Female characters in video games

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I have just ran into this article / project:
http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/854/features/854/the_aesthetics_of_unique_video_.php?page=1

The writer, Shaylyn Hamm, discusses female characters in video-gaming, and how they usually stem from sexist stereotypes. She also created models of a female Heavy and a female Medic (TF2's), which I found to be very good :)
That also lead me to thinking which games have female protagonists who aren't oversexualized... And beside Valve's and Funcom's, couldn't think of much.

What's your opinion on the matter? How do you think female protagonists in games SHOULD look and behave? To the girls among you - does it really bother you that most of the female protagonists are oversexualized, like Shaylyn Hamm has claimed?

Bioware seems to do a pretty good job with female characters in their RPG's.
They aren't over sexualized or anything, just female.

They should behave how they do in real life. Over-sexualized sometimes happens in real life, and if it fits the story, there's no reason to not over-sexualize the character.

However in some games, it doesn't fit, and the character should look and behave more like a real person.

Due in part to Bioware's fabulous writing team, I think female Commander Shepard is fucking awesome. She reminds me of Samus, kick arse heroine first, woman second.

If the story calls for them to be like that, then by all means. But stereotypically tossing them into that role when they could be a normal person like the male characters is just dumb. I'm not sure even the guys like it anymore... :/

Radeonx:
Bioware seems to do a pretty good job with female characters in their RPG's.
They aren't over sexualized or anything, just female.

The Asari race are quite funny in that regard. Like Shamus Young once said it:
"The Asari are one of the most advanced and intelligent species in the galaxy. They live for a thousand years, and were flying through space while most of the rest of the races still thought "national defense" meant "fling poo at enemy." So naturally the Asari gravitate towards jobs servicing everyone else as prostitutes and pole dancers."

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/5681-Stolen-Pixels-58-Xenoeroticism

Radeonx:
Bioware seems to do a pretty good job with female characters in their RPG's.
They aren't over sexualized or anything, just female.

Except for their costumes obviously. And the fact that have sex with you after several conversations. And the whole Asari thing. That said Bioware are up there in well rounded but cliched characters so it's more cheesy sci-fi conventions I'm complaining about.

As for fem-Shepard, She is not written as a "woman" any more than Gorden Freeman is written as a woman it's our interpretation that makes her a woman if you follow me. Shepard is potentially NOT a well rounded character. He/She can be evil/good at the players whim, or an asshole/decent person. You shape their character. She's not written well as a woman WE write her as a cool enpowered woman.

As for sexualisation. The main issue is no woman is like a video game woman and it creates a weird template in a young male's head about what the ideal woman should be like. Not just in terms of looks but in actions and behaviour. It's like an inverse Barbie doll that teaches men the ideal woman is Lara Croft or Alyx who have no emotions or personality outside a fantasy game. That would worry me more than Bayonetta's figure. As Warren Ellis put it "When I write a woman, I do my best not to write a guy with tits" And considering how many guys grow up playing video games and not socializing, all their experience of the opposite sex is filtered through games and t.v. and comics. Mostly written by men. And as weird as that sounds it's true. And when that guy meets an actual honest to god woman who is not just a guy with tits or a damsel in distress they don't know how to relate.

Lono Shrugged:
As for sexualisation. The main issue is no woman is like a video game woman and it creates a weird template in a young male's head about what the ideal woman should be like. Not just in terms of looks but in actions and behaviour. It's like an inverse Barbie doll that teaches men the ideal woman is Lara Croft or Alyx who have no emotions or personality outside a fantasy game. That would worry me more than Bayonetta's figure. As Warren Ellis put it "When I write a woman, I do my best not to write a guy with tits" And considering how many guys grow up playing video games and not socializing, all their experience of the opposite sex is filtered through games and t.v. and comics. Mostly written by men. And as weird as that sounds it's true. And when that guy meets an actual honest to god woman who is not just a guy with tits or a damsel in distress they don't know how to relate.

I disagree with only one part of this paragraph.
I think that including both Lara and Alyx under the same definition is wrong. Lara, since the first Tomb Raider, had a HUGE chest and oversexualized body. The series got most of its publicity due to the body they modeled for her. She doesn't show much emotions, and is, like you said, like a Barbie doll with guns. Alyx, on the other hand, is a fuller character, that never strikes you as sleazy or exaggerated.

Alyx is annoying as hell though, Lara has way more emotional depth in the cut-scenes.

Yet when you have a female character who acts like one of the dudes, she's hated (Wet)

Bayonetta and Jeanne are awesome examples of girls in gaming. Paine (the real cool character) from FFX-2 was awesome as well.

As far as non-oversexualized female game leads?

PipBoy2000:
.
I think that including both Lara and Alyx under the same definition is wrong. Lara, since the first Tomb Raider, had a HUGE chest and oversexualized body. The series got most of its publicity due to the body they modeled for her. She doesn't show much emotions, and is, like you said, like a Barbie doll with guns. Alyx, on the other hand, is a fuller character, that never strikes you as sleazy or exaggerated.

I probably didn't explain myself properly. I think Alyx is a great female character. She's rounded out, realistic body figure but an almost unrealistic personality. Now I'm not blaming Valve it is after all an action game. A woman has to be violent and act like one of the guys to be respected in a video game. I am well aware it's a war and an action game and my problem is not with Alyx specifically. More the concept of a strong female character is that she has to kick ass to some degree to be respected. I know video games are generally violent and woman need to be aggressive to keep up with that. My problem is that a generation of guys will grow up with this skewed view and bizarre attraction to the concept of sexualised violence.

Selphie from FFVIII always comes to mind. I think she's the closest to a "normal" teenage girl in any video game I've ever played. Cute, funny, sometimes a bit of a clutz, but also extremely intellegent, skilled, and able to handle herself. In fact, I think all the girls from VIII are good examples.

I like when game designers are spherical with female character models. Bayonetta is one of my favorites since she is the embodiment of every cliche of sexist game design (beside giant breasts, hers are very proportional). the way she acts is more sexual intimidating than sexually arousing and if I am going to continue to quote moviebob. I'll just say "most game girls either want it or want nothing to do with it, Bayonetta wants it, she just knows you can in no way deliver it."

Strangely I find Lita from brutal legend to be a very fair representation of women since she puts on the tough girl routine but shows depth as she struggles to cope with the death of her brother. a very well designed character in all.

Bayonetta makes me want to tear my eyes out.

Someone already said it, but Bioware did a great job with their female roles.

I also think Faith from Mirror's Edge is a rather interesting character, seeing as how Mirror's Edge is a really feminist game. Every male in that frickin' game either get killed, beaten up, or kicked in the 'nads, usually BY a female character.

Drakmeire:
I like when game designers are spherical with female character models. Bayonetta is one of my favorites since she is the embodiment of every cliche of sexist game design (beside giant breasts, hers are very proportional). the way she acts is more sexual intimidating than sexually arousing and if I am going to continue to quote moviebob. I'll just say "most game girls either want it or want nothing to do with it, Bayonetta wants it, she just knows you can in no way deliver it."

In the article that I've posted, the writer says that such characters are so over-sexual, that ACTUAL girls find them insulting :)

imaloony:
Someone already said it, but Bioware did a great job with their female roles.

I also think Faith from Mirror's Edge is a rather interesting character, seeing as how Mirror's Edge is a really feminist game. Every male in that frickin' game either get killed, beaten up, or kicked in the 'nads, usually BY a female character.

About Bioware - read my above comment about the Asari :)

As for Faith - I agree with you. However, in the above article there's a mention of a mod to that game in which they rounded her face and enlarged her breasts to make her more attractive... and defeating the purpose altogether.

PipBoy2000:

Radeonx:
Bioware seems to do a pretty good job with female characters in their RPG's.
They aren't over sexualized or anything, just female.

The Asari race are quite funny in that regard. Like Shamus Young once said it:
"The Asari are one of the most advanced and intelligent species in the galaxy. They live for a thousand years, and were flying through space while most of the rest of the races still thought "national defense" meant "fling poo at enemy." So naturally the Asari gravitate towards jobs servicing everyone else as prostitutes and pole dancers."

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comics/stolen-pixels/5681-Stolen-Pixels-58-Xenoeroticism

the asari also seem to be able to manipulate the minds of other races to finding them more attractive, in me2 there is a conversation you can hear between a batcher party and each race says they look kinda like them, so if they are a species that can mate (kinda) across other species then it would work in their interests to be attractive to other species

altho I do get really tired of females always having the same body type in games, its not hard to make a big strong looking woman look at least attractive and what the hell happened to curves?

Just another woman trying to get attention to herself by writing about sexism in videogames. or at least that's my opinion. Also, the TF2 Characters are great don't ruin them.

AMMO Kid:
Just another woman trying to get attention to herself by writing about sexism in videogames. or at least that's my opinion. Also, the TF2 Characters are great don't ruin them.

I tend to agree with her. Too much cleavage, too little character.

As for the TF models - I find them quite funny... and wonder if someone will bother to record feminine quotes too :D

looked at her concept for all the models, and something struck me:

ALL (by "all" i will be referring to all the models except the spy model) is the stereotype of a lesbian. am i saying ladies without huge boobs and no clothing are lesbians? no

all got short hair, no makeup (makeup is not a male dominance thing, its what girls does because it makes em feel better about themselves :P ), everyone except the heavy got a "male" figure ( V shaped, not timeglass) and all got male eyes (a bit hard to explain, look at manga/anime, and you get it)

so, feminine is looking like a person who disslike men? i dissagree. if i had the time, i wouldve drawn my own versions of em and posted em... goddamn exams

although, very nice artwork there!

