Why I Love Being A Female In Video Game Journalism
“Wait, so you actually play video games? Like a lot?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Whoa! Wouldn’t have guessed.”
I’ve always found the surprise on people’s faces when I say that I do video game journalism adorable. For one, it is quite adorable that a lot of people still have a misconception that the number of female gamers in the world is significantly lower than men, when in fact women play games just as much as men do these days, and own just as many consoles . Secondly, it’s adorable that it’s “shocking” that a female can be comfortable in games journalism, a trade which like several other journalistic fields has been run by men.
Most adorable however is the sparkle in their eyes, sometimes in admiration, other times in curiosity. Whenever I say to people that I've done games journalism for years now, I have yet to experience anything but a positive and intrigued response – people are excited, interested, and in some cases impressed. Replies have been everything from “That’s really cool!” to “Wow, how brave of you” – both valid, yet to me my gender has never been an issue. I’m not sure whether or not I should consider myself lucky because of that; the numerous stories of females being treated badly in the gaming industry have been plenty, and a lack of gender equality in the journalism industry in general is not a new concept.
But gamers love girls, just as girls love gaming, and the "girl gamer"- stereotype is slowly, but steadily disappearing. More importantly, gamers love girls who don’t use their gender to separate themselves from men. They love girls who love games but just happened to be girls, nothing more or less.
It’s not always a case of being a strong woman – you should be that regardless of the situation – but in this case, not separating yourself or pretending that your gender should make a difference makes a BIG difference. And gamers want to see more females represented in games journalism, a wish that's clearly expressed sometimes more so than in other journalistic fields.
I love the video game journalism industry for three reasons. One, video games are fun, and doesn’t take themselves too seriously for the most part (they are games after all).
Two, video game journalism is fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously for the most part either (again, games).
And three, being a woman doesn’t make any difference other than an element of surprise, regardless of whether or not that surprise should be gone by now (arguably, it should). As long as you’re truthful, knowledgeable and honest, being female journalist won’t make a difference. In plenty of other industries, it still does.
And while some professionals, regardless of industry, will always try to rely on their gender and/or appearance, it’s those who aim towards substance over superficiality that always end up winning in the long run – even if some of the, well, "less mature audiences" might be attracted more to something that’s pleasing to the eye. But for everybody else it’s all about substance, and substance doesn’t rely on gender or good looks, only on a brain that’s eager to learn, interpret and share.
The video game industry might just be the best industry for women right now because it celebrates diversity. It celebrates those of us who let go of stereotypes and instead of trying to stand out based on biological factors, focus on standing out based on their knowledge, passion and love for an industry that has evolved gender-wise more than arguably any other entertainment industry. Lara Croft even has pants now!
So if you’re a woman dreaming of a career in games, fear not – it’s no longer just a man’s world, even if it still might seem like it. I've known a fair few women who are fearful of the industry, which feels in many ways more male-dominated than others. No need to fear - it's more welcoming than many give it credit for. And even if you'll sometimes get tired of those who define you as a"woman in games journalism" rather than just a person, having more women enter the business will slowly, but steadily fix that over time.
Video games are all different, and come in different shapes and sizes, whether it be a massive online multiplayer with beautiful graphics or a short and sweet indie game that looks like it belongs in the 80s. Gamers however don’t only judge the pixels based on how good they look, but the story they tell. And that same mentality goes for the journalists that talk about them.