Last week, I talked about how much I think it’s totally unfair that popular media creates real life violence. That got me thinking about an issue that’s fairly close to my heart. And that’s how women are seen in video games.
I don’t think I can talk about this topic without addressing the “devil” who says that women are nothing but objects in video games: Anita Sarkeesian. She reached notoriety for creating a Kickstarter fund so she could create a video series called “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games.” Her plan was to “expose” how women are treated as objects in video games. Well, you can actually read about some of my thoughts on it way back in Episode 27.
What I didn’t write about is if I actually agree with her? Are women really treated like objects in video games? Are they just a prize to be won when you beat the game? Are they just there for boys to ogle at fake breasts? Are girls in video games there to just push the story?
In all honesty, yes to all questions listed… Wait! Before you guys take the pitchforks out, let me finish!
Yes, women are usually treated like the way mentioned in Ms. Sarkeesian’s videos… most of the time. However, I have to say there are a lot of strong women in video games, too!
Girls in video games are usually extremely hot and sexy. Is it fair that they look practically perfect? Well, no. Not in my opinion. But they’re more fleshed out than that! Each and every woman has some sort of distinct personality that gives them some form of depth in character. Even the girls from Dead or Alive, characters that are as much revered for their looks as much as they are derided for the same reason, have distinct personalities.
Take Kasumi and Ayane, the two main characters from the said series. They are actually half sisters who have a rather bitter (and kind of one-sided) rivalry between the two. Kasumi was supposed to be the next leader of her clan when her brother, Hayate, was rendered comatose by their uncle, Raidou. Seeking revenge, she fled from her clan to defeat (and kill) her uncle. But in the process, she became hunted down by her very clan for breaking the rules.
Ayane, on the other hand, was branded as a demon child since birth. She was the result of Raidou raping Kasumi’s mother and she has been spurned ever since. This made her want to prove her worth to the clan as well as jealous of Kasumi (as Kasumi has always been treated like a princess while she had to work hard for everything). After Kasumi was branded a traitor, Ayane made it her mission to track her down.
Okay, while both Kasumi and Ayane are designed to be eye candy, they do have really interesting backstories in my opinion. Also, they have different personalities that match those really different histories as well, making them incredibly fleshed out (pardon the pun).
Even the eternal bubblehead that needs to be rescued all the time by everyone’s favorite plumber, Princess Peach, has a personality! Sure, it may be a stereotype, but… it fits the character! I mean, she does tend to get captured with astonishing frequency but still manages to keep a really upbeat attitude all the time!
I guess the main complaint is that all female characters are meant to look attractive or to suit someone’s taste in one way or another. Maybe that’s the only thing I would say is unfair but I think it’s okay for the most part. Games are not meant to be depict the real world. Video games is a means to escape from the harshness of reality. It’s a means for anyone, both boys and girls, to fulfill their fantasies of being the hero. The idea that you can defeat the villain with pure grit and hard work.
I wouldn’t want to play a game that’s too close to reality. I like that most girls are pretty to look at in games. As long as they have some backstory and personality to go with it, I’m totally fine with it.
Since I’ve been talking about how females in video games are depicted, next week, I’ll talk about my favorite female video game characters of all time!
Are you disgusted by the way women are treated in video games? Or do you like the way they are interpreted in the medium? Let me know in the comments section below!