…Three words: No. Shit. Sherlock.
Seriously, why is this such a huge surprise to people? Actually, not just people, but male gamers in particular. And I’m not talking about all male gamers; I’m talking about that breed of male gamer – the type of male gamer who believes all women have a place, and if it’s not beneath him in bed, it’s in the kitchen making a sandwich. But in the gaming world?
That being said, to those of us who don’t live in our mother’s basement, fearful of any sort of advancement, especially if it’s women in gaming, this really is no surprise. This development comes from Jezebel.com and USA Today, with the newest statistics showing that a whopping 45% of gamers in the world today are women – and further stats closing the 5% gap, making for a very solid 50% of women gamers in the world.
Honestly, this is no huge surprise. In fact, this is a very welcomed statistic in the gaming world. After all, for a very long time, video games have been a very male-dominated sport where women once feared to tread – mainly because video games, like comics, just “weren’t for women,” and unfortunately, there used to be a running gag (“gag”) that any girl interested in video games was a closeted lesbian.
Think I’m exaggerating? Okay, fine, I’ll give you a prime example:
Once upon a time (psh, try four hours ago), I was/am a tomboy. Clearly, nothing has changed much in the past twenty-four years I’ve been on this planet, but I digress. When I was younger, I played with Barbies. And by “played,” I mean I played tug-of-war with my dogs, holding onto Barbie’s head and giggling gleefully as my dog ripped her head off. That was how I played with Barbies. I never truly had an interest in “girly” things, and was always interested in sports. I was the polar opposite of my sister, who was a Barbie-loving, B2K-loving (Hey, even I admit Omarion is a piece of foine), fashionista. All I cared about was who was gonna win on Thursday’s night Smackdown: The Rock (back when he was a real douchebag) or Triple-H (made me hit the ceiling when he married Stephanie McMahon in that absurd drive-through Vegas wedding while she was passed out!).
But things didn’t get any better come Friday nights, when my mum would load me and my sister into the car and drive us over to our aunt’s house, where my mum would unwind with a smoke and watch various shows with her best girlfriends while my sister played with our endless plethora of cousins.
Notice I only said my sister.
See, it wasn’t that I was anti-social by any means; I was just far more interested in beating Scar in The Lion King for the Sega Genesis, which I played more than my cousin (also a girl) did. And I never did get past the blasted Dawn Patrol in the Jungle Book. And one more secret of mine: for anyone who has ever played Pocahontas on the Genesis system, one of the cool things about the game is that you achieve powers from the various forest animals. Towards the end of the game, you get the ability to creep silently past the soldiers from the old Wolf. And no joke, when you’re jumping down the hill to meet him, his silhouette just POPS up and he starts following you. And then you hear this terrifying howl, which of course, is scary to any little kid playing the game.
Needless to say, my fear of that wolf kept me from completing the game, which, to this day, I bitterly regret, much like how I never beat The Lion King because I COULD NEVER MASTER THAT STUPID THROW YOU NEEDED TO THROW SCAR OFF THE CLIFF. ONE DAY, SCAR. ONE DAY, WOLF!
Ahem. Anyway. Unlike my cousins, I never “grew out” of video games, and the day my parents realized this was the same day I got my very own Sega Genesis (which was, more than not, hidden and dissembled when I brought home bad grades), that with the years turned into a PlayStation, a Sega Saturn, several versions of the GameBoy (which allowed me to join the ranks of the sixth-graders who would bet money on Pokémon battles – guess who never had to ask her parents for lunch money again?), and a PS2.
Now, my dad is more of a traditional sort – I guess he believed that my love of video games (and my multiple girl crushes on the scantily-clad women) was some sort of indicator of latent, sexually-repressed desires for women. It didn’t get any better when I wanted a pair of high-tops back in eighth-grade. Oh-ho-ho-ho, I remember that well. He asked me if I was a lesbian right there in the mall. My poor dad.
Anyway, like I’m saying, I know factually that I’m not the only girl who would get weird stares from her peers and family members when it came to our love of video games, and I, just as many brave girls and women, have lived through the disgusting prejudices of, “Girls don’t play video games” when previously (and unfortunately, still to this day) it was, “Girls don’t read comic books”.
Check out this Pepper-Ann comic that sums up how girls are still treated in comic book stores to this day:
OR this absolutely hysterical clip from Big Bang Theory when three lovely ladies make their way into a comic book store. Seriously, the first five seconds of that clip are comedy gold:
(Seriously, if you don’t laugh at that, you have no soul.)
Anyhoo. As I was saying, the whole “Fifty Percent of Gamers are Women” thing really doesn’t surprise anyone who doesn’t live in their mom’s basement and thinks all women are good for are tits and sandwiches – and, hey, I do enjoy a good pair of boobs myself and a nice sandwich.
(No, dad, I’m not a lesbian. Christ.)
What I’m saying is, that as far as time goes on and we as human beings become more and more progressive as a race, there will always be some kind of “gender roles” imposed upon us, and that certainly doesn’t stop at, “Girls belong in the kitchen,” “Men work on cars,” or the prejudice that either gender gets when the roles are reversed. What it boils down to is that over the last several generations, more and more women have come out and said, “Fuck your gender roles! I love comic books! I love action heroes! I love video games, and you’re just pissy I can kick your ass in them!” Just as more men have stopped letting the myth of their masculinity being challenged just because they can cook, or whip up a cake, or keep a cleaner house than I ever could.
I truly believe that while there will be close-minded idiots every single generation, the generations will continue to get better and better – because with every new generation, we are becoming more and more open-minded and lax (and by “lax”, I mean laughing at) regarding conservative “gender roles” that have been so heavily enforced in the previous generations.
But I think what bothers me more…is that to some people, 50% of women being gamers is actually shocking.
To those people: wake up, deal with this, and accept it. If you can’t, please, stay under your rock. We don’t want to catch your “old world views” anyway.