Gender in Games

            The gaming community has always been a place perceived to be dominated by men and their need to exert their masculinity. Although the gaming community has been perceived this way, it is actually women who play video games more than men do. Although women play video games more than men do, there are hardly any AAA title games that have female leads and women are usually sexualized in both AAA, indie, and twine narrative-based games. 

When exploring gender roles in games, it is best to play multiple and different types of games. If trying to focus on women and their role in games, twine games offer a vast number of games to try out. One game in particular titled Slime Daughter, serves as a good example of how women are represented in games. In Slime Daughter, the gamer plays as a woman who leaves her home to go stay with who the game calls the “Skull Empress.” Immediately following the meeting between this Empress and the player, there is a scene demonstrating how overly sexualized women are in games. The game narrates that one of Empress’s aides tells the gamer to come to the Empress’s palace and then shows the same aide walking over back to the Empress and begins, “running her tongue along the effluvial curves” of the Empress’s skull. As the game goes along more of these sexualized scenes occur through the narration, such as when the gamer is eating berries and, “Their juice stains your fingers. It lingers on your mouth.”[1]

The way women are sexualized in indie or twine games is also similar to how they are sexualized in some AAA games. In Rockstar Game’s Red Dead Redemption II, the women in the gamer’s gang of outlaws are often sexualized. In one mission, the gamer has to rescue one of his female companions from a man who is about to abuse her due to her faking to be a prostitute. Although the women in the game do tend to fall into certain gender roles in the game, they are shown exerting their femininity and independence similar to the men characters by carrying around guns and guarding the camp.

The twenty-first century has produced games were women are treated and have the same abilities, rights, and in some cases, the same power as male characters. One game that does in particular is Bethesda Game Studio’s game titled Skyrim. In Skyrim, the gamer can choose between being a male or female character at the beginning of the game. This choice doesn’t influence the missions given to the gamer nor does it influence your abilities and or strength. The only difference between choosing a male or female character in the game is that the gamer may either be called “Las” or “Lad” by some of the NPCs. This is completely different from how women are represented in not only Slime Daughterbut also in the games of the past, such as Tomb Raider that released in 1997. Although a game showing a strong female lead, during the promoting of Tomb Raider, the game’s main protagonist Laura Croft was shown in a bikini holding a gun in a magazine.[2]

In conclusion, although women play video games more than men do, there are hardly any AAA title, indie, or twine games that have female leads and the games that do include women, usually sexualize them or put them in inferior roles compared to their male counterparts. The gaming community has changed from the twentieth century to the twenty-first century slightly however due to censorship on AAA games but there are games such as Skyrim, that show that women characters can be just as strong and intelligent as their male counterparts and don’t need to be sexualized.

Bibliography

Beres, Damon. “Leading Women Are Becoming Less Sexualized In Video Games, Study Finds.” Huffington Post, 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-sexualized-video-games-study_us_579b61cde4b08a8e8b5da7cd(Accessed December 12, 2018).

“Slime Daughter”, http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/wtwla/ (Accessed Dec 12, 2018).


[1]http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/wtwla/ (Accessed Dec 12, 2018).

[2]Damon Beres, “Leading Women Are Becoming Less Sexualized In Video Games, Study Finds.” Huffington Post, 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/women-sexualized-video-games-study_us_579b61cde4b08a8e8b5da7cd (Accessed December 12, 2018).

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