Haakong:
stuff

Did you read the article or look at the other pictures?
She based her drawings on pictures of female soldiers from the game's era... and some of them do have a long hair. It's just not practical for female combatants to have a very long hair and to wear makeup.

PipBoy2000:
And beside Valve's and Funcom's, couldn't think of much.

You see, this is some that irks me. I feel as if Valve are just trying to hoarde brownie points by making female characters constantly have female roles because the public loves it. But in the same way, I think that's worse. They're just capitalising on what the public want by creating a geek's wet dream. I think that's more degrading toward women than say, a woman with her rack out.

They're mostly over-sexualized.
But even worse is when the people who want to make a tough woman always make her a stone cold bitch.
But around 3% of the time, a good video game woman can be made, my favorite being female commander Shepard from Mass effect. Mostly because she's male commander Shepard but with tits and a softer voice.

i blame society.

I completely agree - its totally out of line to have sexy leading ladies in videogames. When you compare the female leads in videogames to other entertainment media like movies, television or pop music, you can see how pathetic their record truly is at being progressive like these other mediums are. Shame on you software publishers for delivering what your market demographic wants!

imaloony:
Someone already said it, but Bioware did a great job with their female roles.

I also think Faith from Mirror's Edge is a rather interesting character, seeing as how Mirror's Edge is a really feminist game. Every male in that frickin' game either get killed, beaten up, or kicked in the 'nads, usually BY a female character.

Alright, seriously, I really hate it when people say this. It's ludicrous. The game has a female protagonist, some of the antagonists are male and thus are defeated. Just because a game has a female protagonist does NOT make it a feminist game. This is like saying that Half-Life is male-ist (whatever the hell the opposite of feminist is) because the male protagonist kills a bunch of other males and the female characters aren't as important to the story as the men.

/rant

OT: As has been previously said, I like BioWare's female characters. They're tough without losing their femininity, and they're not just sex objects or helpless girls.

Aylaine:
If the story calls for them to be like that, then by all means. But stereotypically tossing them into that role when they could be a normal person like the male characters is just dumb. I'm not sure even the guys like it anymore... :/

Guys never liked it, its just most developers think having an overly sexualized women would give them more sells.

Sparrow:
You see, this is some that irks me. I feel as if Valve are just trying to hoarde brownie points by making female characters constantly have female roles because the public loves it. But in the same way, I think that's worse. They're just capitalising on what the public want by creating a geek's wet dream. I think that's more degrading toward women than say, a woman with her rack out.

How do Valve's feminine characters degrade women? By simply being there?
If a zombie outbreak or an alien invasion would occur in the future, I don't think women would just disappear :P
And hope not, that would kinda suck.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Yet when you have a female character who acts like one of the dudes, she's hated (Wet)

No she was just a douche and I know its hard to believe it but most guys don't act like that.

Radeonx:
Bioware seems to do a pretty good job with female characters in their RPG's.
They aren't over sexualized or anything, just female.

miranda was from ME2 the camera trying desperatly hard to show her ass
she has the most reavealing sex scene (i exclude jack's)
and she is wholely unrelatable complaining about being perfect...why?
i watched the romance subplot play out and honestly it looked like just an emotionless hook-up
if that isnt sexualization i dont know what is

Sparrow:

PipBoy2000:
And beside Valve's and Funcom's, couldn't think of much.

You see, this is some that irks me. I feel as if Valve are just trying to hoarde brownie points by making female characters constantly have female roles because the public loves it. But in the same way, I think that's worse. They're just capitalising on what the public want by creating a geek's wet dream. I think that's more degrading toward women than say, a woman with her rack out.

Dude, there is nothing wet or dreamy about Rochelle... I hate her; she's lifeless, paper thin and annoying. Chell is silent and you rarely even see what she looks like. Alyx is like a normal person in a world like that... I don't understand where you're coming from on this.

PipBoy2000:
How do Valve's feminine characters degrade women? By simply being there?
If a zombie outbreak or an alien invasion would occur in the future, I don't think women would just disappear :P
And hope not, that would kinda suck.

SavingPrincess:
Dude, there is nothing wet or dreamy about Rochelle... I hate her; she's lifeless, paper thin and annoying. Chell is silent and you rarely even see what she looks like. Alyx is like a normal person in a world like that... I don't understand where you're coming from on this.

Well, the way I see it, in games that sexualise women, women are there so men and possibly lesbians can oogle at their bodies.

In Valve games, they're there because Valve has seen there is a gap in the market and they're capitalising on it by creating, as I said before, the geeky wet dreams. Women that men unlucky in love, or AKA most men above 20 who spend more time playing on games than going out, might have a chance with. I think that's far worse.

Two words: Samus Aran.

What I mean by that is, she's not stereotyped at all, unless you count the whole "super robot armor" thing.

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