Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment

Girls in the Gaming World 639

dkleinsc writes "The BBC is running an article about life as a female gaming squad. There's some discussion about the welcome or lack thereof women get in the gaming community, and arguments over whether it's a good idea to have separate women's matches."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Girls in the Gaming World

Comments Filter:
  • Great... (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:15PM (#8363210) Homepage Journal

    Swell.. now that this the existence of female gamers is common knowledge, the most common messages in Counter-Strike will be "A/S/L?!" and "w4nna g0 c4mp1ng 0n 7h47 r00f709?!!!"

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eidolons ( 708050 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:28PM (#8363386) Homepage
      This is an interesting article, but the article misses the point. It's great that you have an exception to the rule and see women playing quake / counterstrike / gibbing-death-kill games but the truth of the matter is that online gaming, in general, is being swamped by female gamers but not in these kinds of games.

      They're playing Sims, Dance Dance REvolution, and other social, simulation and interactivity-based games. That's where the real interest lies and the market is huge. Sims 2 will BLOW AWAY Far Cry and Pain Killer and maybe even DOOM 3 because 51% of the population that own a computer and play games are going to buy it.

      • Re:Great... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by H1r0Pr0tag0n1st ( 449433 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:49PM (#8363649)
        They're playing Sims, Dance Dance REvolution, and other social, simulation and interactivity-based games

        I would have to agree with this, I know a lot of females that play games and it seems that they all prefer to play ones like Sims, DAOC, or Everquest. My wife for example is totally addicted to DAOC, and prefers to play this rather than play half-life/unreal/quake with me. Which is fine with me since every time we have played this I get my ass kicked.
      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RedK ( 112790 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:51PM (#8363675)

        Oh yes... but this article is about Counter-Strike competitions where females don't get the participate in the same brackets as male, and don't get to try and win the big cash prizes. Now please enlighten us as to how this is justifyable by saying girls prefer other games genres. I guess because the game is not targetted at them, they can't play it at the same level as men ?

        It's a load of crock if you ask me. It's men afraid that their testosteron levels will be going down if they get beat by a girl. Get over yourselves. Even if only 1% of Counter-strike gamers are girls, it doesn't mean that they are the worst 1% of players. And it also doesn't mean that they can't play in a "no-girls allowed" tournement (you know the kind, where 8 year old boys don't want to catch cooties and stuff). And that they can't win the same prize money. This is not a sport where physical differences would tip the scale. Girls and boys handle mices and keyboards with the same skill.

        I personnally don't see why women can't participate at the same level and even against men in this type of event.

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jtpalinmajere ( 627101 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:49PM (#8364452)
          Its not so much that women can or can't participate in the same brackets as men.

          The point is that the winnings of any competition are distributed by the mandates of the competitions holders, not those participating in it. We live in a capitalist society (well most of the world anyways) and that means that the man with the money makes all the rules. If the competitions holders want to discriminate then that is their prerogative. Its not like you are forced to participate in that competition if you feel the policies to be discriminatory. There are plenty of other competitions that aren't discriminatory.

          Likewise, those admins on public servers that wish to be can be as discriminatory as they want. Discrimination is not illegal, only more expensive. A company that wants to maintain its right to be selective about its employees without regard to equal opportunity simply have to pay fines and be marked as such. The government isn't going to put them out of business because of this.

          But then again I don't really see the point of playing to the point that you are so good to warrant going to any of these competitions. That's just too much time invested in a practice that can't pay the bills for the majority of those who participate. Its not like professional sports where all the athletes still make a living whether they lose or not.

          The bottom line is, if its not yours then you have to live by the edicts of its owner when using it. Pretty simple concept really. Its surprising to see as many people as I do feeling entitled to equal access to someone else's holdings.
      • Re:Great... (Score:4, Funny)

        by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:27PM (#8364151) Homepage Journal
        They're playing Sims, Dance Dance REvolution, and other social, simulation and interactivity-based games.

        I still vividly remember the first time I saw people playing DDR. Because one of them was an 18 year old girl with Double D Cup breasts. Mmmmmmm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:18PM (#8363245)
    • Sad but true... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:14PM (#8364761) Journal
      The sad thing is that homophobic (gay, fag, queer), racist (jew, nigger, coon), and/or other inoffensive language (rape, cocksucker) seem to be a standard part of the lexicon for a large percentage gamers.

      Frankly, I find this unacceptable. I'm not homosexual but I do find homophobic language offensive, and the same goes for the other, less acceptable language that crop up on almost every public gaming service.

      I find it both funny and sad that these kids (and most of the people who resort to such language are kids) think nothing of using language that they wouldn't dare use at the dinner table or to a someone they bumped into at the mall to sound "cool" and "macho" online.

      And it's amazing how far they'll take it: I've had people threaten to track me down in real life and kill me and my family, rape our corpses and then rip our heads off and shit down our necks. If it wasn't so laughable at the time then I would have been well within my rights to report the matter to the relevant authorities. I'd love to see some 13 year-old sat down on the couch with his parents and a pair of law enforcement officers explaining that he regularly sent death threats to people just because they outclassed him in a game.

      The fact is that as long as this sort of behaviour is accepted or even tolerated by the majority of online gaming communities then those communities will remain the domain of teenagers who have bigger mouths and egos than brains.

      There's no doubt in my mind that, whilst most men would shrug their shoulders, dismiss the idiots as part of life and just carry on gaming, most women will not tolerate such stuff.

