Sexism in Video Games? Um…

I’m not jumping on the flame boat here. I’m really truly not. It’s only because I read a Cracked.com piece about types of video game sexism that stretch beyond just on-screen boobage.

There are some cases that probably really fit the title. Other M, for instance, really disempowered Samus Aran. Sure, okay. But now it’s as though any time there’s a female in a video game, especially if she’s not the lead, her character only goes to demonstrate one more type of sexism. I just can’t agree with that.

For example, the article cites The Last of Us as being sexist because… Ellie cried after brutally killing a cannibal/would-be-rapist in self-defense. Sorry, no, it’s sexist because she didn’t cry until her “daddy figure” came to help/comfort her.

I’m sorry, but I think that’s a perfectly valid, natural response in a young girl who just smashed someone else to death after being kidnapped and violently attacked. I’m certain I’d cry. I don’t just think it. I know it.

And video games that target girl audiences are just as likely to be sexist against boys, turning them into perfect beefcakes, slabs of meat to marry or whatever. See any number of otome games for reference.

My point is, constructing a character that appeals to your audience is not necessarily sexist. Or perhaps it is. Perhaps it’s sexist toward your target audience because you’re essentially saying “This is the vapid, hollow meat casing of a character that appeals to you, so here you go.”

Hopefully, with a male/female team on board for The Lotus War, we can avoid many of those tropes other characters seem to fall into. (Although I will not apologize for boobs. Nope.)

what do you guys think? Hasn’t this discrimination thing gone overboard?

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6 thoughts on “Sexism in Video Games? Um…

  1. I would agree that a lot of things are called discriminatory that aren’t. Let’s face it, it would be kind of awkward if there were absolutely no differences between the male and female characters of a game/show. While I do appreciate tough, logical female characters, some of the moments I remember most come from a character (often a female character) feels something that makes no sense logically and yet… put in their position I can imagine feeling exactly the same.

    Example:
    There’s one point in Avatar: The Last Airbender where Katara is talking to her father after they’d been separated for years, ever since he left to join the war. She asks why he left her behind and, while crying, admits that she feels hurt and angry. She follows it by saying she understands why he had to leave, and that she knows he had to go.

    I love that scene, maybe because it seems like a realistic response to me even though it’s not logical. It’s possible to give a character strength of mind and strength of will without denying them the ability to feel, even if that means that sometimes they cry. It’s always amazed me how characters can live in a completely different world, with magic and elves and all sorts of other things that do not exist in real life and yet, every once in a while, there can be a scene that strikes me as realistic.

    And I appreciate your quote
    “This is the vapid, hollow meat casing of a character that appeals to you, so here you go.”
    I’ve felt angry at authors over both female and male characters that lacked any sort of depth in an effort to appeal to, well, someone. 😛

    -Rebekah

    • Yes, I feel like Katara was a very well-rounded female character. In fact, Avatar did well in fleshing out the characters, male and female.

      But definitely: what does it say about the author’s opinion of their audience when they try to appeal to them with a sub-par character?

  2. If its sexist when a female character cries in a video game then its sexist when a male character does NOT cry in a video game. The latter notion goes to show how shallow such an argument is.
    Oh, and the sexism argument is so open ended that you can find fault in absolutely anything.

  3. Pingback: The Creation of a War

  4. Pingback: Reworking Fantasy Characters | The Creation of a War

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