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Girl gamers unmasked

2 min read

Fantasy girl gamer

Well, over the coming weeks Gavin and the Lazygamer gang have asked me to look at gaming culture – if there is such a thing – and explore the pastime from a more casual playing perspective. And where better to start in this regard than with the inevitable topic of girl gamers? Where are they? What are they playing? And if they are playing, why are they not here on this site ranting and raving about their gaming passion?

This may surprise you, but girl gamers are actually everywhere, and they’re surprisingly diverse in their tastes. Regardless of what the media and marketers insist, women aren’t solely interested in playing with digital doll houses, ponies, puppies and SingStar. Instantly pigeonholing women’s tastes like this is counterproductive – our favourite gaming flavours are just as varied as yours.

Not every guy likes First Person Shooters. Not every girl likes The Sims. Of course there are women out there – and I know a couple personally – who own every Sims expansion in existence, and have taken their Sims families easily past the 8 generations mark. At the same time though I know women who’ll load up Tomb Raider during their down time, women who were giddy over StarCraft II midnight launch events, and women who routinely crave a session of Need For Speed. And personally, the unexpected Sims Medieval is the first game in the mega-successful franchise that excites me. And I doubt I’m alone.

The point is that women aren’t just playing “girlie games.” The clichés are redundant because our preferences are pretty damn diverse – as is the choice of games available to satisfy our cravings.

Let’s also not forget that gaming has been a common source of entertainment in households since the early 1980s, with children and adults crowding around the Atari 2600 and the Commadore 64 (really showing my age here!). From then to now, that’s 30 years of exposure to gaming – which is a hefty chunk of time. So it’s no wonder that women currently in their 30s, and their younger “sisters” of course, would play games during their hobby hours. And I’m not even talking about the middle-aged FarmVille and Bejeweled addicts, who are technically gamer girls even if they’re not playing the high profile, graphically intense, new releases that hog most of the gaming press.

Younger generations of women are used to gaming; and I like to think that there’s no longer much of a “Boys Only!” stigma attached to the activity. Cosmopolitan magazine may not run a games feature, but Saltwater Girl certainly does, and it’s targeted at femmes in their teens and early 20s.

Of course, you may be asking why, if gaming is such a common pastime among women, you don’t see many ladies trawling gaming forums or commenting on gaming blogs? That I believe boils down to the difference between hardcore, leet gamers and their casual counterparts. That difference is complicated enough to warrant a full column’s explanation. And that is coming soon…

Last Updated: September 2, 2010


  1. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 12:35

    this explains why the ad blocks you guys have keeps populating with nutri-care(?) shampoo and now currently sims3… or maybe addynamo just thinks i’m a lady-person!

    anyway, females aren’t as vocal as males, because they lack the “fighting talk” appendage. so it doesn’t surprise me there doesn’t appear to be large contingent.


  2. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 12:41

    Uhm.. there are also guys who own all the Sims expacs, and no damnit, I’m heterosexual, you bleddy agents!! :blush:


  3. Gavin Mannion

    September 2, 2010 at 12:42

    ad dynamo? Are we still posting those?


  4. spl0it

    September 2, 2010 at 12:44

    Hardcore Girl Gamers are extremely rare. I think I have met 1 in my entire life, the other just fall into the “I like to play games” categories


  5. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 12:47

    My cousin is about 15 years old now, and she’s a huge FPS and fighting game fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t more girls who are into games. As for the wife, she’s definitely not a gamer (even though I’ve tried to get her onto Sims.. which freaking hell got me hooked instead – :getlost: ), but I’m guessing her (and my) generation has viewed games as an exclusively male hobby, and it’s hard to break entrenched views.

    I’m all for women getting interested into games, and even more so if they become developers.


  6. al360

    September 2, 2010 at 12:50

    dude i didn’t even read the article (sorry) but the pic is off the hook lol


  7. Uncle

    September 2, 2010 at 12:51

    There are more hardcore PC girl gamers than there are console girl gamers (from my experience anyways).

