Most video games you go and play, you’ll find that you are a guy and he’s buff and super strong. You’ll also find that the women in the game have barely any clothes on and really large breast. This is quite common and has been this way for a very long time. This has become an issues because that’s not how women really are in the real world. This is why I am writing this paper. Too many games today misrepresent how women are. I am hoping that this paper maybe able to sway gamers and game developers into having more females represented in a better way in the games they play and develop.
How many games can you name with a female main character? You’d probably be able to name one, Lara Croft. Who is the oh so popular archaeologist and treasure hunter. She is one amazing example of a female leader but that’s also a pity because she’s the only one people would think of. A ton of people play video games with male leads but not so many female leads. Female representation in the game industry is terribly low. This would mean that majority of the industry are male dominated and appeal more towards the males that play games.
There are a lot of popular video game titles such as Master Chief from halo or Nathan Drake from Uncharted. As you can imagine, most of these popular heros are all male characters. The disparities between the gaming industry and females in them have led to female misrepresentation and harassment. This would probably be due to the lack of females in courses related to video games such as computer science. Since there isn’t really many females in the development of games, there is no input from them either this would lead to male creators making the characters however they want. This has led to a lot of games where women have been sexualized. Some examples would actually be Lara Croft. The original iteration of her was portrayed as having large breasts and a super skinny waist. This portrayal of Lara Croft appeals to the male masses. This can also lead to false representation of women in the real world. This stereotypes women in having only large breasts and a slim waist.
The video games that do include females have them in a supportive role or a damsel in distress role. This would making portraying women as weak and having to rely on the male main character to assist them. A great example would be Mario. Mario is Italian plumber whose main goal throughout the multiple Mario games is to save Princess Peach. This is the most iconic damsel in distress example. Every version of Mario, you have Mario trying to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser who is the king of the koopa race. The koopa race are basically a turtle like race. Princess Peach is always getting captured by Bowser and Mario is always saving her.
Video games also do not portray women in an accurate manner. Women have been over sexualized more than men in video games. For example, “Regardless of primary or supporting role, research continues to support previous findings that women are portrayed in a sexualized manner more often than men(Zorilla)”. This would mean that when you pick a male character, he’ll be an average guy but when you pick a female character she’ll be super sexualized. A good game that shows this issue is Mortal Kombat 9. The character, Raiden, who is a thunder god but when you see his character, he is not bulked up and super muscley. But when you choose a female character like, Kitana, who is the princess of an alternate realm called Edenia; When you pick her in game, you see that she is barely wearing any clothes. Her front of the body is exposed and not covered at all. This is the perfect example of how the game developers are sexualizing the female characters which appeal to majority of gamers who also aren’t really saying much to this issue. This enables game developers to keep up what they are doing because the gaming community aren’t saying anything.
I think there are some ways of fixing this issue. One would be to change the education process. What I mean by that is that schools today do not really encourage females to get interested in majors that are needed to create video games such as computer science. For example, Chella Ramanan quotes Dr.Richard Wilson on saying that “The video games industry depends upon highly skilled, highly talented and highly qualified people to create games. Typically, 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. There is only a comparatively small pool of potential female employees available to work in the games industry”. This would mean that the gaming industry needs people who major in computer science but the thing is majority of them are males. Which leads to the companies hiring males over and over again. If schools are able to encourage more females in computer science this would lead to companies hiring females and they can give their input on how a female character should be.
I believe that this is gonna be a change that will be soon to come because there are already some great games that have come out that oppose the normal video game girl stereotype. Some examples are Mirror’s Edge and Uncharted:The Lost Legacy. These two games both had female leads and they did not have the females leads wearing super revealing clothing or super large breasts. Also both of the female leads are fully capable and are just as capable as regular male leads in other games. If we can create these two great games, I don’t see an issue with creating more games like that.
Cut scene of Kitana from Mortal Kombat 9
Ramanan, C. (2017, March 15). The video game industry has a diversity problem – but it can be fixed. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/15/video-game-industry-diversity-problem-women-non-white-people