Who Says Poker is for Men and Bingo is for Women? It’s Time to Smash Gaming Stereotypes

We are brought up to believe certain things in life, and these preconceptions of how the world is can often hold people back from doing what they want to do. For years, “correct” gender roles had been clearly defined, with girls wearing pink clothes and boys blue, men playing football and women dancing. But now people are becoming more open-minded, society has a heightened acceptance of the fact that a woman might want to play what are traditionally men’s sports, and men may want to wear pink clothes and dance. It’s the same in the world of gaming, and we need to continue crushing these stereotypes so people can play the games they want to play.

Bingo Sites are for Women, Right? Wrong!

via GIPHY

When you think of a stereotypical bingo player, you may envisage a middle-aged woman shaking her “bingo wings” down at the local bingo hall, surrounded by a cackling hoard of like-minded people. The old-school bingo settings of 20th century were very much a place for women to socialize while their male counterparts were at the pub watching football and playing darts (typical male pastimes). But the internet and online bingo sites have totally changed that. Yes, there are still more women playing bingo than men, but the figures aren’t that different. According to research in The Guardian, in 2013 3% of men played bingo while 7% of women participated in the activity. As bingo sites have become more prevalent, though, they have started to diversify to attract greater numbers of men. They do this by offering a variety of other games.

The same research mentioned above found that 10% of men played slot machines but only 5% of women enjoyed them. This is why a lot of online bingo sites are now giving players the chance to play other games aside from bingo, including jackpot and video slot machines. By doing this, they can appeal to a much wider demographic. Also, men who are attracted to a bingo site by the arcade games may then branch out to bingo, and vice versa for women.

Which Gender Do You Think Plays More Videogames?

YouTube video

Another common misconception is that it’s mainly men that play videogames. The split is actually fairly even. In 2016 there were more male gamers with a 59:41 ratio of men to women, but in 2014 48% of women played videogames according to Statista. The belief that gamers are predominantly men is brought about by advertising campaigns targeting males, says The Verge. Developers should realize that there are just as many women playing the games and cater for them as well. One way they could do this is by including more female lead characters.

Tomb Raider is the most notable series to include a female lead, and from its success other games are starting to take note. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt allowed players to play some quests as the female Ciri (see video above), and there are rumors circulating that the next Grand Theft Auto game could involve a female character. If Rockstar North goes for this then more developers will surely follow suit.

Some Women Have Made it to the Top of the Poker World

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XIPnF1qwiEs

Films like Rounders and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels only included male poker players and reaffirmed many people’s belief that it is a man’s game. But that couldn’t be further from the truth, as more and more women are getting into the game of bluffing and betting. In fact, if you are the type of person who only invites your lad friends round for poker nights, you may be seriously offending your friends of the other sex. Yes, only 16% of women play currently compared to 83% of men, but top women poker players are fighting to even the odds.

Vanessa Selbst has won two World Series of Poker bracelets and has reached the final table of the World Poker Tour twice, Kathy Liebert won the Party Poker Million, and there are plenty of other females kicking it up there with the big boys.

Perhaps the reason that a fairly small percentage of women play poker and few men have yet to take up bingo is down to the fact that they feel unwelcome in clubs and on sites. It is true that for years these games have had strong gender stereotypes associated with them. We need to start smashing these misconceptions about who can play what, and push for greater gender equality in the world of games.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON

in

Gaming

Photo of author

Emma

It's a little lonely being one of the two female writers here, but I do my best! You'll find me covering everything from relationships to the newest gadget I'm excited about.

Leave a Comment