DO girls play video games?

Yes, they do. Yes we have heard it all before: "it's a guy thing" or "girls suck at video games" and the ever so popular opinion that girls just don't play video games. Well I'm sorry to all the sexists out there (not really) but to break the stereotype, yes, girls play video games and furthermore - they enjoy it.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has done surveys and studies on game players and buyers. It goes on to list that the average buyer is 40 years of age, the average gamer is 33 years of age, and 50% of all Americans play video games which is a rather large chunk out of the population, and a long shot to assume that part of that chunk doesn't include female gamers. With the game market having been mostly geared toward men in their 20-30's, the presence of sexist stereotyping in games is hardly surprising, especially since about 88% of game developers are men, which may also play a role in why not as many believe women are playing video games. Surveys have been conducted to disprove that gamers are predominantly male. But despite people thinking the video game market is just for guys, in reality the percentage of women playing games has slowly and steadily increased over the past decade and in some cases exceeded the percentage of men.

Efforts were made in the gaming industry to create more games targeted toward women, and in the 90's, the effective life-simulator game known as "The Sims" was a game that became wildly popular to women and even attracted women who had never played games before into the gaming market. And a few studies claim that females actually outnumber males in Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), and the ESA backs this by claiming that, while not outnumbering males, 48% of the general MMO population is female. Also, a substantial number do play games provided by internet services such as puzzle games, word games and so on.

Even if one disregards those studies, a number of the most popular video game characters have been female in the past. Lara Croft is one example of sexuality combined with hardcore action and adventure. Samus Aran is the main character in the Metroid series and every person that played thought she was a male until the very end. These are just two examples of the many female video game characters making their way to center stage. It's becoming something of a more attractive theme to have females playing the role of action heroes or otherwise main characters, rather than males, while simultaneously disregarding the stereotype that all video game females are damsels in distress.

Furthermore, a majority of males who play against females online are in denial that they are women at all, even with a name as girlish as "Sara" they still insist they are a male disguised or acting as a female. Even after potentially hearing their voice over the microphone in online multiplayer games such as COD or HALO, they will deny a girl could play such a game. Guys simply can't accept the fact that a female could play video games, be good at them, and even beat them at “their own game" sort of speak. So why then do men think that women can't play video games? Well, it's a territorial thing. Women have their fashion and make-up and spa days, and men have their video games, systems and tournaments. But if you think back and remember, many stereotypes have been broken over the years. Women wear pants. Women work. Women enjoy sex. And guess what? Women enjoy playing video games.