Female Gaming Criteria?

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Cheerleaders/Booth Babes/Halo Hoes: Pro-gaming, Gender, and Jobs for the Boys article basically outlines the [not so] numerous roles females play in and around the virtual gaming world and their events. We have the “cheerleader” moms that support their sons in all their gaming endeavours, but do not really get involved with the playing or the plotlines of the games – unknowingly maintaining the belief that females have no interest in the actual games, and are just there to cheer on the strong and willing male participants. Then there are the “booth babes”. They [barely] dress in outfits matching the theme of their game’s booth, look sexy, and bring attention to the game where audience either tests the games out or ogles the lovely ladies – aka completely sexualising any chance of female roles in the gaming world. Lastly, the “halo hoes” who come to gaming conventions, love the games (not necessarily playing them, or at least not playing them well) and flirt with the gamers. Girls who come to the conventions and are actually good at their games, constantly have to justify their own presence as being serious about gaming and not just there looking for love.

First of all, it should be noted that, traditionally, “gamers” (I’m going to go ahead and assume your first thought was a white teenage male with glasses and acne, sitting hunched-over in his room, eyes glued to the tv/computer screen with the lights off, etc.) were generally seen as nerdy, non-social boys who excelled in their video games and online worlds, which was usually pretty accurate. Video games also started being designed and created by males. Taking that into consideration, we can see how any females included in early (and current) game designs were more ornamental and secondary to the game’s actual hero (never heroine..). She is always in desperate need of being saved from whatever evil (male) villain, has long flowing hair (which is, by the way, unrealistic since I doubt the villain is providing her with conditioner), more often than not skin tight attire, and head over in heels in love with the hero. Could there be a criteria to be met for females playing roles in the virtual gaming world? Understandably, these are males who generally do not play dominant roles in society, aren’t the top football players with all the girls begging for dates, so when they get to create their own world where they are the main character, of course they’ll be well-built, villain-defeating men who have girls fawning over them.

Of course, this rarely left room for females to relate at all because though they may want to play video games just as much, the games were created and geared towards males and therefore became male gendered. This is not to say that there are not any games at all that feature a female as the main character, such as Metroid and Perfect Dark, but I’m saying I would put a lot of money down betting there isn’t half as many as the number that feature males.

Metroid for NES is, surprisingly, an older game that features a heroine Samus Aran. She wears a suit of armour and, basically, her main mission is to save the planet from evil creatures in the name of science. Shocker: there is no man/prince waiting at the end of the game for her to save him and take him back to his castle. Saving the planet, as noble as that is, really just brings the female heroine right back to the ideology of women being close to nature and having everything to do with the Earth, etc.

Also! In Super Metroid, for SNES, there’s a secret you can unlock. If you beat the game in a certain amount of time, you get to see Samas in a bikini! I’m not even going to go there.

If further interested in an outside link I found about women stereotypes in games, check out this link!


–          Karyn D’Souza

  1. Tien Vuu says:

    Re: Female Gaming Criteria?
    In the blog about gamers’ identity and how females are portrayed in games are accurate to a certain extent. There are many video games where female characters are sexualized through the skimpy outfits (such as Grand Theft Auto) just reconfirm the male fantasy idea of the role that females play. However, it is a fact that sex sells. Marketers and corporations know that if they hire gorgeous models “booth babes” to promote their games or even create attractive females in games, they would attract the male audience who are willing to spend money on games. The gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry so it is not surprising that companies would want to make their games appealing in order to make sales. Games have always been an escape route to a fantasy that one cannot achieve in real life. Therefore many males are easily captured by the sexual image of a female being portrayed in games. Despite the negative image females have historically been placed in sexual roles in games, I believe that the whole game dynamics are slowly changing. Some MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Games) have attempted to make games more appealing for females. For example, in Perfect World International, the programmers have gone to great lengths to create more diverse outfits for female characters than male characters. They’ve created angel wings to attract female players, proving that games do not necessarily need to be violent and dominating. Female gamers should not have to be aggressive and try to play “like one of the guys” in order to be taken seriously. Female gamers should be respected in their ability and skills in gaming while at the same time being themselves and not try to fit the role of a “gamer”. There are more female gamers in the present time then there were 10 years ago. Females are becoming more competitive force in the gaming world, even if it begins with one female.

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