Can anyone explain to me the current trend of calling women "females"? It seems especially common in video game forums, as people talk about "females," the games they do or don't play, and the role of "females" in games. Not "female gamers," or "female characters." Just "females." It makes me feel rather like an exhibit at the zoo. Like women are some strange, foreign creatures that you learn about on the nature channel, in the broad, sweeping terms that you might hear about lions' hunting patterns or the hibernation of hedgehogs. And I think this word, more than anything else, shows the casual, deeply internalized misogyny of video game culture. When a large and varied group of human beings are referred to as "females," they lose that humanity, allowing them to be more easily dismissed, mocked, stereotyped and rejected. They are labelled as "other" from the very beginning of the conversation, and their concerns, their very presence, is "female," secondary and so easily put to one side.
Perhaps I have just been lucky in my game choice, but I feel like games have improved somewhat in their sexism and their inclusion of female gamers over the past couple of years. It's still not always good, but it's better. Yet as long as the discourse labels female gamers not only as "other" but also as somehow foreign and inhuman, these problems with the video game industry, and with the fan culture around it, will persist.