Sexism in the Gaming World-What it’s like to be a Female Gamer


Image courtesy of

An image of a person holding a gaming controller.

For years, the gaming industry and sphere has been obviously negligent of its female gaming audiences and even at times seemingly purposefully pushing female gamers away. From overtly sexist portrayals of female characters to real-life online abuses of female gamers, here is a summary of my and other women’s experiences being female gamers.
Just for a bit of context, I have been gaming since Elementary school, when my older sister received a Wii console for her birthday. Since then, I have leveled up to using an Xbox and now play on both Xbox One and Playstation. While I rarely play online with other players, I have played a variety of games ranging from most of the Assassin’s Creed series and Star Wars: Battlefront to RPGs such as Skyrim and Dragon Age. For me, and for many others, gaming is a release from the everyday workload from school and home. It’s a way to relax and escape for a little bit everyday, which is also probably why I have been so drawn to the fantasy genre of gaming. So, then, why not be inclusive and welcoming of others who take joy in the same pastime as you? One such issue of inclusion that I have come across is female character representation.

The other day, I was looking to re-watch the trailer to one of my favorite video games, Dragon Age 2. In this

An image of a female mage Hawke from Dragon Age 2. (Image courtesy of

game, players get to customize their main character (whose name is “Hawke”) from being a mage, rogue, or a warrior, to choosing to play as a female or male Hawke. In my search, I found that there was no trailer featuring the female version of Hawke. Normally, I would give the benefit of the doubt and say it was because Garrett Hawke (male Hawke) is the canon main character of this game, but then if you look at the other dragon age game trailers, they all also feature only a male main character. Why is that so?

A game poster for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. (Image courtesy of

These circumstances are not exclusive to just the Dragon Age franchise, either. If players were to look at the posters for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, they would most likely assume that the main character is the hooded man sitting in the front, Jacob Frye, but this is not the case. I have done over one full playthrough of this game (seriously, I should really not spend so much time on one game), in fact, it is one of my favorite Assassin’s Creed’s, and I can assure you that the main characters are equally Jacob Frye and his twin sister Evie Frye. So why instead, is she always standing in the back, behind her brother, in all of the promotional imaging? It seems that gaming companies are going out of their way to cater to their male audiences and not ‘worry’ them by having too much focus on female characters. Now, video game companies have gotten better with female representation, and there are indeed female characters in games that I play that are not over-sexualized and are good representations However, there is still sexism in this industry, and it goes much farther and much worse than just bad promotional posters or bad female characters. When it comes to other issues women face in gaming, the female characters are the least of my worries.
Although recent statistics show that the distribution of male and female gamers has been getting closer and

Poornima Seetherman, a game designer, working on a computer. (Image courtesy of

closer over the years, with reports from Statistica putting it at about 59% male gamers and 41% female in 2020, it still seems that many in gaming view it as a man’s territory. This is shown in the extreme bullying that women undergo in online gaming. When I say “bullying”, one may think of just the occasional tease or rude comment, but these abuses against female gamers and game developers go as far as murder threats.

“…death threats, harassment, having private information about myself posted has become a daily occurrence.” Brianna Wu, a video game developer according to Daily Mail, said.

An infographic showing some statistics about the abuse of female gamers. (Image courtesy of

Upon further delving into the abuses of female gamers, I found a horrifying headline from just two weeks ago.

“Female video game player, 19, ‘murdered’ by rival gamer” an article from the Independent, said.

This has to stop. Women need to stop being afraid of facing harassment in online gaming because of their gender. They shouldn’t have to deal with these vile comments and threats from male gamers. They shouldn’t have to flee their house and call the police because they received a death threat attached with their home address online, as one story from the Daily Mail recalls. It has even now gone as far as one woman having been murdered by a fellow gamer. This has to stop.
I love video games. I love finishing school on a Friday evening and clicking on the Xbox to play the entire night

My sister and I cosplaying as Evie and Lydia Frye from Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate. (James Axiotis)

through. I love debating with my sister at 2 AM about what decisions I should make in Dragon Age: Inquisition. I love nearly throwing my controller at the TV when I lose a boss fight for the 10th time (which happens more than I would like to admit). But I also love scrolling on Tumblr and Pinterest and finding a plethora of memes and posts from people who love the same games and characters that I do. I love cosplaying at conventions and on Halloween as video game characters and finding the comradery of others who love the same things you do. I am a gamer, but I am also a woman, and that should not change anything.
“In short: women are here.” a fellow gamer in an article from Questions And Tea, said.
“We are geeks. We are warriors. We are scientists, techies, artists, producers, and consumers. We want to play and create video games. Stop creating artificial barriers to inclusion and diversity.”