Are girls allowed to play video games too?

Do you agree with the stereotype that girls don

Video games are undeniably increasing in popularity in today’s society. This is widely attributed to the advances in technology that the world has seen over the past decade. Video games are most commonly seen in the media today as the root of violence in a lot of criminal cases; little is ever mentioned on other issues in video games such as the major amount of sexism that can be seen both in the games and of those who play the games.

Video games would be nothing if there were no one motivated to play them. Luckily, there are many individuals who are highly motivated. Video gaming is traditionally done by a guy and is seen as something masculine, albeit not necessarily masculine as a gender role more so as masculine in a social setting. What I mean by this is that the stereotype of being a “nerd” so to speak has much less machismo to it as opposed to that of a “jock”, but is still considered masculine because of the lack of females. Taking the notion of the title of “gamer” and filing it under “nerd” as a stereotype, the first image that pops into someones head is probably that of a guy wearing a headset and holding a controller. Some could modify this, saying that the person could have anger problems, be overweight due to lack of physical exercise or activity, or modify it some other way as society sees a gamer. However, on almost all accounts, one can be assured that a female will not be the first thing that is brought to mind.

Secondly, there are those who would even argue that video games are themselves sexist. In most video games, the protagonist that the player takes the role of is more often than not a male. There are enough examples of female protagonists in order to say that the majority is not as vast as one would think, but it is certain that the majority goes to males. Furthermore, however, is that women in video games often are stereotyped as weak. They are constantly taking on the archetype of the damsel in distress, such as is seen by Princess Peach in the vastly popular Super Mario series. This was a topic that got recently approached by a feminist and, to my surprise, was well funded by donations from supporters, making over 160,000 dollars. The entire project was completed by a feminist named Anita Sarkeesian and can be found at this link here. The video below is her announcing of the project, and was met with much criticism.

Surprising to me most is how strong the issue had become in that she was able to raise 160,000 dollars to fund the project, which is much more than necessary when asking what she was asking for. People must have felt like it was a pressing issue. It brings me to my conclusion, and almost in full circle to the question that is in the title of this blog. Are girls allowed to play video games as well? Or will gaming forever be something normal only to men?




About ryanbierschenk

Student at ODU.
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3 Responses to Are girls allowed to play video games too?

  1. This is a really important issue, so I’m glad someone is posting about this. My take on it is that in the past video games have been traditionally filled a male nerd market but that is rapidly changing. In our lifetimes the notion of the gamer as being stereotypically male is going to vanish because the gaming population is going to become more diverse in the future. The result is this siege mentality among the nerdy male gamers who feel like everyone is out to steal the thing that THEY discovered and is so cool. To their mind no one else has the right to claim that title of “gamer” without having earned it. So there’s this intense resentment towards towards the presence of women in multiplayer games, or even talking about the way women are portrayed in games.

  2. leylinesproject says:

    In my opinion, Anita Sarkeesian is at best a ill-informed if not well intentioned commenter but at worst she is a willfully biased opportunist. Her past work is available for viewing on youtube and many videos exist critiquing her failure to do any original research and in instances, failing to fully understand concepts. Sexism in video games is an issue but she isn’t that person to champion it. She didn’t deserve the hate she got but she didn’t hesitate to capitalize on it. By viewing the kickstarter chart, it can be seen that the lion’s share of her donations came after she publicized the trolls who obfuscated any legitimate criticisms. For what it’s worth, she failed to meet her date to publish and then asked her backers to do the research for her. In the end, I believe it was more about building herself as a brand rather than the subject itself.

  3. alexisib says:

    I enjoyed this article. Anita reminded me of a few of the stereotypes that females are placed under in video games. As a female gamer myself, I never took much offense to the roles themselves. I played for mere enjoyment of the game. However, the video link you left intrigued me enough to follow the link and continue viewing Anita’s other videos online.

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