Why Do Games Still Stereotype Women?

Why Do Games Still Stereotype Women?

If someone in a gaming community says, “Hey, let’s have a conversation about the portrayal of women in games,” the response is never, ever apathetic. There is rage. There is eye-rolling. There are myriad “Get over it, ladies” and accusations of misogyny.

These varied, often colorful responses indicate that the issue of women in games is as hot as it was back in 1985, when female Nintendo enthusiasts wondered aloud why Mario had to save the Princess, or why Link had to save Zelda. Couldn’t things be the other way around?

Flash forward to whichever year it is now, and we can see that female characters do indeed maintain a presence in video games. Problem is, it’s rarely flattering–or even remotely realistic.

The debate became especially volatile at the end of August, when Metroid: Other M hit the Wii and, fans accuse, turned the rock-steady Samus Aran into a wibbling pile of female-scented goo who must grovel to her male superior, Adam Malkovitch, before she can use her missiles, don her Varia suit, or have a pee. Given that female gamers have few totems to admire, the domestication of Samus delivered a pretty big hurt.

More girls than ever play games. So why are female characters rarely portrayed an an admirable, favorable manner?

First, we have to look at what girls would like from a female heroine. Herein lies a problem, because no two girls will ever agree on what counts as an admirable characteristic. For instance, I’ve long loved Celes from Final Fantasy VI. She’s a General in the corrupt Imperial Army, but she sees the light and turns traitor–and sticks to her guns after enduring torture. She’s a little distant, but she’s warm towards her friends. She can wield the heaviest armor and weapons available in the game, thus snuffing out the “frail female mage” stereotype that still dominates both Western- and- Japanese-made games.

But she also falls in love–very subtly–with Locke, one of Final Fantasy VI‘s main male leads. And according to one fan I discussed the game with, that level of affection instantly turns Celes into another weak-willed female game character who pines for the day when her Prince will come.

I disagreed, but I understood my friend’s point of view. Why do in-game chicks have to shack up with whatever guy’s in charge? Why can’t the heroine just opt to put dating on the backburner, at least until she’s done something to quash the reign of Vaarg the Baby Devourer? For that matter, why can’t game characters–male or female–just be asexual once in a while?

The first half of the answer is cliche. You’ve heard it a million times before, so pardon me while I cough it up one more time: Sex sells.

Some developers meet us halfway. For instance, Mia Fey of the Phoenix Wright series is a razor-sharp lawyer who never backs down. She also has dirty pillows that are the size of thunderheads. Are the giant breasts really necessary? She’d still be a good-looking woman if Capcom performed a reduction.

And there’s no sin in game characters who look good. I just ask for a little realism. If you pardon my presumptuousness, I think that’s at least one characteristic all female gamers would like to see in heroines. Fighting in high-heeled boots? It’s not going to happen.

No, don’t argue.

Don’t.

Something else that’s sexy are female game characters who simply remain true to themselves. Chun-Li from the Street Fighter series, for instance, bucked Chinese tradition to remain a single career girl. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with choosing to raise a family. She just knew what she wanted, and she went for it.

Granted, I just said that sex sells. It does. But developers who reference actual female creatures for their own games don’t exactly crash and burn because they denied their male audience “moar t*ts.” Alyx Vance from the Half-Life games looks like an actual human being and not a blow-up doll (at least as far as your graphics card can carry her from a mere jumble of polygons), and she has a fan base with both sexes.

So now we have the second half of the answer as to why the sexes are far from equal in video games: Writing, developing, and modeling a female character who can be admired for her personality and realistic proportions takes a lot of effort. Much more effort than just sliding the “bounce” bar to maximum and calling it a day.

As for developers who meet girl gamers halfway, like with the aforementioned Mia Fey…well, maybe they can’t help it. I remember a”Peanuts” cartoon wherein Linus was drawing a picture of his sister, Lucy. She was looking over Linus’s shoulder while he drew, and he got so nervous that he drew the portrait with a gigantic, gaping mouth. Of course, Linus got slugged.

So maybe some developers try to draw realistic breasts on their characters, but shaking hands and possessed pens create otherwise.

Just kidding. It’s not that hard to talk to us and learn about what we want to see in a game heroine, developers. You can do it. We believe in you.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

65 Comments

  1. This has been bugging me for a long time even as a guy. It’s surprising that the game industry has matured this much but still cant seem to get over it’s adolescent mindset in many ways, but especially with this.

