All-women online gaming community established in China to provide friendly and comfortable spaces for female gamers
Published: Mar 08, 2021 11:18 PM
Some female cosers play roles in the online game. Photo: VCG

Some female cosers play roles in the online game. Photo: VCG

Seeing the online gaming world dominated by men and the unequal treatment toward female gamers, a group of Chinese woman gamers have established an all-female online gaming community on Douban, a major Chinese media review platform, in an attempt to build an online "Garden of Eden" for women everywhere.

On Wednesday, International Women's Day, the founder Tuo Tuo, a fan of single-player online games, told the Global Times that she built the online community "Female Players' Union" in April 2020 because she was unsatisfied with gaming forums and online communities where female players have few chances to express themselves and where their skills or appearance are often insulted.

"Many male players judge the appearance of the female characters in online games and so game studios produce good-looking female characters with hot figures to cater to their interests, which makes female players uncomfortable," Tuo Tuo said.

A female player uploaded a review of Cyberpunk 2077 in which she criticized some character designs in the game, but she was verbally attacked by other male players.

She said she felt this behavior reflects the real world and the experiences of some women in their daily lives, so she wanted female gamers and women in general to have a place to gather together so their voices could be heard.

Such insulting posts are not seen in the all-women community, which sticks to objectively discussing the quality of games and bans personal attacks.

Female members across a range of ages and various occupations have joined the group to not only discuss games but also make friends and talk about their lives.

"This is a force of rebellion for women," Tuo Tuo explained, adding that she hopes that the community, which has more than 26,000 members, can help the voice of female gamers reach game developers so they will realize that only catering to male gamers is wrong.

Establishing a community  

The founder said the community did not prevent men from joining at the start nor did they have to screen those who wanted to join in the community.

However, female members quickly started protesting since they grew tired of numerous posts from men looking to date or the poor attitude of some posters. 

So the administrators of the community revised the regulations after a lengthy discussion. Male members are now not allowed to expose their gender and are considered female by default once they join the group.

The new regulations, however, did not improve the atmosphere of the community, and so Tuo Tuo made the decision to make the community a female only forum.

Administrators need to decide whether applicants are women or not, which can be like a detective story.

"Some men longed to join our group after we emphasized in the announcement that we just accept women," Tuo Tuo said.

As applicants need to send their audio recordings to prove their gender. Once a man tried imitated how a woman speaks in an audio recording to sneak into the group but was discovered by administrators.

Applicants are also required to write down their gamer ID on menstrual pads and submit a photo, which the admins believe most men will be too shy to do. 

After eight months, the community's name reached the Douban App's home page, which the members see as great progress. 

Things have been going smoothly for the community at present, which Tuo Tuo finds satisfying. She noted that she hopes the the community can continue to be a safe harbor and communication space for all women.

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