Women, video games and sexism

The video game industry is often equated with a sexist and misogynistic environment. Many testimonies show what women playing video games with men face sexism daily. These attacks are most often of a sexual nature or imply that women’s role is not to play but to run a household.

But women are becoming less and less scared of talking about these remarks. Spawntaneous, a female Youtuber, created a series of videos gathering a lot of examples of what female gamers have to deal with while playing games, called “OMG A GIRL” :

To avoid having to face these comments while playing, female players tend to choose pseudonyms which don’t imply their gender, avoid talking on vocal servers, join all-female teams, or even abandon the idea of playing online.

But what is at the root of this discrimination in the gaming sector?

Basically, this stems from the social gender rules, which were little questioned at the time. These norms indicated that some activities were reserved for boys and others for girls. So, when video games began to be democratized at the end of the 20th century, companies chose a gendered marketing strategy, aimed at boys. Video games were not considered ladylike. This has also resulted in a gendered segmentation of video games. The industry then offered two different types of games, those considered “for boys” and the others “for girls“. Beauty and fashion were the most prominent themes for girls, while action games were more likely to target boys. As a result, the professionals of e-sport were at first mainly men. This became a sort of norm, a habit that made women less accepted in the field.

It is difficult to move towards a less sexist and misogynistic gaming environment,  where women can play peacefully in the presence of men.

Nowadays, this is still a utopian vision, so women will rather show interest in only-girls platforms and servers so that they can play in an environment that is safer for them.