Video Game Sexism

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Dr. Mehnaaz Momen
Political Class and Gender Roles
27 March 2011

Gender Roles in the Video Game Industry

We often reflect on our lives and realize that not everything in our worlds outlines life as fair game. I see many facets of life that benefit one gender role better than the other. I also see parts of our lives where one gender role isn’t treated as equally as others. Me being part of the video game community for so long never opened my eyes to these realizations. I never wanted to believe that in a community that has been dear to many for many years of my life had dealt any of these crimes. But when you open you’re mind to the possibilities that even something remotely unequally exists in our lives you cannot ignore what has been seen. The only thing that remains is what can be done about the matter? What is conceivable is not what you limit yourself to but rather what you do with the time that is given to you.

In order to understand the injustices I speak of; I must first reflect upon the basic history of the video game, and my involvement that love. When video games were first created creators never knew that it would be such a popular product. Think about one of the first games created. The concept was something simple, and that was virtual pong. Atari released one of its first creations and it focused on the mechanics of simply hitting back the ball back and forth. It became so mind blowing that the video game expanded massively within years. However, when looking back into the first video game libraries I began to see a trend. The trend was that no games had been created where a female protagonist was the lead in. The first visual existence of a female character was in the largely commercial success of the video game Mario who stared in Donkey Kong. The main objective of the video game was easy; it was rescue the princess from Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong 2). It was the first mention of a female, and guess what? She was the one who needed rescue. We often tend to over look these iconic games, because they’re iconic. So I beg to question when was the first major seller (popular game) game where the main character was a female? I must first state that there are many titles out now where females are the main lead, but the popular one that first emerged was a game called Metroid Prime. The game revolved around a robotic female who fought aliens in the space universe. The game became so popular, but I myself never knew the main character was female. The female is covered in a robotic suit, and the story line doesn’t cover the gender role long enough for most video game users to acknowledge that the female lead in is a female. In a review about the game the article listed top five things you didn’t know about Metroid Prime if you don’t know by now. “Number one, some people don’t realize is that Prime is acutally female…”(Dockrill 6). But the problem doesn’t nearly end at just the actual video game titles. The video game industry doesn’t end with just the video games produced. There are also accessories, and the main sector that I’m familiar with is the online perspective of video gaming. Many games are created with an online capability to play against people worldwide. The serious crimes of equality are created in this portion of the industry. Every time I play online, and the moment people realize that a female is amongst us playing men are quick to berate them. It begins with simple rude jokes that eventually escalades with the female being to a point of just completely being uncomfortable. It’s not often I come across females online, but I can promise you that this happens all the time. Respect doesn’t carry over to females in the video game industry, and it’s very alarming. Something else that people don’t know is that video games have a competitive field. They have major league gaming events where people play for money, and there’s another side of the video game industry that involves gathering jobs. On...
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