Even if you’re not a gamer girl yourself, chances are you know at least a few girls gaming for fun. But why aren’t more girls gaming professionally? We got some answers–and a lot of them revolved around rampant sexism in the video game industry. Such a bummer!
If you use Twitter, you may have noticed a particular trending topic: “#1ReasonWhy.” This is where gamer girls, female gaming experts, designers, developers, and industry insiders revealed why there aren’t more of them. Most of them encountered a lot of sexist incidents and attitudes, and they all vented about it in 140 characters or less.
Some of the complaints about things like sexual harassment may sound common–heck, you may have experienced them in an online game yourself at point:
— Stephanie Harvey (@missharvey) November 27, 2012
Others were more serious experiences with harassment, which got physical (but do note that all harassment is serious):
There’s also a more subtle sexism often at play, and sometimes the culprits don’t even realize they’re being sexist. For example:
While on the surface, those two examples may not seem so mean, think of it this way: You wouldn’t go up to a Native American person and assume they live in a teepee or ask an Asian coworker if they were in the Red Dawn remake, would you? So why is it okay for guys to do that to gamer girls?
Perhaps the biggest bummer of all, at least in terms of how it affects the rest of us, was the pay gap.
Attitudes like this make it hard to get by in any industry, but it becomes especially tough in gaming, where the main demographic that companies try to sell to are guys. (Which is part of the problem!) As a result, it’s hard to even get anyone to listen to you, because you don’t have a penis–so what could you possibly know? Thankfully, gamer girls aren’t putting up with this crap. By sticking together and making others aware of the sexism in the industry, they’re helping to curb it. In fact, some of them love their work so much that the “#1reasonwhy” hashtag was soon joined by “#1reasontobe,” which featured messages from gamer girls who won’t give up on their dreams.
— Shanna Germain (@shanna_germain) November 27, 2012
The #1reasontobe where I am now is because my mother made sure I played computer games with my brother “It would be important one day”
— Nia Wearn (@Wormella) November 27, 2012
#1reasontobe because some of us (myself included) have never encountered these scenarios. Which hopefully means attitudes are changing.
— Nicole Zeckner (@nzeckner) November 27, 2012
Perhaps the best argument against sexism against women in gaming came from a man. (Imagine that!)
Someone explain to me why 50% of world population is a “niche” market, while 18-25 year old males (~5% population) are “core”? #1reasonwhy
— Ian Schreiber (@IanSchreiber) November 28, 2012
Here’s hoping that by raising awareness of the sexism in the industry, girls gaming can empower themselves against it–and hopefully stop it for good… Or at least have more heroines that are fully clothed.
Do you think there’s sexism against girls gaming? Have you ever dealt with sexist guys while gaming? How do you think gamer girls can combat sexism in the video game industry? Tell us in the comments!