First person shooter? But I’m just a girl!

In early September an IKEA in Sydney introduced a temporary section called Manland. Likened to the child play area Småland, this new area had been designed to amuse and entertain men while their women folk shopped. Apart from the obvious sexist stereotyping (women like to shop, men don’t) it is interesting to note that Manland includes a lot of old school pinball machines and an Xbox. And so another stereotype is perpetuated: women don’t play games.

About a month ago there was an electronics trade show at the local convention centre and I stumbled across the Sony booth. I was browsing the PS3 game titles when a young man approached me asking if I needed any help. When I said I was just browsing he enquired as to whether I’d like any help picking a game for my kids. I politely replied that I didn’t have any children and that I was the primary gamer in my household thank you very much. He was confused and backed away slowly.

Although the rise of casual gaming has provided a low friction entry point for many women to play online games, there still seems to be an idea that women only like to play certain types of games. Specifically games where the player is required to customise their avatar or play a nurturing role, looking after pets or gardens or farms. Please. I know guys who are building their dream house on Sims Social and girls who are drooling in anticipation of Doom3. When will we learn that a gamer is a gamer and personal preference is based on gaming experience, skill and exposure but not gender?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just awaiting the announcement of IKEA’s Manland in Singapore so I can dispel some urban myths.

NB: is definitely not a preferred news source.

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