November 1, 2006

Girls Aren’t a Genre

Filed under:Gender — Lake Desire @ 4:24 pm

I just found an interesting article Sheri Graner Ray, author of Gender Inclusive Game Design, called Pink Poison. She recalls the history of designing games for girls. Barbie helped things take off, but once the fad was over:

So, while Barbie helped us by opening the door to the idea of games for girls. She also hurt us as the industry used her as the definition for an entire MARKET. That is they redefined a broad and diverse market into a GENRE of “fashion, shopping and makeup for girls ages 6-10.” … hence.. Pink Poison.

Sounds like game developers took games for girls seriously as long as they were about fashion, shopping, and makeup. “Girl games” are treated like a genre–a genre that teaches us how to make ourselves beautiful. No wonder I didn’t have any interest. Girls and women aren’t a genre, a niche.

I may have considered myself homely as a kid, but at least my Barbies had fun. They went Barbies went snow mobiling and built tree houses; they never sat around looking pretty for Ken.



  1. Just to says thanks, I’ve cited some of the above in my Masters dissertation concerning ‘Games as Learning Objects’.

    Comment by Grindug (1) — November 10, 2006 @ 4:48 am

  2. The type of games targeted towards women are ridiculous. Wandering into the local Target, I checked out the shelf for new releases. There were some games that seemed to be aiming towards the “hip chick” image, all with titles including the word “Girl” in it. There were about five at the time and all so generic that I can’t word-for-word remember the titles. I do remember “Girl Party” though. Some other ones involved BRATZ Forever Diamondz and BRATZ Rock Angelz.

    My stance on companies targeting games towards girls has always been: Don’t do it. Since they tend to turn out terrible.

    Comment by Sword Serenity (3 comments) — November 20, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

  3. [...] Girls Aren’t a Genre [...]

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  4. [...] angle. If you find this topic interesting, you’ll probably enjoy Lake Desire’s comments on the article over at New Game [...]

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