James Lambert

Participants shared images and links that exemplified their points about the topic

Participants shared images and links that exemplified their points about the topic

If you have ever pondered why female characters in video games are mostly scantily clad, well-endowed stereotypes, then iCov Digital’s first live blogging session held on 20 May might make an interesting read. The event brought together gamers of all kinds to discuss the representation of women in video games. Cathy Eglington was the host of the session, posing questions and supplementing them with a variety of related pictures where appropriate. The discussion was partly based on James Lambert’s third year dissertation, which posed the question “Are women negatively depicted in games?”

Participants included male and female gamers who enjoyed a range of game genres and who felt passionately about the medium. The points raised ranged from why women are looked down on to more specific things like the evolution of Lara Croft from game to game. The opinions put forward were all positive towards women and sympathetic to the issue, though some were expressed more forcefully than others. A popular opinion was that games are more often aimed at and advertised to men, and that female characters are made to be obviously sexually attractive in order to attract heterosexual men, to the detriment of both their characters and the female audience (though it was noted that this is not always the case, as Lara Croft is both sexy and tough, though her look has changed, and some would say for the better).

Participants discussed the representation of women in video games

Participants discussed the representation of women in video games

A specific example used was the character of “Quiet” from “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”, who is wearing little more than a thong, a bra and some tights in a war zone. A picture was posted alongside a parody picture of the game’s male lead “Big Boss” in the exact same outfit. This led to a discussion of sexualisation of men in games, with the point being made that men in games are often crafted to be idealistic to serve the fantasies of male gamers who aspire to those ideals.

The discussion ended with many questions still percolating through the minds of participants. We hope to reopen this topic for debate at a later stage. Share your thoughts in our comments section.

To read the full transcript of the event, visit the archive.

 

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