- I often wonder if people think I'm crazy when I go off on feminist rants here on my (spify new) blog. As I've grown older, I've become more and more queasy about the depiction of women in games. The addition of a daughter to my life has only accelerated this change. So as recent events have displayed exactly how bad this industry treats half of its fans, I find it hard to keep quiet.
- There was a lot of the talk this year about whether E3 matters any more. While I have no doubt that it will continue for years to come, I fear what the spectacle says about us. Year to year, the overwhelming presence of booth babes serves as a constant indictment of the industry and its audience. They remind us that no matter proportional of the audience they make up, women are not welcome in gaming. And they remind us how little they think of men that the hint of female flesh is all that is needed to draw our attention.
- Of course, we don't need E3 to tell us that women are held in some distain by developers. There are so few well-rounded, non-sexualized female characters in gaming that just about everyone can name the few that exist. (I can think of four. Four.) Gamers are treated to a long string of sex objects instead of characters. Sure, everything below my beltline is fine with that, but I'm frequently embarassed to play these games in front of my wife. And is this how I'm supposed to teach my daughter about gaming? Someone smarter than me needs to come up with a video game version of the Bechdel Test, just to set an absolute minimum requirement for inclusiveness.
- If you don't think that there is anything wrong with this, just look at the culture that has grown up around gaming. Just look at what happened to Anita Sarkeesian. Her crime seemed to be Gaming While Female and for having the temerity for pointing out how these games could be better. I'm hesitant to point the finger at developers directly. But their continuous disregard for how women are portrayed in their games does nothing to help the situation.
- Tesh recently tweeted:
If we embrace stupidity and mediocrity because what we produce is “just entertainment” what hope is there of advancing the state of the art?We can do better. We can demand better. As a man, I don't like being treated like Pavlov's dog, with a pair of digital breasts the bell to make me salivate. It belittles me, and it belittles women everywhere. It's time for us all to grow up.
© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.