  2. Have you heard of the female characters in Gears of War 3? They are quite the opposite of the generic female character you speak of; they are badass and tough, nothing will get in their way so long as they survive.

    I am not very good at describing things but it is something I think you should look into.

  3. Nadia might want to look into Epic Games, for their depiction of female heroes in games like Bulletstorm and Gears of War 3. The mold’s already been broken; you just need to start looking in the right place.

  4. Also, Mirror’s Edge. Oni. Unreal 2. Need I go on?

  5. Matthew Graybosch

    As a developer who doesn’t work in games, I have to say that I love articles where people tell developers what to do. Guess what: we don’t actually care about what you think, or how you feel. We just want your money.

  6. Ok. Let’s see: Mario & Luigi. Warcraft. King’s Quest. Halo. Duke nukem. The last Guardian. Doom. God of war.

    These are the male-dominated games I could think of while typing on a touch screen that auto-corrects in French. I didn’t even have to stretch my memory.

    Yes. There are a *few* games that break the mold, but the vast, vast majority of them don’t.

  7. Do a little more research before berating all game developers in general. While some of your points may be valid, it’s only some of them. You also try to strengthen your argument by using some of the worst offenders to prove your points. Your article image, afterall, is from GTA IV where a skanky girl is suggestively sucking on a lollipop.

    You also seem to disregard the fact that men continue to be stereotyped in games; that’s somehow acceptable. Never mind that men like Marcus in GoW don’t exist.

    I don’t entirely disagree with your article. What I dislike with is the fact that you completely disregard female characters (heroines mostly) that break the stereotype.

    Regardless, here are some heroines you conveniently overlooked:

    Beyond Good and Evil : Jade
    Indigo Prophecy: Carla Valenti
    Resident Evil: Clare Redfield, Jill Valentine
    No One Lives Forever: Cate Archer (NOLF 1 and 2)
    Longest Journey: April Ryan
    Dreamfall: The Longest Journey: Zoë Castillo
    Half-Life 2: Alyx Vance

  8. Ah this thread is going just as I expected it, with people pointing out all the games that have decent female leads, which is a side point, whilst being derailed from the main issue of the post: why developers continue to create sexist, stereotypical female characters, and leading on from that: the novel suggestion that developers actually listen and consult with women on creating female characters that are not stereotypical.

    Instead of getting hung up on existing female characters that may not be stereotypical, the discourse really needs to move forward.

    People need to start thinking about constructive, practical ways of tackling the issue from all sides if any change is going to happen. Developers, marketers, and everyone on the production side of games need to listen and more importantly–take to heart–the suggestions from women and men about wanting better, non-stereotypical female characters in their games. Gamers need to continue to make their voices heard to developers, understanding that this isn’t just a one-off struggle, that change won’t come overnight. Gamers should continue to demand better from game developers, and it shouldn’t be a struggle that only women are involved in. Changing an industry that is male-dominated will not work if women are the only ones demanding better female characters.

  9. I have to disagree : Bayonetta fights on high shooting heels and she’s a superb independant female character and she saves her lover (several times). Sometimes fantasy is more interesting and open-minded than realism. I hate reality. 😉

  10. Yeah, Mirror’s Edge and Gears 3 are good examples, and I’d add Halo Reach. May have a ways to go, but progress is being made.

  11. Well, firstly, I hope i never buy a product from Matt. A developer who doesn’t listen to the thoughts, concerns, and experiences of the people purchasing the product is not a developer I’d want to buy from.

    I think that the real issue lies, however, in that push between marketing, risk, and game concept. The reason why sex sells in advertising is the flat out lack of conflict and lack of substance found there.

    A beautiful woman is, in a roll-eyes kind of way, a stand in for a meaningful message and interaction. “oh it’s a busty female holding the product” is a lot more cost-effective — but ultimately forgettable and tired — than taking a gamble on producing a quality message.

    I’m going to make an assumption that the concept for a videogame is similar.

    As opposed to developing content (the quality of characterization regardless of gender), there is instead the “sex sells” model.

