If you have never heard of Ubisoft’s all-female gaming ambassadors The Frag Dolls, I honestly can’t blame you, because until today I didn’t even know they existed. The Frag Dolls (TFD) have been around for 11 years and it was just announced by Ubisoft that they would be shutting down the estrogen powered team for good. In fact, their homepage has already been stripped away so it can direct you to Ubisoft’s North American page.
TFD grew to be a 22 woman team of hardcore gamers who were assembled to dispel common stereotypes about women in gaming. They would do this by going on dates with male gamers, attending game conventions and even winning a professional LAN tournament. I know it’s hard to read sarcasm over the internet but “with a resume like that how could Ubisoft possibly shut them down?”
That’s what I find so interesting about this disbanding of TFD. Okay, Ubisoft is shutting them down and cutting off their funding, but honestly these girls seem like nothing more than a well funded club of like-minded gamers. I don’t see what is so special about them other than the fact that they have two X chromosomes. Their website is already damn near impossible to find anymore and all that remains is their YouTube channel, which is still online for nostalgic purposes. The Frag Dolls are no more and Ubisoft wants to make this crystal clear, but why?
Nobody Truly Cares If Girls Play Video Games
The novelty of female gamers simply wore off. Perhaps to a few boys, hearing a girl played video games was exotic, but now it’s fairly commonplace. They may not play the same games that male gamers do, but just about any girl over the age of 13 can pick up the sticks for a few rounds of Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros. We can argue about if that makes them true gamers or not in another article: these girls were, and now they’re unemployed.
According to TFD themselves, the reason they’re gone is due to the fact that they just weren’t needed anymore. Apparently, everything Feminist Frequency has been touting is for nought, as gender equality in video games is at a point where there is no need for critical and or promotional programs to get girls into gaming. Co-founder of The Frag Dolls Morgan “Rhoulette” Romine released this statement on the closing of TFD:
The essential appeal of the Frag Dolls emerged from those delightful moments of surprise when people discovered that women like us not only loved video games, we were REALLY GOOD at them….Now, more than a decade later, the sisterhood lives on, but the world of video games has evolved. We can count it as progress that “girls playing games” is no longer the source of surprise that it once was,‘ Romine explained. ‘We’ve said many times over the years that we hoped to one day see true gender equity across gaming communities, rendering an all-girl gaming team unremarkable. I won’t claim that we’ve reached gender equity, by any means; we still have a long way to go. But there has been progress enough that we’ve reached the clear beginning of a new era,‘ Romine added, citing a statistic claiming that 44 per cent of game players today are women – ‘lower than we’d like among the most popular AAA games, [but] we’re encouraged by the steady growth that number represents.
The Frag Dolls no longer exist because they are no longer needed. Translated into corporate terms, this means they are no longer profitable. Video games have undeniably changed a great deal in the past 11 years and it seems that this is just one indication of the coming collapse of all groups, press outlets and the sort who wish to constantly portray women as victims in the gaming community.
Did TFD dispel any stereotypes? Not really. Will they be missed? By a few. Did they accomplish anything? Whatever they need to tell themselves to sleep at night. I wonder how long it will take for Intel to pull the plug on its new “females in gaming” initiative? I’m going to guess less than 11 years.