KI Free Games as you know it no longer exists - it is now FreeKI Games (Freaky?) with a monster-themed background to match. However, there's specifically a section called Games for Girls that has Twitter in a fit about stereotypes, women in gaming, and marketing. Let's recap.
Gaming for Girls?This morning, the site update went live. Take a look at http://www.freekigames.com/. There are a variety of different sections for games - Puzzle Games, Strategy Games, etc. But there's one that's getting a lot of attention - Games for Girls. This section includes a cooking game and spotlight on KingsIsle female gamers.
Johnny assumed that "...they will rotate KI girl employee's info/fav games and KI boy employee's info/fav games." Whatever the case, Katherine Light argues, "It's ... stereotyping girls and telling them what they SHOULD like." She says that the cooking games and others in the section are not fair placements. She notes that men would not like it if they had a section with only high-intensity shooting and action games.
She continues, saying that these games make a statement: "As in 'sure, you COULD choose that strategy game... but most NORMAL girls like to play these COOKING games!'" However, Legends brings up an excellent point regarding gender and sexism, saying, "Still not getting the difference, Girls clothing sections tell girls what NORMAL girls should wear as well." That was interesting to me, and absolutely true. Are girls in gaming really as oppressed as they claim?
Sexism in GamingHere's my input, and whether or not it applies to this specific situation is irrelevant. This is what I said on Twitter: "You are a racist only if you claim one race is superior to another, NOT simply make distinctions between them. Likewise with sexism. Is it fair to generalize? Maybe, maybe not. They can be accurate, as long as they are labelled as generalizations, not absolute rules."
However, Christina Icedreamer made an interesting point: "We are born to our genders, race and ethnicity. What if the heading said 'Games for Latinos' or 'Games for Jews'?"
The Problem With a Girls Gaming SectionAlric brings up a great point. He says, I am against the double standard of since women are the only supposedly oppressed gender men's words are invalid. Secondly, I also don't like the whole attitude that it's somehow bad that someone likes something generally associated to a gender. For example; if my niece likes barbies she is "reinforcing gender stereotypes" and isn't for the 'cause'. Women can be just as guilty as men when it comes to stereotyping and that is my point, it's not just a one-sided battle."
That in mind, I don't think the issue is necessarily stereotyping. Yes, some distinctions are made. But they're just that - distinctions and generalizations. They're NOT absolute rules, and there's nothing wrong with making those distinctions. KingsIsle likely simply placed a number of games in a section with the idea in mind that they'd fill up some space with a creative spotlight. Legends made the comment, "Hmmm...so where is the line between categorizing and stereotyping? I like Ma1kavian's idea, just Play!"
MarketabilityAutumn Dreamwalker, however, brought up a point that is not only relevant, but essential to KingsIsle and marketing their games. She said, "My son is 7 and is very sensitive if someone tells him something he likes is 'girly' He would play a cooking game if it was under a 'cooking game' category, but someone attaches a girl label to it, he wont. He is at an age where he is sensitive to peer pressure and doesn't want to be made fun of."
Suppose there's a girls' and boys' gaming section - this does not solve the problem. It automatically suggest that a certain set of games are to be enjoyed by a certain group of people. And with KingsIsle's target age group, that is certainly a dangerous game to play.
A Closing WordNo matter what the case, some remain firm in their views. Katherine concludes that, "I'm not meaning to sound like I'm going on witchhunt, I think it was well intentioned, but the execution is facepalm worthy. [The] logic in & of itself is discriminatory. It says girls need their own section with pink, cutesy games to want to game."
What do you think? Is sexism a real issue in gaming? Should FreeKI Games be making a chance? Let me know by commenting! As always, thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral.