For the women who need us most

For the women who need us most

I’m Werking On My…

I’m Werking On My…

Life as a gamer girl: Starting on hard mode
By Aaron Byrne
Image: Gamer girls

Is being a ‘gamer-girl’ a cheat code to success… or an obstacle keeping you stuck on level one?

Gaming’s often considered a pretty dude-y thing. Picturing your typical gamer, the image of a guy hunched over his desk, face illuminated by his tacky RGB keyboard, casually screaming slurs over Call of Duty, probably pops into your head.

But in recent years, women have taken control of the narrative that games are just for guys, and are making sure that the industry knows that they can kick-ass just as hard as anyone else.

According to Sky, 47% of gamers in the UK being women so it’s no wonder that some have been able to transform what was once a hobby into something profitable – and sometimes, make their entire career.

Yeah, a stacked portfolio would be an understatement.

If you can think it, Bec (aka @causticphoenix) does it. By day – she’s a Course Director at Full Sail University for the Game Business & Esports program and co-owner of the production company Bad Guys – but she’s also a content creator, producer, host, performer, and voice actress for various indie games.

Bec chatted about the hitches that arise when you’re a girl in the gaming space: “In some ways, the struggles are similar to the ones men have – meeting demands for content, staying relevant, maintaining the joy of gaming, just to name a few… but, admittedly there’s a layer of additional challenges. And yes, everyone has challenges – but there are certainly unique ones that often apply to those in the minority.”

47% of gamers in UK are women

Bec highlighted historic barriers in Esports, where women often lack mentors, advocates, and sponsors. Mentioning the safety concerns that many women face in gaming environments…

“There’s a lack of awareness – like when conventions or tournaments are held in sketchy places, young women are particularly more vulnerable. Organisers don’t comprehend how an experience could be different for women. One place literally had an app where people could follow other registered attendees – like, it literally showed their live location along with their picture to anyone with the app.”

That’s a safety risk.

Georgia (aka @ffairygee), is a third-year student at Sheffield, and in her time away from deadlines and coursework, she livestreams herself playing League of Legends on Twitch often amassing hundreds of viewers who donate to, or pay monthly subscriptions to her streams.

“People say things like Oh it must be so easy being a female streamer, and yeah, while there are pluses – there are way more negatives.”

Despite the trolls, she hasn’t allowed a couple ignorant comments to ever pierce through her thick skin.

“You get a lot of people trying to discourage you when you’re a female streamer – once there was a guy who’d repeatedly enter my stream and say Wow you fell off, I remember when you had more viewers.”

“I was like, dude. Please just be quiet and let me stream.”

Bec said: “Some things are pretty malicious, or at the very least selfish. There’s the dumb game commentary – which is why I don’t have my mic live. For competitive gaming, this can impact your ability to play ranked (games where the player often competes in order to be placed at a higher prestige/level).”

“Either your naturally higher-pitched voice will make you a target, or you keep your mic off and suffer the disadvantage of not being able to communicate with your team.”

Overwatch creator Tiger LiIy (@Tiger_LiIy) posted to Twitter/X asking people about how they felt when someone comes into your stream and tells you to smile more

Bec explained: “Sure, the phrase can be said to anyone, but it’s often said to women. That’s where I feel our talent takes a back seat, and the focus is more on how we look. I can’t always answer requests – especially on Twitter, Discord and Twitch without hesitation. I tend to receive something sexual about once a week.”

“Still, gaming is a rewarding experience to help create communities, shape the industry, and support amazing creators. Video games are the most immersive form of media. All the things I do, I love – they’re my creative expression. 

“It’s art. It’s life. Even better, I can do all of it with others, for others.”

Cosplay content creator and influencer LexyKary, discussed the challenges of being judged based on appearance, rather than content quality. Despite pressure to conform to a ‘gamer-girl’ aesthetic, she prioritizes authenticity in her work: “I don’t worry much about what people are posting, or the likes or views I get compared to others, because I don’t want it to factor into how or why I post.”

“Being a female content creator can be challenging, because a huge factor into the success of some posts is down to appearance reasons.”

“When a male cosplayer posts, viewers will often focus on quality and accuracy. However, when a female cosplayer posts, they’ll focus on what her body looks like, how much skin she’s showing, her amount of makeup, and whether she’s conventionally attractive. It’s a challenge for someone who wants to keep their content appropriate for all ages and SFW.”

“I’d say that the ‘gamer-girl’ aesthetic definitely plays into how well my content’s received. But I wouldn’t say I have that aesthetic.”

There’s often the belief that if you’re a girl and you make gaming content – you’re practically given a torpedo pass to success. But to Georgia, that’s far from the truth. 

“I know so many female streamers who are all at different levels of growth – so I think it’s wrong to say female streamers only grow because they’re women. Otherwise, we’d all be massive steamers.”

While leaning into being a ‘gamer-girl’ can come with its short-term benefits, there’s more to it than playing into what a handful of your audience are entertained by.

“Maybe I used to play into the typical ‘gamer-girl’ aesthetic. I dressed very ‘e-girl’-y. I had pink and black hair, played support roles, and definitely honed in to it a bit. I’d have stream titles that were like Support Kitten Ready to Heal You. Looking back, I think it’s really cringey, and I’d never ever do that now. But I was so new to streaming that I thought it’d help me grow.”

Georgia advocates for inclusivity in gaming, and resists labels and stereotypes – instead focusing on building supportive communities that challenge gender norms in the industry. 

“I’m a girl who plays games – so yeah, I get called gamer girl and e-girl… but I don’t fit that aesthetic anymore. If anything, I steer away from it. I make a point now to not play support roles in games (which is the ‘gamer-girl’ stereotype) – and I play other roles instead – because when I did play support, I always got negative comments anyway.

“I’ve had people say I’ve helped them when they’re in really dark places – and it honestly means the world to me that I’ve done that. I always try to bring up any women that follow me, or who’s ever in my chat.”

Gaming content as a profession can admittedly seem daunting to make your career, nevertheless, the industry’s rapidly improving, and becoming more welcoming than ever for women who’re just as entertaining and skilled as their male counterparts.

To read more on women in male dominated fields, click here-