Video games are an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. Sixty-five percent of the households in the U. S play video games and two out of five gamers are female. Approximately ninety percent of video games feature men on their covers, and most of the women that are shown on the covers are portrayed in sexual and seductive ways. Female gender roles in video games are primarily presented as sexual object prizes and victims, but on the other hand male gender roles are shown as heroes, villains, and SUPER STRONG!
Even the story of the most popular videogame “Super Mario” is about a hero saving the princess from the super villain Bowser, the male turtle-like monster. This reveals that female gender roles in video games are dependent on men, and women are portrayed as weaker than male gender roles in the game. The battle of equality has been fought by women throughout the generations and cultures, and has now reached the video game industry.
If we look at outcomes, women have prevailed in most industry statistics, and there is no reason to believe that their right to be respected, their leadership roles within the games and as well, their ability to produce and develop games within the market place will not be denied. In Katherine Fletcher’s piece “Confessions of a call of Duty girl: Women in games today, she says that, “about 40% of the gaming population is made up of women, yet we are severely under represented and if we are represented it is in an overtly sexual way. (Fletcher, 2010) To repeat a commonly held phrase, sex sells, in the gaming industry. According to Fruzina Eordogh, “Sexually charged conversation is the dominant voice,” (Eordogh) apparently, male gamers want to see “boobs and skin”. Women who are gamers are frustrated by the lack of respect for their gender playing and creating the games in an organization that, according to Fletcher’s, “seeks to address the industry’s gender awareness about women in the games industry,” (Fletcher,2010) the hope that this organization will develop a fuller understanding of games and game playing associations.
Video games are played globally and have the opportunity to educate cultures about gender equality within the game as well as the equality of game creators. The initial audience for video games was males and focusing on the younger generation. The people making the games were men, starting in their basements; some were professional programmer, hobbyists, and women came late to the math, science and technology related fields, so the men had the advantage from the beginning.
Today the gaming industry is a huge global market with 67 billion achieved in 2012, and new reports forecast 82 billion by 2015 easily. It is obviously clear that women will work to be a part of this gaming industry as they were in the growth of film and television. Today there is greater gender equality in the acting profession as well as in production. It is to be noted that today more and more female characters are demonstrating a strength that writers and developers have previously denied them.
The field can be challenged when, “EA Sports, responsible for the lion’s share of sports video games, was recently called out by a 12 year old girl for continually failing to include woman in its smash hit FIFA soccer series and the presence of hyper sexualized female characters is hardly a thing of the past. ” (Morris, 2013) Things are changing even in the parts where they aren’t the star in the game; female characters are showing strength and character development. It will take time and constant vigilance for women to achieve gender respect and equality in the field
It is interesting to note that women are enjoying the art of playing games. The average age of a gamer is 30 years old and has been playing for at least 12 years. 68 percent of all gamers are 18 years of age or older. 47 percent of players are women, and women who are 18 years of age are over one of the industry’s fastest growing demographics. Another interesting fact is that today, adult women represent a greater portion of game-playing population than boys age 17 or younger.
With this demonstration of women involved in playing games, there must be greater sensitivity in gender roles in the games. Women will not put up with old stereotypical attitudes in these games. As their playing numbers increase women will become responsible for making financial decisions that will affect the success or failure of products. If women are not respected in gaming roles, they will make their preferences felt, and the number of sales for a particular product will fall short. As the gap between numbers of gender gamers lessens, the industry ill have to look at the decision of targeting or, creating female- targeted games similar to male targeted games. Possibly the goal should be gender neutral games. to encourage the creative role of women producers in the industry. The development of games that are gender neutral will probably end up to be the industry’s choice. There will always be a small percentage of male and female gamers that prefer the old style stereo typing of men and women, but as education today encourage gender neutrality, the majority of gamers will enjoy the neutrality of games.
Women will be encouraged to move in to the leadership field with the exiting challenges of creating new products. As in any new field, confusion as to direction can make or break the bank. There is still discussion in the boardrooms about male and female directed games. Some female developers are working on female- only games and are calling them “the games by girls for girls. ” These have been supported by companies such as her Interactive, Girl Games, Girl Tech, Silicon Sisters, and Purple Moon. These are female owned and female staffed.
These companies hope to stimulate a female- only market stressing on the fundamental differences between what girls want and like as do boys want and like in gaming. It is of interest to note that older female gamers prefer the gender neutral games. The Wii game has certainly introduced the females to this type of gaming and it has been hugely financially successful. Financial success is always the deciding factor in the market place, and it makes sense to target the untapped female gamer population rather than restricting the market to males only.
Keith Stuart, writer for The GuardiN introduces his Article by saying,” Nearly half of the UK’s video game players Re women, and now they are designing and writing them too, in lauding top sellers Gears of War 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as well as Uncharted 3. These three were the biggest game releases last year, and all were written by women. Siobhan Reddy, Studio Manager at Media Molecule says that, “games development is becoming more appealing to girls as a potential career. ” Women have grown up with technology all around them, and in an era where entertainment, games and music are combined.
In conclusion, women are growing in the video game and not so dependent on men as leaders. In the singing, men use females in games as sexual objects and remained the hero-who-saved-the-women. As the time keeps passes, our generation enjoys and needs more and more gender neutral games. The sexual exploitation of women in gaming will become a thing of the past in the production of mainstream games, and there will continue to be steady growth in the female production of games. Women went through their struggle in film and television and are well-respected in this industry.
There is a beginning recognition of respect for women who are pioneering this gaming industry. The populations of female gamers are rising every day as well, and some day in the future they may even outnumber the male gamers; and most of the game programming companies will do what the “money” says. So, I can guarantee you that in the near future there will be the same number of female gender video games as the male gender video games and that is gender equality. We will see more and more women in the production field, developing wonderful products for men, women and children.
Courtney from Study Moose
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