    However, there is always a division between “okay” and “phenomenal”. A developer who goes beyond the cop-out of “sex sells” as an easy solution to a hard problem (concept and characterization), stands a better chance at being remembered for it. and, arguably, that attention to concept would probably carry through, the obvious example being Valve’s Half Life 2.

    I think that as a second and third generation of gamers comes around, where the gender balance equalizes both in the audiences and in the offices, that could continue to improve. The challenge of the scenario is that as long as sex sells, marketing is going to want to mitigate the risk of a new release by adding quick, surefire solutions to make sure the money comes in.

  12. Why?

    Because society still does. That’s why, as long as stereotypes exist you will see them in entertainment. Our entertainment, our venues of art and expression are all affected by what we experience everyday, it’s not entertainment’s job to stop stereotyping it’s up to our selves.

    Before you go ragging on what other’s do make sure you are not contributing to the stereotype yourself.

    And the stereotype is NOT JUST for women, it’s for everyone. You mentioned many unrealistic ways a woman couldn’t fight and yet still can in games, same with men, could any guy lift an axe with blades 5 times the size of his head? Huh no. Games aren’t about reality.

  13. I think that Tera is doing a great job of portraying women.

    We have the woman running leaning forward at 90′ so people can look up here skirt

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP4kVwEAuwU

    We have the female casters gyrating their bodies before flipping the hips at the enemy

    With game designers with multi million $ budget presumably creating to demand – I think women’s portrayal in games is going nowhere fast.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3uSLap490&feature=related

  14. I demand this article be edited to include a list of each and every positively portrayed female video game character ever. You will remain a feminazi until you do so.

  15. I have nothing against strong female characters being sexy. I mean, hell, a large number of male characters in JRPGS suffer from “How the hell is this open-chested skintight outfit going to keep me safe?” syndrome as well. Like you said, sex sells.

    But I will say, Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX is my favorite female video game character ever.

  16. The funny thing that is happening in society is that women seem to be oblivious to their own behavior, and when a man reminds them of it they believe we are stereotyping or generalizing them. It is almost like woman think they are perfect and have problems when they are not perceived that way.

    Here is a scenario for you: If I’m with a group of people and we are being harassed by zombies. If I stepped up and became the leader and saved the day, you better believe that most of the women in the group would be attracted to me.Thats just human nature, so what is wrong with a female character falling for the hero no matter how capable and strong she is?

    Another point I would like to bring up is that no one on this planet knows that sex sells more than a woman. A woman knows how to use her body, flirting, etc to get what they want. If Lara Croft came swinging into my room asking questions about an artifact it would be pretty hard (no pun intended lol)to concentrate looking the way she does, and you better believe that she would use her body to her advantage if she thought I knew anything. Woman are quite aware about how they look to themselves and others. The only women who don’t try to sell sex are the ones who aren’t confident about their looks. You can see what I’m talking about from just walking down the street. I do however agree with you about the high heels example.

    I don’t see what is wrong with a female character falling for the leader in a game, or a heroine who uses sexual overtones as another weapon in her arsenal. Believe me, there are way more racial stereotypes in games than there are for gender.

  17. While female characters in games are still an issue, I think the stereotypes we see are just as applicable to the male leads. The difference is that the leads are overwhelmingly male, and usually a stereotype the player wouldn’t mind identifying with.

    Writing in games tends to be the main problem I think. Most games with good female characters are well written.
    Sex is still a big issue, and only games with a good team of writers can overcome the usual problems.

    On that note though I would like to say that high heels and big breasts really don’t put me off identifying with a female character. Just as big muscles and open shirts don’t put me off identifying with a male character. And a hero falls in love with heroine seems to me to be the same as the heroine falling in love with the hero. Why would falling in love make them weaker? Seems a bit sexist(heroine is weak but hero isn’t in same situation) and infantile doesn’t it?

    While I would like there to be more good female characters in entertainment in general, in the meantime I can manage without the badly written games and am on the whole not affected by the portrayal of female characters in games. Compared to tv and books, games are further from reality for me.

