Are video games sexist?
I've been watching the ongoing youtube series called 'tropes vs women in video games' and she makes a compelling argument about the damsel in distress. While I don't think anyone would deny that strong video game heroines exist, the over-use of the helpless princess as an object of desire is a bit outdated. Thinking about female characters in recent mainstream games, and the roles they played, do you think video games are sexist?
I don't. I believe that the damsel in distress is situationally-appropriate, and that on some occasions the presence of a hapless woman contributes to the integrity of the story line.
I have played games where the lead character is female and awesome (the Mass Effect trilogy), and is in no way in distress or helpless. But I have also played other games where the oversexualized female characters are utterly worthless and have to be rescued (Dante's Inferno). Despite this far-reaching spectrum, the concept of the female character is currently undergoing somewhat of a revolution that will hopefully encourage developers to employ them more. With games such as Gears of War and Beyond: Two Souls- both of which feature either strong female supporting characters or a strong female lead- I am planning to see more ladies in action sometime soon.
In a nutshell, some storylines simply require a damsel in distress to be rescued. I try to enjoy the game that I'm playing without thinking into it too much (unless it requires heavy thought)
Not all video games are sexist, no, but many have deep recurring sexist themes. One of the largest genres, action, is heavily consumed with sexist themes. Many involve a macho male hero rescuing a girl in need. Even if she is the best fighter, she will still be the one to break down and cry in many stories.
This isn't to say all games are sexist. But look at Star Wars KOTOR: Bastila, the amazing Jedi. She succumbs to the dark side and is often in situations where she can't save herself. This is the only example I could come up with on a moment's notice, but there are many games where this is true.
Either way, just as with any source of media entertainment, video games can be sexist, but are not inherently sexist.
More often than not, yes, I believe they are. The over sexualisation and exploitation of the female character's role in video gaming has become so clear I can taste it in my spit. That's not to say that every single female in every single video game is depicted as petty and entitled, but most of the time they don't seem human in the slightest.
However in the same ways that sexism and blatant misogyny are expanding (i.e Bayonetta was made for this, as was Duke Nukem), so is it decreasing. The amount of games where women are being treated properly is increasing, especially in RPGs - the amount of armour-kinis is reducing considerably, and heroines are becoming all the more popular because of their seriousness and humanity.
If anything, video games were far worse in the pre-Playstation 2/GC/Xbox era than now because of how poor stories were. You literally didn't have enough disk space to make a story, so the extent of storytelling before was mostly "you bad, princess taken, go kill!". I think we've just become more sensitive as years have gone by, and video games weren't nearly as expansive as they are now.
It's a serious question that requires serious thought, and should be explored a lot more than just this question! ^^
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