    Go on to World of Warcraft and you’ll find tons of hardcore girl gamers who trash the boys most of the time. However they almost always play healing classes.


  8. ewie

    September 2, 2010 at 12:53

    Do we count them the same way as Unicorns
    Or is it a Pig flying.


  9. Gavin Mannion

    September 2, 2010 at 12:53

    If you enjoyed the article and are interested in more things like this please use the buttons on the right to share it…

    It’s the best way for us to see what sort of feature columns your guys (and girls) would like


  10. FireFlyZA

    September 2, 2010 at 13:06

    If other girl gamers out there are anything like me, I prefer to read all the rubbish you guys go on about and often laugh at the ignorance of some of the guys who think they hardcore gamers but in fact no jack shit 🙂

    There is definately an increase in female console gamers recently and I think it is great. I just wish that the new female gamers would come to play games and enjoy games and not come to flirt with every guy in the lobby!!!


  11. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 13:20

    Or Orc warlocks and shamans…


  12. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 13:26

    There are game lobbies populated with girls flirting? How come I’m always in the one with some redneck American calling everyone “fags” or screaming at all the “noobs”? 🙁 It’s like being on chatroulette, but without the unpleasant imagery… :blink:


  13. Uncle

    September 2, 2010 at 13:27

    Hardcore female console gamers are on the rise for sure. But I think the older crowds stick more to PC gaming. MooDy for instance loves her PC gaming!


  14. Uncle

    September 2, 2010 at 13:27

    ERK! Crows = Crowds… where is the edit button. I am going to be lynched. :cwy:


  15. Uncle

    September 2, 2010 at 13:27

    Shamans heal! 😀


  16. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 13:29

    LOL! Yeah! “FROST SHOCK!”


  17. TT-25

    September 2, 2010 at 13:30

    I am a girl gamer and proud of it. I am on gaming sites every day and forums, I just dont have the want to post a comment and then get shot down by stupid arrogant “this is a mans world” kind of guys. So I read the news, get very excited about new games and share it with the people who dont have a problem with girl gamers.
    Its nice to see a girl gamer on this site now.

    YAY for Lazygamer YAY


  18. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 13:30

    And druids, although I think all those Night Elf female druids on WOW are actually guys… the real women play tauren.


  19. MrG

    September 2, 2010 at 13:31

    “Of course, you may be asking why, if gaming is such a common pastime among women, you don’t see many ladies trawling gaming forums or commenting on gaming blogs?”

    I’d guess it’s because this is an environment where an article about girl gamers *starts* with a T&A special.


  20. Gavin Mannion

    September 2, 2010 at 13:32

    lol I was thinking the exact same thing you were


  21. Gavin Mannion

    September 2, 2010 at 13:35

    fixed… the edit button will arrive one day… hopefully


  22. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 13:37

    It’s pretty funny when you try to reconcile the article’s content (Girls are gamers too! It’s not just a boy’s club!) with a picture of a woman playing games whose “clothed” status approaches “barely there”.

    Like, way to reinforce the stereotype of gamers exclusively being pasty-faced guys who wouldn’t know a real girl from a blade of grass, playing Xbox in the dark.

    No wonder women don’t want to be publicly associated more with this kind of shit.


  23. G

    September 2, 2010 at 13:39

    Personally I know 5 pretty hardcore gamers in real life. 2 on console and 3 on PC… But since ive started playing around in MMO’s Ive come to realise that there are just as many gals as guys…
    Some of them scarily hardcore :shocked:


  24. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 13:42

    Beat me to the punch, you did 😛


  25. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 13:47

    yeah that’s what i’m seeing under the review scores block


  26. eXp

    September 2, 2010 at 13:48

    Who plays games in the underwear and high heals? … you know, apart from Geoff.


