BBC Seemingly Surprised That Women Play Games

Jul 25, 2010

“This is what computer gamers are supposed to look like. A fourteen year old boy, totally absorbed in something noisy or violent or fast or preferably all three. But not all gamers are like Freddie Roach. Take his mother, Alyson. She’s a gamer too . . . though [the puzzle game she's depicted playing] is rather gentler than racing indie cars. Alyson Roach isn’t alone. It seems that almost half the people playing games in Britain are, in fact, women. It’s just that they don’t like the noisy, competitive games than appeal to men that get all the attention. In fact there are so many women gamers, they’re now big business [...] and social networking sites like Facebook have led to a new kind of game altogether – collaborative rather than competitive, even if some women seem embarrassed to admit that they use their computers to play games at all.”

It’s only two and half minutes long, but whilst seemingly well-meaning, it’s surprising how many cliches, stereotypes and sweeping assumptions the BBC have managed to cram into this short report. Women are embarrassed of playing games? We’re put off by the violent or ‘noisy’ games created for men? And are you sure that the stereotype is 14-year-old boys? It was my understanding that research has, for several years now, indicated that the average gamer is in their 30s.

Yes, social networking and the burgeoning ‘casual’ gamer market has exploded in recent years, and yes, it’s right that gamers can no longer categorised by narrow, gender-specified identifiers. That said, women are not the exclusive audience for casual, sociable games, either. This report appears intent to sweep us all into safe, easy boxes, struggling to accept that some of us (and in my experience of both male and female gamers, most of us) might buck their incredibly narrow and suffocating categories.

I could go on (it’s taking substantial willpower not to do so, quite frankly). However, this once I’ll keep bide an uncharacteristic reticence and simply suggest that you watch the entire report yourself and make up your own mind. I’d love to hear your own opinions about this piece.

[Source and picture credit: BBC News]

Share and Enjoy:

Leave a Reply