hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

And the gamers who play them: Girl Gamers

1:49 PM on 03.27.2008 // Tiff

For this month's musing I chose to digest the sub-culture of 'Girl Gamers' that has managed to quickly surface alongside the increased popularity of gaming in the mass media.

So to avoid any confusion, the term 'Girl Gamers' is intended to define the populace of female gamers who identify with said terminology and who particularly rely on the alienation of their gender as a means of gaining attention from the larger gamer demographic.

Pics or it didn't happen? Hit the jump to hear more of my take on what being a 'Girl Gamer' is all about.

[Original Photo by Miss Fawn

If one attempts to dig deep within the reserves of videogame history, it's unlikely that they'll uncover the instance of the very first woman who graced her femininity upon a console (well, aside from the Computer Space ad, that is). There are several reasons why this moment was never documented -- mostly because videogame history is predominantly about videogames (imagine that!), but partly because members of the opposite sex playing games isn't very noteworthy in the most fundamental scope of things. I play. You play. We all play, with or without va-jay-jays.

Facts are facts, however, and despite the occasional news announcement reminding the public that female gamers actually exist (apparently at 38% of gamers strong), we all know that videogames are predominantly enjoyed by a male demographic. That being said, there is also no denying the slender aura of novelty that immediately adheres itself to a woman who plays games, whether she craves the inherent attention or attempts to avoid it.

This dichotomy, while not unique, is of interest to the likes of marketing gurus who determinedly pervert this gender-dissonance to their advantage. Thus, what is eventually revealed in the history of gaming media is the attractive (and often scantily clad) female gaming idol embodied by such women as Morgan Webb, Olivia Munn, and Jessica Chobot. All beautiful and consistently visual, these women and others were the few mass-displayed female figures in the gaming industry to be ravenously consumed by gaming's very own male demographic.

Sex sells, and while the rest of the female gamers remained ambivalent to gender differentiation amidst their game playing, the few esteemed faces of the beautiful rooted themselves as the visual representatives of the 'Girl Gamer'. The collective reception and praise of these visual idols by a male-dominant industry garnered an image-heavy notion of the 'Girl Gamer', a notion which to this day has yet to be the equal case for male gamers.

Galleries of E3 booth babes, "hot...naked...and blue" Cortana cosplays, and any number of chicks with joysticks establish a visual narrative for gaming women that heightens gender alienation while simultaneously muffling the significance of the woman gamer's voice. There is no doubt that Ubisoft took advantage of this exact instance by baiting the accomplished, intelligent, and most importantly attractive producer Jade Raymond to the gaming audience to steer public attention to their game Assassin's Creed. In turn, the only surface-level 'heroes' or 'icons' of the female gaming community are the beautifully unattainable likes of Munn or Webb, regarded first and foremost in this industry for their looks.

And so the standard for the 'Girl Gamer' is set and an equation for success is discovered. Take an attractive woman and pair her alongside a gaming device of some sort. Congratulations! You've captured the attention of a massive chunk of the gaming demographic. What better avenue is there to market your gaming products? Hot girls are hot, gaming boys like gaming girls, and most importantly we're all having fun with our irresponsible gender stereotypes. Nothing wrong with fun, guys!

So what, then? Structured by the mass media as a marketing device and fed by a surge of online egoism (thanks to social media sites such as MySpace and the proliferation of digital cameras), the 'Girl Gamer' specimen has, in turn, infected the masses with false promises of niche-specific fame and glory. In the same way people fantasize about becoming a celebrity, these 'Girl Gamers' seek the attention of becoming the next 'it' girl of their respective gaming community through the prolific distribution of sexually charged images and continuously capitalizing on their sex -- both of which, consequently, have relatively little to do with gaming itself.

What's to follow but the Chobot wannabes slathering their tongues across portable consoles for the camera, or the suspiciously excessive amount of 'Girl Gamer' self-portraits involving various game-related paraphernalia (or lack thereof)? Whatever neutral connotations of women gamers existed in the past are overthrown with the photographic barrage of sexually charged images brought to us by the 'Girl Gamers'. They're beautiful, they know which side is their good side, and they're comfortable enough with their sexuality to let us know they're proud of it. If you've got it, flaunt it. Right?

The women who choose to use their body to visually manifest their 'gaming experience' (by way of game-themed suggestive photographs, for example) express themselves via the avenue of the mass marketed 'Girl Gamer', a goal that is altogether vapid and mediocre in its pursuit. If anything, these girls successfully stick out as a glaring instance of the disappointing commercialization of gaming in popular culture, their antics for attention comparatively as bad as a common reality TV show contestant.

Furthermore, it's one thing for females to collectively enjoy games together, but it's another for these 'Girl Gamers' to assert themselves as leading figures of the female gaming community when no one has asked them to do so (unless, of course, it's a sponsored gaming company looking for cash money). This ill-founded goal disrupts a gaming community in which gamers can agreeably interact with each other regardless of their sex by disturbing the space with sexually-oriented images that immediately derail neutrality and signify more differences than likenesses.


Gamers who prefer the absence of a gender-biased gaming community ultimately find these 'Girl Gamers' as unnecessary and obnoxious entities desperately seeking attention. For women gamers such as myself who admire the well-spoken gaming female (see Jane Pinckard, Tracey John, Leigh Alexander, and our own Colette Bennett) as opposed to the gaming beauty queens, these 'Girl Gamers' are downright irritating.

It's unlikely that the trendy alliteration of 'Girl Gamer' will fade away anytime soon or that the equivalent 'Guy Gamer' (see Mega64's Sexy64 for more information) will actually be realized. Unfortunately, a similar fate rings true with the 'Girl Gamer' herself as long as the industry continues to cater to its male demographic, and as long as there are women who fashion themselves alongside those same standards.

A more pressing urgency today is the shortage of intelligent women speakers and writers who strongly represent themselves with words as opposed to images. While women such as Jessica Chobot have made certain strides to leave their more exhibitionist pasts behind, as long as there is a constant appraisal of their attractive and more visually accessible adversaries, the battle between the pen and the larger picture continues to rage on.

Thus, the aspirations associated with the 'Girl Gamer' are damaging to both male gamers and female gamers. Gender distinguishment plays little to no part in one's ability to play or enjoy videogames, let alone define them as a gamer to begin with. And finally, let's all remember that "gamer" is an asexual term, a descriptor that belongs to everyone who plays games despite gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, and is absolutely lovely in its nascent ambiguity.

Photo Gallery: (2 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I really wish MGO had been implemented with free-roam gameplay PMC (clan) setup instead of the standard matchmaking. Imagine roaming bands of PMC's opposing each other on the battlefield. How sexy would that be?
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -