Gaming Needs More Female Critics, But No Agendas, Please

The girl gamer is very real and as such, we need female critics who are a credit to the industry.

The girl gamer is very real and as such, we need female critics who are a credit to the industry.


When we were kids in the ’80s, the “girl gamer” was sort of like a mythological creature. We had heard rumors that it might exist, or that it potentially could exist in an alternate universe (an undeniably more attractive universe, too), but none of us had ever actually met one.

In school, zipping around on the playground, gossiping in the coat closet, no girl ever joined in on our SNES vs. Genesis debate. If it had happened, it would’ve been impossible to predict our reactions.

These days, though, the industry has progressed and the girl gamer is very real. While none of us at VGRHQ believe that half the core gaming populace is comprised of females, video games are everywhere now. As such, just about everyone plays them, whether they’re “hardcore” or not.

Therefore, it’s important that we have more female perspectives on the review side. If you check most publications and sources, the vast majority of all critics are still male.  Now, we try to be entirely objective in our selection process and we don’t even look at the name of a critic until after we’ve read a review and formed an opinion.

Female critics can offer a different perspective, but it shouldn't be all about the fact that she's female.

Female critics can offer a different perspective, but it shouldn’t be all about the fact that she’s female.

As it turns out, we’ve already honored several great female critics: USGamer’s Kat Bailey (for her Drakengard 3 review), NowGamer’s Kirsten Kearney (for her The Elder Scrolls Online review), Game Informer’s Kimberly Wallace (for her Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster review), and The Independent’s Laura Davis (for her Mario Kart 8 review). These are professionals who are a credit to the industry.

However, while we love to see more females get involved in our favorite hobby, and we absolutely need more female perspectives on the review site, we will add this: We don’t need female critics with agendas. We’re not naming names and honestly, we’re not looking around for such individuals. We’re simply saying that those who wish to produce professional reviews for games should do their jobs, offer their unique viewpoints (which can be based on being a girl gamer), and that’s it.

This is what all good critics should do. If you’re a woman and you write a review of last year’s Tomb Raider reboot, and you spend the entire time talking about how Lara’s portrayal isn’t realistic and is still insulting to females, that’s not an objective analysis. The thing all critics need to remember is that a review isn’t about them; it’s about the readers who are ultimately consumers. You’re supposed to be doing them a service.

Yeah, this may not be the quintessential girl gamer. But don't spend the entire review yelling about it.

Yeah, this may not be the quintessential girl gamer. But don’t spend the entire review yelling about it.

Girl gamers who spend reviews expounding on the hardships females face in the gaming world aren’t doing us any good. By all means, write editorials, articles, op-eds, etc. on the subject. Expound away. But that is not what reviews are for. Reviews are where you display your general gaming expertise, your writing proficiency, and your ability to engage the reader (critical when analyzing an entertainment product). Reviews should never be used as personal soapboxes.

That’s what op-eds are for. Reviews are very different, and no editor should allow soapbox rants in reviews. Obviously, this extends beyond female gamers; it applies to male gamers as well. Indeed, it extends to any individual who claims to be a critic. Yes, we need more feminine perspectives, but we’ll only progress if those perspectives are from passionate, knowledgeable professionals who understand that what they’re producing is a service, not an agenda-fueled rant.

Thank you. And as for the ladies we’ve honored – Kat, Kimberly, Kirsten and Laura – we hope to see more great stuff from them, and more great female critics who follow in their footsteps!

4 thoughts on “Gaming Needs More Female Critics, But No Agendas, Please”

Being a female gamer, I completely agree with this article.

Every time I read yet another personal rant in a review, I think we’ve taken a step backward, not forward. If women want to be respected as professionals in the world of video games, they have to ACT like professionals. Period.

Wow. If you say that to the wrong woman, she’ll scratch your eyes out. 😉

Yes, this.

Not that I think all girl gamers should just be quiet, but reviews aren’t the place for it. Editorials, fine. Rant all you want. But as the article says, reviews are a service.

I have no interest in reading a review that’s obviously written by a woman who has a bone to pick with the entire world. How is that review helping me make a purchase decision concerning the game? How is telling me anything about the game at all?

A professional with an agenda, in any industry, is counterproductive. That’s what I say.

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