Dear Video Game companies,
Video games have been around since 1962. Majority of games today still run with the same formula of games as they were in the past. You have your super macho male protagonist while you have a super sexualized female character. This is a misrepresentation of how females actually are. Could it be a possibility that you guys know that they are misrepresented and are exploiting it to gain more money? Characters such as Lara Croft have been portrayed as having really large breasts. This has been the case until 2013’s Tomb Raider which portrayed Lara Croft as more of an average women compared to her portrayal in her earlier games such as Tomb Raider II (1996). This lack of representation of women have been ingrained into gaming culture for a long time, which has led to all sorts of harassments towards women in the gaming industry. As Chella Ramanan quotes “Society doesn’t see technical women enough so it’s assumed that they don’t exist and ‘technology isn’t something women do,” says Anne-Marie Imafidon, co-founder of Stemettes, a group offering free Stem workshops and events for young women”. This means that since the gaming industry is mostly focused around males, it discourages many women from trying to enter fields needed for gaming. I believe this is a great point because if I was a woman and I hopped onto a game and I get hit with responses like you’re bad because you’re a women, I would completely be discouraged in picking up that game and playing it again, let alone try to work in the game creating industry. This “welcoming” will definitely not encourage women in trying to be interested in a field where she’ll only be criticized because of her being a women. As a video game company, wouldn’t it be an interest to make a game that appeals to more people not just males? This could possibly increase revenue and get rid of the negative connotations of women. Another thing companies can do are encouraging more women to join fields that are more male dominated. From the quote I had earlier, Anne-Marie Imafidon is the co-founder of a group which offer free classes that involve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Giving women access to these classes will encourage them to pursue a major related with video game creation and design. Dr.Richard Wilson found that “80% of the workforce is qualified to degree level or above, but the proportion of women studying subjects such as computer science or games programming courses is low”. Which would mean that not a lot of females have the opportunity to really contribute to the development of a game since there are so few women in computer science and other similar programs.
A potential solution to this is to try to have programs that encourage females to join programs related with gaming and this may further encourage more video game companies to hire female employees. They can then have them work on female leads for the game. This will give a better representation of females in video games. There are some great games that have female leads such as Mirror’s Edge and Uncharted:The Lost Legacy. If more companies made games like those two, then we can have more games with accurate representation of women. This will also reduce the harassment of women when they are playing games online. We can them finally break the cycle of always having a male protagonist that is super masculine and is always rescuing women who have really large breasts and butt. This is an outdated cycle that over sexualizes women and glorifies guys. I hope that any video game company that is reading this will be able to change and create more games that are similar to the ones I mentioned earlier.
From Erik Yan