  18. Yes its true that the mold has already been broken by some games such as Mirror’s Edge(which is one of my favorite games all-time) and Gears of War 3..I mean even as a male gamer, I feel that the Industry needs to view genders equally and whatnot..though GTA is quite real with having prostitutes in the game, as it reflects an actual city (aka New York City) which has prostitutes walking the streets nightly…I mean I’m just saying, some games stay true to society itself, just as some games stay true to history..but I think more power should be given to female gamers and I respect characters like Samus, the girl from Mirror’s Edge whose name escapes me…I’m not sure what point I want to get across..I’ve been gaming for basically all the 17 years of my lifetime and I’ve played many titles and I hope to go to college for Video Game design and development

  19. Personally i like the idea of female leads. if gender is customizable 9 times out of 10 i choose a female character. in the halo 1, 2, and 3 as long as you have that annoying a.i cortana with you you are gennerally following her orders on wat to do. in halo 3 you go to save her after she tells you to leave her at the end of halo 2 and was made by dr.hasly who directed the spartan project and is one to be feared. pluse in halo reach you can customize your char to be a female.

  20. It would seem that this article is written under the assumption that the problems that plague the portrayal of women in games don’t apply to the portrayal of men.

    The truth is that both sexes are, more often than not, portrayed through the lens of adolescent stereotypes.

    For every big breasted female there are fifty big breasted men, for every poorly hewn female protagonist, there are 100 throw away, action movie cliche males for gamers to control.

    I think it’s less an issue of treating the content in games with more care, and more about stopping the easy habit of treating the gaming audience like we are all still 14.

  21. I can’t wait for the day a woman gets control of a development team…and creates the male characters with a bulge in the pants so ridiculously large, you cannot avoid looking at it, lol! See how the fist pumping straight guys (homophobic or not) like it! Make it move like one of Medusa’s snakes. Make the length stop just above their knee! But more importantly, make it a really good game so guys are forced to buy it and look at it. Don’t get me wrong, boobs are nice. I have two of my own 🙂 Just give us more variety please! Variety in creating a character is part of the fun!

  22. Girls hate the way we’re portrayed in video games only because they themselves are jealous. They don’t want their men looking at and lusting for these character traits because all woman suffer from self esteem issues. We’re always looking to be thinner, prettier, sexier. We can’t be these video game woman, as much as we may want to be. It’s easier for us to want to eliminate the characters than deal with our own self issues. This is something I’ve even dealt with in gaming.
    Girls, we’ve got to get over it. We’re all beautiful. Let’s take a serious look at ourselves before we get in huff about games. I hate it when my fiance’ plays games with these woman cause I’m CONSTANTLY worried that I’m not good enough. When I talk to him about it, he really doesn’t care. They’re not real, and he’s marrying me for a reason.

    Guys, don’t make these video game woman you’re expectation. It WON’T happen.

    Personally, I don’t like the way woman are half naked and in heels most the times, but it’s not reality. I don’t like it because of the effect it has on the younger boys that play these games. It’s unhealthy. Other than that, this is really a pointless battle. We can only better ourselves before fighting the mainstream of society.

  23. Why don’t we step back and take a look at the way we males are portrayed in video games also? Does it always have to be about the women and the way that women are portrayed? It’s the same sort of matter. Everything has been sexed up.

    You’re not being singled out here. It’s done with the men in video games also. I’m really growing tired of the whole, “OMG! Girls are way too sexy in video games!” or “This isn’t realistic!” or “My boyfriend is going to dump me because I don’t look like !!” Notice that the majority of these arguments come from the females. It’s virtual reality, and no one person, gender, race, or any group of any kind deserves any special treatment over another, or should be “dumbed down” or changed because some people cannot come to terms with how the developers created them. Things will be as idealistic as the human mind can fathom possible in a world where we can shape our own “reality,” and we can only beat a dead horse so many times before it just gets old, and stale.

    Look at Chris Redfield in RE5. He’s so freakin’ beefy, and they TONED HIM DOWN from his concept art. He was supposed to be BIGGER. But I’m not sitting here crying out that the video game is going to steal my girlfriend away, or that my girlfriend will have much higher expectations of me because of some fictional character’s image. She loves me, and she realizes that a video game.. is just a video game. It’s made for entertainment, and is intended to be spiced up, sexually or otherwise.

    It is what it is, and it will more than likely always will be this way. I think it’s time to quit complaining. If you want a bunch of average people doing average things in an average setting, go play the Sims. It’s that simple.

