I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb on you right now: There are about as many female gamers as there are male. The exact numbers vary based on the study — 50.2% of PC gamers are female, according to Superdata Research says 50.2% of PC gamers are female, while the Internet Advertising Bureau puts the number at 52% — but generally speaking, video gaming isn’t a male-dominated hobby.
Of course, you wouldn’t know that by talking to a lot of people. I’ve been gaming for decades and have immersed myself in the gaming culture for about as long. Still, I hear all sorts of BS from guys who just can’t seem to wrap their brain around the idea of girls who like video games — gasp! — and some of the things they say are downright insulting.
- “You think you’re a gamer? Then what’s the answer to this random piece of obscure gaming trivia?” Yes, I know that Mario and Luigi’s last name is Mario, but I shouldn’t have to answer that to prove I’m a gamer. If I was a guy, you’d never think to ask me that.
- “You’re just trying to get guys.” Why in the world would I, or any girl, pretend to like video games just to get a guy? Sorry, but that’s unrealistic. And this goes along with guys thinking you’re pretending to be a gamer if you show up in revealing cosplay to a gaming convention. No guys, we do this because we like it. We don’t do it to please you.
- “Is this for your brother? Your dad?” I’m not kidding, I’ve purchased games at GameStop before and as the cashier rung me up, he’s asked me, “Is this for your brother?” Why do they automatically think I couldn’t possibly be buying this for myself?
- “Let me explain the very basic concepts of video games to you.” You say you’re a gamer, but if you actually start playing a game with a guy, he’ll tell you how to hold a controller or what “WASD” is. Dude, you should believe me when I say I game. Quit being condescending.
- “Wow, you’re the first girl I’ve met who plays video games.” Here’s the problem: When guys meet other dudes, they just assume they play video games. When they meet girls, they assume they don’t. Rather than assuming, actually ask all these people. You’ll find that the gender divide is about 50/50.
- “You’re probably gay, right?” Not only do video games have nothing to do with gender, they also have nothing to do with sexual orientation. Get educated.
- “There are no hardcore female gamers who are girly.” You even hear this from other gamer girls. Because gaming is seen as masculine for some mind-boggling reason, you’re seen as masculine if you’re a girl gamer. When people find out that I’m a beauty blogger, you can see the confusion on their faces.
- “There is no sexism in video games.” There’s sexism everywhere, and that includes video games. When a female warrior only wears a few straps to cover the nipples of her comically large breasts while the male warriors wear full suits of armor, you know things aren’t that equal. I’m not saying that all women in games should be clothed from head to toe, but some varied characters — including female main characters — would be nice. Many game companies are already making those strides, and it’s great.
- “You’re not a real gamer if you play Candy Crush.” The name of the game has changed. In the ’90s, the big casual game was The Sims. When a guy hears that you game, they automatically assume you just play casual games. And if you do, you don’t count as a “real” gamer. Don’t assume I just play casual games. And even if I did, I can call myself whatever I want.
- “You aren’t playing the games I play.” This is very important to know: There are no “girl games” or “guy games,” no matter how they’re advertised by uninformed agencies. Call of Duty, Halo, Fallout, Far Cry… I’ve played all those games that you think are guys-only, and I love them.
- “You just play games because of your boyfriend/brother/dad.” I couldn’t have possibly come across this love of games all by myself, right? I’ve mentioned my extensively large collection of consoles and video games, and had guys ask if they were my boyfriend’s. No, dude, they’re mine. And if you’re just using that as a way to see if I have a boyfriend, use a less offensive tactic.