      As my girlfriend put it when she saw some of the stuff that gets spewed out by some of these people, "What idiot would say that kind of stuff and why would you want to spend your free time listening to it?"
      • Re:Sad but true... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ManoMarks ( 574691 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:07PM (#8365467) Journal
        I am Gay, and it's a frustrating to see the strings of invectives that come poring across my screen, but if you've ever posted on Yahoo! message boards you know it is even worse there. Usually if I call someone on it, they'll stop for awhile. But when I used an ID that had the word "gay" in it, I had people change teams so they could try to kill me. Of course, the real bigot/haters are usually horrible players, probably because they spend so much time typing they forget to play. So much of it is also profoundly misogynist and uses profoundly sexist language. If I were a woman, I'd feel I was getting a rather hostile response from people who didn't even know, most of the time, that I was a woman. I support servers that make an attempt to keep it clean and ban those who are overtly hostile.
      • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @03:28PM (#8365702) Journal
        I've been playing online games since pretty much "the beginning" (before games were made to use TCP/IP, we played IPX games over TCP/IP in Kali). There are a couple of things that are helping both the treatment of women and toning down open hostilities:

        1) Player moderation (ie. voting people out of the game)
        2) Voice chat

        I was worried about #2 when it started out, but it actually does a lot to reduce the trash in online gaming. A lot of people won't say out loud the kind of words they'll type, at least not the extremes. There's still plenty of salty language out there, but there is a distinct difference between what people will say, and what they'll type.

        Also, for the kiddies, the fact that they have to say the things out loud, inside their house, can make all the difference. I've kept a great post from a gaming message board about this: "I was watchin my cousin play [Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War] and then this lil kid comes on over the mic and says mother****er then the next u hear is a giant smack n then the kid starts crying roflmao....". Plus, anyone that tries to talk someone down in a squeaky kiddie voice usually gets laughed and humiliated out of the room.

        As for women, I'll often let my girlfriend wear the headset for playing SOCOM II online, and let her do all the talking for me. She often gets attention, but she never gets harassed, and the majority of the undersexed kiddies are too shy to try and hit on her verbally. That, and everyone else audibly laughs at them and makes fun of them when they try.

        Some malcontents are undeterred by voice chat, but it does help weed out a lot of it. For the rest, players being able to vote losers out of the game is a great feature. My main complaint is that too few games explore such a feature fully.

  • by John Gaming Target ( 721410 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:18PM (#8363247) Homepage
    Are "gamers" that insecure about their masculinity/sexuality/gaming prowess/dick size/pick something else that they're afraid of playing against girls?

    My girlfriend loves Mario Kart: Double Dash and it makes me happy it's one of the hobbies we can share.

    If playing against girls makes you uncomfortable, don't play games at all!
    • One would hope not, But unfortunaty Pennis Envy is all too common in the gaming world. When some guy is playing in a tournament and they get schooled by a girl it gives them that feeling of insecuirty.
    • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:47PM (#8363614)
      Are "gamers" that insecure about their masculinity/sexuality/gaming prowess/dick size/pick something else that they're afraid of playing against girls?

      Since there is no way to mod this "Duh", I had to respond.

      OF COURSE! Have you ever played an online game? There are always those who are (or pretend to be) loud-mouthed, homophobic, racist, misogynist, immature dick-heads. They usually are the ones who cheat and play like tools. They either really are that ignorant, or they do it just to cause a stir and piss people off. Being female would only garner a different type of insult from these morons. They are what make online gaming so annoying. But it is so much fun and gratifying to own them. :-)

      Now I know that not everyone is like this, but the ones who aren't don't care who they are playing against. Most of the time you don't know anyway, you just know people by their screen names and your past experiences with them. For all I know, some of them are women.

    • You got it wrong. The girls are in their own competition, not because the males have a problem with playing against them, but because if the 7 female teams played in the male league, together with the 50 male teams, they would very likely end up grind into dust.

      Sorry, but it's true. I'm not saying they'll nessecarily finish places 51-57, but my guess is that they would all be in the bottom half, and most of them in the bottom quarter.

      I agree there's no reason why females, in principle, couldnt't play FP

      • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:05PM (#8363844)
        Let them compete on an equal footing initially. If it really turns out that there is such a clear deliniation in ability, then you have a great case for a separate league. If not, then we've just eliminated a lot of unnecessary organizational overhead.
        Seems fairly straigtforward.

        • by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:28PM (#8364165) Homepage
          Sure. I'm all for letting girls who want to try their luck in the male classes. There's no reason not to.

          Some though, would feel that allowing that would further underline the differences. Today we can all play make-believe and say there's one class only for girls, one only for boys, so it's equal in a way.

          If we let girls compete whereever they choose (and I see no reason not to) then we also need to be intellectually honest enough that there's one "free for all" class, and one "females only", and we can no longer pretend it's "equal".

          The risk is that this would further undermine the status of the females-only class. It'd be sorta like there's special classes in many sports for "only those under 16".

          You'd have a situation where it'd basically be a male as "World-Champion" (or whatever) in any sport, and the females would be relegated to "World-Champion - female only class"

          It's a tricky bussiness. It's tricky because we have this ideal, and the political correctness, that we're supposed to be equal. And the fact of the matter is that today we are not. In some sports, like those where muscle-mass play a role, we'll never be. In others, where muscles are irrelevant, we *migth* get there some day, but today we're not. (Personally I'd be overjoyed to see a female F1-winner or chess grandmaster)

          • by Cleahpatra ( 595911 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:53PM (#8364503) Homepage
            The thing that seems off about your post is how you're confusing videogames with sports. The physical differences (such as lower center of gravity, muscle-length / breadth, and etc.) that tend to delineate the female and male classes in sports don't really apply to videogames. PS: Chess grandmaster Anjelina Belakovskaia 1995, in case you were wondering. More recently, Alexandra Kosteniuk was ranked #29 over all in U.S. Chess on December 2003 ( ist.php) which is ranked regardless of gender or age. She's only 20. PPS: I regularly manage to kick people's asses in videogames, regardless of their gender. It's probably my lower center of gravity helping me.
      • by proj_2501 ( 78149 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:22PM (#8364082) Journal
        personally i can't imagine any sort of results from a darts tournament being very inspiring.
    • My experience is that yes, most male gamers are, although this will vary by genre. You'll find more of it FPSs, say, then in racing sims, but it's present to some degree everywhere.

