Following on from our earlier post about female gamers and careers in the gaming industry, we spoke to some of our very own here at Plusnet Towers. Emma Pickering and Elizabeth Tetley are both part of Plusnet's Technical Support Team, assisting with any broadband issues to ensure that Plusnet customers have the best broadband experience. Outside of work they are both passionate gamers and strongly believe that changes need to be made to games and the gaming industry.
“I believe that there’s a lot of sexism in games and women need to be represented better. The more women who get involved in the industry, the better women will be represented,” stated Elizabeth.Emma adds: “Women need embrace their love for gaming, instead of hiding it. It’s long overdue!”
Growing up with games
Both Emma and Elizabeth have been playing games since they were younger and like many, have grown up through the technological boom.
“I’ve been playing games for about 14 years,” explains Emma. “I remember owning a Sega Megadrive and PS1. Some of my favourite games were Sonic, Grand Theft Auto and Crash Bandicoot. Nowadays, I prefer Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry and Fallout“.
“I tend to play more multiplayer online role-player games (MMORPGs) than single-player games as I play on PC. Playing MMORPGs means that I can jump on and off games and there is much more to do in games. I also like teaming up with my friends.”
In contrast, Elizabeth admits that she prefers role-playing games:
“I prefer to play solo. I very rarely spend any time playing with other people unless it is Wii with the family, despite some of my earliest memories playing Mario Cart with friends. But now I love games like Tomb Raider and Grand Theft Auto and I’m also a big fan of Zelda.”
Experiences whilst playing
One key point addressed in the earlier post was that female gamers have not always been well-received, as highlighted by the #1reasonwhy campaign. Emma and Elizabeth weigh in with their own personal experiences to this point:
“On the whole, my experiences have been fairly negative”, admits Elizabeth. “The gaming world is saturated by men, and women have a bad reputation. Girl gamers seem to be looked down on no matter what they do.”
“There is a stigma attached to female gamers, which can be negative. But the stigma attached to female gamers is reduced on MMORPGs than on peer-to-peer games like Call of Duty. “I think it comes from a view from men that women are not suited to certain types of games, which rings true in many aspects of life, including sports.”
Agreeing, Elizabeth also admits that she has been a victim of sexist comments online:
“I don’t think women are portrayed well in video games and I don’t think die hard gamers treat women with the same respect they treat men. “I’ve received abuse when playing online for being a woman. I’ve been told to ‘get back in the kitchen’ and much worse.”
What more can be done?
Emma and Elizabeth both openly admit that they have never considered pursuing careers in the gaming industry for various reasons.
“Gaming is just a hobby for me. I have other things that take my main focus,” states Elizabeth. “But more women openly playing games and showing an interest to entice more females into the industry.” “I have never had the information available to make a success of what can be achieved. There needs to be much more on what is available,” Emma adds, agreeing with several of the points raised in Plusnet’s female gamer article. “I had many male friends through high school who have made careers in the gaming industry as well as software-related roles. The information on how to do this was not pitched out to the women of my school and I think this is where it needs to evolve.”
So what is the key message for gamers and the gaming industry?
Elizabeth is quick to highlight that games are available to play for both sexes and that female gamers themselves can play a significant part in altering the perceptions she has encountered.
“I love gaming. I think that the fact I’m a woman is redundant. Anyone can enjoy video games especially given they are gender-neutral. I believe there is a lot of sexism in games. But the more people playing games and the more women who get involved, the better women will be represented.”
“It is upsetting to be involved negative stigma in the gaming industry. We all need to work on promoting how gaming can benefit us, both mentally and emotionally.”
And both have final messages for any aspiring females out there wanting to pursue a career in the industry: Emma explains that
“women need to embrace their love for gaming, instead of hiding it, so over time women are portrayed in a better light”.
“I think it’s time for anyone to embrace the things they love and be proud of the things they love, no matter what that thing is!”
Are you a female gamer? Do you agree with Emma and Elizabeth in their views? Get involved in the debate by leaving a comment below, tweet us or if you own a blog, why don’t you write your views and post a link to it below?*The views above are representative of the individuals and do not reflect those of Plusnet.