  27. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 13:51

    I game in my underwear too. In fact, the second I get home, the pants drop and I hang around the house in my boxers. It’s more comfortable that way…

    I get your point though, but do you remember Uhuru in the old 1960s Star Trek series? Do you remember those really short miniskirts the starfleet women used to wear? Sexist right? They exploited those women right?

    Wrong! The reason they wore those miniskirts was because it was the opposite of how women were viewed during the 50s and 60s. It was actually an expression of feminism, rather then blatant female exploitation by men.

    It’s amazing how things have changed over the years. Show some flesh and immediately it’s against female suffrage and gender equality.


  28. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 13:59

    fair enough, but i’m pretty certain that if the writer decided to post an image of a pasty-faced heffer wrapped up in a yak jacket, the click count would be abysmal.


  29. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 13:59

    In any case Phil (may I call you Phil?), you’re reading into it too much, since the image is a play on the persistent stereotype that women are not really gamers but mere eye candy. Obviously, Noelle counters this impression with an engaging column that the opposite sex do in fact enjoy gaming, regardless of it still being filled with immature, testosterone-filled territorial primates.


  30. nicole

    September 2, 2010 at 14:06

    I feel ya! I don’t even bother commenting usually for the same reason. Not that all the guys are like that but there’s just that one, you know?


  31. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 14:07

    So it’s okay, because sex sells, right? Well hell, fuck professionalism, we’re getting ad revenue!


  32. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:10

    I really wish that you guys comment more though, as for the occasional sexist dumbass (there’s always one), I’m sure the lazygamer staff will put him in his place.


  33. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:11

    *would comment more* 🙁 desperately need an edit button.


  34. Grant Hinds

    September 2, 2010 at 14:14



  35. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 14:15

    I’ve got this friend Occam, and he’s got a razor you might be interested in =P

    Be as it may, it just seems hypocritical to me to use that image in conjunction with the article’s content, and I doubt there’s anything anyone can say that would change my mind on the matter.


  36. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:18

    @Philip What’s wrong with sex or the fact that it sells? The mere fact that it could potentially be used to exploit does not change the fact that it’s fine as an advertising product PROVIDED it involves CONSENTING adults. The above featured image is fine for what it is, and as I’ve already mentioned it’s effective imagery and in fact allows Noelle’s column to pack even more of a punch, and be even more relevant.


  37. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 14:19

    open any glossy mag and there’s enough flesh to satisfy the most ardent sexual deviants out there.
    i’m not saying it’s right or wrong, merely stating the obvious, or at least i thought it was obvious 😛


  38. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:26

    I’m well acquainted with Occam’s Razor my friend, but are you well versed in how not to commit a straw man fallacy (just a warning though, I teach philosophy of science to first and second year students so go easy tiger…).


  39. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 14:28

    @SJKoBK: Okay, my original comment might have been poorly worded. It was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, in all honesty.

    Read it then that I’m of the opinion that in this specific case it was selected in poor taste, and if it was only done to pull MOAR CLICKS = MOAR TRAFFIC = MOAR AD DOLLARZ (as easy was suggesting in his comment) then it sinks even lower in my eyes.

    You’re entitled to your opinion that it’s the pinnacle of pertinent imagery, just as I’m entitled to mine that it’s an extremely poor choice.

    I was merely voicing that opinion in my original top-level comment.


  40. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:31

    Would it change your mind if she actually chose that image herself?


  41. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 14:36

    @SJKoBK Probably not, yo.


  42. Bonk

    September 2, 2010 at 14:38

    Ok what does philosophy of science have to do with the female mind Sir James?


  43. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:40

    Same here! Gaming is better when your’re in your underwear.


  44. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 14:48

    Absolutely nothing, unless Occam’s Razor is unceremoniously invoked during a debate (probably in hopes to score pseudo-intellectual points), then the weapons of mass destruction need to be enabled, and I unleash the logical fallacies, and become even more elitist.

