What girl gamers wear at conventions matters more than it should.

Okay, I’m going to go a little off-topic today. I blame Averna for it.

Averna at Nerf this Druid wrote an article about the Frag Dolls (a female gaming group). I didn’t know a whole lot about them until Averna posted about them, so what I’m posting today is based on the hour or two I spent “studying” up about them. Averna didn’t give them a great review, but I think part of the problem could have been that the magazine didn’t do a good job of promoting them in a way that looked favorable. However, I haven’t read the magazine article, so I don’t know for sure.

So, I went and looked at the Frag Doll’s website. I looked at some of the pictures. I read through a couple things, skimmed through some videos – just to get a feel for their site. I really think that if they are trying to promote gaming for women that they are trying really hard, but that trying to do that at events full of men is not the easiest thing to do.

I’ve been to some of those conventions, like the San Diego Comic Con. While there are girls who go to Comic Con, when I went, I felt outnumbered to a great extent (even if I went with a group of mostly girls), and it feels like half the girls who do go are wearing… not much at all.  When I used to go to that convention, I joked about “dressing down”, instead of dressing up for it. If the girls wear T-shirts and jeans, they are still going to risk being objectified at gaming conventions and oogled at by little boys. If they actually wear baggy sweat pants, they still won’t be taken seriously any more than they already are. That just feels like part of life in the gaming world.

They could also dress so much more skanky at those events. Most of the pictures of under-dressed women in their picutres at gaming events are not the Frag Dolls. Just because they wear makeup and actually look “pretty” to some extent is really just part of how the company they work for wants to dress them up as. Also, their “glamor shot” picture on their front page seems much more air-brushed than the actual pictures of them at the gaming conventions and such. They look a lot more like real people in the convention pictures. It also sucks that I’m talking about what they dress up as, instead of talking about their gaming acomplishments.

Then again, I can also tell by looking at their website that they aren’t targeting me (a girl gamer in her mid-20’s) with how their website is designed. It looks like their target audience has to be a little bit younger (I hope!), or maybe their problem is that they are just missing their target audience by putting so much pink into their color pallet. So, they’re trying to do something that isn’t easy, and so they attract probably more male fans than female fans. That’s just something you expect from any girl gaming group – whose job is to promote gaming.

In the end, what gender you are shouldn’t matter, and how “hot” you are also shouldn’t matter, which is why I avoid doing things like posting pictures of me on this site, except for pictures of my NE druid. I want to be thought of as someone who knows about the druid class, and not as a “gamer chick”. This is also where Ferraro got it all wrong – you don’t need pictures of hot chicks on the front page to sell your website. Just having quality information is enough – and quality information just seems to be lacking on the Frag Doll’s website. Instead of having game reviews for girl gamers to read and want to play the games, we get to watch a video review of shoes (so what?). I think they could easily change the site to be better targeted at the girl gaming demographic, but if pink and pretty sells, then that’s what the big game companies think they have to do to make money.

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11 Comments

  1. Fleethoof
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t there a picture of you from Blizzcon last year asking a question at a panel? I feel like it was linked around on the forums for a while, but maybe I’m crazy :)

  2. Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, there was. It got posted up from the class panel at one of the WoW news reporting sites, but I haven’t posted that picture on my blog. I “came out of hiding” at Blizzcon this last year, so that Ghostcrawler would know who I was, and then I asked a question about feral druids (you know I protect my bear & kitty friends, too). I’m not trying to hide who I am, I just don’t support selling content on a regular basis by making it about things other than what I do in-game…

    I thought about posting that picture here to go along with this article, but I decided that it went against what I was trying to say…

  3. Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    My husband used to work at comic/gaming conventions, so I used to spend a lot of time wandering around alone at them. While I usually favor close-fitting tank tops, etc, because I find them comfortable… I almost always limit my convention wardrobe to baggy anime/gamer shirts (as if any gamer shirt comes a size less than large and not be a kid’s T?), cuz being alone and leaving little to the con crowd’s imagination can just get creepy >_>

  4. SiuLoong
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I checked out their website after reading this too. If you go into the video section, there are a lot of gaming related videos (not about shoes). And their blogs are very targeted toward games..with the occasional girly article (ahem, its a team of girls.. c’mon.) Seems that one shoes video was just an odd one out. I also read Averna’s tirade against the girl in the video wearing shorts. When is it a crime for a girl to wear shorts? And then base an entire argument against a whole team of gamers? I think a lot more research needs to be put into this before being so judgmental, males and females alike.

  5. Posted June 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s not a crime to wear shorts – I never said it was. It was just an example about how Ubisoft is marketing the Frag Dolls towards men, rather than female gamers, which they say is their target audience.

    Nice article, Liss, it was a good read =)

  6. Moohtree
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion, it’s hard to know what information to put on a website dedicated to attracting girls to gaming … The already convinced girl gamers are just regular gamers like any guy gamer and will want the same kind of info. The non-gamer girls probably won’t even go on this kind of website on their own unless they have a good reason to and this is probably the hardest part for this group.

  7. Hoots
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Good points. However, now that you established yourself as a decent expert on druids, it’s time to expose us to the real you.

    Take it off and “bare-bear” it proudly.

    Good druids dance naked.

  8. Fleethoof
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    @ Hoots

    0.0

  9. Posted June 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    wait… you’re a girl?

    >.>

    i joke, but seriously, good article… i agree that if you’re giving quality information, then “selling” your website via other means, like personal pictures, is not required… the information should sell itself, which, for me, it does. i come here to read your druid experiences so that i may better myself, and i, likewise, occasionally share my experiences in these comments for you or anybody else to add to their knowledge. i dont come here day after day in hopes of drooling over RL pics… i come here to read the information.

    cheers

    Poras
    Officer/Resto Druid
    -Pango Honoratus-

  10. Dwarffinator
    Posted June 16, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Lissanna how about posting that pic on our guild website where it belongs ;)

  11. Brian
    Posted June 17, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    @Moohtree:

    I think that’s exactly the problem here…girl gamers aren’t some strange species totally different from male gamers. In fact, I’m pretty sure trying to attract female gamers by specifically targeting them almost has the opposite result. It seems vaguely patronizing to think girls need special help getting into gaming when there are plenty of female gamers who do fine without their gender being the defining factor.

    If anything needs to be changed to get more girls interested in gaming, it would be making gaming culture less actively hostile to girls. I don’t mean an attitude from male gamers than gaming is no place for girls (although there is SOME of that), I’m talking about being a little TOO interested in female gamers. How many of you have been in a raid with the guy who can’t get over how hot he thinks a female raider sounds on Vent? Show of hands from the ladies…how many find that creepy as hell? And as Lissanna pointed out, in-person meetings at conventions are even worse.

    Groups like “frag dolls”, even if their intentions are good, are basically part of the same problem. I think we all just need to take a deep breath and get over “OMG, there are girlz who play video games!!!!!!!11111″.