      Girl gamers who are good are especially to be feared ( as they are often elswhere), because they empiriaclly demonstrate the invalidity of the argument that they don't belong because they somehow unsuitable for the task.

      Personally, if I were a girl gamer, I'd take a certain amount of delight in kicking dickwad ass for the above
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:18PM (#8363249)
    and arguments over whether it's a good idea to have separate women's matches."

    Why? This isn't real life, where men have more muscle than women do (I'm not being sexist, just take an intro biology course), and are therefore superior to women in terms of pure strength, speed, etc. Online, everybody's equal, the characters can be tuned to roughly equivalent stats, the only thing that matters is reflexes to move the mouse and hit the keyboard.
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Funny)

      by radish ( 98371 )
      You also fail to take into consideration the concept of potential. I realise that as a man, I am potentially stronger, faster and fitter than a woman. I also realise that in reality, due to excessive pizza consumption, there are plenty of women who would kick my ass.

      I watched a TV show last night with some female body builder - I would bet money that she could kick the ass of pretty much any slashdotter, male, female or otherwise :)
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ebuck ( 585470 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:38PM (#8363514)
      I agree wholeheartedly.

      If you want prior art, look at the history of the male / female chess leagues. The creation of sparate leagues actually increased the sexisim debates. Soon the women's league was know for it's weaker players who were often derived the opportunity to play against their stronger male counterparts. It got so bad that (arguably) the best women players made it a point to play in the conventionally men's tournaments. Some were even as bold as to say it was impossible to improve unless they played against stronger opponents.

      Video games, like chess, fail to use a sex's sexual characteristics to give one sex a distinct advantage over the other. Separate leagues aren't necessary, and if there's an all female team, that should be a choice of comaraderie and not adminstration.

      Wow, how many web nanny programs will filter this post?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Funny)

      by brilinux ( 255400 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:51PM (#8363677) Journal

      As a male, I for one, welcome our new female overlords!

  • by fluor2 ( 242824 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:18PM (#8363250)
    Sithu Thein's comment is the most interesting: "Why do they bother having women only events for internet gaming? Within sport, I can see the reasoning for sexual segregation - women simply are not as big, fast or strong as men. Thus there needs to be a separate contest for men and women in order to keep a level playing field. Last time I checked the x and y chromosomes were not linked to reflexes, hand - eye coordination, and visual acuity. Men are not going to be able to use any of these physical attributes to gain an advantage. As their advantages are thrown out of the window, so too goes the reasoning for segregated gaming. As for women feeling that men make them feel unwelcome in the world of CounterStrike - history is just full of instances where the dominant group in a field has made it perfectly clear what they think of any 'New Kids on the Block'. You just have to try that little bit harder. Sithu Thein, UK" I totally agree with him. I thought on-line gaming should finally make the genders compete at the same level, but I'm really sad to see that women still are set to "female compos". I understand that women actually may want this, since they still might meet some harassment and such (i can only guess what a 15year old guy say when he hear the enemy is a woman), but I still hoped compos with big prizes should have teams from both genders.
    • by venicebeach ( 702856 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:32PM (#8363437) Homepage Journal
      Actually, men tend to perform better than women on tests of visuospatial ability. For example, they are better at mental rotation (Delgado & Prieto, 1996) and various other tests of visualspatial function (Collaer & Nelson, 2002). Men actually show different brain activations during a navigation task, something speficially relevant to these types of games (Wunderlisch, Spitzer, Tomczak, and Riepe, 2000). I'm not saying that there should be separate competitions, but I also would not assume the playing field is equal simply because muscles are not invovled.

      Collaer, M. L., & Nelson, J. D. (2002). Large visuospatial sex difference in line judgment: Possible role of attentional factors. Brain and Cognition, 49, 1-12.

      Delgado, A.R., & Prieto, G. (1996). Sex differences in visuospatial ability: do performance factors play such an important role? Memory & Cognition, 24: 504 - 510.

      Wunderlich, Spitzer, Tomczak, & Reipe (2000). Brain activation during human naviagtion: gender-different neural networks as a function of performance. Nat Neurosci. 2000 Apr;3(4):404-8.
      • With respect to your impressive listing, I can only relate to my small google-search on this subject(s), and as far as I've seen, one cannot conclude anything on researches, considering this:

        1. Women which started gaming from when they were young, e.g. 7 years, are never tested

        2. Women have never had such an opportunity as on-line gaming, since there are more easier to find likewise friends, and nobody SEE your gender when practicing

        I must also say that when it comes to reflexes, many young women win ANY
      • New moderation category: +1 (Lexis-Nexis)
  • Sigh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Naffer ( 720686 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:19PM (#8363254) Journal
    Does anyone else see this as an attempt to make an issue out of a non-issue? Games are marketed towards guys because guys make up the vast majority of the gaming market. Why don't they target the elderly with hiphop music? Becuase its more cost effective to target the younger crowd. Girls gaming? Great... But no one should complain about the fact that way more guys game then girls. Thats the girl's own preogatives.
    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:4, Funny)

      by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:23PM (#8363317) Homepage Journal

      Does anyone else see this as an attempt to make an issue out of a non-issue?

      That's the nature of the politically correct world we live in. Soon you'll see:

      The Gay Quake 3 Arena Championship

      African American Counter-Strike

      Unreal Tournament (Kosher Rules)

      etc etc etc I'm only half joking here.

