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Female protagonists in video games

(20 Posts)
GipsyDanger Fri 29-Jul-16 21:11:35

I just wanted to see what your opinions as feminists is on the state of the 'creepy cull of female protagonists' in the video game industry. Jim puts it far more eloquently than I. I would think that most people, young and old, play video games, and it is very important to have stong, male and female leads.

GipsyDanger Fri 29-Jul-16 21:20:27

Another video on the "objectification" of men in video games, or rather the invented objectification

Felascloak Fri 29-Jul-16 21:22:11

Can you summarise? I hate watching videos but I'm interested what the debate is about.
My favourite game (showing my age!) Is perfect dark on the N64 which had an amazing female lead. Struggling to think of more recent female characters but i dont play muxh these days. I enjoyed zombieU which had a mix of male and female but seemed like slightly more male.

GipsyDanger Fri 29-Jul-16 21:29:11

I do highly recommend watching, basically he's saying that developers are told to not have female leads in games, females are not to have any agency in sex, less the male player feel awkward. And in the other, he shows that women are objectified and males are idealised in games.

GipsyDanger Fri 29-Jul-16 21:29:54

The industry is rife with corruption on multiple levels, this is just one layer of a very ugly onion

Felascloak Fri 29-Jul-16 21:41:01

Yeah the gamer gate thing bought that home to me. I play some online stuff now with a very male handle (picked by my 10 yo and spelt wrong so I just come across as a young boy!) And the people with female names get so much hassle. It's so obviously a man's domain sad

GipsyDanger Fri 29-Jul-16 21:48:28

There are still some good un's out there, personally I've had nothing but good experiences on destiny for example, and the bioware games are very female centered. But I do understand the COD world is very bad in some cases.

meadowwhisperer Sun 14-Aug-16 19:44:59

Lara Croft is a great example, I often looked up to her growing up

Miffer Sun 14-Aug-16 23:39:20

I played a MMoRPG for years. I played a healing roll and a damage taking roll primarily (two seperate characters... well actually more like 6 but I digress). They were all female with female names. The odd thing was when I was healing people always assumed I was female or else were accepting when I told them I was. When I was tanking (taking damage and leading) people always assumed I was male and even went so far to accuse me of lying when I told them I was female.

I loved video games from being a kid and still do. Skyrim is probably the single game I have put the most hours in (although my combined FF hours would dwarf that). Skyrim is an amazing game with a brilliant story and it matters not one fucking jot if your character is male or female (you get to choose). That said it isn't entirely free of troubling tropes.

Bit of an inarticulate post but I am just bit excited to see a video game thread.

Xenophile Mon 15-Aug-16 11:00:25

I had similar experiences Miffer.

Was even worse when doing PvP, because apparently you need a dick to be able to do that too.

Dervel Mon 15-Aug-16 13:37:55

Bioware's next rpg Mass Effect Andromeda, despite being able to choose the gender of your protagonist is focusing its marketing materials thus far on a femal as default.

There is also Mirror's Edge 2 this year, a new Tomb Raider, a series called Gravity Rush on PlayStation, something I've not picked up yet but am keen to called Life Is Strange which I've heard is excellent.

Essentially a lot of the very very high profile gaming franchises like CoD, GTA (although I've heard rumors one of next protagonists in GTA VI will be female) are all extremely male demographic focused especially in terms of marketing, but when one takes a look at what gets a lot of critical praise well written female characters are much more common.

Sports games deserve a special mention also, FIFA 16 is the first in the franchise to introduce women's teams, and the recent UFC 2 game put Ronda Rousey on the box art.

I hear you on the mmo front, I tend towards playing a mix of male/female characters and you do get treated differently, although I run my own guild now, and avoid recruiting and kick out anyone sexist, homophobic, racist or otherwise unpleasant, so I thankfully don't come across it much anymore.

