I’m normal, I swear. I get up every morning, have something to eat, shower, go to work, come home. However, instead of planning a new outfit, painting my nails, or going shopping; I pop in a video game. Does that make me so different?
According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) “Forty percent of all players are women and women over 18 years of age are one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics. Today, adult women represent a greater portion of the game-playing population (33 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (20 percent).”
So why is it still such a shock to see a woman enjoying some good old fashioned interactive virtual fun? Why does the stereotype still exist? Is it because the games themselves sustain female stereotypes? Is it the social awkwardness of the typical male who chooses the video game as their media of choice? Or, is it the gaming industry that tries to paint this idyllic view of their manly models playing their games in ads?
Oh, I’ve heard it all before. “But chicks only play the cutesy and lame games.” “Girls only play for their men.” Not so, in fact, a significant number of women are out there playing MMOs, FPSs, and RTSs. And according to the ESA “the average female gamer plays games 7.4 hours per week.” So why is it that people still think that games are a male dominated arena?
It’s because the game development is still predominantly male. “Studies have shown that nearly 9 in 10 workers in the industry are men.” However, when girls are exposed to games early enough (like their male counterparts) they can see game development as a viable career option. The more we play and the more we get behind games, the more we can broaden the gamer image.
Games are everywhere now, from smart phones to Facebook. And with the Microsoft Kinect, the game world has expanded to include those who have always shied away from complicated button controllers. Sooner or later we will all become gamers as the media shifts from static entertainment to interactive. And the days of the all male gamer stereotype will fade away. And we’ll all be able to bask in the glow of our favorite electronic media!