Monday, 28 October 2013

Girls and Gaming [Michelle's Opinion]

Right indulge me my opinions on this sensitive matter...

As a girl and a gamer but also (I feel anyway) as a level headed, open minded person, I have a lot to say on this matter. It might not always make sense to you the reader but i feel it is something that needs to be shared. I want to stress that this is MY opinion and MY perceptions from MY experiences, I do not claim to speak for all the female gamers out there, they like me, have their own views.

I have been interested in games since i was a child, our first family console was a C64 which I played with my sister and my father. As gaming developed so did our Christmas presents - we got an original Nintendo with Mario and the Turtle's game one year (along with a basketball hoop with the vow that we had to use them both equally!) then when my dad came back from working abroad we got a mega-drive and a boatload of games. Including one of my all time faves, Aladdin. Want to take a second to point out that I was raised on a diet of Disney as a child so I will admit to being very biased at times but I can't help it I love all things Disney.

I will point out that not once did I question where the female protagonists were in any of the games I played, I genuinely just enjoyed the chance to solve puzzles and complete a game. When I got my hands on games with female characters in, I will admit I almost always played as the female, however usually this was because I tended to find that I actually could play better with their skills, for example as Princess Peach in Super Mario 2, I found her floating a very valuable tool. Likewise in golden axe, soul caliber, street fighter and even on the later cancelled and unpublished game thrill kill I found that I was pretty much unbeatable as Belladonna. Not once did I think to myself that I had to play as the female characters because they were there to protect my rights.

I just want to make a comment about game characters outfits, this seems to be the main bug that people have regarding women being misrepresented in games for example women are objectified and made to look unrealistic and overly sexualised.  (I have picked street fighter for no other reason than it was the first in my head - same comparisons or comments can be made about all games of this genre.)

Yes the majority of females in gaming have alarmingly large breasts and unbelievably tiny waists and a ridiculously small wardrobe to cover said breasts, and everyone that has a teaspoon of brains knows that everyday women do not look like this, but lets take a minute to firstly look at the, predominant, market for these games,  they are typically teenage boys up to men in their 30's - that's not to say everyone who likes these games are in this bracket - I am talking now about the targeted market for distribution.
Personally I don't really give a fig what the characters look like - I am not buying the game for it's pornographic content, hell a dirty film or porn mag was/is much cheaper, and NEWSFLASH not all men/boys buy games for the scantily clad women - they actually tend to buy the game because they like the game.

Secondly (remember I had something else to moan about) can we take a look at the men in the game:

The men tend to have muscles upon muscles, are mostly topless or in latex suits - again the teaspoon of brains will tell you that men don't look like this in real life and you don't hear men bitching and moaning about being objectified and that their self esteem is low because of it.

An observation to take into account is that the words that get thrown around a lot are that a game is sexist and demoralizing to women, surely in this day of political correctness what we should be arguing for is equality in gaming and therefore basing any arguments or criticism's around this, rather than an outdated concept of feminism.

In my experience the people that have a problem with the 'image' of the computer game characters are those that have their own insecurities about their appearance and are looking for someone or something to pin these insecurities on or divert attention away from themselves. I also have noticed in my many discussions, that the people that I have encountered that have an overly large opinion against this  don't actually like playing computer games themselves and don't actually know half the female characters in the games, they have just picked up on other comments and are recycling them.

It is my opinion that those having a moan and making waves by targeting companies or gaming series are merely looking for a vehicle to start a debate and as always sexism/feminism is a hot topic that will push buttons everywhere. If , as an individual, you do not agree with the way a game is portraying either sex (because lets face it this is, at its basic level, about wanting equality) then the best way for you to express this is to NOT BUY THE GAME! Nothing says 'I don't agree with what you are doing' than not giving a company money.

Not everyone that reads this will agree with all that i have said and that is the beauty of opinions - everyone has one and everyone is entitled to theirs. If you want to discuss this subject further or render your own opinion then we welcome you to contact us on or post a comment below.


1 comment:

  1. Well said Michelle. There is always the option to hit the OFF button aswell, even after buying a game.
    And I certainly don't look like any of the SF guys (or most of the Video Game world's male protagonists), yet managed to have gotten over myself and played the game.