Hey Bitmobbers! This is my first article I’m doing (and hopefully not the last!) and I am really excited to get this finally up. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and comment on it!
An issue that has been brought up recently and has been going on in gaming culture for years is the objectification of women. Games love to throw in a top heavy beautiful female to shoot stuff and kick some ass. While some people love that, there are a growing number of people who are turned off by this.
Do I see this as a problem? Of course not, I like to follow the line “Whatever Floats your boat” as long as you aren’t doing damage to others (John Stuart Mill’s harm principle). My problem with this issue is how people are going about it.
Many people voice their displeasure while others feel so strongly about it that it affects their buying preferences. However many people I think fall short of the real issue. Women ARE objectified, but you would be naive to think it stops there. Many people can mention many female characters that are a negative image (Most females in fighting games, Lara Croft etc.) but have trouble naming characters that are a bit more authentic (Like Jade from beyond Good and Evil).
Let’s flip the table for a second. Many Male characters in video games are objectified to a certain extent as well. Marcus Fenix, and his gears, Master Chief, Mario, Chris Redfield and Ryu Hayabusa are all popular male characters in video games. Look at yourself and your other male friends for a second? Do any of them physically look like them? You might find one that resembles Mario a bit, but the others no way.
Ever see a group of guys on the street look like this? No you say? That is a surprise…
Would you or your friends singlehandedly walk into Kabul or Baghdad and start fighting back the insurgents (The real life equivalent of Marcus with three other guys going right into the locust stronghold to capture the Queen)? No? What about taking on an entire army and saving the galaxy from ancient weapons meant to wipe out a galactic parasite? No? What about going into a fortified castle alone to rescue some broad with almost no guaranteed reward in return? No? Can any guys you know throw a fully grown man into the air, catch them and throw them to the ground (The Izuna Drop)
I and many other men do not fit into most of the physical or emotional/personality characteristics of most male videogame characters. While most women aren’t double D breasted bombshells, most guys aren’t sculpted behemoths. Objectification happens on both sides of the gender divide. The reason why women are more noticeable is because of the audience. Sorry ladies, 70% of people who play games are guys and I’m not talking about those silly Facebook or web browser games either, REAL games.
Why are characters like Nathan Drake known for being so popular? It is because he is personable, likeable and authentic, same with Alex for Half-Life 2 and Jade. There are so few of these characters in video games today on both sides, not just females.
Once more women start playing video games; I think we’ll see more people complaining about male characters as well. I hope that for the future, when this issue comes up that it won’t be just about women but men as well. Unless women expect guys to be like Ryu Hayabusa, because then I’m screwed….