July 6, 2017

Representation of women in video games needs to change

 

 

Video games and feminism belong to different areas of research. Nevertheless, lately we can see more articles addressing representation and objectification of women in video games. Looking for places where gender roles are still well-preserved, researchers found that video games are strongly oriented at boys. Certainly, women are present in most video games, but they are portrayed in very stereotypical roles – a victim to be rescued, a sorceress, a harmless fiction creature etc. In most video games designed for the male audience, women definitely look sexually. In some games, they do not stand in the front line alongside men but influence the combat indirectly. In few games, programmers allowed women perform just the same functions as male characters did.

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Feminist activists view video game industry as a major hurdle to overcoming sexism in the real world. A lot of people play video games, their average age is 30 years old, and a half of all gamers are women. According to BBC News, only 4% of main characters in top selling video games are females. In fact, it is difficult for an average person to remind any leading female character but Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

Female gamers, as well as ladies not interested in gaming, pull our attention to blatant gender bias implemented in popular games. Misrepresentation and wrong portrayal of women must not exist in the bias-free society (not that we can consider ours as such), but even with the current state of events in the industry, sales remain impressive and revenues – enormous. Perhaps, if females as a half of the target audience stopped buying sexist games, it would hint the developers that something went wrong.

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