  24. Just to follow up with Josh’s statement, he has a good point. Sure there are a lot of gaping flaws in female leads and support characters, but males have it pretty bad as well. Dante, Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, the entire Gears cast, Raiden, Brick from Borderlands, Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, most male characters in Epic games, they’re all equally ridiculous and over the top; I know I’m not the only guy who says he’s sick of hearing about slash fiction of otherwise badass prettyboys all the time.

  25. What about RPGs? Take Mass Effect – female Shep (voiced superbly by Jennifer Hale) can be anything the player wants her to be, but while she can fall in love she never breaks her central role as a commander and soldier.

    And let’s not forget too, most girls just like being feminine. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just when it becomes a rock-hard stereotype. But some developers portray women as sensual and looking for love because, hey, that’s what a lot of women do. Is it really cool or wise to end up resenting who we are?

  26. I am a guy and I seen both men and women portrayed as unrealistic in games. It is just a game after all making realistic characters would be boring.

    Also if its a game where the characters can be customized I will make my female characters big and busty and will make my male characters look like they can bench press a house.

    Also someone mentioned someone making a game where the character is a guy with huge junk. I actually even as a guy will play it. Heck if it has online play and it will let me you will see me in game beating people with the characters junk.

    Or how about a game Junk VS Breasts. A fighting game where guys with ridiculous sized junk fight women with ridiculously sized breasts. Have moves like the guy impales her with his junk. For the female side have moves like the female squishing the guys head with her huge breasts.

    My point that I am trying to make is its just a game no need to be offended by it. It is all just polygons in a game. You see a women with huge breasts or a huge muscular guy that is all fake. They are not real they are simply a static mesh covered in a texture that is all.

    Sure women are shown as stupid with huge breasts but guys are shown as stupid with huge muscles.

  27. Sorry, I got lazy while reading the responses. Some were very well presented while others horribly flawed (my opinion of course).

    I guess the one piece I want to bring to the table is this:

    Aren’t these games SUPPOSED to take on a fantasy experience?

    This being said, why SHOULDN’T the men be hunks/fairy boy dreamhearts while the women sexually provocative?

    Yes games are fun because of the play style, but what makes them better? When you’re a girl staring at a hottie slashing through baddies…or when you’re a guy staring at some sexy cartoon woman doing…well…like we actually care what they do, just being there is enough.

    Anyway my point is these are fantasies. They are placed there for heightened enjoyment. Sure I don’t particularly like when my girlfriend makes reference to the movie Thor because the dude is muscly and has his shirt off for most of the movie, but like hell if I see him as a real threat to a relationship for me.
    Women need to learn this as well. It’s alright to fantasize. It’s completely normal for all individuals.

    So please can both sides just get over it and enjoy the game for what it is, because that’s the point of games.

    TO ENJOY THEM!

  28. Starcraft 2 has Sarah Kerrigan, and she is definitely not an object of lust (pun!)…

  29. Portal 1 & 2

  30. And because they ask for it.

  31. All I want is for the 3D modelers to tone down the boobage. Other than that, if they keep producing gods like Commander Shepard…they can make the female characters as vapid as they want.

  32. I honestly think progress in this realm has gone forward as more girls have entered the gaming realm. It simply seems a matter of market principles doing their thing. Granted, developers need to pay attention, but I think they do because more than simply wanting to be patriarchal, they want your money, yes?

    You say there is only eye-rolling and anger when you bring this issue up, but that doesn’t seem to be my experience.

    I honestly fear a second thing nowadays: a female character who’s so obviously made to be a “modern girl” and there is no attempt to go further with the character. Might we say that the main problem here is depth of character rather than the role? I, for one, would be sad to see stories like Link and Mario go (ones where the knight saves the princess)

    Nevertheless, your concern is legitimate. As much as I love Ninja Gaiden, for example, the women in that game are almost grotesque to me in their “sexualizedness” (call me old-fashioned). I would point to characters like Sheva from RE5 or Lightning from FFXIII, not to mention that if you look at someone like Princess Zelda, you see her character has changed dramatically over the years as the legends have grown in number.

  33. Look at the film industry, they are now starting slowly to present women just like men… I guess the game industry is lagging behind. However, most people are narrow minded so you´re gonna get their view on the world and not some thoughtfull expression of it.

  34. Hey, what about the Zelda games? A lot of people here were complaining about how Link has to rescue Zelda, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, she spends quite a bit of time in the resistance effort against Ganondorf (Ocarina of Time, anyone?) and even has her own Triforce! And honestly, lets face it. Zelda games would be a much less fun if you weren’t playing as Link. And as for Zelda herself, I have one final thing to say: Shiek!

