¹ Although the percent of females in the development aspects of video games are low when compared to men, this number is expected to rise in the coming years. In addition, female gamers have slowly been catching up to males, as the number of females that play video games is estimated to be around 45 percent, compared to 55 percent of males as of 2018, though that number is lower than the 48 percent of female gamers recorded in 2014.²
Furthermore, when it comes to streaming, females make less than 20 percent³ of streamers on Twitch, a video game streaming site, although that number has more than likely risen since then. Twitch is even helping new and upcoming female streamers through a grant offered by a charity organization to help grow the female platform.⁴
Now that I’ve given some figures proving that female developers and gamers/streamers are on the rise, you’re probably wondering why I have a backwards point of view when it comes to girl gamers. Well let me ask you this: When was the last time you Googled the term “girl gamers?” ⁵ And this doesn’t even begin to include all the gamergirl, girlgamer, and other hashtags out there.
If you take a quick look, it won’t be long before you see a picture of a girl that’s sexualized in some way, whether sitting in front of their webcam with a very low cut shirt, or in their underwear holding a controller. When we dig a bit deeper into the world that is video game streamers, you’ll quickly notice that not all, but quite a few of these so-called girl gamer that stream show skin,⁶ presumably in an effort to garner more views. Generally, these girl gamer that stream tend to rely more on their looks than their skills as gamers when it comes to their audience. As a result, most female gamers struggle to keep concurrent viewers, or in other words, viewers who are watching them continuously.
Obviously, there are some people who just don’t take female gamers seriously for the sole fact that they’re female. I mean, just look at what happened with gamergate.⁷ Personally, I think this is complete bullshit. Bullshit and unacceptable. A gamer shouldn’t be judged on who or what they are, but simply because of their skill, knowledge, or love of the game.
This is why I don’t believe there shouldn’t be such a thing as “gamer girls.” If you’re a person who loves video games, you’re a gamer. No need to prove yourself or put anything before or after the title. In my experience, those that do, generally have gaming as a secondary motivation to what they are really trying to accomplish.
Of course, this doesn’t include everyone out there. Some people resonate with the term. And I can’t talk down on them if they do. However, I still believe this term to be unnecessary.
Ultimately, there are other things that need to be addressed before this issue, such as the constant racism and sexual harassment that happen in most online games. But I do feel this is an important subject, as girls already have to struggle unnecessarily when playing a game they enjoy, and a small minority make it harder for them to accomplish this.