Looking at the industry more broadly, it’s no surprise that many female-identifying video game players don’t feel confident about following their interests more seriously. According to a Forbes piece published earlier this year, only 5% of video games feature a female protagonist, with countless feminine characters—and those who play those roles—being hypersexualized, objectified, or even harassed within gaming communities.
However, the outlook for girls in gaming isn’t entirely bleak. From professional roles in e-sports and streaming to gaming for fun’s sake alone, there’s an increasing number of non-male gamers picking up their controllers and activist organizations working towards a more safe and inclusive gaming industry. Today, more than ever, girls and women can play the games that interest them with greater confidence and less apprehension.
Follow your interests.
Before you set out to become a gaming master, take some time to consider what you’re looking for in your new pastime. For instance, you might want to take on Apex Legends or League of Legends, while another player might be interested in Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. You’ll find certain games are marketed to or assumed to be played by players of a particular gender. Nevertheless. there’s no hard and fast rule saying you can’t play a certain series or genre. If you’re interested in a game, look into playing it—don’t let anyone’s opinions but your own determine what games you play.
Craft your ideal setup.
Once you’ve chosen a game and platform, you get to have some fun crafting your setup. A PC gamer, for instance, will want a gaming desk and chair, monitor, and accessories, while someone on an Xbox or other connected console will want their device, controllers, and television to be game-ready. Someone playing with a Switch or other handheld device, meanwhile, might stick to making sure their console, case, and similar accessories are the best they can be. Your goals for gameplay, too, will affect the type of setup that will best meet your needs.
Planning to become a streamer or start a YouTube channel based on your gaming experience? You’ll want to find the best streaming lights with the right brightness to ensure you’re comfortable with how you look on the webcam—of course, your look isn’t as important as your content, but it helps ensure you feel more confident while creating the best videos, live streams, or other media possible. Your setup, then, will include your unique combination of fill light and key lights and ring lights or softboxes.
While you might want to look good on camera, that doesn’t mean you have to meet a certain expectation that others have for girls who game. If you want to rock a manicure with bold stick on polish, go for it. Prefer to go nail polish-free and show off your favorite hoodie or band tee? That’s great, too. Wear what you want while gaming or streaming, and act naturally while there. If you have a naturally bubbly personality, let that shine through. Someone else might be more private and introverted, preferring to focus on their gameplay rather than themself—that’s just as valuable in a gamer’s efforts. The same is true of your setup. If you want colorful stickers covering your console and accessories, find the stickers that speak to you.
On Twitch, Discord, or on your own at home, becoming a female gamer can be an intimidating prospect. However, with enough confidence in yourself and your new hobby, you can enjoy video games as much as a male gamer, if not even more so. Even if you find yourself struggling with harassment or negativity, focus on yourself and your wants and needs—care for your mental health through any negativity and come back to your favorite game with confident strength. More often than not, that cruelty is sparked by envy of your newfound talent.