In the United States, women and men play video games almost equally, but the former do not regard themselves as gamers. This is an old debate that many studies have tried to unravel. Pew Research Center revealed that 50 percent of men play video games against 48 percent for women.
To achieve this result, the institute interviewed a representative sample of 2001 Americans over 18 years of age. The study considered video games as any game on a computer, television, game console or mobile device (tablet or smartphone).
Despite this near-gender equality, the Pew Research Center notes that 60 percent of Americans think that video games are mostly appreciated by men.
On the other hand, women are more reluctant to claim to be players than others. Only 6 percent of American women surveyed consider themselves gamers compared to 15 percent of men.
This gap widens in the age group between 18 and 29 years. Thirty-three percent of young male Americans consider themselves players against 9 percent of young women – a gap that can be explained by different practices between players.
While the Pew study does not go into detail, other research has shown that more women are playing games on smartphones, Facebook or on Internet portals.
These types of games are not recognized as mainstream by the community of players because they are often too simple and not very popular. Therefore, it is difficult for the practitioners of these titles to identify themselves as gamers, terminology still very often reserved for fans of games on consoles and PCs.
The stats are a bit different if you look overseas, fore instance some studies have shown that young Asian women are far more likely to describe themselves as gamers, especially those women that are actively using Asian dating sites and other social apps like Facebook.
Misconceptions About Girls and Video Games
This does not mean, however, that female gamers are non-existent. The players on consoles and PC are numerous. A British study published in 2014 shows that half of the women playing video games do so on a console.
However, they remain in the minority. Gamers are also often less inclined to reveal their passion. Video games are still widely accepted as a hobby for men.
Fifty-seven percent of female gamers interviewed by Pew agree with this point of view. It is, therefore, more complicated for the players to claim themselves as such, and this difficulty increases with age.
There have been significant debates in recent years about the societal impact of video games on gamers. The gaming industry has recently received a lot of media attention.
The controversy of Gamergate, an online anti-feminist and reactionary movement cast a bad light on the problems of girls and video games.
The Pew Research Center tried to verify this bad reputation. According to the institute, 40 percent of American adults are not really sure that games carry degrading representations of women.
Nearly 14 percent believe that this is true for most games.
In addition to these problems of sexism, gamers still seem to suffer from many prejudices. Nearly 40 percent of people surveyed by the Pew Research Center believe there is a link between a violent video game and aggressive behavior.
They are also divided on the positive effects sometimes associated with video games. Nearly 47 percent of Americans believe that video games always develop or most of the time team spirit and communication, the rest responding in the negative.
Insults and Disregard for the Players
It’s no secret that being a woman is not always a good thing in the video game world. Playing “like a girl” as in many areas has never been a compliment.
While they remain a hobby and a way to relax, online role plays are the place where women receive the most disdain. Insults, sexual harassment, contempt are the daily lot of many people playing with a female character.
Some feel obliged to change their habits to play in peace. Other players face the mistrust of gamers when their level exceeds the average as if it was not normal for a woman to play like a pro. For example, one Korean has been accused of cheating because of her high score in the Overwatch shooter.
Despite the growing number of gamers, some men still think it is impossible for women to work in the gaming industry. If such sexism exists in this environment, it is because many believe that games were created for boys and not for everyone.
Against the backdrop of the cold war, game creators think young men want to put themselves in the shoes of a soldier with fighting and shooting games.
The developers create games for men with male main characters, full of muscle and courage, who, if they do not save the entire planet, go to the rescue of a damsel in distress.
In other words, women are not the target. Also noteworthy is a revealing detail: the name of Game Boy, which does not only offer war games.
It will take a few years before female characters gain prominence. Games for girls are also being released, especially on portable consoles. Many of them are sweet, cute and have pink superficial themes.
Scientific Facts About Girls & Video Games
The atmosphere of ‘boys only’ in computer games is quickly fading. In spite of men making the biggest demographic, the number of female gamers is slowly rising. This has been attributed to the understanding of female tastes and the development of female friendly games.
Today, almost 40% of the computer games players are female. The Entertainment Software Association says that girls spend an average of 7.4 hours per week playing. As the development continues, the number of female players is deemed to rise.
Studies show that female players are repelled by computer games that involve strong and realistic violence. Since time immemorial, girls have been known to look down on violence. Consequently, with most computer games being graphic intensive, the number of female players is low.
Another revelation showed that girls disfavored computer games that featured female characters that fit into the male-dominated stereotypes. This includes female characters with exaggerated body features or sexually provocative dressing.
It is human nature to be attracted to the opposite sex. At such instances, it is difficult for a girl to place herself in the scene.
Girls Are Social Creatures
Girls are social, therefore, the perfect games for them are those with social interaction. Girls are able to interact better with virtual characters that are social in nature. Statistically speaking, the social aspects of most computer games are what are luring more girls into the fold.
The feature enabling players to interact with other online members has also contributed to the rise in the number of female players. It is evident that girls love playing online based games such as those on social networks than the standalone games.
The new generation software and family friendliness of computer games have further added to the increase in the number of female players. Furthermore, there is not much of a stigma attached to the female gamers today.
The virtual reality today is that there are as many female gamers as there are men. 23.2% of girls spend time playing online computer games as opposed to the 22.3% of men. This is so because of the social aspect of the platform.
Studies further reveals that a majority of female players would rather keep playing rather than have sex.
Surveys have shown that girls spend more time playing computer games for stress relief. Men, on the other hand, play for the competition element. Women are also more attracted to games that test their brain power.
When it comes to girls and computer games, researchers hypothesize that girls will be more comfortable playing games with no violence or a female character with exaggerated physical features. Girls favor games that allow for rich social interactions.
However, in spite of technology helping us keep in touch with the world, it can break relationships. Girls are more prone to computer games addiction. It is hence important to reduce game play and set time to be with your partners and handle other chores.