By: Natasha Archary
It irks me when someone defines me by my gender.
“You play Call of Duty? But you’re a girl.”
“You know for a girl, you know a lot about Marvel.”
What is this supposed to mean exactly? I take it to mean that I don’t fit into the pre-defined gender box that most people tend to subscribe to. A pop culture geek by nature, I am capable of holding my own with members of the opposite sex but by no means does this take away from the fact I am a woman (not a girl).
So women aren’t “supposed” to enjoy sport, chasing an adrenaline rush, love comic books, superhero movies or games? Because that is what I take away when someone throws a gender classed line like the ones above my way. I understand that I may not be a “conventional” woman, (whatever that means to those stuck in the stone ages) but I was under the impression that a woman could be whoever she chooses to be. I mean it is 2018 right?
We have women entrepreneurs, women in sports, women aspiring to be President (some who are in other parts of the world), women in tech, women who are actors, fitness personalities and – shut the front door – women who are gamers. Some by profession. Is this so difficult to fathom even in a heavily feminist world?
I’m a huge Naughty Dog fan. The gaming development company who brought us the iconic Uncharted series and The Last of Us. I played the Uncharted series both on PS3 and when the collection was re-released on PS4, yes I replayed them all, including the first entry portable Uncharted: Golden Abyss on PSVita. I enjoy getting lost in the story, pretending I’m the protaganist and accomplishing the objective of each mission. There’s no better stress reliever than a first person shooter, which is why Call of Duty is one of the games I love.
Believe it or not, I’m not the only woman who does. South African gaming thought leader, Pippa Tshabalala, is one of the women in the gaming industry who inspires me. Like me, Tshabalala is tired of the gender stereotypes around women and gaming. A gaming reviewer, writer and speaker she is not immune to the challenges that women in male-dominated industries face.
The most annoying comment I’ve had thrown my way was by an obnoxious male specimen who said “Women know nothing about games!”
Really buddy? Do the thousands of female gaming developers know that? Because they’re out there changing the industry one female gaming expert at a time. Just take Sandra Da Cruz Martins for example, she works for mobile game developer King on Candy Crush Saga.
I wonder if she’s aware that she knows nothing. Granted, tech has long been a very male-dominated industry, we get it men like gadgets and games and all things that women are not “supposed” to. But women are revolutionising the gaming world, whether you want to accept that or refuse to.
In 2016, the International Gaming Developers Association conducted a survey that shows the number of women in the gaming industry has risen by 22%.
There’s still a long way to go before we have a complete shift in gaming culture but this is a big deal. It’s proof that you no longer have to be a hardcore gamer to be in the gaming industry. Not when there are so many facets to a game in this technologically advanced era. With artists, programmers, designers, developers required, women are making their way into the gaming realm one way or another.
So chew on that obnoxious male specimen.