In recent years, more girls have been diving headfirst into the video game industry and into the world of casually playing video games. I'll admit it, it's a good way to spend my days off and I enjoy playing them. Now that summer is starting and I have more time off, I can easily sit down in front of a computer and get lost in gaming for hours on end. But the stigma that comes with being a "girl gamer" is one that has increased as more girls get involved with playing video games.
There are two parts to this, number one: playing video games casually and being called out or tested because you obviously don't know as much as your male counterparts and number two, working in the video game industry and people assuming you got your job because of who your dating or you were hired based on looks. This happens a lot in the streaming industry and on Twitch a lot but that is a whole other issue we can delve into later.
And yes, this happens in every industry, but we are going to be focusing on the video game industry because the focus is looking into "girl gamers" and how the stigma around them should be erased.
Now, I'm not an avid video game player. I don't spend all day every day playing games because I'm busy. Even though I would love to spend every day playing games, I'm not good enough to be a Twitch streamer, but on my days off I occasionally have that urge to play something. So I do. My boyfriend is a huge video game fan and spends all his free time playing every type of game which has started to rub off on me.
So last week I was playing League of Legends (a MOBA type game for those who are unaware, which is a multiplayer online battle arena) and a group of guys invited me to join their group because they liked how well I had played in the last game. They immediately started referring to me as a guy and using him pronouns in chat.
I'd like to point out that my League username is "xemixcatx" which might be one of the most girl-orientated usernames I can think of. Nonetheless, they continued calling me a dude for the rest of the night.
And that got me thinking, there isn't even a small possibility in these guys' minds that I'm a girl. I'm playing a girl character with an entirely female username and these guys still can't even fathom that I'm not a guy like them.
I don't have a problem with that – what I have a problem with is that if I did reveal myself to them as a girl, all my mistakes would be because I was a girl and I didn't know what I was doing instead of it being their mistake or someone on the enemy team. Or, they would start throwing a million questions at me in order to prove that I knew nothing about the game or that I shouldn't even be playing in the first place.
Earlier in the spring semester, my boyfriend, one of our close friends, and I all got really into playing Magic the Gathering. Once or twice a week we would drive down to the card shop in Waterford Lakes and play a few games either by ourselves or with other people that wanted to play. And about 50% of the time the guy that would join us and play a few games would end up trying to explain the game to me even though I had been playing for as long as my boyfriend and our other friend.
That in itself proves to me that some guys (not all guys because many guys are extremely welcoming to girl gamers that want to get involved in playing any type of game) do not understand that girls can be as dedicated and as interested in nerdy type games as themselves.
That leads into the second point: many people end up assuming that a girl got her job in the video game industry because of her looks or someone that she already knew that was in the industry before her.
Guess what? Most of the time, girls in the industry are hired based on their talent and abilities and the fact that they are also good looking has little to nothing to do with them getting hired. But it is hard for some guys to understand this because all they see is that they got beat out for a job by a girl and that emasculates them, so they have to take out their rage on the girl instead of realizing that sometimes you're not going to get the job.
There are a number of incredibly talented women in the video game industry that work tirelessly and endlessly to create the content for their readers and viewers. They travel multiple times in a week, spend six hours working on their latest review, and finish editing their videos just minutes before they're supposed to go live, all to keep their readers and viewers happy, and because they love what they're doing with their job.
At the end of the day, video games may seem too nerdy or weird for girls to like or even have a small interest in, but they exist. Women are branching out and taking over the video game industry because they're tired of competing with men who don't feel like women could ever have an interest in video games or working in such a competitive industry.