As a female gamer, I believe there is a lot wrong with video gaming when it comes to treating women with respect. I’ve been called a noob for being a gamer (by a 15-year-old, nonetheless… ha!), but I’ve also been called the “c” word. This is especially prevalent on MMO’s and part of the reason I no longer play them.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of male gamers that are outright jerks. Certainly not all male gamers, but enough to justify running women away from gaming. Those women who do choose to game choose to do so alone and silently. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this.
If you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “Girl Gamers Harassed.” It’s disgusting the amount of forum threads and blog posts and articles that come up.
However, part of the problem lies with the game developers themselves. They refuse to see women as gamers and in many games, women are treated disrespectfully. Yes, Grand Theft Auto games, I’m looking at you.
But it’s also the lack of games that allow us to play female characters that also raises my ire. Sure, I’ve played my share of male characters in video games. We all have. It’s not like we have a choice. And I have gone on record as stating that I enjoy those games. But my favorite games are all ones where I’ve been allowed a female character, either by choice (the Mass Effect series, Skyrim, the Dragon Age series, the Fallout games) or the lead is written as female (Dreamfall, Mirror’s Edge). I have also enjoyed games that have strong female characters included (the Half Life series).
This is probably due to the fact that there just aren’t a lot of women (or men who don’t think with their private parts) making video games. Many of these video game companies are idiots because they honestly think that there is no way that women even play games, much less enjoy them. They still create games for those 15-year-old horny boys. Which is odd considering that most studies now state that most gamers are older and include a LOT of women.
But that mentality continues. And most video games tend to be oriented towards young males. And we get great games like the Assassins Creed series which refuse to allow women to be a part of their environments.
Alex Hutchison, the creative director for Assassins Creed 3, was asked about the possibility of a female assassin in the new game. His answer?
“”It’s always up in the air. I think lots of people want it, [but] in this period it’s been a bit of a pain. The history of the American Revolution is the history of men. It felt like, if you had all these men in every scene and you’re secretly, stealthily in crowds of dudes [as a female assassin], it starts to feel kind of wrong. People would stop believing it.”
(Pardon me while I cringe at Hutchison’s usage of the word “dudes.” Do you see what I mean about the mentality of the people creating the games?)
Did you catch that? The history of the American Revolution is the history of MEN. I guess Hutchison has never truly studied history, though. What about Catherine Moore Barry, who helped General Morgan lay a trap for Cornwallis and his men? That could not have been done without her input as she knew the lay of the land. What about Margaret Corbin, who loaded cannons during the war and was the first women to receive a lifetime pension for wounds suffered in battle? What about Nancy Ward who literally took up a bow and arrow with a Cherokee tribe and fought in the war? What about Betsy Ross? Do these women mean nothing?
“There are a few people, like John Adams’ wife, [Abigail]–they tried very hard in the [HBO seriesJohn Adams] to not make it look like a bunch of dudes, but it really is a bunch of dudes,” Hutchison added.
(He said “dudes” again. Really. I can’t help but to respond with an eye roll.)
So once more, women’s contributions to history are ignored. But worse, Hutchison went on to say that a female assassin would be unbelievable. But a guy running around in a Middle Eastern-inspired assasins coat is, apparently, not.
So who else is saying “WTF?”
Personally, I believe that not only would a female assassin be plausible, but also extremely effective. Because the “dudes” would never see her coming and wouldn’t expect a woman to be capable of such violence.
I understand why the main character wouldn’t be female if we’re discussing the gameplay, looking at things through Desmond’s eyes. I do get that. But that’s not what Hutchison said. And the mini film that was released about the end of Ezio’s life did feature a female assassin. However, the only other woman assassin in the game, Lucy, was killed. It’s almost as if the series doesn’t think the women assassins are as good as the men.
I guess I’m dreaming when I think how nice it might be to choose a male or female throughout the Assassins Creed games, but let’s face it, Ubisoft isn’t nearly as creative as a studio like Bethesda or Bioware. Unfortunately, most gaming studios aren’t as open-minded either. And it’s a shame, because there is a lot of money out there that women gamers could be spending and aren’t.
This leads me to my final point. Two of the most anticipated and highest grossing games of the past year both featured characters that could be played as female: Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. If that isn’t proof that more female video game lead characters are a good idea, I don’t know what is.