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The Worst 7 Female Stereotypes in Videogames That Need to Go
(Full article in the source)
It’s hard to believe that in the 21st century there are still so many female stereotypes still in videogames. This continues despite the fact that there are plenty of women in the industry and in the consumer base, and over recent years there has been quite a bit of dialogue on this issue. It seems like the more that stereotypes are questioned by the culture at large, the harder the conservatives who still control the industry fight back.
These stereotypes aren’t just boring, they are damaging. They sell an outmoded concept of gender identity which just has no basis in real life. Unfortunately, the stereotypes we perpetuate do have an impact on how women are treated.
7. The Damsel in Distress
“Thank You, Mario, But Our Princess is in Another Castle.” Remember the days when almost every female character in any videogame seemed to be a damsel in distress? Zelda and Peach are of course the classic examples of videogame damsels in need of rescue. The problem with this stereotype is twofold. Firstly, there is the implication that women are never capable of helping themselves. Secondly, there is the assumption that the woman wants the hero to come along and save her—and when he does, naturally she will owe him something and be happy about it. Because what woman doesn’t want to be in the debt of a man?
6. The Mary Sue Know-It-All
[...] The Mary Sue Know-It-All is as clever as they come, and seems to have an answer to every problem, however obscure. She has a tendency to turn up with these solutions at just the right moment.
The issue with this stereotype in gaming is twofold. Firstly, it is yet another boring stock character we have seen a thousand times. Secondly, The Mary Sue Know-It-All is not being presented to us as a person, but rather as a plot device, deus ex machina, a means to an end. Ultimately the only reason for her presence is to get the hero from A to B.
5. The Prostitute
Prostitutes are all over the world of videogaming, and that should come as no surprise. When women are objectified in videogames, you should expect to see portrayals of women taking money in exchange for objectification. [...] Many games also urge you to treat them as trash, Grand Theft Auto being the prime example.
4. Eye Candy
A lot of female characters in videogames exist to be pretty and for no other reason. They are there to dress up the scene a bit and give you something to look at. Sometimes they may also serve as a plot device, unlocking a quest or letting you play through a romance scene. [...]
3. Who Needs Armor Anyway?
Men in videogames aren’t always heavily armored, but when they are, it is a complete tossup as to whether their female counterparts will be or not. It isn’t uncommon to have the option to play a heavily armored male character or a scantily clad female character who may as well be a stripper instead of a warrior.
While you could argue that videogames aren’t particularly serious to begin with and there is nothing wrong with a little camp, it would be nice if the camp were at least not associated with a gender stereotype divide. If you are going to cover male characters in armor, you should logically do the same with female characters. Women need to protect their vital organs too.
2. The Absurdly Sexy Badass
Not only do women in videogames tend to be poorly equipped in the body armor department, but they also tend to be ridiculously hypersexual. In other words, even if the fate of the world hangs in the balance, somehow these women still have time to think about getting laid. It doesn’t matter how impractical their wardrobes, high heels, or attitudes are, or how little connection they have to real life—they also don’t usually care too much what is going on with anyone around them. [...]
1. The Victim
Quite often in videogames we get characters with tragic histories, but there tends to be a major divide between men and women in this respect. [...]
But if you have a female character with a tragic history, usually it was something that happened to her. Generally it will be along the lines of rape or abandonment. This actually is unfair to both female and male characters. Women aren’t always victims. Sometimes men are.
All of these female stereotypes are not just outmoded—they were never real to begin with. Stock characters in general are boring and lazy, and when they are stereotypical like this, they add a negative contribution to the cultural dialogue on gender identity. [...]
The bottom line is that women and men are really not so different—a person is a person. Stereotypes take away personhood and create cultural barriers which shouldn’t exist. It is time we take those barriers away. When we do, we will have a healthier society—and much more compelling videogames as well.
Opinions about this? Do you agree with the list? Or you'd rather keep seeing these stereotipes show up in the videogames you play?