Female Representation in Video Games

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Female Representation in Video Games

Post by Boo The Ghostie on Sun May 15, 2011 3:02 am

Are female characters under-represented in video games?
I feel that many of the female leads and characters in video games come off as too weak, whiny and just lame in general (though there are several exceptions, like Samus Aran from the Metroid series) and that generally females are just used as a) bait, for the male hero to find/rescue or b) Get killed off to fuel the male characters angst and cause him to embark on a quest for revenge.
Does anyone think or feel that the gaming industry is biased against females?

I'm curious to hear people's opinions on this topic.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by MarioMaster1337 on Sun May 15, 2011 10:15 am

I think about this one all the time, especially when playing a Mario game. Nintendo seems to make Princess Peach seem like a damsel in distress that can't do anything for herself, I mean the only time she's not kidnapped is in a Mario Party/Mario Kart game or Super Princess Peach. I do think that video game companies do need to give a little more respect towards women. Just because you're a female, doesn't mean you can't defend yourself!

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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by TatteredTime on Sun May 15, 2011 11:45 am

Ha! The women in Assassin's Creed are very strong women. Castlevania Lords of Shadow and all the other ones too, very strong. The Silver Haired Maiden in Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn also quite strong. Zelda is a strong woman even! The women in Soul Calibur, all strong. You just haven't played enough games to notice them all.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by Boo The Ghostie on Sun May 15, 2011 3:03 pm

I see your point and while all of those are good examples, are any of them main characters (though in Sould Calibur things are set up differently so those female characters kind of are), I just feel that there aren't enough games where women are given the same attention as male characters are.
Take Super Smash Bros. Brawl for example, there are only 3 playable female characters ( excluding Nana from Ice Climbers since she can't be dealt any damage) to the 31 playable male characters.
I know that not all games are this biased against females but there is still a large gap between how frequent strong female characters appear and how frequently strong male characters are present in a video game.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by TatteredTime on Sun May 15, 2011 5:38 pm

Well Super Smash is a fighting game, so according to your first point, no one is a main character. Second, in Castlevania a few are mains, Charlotte, Shanoa, Maria. In Fire Emblem they are mained. I guess it comes mainly down to this, when the time comes to save the world or stop an outbreak or kill the ones you love, honestly could a woman have that willpower? Most likely not, because most women out there don't have the mental capability, but when taking a man, they can do whatever they need with that willpower even if it shatters their mind in the process. You can't say I'm not right.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by Boo The Ghostie on Mon May 16, 2011 12:04 am

I do think your wrong, actually.
Women can and do posses that willpower and it's completely sexist and ignorant to say that they don't, you don't think women have 'the mental capability' to protect people they love and save others?
So, according to your theory, if a women's child (or sibling or maybe just a random kid) was about to get hit by a car, you think that she would stand there and allow the child to be hit? No, I think she would do everything in her power to stop that accident from happening.
But maybe i'm wrong, maybe she doesnt or there wasn't anything she could do but do you honestly think that a man would be more likely to try and save that child then a women.
If anything I think a women would be far more determined to help those around her then a man, since women are by nature more compassionate.
Men may be more physically (and mentally) adept and some things as are women, there is no reason to think that a man is more likely to become a hero then a women is.
Which leads back to the point of whether the gaming industry see's and reflects this.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by SNESkelly on Mon May 16, 2011 8:56 am

Basically, this is why male protagonists are more frequent:

Men have, due to their physical stature, been hunters throughout history. Also, due to their lack of uterus, they do not have babies. Women do. Therefore, women are historically most likely, upon having a child, to care for their children. That becomes their purpose. This means that men have taken up roles of power, because a) women don't have the same brute strength, and b) they have other dedications, usually maternal but also to the household.
Therefore, our politicians, soldiers and innovators are primarily male. Their influence need not be elaborated on.
This reflects in story-telling. Through fairy-tales and myths (which are the basis to nearly all modern stories) these stereotypes have continued on, and blend into the modern media, despite the fact that the idea of the 100% maternal woman is dead.
And this blending into the modern media has, of course, reached video games.
There is also a marketing reason behind the "damsel in distress" portrayal of Peach. Video games are mostly purchased by boys. The addition of a female princess is a (fairly weak) attempt to entice females into purchasing the game, as well as being a classic fairy-tale mechanism. In many ways I feel that this is why they decided to make Samus a woman.#

Thus, this is the reason; a mixture of biology, history and media.

But, of course, as we get more modernised this changes. For example, Final Fantasy XIII, with lightning as a strong, silent female protagonist. A regular Amazon woman, don't you think? :]
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by Boo The Ghostie on Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am

I agree with you whole-heartedly SNESkelly.
Lightning is the kind of female character I hope to see more of as the gaming industry adapts and female's slowly become better represented.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by SNESkelly on Mon May 16, 2011 5:01 pm

On the other hand, lots of video games are about fighting. And as I have said, women are not biologically designed to fight as well as men are, so this will probably persist until all women are radical feminists, trained to fight and kill sexist pigs. THEN we can have more female protagonists.
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by TatteredTime on Mon May 16, 2011 6:56 pm

Try to say that to Mileena and she will bite your face off
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Re: Female Representation in Video Games

Post by SNESkelly on Tue May 17, 2011 6:28 pm

I'd get johnny cage on her ass.
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