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Power Member - Level 10
You’ve probably heard of the 10% in regards to the LGBT
community, or the 99% when it comes to Occupy Wall Street, but you may be
wondering what the 40% is. According to a survey done by the Entertainment
Software Association in 2008, females take up 40% of the gaming population. Keep
in mind that the types of games weren’t
mentioned, so don’t limit your perspective to what you’ve heard in the CoD
lobby. However, don’t be surprised if the enemy soldier that just sniped you
from across the map was a girl.
I will not disagree that there are more guys playing
first-person shooters and more girls playing Farmville, but thankfully some
video game developers have realized that there are girls that do like to play
the “hardcore” games as well and have started tailoring some releases
accordingly. The problem arises in the representation of the XX chromosome.
There seem to be two major issues with the majority of
females we see on our screen: Either she is a damsel in distress or overtly sexualized.
Women have almost always been regarded as the “weaker sex.”
Think of the negative stereotypes people have about women:
Needy, emotional, manipulative, weak, whiny…and these are almost all present in
the scenario of a girl that needs to be rescued. Most of the time she will
scream and cry but never make an effort to fend for herself, so emotional, weak
and whiny are covered. She will also simply wait for someone else to do all the
dirty work for her while she is helpless at the hands of her kidnapper to
fulfill the stereotype of needy and manipulative. What’s more manipulative than
having someone else take care of your pressing problems?
Then, there is the sexualization of female characters that
are simply done to appeal to those who prefer their ladies with less clothing
and bigger breasts. The worst offenders I can think of are the Dead or Alive
women. Jiggly boob physics was a selling point for that game, it’s hard to be
more chauvinist than that. I realize that Dead or Alive is a fighting game, so technically
these girls can hold their own…but must they spar in their bikinis?
Skimpy clothing is not practical in any fighting situation,
nor is running around without a bra. These women are portrayed in a sexual
manner simply to appeal to the majority, without regard to the demeaning
nature. Sure, we should be confident in ourselves and not feel threatened by
pixilated women, but I personally prefer playing a woman character I can relate
and look up to. These characters don’t fulfill either of those roles. And don’t
even get me started on high heels.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some strong, independent,
modestly clothed women in video games, but they are not the majority. A lot of
females in games are still someone to be rescued, a kind of trophy to be won,
or eye candy to be stared at. I hope that as we progress as a society, we also
move forward with our image of women in the gaming world. Heck, maybe we can
even have a guy that needs saving by a girl sometime.
Disclaimer: The views
expressed in this writing are purely opinion. Conflicting opinions are expected
and welcomed. All characters are property of their respectful creators and publishers.