Why Is Gaming Still Inherently Misogynistic?

While there have been – and continue to be – strides made towards equality between the sexes, there are a number of areas and fields which are still dominated by men. These traditionally male spaces seem to, unfortunately, be rife with misogyny. Gaming is still often seen as a more masculine hobby, with female gamers overlooked and dismissed if they aren’t on the receiving end of sexism and misogynistic abuse. The question is, in a hobby that has a huge demographic of female gamers, why is it still inherent with misogyny? Let’s take a look. 

A Lack Of Female Protagonists

For the most part, there are an overwhelming number of male protagonists within the gaming industry. Female protagonists remain underrepresented. Games which do feature female protagonists tend to offer them as an alternative, and they are rarely utilised in the marketing materials. There are precious few games that exclusively centre around a female protagonist. While the majority of games continue to centre around men, it simply reinforces the idea that women and their experiences are secondary.

A Lack Of Female Leadership

There are several big videogame publishers who can count themselves as among the largest in the world, and they are all helmed by men. Men continue to both outrank and outnumber women in development companies. With women underrepresented in the games themselves and the publishers, it can’t be any wonder that women still struggle to find acceptance within the gaming subculture. 

In addition to a lack of females in leadership roles within videogame publishers, there is also a distinct lack of a female presence in the development process too. In recent years, women developers have been on the rise, but they are still woefully lacking. This has the same issues as a lack of diversity in any workplace. This has meant that the developers tell their own stories centred around an experience that they are familiar with, and for the most part, this means video games surrounding white male protagonists. 

Gaming Communities Are Still Predominantly Male Spaces

While it is true that the internet is not necessarily the kindest place for women in general when it comes to harassment, gaming communities can be particularly unwelcoming and unfriendly. A lot of people feel that these spaces cater more towards men in general by being more welcoming to them. While they don’t necessarily do anything to deter women from joining, they also don’t necessarily have the safeguards in place to protect female members. Not all games or gaming communities are divisive. It does largely depend on the game and the community too. For example, when it comes to gambling, the split between men and women is much more even. Sites like Jackpot work to make sure that they appeal to men and women equally. 

In Summary

Women and girls do face a lot of sexism and misogyny within the gaming industry, as both workers and players. The first step to resolving this disparity is to acknowledge that it exists; a lot of people – men mostly – would be unwilling to acknowledge the extent of the problem. Just because this inequity exists doesn’t mean that you should allow it to put you off of playing, either. There are a lot of movements and groups which are working to make things fairer and prioritise a positive experience for female gamers.