Girl Gamers – You Don’t See Us, but We’re There

The Significant Other came home from the Diablo 3 midnight launch absolutely pleased with himself. And it’s not because he got a copy of one of the most awaited game sequels of the decade. It’s more because he became the recipient of so much adoration from the nerds who waited in line with him. The reason for the adoration? First, he can legally drink alcohol. Second, and more importantly, he is dating a real-life girl gamer.

Apparently, the notion that girl gamers are a rare breed still exists. I can’t really blame these nerds for thinking that way. After all, the true girl gamer doesn’t announce her presence in the gaming community with heralds and trumpets. True girl gamers are like ninjas – you don’t see us, but we’re there.

Girl gamers - you don't see us, but we're there

The fact is nearly half of the gaming population is female.

According to the annual report the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released last year, as of 2011 42% of gamers are female. I know I’m working with year-old information here, but that number hardly signifies the absence of female gamers out there.

The ESA report even goes to say that the number of female gamers aged 18 and above is significantly larger than the number of male gamers aged 17 and younger – 37% and 17% respectively. And yet, teenage boys are still the main target of most game developers.

If you need proof that there are really girl gamers out there, you only need to go to sites like girlgamer.com and wow-ladies.livejournal.com. Those sites are active and crawling with female gamers.

So if nearly half of the gaming population is female, why do male gamers still believe that real women are the minority in the gaming community?

It’s mostly because real girl gamers are not attention whores.

As I’ve said earlier, real girl gamers don’t announce their presence to the world. We’re just there to play and have fun. We’re not eager to call attention to ourselves, and we don’t really care what others are doing with their game as long as they’re not messing with ours. In short, we are not attention whores.

The attention whores that call themselves girl gamers are, more often than not, not real girl gamers at all. They’re posers – either little girls who want to mess with their big brothers’ game accounts, or guys pretending they’re girls so they could get the “perks” girl gamers are supposed to receive from the gaming community.

In one of the roleplaying MUDs (multi-user dungeons) I used to play, we had an inside joke where if we see a female character with multiple lines of description dedicated to the size of their breasts, the narrowness of their waist, and how shiny their hair is, 99% of the time it’s a guy masquerading as a girl. I honestly have no idea why a guy would roleplay a female character, but I can only assume that it’s more fun being a girl.

Also, girl gamers play differently from guy gamers.

Even though we’re both gamers, the Significant Other and I don’t play together a lot. Mostly it’s because our gaming styles are way different. It’s frustrating for him that I move slowly and I take time to read quest descriptions. It’s frustrating for me that he’s already done with the kill before I could even prime my frost-fire bolt.

That’s really just it. The way we female players usually play is different from the way guys play. As this ReadWriteWeb.com post said, we “prefer games that emphasized narrative and character development over combat and preferred solo to group gameplay.”

Having a different gaming style doesn’t mean we’re incompetent. We can pull our own weight in dungeons and raids. We are competent enough to complete quests and craft gear on our own. (In fact, we can be really patient about quests and farming components for crafting gear.) We can be versatile and act as healers, DPS (damage-per-second) dealers, or even tanks and meat-shields. We can definitely power-level a character if we wanted to.

We’re not incompetent. We don’t need guy gamers offering unsolicited help or handing out freebies so we can move forward with quests and equipment-gathering more easily.

And we certainly don’t need guys yelling at us to move more quickly in raids or skirmishes. Nor do we need random guys flirting with us or asking us weird questions upon finding out we’re girls.

Girl gamers are definitely out there. You don’t see us, but we’re there. We’re just running under your radar, and we’re happy that way.

Are you a girl gamer? How do you deal with unwanted attention while playing your game?

Image: digitalbattle.com


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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  1. Lynn

    I could never understand why people are in awe of girl gamers, and why pictures of girls licking a PSP or holding controllers generate much appreciation.

    1. Anna Sibal-Gonzaga

      I agree! Those pictures are disgusting. But, eh, whatever gets those weird fanboys off, I suppose?

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