Videogames: not just a boy’s club

There is an unfortunate trend in the videogame universe: Too many male gamers don’t get laid. So they vent their vexations onto fellow gamers who lack a Y chromosome, leaving lady players to feel spurned and marginalized.

There is an unfortunate trend in the videogame universe: Too many male gamers don’t get laid. So they vent their vexations onto fellow gamers who lack a Y chromosome, leaving lady players to feel spurned and marginalized. Rather than invite women into the gaming fray, the (overwhelming) male majority of gamers drop snarky asides and semi-misogynistic comments whenever a girl gamer joins an online match, attends an organized tournament, or plays at a local area network (LAN) party.

Why is it that female gamers are treated as second-class citizens within the gaming community?

It’s hard to pin down a singular, definitive answer, but when considering the marketing and presentation of mainstream gaming, it’s obvious that industry leaders gear their business toward testosterone-laden boys.

Despite this, there is a growing contingent of girl gamers picking up controllers and making their presence known. Such is the extent of the girl gamer revolution that professional groups–often referred to as clans–of female gamers are not only created, but also accepted and revered among pro-gamers. The Vanguard recently got a chance to sit down with two gamers from the PMS Clan, short for Pandora’s Mighty Soldiers, and get their take on what it’s like to game as a girl in a community dominated by men.

About the Clan

The PMS Clan is an all-female gaming group that has more than 800 active members nationwide. The group acts as a vehicle for curious female gamers to join the ranks of serious gamers, providing female players with support and boosting their interest in competitive gaming. Julie Conrad, a member of the PMS Clan, said that the group is also very protective of its community, working to build a platform on which girl gamers can play without fear of mockery from chauvinistic guy gamers who spit constant streams of epithets and derogatory claims at each opportunity.

The Clan was founded by Amber Dalton, a.k.a. Athena Twin, and Amy Brady, a.k.a. Athena. The Clan operates in conjunction with the H20 Clan, a clan founded to honor PMS’s male counterparts who take girl gamers seriously. If you are interested in joining PMS, visit their website at for recruitment and registration details.

What initially attracted you to professional gaming?

Julie Conrad: It just seemed like the obvious thing to do after a while. I had been gaming for years, and when I heard about PMS, I wanted to join and feel like a member of a community that makes being a girl gamer more fun and safe, free from all the crap that comes with playing around guys who don’t take me seriously.

Addie Bugbee: I was really shy at first about gaming, but PMS made me aware that playing with like-minded gamers was far more fun than playing alone. It was also more fun to game with girls that didn’t think about it like I was a minority or something, just because I’m a girl. I guess you could say that community sense attracted me to professional gaming.

Is there a lot of awkward pressure or drama when playing with guys?

JC: Oh yeah. There are about three general reactions from guys when they realize that they’re playing with a chick. The most common is that they start insulting me for being a girl and say really mean, hurtful stuff. I wish I could record some of the things I’ve heard at LAN parties or at tournaments, because it gets really nasty sometimes. Another reaction is for them to just shut down entirely and not say anything, log off and never game around me again. The worst is probably when they start hitting on me.

AB: Definitely. Getting hit on by guys after a match is a pain in the ass. They really suck at it, using really bad lines and treating me like a trophy or an object that they clearly deserve just because I’m a girl gamer. As if we’re not equals until we beat a guy entirely during a match and keep on dominating them.

JC: It sucks that it has to be total victory, though. Like winning by just a bit isn’t enough to prove that we can game as well as guys. And losing opens a floodgate of bragging and in-your-face comments.

Does it ever deter you entirely to deal with those types of male gamers?

JC: It used to, but now that I’m in PMS, I never feel driven to just stop playing. Plus, I’ve been playing for long enough to be practically immune to the shit guy gamers give me.

It sounds like PMS is doing its job to make you feel secure in your gaming.

JC: Definitely. I love showing up at tourneys and playing with my fellow girls and just having fun, especially when H20 guys are there, because they make it fun without being a typical male gamer.

AB: Yeah, it’s pretty great to be in PMS. I love meeting fellow girl gamers and sort of sensing an unspoken bond of friendship, without ever having to feel awkward about being a girl who games.

JC: It’s awesome to develop relationships with gamers online, guy or girl, when you’re a part of PMS. You meet the person before you ever meet the face. Other players will recognize that you’re serious about it, not just some guy’s girlfriend who was randomly handed a controller and playing to appease him. The Clan has serious hardcore gamers and many sorts of women that you wouldn’t expect. There are mothers, older sisters, women in the gaming industry, women who also play a lot of sports. It’s a really good range, and I really enjoy meeting and playing with them all.

Is there anything you want to say to male gamers?

AB: Yeah, take us seriously. We’re not just dumb bitches who should go back to the kitchen.

JC: Seriously, I hate hearing that. To guy gamers, I just want to say that it shouldn’t matter that I’m a girl. I’m still a gamer, and that’s what brought us together in the first place: the games, not the genders. As long as guys respect me and recognize that it’s not a fault to be a girl, I will gladly play match after match with them. And I’ll always be able to find fellow chicks that game, and I hope guys accept that we are truly coming into our own as a community of female gamers.

AB: Definitely. We’re here to stay. [Bugbee laughs and pumps a mock-victory fist.] Long live PMS Clan!

Gamer profiles

Name: Julie ConradAge: 19Location: Portland, ORSchool: Portland State UniversityGaming handle: PMS VanillaFavorite game series: Halo

Name: Addie BugbeeAge: 18Location: Lake Oswego, ORSchool: Lewis and Clark CollegeGaming handle: PMS ChocolateFavorite game series: Halo