    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tigress ( 48157 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:37PM (#8363502)
      Just MAYBE girls don't game as much BECAUSE games are marketed towards guys?
      • Re:Sigh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ImpTech ( 549794 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:58PM (#8363771)
        So what's the alternative? Try to make a girl-oriented game and hope somebody buys it? Major game development is not a grand social experiment, its a business. The industry will go where the money is, regardless of who's spending it. The simple truth is that they can only make what'll sell. If you can prove that a game concept will sell to females by the millions, then great, roll with it. But don't think EA or Sierra have any better of an idea what that game is than you or I do.
      • Re:Sigh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:33PM (#8364244) Homepage Journal
        When developing a game, in general you are going to be working on the sort of game you would like to play. Since guys make up the vast majority of games developers they are going to make the sort of games that they like to play. In order to get games that interest girls then you are going to need to have female programmers that have the same sort of taste that the rest of women do. After all said and done, what games do women enjoy? Is there any evidence that these sort of games don't exist?

        What I have found is that the girls, that I know, fall into two categories: the girls who play games and those who don't. The girls who don't play games wouldn't play any computer game, simply because the idea of playing a computer game is not their idea of fun. The other girls I know, who play games have a taste as varied as any guy out there. My sister manages to beat me at a number of games when I play against her. I also know a fair number of guys who don't like playing games like Counter-Strike, because there is not enough strategy involved.

        I wonder how much the media is to blame for these stereotypes and how much the minority of guys who are scared at being challenged by a girl at anything are to blame for scaring women off?

    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sarahbau ( 692647 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:39PM (#8363529)
      Guys don't make up as large a percentage of the market as they think. Games are marketed towards guys because guys are marketing them. I'm not sure what the numbers are right now, but in 1999, 43% of PC gamers were women. 53% of those gamers play online. Only 43% of male gamers play online, which should make the ratio of males to females online almost 1:1. Source []
    • Re:Sigh.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm a girl who quit playing Q3 and UT2k3 because it was my perogative to not be called any number of creative and derogatory terms for woman whenever I won with a remotely female name. At some point you have to admitt that the swarm of insecure guys playing these games makes the environment incredibly hostile for anyone else. Most girls aren't masocists and aren't going to subject themselves to that kind of crap, nor should they be expected to, leaving us in a situation where many online games are targete
  • Ridiculous! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:19PM (#8363256) Homepage Journal
    The imbalance between men and women was clear to see, with almost 50 male teams taking part, compared with just seven female squads. And as in the world of sport, there were separate competitions for each gender.

    Separate competitions? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    Boys' and girls' real-world sports are separated early on because of physical attributes. Physically, girls have different abilities from boys. And there are other physical attributes that cause both genders to become... distracted.

    But online? Who knows -- who cares -- about your real-world attributes? For crying out loud, that's what makes gaming great for us geeks -- we don't have to be muscular, or fit, or even easily mobile! I'd probably lose 10-to-1 against Stephen Hawking at BZFlag [].

    So in a world where physical ability and differences are irrelevant, what justification could there possibly be for a gender-segregated gaming tournament?

    Perhaps the organizers have a cynical ulterior motive? If I were a top-level girl geek, I'd turn down an invitation to such a demeaning event -- so all they'd get would be the second-rate girl teams. And then they can say "but look, they're clearly not in the same league."
    • Re:Ridiculous! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by watzinaneihm ( 627119 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:29PM (#8363399) Journal
      Well , this is not a one off. They have seperate chess matches for women though women do participate (and win) is general open to all matches. There are even "Women Grand Masters" , why they just dont just use Grand-mistress is a mystery though.
      Its probably like having amateur and pro events. If there are a lesser number of women participating, probably makes sense to let them win some matches and encourage them to play more, maybe? Or maybe just targeted advertising?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:19PM (#8363259)
    My co-worker used to play online using a feminine name. If you'd ever seen my co-worker you'd realize how funny this was. Think Richard Stallman meets John Goodman... Anyway, he swore that he did better with a female name because people were less likely to kill him.

    I heard that Slashdot moderators also go kindly on female posters.

    • by rholliday ( 754515 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:36PM (#8363490) Homepage Journal
      That is 1,000% true. Women (or percieved women) always get special treatment in gaming situations, be it on a MUD, FPS, MMORPG, doesn't matter. People used to send my girlfriend RL Purchaseable items for her MUD, especially if they asked to see her picture. It's the same tendency that causes most men to do "chivalrous" things for women: somewhere deep down they think this is getting them one step closer to getting laid.
      To quote the great Chris Rock, "Can I help you with that? Can I help you with some dick?"

      And as to getting schooled, I'm sure most gamers wouldn't mind Stevie Case (AKA KillCreek []) walking all over them in a game of Quake III. Hell, if she can take John Romero to the cleaners ...
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by kniLnamiJ-neB ( 754894 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:19PM (#8363267)
    I've spent the last year trying to get my fiancee interested in games... this last week, she started showing signs of being hooked on Roller Coaster Tycoon. I guess it goes: Mid-range PC: $800 RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe: $20 Watching my SO build a coaster that makes all the riders sick: Priceless!
  • gender segregation? (Score:4, Informative)

    by PalmerEldritch42 ( 754411 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:20PM (#8363271)
    arguments over whether it's a good idea to have separate women's matches

    Oh come on! I think it is silly to have separate leagues for men and women in real-world sports, where it could be argued (not by me) that the physical differences between the genders would give one or the other an unfair advantage. In a virtual environment, even that would be voided. Why separate them?

    • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:17PM (#8364032)
      Interesting similarity: fencing. As a sport, it's almost entirely non-gender biased. Contrary to what most movies show, fencing (the sport) is entirely centered around two things: strategy and fine-motor skills. There's no need to make an enormous, rapid swipe when a 1/4 turn of the wrist puts you blade on the good side of your opponents'. When your blade has more flexibility than a car antenna, the few brief times when you lock foils against eachother come down to manipulating mechanical advantage, not strength.

