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Girls in Gaming

Only a few years ago, it was very uncommon for girls to play video games. Girls would often be bullied if they played video games, but now, women are taking over the gaming industry.

Girls and women are breaking down barriers and changing the gaming industry. If we can keep encouraging girls and women to continue gaming, supporting their achievements, making sure they have safe places to go, and inspiring the next generation, video games can help to build a brighter future for women.


Today, there are many positive role models for women and girls alike, but gaming offers role models too. There are the likes of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Yennifer from Witcher, Jill Valentine from Resident Evil, Yuna from Final Fantasy X, Chun-Li from Street Fighter, and many many more. All these characters have strong personalities that can help to build confidence and strength in young women.


My positive experience


Gaming is fundamental in my life; without it, I would not be the person I am today. It taught me important lessons that I could apply to my life and its challenges. Mainly, it taught me that even though girls may be seen as the smaller or weaker player, that was no reason to doubt or underestimate them! This built my strong mindset and helped me build the confidence to take on any challenge.


My main role model growing up was a character named Xiao Qiao from a PlayStation game called Dynasty Warriors 5. Dynasty Warriors is based on the Three Kingdoms War which broke out in China and allows you to play several famous generals that were based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel. One general I always played was Xiao Qiao. She was known for being brave, and a bit hot-headed, but was a fierce fighter. My favourite part about her was that she was the one always going to protect her husband even when he told her to stay behind him. She taught me to be fierce, confident, and, to be independent. I hope that other girls and women can also learn these qualities from the games that they play.


Overall, gaming has introduced me to a lot of fierce women that I idolised and wanted to become. Even though when I was younger, I was bullied for gaming, I’m so glad that I was able to stay positive and do what I enjoy regardless of others' views. Gaming has shaped the person I am today and allowed me to meet my husband and some lifelong friends. I hope that other girls and women can have positive experiences in gaming to learn positive qualities that can help them through their lives.


My negative experience

I certainly do not want to put anyone off from gaming, but it is important to share experiences on what behaviour, unfortunately, does happen in the gaming community towards girls and women. While these are my experiences as a female gamer, this does not mean to say that males do not experience these behaviours also or that these cannot happen in the real world. I can only speak on my personal experiences and show the unfortunate realities of gaming as a girl at times.


Unfortunately, with the rise of possible ways to communicate in games online, have come a lot more opportunities to spread negative influence in communities.


In a game that I play, one person decided to target all the female gamers in the game. People thought it was funny at first, so they told him who all the female gamers were. Once he found out, he would constantly message the girls privately and publicly in chat. Most girls did not respond and in fact, the male community did speak up when this behaviour started to get out of hand which was lovely of them. However, the girls that did give him attention quickly regretted it. If a girl responded, he would message awful things to them and constantly harass them. I will not repeat these things because it is simply disgusting and should never be said to anyone. We grouped together and got his account banned, however, he just created a new account and continued to harass the woman the next day. In the end, his behaviour was so bad and consistent that one person took photos of his comments and sent this to his employer. He was then fired, and we have heard very little from this person again.  


Behaviour and harassment cannot be tolerated by anyone. It is important that everyone is aware that this behaviour can happen, and it is important that people are educated on what to do in these situations and seek support.

How you can help

As parents and caregivers, it is important to educate children on how to behave and react online. A lot of people think just because you’re not facing the person in real life it doesn’t matter. However, words can still hurt people, so it's important that we protect and mould children to build a safer future in gaming that is safe for women and others. Here are a few ways you can help as parents and caregivers:


1.Teach your kids about online safety and the potential risks associated with gaming. Make sure to keep communication positive and open so that kids will feel comfortable about approaching you if they have a problem. It is important that they are aware of responsible online behaviour, and how to identify and report any harassment or inappropriate conduct.

2. Stay involved and monitor your child's online interactions. This is especially so if they are playing online games with strangers. If possible, encourage them to play with friends or get involved yourself! Be aware of the online chat settings and ensure that the chat settings and the online features they are using are appropriate.

3. It is important to discuss with your child the potential challenges they may face while gaming, including gender-based discrimination or harassment. It is important that every child learns to be resilient, stand up for themselves, and seek support from trusted adults when they need it most. Be proactive in teaching them to question and be sceptical of strangers online, and understand the importance of boundaries.

Hopefully, this has provided some background on what it is like to be a gamer girl and the positives and negatives associated with it. With these helpful tips, let's build a better tomorrow for all gamers!

By Gee Gee                 

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