Entertainment

Women in Gaming

todayFebruary 25, 2022 100 1 3 5

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By Hannah Walls
Web Content Contributor

When I was growing up, my mom’s girlfriend was super into video games and introduced me to multiple platforms at a young age. I always looked forward to waking up early on weekends to play Kirby Air Ride and Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube or watching her play Battlefield with friends.

This infatuation with video games continued as I got older, and my favorite way to unwind is still booting up my PC and spending hours on end in a different world taking down intergalactic enemies or escaping to a small farming town.

The video game industry has grown to be extremely widespread and lucrative in recent years, and with its success, the growth of brand sponsorships, competitive e-sports and streamers has followed suit. 

I was lucky to grow up with two women in an environment where I was encouraged to explore gaming freely and play whatever I wanted. However, women made up 45% of all gamers in the United States as of 2021, yet the industry is still catered towards men, and many women who game even on a casual level are victims of harassment and belittlement. 

As someone who considers gaming to be one of my main hobbies, I have certainly experienced my share of toxic teammates and harassment for using in-game voice chat, not playing support characters, or not responding to attempted, “flirting,” in text chat. 

Women who work in the industry or play competitively face all of this and much more. 

Despite women making up nearly half of all gamers in the United States, even some of the biggest gaming companies refuse to make space for their female employees and audience. Recent lawsuits involving sexual harassment and discrimination at Riot Games and Blizzard Entertainment have made headlines, but these are not isolated incidents. 

Luckily, as the number of women in gaming continues to rise, organizations such as AnyKey and Women in Games have formed in an attempt to combat this rampant sexism. These organizations hold events to encourage a diverse gaming community and provide networking opportunities for female gamers and women in the industry. 

There has also been an influx of female streamers and competitive e-sports players recently. Pokimane and Valkyrae, 2 of the top-grossing female streamers, are just a few of my favorite examples of women who are creating spaces for themselves in video games. In 2021, Valkyrae was the fastest-growing streamer in the world. 

Change moves slow, and there is still much work to be done in the industry to catch up with the growing numbers of women who are involved in gaming. I’m hopeful that these organizations and high-profile lawsuits will bring about a new age where video games are truly for everyone, and that the future for young girls who are interested in games will be accepting and open. 

In honor of International Women’s Day approaching, here are some of my favorite female streamers and competitive players that I personally look up to:

Stephunnie

Stephanie, known by her screen name Stephunnie, is one of the funniest streamers I have come across. I love watching her content because she really emphasizes that video games are supposed to be fun. I’ve found myself getting caught up in not doing well in games because male teammates are getting aggressive, but Stephunnie’s content focuses more on just playing with friends and trying goofy new tactics or messing with toxic teammates rather than getting the most kills. 

Natalia “natty” Jackson

Natalia Jackson has been a professional e-sports player for several years, and recently transitioned from Counter Strike: Global Offense to Valorant, which is one of my favorite FPS games. She is part of the first all-female competitive Valorant team, VersionX. I love watching her play in particular, as she is the main duelist agent player for the team, which is the same type of agent I usually play. I really look up to her because of this and am so excited to see the rise of a female e-sports team in a game that is extremely popular right now. 

Baystation2

Bayley is known by her screen name Baystation2 and actively tries to make space for women in her community. Along with being insanely talented, Bayley often plays with other female gamers and hosts, “Girl’s Night,” on her Discord server on Saturdays. During Girl’s Night, girls are encouraged to put their gamer tag in the channel to have an opportunity to play with a full team of other women and make friends that they can play with outside of the server as well. When I participated in this weekly event, it was such a fun and supportive environment, and a really cool opportunity to play with a streamer that I’m a fan of. 

Featured Image by Hannah Walls

Written by: allisonschroeder13

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  1. DK on February 25, 2022

    Great article as always! Definitely will check out some of those streamers, your recommendations are always spot on

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