Friday, January 15, 2010

Why more women aren't gamers  

Saw this very cute and very interesting video over at Sociological Images, and I was enthralled throughout the whole thing. As a girl who grew up playing Sonic the Hedgehog and Mortal Kombat on Sega Genesis, begging my father to buy me a Gameboy to be able to play Super Mario Brothers on the go, and now obsessively trying to get the high score on Wii tennis, I can't help but be interested in why women seem to feel left out from the video game world. Daniel Floyd makes some really great points, calling the video game industry a "Boys' Club" and arguing that the sexualization of female video game characters might turn women (and certainly feminists) off from video games completely. I especially love what he says towards the end:

Perhaps the ideal solution would be to just stop drawing gender lines completely. It may be that when we stop thinking so much about "games for men" versus "games for women" and just make games for people, things will start to improve. Yes, certain kinds of products and imagery appeal to men while other kinds appeal to women, and there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to wonder if all this boundary drawing around women and games has just kept them out, rather than invited them in.

What next?

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9 comments: to “ Why more women aren't gamers

  • January 18, 2010 at 10:35 AM  

    This post on women not being gamers reminds me of the images comic books often have of women. Coming out soon is the movie "Kick A*s" which features a young female villain who main goal is to kick some major you know what...only problem the image has quite a lot of gender issues...check it out here "Taking Girl Power to a New Place" @

  • January 21, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

    i completely agree with the video, marketing specifically to women via pink controllers and more female video games may bring them in, but it still keeps them out from the majority of the gaming community, by boxing them in their own world.

  • January 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

    Even though girl’s ratio in game world is very low as compare to boys, this is because of gender discrimination in game industry. Thus, game developers need to take this issue seriously and has to take steps by promoting games for women to get them in game industry. I am completely agree with the idea that games should be make for public rather than just targeting specifically boys or girls.

  • January 23, 2010 at 5:43 PM  

    The gaming industry itself should get a pat on the back for trying to reinvent itself and invite more women to play. But I think the major problem, at least for me, is the very very scantily clad women on the covers. I, out of respect for myself can't get passed it to check out the rest of the game. I also believe making games "just for women" will make women feel they are not fulling invited into the "boys club" but they can have a tiny corner of it. But making games for everyone is a good thought. Also getting those poor women in the games some clothes!

  • January 25, 2010 at 1:04 PM  

    I've grown up around video games, as I've had a brother and solely male cousins, and part of the reason I think I never got into them is because they are most definitely addressed to men. It's disturbing to look at the girls in the video games the boys would play. Each character they picked would have less and less clothing on, and larger and larger... assets. It's sad that even the video game media constructs women as playthings. Maybe if the games were less demoralizing, they'd have more women players.

  • January 25, 2010 at 6:18 PM  

    In my opinion, there's absolutely nothing wrong that more women aren't gamers. It's similar to why more men aren't shoppers? However, it's a good thing for the company to make an effort to attract more women in gaming industry. That'll benefit both women (for entertainment) and themselves (for more customers = more profit). And as a young woman myself, I think the tiny clothings on the female character are a huge turn off.

  • January 26, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

    I agree with the change in marketing technique to attract more girls to play video games. Girls are being 'alienated' in the gaming world and they are not to be blamed. This has been the case since the initial stages of gaming industry. The society should be blamed for this. There exists pre-designated duties for men and women. Men are assigned the office work while girls are confined to the walls and duties of her family She was never exposed to the gaming world like boys. Now, if she shows interest, then the industry should definitely support their interest. This will lead to a whole new section of gammers in the industry who were previously in few numbers. The sales will go up and so will there should be a greater variety to choose from. Thus, this interest should be trapped by the industry, given a thought and welcome girl gamers.

  • January 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM  

    My brother loves video games, but i was not much into it because of how women are portrayed in the game and how it was so violent. women characters in the game would always wear clothings that barely cover their body and would be portrayed as only a sidekick at action games. In games like grandtheft auto, most women are portrayed as a prostitute. i mean it is a good marketing technique for gaming industries, but it is offensive to women all over. if they changed how women are portrayed, more and more women would play the game.

  • January 30, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

    I've played videogames since I was a little kid, from cutesy Mario to bloody zombie shooters. I actually enjoyed the Tomb Raider games, exploring levels and shooting at dinosaurs and what not, once you get past her "proportions", it was enjoyable. In a lot of titles though the sexuality is way over the top on the female characters. Take for example I think its FF X12. One of the main characters you play as looks like a mutated Playboy bunny. In the newer Mortal Kombat games, I'm pretty sure they made a mechanism to make the boobs have their own special physics, to the point it was distracting and immature. Mortal Kombat isn't alone though, it seems most fighting game titles are incredibly sexist. Just about every female character has ginormous breasts and a stripper wardrobe. Really, some size 0 chick with DDD breasts in stiletto heels is supposed to be a "fighter" against a werewolf? Okay dont have a penis no thanks.

    Maybe some of the game designers need to get laid, then they wouldn't need to draw so many skank lookin' babes.