(Note: This was posted on my Facebook as a rant after a friend was saying how amazing the video Women as Background Decoration is and is posted here for archival purposes.)

(Sidenote: If anyone can think of games with well-developed female characters, please comment below. The new Lara Croft doesn't count. :P That character is a multi-national effort so it's an anomaly. Thanks!)

tl;dr North American society/culture needs to stop thinking like a frat boy.

There are so many things wrong with this video. (But sadly I'm going to help her SEO rankings by sharing this.)

She points out the obvious hetero-sexism in advertising and games from the 60s to 80s but neglects to mention what the target market and goal of these products are and therefore why they have these oversexualized imagery of women.

She also neglects to mention that in some games that have "nonplayable sex objects" is actually appropriate for the setting they are found in. For example, there is a clip from Mafia II where the player is in a mafia owned gentleman's club, as well as strip clubs in several games, street walkers in shady spots in town, etc. While there is an excessive amount of these NPCs in most games, it isn't entirely reasonable to not have any in certain settings.

In addition, specifically to racing games, the street racing culture is basically horndog frat boys with fast cars. One should not be surprised to see a girl in short shorts, bare midriff, and cleavage standing sexually.

Yes, part of the problem is that the target market for today's games is still the 18 to 45 year old heterosexual male demographic. The problem is also that society (and marketing) views this demographic as men who need these "nonplayable sex objects" in order to feel stimulated and stay interested in a game. After all, sex sells. Right?

We don't need to change how we're making games. That isn't the problem. The problem is our society.

We need to change how heterosexual males view women. We need to change the target demographic for video games. We need to change why we put these "nonplayable sex objects" into games.

The video game industry ITSELF is extremely resistive to change, much like how the movie and TV industry was 20 years ago. If you watch "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows" you can get a sense of how hard it was to be a strong independent woman in a then largely hetero-male dominanted industry. It took a lot of fighting and rebellion and awareness to start bettering the film industry.

We need to change the video game industry's attitudes towards women. (I know I get a lot of crap when I prove that I am very knowledgable about many things male dominant.) We also need to change the industry's reaction to characters who are not hetero males.

Wait a second, you say, there are games out there with well-developed female characters. Yes, there are. But where are they being developed? NOT IN NORTH AMERICA.

The Longest Journey game series is developed in Norway. Mirror's Edge was developed in Sweden. Remember Me was developed in France. The Witcher series is developed in Poland.

In fact, the only game I can think of that has a somewhat well-developed female character that was developed in North America is Supergiant Game's Transistor. (It's not developed by a major game studio, so for our purposes it doesn't count.)

This is absolutely embarrassing for North America's video game industry. It also says a lot about our culture. It is completely contrary to the other media that we produce.

One of my favourite TV shows is Stargate: SG-1. Star Trek has consistently had well-developed female characters, despite how scantily clad they might be. Kelley Armstrong's Bitten series has many sexy women who aren't sex objects.

So I ask you this question: How can we improve North American video game industry's attitudes and perspectives towards characters who aren't hetero males? And how can we improve North American society's attitudes towards sex?
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User (will be screened if not on Access List)
Account name:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
HTML doesn't work in the subject.


If you are unable to use this captcha for any reason, please contact us by email at support@dreamwidth.org

Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.


canuck_kat: Lie To Me: Gillian Foster (Default)
Katrina L. Halliwell
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags