The Experience of a Female Gamer

People ask me what it’s like to be a female competitive gamer. Sometimes the question feels silly because I’ve been gaming since I was a young girl, and I grew up loving games—I never thought to stop and think about how different the experience may be for me because I am a female.

I decided to do a little experiment and ask some of my fellow female gamers about their experiences with video games, and then I asked my male friends about their experiences. The responses I got surprised me because I never really thought of it that way.

Most of the female gamers reported experiencing online sexual harassment—verbally and/or digitally—whereas my male gamer friends could not recall an incident where they had been sexually harassed online. Does this mean that male gamers do not experience sexual harassment from other gamers? No, it just means that it is happening at an alarmingly high rate with female gamers.

Also, I discovered that female gamers seem to face much more aggression from male gamers when they reject their advances (Emily Matthews, 2012).

 

Here is a reply regarding this situation from a male gamer who has noticed the mistreatment of female gamers in the gaming community:

“Well I ain't a girl but i know a lot of female gamers do get picked on a lot because the gaming community is such male-dominated  it’s incredibly sexist.”

 

Also from a female gamer who has experienced the mishappens of gaming:

“Guys usually ask a lot o girl gamers for nudes”

“Has anyone asked that of you?”

“I’ve had guys sent me pics when i didn't even ask then they’ll think I’ll send them one back. When I didn't ask them, guys just do that so they get girls attention”

“Send me*”

 

Female gamers shouldn’t have to go through this sort of mistreatment to be able to play video games. When recalling situations regarding my playing experience, I always remember someone saying something sexual regarding my looks or the way my voice sounds. It’s extremely disheartening to think that I haven’t really thought about this critically before.  I normalized this for so long, thinking it was okay.

In addition, a lot of female gamers have resorted to showing skin when playing. It is as if showing their breasts and butts is the only way to be validated as a female gamer. This is partly due to the way male gamers treat girl gamers as if they are more of an object rather than an equal who enjoys playing video games. Girl gamers dress like this because they are objectified and therefore want to meet expectations, and it should not be okay because they aren’t lesser for dressing however they want to.

So, to answer the question, “how has your experience been as a female gamer,” I would say that it could be better. Things have been rough while gaming because I am not as soft-spoken as others expect me to be—I speak my mind, and many men don’t like that. In addition, I often get messages regarding my looks and body. Does it affect my gaming much? Not really, because I have a tough shell that isn’t easily broken, but many girls have quit gaming due to the amount of backlash they receive. It’s not fair. Everyone should be able to play in peace without being harassed.

 

Treat female gamers like everyone else that enjoys video games!