Non-Gaming Women a Problem for Women Gamers?

A woman in the Girl Gamers LiveJournal Community states that, in her experience, non-gaming women make it difficult for her to gain acceptance as a woman who plays videogames:

But today was apparently the first time any of my co-workers heard about my hobby. You’d have thought I said, “oh, yes, I roast babies and feed them to feral cats to pass the time” for the looks I got. Honestly! There are three women there — ages 28, 28, and 55 — and not a one of them met the news with anything less than utter contempt and confusion. I truly believe that my co-workers think less of me for having a Nintendo DS in my purse — apparently the French novel, graduate degree, and work I do every day aren’t enough to mean that I’m smart or worthy of their time anymore… ’cause I like video games.

And that is the problem I have being a girl gamer. Very few men — other than a handful of cretins back when I worked at GameStop — have a problem with it. It’s the women that drive me batty.

There is some nice discussion in the comments as well.

Why can people play games like football or basketball, take that sort of stuff seriously, even play those games for a living, and not be questioned. Yet, when you say that videogaming is one of your main hobbies, it’s like, “Oh noes! You’re wasting your life!”


  11 comments for “Non-Gaming Women a Problem for Women Gamers?

  1. 9 June 2006 at 06:42

    I would imagine it is worse for women gamers …. especially with the media equating video games with training your child to kill. Anyone who works in an office with a lot of soccer moms (raises hand) could probably expect similar reactions which would only get worse.

    Fortunately the people I work with closely know me well enough aside from gaming and it’s never been an issue. At most, a couple will poke fun. Several though, just ask what they should get their boyfriends to game with.

  2. 9 June 2006 at 08:08

    I mainly just have awkward conversations with people.

    “Do you play those… video games?”

    “…on occasion.”

    Which is invariably followed by anecdotes of how their kids play video games way too much, and why won’t they go outside and do their homework, those games are just way too violent, kids these days and… I’m not like that, am I?

    “Oh, no. Moderation. Very important.”

    Just makes me feel way too young to be working here.

    Belle probably has an easier time. She’s been swapping GBA carts with her boss’s daughters.

  3. 9 June 2006 at 09:42

    They’re just jealous, its an evolutionary thing. They can sense subconsciously that women (or men) who play are somehow cognitively enabled in a way they can just barely sense. Personally, I’m just glad the DS exists to get more females playing, its a growing segment, and I suspect with new forms of play coming to the forefront, it will hopefully become socially acceptable, even vogue, to play. To “game”, is another story, with implications of competetive banality and goal-orientation, I’m not sure if the “game” term needs to be re-worked in order for this mainstream transition to happen.

    Recent anecdote, I was sitting in a classroom waitin for the thing to start, when I decided to watch a bit of G4, which I don’t see much. It was Kristen Holt, who I suspect might be a poser who doesn’t play, talking about Jade Empire. “When most people think of RPGs they imagine spending half their time managing their inventory… and the other half stopping their dwarf fighter from wailing on orcs.” And it came out really stilted and awkward. Then a girl enters the classroom, the first person in, and says “oh, is that that video… Nintendo game channel?” It was a Microsoft/Bioware game, but I say “yeah.” “Oh uh, thats cool.” I felt obliged to change the channel, though more from the interviews with the Jade Empire leads talking about the tactics of their game (it was horribly balanced) than embarrasment.

    So you might think those women are close minded, and they are, sure, but the real problem is that this industry produces piles of high profile shit every year.

  4. 9 June 2006 at 12:18

    Fizgig over at Women Gamers covered some of this well last year. (

    I’ve been “out” as an adult male gamer for a while and find the reaction is mostly amusement, but a lot of curiosity. My students all think it’s great, of course, and I can see the next generation of girl gamers not having the issues that my generation did.

    My wife is still pretty much closeted – the idea that she would tell her workmates that she games regularly, has a Dungeon subscription and is clamoring for a live group to DM is ridiculous in her mind. (She has a VERY SERIOUS workplace.)

  5. 9 June 2006 at 18:45

    Yeah, I always tend to feel as though I’m a novelty–both to gamers and non-gamers.

  6. 9 June 2006 at 21:09

    A wife that DMs, you lucky bastard…

  7. 10 June 2006 at 08:32

    “A wife that DMs, you lucky bastard…”

    You have no idea.

    Always marry a nerd.

  8. 13 June 2006 at 19:05

    I vaguely understand where they’re coming from. People tell me they play team sports, and I say, “At gunpoint?” They look confused and say no, so I continue on with, “So wait, you’re saying you have an alcohol problem and your main hobbies including sexual assault and vomiting?” It’s a whole cultural thing, I guess… they may win my respect back by proving that the lessons of team sport are just as useful to everyday work in the public service as are the obvious advantages of carefully studying online games community management case studies.

  9. Franswiggidy
    20 June 2006 at 20:07

    you should have seen the look on my fellow classmates faces’ when I tried to use the example of the hacker who stole parts of Valves Source Code back before HL2 in my ethics class. Were talking a class of college kids, and they all looked at me like I was peaking latin.

  10. 6 July 2006 at 18:30

    Well of course they would look that way! If they aren’t interested in gaming, why would they be up to speed with companies like Valve? It would be like me speaking about Kreb’s Cycle to a bunch of non-plant people. It’s to be expected.

    It’s when they talk down about your interests is when it goes wrong.

  11. Mister Blue
    23 December 2006 at 06:17

    Personally I think that people see games as something more as an entertainment then a real time-spender. You play games but after that you stop and go back to your real life. People don’t understand that a person doesn’t have to be a total no-life to appreciate games. I have more then 60 games home and ve played them all. I work in a game store so I spend a lot of time around games and gamers. I find that games can help in the psyhological development of people and even in their mature development. I play a lot of Xbox 360 and “Gears of War”. A lot of people don’t understand how can I run around chainsawing people and how can i like that. I tell them that thy have to look pass the violence in the beauty of the game as the people who make games are artists like painters or sculptors. Personally I think that there should be more women that play computer games so the gap between women and men could grow smaller.

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