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Statistics conclude that only a little less than half of gamers are female. With a rather high rate of sexualization in the gaming industry when it comes to female characters and the marketing surrounding them, it’s understandable why a female gamer would feel uncomfortable and alienated by her surroundings. To feel such a way among a community in which you desire to be a part of has more than a disheartening effect. Female gamers, as well as women directly involved in the gaming industry have spoken up about the issue on more than one occasion. What we don’t hear nearly quite as often (or at least not in the most productive manner) is how this is all perceived through the eyes of the average male gamer.
In the eyes of the gaming media and press- and especially the mainstream press- the average male gamer is often generalized as someone who enjoys a fair bit of sexualization of female characters in video games for the sake of cheap entertainment lacking in any real substance. This is not always the case. In fact, more often than not, it’s the exact opposite. While in this day and age, gamers are learning to appreciate some of the deeper and more intricate aspects of certain titles, with character development being a prime example.
While the female gamer’s problem with the sexualization of female characters in games is obvious, the problem many male gamers have with the topic lies in developers, publishers, and marketers’ assumption that all male gamers would automatically roll over for a set of boobs and a raunchy, one-sided characterization (or lack thereof). By constantly shoving female sexualization in the faces of male gamers, who you assume to be your main demographic, you’re undermining their interest and regard for character development and meaningful storytelling in the games that they purchase and enjoy. The gaming community as a whole, male and female alike, hold these aspects in high regard, making the issue just as important, if not equal to male gamers as it is to female gamers.
In his review of 2013’s “Metro: Last Light”, Angry Joe addresses his concerns with female sexualization in the game.
Yes, let’s be honest here: there are a fair amount of male gamers who do in fact display an embarrassing and shameful portrayal when it comes to issues such as these. However, it would pay for the gaming press, community, as especially developers, publishers and marketing teams to take note that this, in no way, counts for everyone.