  35. Lalunavine, please don’t try to foist your own jealousy and insecurity on every other woman. I know plenty of confident women are that are just sick of games pandering to the the 16-year-old-male demographic. Men too, for that matter. Check out this articles by guy, who himself says he’s sick of the “boobs=good game” mentality: http://www.cracked.com/article_18571_5-reasons-its-still-not-cool-to-admit-youre-gamer.html

  36. women can be seen as everything that the author has just stated. its true but yet again its really not a big deal in my opinion. this is how modern society has portrayed itself for years. ever since gta and many other games came out women have been used and seen as sex toys and hookers. but in other games they can be seen as warriors and positive influences. its the exact opposite and yet we still have people complaining about this issue. have they played any other games with women you have powers and are actually smart enough to make their own decisions? im guessing not if they are stuck on the same subject. Don’t judge video games because we all know women are a beautiful aspect in our lives and have been for years. if you are so concerned about this you should probably think a bit deeper and target things besides video games because women are being abused in real life. targeting video games wont change a thing this situation will continue to happen for years to come.

  37. I have to agree. I think that the portrayal of women in video games is ridiculous. Is it really necessary to add the huge breasts and overall unrealistic appearance? I guess It’s not just that way for the females. The men in the video games always look extremely buff, ripped and unrealistic as well.

  38. I think there could be more women heros in video games and less of them being on the side lines or being a hooker in Grand Theft Auto, but i think there arnt many main character girls in video games because they try to go for that old style of having the man always be the hero and save the woman.

  39. i have to agree with kiwi888 there should be a better variety with choosing a man r a women because women should be respected even in a video game. they can do the same as men. and if not better than us men sometimes

  40. I feel that a lot of games are portrayed with a female showing revealing clothes or being showed as a object. Thats actually getting old. People are getting tired of seeing women portrayed that way. And men also. They act like there super confident and powerful when half of the time there not. I know a couple of guys that get tired of seeing women half dressed and showing boobs all the time. They makin it seem like all women are like that when were not. And all men are not powerful, or super confident or in control of everything. Its crazy how men crave over playing these games. They love seeing the dress that way or how the girls act in the game. Some females dont want there boyfriend playng stuff like that. Theres just no need for any of that in a game.

  41. I do think that women are mostly shown as objects on video games. In grand theft auto you can get a prostitute. Also for the men who say women shouldn’t care so much or whatever. if that was your mom ,sister ,aunt and any female in your family you wouldn’t be saying that. And even if it’s not so much them they still are women.

  42. I think that this article goes both ways. I do agree that there is blown out of proportion things with female characters. But what i don’t agree with is how she plays these games and still talks about this stuff. If she doesn’t want to see it then why doesn’t she not play the games that have it. its common sense really.

  43. I think that women are like that to please men in every instance in the game that anyone is playing. Everybody thinks it would be bad to have a female as the lead character……but that would be kinda cool as a change to modern thinking. Women are suppose to be respectable but video game makers portrait them as sex toys or objects that people need to get. i think its lame that people have to think like that all the time…..just sayin.

  44. When it comes to playing games I dont really care how characters look as long as the game is entertaining. But when i play a video game and the female characters arent realistic what so ever i do get a little annoyed. But theres not a whole lot you can do but get over it and play the game.

  45. I feel that what the author had to say was true. Mostly because in games everything is fake to start. Everything you see and do in a game is fake. Still making everything totally no true can be hurtful to some because they will believe it. Why does it matter how hot a girl looks in a game when it comes down to it everyone is just playing the game for fun. People that take things out of control just make the game boring to me at least.

  46. I think she has a valid point. For one she has a real good point on why do video game characters always have to be sexual and act stupid when around sexual encounters. Like she said why can’t they just be asexual for once. Why do video games have to have any sexual innuendos. Can’t it be just good old fun adventure, action, mystery game? I hope one day they can get it straight.

  47. i agree women are portrayed with being skinny and with unpropotional body parts. this has being going on for along time some say it was started by barbie and then things around kids started getting skinner and larger on top. it is wrong but how do you start to undo evolution that has already started to take place.

