Gamers must demand an end to female objectification in games


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As both a proud gamer and a feminist, an issue has weighed heavily on my mind for quite some time. I feel that aside from internet memes here and there, there is little discussion about the objectification of women in video games.  

It’s no secret that a good majority of the gaming community are males, and many woman that play video games often feel left out. This is not only brought on by being in the stark minority, but many games don’t have female characters to play as.

Most games are centered around a big tough guy who never seems to die against impossible odds. In addition to that, when there are female characters to play, a lot of times they are depicted in very objectifying ways, such as (but not limited to) wearing next to no clothing.

This not only makes women feel more excluded from the gaming world, but it also enforces and perpetuates archaic sexist beliefs about women.

Some game franchises are more guilty of this than others. One franchise in particular comes to mind, and that is the Tomb Raider series. Prior to the recent reboot on next gen consoles, Lara Croft, who is the famous adventurer and the “tomb raider,” was always depicted wearing extremely short shorts and revealing tops regardless of whether she was cave diving or spelunking for artifacts.

This issue can be traced back to the gaming industry and the developers of these games. First off, the gaming industry is very male-dominated. Because of this, they are appealing to a mostly male-dominated audience.

As a gamer, I feel it almost insulting that in 2018, as we are watching as gaming becomes an artform, we are still seeing these problems. I find it even more insulting as a male gamer that these companies believe that all we want is to play games with half-naked women in them when people’s wants and needs for games are so much more complex.

As far as artistic freedoms go, sex appeal is a fine thing to have in your games, just like any other artform, but there is a definite line between adding a level of sex appeal to your game and blatantly objectifying women. The problem is that many gaming developers ignore this line.

It even seems that it would be advantageous for these companies to appeal to a wider audience, but they continue to release content like this. They consistently leave their female fans out, which is almost definitely discouraging to many women. Though I must recognize that this issue has heavily lessened as the video game making process has become more streamlined and as our modern culture has progressed, it is still an issue.

This is a problem that can be remedied by the customer base. Gamers tend to underestimate their power when it comes to influencing content. Also, with more women going into the industry, I remain optimistic about future change on this issue.