Playing a video game is a fun pastime that everyone should participate.
However, some elements to a game highlight negative stereotypes about women.
There is also a misconception that gaming is traditionally a male thing.
When a woman is seen playing a digital game, reactions are punishing. Some are idealized and others are denigrated.
Whether a female gamer is praised or insulted, the fact that she is treated differently from other gamers is an offense and something that should not be tolerated.
Some Gender Stereotypes about Video Games
According to numerous studies, 49 percent of video game players are women.
And Nintendo’s internal data-tracking shows that around fifty percent of their gamers are female.
Hence, gender stereotyping about video games is something that should be condemned.
Facts about women and video games
• In America, more than 40 percent of all game players are women.
And the population of female gamers is increasing due to the growth of mobile video games.
• Traditionally, video game developers and gaming industries thought gaming was a male-dominated field.
But today, there are many female gamers just like men.
Also, there are female game developers, designers, and testers in various video game studios.
• In the 80s and 90s, some gaming companies such as Sega and Nintendo believed marketing digital games to girls and women would threaten their real market.
However, everything has changed and the companies are now targeting both male and female gamers.
Sony PlayStation is the gaming company that broke the tradition
• Today, female characters have a better connection in a sector that was viewed as a male-oriented field.
• Playing a video game with a female character has numerous benefits.
Male gamers are always willing to guide, help and teach female avatars and offer them valuable gifts.
• Some women do not dedicate full-time for video-games. They play at different points and mostly using mobile devices.
• Female gamers are likely to play for fun and not to advance to the next level as male gamers.
• Today, more than 50 percent of game developers, designers, and coders in game studios are women.
• Studies show that women are likely to under-rate their gaming hours while men are likely to over-rate.
• Most video game industries are focusing on attracting women and girls to the industry.
• Women gamers are crying out for more feminine insights, more balance of game genres, and better understanding from the gaming industries.
• Men think women who play digital games can turn hostile in the future.
Why is gender stereotyping in gaming common?
Based on research, one main reason for gender stereotyping in gaming can be attributed to lack of strong characters in games.
Some developers believe that video games with female superheroes cannot sell as much as games with male heroes.
However, it is also noted that more female characters in video games are distracted, weak and have vices.
This is like an indication that women have no space in gaming. Also, there are some claims that women cannot beat men in gaming.
Female gamers are viewed as incompetent gamers who are not genuine fans of video games.
Some people believe women who are gamers are only in the field to get attention.
And if a female gamer wins, she is often seen as someone who cheats to win.
Women in some games are viewed as objects
When a playable woman character appears in a game, she is excessively sexualized.
Some female characters are shown wearing immoral clothing and somehow engaging in seductive acts.
And in some games, female characters are used as a decoration setting.
There are also cases where women are only used as prostitutes.
For instance in Grand Theft Auto, there was a debate about creating male characters to see women as objects.
Are men better than women in gaming?
In a study to determine whether men are better gamers than women, researchers invited both men and women.
They wanted to compare how fast female and male gamers leveled in Massively Multiplayer Online Games.
These are games that are played online by thousands of gamers around the world.
They develop characters, join groups, make friends, compete and battle monsters together.
Based on the notion that men are better gamers than women, men should be able to advance to higher levels faster than women.
However, if they failed to progress faster, the study would help to prove that gaming is a field for both men and women.
Moving to the next gaming level
The research used unidentified server data for more than 10,000 men and women.
It was possible to know the player’s actual gender through the account registration.
In the game, when gamers finish their missions of killing monsters, they earn experience-points.
And when the points earned reach a threshold, a gamer moves to the next level.
So this means that the person who spends most of their time playing the game is likely to reach the highest level.
To be fair on the findings, players who had advanced to the highest and final level of the game were excluded.
This is because they could not advance to the next level. However, it was discovered that gender did not cause performance differences.
But it was clear that female gamers did not spend a lot of time playing the game.
And women who played preferred assisting characters such as healers and priests. But still, women advanced to the next level just like male players.
One difference that was noted on the finding was that men focused more on achievements in gaming such as gaining status, advancing up quickly and competing against each another.
On-the-other-hand, women are drawn to social interactions like helping other gamers and forming relationships.
The stereotype that female gamers are less significant is not true and can make women feel discouraged.
The gender stereotype exists in several situations.
For example, in video game development communities, women are seen as worse coders than men.
Also, studies show that digital games can be used as a gateway to technology, science, and mathematics fields.
But if the stereotypes about women are there, it prevents them from advancing to such fields.
The best way to eliminate the controversy is to start promoting a stereotype-free gaming experience for all female gamers.
Gaming studios can also help by training their developers to design video games that are welcoming to women gamers.