      I mostly fence foil, and at my university, that puts me fencing against a lot of women in practices (most of the guys favor epee). About the only substantial advantage I have over them is the fact that I'm 6', and thus have a slightly better reach. But, honestly, I'd have the same advantage against a 5'7" guy. The only other physical factor to the sport is enough endurance to stay quick after a few matches, but that's not something that belongs to either gender, really.

      Yet fencing, in competition, is separated by gender. We go to a competition where there might be 100 guys fencing Sabre, and one of our women wins because she has a field of 8 to fence against.

      It sounds a bit too much like some triumphing, girl-power movement, but I honestly think it falls into the same category that this gaming competition does: on some deep-seated level, far too many guys fear losing to a woman.

  • by shic ( 309152 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:20PM (#8363279)
    I've always thought typical female disdain for pixel-blasting violence to be a most endearing quality. I, for one, am against this slippery slope towards androgyny.
  • Suck it up! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EnterpriseNCC-1701 ( 664193 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:20PM (#8363281)
    I am a girl in the gamming world and I think having seperate matches for woman is rather stupid. It is a game, it is ment to be fun, and if some girls suck gamming then they can suck it up, practice, and get better.
  • by indulgenc ( 694929 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:21PM (#8363285)
    My wife got started on computers games playing the original tribes. It started out with me showing her the basics and helping her get started. I'd have her switch to my team so I could show her tactics, etc. Soon, she started playing a lot on her own.

    Fast-forward to a few weeks later, and I would lose to her in duels 90 percent of the time. She would hit top scores on servers routinely, and I started switching to her team any time we played together so I wouldn't always be on the losing team.

    The funny thing was, no one believed it was really a woman playing when she'd kick their ass.

  • Seperate but Equal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:21PM (#8363295) Homepage Journal
    Where have I heard that one before?
  • This last weekend (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjames ( 579137 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:23PM (#8363310)
    I atteneded an event called LanSlide, 60 person lan run by girls. I have to say it was a much better lan then some of the similar sized ones I've been too. And the organizers are more then just your avarage girls so theres no "A/S/L" shit and on top of that, Hell, there fun to play with.
  • Separate matches (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nodwick ( 716348 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:26PM (#8363346)
    There's some discussion about the welcome or lack thereof women get in the gaming community, and arguments over whether it's a good idea to have separate women's matches.
    It's a question that's been rehashed a lot, but here are a few thoughts.

    Some sports separate out men and women because physical differences make it hard for them to compete. Obvious examples that come to mind are contact sports like football and basketball, or even non-contacts like tennis (mentioned in one of the article comments) where physicality still plays a strong role. It's the same reasoning that makes sports like boxing have weight classes (a gender-neutral issue): to produce interesting matchups that let the competitors focus on how well they compare with others with a similar physical starting point.

    Having said that, it doesn't strike me that there are significant differences in physiology that would prevent co-ed competitions from being fair, any more than you would expect one gender or another to have an advantage in competitions of bridge or snooker. The fact that they still compete in separate brackets more likely has more to do with advertising dollars (sponsors probably figure that the female market for Counterstrike is pretty small) or inertia (hey, let's do our tournaments like every other sports competition!) than any argument based on merit.

  • by fuchikoma ( 144790 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:26PM (#8363347)
    1. Serious Gamers
    Guys don't like playing them because they're smarter, better, faster, and sometimes you fall in love...

    2. "WHEEE CUTE!"
    Usually they watch anime and/or create bad erotic fanart about doe-eyed male anime characters. They don't play any game that doesn't involve a cute catgirl or bunnygirl. See Final Fantasy XI or Ragnarok Online.

    3. Your Mom Playing Solitaire
    You know she's playing it right now. Remember that 1.5ghz Athlon system you built for her so she can send digital photos to grandma and make her own mix CD's? Yea, it's a $900 solitaire deck shuffler.
  • by bushboy ( 112290 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:26PM (#8363348) Homepage
    That this would even be an issue is testament to how little we've really achieved in gender equality.

    Why do we have to relegate everything to the sexes ?

    I'm a liberal !
    Let women go head to head with men ! (hmmm, there's something about that statement that ... er, whatever)

    So long as I don't have a female boss, I'm happy !

    I'm mean really guys, lets get realistic here :)
  • by Gandalf Greymeister ( 637510 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:26PM (#8363353) Homepage
    Why is it that when the few girls get into the gaming spotlight they focus on a groups with names like "DoMe"?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:30PM (#8363417)
    i love the way, when the media reports on males in gaming, they find the geekiest ones they can. but when they report on females, they have close ups of the two best looking ones.
  • by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:31PM (#8363426)
    ...and they want to bring it back in? I play some of these games and not once in my mind has the gender of my teammate or opponents has ever entered my mind. In fact it would be a distraction. Thinking that someone has an advantage in a game because they are male or female is like trying to figure out if someone has an advantage if they are right or left handed. If someone wins or loses they do so because they are an accomplished or failed player. Gender has very little to do with it.

    The one place where competition can be leveled down to fundemental non-physical attributes, a place where women can actually compete on equal footing as guys, they want to bring back gender divisions? I just don't get it.
  • by carlmenezes ( 204187 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:34PM (#8363458) Homepage
    Part of the joy of online gaming is that your opponents can be guys or girls and you can still have a fun game. If you know the girls you're playing against, so much the better.

    I mean, usually the need to separate two groups engaging in a common activity arises due to some kind of friction between the two for whatever reason.

    Here, I don't see what the reason could be.

    Insecurity among the guys? maybe, but why spoil the fun of the game because of a personality trait?

    Embarassment? for what? getting beat by a female player? Catch up with the times already!

    Sorry for putting it like this, but it has to be said - an online game is meant to be fun. So if the number of female players is increasing, I say that's a really good thing and probably the only place I'd say where it would make sense to make it girls only would be a game that's like an MMORPG version of Barbie's Dreamhouse.
  • My Girlfriend (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpope@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:34PM (#8363464) Journal
    I think most girls are turned off by FPS, though I'm not quite sure why. The most common reaction I see is trying to move their head rather than looking with the mouse.

