Whether you are a female gamer or not, we can all agree that video games are one of the most important forms of entertainment we have. The gaming industry is making a huge impact on our lives in ways we can’t even discern, in an era where technology is improving at an insane pace, making gaming experiences even more realistic than they have ever been. Given the ultra-realistic nature of games today and where they are going, can we have more diverse female video game heroes without being oversexualized?
What makes video games an enjoyable virtual world is their magic at offering almost everyone a chance to live in fantasy land and get a break from the daily routines and life obstacles.
However, to some of us, the gaming world can be as cruel as the reality we live in, especially when we are not fortunate enough to find a character to escape to that truly reflects our personality.
For a girl gamer, logging into a game is mostly equal to facing disappointments and getting frustrated from the endless search for a female lead character that represents them, despite the fact that female gamers make up about half of the gaming community.
Female’s Don’t Need to be Rescued
On the few times that a girl gamer’s face lights up from finally finding a female character they can opt for, they immediately get discouraged, outraged even, by the misrepresentation of that character as a weak person who needs protection (damsel-in-distress), or that sexy secondary character mainly created to attract a male audience into buying the games. Sadly, women’s portrayal in video games is often associated with traditional gender roles, which comes as a reminder of how long the fight for equality is still going to take.
For instance, seeing Lara Croft represent a strong female leading character, opposed to the classic view of a weak princess who needs her strong masculine knight to rescue her, is such an inspiration and a step forward in the right direction.
The young and ambitious archaeology graduate has her theories on the location of the lost kingdom of Yamatai. With her unmatched persuasion skills, she manages to convince the Nishimura family—descendants from the people of Yamatai themselves—to fund an expedition in search for the kingdom. Lara Croft survives thrilling adventures, from the plane crash to being held captive. Yet every time, she succeeds to escape it with a fierce, persistent and lucid spirit. Where’s the Prince Charming in the story? There is none. Lara Croft comes to her own rescue.
Although that is delightful to see, the character still has a dark side that female gamers are not pleased with. From the first glimpse, anyone will recognize how the character of Lara Croft, despite her unbeatable courage, is directly associated with women objectification through an unrealistic breast size.
Luckily, the paradox is getting more attention and is on its way to dissolve. In Tomb Raider: Legend, Lara Croft has seen a breast reduction allegedly to make her less objectified.
Mortal Kombat Shows Progress
In Mortal Kombat 11 the over-sexualization of its female characters have been toned down considerably and as you would expect a certain demographic has begun to meltdown. See Gamers are blaming socialism for making the women in Mortal Kombat Ugly
Female gamers are asking to be taken seriously and not oversexualized for the sake of selling more copies to a male video game audience. Until today, every girl gamer is still waiting for the time she will log into her favorite game and have a character that stands for empowerment, without any sexualization.