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Not Enough Female Characters

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DragonPunch
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Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 06:46 PM Reply

Has anyone else noticed that the game industry seems to come across as sexist? I know this is old news, and well aware of the inherent sexism, but it wasn't until recently in this gen when female characters such as Bayonetta started to become wildly popular. Despite this, last gen had also seen the rise of female characters in video games with titles such as Metroid Prime and Beyond Good and Evil. However, even with those titles, there was a surprising lack of female faces as main characters in the industry.

I guess this rant is dedicated to those people who like me, are frustrated with the lack of female characters as main protagonists in video games. It would be very awesome to see more Bayonettas taking out hordes of demons and such. I also have a problem with the lack of female main characters in first person shooters other than Borderlands and Metroid Prime, which is a real shame. Women could have a real impact in the FPS genre. I guess the gender exclusiveness of the FPS genre is why women tend to play more casual games.

The number of women reporting that they play hardcore games is only starting to increase. It's not a dramatic increase, but it's noticeable. For example, whenever I log on to play BlazBlue: Conitinuum Shift, I am utterly shocked when I find a female opponent willing to talk on the microphone, thus revealing the fact that she is a woman. It's shocking because half of the players I faced were hateful and sometimes brutal guys talking shit in their mics like nobody's business. I'd be willing to bet, if the industry could gear itself to prepare more women to discover hardcore gaming, the number of women playing male-oriented hardcore games would steadily increase, and the number of women wanting to study game design would also increase. THIS is something I would love to see.

I don't want the hardcore gaming scene to be only limited to men. Let's give more of that power to women as well. Make more relatable and likeable female protagonists that aren't constantly flashing their panties and making sexual poses whenever they fight. Sure, Bayonetta is appealing to both men and women (men because she's sexy, and women because Bayonetta knows that she's a woman and is daring enough to flaunt that fact and is more than secure with herself), but most critics would rate her as being a sexist game character, who was created by misogynist male game developers, who only wanted to make a female character they could fap to.

So in the end, what I want is more empowering female characters. Let's not make the industry gender exclusive one way or the other, let's make video games a medium both men and women can enjoy. More female characters in almost male-exclusive territory, and less sexist depictions of women in games. If you're going to have a scantily clad female character, please make a decent and well-written context for why that is.

Thank you for taking the time to read my complaint.


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kmau
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 07:09 PM Reply

In my opinion game developers (as artists) have the freedom to create whatever characters and stories they want. Creating a female protagonist for the sake of the gender itself would be bad. Baaaad.

Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 07:13 PM Reply

Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.

oh really?

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kmau
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 07:15 PM Reply

At 9/29/12 07:13 PM, darkjam wrote:
Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.
oh really?

many =/= all.


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DragonPunch
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 07:22 PM Reply

Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.

True, true. I would personally like to stronger heroines in games as well. We see plenty of them who are fleshed out and given plenty of personality in RPGs, fighting games, action and adventure games, but some of them, like you said are poorly portrayed. I already addressed this argument by using the critics criticizing Bayonetta as a good example of mixed reactions that go from praising the character, to passing her off as a sexual representation that guys could easily fap to.

Let's also not forget the infamous Other M Samus.

In terms of reducing the amount of sexist portrayals of females in video games, we can look at a lot of fighting games and some RPGs, whose strengths and weaknesses are either on par or better than their male counterparts. Take Noel Vermillion for example. Her combo strings can last twice as long as those of Ragna the Bloodedge if the player has enough skill, but the fact that her combo strings can go that long anyways is a sign that the developers wanted to show she is a force to be reckoned with in combat and not just a pretty face, even if she is shy and embarrassingly clumsy.

On that note, take a look at Tsubaki Yayoi in that respect as well; only her personality is more conservative and religious. However, she is very weak, mentally, showing genuine human flaws. Now we come to Makoto. She's strong, active and energetic, cheerful, and...she has underboob...Well...That only seems SLIGHTLY sexist, am I right?

/sarcasm


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 09:13 PM Reply

At 9/29/12 07:22 PM, HiryuGouki wrote: On that note, take a look at Tsubaki Yayoi in that respect as well; only her personality is more conservative and religious. However, she is very weak, mentally, showing genuine human flaws. Now we come to Makoto. She's strong, active and energetic, cheerful, and...she has underboob...Well...That only seems SLIGHTLY sexist, am I right?

You got to remember though that the Japanese have a much different view of what's considered "risque" is a lot different than it is in the West, although I have got to imagine that the differences aren't as wide as it was in the past. As for calling Tsubaki Yayoi weak is a bit of an understatement, because she isn't necessarily weak, but more so easy to manipulate because the NOL is more or less all she knows, which makes her an easy target for manipulation by Hazama. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the rest.