Miffer Mon 15-Aug-16 17:28:35


Oh my gosh I totally forgot PVP. That's when things got shitty. I used to be big into PVE but after I got a bit sick of committing 4 hours at a time and got into PVP. PVE had been a relatively nice atmosphere and I had never really encountered the toxic culture you often hear about, that changed sharpish in PVP. It wasn't abuse it was just the general culture. Racist, misogynistic, homophobic. That bizarre parody of masculinity that certain 'gamer' males put on.

meddie Mon 15-Aug-16 17:38:07

Another one who games, used to play RTS, now mainly mmo's . Still gaming at 50, in fact I have a raid tonight. I love that guilds in MMO's are a mix of players from all over Europe.
No one in my guild knows my age, though they do know I am female due to voice comms. I honestly think it would shatter some of the younger males ego's if they knew they were getting beaten on meters by someone older than their mum.
did used to PvP and got the highest rank in the game I played, but I agree the community is toxic.
learned french and swedish through gaming so its had its plus sides.

DidoTwiteInnit Mon 15-Aug-16 17:54:00

I've seen that kind of stereotyping in MMORPGS too. When I used to play a well-known one, the few men that played healing characters pretty much always chose female avatars, as if only women could do the sappy (although vital!) healing role. Also most cloth wearing roles (mages etc) usually 'looked' female too (whether they were played by men or women), while most of the armour wearers and tanks were of course men. I used to sometimes tank too and it was an unusual choice for a woman to play (back then anyway). That said, the particular game I used to play had a HUGE number of women players and other than the strange stereotyping, I never really encountered any misogyny (apart from the occasional immature 13 year old boy). I never bothered pointing out I was a girl (except to my guild of course) so I usually I just got berated for my 'sucky dps.'

When I was growing up there were quite a few female protagonists in games. Lara Croft (I loved Tomb Raider), Samus Arun from the many versions of Metroid Prime, the girls from the Fatal Frame series - plus all the games where you could design your own character (like Oblivion).

Miffer Mon 15-Aug-16 21:55:29


So strange that tanking and healing were your choice too. I chose healing because back in the day healers were like gold dust. I switched to tanking when they became the holy grail and absolutely loved it and stuck with it for the rest of my 'career' . Dps never appealed to me, soooo boring.

I always corrected people assuming I was male (or a 'girl' for that matter) and very rarely had any issues when I was PVEing (other than the aforementioned disbelief when I was tanking). I was warned to keep my gender under wraps lest I be harassed or labelled an 'attention whore' (seriously fuck internet culture) but I decided not to early on and never regretted it. I neither suffered harassment or benefited from the mythical 'special treatment'.

Writing this is making me pine for a raid. =(

GipsyDanger Mon 15-Aug-16 22:02:16

Just saw this pop up in chat, I was like, isn't that my thread? grin
I am wayyyyy looking forward to andromeda to.

Back to the feminist chat though, reminded me of the sexism in games, male leads are allowed to be grisly, mature etc but a leading lady must always be attractive with a perfect body, unless you can edit the character yourself

GipsyDanger Mon 15-Aug-16 22:02:37

Pop up in *active

Shantotto Mon 15-Aug-16 22:08:35

For some really great videos on this subject, watch the Tropes vs Women in video games by Anita Sarkeesian. I normally don't watch videos but hers are great. She's gotten a huge amount of abuse from gamer gaters and I'm really glad she's still going.

I especially like the one about female characters in games have the camera focuses on their bottom and if it's a male they go to great lengths to hide that area. It's so funny and so obvious when she points it out.

Playlist is here:

GipsyDanger Mon 15-Aug-16 22:13:25

Jim kind of makes the same point for romance scenes. It's almost always done from the male perspective/ male character to a female as devs fear the (hetro/homophobic) player might feel 'awkward' to play as a women making the moves on a man confused "because that's gay"

GipsyDanger Mon 15-Aug-16 22:14:28

I think women aren't allowed agency in sex in all walks of life

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