The 40%: How Females are Negatively Presented in the Video Game Industry - Silvershine08 Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The 40%: How Females are Negatively Presented in the Video Game Industry

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.


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