Quick Gender and Video Gaming Post

I am constantly annoyed by the fact that you can't have a female video character who is not conventionally attractive, often in a goofy over-exagerated way. When such concerns over the sexualization of female characters are expressed in internet fora, the common rejoinder is something to the effect of "Well, men are objectified too, with all the muscles and such!" To which the feminist reply is that "the muscles and such" are generally some criteria relevant to the game character's role in the game's universe, whereas the female character's sexual qualities are entirely tertiary. Male characters are attractive (if they are attractive; you'll see a lot more not-conventionally-attractive male characters than you will female characters) because it's instrumentally useful; female characters are sexy for sexy's sake. And in general it's annoying because it reinforces the notion that women are to be judge by their sexual attractiveness first and by their other qualities only as an afterthought.

For example: Kotaku can't post about game designer Jade Raymond without making the post about how hot she is. Never mind that she's the head designer on one of the year's most anticipated triple-A console titles, that she has a computer science degree from McGill, one of Canada's top universities, or her work on The Sims Online. She's a woman so the main point of any article on her focuses on her looks. When was the last time you read an article about a male game designer that addressed appearance in any but the most superficial way (e.g. "He looks disheveled and unkempt," or "he looks exhausted" or what not)? It doesn't happen.

This is part of the problem, and it's a broad cultural thing. Part of the solution is encouraging media that doesn't reinforce the worst aspects of the collective psyche.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 24, 2007 1:04 AM.

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