I love video games and that’s possibly the understatement of a lifetime, however contrary to popular culture, so too do many women.
As most people can attest, whether it’s movies, reading a book or watching sports, the diversion from everyday life is almost always welcome and moreover, necessary. Similarly, the style of gaming doesn’t matter either; alone, cooperatively or competitively, there is always some level of entertainment value for varying tastes.
Bearing this in mind, I quite often find myself fascinated and impressed by women who play video games, especially those who do so solely for enjoyment.
In fact, when I did my research on the prevailing rise of the Gamer Girl- those ladies who are taking over the video gaming world, I found that women account for 45% of overall gamers in North America in 2018, meaning the ratio for women to men video game players is almost equal.
While boys’ competitive nature drives their gaming habits, where they play more shooter and role-playing games, research suggests that girls prefer games with a cooperative element and can be seen playing more casual games.
Therefore, the evidence suggests neither gender is better at video games; rather the differences lie within the preference of game or style of play. However, that does not mean there are not women who also enjoy first person shooters and role-playing games. Furthermore, there are several women involved in game-play- live- streaming across the globe, with some also turning their love of gaming into a source of income.
In Australia, for example, some female gamers earn up to six figures annually from playing games online.This includes sponsorship from their viewers, brand sponsorship and advertising revenue on live streaming media such as Twitch, in addition to recorded montages uploaded to YouTube, and donations from viewers which range from hundreds of dollars to thousands.
While the temptation to believe the old trope ‘guys are better at video games than women’ is strong, my reply to that is bollocks.
In my opinion, these facts dispel the myth of the female gamer as the casual player interested only in Facebook games such as Farmville and the ever-present Candy Crush. Instead, they prove that women are more than capable of competing against male players in stereotypically male-dominated games. Added to the stereotype of an already perceived lack of skill, disinterest in violent games, and those with a high emphasis on competition, gamer girls often find it difficult to be taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
Among the challenges these female players face is the backlash from male competitors and sometimes their viewers, which goes beyond abuse, thereby leading women to hesitate to identify themselves as gamers.
This kind of behaviour must not be tolerated. Instead, women who appreciate video games on a deeper level, and make the effort to forge an understanding and master their games of choice, need to be lauded.
Besides, any guy who is lucky enough to have a gamer girl in his life needs consider it a box on his list, ticked.