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“yammy xox” or Yammy is a 23 year old British female gamer and vlogger, famous for her various Minecraft series. Launching her ChicksCanGame YouTube Channel in 2011, she has now amassed over 1 million subscribers. We caught up with Yammy to find out just what it is like to be a female gamer and how the industry is changing.
Hey Yammy! How’s it going?
Hey I’m great thanks, hope you’re well
How did you first get into gaming & how old were you?
I’ve been a gamer pretty much all of my life. I’ve grown up with two older brothers who were both obsessed with gaming. I remember watching my eldest brother playing his games and being obsessed with it, and then one day my dad brought me home a Sega Dreamcast of my own, and since then I’ve been infatuated!
40% of women report having played video games, but only 6% identify as ‘gamers.’ Why do you think that is? Do you think there is a stigma attached to being a female gamer?
I honestly feel that women don’t realise they’re gamers. Most of that statistic is driven from app games and so they don’t feel like they’re actual gamers because they’re mobile gaming, but they are real gamers! It doesn’t matter if you’re on a console, a PC or a phone. You’re a gamer if you play games. Also there is a stigma around female gaming that was driven from the early 2000’s. People associate the term girl gamer or female gamers as something cringey or to be ashamed of, when it’s not cringey at all. It’s just the same as any other gamer out there.
Tell us a bit about your experience of being a female gamer! Have you ever experienced any negativity due to your gender?
When I first started YouTube I played Call of Duty and Gears of war, both games have heavy male demographics. If I was to speak to my fellow team mates to communicate about in game situations I would be met with sexist comments and sometimes even disgusting messages in my inbox. I feel like times have started to change now though, women are much more accepted now.
If so, what do you think the industry and gamers themselves can do to change this?
I feel like women gamers need to be included more, although I am seeing more and more companies involve us. Companies are now hiring women as their spokesperson, and presenters at conferences, and it’s really helping to change the way that we’re viewed. Women need to be more involved and help shift the heavily male demographic into a more balanced one.
It seems that there is a lack of female lead characters in most games! Why do you think this is?
I believe this has been down to the developers of games and also the audience that they’re selling to. A few years ago, the gaming audience had a mostly male following and players like to play a character that represents them best, thus why most lead characters were male. Thankfully, with games such as Overwatch which has strong female lead characters, we’re seeing a shift in the way that companies are showing equality!
How do you think we can encourage more young women of all diversities and backgrounds to pursue careers in the gaming industry?
I feel like more females need to get involved, if you have a passion for gaming, then try and get your voice heard, whether it’s streaming, YouTube, or even playing and showing off in front of your friends! We need more females to turn their hobbies into their careers and show that this isn’t just a male dominated industry and with that, will come the next generation of women in gaming.
So on your YouTube channel you have over 1 M subscribers! That’s crazy! It must be amazing to reach that many people; do you feel there is a great deal of responsibility and pressure on you?
There definitely is, I feel this because my audience demographic age ranges from 6-25+ which means I have to cater for a lot of different people. I have to make sure that I don’t include curse words, anything that may offend people such as strong opinions or mention religion etc. I’ve had emails from people’s parents before about using abbreviations such as ‘WTF’ or ‘OMG’!
As well as gaming you also blog a lot about music and fashion. Would you say the three come hand in hand?
I definitely feel like the more time that passes the more that music, fashion and gaming come into a close connection with one another. I recently did a blog competition with a face mask company that had collaborated with Sega! Most people that like gaming are also really into their music too, so honestly yes. They’re all completely separate things, but they all manage to come together in strange and wonderful ways.
What videos do you get the most response to and what do you think this says about the relationship you have with your subscribers?
The videos that perform the best on my channel are ones that mean the audience get to know me better. For instance, my draw my life video where I tell my life story has out performed all of my gaming videos! Q&A videos do really well too. This actually makes me incredibly happy as sometimes gamers are often only watched or viewed for the game and the games content where as I feel my audience watch my channel for me and my personality. It’s really neat.
What advice would you give to any young females looking to get into the gaming industry?
I say do it! I never thought I’d be able to be where I am. I also only thought jobs in gaming were being a game developer or publishing a game, but there are so many options out there. If you’re passionate about gaming, why not try it out?
Do you ever draw inspiration from any of your favourite games or characters and integrate it into your style and appearance?
Funny story, while creating a character on the Sims, I actually found out that silver hair suited my complexion and so I dyed my soon after! Games are a great way of seeing whether or not certain clothing would suit you, or in my case, certain hair colours!
Do you have a video game crush? If so who and why? Our’s is probably Lara Croft. She is a badass!
Joel from the Last of Us, there’s just something about his messy appearance and how caring he is to Ellie in the game, he’s such a sweety!
You are married to a fellow gamer. Does gaming ever get in the way of your personal life together?
Gaming has actually strengthened our relationship! Throughout the ‘honeymoon’ period of our relationship all we did was play Xbox 360 together. Not only that, but my husband got me into some of my favourite games, which has helped shape my career into what it is today!
If you weren’t in the gaming industry what else could you see yourself doing?
Before I was able to make YouTube into my full time job, I was actually going to be a primary school teacher! I just got my offer from the University of Leeds when the opportunity of doing YouTube full time arose, it was a hard decision, but I think I chose the best of the options!
Lastly, what do you have planned for 2018? Do you have any exciting projects coming up that we should look out for?
This year is a big one for me! I’m presenting at one of the biggest gaming conventions which is being streamed worldwide to millions of viewers, I can’t say what that is yet as it’s very secret, but it’s exciting!