As a young child, I remember always being the sibling that got pushed aside while my brothers played video games. Now a days however, you’ll find me behind a screen streaming video games three nights a week to the most welcoming audience I have ever had. As a woman in the gaming community, there is a stigma that “we have it easier” or that men “simp” after streamers solely because they are women. While in some cases I am sure that is true, for me personally that is not the case.
I picked up my controller again back in July of this year after getting bored in quarantine. In doing so I have been greeted by not only my friends with open arms, but I have met some of the most welcoming people from all over the world. In the past few months, I have experienced the toxicity that comes along with being a female gamer, but that comes with the territory. For example, when playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare if I join an online lobby there is almost always one person who feels the need to remark on the fact that I am a woman and how I must be horrible because of it. The fragility of some people’s egos was definitely an obstacle at first, but after so long I come to understand that ignoring them and just playing better is the easiest solution. The issue that I have found is that for men, it is as easy as playing games and talking and you are accepted but for women it is different. When I play, I cannot be too aggressive because it in unladylike. I cannot be too innocent, or I am childish and distracting. I cannot be to good or I am a threat to the other players. The social conditioning of men towards women within the community is evident and I would be lying if I said that this doesn’t get to me sometimes. However, in getting back into video games I have been able to join a community that stretches not only through the United States but to countries such as Tasmania, Scotland, and so many more places and they are the kindest people I have met. The people that make up this community not only play video games, but we also regularly talk to one another and create genuine connections. This fall we have a meet-up happening in order to celebrate some great things happening in quite a few different peoples lives.
The gaming community is not by any means a horrible place that women should stray from, but there is a disconnect in the lack of respect for women. This does not make me want to leave the community though, instead it makes me want to grow more in order to share that there is still a portion of people who just want to have fun and enjoy gaming together. I would recommend that anyone start gaming and if you find a bad apple out there just throw it away and keep on going.