Friday, May 18, 2012

Women in Video Games

I may be the laziest feminist in the world. I bitch and gripe and rail against what I believe to be injustice and inequality, but in the end it's all noise. Today, I put a little money where my mouth is.

No, I didn't pledge my worldly goods to NARAL or Planned Parenthood. I pledged a bit to a Kickstarter project that lately hits close to home. And to my last post, as it happens... Tropes vs. Women in Video Games is a project that will (hopefully) be produced by Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency.
I really love playing fun and innovative video games but I’m regularly disappointed in the limited ways women are represented.  This video project will explore, analyze and deconstruct some of the most common tropes and stereotypes of women in games.  This series will focus on reoccurring patterns within the gaming industry rather than singling out just the worst offenders.  I’m going to need your help to make it happen!
Even if you don't play video games, you can look no further than the action figures inspired by them to see they're aimed at male. Lara Croft, for example; Angelina Jolie plays the character in the movies -- and the fanboys drooled. The action figures tend toward bustiness and short/tight/skimpy clothing. You know, exactly the things not to wear in jungles/caves/tombs. As an example, a reviewer gave a Legends edition of the action figure 4/5, when she can only move her arms at the shoulders and pivot her feet! There's no ACTION in that action figure, and she (yes "she" -- unless the man is named Melissa, the reviewer is female) still gave it high marks because "Lara’s bangin’ bod is sculpted for your viewing pleasure, as is the sultry yet badass attitude visible on her face. She looks delicate, yet fierce." *sigh* I'll admit, the sculpt is pretty good, and true to the way the character is depicted in the games, but it's yet another barely-articulated "action" figure. Tomb Raider/Lara Croft is the perfect example of how video games depict a very skewed version of women. Indiana Jones doesn't go into jungles/caves/tombs dressed in short shorts and skinny tank tops! (Argh!)

ANYway, if you're a gamer and are interested in what Ms Sarkeesian is trying to do, consider backing her project, would you? As of this writing, she's only $1000 away from her goal of $6000.

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