    My girlfriend however, really likes Warcraft 3, so much so, that when she came back from South America having studied abroad for a month, it was the second thing she wanted to do.

    She really enjoys the social aspect of the game, and although she's never the best player there, she's also never the worst (she only plays at LAN parties since her laptop has an 8 meg video card).
  • by michael path ( 94586 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:38PM (#8363515) Homepage Journal
    I'll probably get modded down, because no one of either gender every listens to me, but.....

    Since many major online games (UT, Quake, etc) offer granularity of servers, I imagine there's probably alredy "girls only" servers and other private interest group servers just the same (password protected, et al).

    It seems natural. We already have television networks (several) specifically for genders. Chat rooms for certain interests.

    Now, with all that said, I can't say I mind competing with/losing to a girl. I don't understand the need for specific major competitions specifically for females. In fact, I'd imagine that 'being a male' as a requirement for a competition would probably result in legal action.

  • by quantax ( 12175 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:40PM (#8363542) Homepage
    I often get the feeling that people doing the boys vs girls thing when it comes to competitive events lose sight of why its that way in the first place.

    The reason a lot of physical sports are segregated is not even so much a difference of strength issue, but a more psychological one, in that girls are less likely to join a traditionally all-boys (now unisex) sport such as lets say football because of the fact that their peers are all competitive males, which can make one feel insecure, or the 'weakest link'. So, they create all-girls football teams so girls will be encouraged to join the team since they are playing with their female peers and so are on 'equal' ground. No need to worry about being mocked by a buncha assholic boys, just from bitchy women (its always easier to take critism from the same sex).

    However, by segregating gamers into sexes in a faceless game, they are only actually promoting the idea of female inferiority in competive events. Treating girl gamers as a special commodity cheapens them, and makes me lose respect for them as gamers. If anything else is considered except the skill of the player, you've already lost the point of the game, and need to try again; whether its a he or a she is irrelevant. The sooner female gamers are not treated as special people who need to be segregated, the sooner everyone can get on playing w/o regard for sex like we're supposed to, and really get down to what matters: having fun with fellow gamers.
  • by JusTyler ( 707210 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:41PM (#8363544) Homepage
    Notice what the BBC have done with their photos. They've clearly picked the two most photogenic members for quotes, because if you look at the others way down at the bottom picture, those other girls are what you'd expect the stereotypical girl gamer to look like, rather than two pseudo-hotties.
  • by Kaashar ( 738775 ) <kaashar@hotmail. c o m> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:43PM (#8363578)
    My fiancee and I have played just about ever genre out there togther. She hands me my butt in FPSs (I used to be better, but she's more accurate now), I whip her in RTS and we have a blast in MMOGs togther.

    I once asked her why she choses gender neutral names when the game offers only male character models, or choses male models 90% of the time when offered a choice.

    It's all about attitude. Most young male gamers are sexist rude pigs towards women. Most of the remaining are more interested in harassing her than playing once they find out she's a 'chick'. They don't care about her aptitude (she's one of the highest characters in our current MMOG ; in FPSs she's always in the top 5% of the game at the moment, etc) they want to know about 'her boobz' and such.

    Sha said it best once before "If I could strip their anonymonity away when acting like that I'd always play a female. Most guys act like assholes because they're anonymous on the internet so they feel they can get away with it."

    And she's right. I'm ashamed at my fellow man (pun intended) when I see how they react. The first time in history gender is transparent we still act like male dogs in heat around a member of the opposite sex.

    Female players who go out of their way to 'stand out' in my opinion are only one step above the male sexist pigs. I've seen the chatbars when she joined an all-girl clan once. I think both of us were equally disgusted at the attention whoring that went on.

    Personally I'm looking forward to the point where this all blows over. It seems once every few months we hear about these 'rare' female gamers out there. There's more than you think folks, they're just playing under male names so they get treated like everybody else.
  • by ThisIsFred ( 705426 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:44PM (#8363580) Journal
    My clan has two female players out of roughly 40 total players. We play combat-oriented games. They play in the leagues alongside the rest of us. Their skill is in step with the amount of time they spend playing, just like every other player in our clan. We don't treat them any differently, and they don't demand to be treated differently. If someone sees a "problem" with the fact that females do not like to play these types of games, why alienate the brave few by segregating them in a separate (and likely very small) league.
  • by lambadomy ( 160559 ) <lambadomy@3.1415 ... minus pi> on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:48PM (#8363642)
    I hate to bring this up, but there is some reason that it is advantageous for the "girl gamers" to have their own, seperate competitions.

    I remember attending the "all female tournament" for quake 1, and other than the top two or three players, I wouldn't say any of the other girls had any business being in any tournaments. In theory, there is nothing seperating men from women in skill in these games. In practice, it doesn't work that way. The girls, at least so far, are never the top players. Having seperate events for the women gives them a huge advantage in terms of exposure and, well, being in news articles or potentially winning money.

    The reasons for the disparity in skill seem pretty simple. While there is nothing specific keeping any individual girl from being at the top of the heap (that I can think of), the fact that there are umpteen (we'll say 99) times more men playing than women means statistically likely one per 100 of the top players will be a girl, and one per 100 of the top teams will be all girls. Here, we have 7 out of 57 teams. Even if the ratio is not 99:1, I doubt it is anywhere near 7:1. The women are just pulling talent from a smaller pool.
  • GGW (Score:3, Funny)

    by savagedome ( 742194 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:49PM (#8363645)
    So, GGW now stands for Girls in Gaming World and not Girls Gone Wild anymore?
  • My wife is an avid gamer, and has handed my butt to me on the proverbial platter several times in UT and UT2003 and now she's mastered (God help us all) the Raptor in the UT2004 demo. I've always been the proud monkey at LAN parties when she starts screaming "How'd you like that one, MotherF***er?" at all my guy friends. The family that plays together, stays together.
  • by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:50PM (#8363665) Journal put the females in a seperate competition? What a dumbass, sexist thing to do.

