Gender Equality in Video Games and Beyond

Posted on June 22nd, 2016 by:

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The amount of female gamers has risen dramatically over the years. Since 2010 alone the amount of female gamers has risen from 40% to around 50% of people who play video games today. Although I moved a lot when I was younger (military family) I recall when I was younger, hardly ever encountering a female gamer until I got to college. Once I arrived to college in 2009, I met numerous female gamers, specifically in the Video Game Music Choir which I invited to host them on my radio show (Berklee Internet Radio Network.) The VGMC was lead by a female gamer and choir conductor, and had several female members who all were equally as well versed as me if not more in the world of gaming.

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Amanda Ripley – Alien: Isolation

The reason why I bring this up is because today as a person who has a vested interest in the world of video games, I witness more and more a sort of gender divide. More and more females are bringing up public grievances about video game culture, and how it caters much more towards men than women. Female gamers are upset because they feel like there is a lack of representation, or a misrepresentation of women by hyper sexualizing characters. I think this is largely due to the fact that more and more females are involved in the gaming world. While I do definitely agree that there are a number of female characters that are hyper sexualized in the gaming world, it is hardly an epidemic. I am someone who wants equality for men and women in the gaming world and beyond. But definitely not at the expense of reason, or logical discussion. But in a situation like this, how do you differentiate legitimate grievances between people who just really like to complain, or victimize themselves to the point where publicly complaining becomes profitable.

jill_valentine___we_can_do_it___by_aaronminier-d35ytnb

What makes me think about this overarching dilemma is the fact that in recent gaming news you hear more and more of a discussion about people wanting to change Link’s gender in Zelda, or South Park’s creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone adding female characters and joking (appropriately so) that it is “so 2016 of them.” Many females want to see a female Link or a gender neutral Link, which is somewhat understandable since they want to be the female hero in the game. But I just can’t get on board with this idea. Not because I have any objections at all about playing as a female (I love playing as dope ass female characters like Jill Valentine over Chris Redfield in RE1) it’s because this grievance this small group of people has makes no sense. It’s becoming common practice for people to want to dip their hands into other people’s IP. There are apparently a lot of people that think that if a book, movie, or video game is not the way they want it to be, they get to just go back stage and yell at the creators until they make that IP exactly how they want it. What’s wrong with playing one of the other incredibly well done female characters with storylines and backgrounds of their own? What’s wrong with being proactive and making your own game with a female character you like? Why should a developer have to bend to your will and make a character the way you want it? Unless you’ve directly contributed to the product with money or influence, then the consumer doesn’t have much of a right to an opinion when directly concerning the developer. And if it was that big of a problem in the first place, then enough people wouldn’t be playing it for the developers to take notice. But in the case of Zelda, they will never change the gender of Link. Nintendo is in the business of making and selling as many video games as possible, not taking bold social stances. Furthermore, Nintendo and the gaming community at large is hardly given credit for its inclusiveness. I mean, the game Zelda is named after the female princess in the game for goodness sake. Nintendo included several female playable characters in the game Hyrule Warriors, and in Super Smash Brothers. Those games that I mentioned barely even scratches the surface of how inclusive games are, and how many well made and awesome female characters there are. This video here might help;

So I am certainly not saying that there is no problem with how females are treated in the gaming world and beyond. But in the instance of the game world, I can safely say that the problem is not nearly as one sided as some people might portray it to be. There is plenty of room for men and women in the gaming world, and one does not need to kick the other down the ladder in order to climb it.

 

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