Women in video games is a much-discussed subject on the internet, so Unreality magazine interviewed its own staff members who are female gamers: Sara Clemens and Benny Bedlam. They talk about their favorite characters and what they think of gender roles in video games. Clemens addressed a conundrum in which it's hard to criticize the way female characters are designed, because there are so few that we can't afford to lose any of them.
I always struggle a bit when criticizing portrayals of women in media, and that goes for all forms, not just games. You’re actually hitting on a common theme within the ways women are portrayed across the board, be it video games, film, television, or literature. A lot of female characters are still very clearly designed to appeal to the male gaze while simultaneously possessing complex personalities.
Sometimes I’m crestfallen because it seems like despite these complex personalities, their real value still lies in how screwable they are. Other times I kick myself for judging too harshly, or worse, participating in slut-shaming. I don’t want to be the clothing police. Demanding women cover themselves up only serves to demonize and hypersexualize female bodies even further. Adding to all that internal struggle, some male characters in fighting games have ridiculous costumes that also aren’t conducive to fighting, and I’m way more apt to just accept them as they are.
I think the real problem stems from the fact that there just isn’t as diverse of a spectrum when it comes to female characters in media. Often we’re left judging one or two female characters in a male-dominated group so they end up bearing more than a fair share of the burden of representation.
There's a lot more in the article at Unreality. Link
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