    Even appart from the fact that in video games, chess, bridge or any other sport/game which doesn't rely on physical prowess the difference between male and female doesn't come into play; it's just a dumb thing to do.
    I for one would love to compete (or rather: be in the same room...I don't think I'm at their level of play) with Louise and the other girls.
  • by AngelicBadGirl ( 755693 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @12:51PM (#8363674)
    What exacally is wrong with girls gaming? I'm a female. I love video games... and I play well. Why should I have to play against all girls because some little 15 y/o boy is afraid I will beat him? Any male who thinks we should be seperated needs to grow up. It won't hurt your ego that bad to loose to a girl.
  • by CresentCityRon ( 2570 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:01PM (#8363794)
    I was playing an online game ( I think it was Battlezone by Activision) a few years ago and my handle was gender neutral. Someone asked if I was male / female. I was taken back by that question as why would it matter? I said female to see if it mattered. Boy did it. I had players taking damage by jumping between me and an opponent, players nearly killing off someone and then leaving the prey for me to finish off to up my score, and even offering tips! Normal protocol is to be mean, rude, and blast everything that moves and even some that don't.

    Its one world but not everyone experiences it the same way.
  • Remember (Score:4, Interesting)

    by El ( 94934 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:03PM (#8363824)
    "On the internet, knowbody knows you're a dog." If I can't tell the gender of the people I'm playing against, what difference does it make? Sure, people that self-identify as female get treated different in role playing games, but half the people are misidentifying themselves anyway. In FPS games, gender doesn't seem to make any difference -- you frag your enemies and cover your friends. If they really obeyed the laws of physic, smaller players would be harder to shoot, but I don't know of any games that actually do this. Maybe it's different face to face, but I've played at gaming centers against people in the same room and still didn't know which of them was in the game with me. (By the way, it was the first time I'd ever played against humans and I got my ass handed to me on a platter.)
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:03PM (#8363825) Journal
    There is a lot of talk on this subject about how "everyone is equal" for an online game... maybe not.

    Just google the usenet groups for "female fine motor skills" and you will see lots of discussion on the topic, including relevant places such as rec.guns and

    I think coed games are just fine. I like to play fps against real people and I don't care who they are.

    As far as fairness, I'd tend to think skill, connection speed and location relative to the server are more important that physical differences between M/F.

  • Not the usual... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Psychotext ( 262644 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:11PM (#8363942)
    I've actually been very suprised recently by finding out how outright hostile women can be towards games / gamers. A friend of mine was staying over with his girlfriend and she stopped him from playing on the console with us. She even threatened to go and stay in a hotel if he started playing. I was gobsmacked. She softened up a bit in the end when I taught her the buttons on one game and she managed to beat my mate on quite a few occasions.

    I suppose I'm quite lucky on that front. My missus plays games more than I do (More spare time) and recently I've noticed that she's managing to kick my ass on certain games. I dont know if it's a gender thing but she seems much more able (Patience might come into it) to learn and pull off the combos in fighting games. I don't even attempt to play Soul Calibur 2 or DOA against her anymore!

    I wonder how many other people have experienced such extreme hostility towards playing games from their significant others? I know that my brother gets grief every time he puts a game on and as such very rarely gets a chance to play games anymore.
  • My Wife... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by localman ( 111171 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:17PM (#8364031) Homepage
    ...was regularly ranked in the top ten Tribes [] players in the world, according to the realtime stats at some site that tracks such things. She used to play 10+ hours/day 5+ days/week.

    It was interesting to see the varied reactions of the guys. She didn't advertise that she was female, but if it came up the first reaction was usually disbelief and dismissal -- they assumed she was a guy lying about his gender. Then after adequate proof (using voice comm in game, for example) they'd be surprised, but accept the truth. Then they wanted to see pictures.

    There were basically two reactions: anger and attraction. It was usually the younger guys who got angry -- for some reason they were pissed off that a girl could beat them. They'd get all bitchy at her and call her names, claim she was cheating and disappear. Maybe they'd be like that with anyone. Who knows?

    Most of the older guys (heh -- meaning past puberty) ended up getting attracted to her. In fact a whole bunch of guys would flock around her online wherever she went... be it gaming, or IRC.

    She went to TribesCon IV in Reno a couple years ago, and she was one of maybe three girls who came to play... out of 200+ total gamers. There were lots of girlfriends there, but they stayed off to the side.

    Some of the guys became quite taken with her (it doesn't hurt that she's a hottie []). Which got a little weird. Eventually she retired and got back into real life.

  • by tigress ( 48157 ) <> on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:29PM (#8364175)
    I just want to say that the comments from the male crowd here alone is a very good indication of why there aren't as many girl gamers.

    We simply do not get any respect.

    A common misconception about girls that play games is that they play "boring online games", such as Yahoo games, solitare, chess or whatever. Yes, many girls play those kinds of games. However, so do many guys. The thing is, most of those guys would never post here, and most of those girls are the only ones the average slashdotter would see (Yeah, I'm using a stereotype here, so sue me).

    Another common misconception is that games are marketed towards guys because there aren't as many girls that do play "the cool" games. This is a matter of market forces. While I agree that there are fewer girls that play games than guys, the number of girls that play games isn't really that low. In fact, most of my female friends play games. Females make up 51% of the world population, after all, so there's a HUGE market out there.

    A third misconception is that girls aren't interested in games. Totally wrong, see above. Girls ARE interested in games. Obviously.

