An interesting point was kind of discussed in the THE PATCH #67. Specifically that Adult women are now the largest demographic in gaming. While I will not argue the view of what is really 'gaming', in the view of many people who consider themselves 'real gamers'. I will instead talk a little about Ryan's question about his perspective of there not being many female gamers when he was younger, and how he wondered when it may have changed.
For me being 30 this year, his comment immediately put the reason for this into my mind. Well... at least it made me make connections as to what I think is the main cause for this to have happened. I think that as gamers have grown up they have been in an interesting position that has happened to many mediums of entertainment through out history. That is simply that they they have grown up using that medium and became the authoritarian figures of society and more locally their own children and friends. I know many female gamers who picked up gaming due to friends, brothers or even their own parents playing games with them. I think because games had a core audiance that perhaps was mostly male, that allowed it to sustain itself long enough that the people playing them introduced it to those that they had the ability to influnce. I don't think it's directly down to the face consoles became really big, as much as I think consoles became really big in lieu of more people becoming gamers regardless of their sex.
Perhaps the industry itself has blinded the core of what was it's market to not realise how many female gamers there actually was. I mean you'd only need to look at the male gratifying games to think that all those millions of sales is purely a male market. But instead, we missed the possible reason being that a female gamer wouldn't necessarally be put off a game due to the content. Prefering to enjoy the game for the story, mechanics or even just to beat other gamers at it in a competive enviroment. I think if you really considered the numer of gamers playing and consoles owned you'd probably find that the idea of a male lead is perhaps more a construction of a market that was trying to pander to what it perceived as it's market as opposed to proof of it being a male only hobby.
The only thing gaming has taught me was that the majority of the time if someone came out as a female gamer they'd be subject to a range of horrible stigma, stupid chat up lines and various comments from people. So much so that if reversed it would have made me less sociable than I was as a male gamer, and perhaps made me unwilling to enable it in any capacity. This may have made it so female gamers just stayed within their own social groups, with perhaps male gamers who had already played games with them. Meaning that female gamers were missed due to the nature of the beast and the culture that it fed and we let ourselves believe what the industry believed was true, was absolutely true. Instead of realising that sex didn't dictate an interest in a hobby. That a hobby was always the sole reason someone picked it up.