Sunday, April 17, 2005

"But Where Are All The Girls?"

There has, for the last week, apparently been an interesting discussion on "girl gamers" over at GameSpot. At least at first glance, the discussion seems to have quite a lot in common with the "Where are the women bloggers?". It seems that most of the (female) commenters identify and want to be identified simply as "gamers", a view that I directly identify with.

I disagree with the entire aspect of making "games for girls." That phrase just irritates me, being a girl gamer myself. For the most part, if you ask girls if they played video games when they were younger, a lot of them will say that they did. The thing is, they didn't continue. It's not really because of the violence, because there are plenty of non-violent video games. There's more about the social perception of gaming that keeps girls from sticking with
gaming. Only those who tend not to care what others think (which is a very small percentage of girls) will keep doing it.

What's the difference between me and the girls who don't play games? I have never allowed society to tell me what is "girl stuff" and what is "boy stuff." That's it. It's never been that games alienate women, it's that society tells us we're not supposed to like that sort of thing, just like we're not supposed to read comic books or actually RIDE motorcycles (just sit on them and look sexy, you know). Games don't need to change, people do. Women need to be willing to give games a try despite what men say, and men need to stop patronising us, staring at us, or asking if we're looking for our boyfriends every time we step into an EB Games. [roseargent]

I kind of recall that much of the "games for girls" discussion I've seen in various places seem to be initiated round the view that girls/women/females are some kind of "other" that will not enjoy the games that are played by "normal" gamers (who are all boys). And this view permeates much of other "where are all the girls" discussions as well. For instance, the "why do girls not like math" discussion that either goes into biologist extremes trying to make parallels behind hunting gazelles and solving integrals (with the as yet unproved assumption that all men did all the hunting and all women did all the cooking), or tries to find "faults" in the math textbooks, or states that maths and science is much too competitive for the girls, who just want everybody in the group to be nice to each other and socialize. Or the "where are all the women bloggers" discussion where the assumption that women do not like politics (and arguing about politics) seems to be central. And let's not get into the discussion about the differing views that women and men are presumed to have on sex, because then I might become to irritated to be able to write in full sentences.

And also, most of the comments that I've read so far point to the social pressure as a explanatory factor. Many persons (as far as I've noticed) hold the view that gaming is an irresponsible useless waste of time that kids and adolescents do and are assumed to grow up from. Team this with the pressure on girls to be grown up and responsible from their early teens at the latest, and there you have part of the explanation. Add the known fact that (grown-up) women generally have less free time per day than men of the same day (there are several statistical reports on this, for instance this report from 2003, see page 2-3) - at least one hour less - and there is another part of the explanation.

You know, I really wish that people would stop assuming that men and women are so different and want so different things out of their lives. It makes me so angry, I want to throw things. Preferably at the next person telling me how wonderfully peaceful and cooperative women are compared to men.


At 7:16 AM, Blogger alphabitch said...

Nice post!

I'm especially right with you on that last paragraph. I hate all that men are from mars women are from venus bullshit. And anyone who wants to argue with me about it you has to beat me armwrestling first.


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