You know what, I wasn’t going to write something for International Women’s Day today. I was over the trope that I should be the one to do it because I’m the woman. But today, I was brought into a meeting about gaming and apps for children, and I cannot believe the bullshit I just heard.
I’m working from home today because my three-year-old daughter is home sick. I have her set up beside me, living her best life playing video games while mom does her thing. I jump into this meeting hosted by two women, one a very popular television host, and it’s filled with what I can see is only women—that should have been my first red flag.
Heading into the briefing on International Women’s Day, what they were promoting seemed like a great idea. I love programs built for younger children. I love age-appropriate content. I love the safety behind gaming for children, absolutely! But one of the first things out of their mouths put me off, and I now, I’m here, sharing my thoughts with all of you.
For women pitching a gaming app for children on International Women’s Day, hearing “women aren’t typically gamers” put me off, to say the least. Especially since I was invited because of my profession as a woman in gaming and technology as Executive Editor here at CGMagazine. What they said there was bad enough, but they went on to belittle women as gamers, pointing out that we “have mobile phones too!”
At this point, on International Women’s Day, I’m irked. It feels like something I’d see in an outdated sitcom, and definitely not one written by women. The final nail in the coffin for me at this meeting was when I heard that “If you want to make a game for women, you need to make a game for families.”
Now, I hear where they are going with that. I can understand they are making a product for people with children, targeting families. What I can’t get behind is how incredibly closed-minded their approach is. To start off with eluding that women aren’t gamers, to being incredibly condescending with the mobile phone comment, to say then that not only do women need games for families, but that games for families are for women put me over the edge.
But being put into a box, never mind WOMEN being the ones putting us into that box, is infuriating. What about women without children or women who can’t have children? What about women who just want games for themselves? Or men who raise their children?
What archaic bullshit is this? Do you know who takes my daughter to the doctor and uses a screen to keep her calm? Her father. You know who spends evenings and weekends at home making sure my children are enriched? Their father. You know who loves video games—and no, not just the stereotypical “games for girls” like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley—well…also their father…but ME, shockingly, a woman who is a gamer.
“Women ARE gamers. About half of all gamers—imagine that.”
I’ve made my career out of gaming and had it completely dismissed by a group of women who claim to be professionals in my industry. Toxic men have been holding women back for years, claiming women aren’t “real gamers” attacking streamers online or journalists reporting in the games industry. We don’t need other women doing it too, especially on International Women’s Day. And we really don’t need it from women who want to bring our children into gaming as well. Are you going to tell my daughter that girls aren’t typically gamers?
Explain that to her while she watches me succeed in my career. Explain that to her while her brother gets to see every gaming commercial feature boys just like him. Explain that to her while you try to market YOUR game to her, but then remind her it’s only because she’s supposed to have children one day.
“In 2022, women accounted for 48 percent of gamers in the United States, up from 45 percent of U.S. gamers identifying as women during the previous year.” Women ARE gamers. About half of all gamers—imagine that. And we aren’t just accounting for one “type” of gamer either. We play Elden Ring and Fortnite and Valorant, and Call of Duty. We speak on panels as experts in our field.
This kind of thinking is on par with “nail polish isn’t for boys.” That just ISN’T a thing we tell people anymore. While talking about a game that is educational and safe for children, you’re simultaneously putting them in boxes and assigning them gender roles, something we have been fighting against for decades.
Women need games that are for families? Tell that to the fathers wanting to bond with their daughters over their favourite hobbies. We don’t say sports aren’t for girls and send them into the kitchen with mom anymore, we teach them to play hockey, to take part in mud runs, to do anything a man can do…and in my slightly nerdier world, we teach them to GAME.
“Every year, it seems International Women’s Day serves to remind the tech and game industry that women are powerhouses in their fields.”
Every year it seems International Women’s Day serves to remind the tech and game industry that women are powerhouses in their fields. It’s time people knew that on the daily. We rock our careers, and my career happens to be gaming. I’m a gamer.
To all the parents out there, even the ones that might not understand gaming, please don’t let these messages fall onto your children’s ears. To everyone in the gaming industry, do better.
Yes, us gals might like pink, but I want to wear the brightest pink skin while I tear down 99 other people in Battle Royale. Yes, I happen to play Minecraft, Kirby and Roblox with my kids, but that isn’t because I’m a woman. It’s because I’m a gamer.