Now as for your argument, we don't really need more female lead roles for the sake of it, but rather we need more female leads who are actually competent, and are more judged by what they do more so than the shape of their figures. Here's where it gets a little tricky, the majority of the gamers out there are men ages 16-30, and if they were to play as a female character for whatever reason, then they would likely rather have the main female character portrayed as being more attractive to the eye, and every other quality is simply a bonus. Of course, most game developers out there try to make them attractive as possible, but also try to make her more competent, realistic and/or integral to the story, which is generally more important.

Simply put, the old saying of sex sells is more true than ever, and honestly, I don't have a problem with it to a certain degree. I think the point you're trying to make is that you want to see more female leads in general, and not just for the sake of eye candy.


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DragonPunch
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 29th, 2012 @ 11:04 PM Reply


Simply put, the old saying of sex sells is more true than ever, and honestly, I don't have a problem with it to a certain degree. I think the point you're trying to make is that you want to see more female leads in general, and not just for the sake of eye candy.

Exactly. We need more strong female lead characters who aren't just eye candy, to represent women well and not sell themselves solely on being attractive. I think more female gamers would choose Odin Sphere over Dragon's Crown any day, simply because even they're both made by the same company, the representation of Dragon's Crown's female characters is just somewhat offensive to say the least. An easy example would be the Sorceress from Dragon's Crown. Her design is not a problem for me, but I think a lot of women will be put off by her design, and I find that troublesome.

Compare her to female lead, Gwendolyn from Odin Sphere, and you have a fleshed out character with a full backstory and is represented like a real, relate-able woman, though for the sake of argument, the game uses medieval logic where women had to obey their fathers no matter what.

Even so, the stark contrast between these two female characters is not so much disgusting as it is bothersome. Not that I mind big breasts, but seriously.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 01:59 AM Reply

At 9/29/12 07:13 PM, darkjam wrote:
Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.
oh really?

Note that Samus was thought to be male until proven otherwise.

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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 03:09 AM Reply

I spent a good hour editing this post to keep it from sounding sarcastic and after reading the entire thread, a lot of what I planned to say had already been said. This is all I managed to salvage so sorry that this just comes off as rambling.

Monster Tale for the DS features a strong female lead who isn't sexualized. It's a good game too. It got an 8.5/10 on IGN, sadly that's shovelware to most gamers.

There are more male gamers than female gamers. Developers want lots of money, therefore they are gonna make games that appeal to the larger demographic. And if that means sexualizing women, so be it. I think playing a game as a 1 dimensional woman with something to prove is more insulting than a scantily clad cheerleader or a god-killing witch.

I watched some youtube video about a feminist who got hundreds of thousands in kickstarter funds, and she plans to spend it all on video games and expose the misogyny and sexism in them. It made me shudder. I fear next gen games will have "YOU PLAY AS A GIRL" as an innovation/tagline.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 03:39 AM Reply

Tales of Xillia is going to have a main female protagonist. Or to be more accurate two main protagonists one male one female.

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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 04:32 PM Reply

many =/= all.

but you didn't say that before


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 04:42 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 04:32 PM, darkjam wrote:
many =/= all.
but you didn't say that before

He had to spell it out? He did say "many", and he's probably right.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 05:05 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 03:39 AM, Emlfuryoflion wrote: Tales of Xillia is going to have a main female protagonist.

I probably couldn't take her personality serious with that outfit.

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DragonPunch
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 06:57 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 05:05 PM, kmau wrote:
At 9/30/12 03:39 AM, Emlfuryoflion wrote: Tales of Xillia is going to have a main female protagonist.
I probably couldn't take her personality serious with that outfit.

I personally don't care what she's wearing as long as she's got a good brain in between her ears.


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kmau
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 07:07 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 06:57 PM, HiryuGouki wrote:
At 9/30/12 05:05 PM, kmau wrote:
At 9/30/12 03:39 AM, Emlfuryoflion wrote: Tales of Xillia is going to have a main female protagonist.
I probably couldn't take her personality serious with that outfit.
I personally don't care what she's wearing as long as she's got a good brain in between her ears.

While in my eyes such a character would be the female equivalent to commander Shepard wearing a clowns costume. Different tolerance levels.


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DragonPunch
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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 07:42 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 07:07 PM, kmau wrote:
At 9/30/12 06:57 PM, HiryuGouki wrote:
At 9/30/12 05:05 PM, kmau wrote:
At 9/30/12 03:39 AM, Emlfuryoflion wrote: Tales of Xillia is going to have a main female protagonist.
I probably couldn't take her personality serious with that outfit.
I personally don't care what she's wearing as long as she's got a good brain in between her ears.
While in my eyes such a character would be the female equivalent to commander Shepard wearing a clowns costume. Different tolerance levels.