  48. Aren’t games supposed to be fantasy? I don’t understand why it should have to be realistic. Shouldn’t the fan base be able to have over exaggerated fantasies filled with unrealistic scenarios and people? Its what makes the games enjoyable and different from our everyday lives? It’s why we play video games. I mean think about it, would a game be fun if anything was so real and no unrealistic people or scenarios happened? What then would separate it from every day life? It gives the player of the game a feeling that can’t be felt through every day life. It allows for them to see and enjoy things different then they would while playing games.

    In all honesty I think games should be allowed to be unrealistic and fantasy filled. It is want makes them fun and enjoyable, it separates us from our daily lives. – 6th hour

  49. I agree with some of the things being said in this article. The fact that they make the women so busty and thin IS false from what is portrayed in reality. But I think they only do it because, like this says, Sex sells. Since that is the case, women are made to be damsels in distress, busty, sexy, helpless because most of the gaming community are men. Men tend to want to be able to save a women or have a sexy women to look at. So video games are basically a way to do all those things. If women were most popular in the gaming community it would be the other way around and things would be completely different.

  50. video games are cool
    they are entertainment to people
    but some people don’t care about there games

  51. I understand that sex equals money but, thats not the only way a women can be sexy either. Is it not enough for the next generation to settle with a sexy attitude and hugh heels? Of course not. The world and it’s ways will always be greedy, weather it’s money, food, games, or sex. In this case it both sex and money. So no, they can’t stop what they have started, because people will always want more of what they have. The video games industry knows this. And that means that they will probably never stop. Even if the truth is ugly, I too agree that there should be more female heroine.

  52. This article only referes to a very specific group of games and is not very accurate in regards to the entire world of gaming. There are more examples of non sexist female leads then charachters this article is talking about

  53. I somewhat agree with Naidia, the was they portay woman in video games is disgusting and sexiest. The reason why they do this is to entertain there main audiance which is teenage boys and men. Woman have just as much capabilities as men day? So why can’t they be the hero instead of the side kick? Nadia is taking everything way to personal though obviously people know that woman are really not that way in life. Video games are just games? No need to get butt hurt.

  54. I completely agree with you. The reason there are such over exaggerated women in video games is because they need to match the over exaggerated man. i think to truly analyze the problem you cant just pick one little part of a video games make up and analyze that, you have to analyze it as a whole. If we want to truly stop the over exageration of women we will also have to stop the over exaggaration of men and other groups whcih are being stereotyped.

  55. i agree. The women traits in games are starting to get really bad, but i also think the men in games are, Like in saints row, all the guys and women care about is making a name for them self by being pimps, and ho’s and making money and getting girls. the violence is horrible in most games. They need to cut the swearing, and put alittle more clothing on the women.

  56. I disagree with the article. Its all has to do with history. Men are the hunters, they are always strong leaders and women are the gatherers and depend on the men. So producers are putting that into the games because guys are usually the killers and war heros.

  57. I agree with her. the word of gaming is moving in a new direction with female players. Before, the games being targeted to men and teenage boys created the easy route for the makers of the games; sex sells. but now how do they plan to target the ladies? that is a whole new amount of potential buyers. so i think its time to move away from the theme of women as as sex symbols. its a challenge for game makers to grab the attention due to the game itself. not the ladies.

  58. i do agree with a lot of thing you had to say in the blog with the female appearance and how they are made to look today in our video games. i feel that they should try and have some respect for women these days. show that we are not like that in the real world so why should we have to be dressed and made to look like something we are not. but then again i do believe that not all games have women dressed like that. we do have power in some games. but it does kinda n with us falling for some guy .maybe if they changed it up a little and made it to where the guys fell for us of where we were saving some one else they would understand us more. until then this is what we have to live with in the video game life.

  59. I agree with those saying that female characterization isn’t the only issue in video games. Even men and obviously race is stereotyped in games. I just think it’s time developers got over the sex sells theory… seriously. Yeah you’re probably not going to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend over the looks of some video game character, but that’s beside the point. The real problem is the portrayals of people, it’s overdone and no necessary.

  60. what about chell from portal 1 and 2? those are 2 of the biggest games ever and she is the exact opposite of what you said.

