Opinions Editor & Senior Copy Editor
TW: This article discusses sexual assault and harassment.
Within the gamer community, you’ll find tiny pubescent boys that scream for more pizza rolls, gamer friend groups that meet daily, preteens that yell misogynistic comments for attention, and finally — gamer girls.
Two main stereotypes come to mind within this category: first, we have innocent pink — the gamer girl with an entire PC setup in matching baby pink or white. She sets her cat-ear headset down to get snacks for her group play in an hour. Stationed with strawberry pocky, Japanese gummies, and packaged taiyaki, she fills her see-through Hello Kitty glass with Calpico and waits in the Discord for her victims. Don’t be fooled by her high-pitched voice and seemingly naive enthusiasm; she can finesse anyone for anything.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the highly skilled gamer girl that puts insecure incels in their place through pure skill and video game expertise. As the obvious single player carry, her Discord audio is filled with “make me a sandwich” comments and other misogynistic slurs. Clearly, her play experience makes them feel inferior.
Both of these gamer girls are formidable opponents in their own ways, on and offline. But remember, they are only archetypes within the entire female gaming community that defy gendered stereotypes and represent feminist resistance. Let’s address the most disturbing characteristic of the gaming community: the overwhelming misogyny and hostile sexism.
“Despite the open discrimination against women, gamer girls prevail in their participation because they can. They place highly in ranks; they resist misogynistic comments; they continue to overwrite this traditional image of a gamer…”
There’s no real explanation as to why gaming Discords and lobbies are filled with sexist slurs. Since 2014, women have spoken out about the harassment and gender discrimination in the gaming community, mostly reporting death threats, objectification, and allegations of abuse. #GamerGate was an incredibly impactful realization for the public to recognize that women are being harassed in gaming communities, and they rarely get justice. Just this year, 70 people publicly reported allegations of gender discrimination and sexual assault within the gaming community. The New York Times, the Medium, and several other publications have reported women confronting sexual harassment, assault, cyberbullying, misconduct, etc. which have led to streamer suspensions, temporary consequences, or personal backlash from the gaming community.
To combat and avoid these traumatic experiences, many women have turned to playing as men, single player, or incognito in fear of becoming another target. To dodge complications, women silence themselves online for a better gaming experience. The Guardian reports different instances women found themselves playing anonymously, all of them silent in fear of meeting hostile men. Expert Caitlin McCane explains that online incidents are taken lightly and men easily dominate online spaces, which makes reporting harassment futile, causing women to band together for emotional support.
Despite the open discrimination against women, gamer girls prevail in their participation because they can. They place highly in ranks; they resist misogynistic comments; they continue to overwrite this traditional image of a gamer that men use to exclude women and become gatekeepers of gaming — as if it were something that belonged to them. Is it the social conditioning we were exposed to that labeled video games a male activity?
Either way, gamer girls will continue to do what they do best: manipulate boys to buy them skins, dominate 1v1’s with self-conscious preteens, and take up space in the online gaming community.