Ever the since the global video game industry flourished, many people have noticed a common pattern emerging with regards to the main characters of the games and their gender representation.
According to a 2016 ESTO statistical report, only around 34% of gamers are female. This makes it somewhat understandable for game developers to make most of their lead characters male. However, the role of females in these games is what causes me to raise an eyebrow. During my previous blog post, I discussed the controversy that the GTA franchise caused by its drug and violence filled game. One of the major aspects that sparked its controversy is its inclusion of prostitutes. The player has the ability to steal a car, drive around shady-looking areas at night to find minimally dressed prostitutes. The player then has the option of letting the girl enter the car and do the deed. Since doing this requires in-game money, most players opt to chase the girl afterward, violently murder her and recollect their money.
Obviously, we see what the issue in this is. Sadly, this pattern of sexualizing female characters in video games is recurrent all over the industry. Most female characters only have supporting roles and are dressed in an overly sexualized way. Even when they are given main roles, they are still sexualized. When you think of Tomb Raider, what image comes into your head? Most likely, a tightly dressed woman in very short-shorts and highly emphasized breasts.
Although more and more game developers nowadays are becoming aware of this issue, I still believe the industry has a long way ahead of it but who knows, maybe someday this won’t be an issue anymore.