    These are misconceptions that are repeated constantly. We girls are simply seen as people who aren't techy. If one of us IS, then we're seen as not as competent as a guy. If we prove to be competent, then we suddenly turn into a threat. All of those are reasons to talk down to girls, not just in gaming, but in other areas as well.

    I can tell you one thing that girls are though. We're not interested in being called names, just because we try to show an interest in the very same field as guys.

    Maybe, just maybe, more girls would confess to being gamers if they weren't insulted whenever they tried it.

    (Okay, maybe this post wasn't so thought through, but I'm currently busy starving myself to keep my figure.... or maybe I'm just delirious from coding all day and forgetting to eat. Bah, whatever.)
    • by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:33PM (#8364978) Journal
      We simply do not get any respect.

      No, you probably get treated the same way guys do when they play online games, especially FPS games.

      Females make up 51% of the world population, after all, so there's a HUGE market out there.

      Yes, but this doesn't mean they make up 51% of the video game playing population. While gaming may be popular with younger women nowadays, there is still a huge gap in the 25+ aged women who just don't play games at all (outside of slots, solitare, pogo, etc) . To them, there is still a social stigma against it.

      I can tell you one thing that girls are though. We're not interested in being called names, just because we try to show an interest in the very same field as guys.

      Anyone in an online game gets called names. Seriously, I'm sure that anyone who plays a FPS game here has been 'flamed or lamed' at one point or another. Don't expect special treatment because you are a girl, of a certain race, etc.

      To see my point, go into a fps with a neutral nickname and announce you are of a certain ethnic group and see how long it takes for people to bring that up. People aren't picking on you because you are a girl, it's because you are there and they do it to everyone else also.

      We girls are simply seen as people who aren't techy

      Look at the gender breakdown of computer science or mathmatics majors that finish with a degree. It's not that you are seen as not being _techy_ it's that most of you aren't. That doesn't mean you can't be, it's just that most girls aren't interested in that kind of stuff.

      In fact, most of my female friends play games.

      Yes, but that doesn't mean most females play games. Most of my friends work in IT, but that doesn't mean 75% of the world works in IT.

      Maybe, just maybe, more girls would confess to being gamers if they weren't insulted whenever they tried it.

      It seems to me girls are encouraged to play (given free things, invited to join clans, etc) more than men are. Like I mentioned before, if you get called names online it's not beacuse you are a girl, it's just because you are there.
  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @01:54PM (#8364512) Homepage
    The interesting thing about gaming is the fact that the friends you make can be so diverse. To say one (minority) group should be segregated because they don't play as good as majority group Y is just silly. Why would we want to put up more artificial walls?
  • by Rolman ( 120909 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:01PM (#8364623)
    Really, someone who has so far only played with idiotic guys that only keep saying "u fag!" when you frag them, will feel very much relieved when playing against the usually quieter girls. I love playing against other people online, but I hate how the communication is abused with the permanent trash talk. The game is supposedly to be fun and people are there to show their playing skills, not their ignorance and horrible verbal/typing 5k1LL5. Gender mixed teams really help the S/N ratio, even if most of the conversations are "A/S/L?". Hey, both guys and girls go online to increase their chances to get laid, we can't do jack about it.

    But I digress, I've had many girls as opponents in several kinds of games. In fact, I would recommend playing the awesome Pac-Man Vs. against women, it's ungodly funny. Women-friendly games are not always stupid things like Barbie. There are great games you can play with your SO, if not together, then taking turns is fun too. Examples? Animal Crossing, Mario Party, Mario Kart (online, yes!), Mario Tennis, Bomberman, Tetris Attack, Parappa and Umjammer Lammy, and Wario Ware, even some FPS I have played against women and had a great time.

    I think an all-boy team is just as bad as an all-girl team. But, I also see an advantage with sexual-segregation. There are people very insecure about themselves, those are the ones that will never accept a defeat from the other gender. Let these idiots play with themselves in their closed circles, and let the mixed gender teams get rid of them and enjoy the insane fun.

    So please, continue to make your gender-specific teams and keep yourselves out of this horrible, unfair mixed gender world where I play =P
  • Interesting story... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by raytracer ( 51035 ) on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:09PM (#8364702)

    Recently, I completed reading Blondie24 -- Playing at the Edge of AI, an interesting book by David Fogel on his attempt to use evolutionary computation to evolve a high quality checker playing program. He tested his program by playing online against other checker players on The Zone, an online gaming network.

    Early on, he discovered that his rather pedestrian nickname attracted few opponents, so he changed his online nick to be Obi_WanTheJedi, which seemed to attract a great deal more competition. As his program was revised and became stronger, he noticed that opponents would often become rude and angry as they fell behind, and would stall hoping he would drop out, or just disconnect, often after swearing like a sailor. Such drop outs made evaluating the games more difficult, so they tried a different strategy. This seemed worst among intermediate players: the better players were often much better sports.

    They developed a cover story for Blondie24, a 24 year old female mathematics major. She was also single, attractive, and looking for a boyfriend.

    They reported that they were on the receiving end of crude remarks and suggestions in about 1 in 3 games. Interestingly enough, the better players were reported to be uniformly polite, complimenting "her" on her excellent play at so young an age.

    It seems rather obvious to me that women and men should be competing in the same competitions in this arena. The mere fact that fewer women play should not be a deterrent, nor do I think the prospect of easier money for women competitors merely by virtue of their being fewer female competitors is a good precedent to set. But perhaps all players should review their own behavior, and try to maintain a degree of fun and sportsmanship.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 23, 2004 @02:12PM (#8364743)
    I have to say I can only imagine what it would be for me to live *as* a female gaming squad.

    I suppose I would have 10 breasts and 10 arms to fondle myself wi....

    OH, WAIT!

    I had forgotten that Slashdot editors are incapable of using correct grammar! They must have meant, "Life for a female gaming squad."

Genetics explains why you look like your father, and if you don't, why you should.