I guess so. I guess I'm just used to scantily clad women. Given, quite a few of them were just...well...There for some reason or another.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 07:53 PM Reply

Games are completely sexist.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Sep. 30th, 2012 @ 09:09 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 07:42 PM, HiryuGouki wrote:
At 9/30/12 07:07 PM, kmau wrote: While in my eyes such a character would be the female equivalent to commander Shepard wearing a clowns costume. Different tolerance levels.
I guess so. I guess I'm just used to scantily clad women. Given, quite a few of them were just...well...There for some reason or another.

Just a hunch but im going to guess her character isn't like that. From the gameplay trailers I have seen it just doesn't appear that way.

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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 1st, 2012 @ 01:06 AM Reply

At 9/30/12 09:09 PM, Emlfuryoflion wrote:
At 9/30/12 07:42 PM, HiryuGouki wrote:
At 9/30/12 07:07 PM, kmau wrote: While in my eyes such a character would be the female equivalent to commander Shepard wearing a clowns costume. Different tolerance levels.
I guess so. I guess I'm just used to scantily clad women. Given, quite a few of them were just...well...There for some reason or another.
Just a hunch but im going to guess her character isn't like that. From the gameplay trailers I have seen it just doesn't appear that way.

One would hope so. The woman's outfit certainly flatters her figure, but doesn't necessarily look like it will flatter her personality much.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 1st, 2012 @ 09:45 AM Reply

They won't start doing this because ''it's less sexist'' or whatever, consider the fact that while the amount of female hardcore games are increasing, it's still males that take up most of the market, these men therefore take up the majority of the market and the majority of the money, these men however want to play as men, most of the time and sometimes women for most of the eyecandy, hardly anyone will play a character of the opposite gender for other reasons than eyecandy or trying something new.
Therefore to make a female lead to most games would put of those who don't want to play to be forced to play as the a female, which is most gamers, to stop making the females lightly dressed and make them look worse would also put off those who do it for the eyecandy.
Also, why do people complain about females in videogames being attractive? Aren't the males too? Most heroes of FPS's are muscular guys with brown hair that don't seem to be very intelligent, how is that any less sexist?
Anyways, if they gave the choice of male or female to play as in a story mode, they would have to animate a new character and hire a new voice actor and generally do a lot more work, so it would be a loss of resources to do that.
Besides males and females are different on some level, some stories wouldn't work if you swapped the genders, and then they would have to make two completely different stories, which is an even bigger loss of resources, also there would probably be put less effort into the stories.

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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 1st, 2012 @ 07:58 PM Reply

At 9/30/12 05:09 AM, Protagonist wrote: Not to mention that, but most of the video gaming demographic is male, Or is believed to be because woman don't openly come out and say they like/play video games often. The industry figures that most males would want to play as males, so that their moorings with the character are tighter.

I think the problem isn't really that most of the people playing games are male (they're not, really), it's that most of the people making games are male. As long as game development remains a (white/Asian, straight) boys' club, the perspectives we get in our games are going to remain limited no matter how diverse the audience is.

Really, I think it's a simple matter of all of us (the industry and the audience) needing to grow up. There's just this weird juvenile faux-masculine hostility that seems to pervade the way we make games and play them that we need to get rid of. There's no reason why the tone of this entire medium that encompasses such wide creative potential and such a diverse audience should be set by angry adolescent boys.

At 9/30/12 05:05 PM, kmau wrote: I probably couldn't take her personality serious with that outfit.

Yeah, this is something that bugs me in a lot of my favorite anime and Japanese games. They have great, complex, well-rounded, strong female characters...who happen to dress like total skanks for no reason and are constantly ogled by the camera. I guess it's a weird cultural thing I don't totally understand.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 1st, 2012 @ 11:48 PM Reply

i dont see whats wrong. only make people ____ if it is appropriate to the story, not because "lol there isnt enough of ____ so lets shoehorn it in"


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 1st, 2012 @ 11:55 PM Reply

At 10/1/12 11:48 PM, Osyris wrote: i dont see whats wrong. only make people ____ if it is appropriate to the story, not because "lol there isnt enough of ____ so lets shoehorn it in"

The problem is that the industry isn't really making an effort to make female leads in a creative or meaningful fashion. Female characters in games...Don't exactly flatter the female sex in general. I think there are plenty of opportunities that could place women in lead roles rather than second fiddle, but developers are too afraid to lose their audience to do something truly unique for the games industry. I personally, would like more female protagonists I can take seriously, thank you...But that's just me.


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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 2nd, 2012 @ 02:43 PM Reply

At 9/29/12 07:13 PM, darkjam wrote:
Furthermore I don't think the problem lies with the number of female heroines in videogames, but rather with how they are portrayed in many cases: Half-naked armed chick with no personality etc.
oh really?

Until Team Ninja stepped in.

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Response to Not Enough Female Characters Oct. 2nd, 2012 @ 03:04 PM Reply

I'm pretty sure it's goong to get more common in the future I mean if your talking about fighters sure. But story/ rpg games have more character variety Dead Island and L4D are just a few examples maybe Gravity Rush as well.


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