    It’s like hitting super saiyan level 4 … 😛


  45. Philip

    September 2, 2010 at 14:59

    I thought pseudo-intellectual elitism is what commenting on the Internet is all about!


  46. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 15:00

    Then, you’ve lost the deeper intent and meaning of contrasting the image and the opinion piece. Stereotypes of female gamers remain because they are left unchallenged, and the best way to challenge these views are actually through comparing contrasting persistent negative notions with positive ones.


  47. Bonk

    September 2, 2010 at 15:00

    Who in their right mind would want to teach philosophy of science twice nogal to 1st and 2nd year students.

    How many girl gamers watch Dragon Ball?


  48. Bonk

    September 2, 2010 at 15:00

    just don’t drink hot beverages while gaming in underwear.


  49. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 15:04

    @Bonk: Dude… I know, and it’s sadly wasted on those unwashed heathens.

    @Philip: So true 😛 The internet was made for pron and pseudo-intellectual elitist discussion on the web.


  50. TT-25

    September 2, 2010 at 15:19

    yeah, there is always one or five. I love games cause its an escape from reality, I love being able to go into an MP game with my friends and just blow Sh!t up. when it comes to SP games, I want a good story, great graphics and appreciate the game. I honestly dont care if men wanna sterotype us and think they better. I dont play games to try be better then them. So what i have the same hobby as a man does. Back in the day, it was always known as a Man’s world, and when I started gaming a lot more, you have to fit in or *#@% off. But there is always a level of respect that needs to be given whether you a man or a woman. sorry RANT over.


  51. Fox1

    September 2, 2010 at 15:22

    I see girls have a stereotype too about male gamers hence why they don’t or hardly comment here. The internetz(Lazygamer) is free for any gender to comment. So bring on those comments :cheerful:


  52. Fox1

    September 2, 2010 at 15:22

    I see girls have a stereotype too about male gamers hence why they don’t or hardly comment here. The internetz(Lazygamer) is free for any gender to comment. So bring on those comments :cheerful:


  53. Sir James, Knight of Bobby Kotick

    September 2, 2010 at 15:34

    I have to agree with you Fox1. :happy:


  54. Nick de Bruyne

    September 2, 2010 at 16:06

    I know for a fact that there are commenters on this site that are female, but people don’t know it and assume they are male


  55. MrsPode

    September 2, 2010 at 16:41

    I totally agree. There is always ‘that guy’ that is under the impression that girls know nothing about games, and should stick to playing solitaire. Some of us don’t know all the nitty gritty facts, but LOVE the games. I personally don’t concern myself with ‘gaming facts’, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m a gamer, and proud of it. There’s nothing else I want to do after work, and there are plenty other girls like me. I think most girls fly under the radar to avoid game lobby trolls. The comments that get thrown around are just insane sometimes!


  56. MrsPode

    September 2, 2010 at 16:44

    I mainly don’t leave comments, because I don’t have time during the day, so I just glance over some articles & leave. At night i’m too busy playing games to worry about comments. But that’s just me.


  57. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 17:02

    that sounds like a monumental cope out. i don’t normally have time to comment, just so happens i’m in a lull and need to kill time.
    but to say you don’t comment because of trolls is kinda silly… majority of netizens are trolls by default, myself included (i’m probably the worst ;)).

    besides, i don’t have the foggiest if you are actually a female or not, as i am not sure the gender of 99% of
    comment posters. so what difference does it actually make?


  58. Luna

    September 2, 2010 at 17:14

    Well, I admit I haven’t read all the comments because well, there’s a LOT of them already. ^_^

    Anyway, I’m a girl gamer and I have to say that the only part I didn’t like about the article is that starting with casual, to me, is not an indication you should look at girl gamers.