  61. I was going to write, though snowkissed beat me to it (glad someone else knows it too) of Jade from the game Beyond Good and Evil. She is sort of androgynous in so far as she wears trousers and not scantily clad outfits, and, and there is equality between her and the male characters (indeed she is often the one who rescues the male). She is strong, independent, intelligent, talented, and with integrity, whilst having a sense of humour too. She is balanced; she can fight, take photos, solve puzzles, drive vehicles – so she is not really stereotypical in only being talented in one department, as it is a combination of these traits that make her successful. I think Jade is the ‘role mode’ that other female video game characters should aspire to, and it is one of the aspects that makes the game so innovative and unique (indeed this is one of the few games I play I am by no means a ‘gamer’)

  62. I don’t think the point she was trying to make was about breast size… I think that it was that the gaming industry as a whole just over sexualizes women. I mean, as a female gamer I get really tired of every time a female character shows up (however, rare or not that may be) and she is SUPER happy, with HUGE boobs, oh and guess what? She’s consistently bouncing around, and just HAPPENS to be scantily clad. I mean, really… the fanservice gets frustrating. It’s hard to simply “walk away and find a new game” because there aren’t that many. Its not the point that female friendly games DO exist… its that there are so few of them. I love GoW or CoD, but I also like to play a game without seeing a half naked girl running around all the time. I mean, come on! I’m bisexual and even I get tired of seeing it all the time. Tune it down a bit.

  63. This is ridiculous. Men and women are equals, but they are different. Why does Link save Zelda, and not the other way around? Because men are meant to be the pursuers, the gentlemen, and the ones that defend the home, the women are the mothers, the gentle ones, etc. I’m not saying that you can fit everyone into the same stereotype, but what I’m trying to say is that men and women are NOT the same, they are built differently and for different reasons; male lions have manes, female lions guard children. Male wolves lead packs and hunt for food that they bring back to the children being taken care of in the meantime by their mother. See what I mean? Zelda wouldn’t save link because Link is a gentleman, and is built strongly to save people.

    This post stinks of feminism and trying to make a point out of thin air.

  64. I’m an indie games developer myself and I’m currently making the female counterpart for my game.

    Before people say that devs don’t listen on topics like these, I can only speak for myself, but this is my market research – this is me finding out the view of the gamers.

    I agree with some of the comments here; it’s not only women who are steryotyped. Look at the Master Chief, and several other characters (especially in FPS’). Not every male speaks like their voice has cracked three times in a row.

    It isn’t just video games, though. Look at Twilight. Does the main character really have to take his top off every five minutes?

    And this happens to women to in films, yet I hardly ever hear anyone complaining there. (Though that could be because I’m not involved in that industry) One (NOT myself) could argue that if it’s acceptable in films, it’s OK in video games too.

    I think that portraying women (physically) in an exaggerated way in games is OK, as long as they push up the age rating to an acceptable level (though that won’t stop most 12 year-old’s). Let’s face it, if women as a whole didn’t want to draw attention to themselves, then the number of breast implants wouldn’t be rising. When I say exaggerated, I don’t mean massively over the top, as long as it stays within reasonable margins.

    What I’m strongly against is having women in games without a personality, as breasts-on-a-stick. Just because women are lightly clad doesn’t mean they’re stupid. The female counterpart in my game is witty and intelligent, and often saves the main (male) character. And no, they do not end up in a relationship.

    Finally, regarding the clothing of certain female characters, let’s face it, if you’re ‘fit’, 7-8 people out of ten (an estimate), would want to ‘show off’. Not being a woman myself, I can only use what I notice around me; some will call me steryotypical, but especially if the woman in question wants information, who knows what lengths they’d go to.

    And I’m not the only dev who has these opinions. Look at portal. OK, GLaDOS conviniantly uses a womans voice, but she’s saved by… a woman! And it does show that at least some other people agree with my view on personalities.

    And I suppose it would be nice to have a downright ugly female counterpart every once in a while…

  65. I think the turn the gaming industry needs to take is creating a dial that allows the end user to tweak the overal game appearance. In Skyrim you can download a mod and make characters looks how you want them to look and wear what you want them to wear… brilliant!!! everybody wins and every body is happy and in control… no need for a debate. The reason people play games rather than watching movies is games give you more control and interaction. Game houses need to stop reinventing the wheel each time they create a game and begin to agree on standards so we all have a stable engine thus allowing the game creators to concern themselves with more with design.

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