On Females and Gaming Stigmas

So I was browsing around the interwebs, and came across one of about 3000 articles tackling the subject of women in gaming, and how we are perceived as a consumers.

It actually didn’t make me want to kill myself:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21940

This is always kind of a touchy subject, but it also sparks some interesting thoughts. I really like the way this writer explained her neutral view on things: why do companies think making games “female friendly” means having to cover them up more?

Don’t get me wrong, I think sometimes we have some extreme ridiculousness when it comes to female game characters.
Among some quick thoughts:


In retrospect, these girls make Lara Croft look saintly.

But is it that much different when Kratos runs around in a loin-cloth?

A lot of the places we see of the over-sexualizing of female characters in games also happens to be from our favorite nerd country, Japan. And while I don’t want to be the target of fanboy terrorism, cause I know some gamers hold Japanese games in high regard, but it’s also a reflexion of culture. Women in Japan are not as liberalized and independent as Americans are. And the way the Japanese deal with sexuality is a completely different story. Obviously, those cultural aspects are going to leak their way into their games.

I feel like American gaming definitely has come a long way. In fact, I feel like we never really had the issue with exploitation as badly as the Japanese have. Still, we do have to keep in mind that up until fairly recently the market was always geared to your 18-35 fan base. The companies have caught on that we ladies like games, too. But gearing games towards women doesn’t necessarily mean dumbing down the eye candy (it’s not like we don’t have our share of topless dudes to stare at), but more an education of the masses. Girls like games, we like the stuff in games that guys like. We like the bloodshed, kicking ass in combat, explosions and shooting zombies.

The issue is lots of people don’t realize that, and sometimes the guys expect or assume that we don’t. In return, a lot of the casual girl gamers themselves may not realize they would most likely also enjoy what makes a game tick, cause advertisements suggest it’s for guys. Sometimes, they don’t want to be open about it for fear of being poked fun at.

In retrospect, I also feel like guy gamers should take a step back and think “Is this really how I want the companies to feel about me?” The fact that catering to male fan base is assumed to be successful with lots of cleavage and bouncing boobs. I personally would feel super offended if game companies thought posting up a Brad Pitt clone with swords was supposed to make me want to buy a game. That could just be me, though, and it’s not JUST a gaming issue. Being in Graphic Design and dealing with advertisement, I would know. Sex sells.

I’ve always been open about being a chick online and in games, and I would defend myself to say it’s not for attention, but more a wake-up call to the people that, hey, girls play games, it’s not that big a deal. I hate special treatment, or comments in vent. Is it really that surprising? Really?

Helping boosts sales for the females is simply a matter of waiting it out and not making stupid assumptions. A growing up of the community is needed, but it’s already happening, so I think with time, that balance will come.

Random thoughts.
~Isa