    For me, I never got into The Sims. I’ve tried it, but it didn’t hold my attention for long. Lately, I’ve been finally working towards my Elite license in Burnout Paradise (14 wins left!), doing Craw runs in Borderlands to try to find the next awesome pearlescent weapon, and I beat Limbo and Lara Croft:GoL. I don’t suppose I’m typical of the average girl gamer, but still, in public you’ll probably find me playing God of War or Lunar on my PSP instead of The Daring Game for Girls on my DS…

    I used to go to gaming forums, but I don’t any more. The games themselves are not part of the problem that gaming forums generally are. I used to run SegaWeb forums YEARS ago, back before testosterone fueled arguments permeated almost every aspect of a gaming community. Opinions are reasons to hate others there. Back in the SegaWeb days, it wasn’t as bad, but I was still hated by on guy only because I preferred Dreamcast over PS2, and that’s just stupid to me.

    So what does this mean to me in modern times? I don’t often play public games at all on either XBL or PSN, because I don’t want some whiny 12 year old boy screaming at me how he thinks I cheated in Gears 2 because I beat him. I don’t want to hear how another 12 year old is proud of all his hacked weapons in Borderlands. I can take down Craw on my own with all legit weapons. Do that, and I’ll think you’re cool.

    And Noelle, I don’t know if its been said, but it’s actually “Commodore”. ^_^ It was my first computer when I was little, and it’s near and dear to me. ^_^ It also dates me, too! lol


  59. Luna

    September 2, 2010 at 17:18

    Oh MrsPode, I understand! I still get my friends “protecting” me in games. Playing Alien Swarm on Steam, the guy I knew of the 4 wouldn’t leave me side, as if I was the only one needing healing (while the other two died…) Girls know how to play games, at least I do! ^_^


  60. Geoffrey Tim

    September 2, 2010 at 17:46

    Frankly, the Dreamcast is the better machine. 🙂


  61. easy

    September 2, 2010 at 18:40

    you need to comment more!! thoroughly enjoyed reading that


  62. Sir James vannie Kaap

    September 2, 2010 at 20:35

    I agree with easy, I look forward to reading more of your comments Luna.


  63. b

    September 2, 2010 at 20:46

    a lot of girls i know are really casual players, who will only play with other dudes but rarely by themselves. most play games like the Sims, or racing games and not much else.


  64. xino

    September 2, 2010 at 21:38

    ahhh..another useless title about girl gamers that we gamers have perceived:/


  65. Luna

    September 3, 2010 at 00:54

    Thanks! I have been posting a little more every now and then. ^_^ This place doesn’t seem to have the same level of stress that a normal gaming forum gives me. How are the forums?

    Oh, I lied. It was only my Burnout license. 109 wins to get my Elite, but it was 129 to get my Burnout. Darn, I guess I’ll have to play it more. ^_^


  66. Luna

    September 3, 2010 at 00:55

    Yeah, you know that, I know that, and I think even Sega knew that… which is where it gets puzzling…


  67. Uncle

    September 3, 2010 at 09:34

    @ Luna – The Xbox360 forum is a bit more accommodating IMO. We have a few female members but they don’t post nearly enough! Feel free to come see for yourself :angel:


  68. Spl0it

    September 3, 2010 at 18:40

    Dreamcast or GTFO!


  69. Kat

    September 3, 2010 at 23:30

    Another girl gamer here. I read this site and others everyday for news but just don’t ever feel the need to post. I play all the time with my friends or by myself. I love chainsawing locusts in half, ripping heads off of gods for revenge, ridding the world of nazi zombies with my ray gun, riding my horse and dragging a hog tied person behind me, shooting up an airport full of people, ridding my ship of freshly turned necromorphs, among many others.

    I even sell games for a living. I’ve worked at 2 different gaming places. I live and breathe video games. It’s what I do. Also a closet achievement whore, but that’s another story.


  70. Godess_of_Chaos

    October 7, 2010 at 16:15

  71. Veen

    October 19, 2010 at 18:02

    I knew it!!! when we’re not around they play games in their underwear.


  72. Silk

    June 1, 2014 at 22:37

    Used your pic here, let me know if you want it taking down. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/atwhor


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