Hello! I’ve come here today to explain something that apparently still needs explaining: Women play video games.
I know, it’s a radical concept. (As plenty of you are doubtless aware, it is not a radical concept.) Yet here in the year 2017, it’s apparently still really easy to assume that despite the fact that A) video games are awesome and B) video games have been a huge part of mainstream popular culture for decades, women do not play video games. But they do.
I know that many of you reading this are on the same page. If so, cool. Keep doing what you’re doing. But you may be surprised how many people still think that women, as a general rule, do not play video games. Ask any woman you know—who, again, probably plays video games—and she will likely have a story about someone assuming that she, a woman, does not play video games. Despite the fact that she does.
Basically every woman I know who works in games or plays a lot of games regularly has people assume she doesn’t. A quick survey today of several of the women I work alongside at Kotaku confirmed that, yes, this is a frequent occurrence. In fact, for women at game conferences like E3, it often gets a lot worse than having someone assume you don’t play games. The basic truth of the matter still bears repeating, however, so I’m going to repeat it now: Women play video games.
The assumption I’m talking about is rarely made with the intention of hurting someone’s feelings. Like most assumptions, it doesn’t require much thought at all. But if you have ever assumed that maybe women don’t play video games, take this opportunity to remind yourself that in fact, they do.
If you are a man (or if you’re not!) out at a social gathering, talking with some friends about video games, and a woman comes up and joins the conversation, do yourself a favor: assume she plays video games. Don’t ask, “do you play video games?” Instead, ask, “what kind of games do you play?”
If she says, “Oh, I don’t really play games,” no big deal. Change the subject to TV, or music, or the weather. (Some people may argue that the weather is not an interesting subject of conversation; I say there’s a reason it’s a conversational default.) But if she does play video games, chances are she will have repeatedly dealt with people who assume that she doesn’t. Which is dumb, because women play video games. They just do.