The stereotypes associated with it have been sort of broken in recent years in my opinion. They are still there but are not as strong. I will admit growing up being a female/girl back then (here I go dating myself again) was a bit awkward at times.
I was introduced to gaming at a young age by my dad. He was always into computers and technology before it was even a thing and I think it was so cool he shared his hobby with me although I know my mom at times did not appreciate it but she was always open-minded and supportive. I remember my first console was a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System). I remember we had the Super Scope. Go look it up. Yes, imagine 3 or 4 year old me holding that, violently shooting at things on a screen. It was bigger than me so my dad had to help me hold it so I could play. My mom even enjoyed it and we all got pretty competitive with it too. Should have I been worried my mom preferred shooting games? Naw.
Later on, my dad got a fancy computer and bought Age of Empires. Now imagine 6 year old me creating a massive cavalry so large I would wipe out anything in my path. I loved horses and refused to invest resources in anything less. Archers? Why not mounted archers? I remember facing my dad when I was a bit older and he kept saying "How many mounted units do you have!?". ALL OF THEM! CHARGE!!!!!
I would purposely wake up earlier than him to get on the newer computer before him to play Age of Empires. Waking up on time for a school day. Groans. Weekend? I would pop out of bed like a freakin daisy that had 15 expresso shots and a pound of sugar and head straight for that computer.
Another notable game he got me was Barbie's Riding Club because I liked horses. He did not realize the monster inside me that he was feeding. I hated Barbie and her ever-smiling face and overly enthusiastic voice, but for horses, I was willing to endure much pain. But this post is not about that.
I enjoyed the challenge of the games and being able to explore their worlds. I admired the art and music that I found in those games. Especially the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and those that came after.
I had a computer, a Gameboy Color, and a Nintendo 64. Now the awkward part of it. Judgment, so much judgment, and sometimes isolation. No, I did not just game all of the time. I was very active too and into sports and had good grades *gasps surprising I know*. I'm a fairly competitive person and gaming is a competitive hobby, what can I say. My parents did not control how much screen time I had either. I had some self-control, at least I think I did? I made it through nursing school alright. Teehee.
When I was a wee thing. I quickly realized I was one of the few girls who were into gaming or at least open about it. We would have a free day where we could bring our favorite things/toys to school and interact. My girlfriends brought nail polish, dolls, and their walkmans (nothing wrong with that btw)...while I brought my Gameboy. *nervous laughter* This was also me being at the age where boys and girls don't mix too well.
A group of boys sat around in a group playing Pokemon and battling each other. I tried to join them. I was shunned. Then I was just plain confused. Then none of the girls wanted to talk to me or have anything to do with my Gameboy. This is funny because one of the boys in the group was my neighbor. He along with his sister would play video games with me after school but acted like he didn't know me at school. One of the girls also played but denied she even had one when in the group of girls. Peer pressure is a powerful thing apparently. Luckily games are usually single player so I sat and played by myself. Got to catch em' all!
LOL, Don't pity me. I was ok with it for the most part and there were a few other "loners". Someone brought a coloring book and I think we sat next to each other in isolated- camaraderie while immersed in our own worlds. I just didn't understand what was happening at the time I was completely baffled. There were roles and a status quo that everyone fell into and there I was. Huh?
As I got older I realized there was a sort of stigma if you were a girl and you played video games. All of which are most likely brought on by tradition, societal expectations, and gender roles. Which later on morphed into other stereotypes under the labels "girl gamer" "gamer girl" I think you know which particular one I am inferring here and that is definitely not who I am. I also experienced a lot of harassment and negativity when I played multiplayer games and someone suspected I was a "gril"/girl. LMAO. I'm just here to play the game. I feel. And I use the word feel because this is just from my own observations. I could be completely wrong. The women in my age group are not ashamed that we game we are just more cautious about who we share this information with.
I noticed a big change in recent years. Especially younger people. They truly don't care about that stuff. Very refreshing. I don't have to worry about my own team killing me off or feeding the other team on purpose. No one is mad at me because I'm female. Now it is for a very valid reason: I just suck at FPS.
Now, I can just play the games. Also, companies are realizing women are an untapped audience/customers. I am seeing more games that are flexible/diverse. I like games like Witcher and Shadow of Mordor. I even use to play GTA. I don't think my Dad realized what kind of game he got me...far cry from Barbie's Riding Club...
I like them but I can't relate to the main character because he is a "guy" doing *stereotypical* guy things. Don't get me started on cut scenes and mini-quests that are very degrading to women even encourage violence towards them.
And I think why women were turned off from even trying gaming is, well, have you seen the female characters in almost every game? Doesn't exactly scream strength, respect, and dignity. YES! Let's go off into a battle as I wear a gold, one of the softest metals, mesh bra and thong! That'll protect me from the elements and weapons. It's not realistic, it's ridiculous. Some of the games have released a female character option. Now, do I think Geralt of Rivia should be turned into Geraldine a woman? No. I'm just saying it's nice that there is diversity and games that are out there that are similar to Witcher but with a female character and whatnot.
But Cristina, games usually are violent in general. Yes, even in Zelda you are swinging a sword around yelling at the top of your lungs killing things but you are usually killing the bad guys? Ok yes, it is still violent but healthily directed violence? Again, it is not for everyone and not all games are violent if you really want to avoid it.
Gaming can be, is like any other hobby/interest/sport, not something that defines your whole being or how you should be treated/seen. Bow.