In response to "Dude Looks Like a Lady" from The Escapist Forum: When the game first came out, I was, what, 10 years old? 11? Tops, 12? I was open to a lot of ideas, since my mind was still easily impressionable. Seeing Sheik though, I instantly knew it was Zelda. Whether or not it was a man or a woman under those bandages/rags did not make him/her any less of an interesting character.
Sheik was a ninja in my eyes, thats all that mattered to me. S/he was cool. However, Sheik wasn't the girl I once knew, the one I was striving to save...S/he was the one saving me it seemed. Her skills, from what I could tell, far surpassed mine as Link. This was why when Zelda got captured by Ganon, that it wasn't a matter of "We can't have a transgender character." but more of a, "We need the princess, we need Wisdom, not another symbol of Courage." Link was being replaced by Sheik in my eyes, thats why, whatever magick was in play, had to be reversed in order for the story to continue.
At the end of it all though, I feel as if Sheik was more of a symbol of Hope/Courage for the people (whomever was left to see this symbol) in Hyrule, while Link was on his hiatus. Whether or not Sheik was a guy or a girl made no difference to the players, or the people of Hyrule. What they needed to see was that there wasn't only one hero to save the world. There wasn't only one person that could stand up against the Evil in the land. You weren't the be all end all hero for once. You were still, only human after all, and Sheik was the same, you both showed each other your mortality.
Thats how I feel about it at least.
I was under the impression that she pretended to be a male from a dying/dead race so that there'd be no way she'd be mistaken for Princess Zelda, holder of the Triforce of Wisdom. Thus, Ganondorf had to search for a young Hyrulian woman, while in the manga at least, he had one of the few remaining Sheikah working for him.
No longer having the element of surprise at her disposal, the new Sheik form doesn't need to be so convincing (thus the more slender muscles). It just needs to be deadly.
Also, I seem to remember her transforming back into Zelda the second Link was ready to take on Ganondorf, a point at which hiding wouldn't do much good.
One of the reasons that, in the past, women were in towers and whatnot may or may not be a direct result of the male's general expendablity. Each woman can be impregnated by a single male, but one male can spread throughout numerous women. Thus, less males are needed, and women need to be protected (humanity fights nature tooth and nail). According to Wikipedia, there are several differences between the genders resulting from their roles in reproduction.
BTW, does this article even have a point? I didn't see any, besides a little bit of "gender roles are not needed". That's nice and all, but gender roles are intrinsically tied to the very real, though certainly not impairing, differences between males and females.
The reason why it should be is that gay men and women play video games, and homosexuality is part of everyday life. I'm guessing your a straight male. Would you like to do nothing else but play as a gay character?
I have to say, I disagree with this approach. Basically, that's a demand for positive discrimination - which is still discrimination. I wouldn't say that just because gay people play games, there should be a requirement that there are gay characters in games - sure, if it it's in the character design then why not, but would you really want to see characters who are explicitly singled out as "look it's the gay-equal-inclusion" one?
It's slightly similar (don't take this analogy too far) to diversity policies in the workplace, and positive discrimination quotas - do you want the job because you're qualified, or would you rather know that you only got it because the company is below their gay:straight employee threshold?
Obviously there's nothing wrong with wanting to experience games that have characters in that you identify with, but is it so important that it has to be on a sexuality level? Are there not other characteristics in a hero character that people can draw comparison with before they get to their choice of partner?
Personally, I don't think the sexuality of videogame characters matters a great deal - being as they're games. I've never picked up a game thinking "great, time to get my heterosexual on and shoot some villains like only a straight man can" because that would be ridiculous, and yet that's the reductio ad absurdum opposite of demanding gay characters in games. I think forcing the issue would only serve to make things worse - the ideal situation would surely be where a main character turns to their love interest of choice/plot design, be they male or female, and nobody gives a hoot.