Thursday, 5 July 2012

Look At My Huge Abs! Masculinity and Gaming

Feminists, non-feminists, men, women, gamers, non-gamers, there are plenty of people who are concerned with the portrayal of women in video games. Characters like Lara Croft, the nuns in that Hitman Absolution trailer, Bayonetta etc. etc. Women in games are usually portrayed as objects, with tight clothes, big boobs and tight arses. They are portrayed this way to appeal to men and it works quite well but is of course, wrong.

People want this to change and there is a trend recently to create 'real women' like Elena Fisher. This is great because the portrayal of women in games gets the industry a lot of bad press and if we want it to be seen as something that is mature and respectable then we need to stop acting like teenagers.

The thing is, all this focus on women is just a tad unfair. My best friend was over the other day and we were talking about this and he said "when have you ever seen a game where the man you play as is overweight?" Of course there was Mario but that wasn't really the point. What he meant was men are portrayed just as poorly as women. Sure I love Solid Snake but he isn't exactly a 'real man' is he? Women are portrayed with big chests, men are portrayed with big biceps. It's just the way it goes.

Do we need to change our attitude towards men as well? I'm not suggesting we get rid of our most beloved action heroes but surely we need some games where you play as some sort of an everyman? It's been done before of course, like in Heavy Rain, but, as women are being portrayed more realistically in more and more games, surely us men should be too?

So next time someone mentions the poor portrayal of women in gaming don't forget that men are portrayed just as poorly, they are usually little more than towers of muscle and whilst there may be some men like this, it isn't really in touch with reality is it?

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  1. Its a fair point but I think your point is prioritizing males a bit too much- far more sexism and misogyny in gamers that makes it more of a issue, that needs to be drastically adressed then male six packs.

    I recently read articles done by a female or two female IGN employee about certain things and so much sexism and misogyny in the comments that it was disgusting, insults of their periods and accusations of lesbianism and really focusing quite pitifully on her gender that it was embarrasing to call myself a gamer.

  2. Do we need to change our attitude?

    The points you raise are quite good and interestingly this comment " women are portrayed with big chests, men are portrayed with big biceps" runs through in the film world, game world, and to some extent books, magazines.

    But is this right?. Probably not-
    Will it change?. Probably not-
    Do most of us want it to change?. Probably not-
    Is it fair?. Probably not.

    But perhaps if it could change even on a few games, films etc. and yes some are beginning to, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

    Gamers can be mature

    Game on