Before I get started on the "meat" of this post, I'd like to mention that my most recent article is up at Total Retro Gaming (formerly Norwich Retro Gaming) and is on the PS1 2D shooter, Einhander. Take a look and let me know what you think! (Note: Unfortunately the site isn't working correctly for me at the moment, so for the time being I'll have to direct you to the main page and ask that you click on "news" in order to see my Einhander piece)
So, as many of you who already know me are well aware, I often contemplate the role of women in the gaming community and representations of female characters in the games we play. I'll also be the first to tell you that I consider myself a feminist, even though that term seems to have so many negative connotations these days (no, I am not a femi-nazi, I do not hate men, and yes I changed my last name when I got married). I consider myself to be a reasonable human being who doesn't advocate for the advancement of women over men, but equality for men and women in all facets of life. On that note, I believe overly sexist or stereotyped portrayals of both men and women in any type of media, be it video games, film, or literature, to be worth considering. Ok, no more ranting, I just wanted you all to have your facts straight before I dive in.
|Yes, I would buy this|
"As of late, there has been an emergence of what I call 'Brittany Spears Feminism.' This is the idea that states 'I dress like a stripper because I’m empowered!' Because of this, there is now a turn to justify latex costumes and triple-D bust lines by claiming they are empowering. I draw your attention to Bayonetta. Large tits? Check. Skin tight outfit? Check. Sexy attitude on par with a soft core porn star? Double check. But wait! She has intellectual glasses! She’s empowering to female gamers! No, she is a vamped up tart who you are trying to market to me as a strong female figure, when in reality she is little more than eye candy for boys. I’m just not buying it — that is not how it works." [emphasis by the author]
"Now is the time to make a very important point: wielding a giant sword, and reminding all the chauvinistic males in the game that the character is a woman, and will totally kick some dude’s ass, does not a strong female make. It makes for an angry girl stereotype."
I find myself agreeing with many of the points Jen makes, but at times her article suggests that rather than having physically strong female characters, she would prefer to see weaker women who are physically agile. I think that the idea that women can't be as strong as men is also a stereotype, and I personally have no problems with a strong female character who can wield a giant sword and kick ass, as long as she has emotional depth. Let me think of an example... Hm, well, I don't think I can, but if you do, leave it in the comments!
|Rydia from Final Fantasy IV|
Brad over at Drinking CoffeeCola mentioned an article in his most recent post that discusses the Lara Croft reboot and the possible implications of focusing on a young, more anatomically correct Lara who has so far only been shown as a beat-up, bloody mess. I definitely agree with him that this portrayal of her is sightly disturbing, and though it may be too early to tell how this will play out in the game as a whole. For now I think it's safe to say that I am not very happy how, in an attempt to make Lara more "real," the advertising team feel it is necessary to focus so heavily on her weakened state in the promotional images.
So, to wrap things up, feel free to let me know what you think of these various articles (if you decide to check them out) in the comments! For those of you who have had enough just reading through my post, how about sharing your favorite female video game characters? My husband and I are quite fond of Beatrix from Final Fantasy IX, and I'm partial to Freya from FFIX, as well.
My next post will be something a little different: A book review!