In all the time most of us have played video games, and all the groups of people we've been affiliated with, how often is a woman actually attacked for being a girl playing a video game?
Really depends on where you hang out. I've had some bad experiences myself, but only about half of them were caused by actual gamers. Back in middle/high school there where many people who didn't approve of my hobbies. I've had teachers tell me I do more feminine things, like worshipping boybands. Nowadays there are still people who think it's weird that a girl plays games, but like I said, that's mostly people who couldn't tell you the difference between Animal Crossing and Halo.
As for actual gamers, it's usually the guys who don't have much other than games. They usually cling together on forums about specific 'manly' titles or something completely obscure and Japanese. Easy to avoid. I normally only run into the type when they're behind the counter at some gameshop. They're obnoxious and might even seem intimidating when a lot of them gather in one spot but they're harmless as long as you remember most of them are insecure and just trying to defend what they feel is a safe place. From my experience, the best way to deal with them is to remain nice and polite (while kicking their ass).
They're not the problem. The problem is a more subtle sexism that has been a part of games for a long time. Like you said, gaming could use more and better female characters.
I'm accusing this lady of it, but do you think that maybe some of this excessive harassment is trumped up for attention?
Yep, it is. The guys who do the harassing are often just teenagers trying to talk big. Girls are often a minority, so they seem like easy targets. It's annoying, but this type is harmless. Crusading against them just makes female gamers look bad.
And you know what else isn't helping? Professional female gamers who constantly pander to their 'fans', promoting the idea that female gamers are all sexy models (instead of, you know, regular people). The ones I talked to all meant well, but they're essentiale seeking approval from the guys. Kind of like entering the clubhouse, but acknowledging it is, and will always be, the boys' clubhouse.
Which of these two look better (not that either look particularly good.... sorry to be a debbie downer but I get pissed when I don't get decent portfolio shots...) .... One has less clarity but better lighting (obviously)...
Portfolio? Wow, that looks amazing! I don't know anything about this stuff, but I prefer the second one. It looks softer and I think that suits the image better. Aside from the fish on the right, it didn't really lose any of the fine details.