This English third year is one of the best female gamers in the UK
Video games aren’t just for boys
Charleyy Hodson isn’t your average girl.
The English third year has made a name for herself as one of the top five most influential female gamers in the UK, balancing a hectic lifestyle as a student, young mother and influential blogger and gamer and even managing a bit of freelance writing on the side. Her blog, Confessions of a Gamer Girl, has topped 20,000 followers.
So what’s it like maintaining the juggling act?
“It’s very difficult, I don’t know how I do it really, but it needs to be done or else it all comes crashing in on itself,” she tells us.
“I find having set uni hours – basically treating it as a 9-5 job – helps. Weekday evenings are then for myself, to either spend with Netflix or a game, and mummy-daughter time is only on the weekends.
“That means I’m able to balance it all out pretty nicely without having to sacrifice one for another.”
“Because I’m so busy with my degree, I don’t have very much time to actually play very many games. It’s tough, but it’s about finding that balance. I have a good work ethic.”
Charleyy’s got fond memories of how she first got into gaming when she was younger.
“I used to hang out at my friend’s house every day and kick his arse at Streets of Rage and Tekken, and my dad bought me a Playstation. I completed all my games in the space of a month or so, and then graduated onto the PC, where I started playing more games. I’d say it was around then I knew gaming was more than just a hobby to me.
“I’m definitely out and proud about my antics with games. I started my blog about six years ago and wrote freelance for a really crappy website and gradually I just picked up more and more of a following.
“I remember the day I got an email from Tumblr saying I was a featured blog – then I got about 15,000 followers in the space of 24 hours! Since then, I’ve starred in podcasts, travelled to London for video blogs, and received passes to the Eurogamer Expo for a few years running.”
The online exposure has been peppered with some negative experiences, though. Female gamers are often targeted by internet trolls and Charleyy has been no exception to this.
“It comes with the territory of being female and having a blog – I’d like to meet anyone who hasn’t received anonymous abuse. Once, my YouTube channel got raided by 4chan and I got loads of comments saying really quite horrible stuff. I laughed at the whole situation, and I did actually get some apologies in the end.”
Charleyy tells us she finds the need some people feel to bring gender into the world of video games peculiar, particularly when some games are marketed as purely for boys/girls.
“I certainly don’t feel excluded from games like Gears of War purely because I possess a functioning womb, so I don’t understand why there’s a clear emphasis on it being a masculine game. The fact these binaries exist just confuses me.
“I’m massively grateful to my fan base who support not because I’m female but for being female. I get a lot of love on my blog and Twitter for being out there as a professional gaming woman, without ever drawing attention to my gender.
“My general approach with anyone who feels they need to make a point about my gender is: ‘Yes, I’m a woman, shrewdly observed. Now what do you think about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Let’s talk about that instead.’ There’s literally NO biological difference in how men and women play games.”
As much as Charleyy enjoys gaming and blogging, she’s acutely aware that the chance of turning it into a full-time job after uni is slim, particularly as she has a young daughter, Scarlett, to look after.
“It would be my dream to pursue a gaming journalism job, but until I’ve gained more experience I’m afraid gaming and blogging will always be a part-time, freelance thing for me. I’m about to enter the world of primary school teaching which looks super-rewarding, but maybe when I’ve been working for a while and my daughter has grown up, I’ll pick the blogging back up more seriously.”